Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kili(man)jaro Challenge

And so Dada Dawa, Moo and I joined Impi and The General on their Kiliman Adventure Race last weekend in Moshi.

The Kili(man)jaro Challenge (if you are extremely brave) consists of 3 challenges all in the space of about 9 days!

1. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro over 6 days

2. Cycle around the base of Kili in 2 days – 246km

3. Run a full marathon – 42,2km

Brave Impi and The General decided to choose one and do the cycle around the base of our own snow-capped mountain. What a great weekend filled with sweat, dust and gorgeous sceneries!

We all met in Moshi on Thursday the 25th of February at Bristol Cottage, quaint and very comfortable. Dinner was at Indo Italiano (highly recommended) where carbo-loading was in the order of the day. Delicious pizzas for starters and pasta for main course…. We couldn’t resist the odd Kili or 3, just to make sure!

After a restless night in anticipation of the big race and Moo making sure we know she’s also in the room, we had an early start, bikes were loaded onto the car and we were off to the Keys Annex Hotel to start their two day journey around Kilimanjaro.

Moshi was fresh and the cool weather was very welcoming. As per Tanzania style everything kinda went as plan and the guys were ready to go at 07:30 as per schedule……. But……. A few of the participants didn’t have their bikes yet.! While everybody was ready to fire away, these poor guys were loading their bicycles of the truck that arrived, checking tyres frantically and making sure the water bottles were filled up. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself – there always will be some or other drama!

15 minutes later the shot went off and the race started. We cheered from the side and wished our loved ones a safe and adventurous ride!

Months of hard work were about to be put to the ultimate test! No one had any idea what the next 95km was going to be like. What the road conditions were or if their muscles would keep up. So brave, so very very brave!

Dada Dawa, Moo and I went back to Bristol, wrapped up and set about our journey…… With just a few sketchy directions, no GPS and rather ok Swahili we drove out of Moshi to our half way stop – Snow Cap Cottages. All we knew was that is was on the other side of the mountain.

Kilimanjaro was standing proud and clear. It couldn’t have been a finer day!

We had an awesome drive through villages, up passes, through forests and were pleased to find the first riders at Snow Cap when we arrived. Quick lunch and we went back to see if we could find our men.

The General was in top form, but couldn’t wait for the end of day 1. We cheered and informed him with great pleasure that there is only 5km left – yeah!! But I must admit -probably the worst 5km of dirt road I’ve seen in a long time…… and I’ve been around this country! We didn’t ofcourse tell him that…

He finished with a great time and we headed back to find the other half of this cycling party. Tired to the bone, but still strong, Impi also wanted to know how far the end was……. “almost there Love, almost there” was the answer!

What a day! They did so well and we were so proud! We encouraged stretching and went ahead and massaged the sore muscles. After and early dinner everybody was off to bed.

After another restless night with basically no sleep, Impi got up and put on his gear. I couldn’t believe he was actually going to get on a bike for another 150-odd kms! Team Accu-Check made sure their Camelpacks were filled up with water and all the energy drinks, squeezies, dried bananas and other paraphernalia were in place.

Spirits were high as they set off (on time): there were promise of more downhill than the previous day!

Dada Dawa found out that we could follow them and that there is only one road, so we couldn’t really get lost! With Kili to our left and Kenya to our right, we followed the riders.

We passed beautiful sceneries, sunflowers as tall as houses, wheat fields and friendly-faced kiddies running next to the vehicle.

The roads were rough, but I am sure that didn’t matter as most of it was downhill .

We caught up with Impi and then with The General. They were surprisingly looking and feeling good! We wished them good luck and went to the finish line.

The General was first to finish, and Impi followed not too long after covered in dust (I probably had something to do with that! They all shouted and screamed as I passed them on the dirt roads with dust flying!

Beers and cheers were all around ! They finished – which was the ultimate goal!

So brave, oh so brave!!!

~desert rose~


  1. I just ran into your blog today and thought it was amazing. I spent two months in Tanzania traveling with a few boys and had the best time of my life. Reading about the experiences of people who seem to appreciate the place as much as I did brings me back the best memories.
    I can't wait to be back. Keep on having a good time!

  2. glad you enjoyed it.... great times in an awesome place! let us know when you are around!