Wow, what a journey! I’ll start with the ending – we made it safe and sound with all of our bags and are settled into The African Tulip, our hotel in Arusha. We arrived at 2 AM local time after our 27 hour journey from Chicago.
We travelled on BA from Chicago, to London Heathrow (8 hours, 30 min), 2 hour layover and then London to Nairobi, Kenya (8 hours, 30 min). We were so spoiled on these flights with food, movies, lay-flat seats. So thankful!!!
Nairobi was an experience! We were grateful to see and collect all of our bags and had no issues clearing customs after giving the agent 40 bucks. (not sure what this was for). We were pressed for time as we had 1:20 to make our connection which was due to leave at 10:30 pm local time. We asked 4 different people (and got 3 different answers) what terminal to go to for our connecting flight to Kilimanjaro, on Precision Airways. We had to wander outside and eventually found the right terminal but missed our flight. After a stressful hour of scrambling and contemplating an overnight in Nairobi or a bus ride?!, we were grateful to the kind gate agent who found us seats on a Kenya Airways midnight flight. The Nairobi airport was bustling at this late hour and no one working there is particularly fussed about time or schedules – it was our first experience in pole’ pole’ (slowly, slowly) and if you know us… well, this is an adjustment 😊. There was much running from ticket counter to sales office to cashier to accomplish the rebooking and excess baggage payment (yes…) but finally made it onto our final flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro (36 minutes).
There were only a handful of us who exited the plane, which was continuing on to Dar Es Salaam. Cleared customs at this tiny airport and to our great relief collected the last 4 bags on the carousel. We were greeted by our driver and had an hour drive to our hotel in Arusha. We laid our heads down at 2:00 am and slept hard!
The African Tulip is a beautiful small hotel owned by our tour company, Roys Safaris, whose office is next door. We are thankful to be here for a day of rest before we set off on our trek tomorrow.