At a glance:
- Millenium Camp to Mweka Gate
- 8.1 miles
- -7,100 feet
- Final altitude 5,400 feet
It didn’t rain much last night, but our stuff was still damp when we woke up. We had our last breakfast on the mountain, packed up our stuff, and then listened to our crew sing us a few songs. At this time we were supposed to hand out our tips to everyone, but we couldn’t because we didn’t have enough money on us. At our climb briefing before our hike, we were told we’d have a crew of 10 or 11 people (guide, assistant guide, cook, camp manager, toilet crew/men for Crater Camp, and 6 porters). Somehow, we ended up with 2 extra people (a waiter and another porter). We were surprised because our “big bags” that the porters carry were very light, and the weight of our two bags combined didn’t even exceed the weight limit for one person’s bag. We weren’t told about the extra 2-3 people until we arrived at the Londorossi Gate on the first day of our climb.
So, at the “tipping ceremony,” everybody got a piece of paper saying how much we owed them. It was weird because Arden read out the tip amounts for everybody to hear.
After that we went down, down, down the mountain. The trail wasn’t too bad. Unfortunately, we got stuck behind several slow groups, and Raymond would not pass them. At one point, Charlie asked Raymond if we could pass the slow group (which included a girl wearing shorts and gaiters). Him and Arden said “hakuna matata” because we were almost at the gate (which ended up being about an hour away).
It was such a relief arriving at the Mweka Gate. My legs were sore from all the downhill walking, and it was nice to sit down.
Next, we drove down the mountain towards the Weru Weru River Lodge. We passed by some “villages” along the way. Throughout the trip, I’ve been amused by the number of banners/signs that are for Coca Cola. I’m also amused by all the groups of little kids walking together on the sides of the roads. They were probably 4-6 years old. That would never happen in the U.S., but clearly everybody takes care of each other in these villages.
Before going to the lodge, we made a quick stop at Ahsante Tours, and then drove over to the Glacier Bar for lunch. It was empty except for us, but apparently it gets busy on weekends and at night.
After lunch we went back to the Weru Weru River Lodge where it was hot and sunny. We laid our damp clothes out on the lawn, and I took the most amazing shower ever. While relaxing on our porch, I was passed by two camels! That was fun. They circled the lodge a few times while we were there.
After a few hours of relaxing, Abel stopped by to visit. He gave us some info on our safari and also told us he was going to try and figure out why we needed a crew of 13 people for our climb. I like Abel. He is taking good care of us.
The rest of the day was very relaxing. We went for a quick swim in the pool and then had a delicious buffet-style dinner.
We then went to the outdoor bar, and I ordered Charlie some beer in Swahili. His first was a 500ml bottle of Tusker for $3. I was amused by this beer because apparently it was named after the elephant that killed one of the beer’s founders. When I ordered the beer, the bartender asked if I wanted it warm or cold. Ummmm, cold please?! After the Tusker, Charlie had a Serengeti, which was a lager that tasted similar to Tusker.
While we were drinking Charlie’s beer, we kept ourselves amused by watching several lizards walking upside down on the ceiling. We also discussed how cool it was that the weather down here is so nice that the main lodge doesn’t even need to be enclosed (and our doors can have holes in them!).
In the bar there was a flat-screen TV. At first it was playing local news with mediocre graphics, and then the bartender switched it to a different channel which was playing American music videos. We watched Kesha, Pitbull, Beyonce, Rihanna, and Avicii. After getting sick of our own American music, we headed off to bed which was AMAZING.