Tanzania Safari – Day 1

We travel from home to Arusha, Tanzania and rest before officially starting our safari.

Thirteen hours from Toronto to Addis Ababa in economy class. Enough said. We survived intact, and I managed not to drop food in my lap and dirty my pants, a lifetime first. We walked down the stairs and onto the tarmac feeling like we’d accomplished something and the worst was over.

It turns out that the worst is getting on another plane for two hours after having just gotten off a thirteen-hour flight. I could barely stand to sit still on the flight to Kilimanjaro. I resorted to stamping my feet and rolling my ankles the entire time, something that the seatmates on either side of me certainly appreciated. Lee seemed to fair a little better.

We had decided to get our visa at the airport rather than applying for it in advance. Getting the visa itself was easy… once we’d figured out that we needed to fill out applications and line up. They don’t give you the form on the flight (that would have been nice), and there’s almost no signage or other instructions at the airport that tell you what to do. We (and the 50-60 other tourists) figured it out, but it was an avoidable stress at the end of a very long trip.

Fingerprints, mugshots and stickers in our passports later, we were both relieved to see a man holding a paper with our names on it as we finally emerged from the airport.

Our driver drove us to our hotel just outside Arusha. As we arrived at Onsea House for one night of jetlag recuperation, our driver taught us the three Swahili words we’d need for our time in Tanzania, Jambo: Greetings/Hello, Asante: Thank-you, and Karibu: Welcome/You’re welcome. We had no idea at the moment how often we’d hear and say these words, but we’d learn.

After a short power nap, we spent the rest of the afternoon sitting on the deck of our beautiful room. We would have been happy with some simple beans and rice for dinner but were instead surprised with a 3-course dinner at the adjacent restaurant, included in our stay.

As sleepless and uncomfortable as the flight had been, it at least made it easy to fall asleep that night. We turned off the lights, climbed through the mosquito netting and quickly fell deeply asleep.

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