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Getting to Kilimanjaro

Just getting to Kilimanjaro can be an adventure for those of us in the Western Hemisphere.

I had planned to do this trip over Christmas and New Year, with the hope of summiting on New Year's Day. For a number of reasons, I had to reschedule to the third week of January.

In retrospect, this was probably for the best, since I understand that the mountain is quite crowded over the Holidays and that, this year, it endured some severe weather.

Rescheduling the trip also allowed me to reduce layovers and travel time, due to more favorable flight availability.

I departed JFK at 8 PM January 19 and flew to Amsterdam, where I boarded a KLM flight direct to Kilimanjaro International Airport. We landed at about 10 PM local time on the 20th. It seemed strange that, at an international airport, I could see no other planes on the tarmac!

After descending onto the tarmac, we entered the Main Terminal, which will never be mistaken for Inchon International in Sueyoung's native South Korea.

Tanzania allows travelers to obtain a visa on entry. However, I would urge anyone traveling there to purchase theirs prior to departure. It would have saved a tired me at least 90 minutes.

After clearing customs, I was greeted by a young driver dispatched by the tour company. We loaded my 40 pound expedition bag into the Jeep and drove 45 minutes to my hotel in Moshi, the city closest to the mountain.

As it was pitch dark, it would not be until the morning until I could get some sense of Tanzania.

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