So the following morning after a breakfast briefly interrupted by a troop of twenty banded mongoose who rushed past our table in gangs of five or six, we head for Nairobi, soaring high over the vast Lake Malawi en route.
Lake Malawi wasn’t the only impressive thing to be seen from the plane. Forty minutes before Kenyatta airport, the pilot announced that we would soon be seeing Mt. Kilimanjaro on our left. He wasn’t kidding. It was a crystal clear day and it loomed massively, filling our whole view. The pilot was so excited he got clearance from air traffic control to do a complete circuit of the summit – no mean feat in an Airbus jet. Kilimanjaro is a vast cone. Sparse vegetation at the base gives way to naked volcanic rock, then a classic snowy peak. Depending on your route, it takes 5 to 6 days to climb, allowing intrepid climbers to peer down into the hole at the top.
Nairobi was a pit-stop. A quick dinner at the Norfolk Hotel and then back to the airport for a short, but international, flight to Kilimanjaro, which lies just inside Tanzania.