Day 61, stage 48, 118km
Start, Namanga camp, Kenya
Finish, Maisai Camp, Arusha and Home
Our camp yesterday was only about 4km from the border. So the first order of business on the morning was to go through border formalities. By 7:30am I was in Tanzania. It was good to be home I couldn’t quite see Mount Kilimanjaro because of the clouds but knew it was just off to my left. Arusha was straight ahead another 115 km or so.
The first 50km were delightful rolling hills with spectacular and rich countryside. Then we started climbing over the mountain range that would eventually feed us into Arusha. We climbed for about 40km. and it was a deceptive climb with lots of false flats –looks like it’s flat or even descending when in fact you are still climbing and you are wondering why you are working so hard. But by kilometre 90 we had reached the other side and had a great slide into Arusha.
My focus was now on an airplane and not my bike. We have a three day break at Arusha – the unofficial half way point of the Tour. I got in sometime after 1pm and had a flight from Kilimanjaro airport at 9:30. Lots of time. I sorted my locker, threw my dirty laundry into a bag, had a shower, found an ATM, booked transport to the airport and got a beer. It was only 2:30. I impatiently cooled my heels for a few hours while the other riders sorted their kit and prepared for the break. There was a holiday atmosphere – much different than the mood of the 4 unscheduled days off in Nanyuki when we felt in limbo. May people were off the Ngorogoro, Tarangiri or Manyara. A couple were heading for Zanzibar and beaches.
Kilimanjaro airport is quite ways from Arusha. So I took a taxi into town where I picked up a cheap shuttle bus run by the airline, Fast Jet. At 6:30 we were off.
At 7:45 we were at the Airport. We took off 10 minutes before schedule and landed 40 minutes before schedule. Liz picked me up and we were home and we were home shortly after 11 – a short whisky on ice and then sleep in my own bed. Heaven.