Wheels down in Kilimanjaro, after a layover in Doha, and in minutes we knew this was going to be different. It’s a smallish, but certainly not the smallest airport we’ve ever landed in. We found our bags sitting on the floor in the terminal.
A guy, who looked like he had highly discounted Rolex watches to sell leaned in and said, “I get you tru these lines tout de suite. Show me your Covid papers.”
He frowned. Evidently we were missing the secret most important form. He smiled and said, “I get you tru anyhow,” followed by the standard awkward pause while we fumbled for shillings in astronomical quantities. It is something like 2,301 Tanzanian shillings to 1 usd. As a reformed cheapskate Yours Truly finds it hard to hand over 20,000 anything as a tip.
Dazed and confused, we’d been traveling continuously for two straight days, schlepping all our bags. We squinted out into the African sun to find our new friend Emanuel, smiling his humble smile, holding a sign that proclaimed “Jack Archer.” Close enough! He stowed our bags and we scrambled up into a genuine nine passenger indestructible 4×4 Toyota Landcruiser, standard transportation in African bush.
Forty-five minutes later Emanuel pulled into the lush deep green oasis of our game sanctuary lodge just outside of Arusha, our home for the night.
We hadn’t had to dodge one motor scooter the whole trip. We’re in the land of dodging the small engined motorcycle.
We knew we’d have to rest fast because tomorrow morning Emanuel would pick us up in the Landcruiser for the long ride up to Lake Manyara National Park to start our African safari. I have to say it felt like we’d already been safari-ing.