what?!? Mt. Kilimanjaro? … no way dudeS

A week or more ago I had posted on my facebook status if I should do one of the following:
Serengeti National Park with Victoria Lake (not Falls) and glimpses of the Masai tribe enroute to Ngongora Crater (apparently the best photo op for African wildlife),
Victoria Falls (yes! the 1 mile wide and mighty splash of water), Chobe National Park and Kruger National Park
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
VISA wise, all of them didn’t require one – boy, I love my Malaysian passport!
……..Kenya, Botswana and South Africa: up to 30 days stay
……..Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe: up to 90 days stay
The problem is this:
Serengeti is on my bucket list. so is Victoria Falls.
It must be pricey or geographically or geo-politically difficult or inefficient to do both Serengeti and Victoria Falls in a trip, else the “zoos” of safari tour operators would have designed and organised it.

Pretty much the same; I’m thinking of the condense version, but even then, it’s impossible to do both together {back-to-back} or a few months apart – the flight time on its own will just kill me!


About RM 200 difference… not including sundry, tipping, transits, other incidentals – though I suspect these will be low and manageble as I don’t expect any swanky boutiques or well stocked airports to burn the magnetic strip on my plastic … well, until Val surprised me by crying out loud that she really, really wanted to go to Johannesburg.
my sister + Jo’burg?
impossible! well, until she mentioned that Mercedes CLS is one of the fastest selling cars there and Jo’burg has one of the highest density of CLS in the world! Africa, I suppose, just doesn’t fail to shock!
Time and convenience are both equally inflexible and lengthy with very little frequent miles opportunity. Direct routes are almost non-existence and if it did exist, we’re talking about flights that runs into 5-figures of my pathethic Malaysian sea shells!
I’m planning to do this all just barely under 5-figures though its likely to be a low 5-figure bill when I am done… given God forbid, I do not fall prey to the tsetse and need an upgrade of ‘tents’ and lodges badly.                                                    … so no way am I going to dish out a 5-figures air fare!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
As of two days after the facebook status went up, some new insights emerges.
I am told that if I did the Serengeti option, I absolutely MUST do the balloon ride.
I was told to ‘knock’ off stuff in exchange for the balloon ride, else the animal migration at my absolute best posture of 5′ 6″ eyeview level will yield a view of a huge cloud of orche dust that – like pesky tics on the coat of a labrador – will continue to be a pain and nuinsance to my camera gears, or rather more accurately, what remains of the gears I have.
B…b..bb….Bbb…ut the balloon ride cost 30% of the entire trip’s costs (not including the airfare)! Thus, I doubt there’s anything I can “knock” off other than foresaking one of my limbs as animal feed … that is, if the predators are that hard-up to begin with, notwithstanding the fact that my insurers will be far from humoured.
Another interesting development is: I am highly likely to see only the Big 3.5.
Big 3 for sure – elephants, rhinos and hippos are way too large to miss, and slow – relatively. The point five I am told would be an experience where the park ranger will point towards some moving grassy patch and say semi-enthusiastically: see that? That’s a leopard or lioness.
OK, I get it. To get the Big point five and perhaps the last of the Big 5, visit a lion or leopard sanctuary. To see them with a 100% guarantee or have a money back deal, flick the HD TV channel to National Geographic.
All of these… and we’re not even talking about the possibility of shooting {on film, not for food or fur} any of them. For starters I do not have any equipment and have no interests in plonking down two limbs in exchange for a minimum 300mm with a large aperture lens and a solid tripod that weighs more than my total baggage entitlement and dictates that my trip will be an overland one rather than those puny charter planes.
Secondly, I am only capable of photographing grey coloured chunks of flesh that weighs tonnes in the wild (read: elephants and rhinos), and that too are those that are so accustomed to people they will pose, pout their lips {I kid you not! … more than 40% of my Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary rhino shots had pouty pinky awful looking lips showing – see HERE (bottom photo)} even when I am shooting with a 85mm f1.8 lens! Yes, that was how close I was to the beasts!!!
So, here I am reduced to a state of limbo-ness and utter confusion if I should even bother to pursue this adventure and if I will realistically be any more prepared if I wated a few years later … the answer of which I do know with 99.99999% certainty being NO.
What’s truly intriguing is how quickly I forget. Just 4 days ago before I pen this down I was going:

“No way! Are you nuts?!? Mt. Kilimajaro is a different ‘animal’ to climb. Not only does it take days to ascent, the change in 5 topographies, climate and a drop of oxygen levels to about 60% kills you!”

And this impressive knowledge comes from remembering Tony Hsieh (Zappos’ CEO) personal account of his climb.
And this is coming from me who ascended Mt Ararat a few months back with a wonky healing knee that was frankly deteriorating by the day in a Ralph Lauren cargo (fashion) pants by mistake!

Also on a relevant note, arthritis is a bitch. Similar to cancer – somewhat – it spreads, and it spreads fast.

This reminds me that I’ve got to get my thumb checked and my ring finger as well, since I can’t even open a pack of potato chips without wanting to pee in my pants from the sharp excruciating pain or trying to depress my car alarm button!
That aside, my Patagonia dream is still real and burning in my heart.
And all of a sudden I am having this hare-brain idea that I should be visiting Serengeti NP as a reward trip post killing myself on Mt. Kilimajaro or as a prelude.
This is of course is all very weird for me as I find myself drawn towards scaling flat-top summits; the two loaves of bread looking mountains in two separate continents and countries; Tanzania and Australia. The only difference is the latter is an easy climb that is not encouraged due to respect for the culture and believe of the aboriginals..

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
.Uluru / Ayers Rock, Australia

How easily I am persuaded to kill my knee! All it took was some cheeky suggestions by fellow climbers and hikers … and there I have been burying my nose in 3 travel-trekking related books on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Mt. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano on the roof of Africa and is one of the closest point in the world to the sun. It’s also the highest peak on the continent and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world standing tall at 5,895 m above sea level.

The origins of its name remains a mystery.
Some says “Mountain of Greatness’, others believe it to mean ‘Mountain of Caravans’. In Swahili, ‘kilima’ means top of the hill or the word ‘kile makyaro’ which means ‘impossible journey’ in Chagga language.

It takes an average of 12 lives a year (thought there are no official records) compared to Mt. Everest’s 6 lives in 2005 and 10 lives in 2006.
I, personally am incline to go with the Chaggasimpossible journey

10 thoughts on “what?!? Mt. Kilimanjaro? … no way dudeS

  1. sodeska!aye aye sire … humbly I will sacrifice my soul for your enjoyment of reaping me off some ang pow … oye, these days very little. there's a reverse correlation between age and ang pow collection.:(

  2. Your repaymet in your next life will be marrying a recluse control freak!!!!!!!lolHave fun babes.And if you're around let me know when I can win some money off you – the only person I know who cannot gamble and don't know how to play card games!

  3. oye jantan!Not Mt. Kilimanjaro lah.Safari.Mom's not coming.We're doing something later in the year though. She's all exicted {easedropping old ladies phone calls) but keeps saying she's too old and doesn't want to go and there's Mr. B …blah3

  4. I am jealous!But I suppose make the most out of your youth and location at the moment. When are you going?CNY??? I thought we are meeting during CNY?Auntie going? WOW!

  5. @foto.gapher: the new job may not last 3 months!!! lolthat's why i NEED the break.kc: who is your kiliman porter or trek guide?!?!??? i definitely not mind being carried up in a sedan chair. :ptoo late on jo'burg.got my flight and connecting flights all settled. good thing i had the sense no to extend the trip or go beyond the airport! :)i may not read newspapers or watch the news on tv, but have enough media (conflict in particular) men out there to tell me how MAD i am … and yeah, they are brutally blunt.

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