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Mt. Kilimanjaro Bike safari daily Diary

 

This schedule describes a 10 day circumnavigation of Mount Kilimanjaro by mountain bikes.  This trip is designed as an encounter with the people, the environment and the wildlife of this famous mountain.  The trip will be led by Dr. Phil Giovannini, a wildlife biologist with many years of experience planning and leading safari expeditions in East Africa.

 

This trip is for active people who are comfortable exploring new cultures and environments.  This trip is not an extreme physical adventure, and we believe it is much less strenuous, and also more rewarding, than climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.  However, participation on the trip does require that you be physically fit, culturally adaptable and have some current experience riding a mountain bike off-road.  On this trip, we will cover about 20 miles per day on our bikes, in order to complete a 100 mile circumnavigation of the mountain in about 5 days of riding. This is not a particularly long distance, but because we will be riding on rough unpaved tracks, our riding time each day will generally be about 3 - 4 hours.  Expect to spend about the same amount of time stopped along the way, resting, chatting, eating lunch etc., so each day will be a fairly full day on the road.  For strong riders it is also possible to explore side routes and more challenging trails along the way.

 

On the trip, we will be supported by a full camp crew and two dedicated support vehicles with on-board radio communication.  Riders will be in regular radio contact with the support vehicles, one of which will follow behind.  Those that wish to take an occasional break from riding will have the option of riding in the support vehicles.

 

Our circumnavigation of the mountain will end at Ndarakwai private game reserve in West Kilimanjaro, just across the border from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park.  The reserve is home to large populations of wildlife, including elephants, giraffe, zebra, baboons, monkeys, cape buffalo, ostrich, leopard, impala, gazelle and eland.  The reserve is also home to almost 400 bird species.  It is also likely that we will see wildlife while riding along the way.  The safari will conclude with a full day’s walking safari in Arusha National Park, one of the often overlooked jewels in Tanzania’s spectacular park system. 

 

For those that wish to stay on and venture off on further safari adventures, this trip can easily be combined with an additional wildlife safari or a Zanzibar Island beach excursion – or both.

 

 

Safari Style

 

This safari is designed for active people of any age who are not reluctant, when the occasion presents itself, to venture a bit off the beaten track in order to gain unique experiences.  The safari emphasis is on being close to the land, close to the people and close to the culture.  For adventurous people, there are no disadvantages to this approach, only advantages.  However, you will be challenged if you are not the kind of person that enjoys experiencing new cultures and people, and traveling together as part of a group.   Our accommodations while riding will be light-weight tented camps.  At the reserve we will have excellent “classic” tented safari accommodations.  Although our safari camps are quite comfortable, we design and plan our safaris to emphasize the quality and depth of experience rather than simply to maximize luxury, as these goals can be conflicting. 

 

“This safari style is not the Love Boat, but neither is it Survivor

…it’s more like Gilligan’s Island!”

 

Transportation while on safari will be primarily by well-equipped four wheel drive safari vehicles, with on-board two-way radio communication.  The road conditions, although generally good and constantly improving, can sometimes be rough, dusty, muddy or even underwater.

 

The nature of this safari will require us to be together as a group for an extended period, and participants should enjoy being part of, and contributing to, a group experience.  If you are a “people person” and have an easy going and adventurous spirit, we can almost guarantee the trip of a lifetime - if not, you should consider options such as a private safari.

 

Because of the nature of this safari, we have to rely on the teamwork of the whole group in routine matters such as making a certain fixed schedule. We can also expect that in spite of the best teamwork and planning that there will be times when things inevitably don’t go according to plan,  for example, if a safari vehicle gets a flat, or if road or weather conditions force a delay in schedule.  In these situations it is even more important to work together and keep a relaxed positive attitude – after all, this is Africa! 

 

As you may have gathered this is not a standard tour bus safari.  We will show what we truly believe are the most incredible places we know with the time, budget and logistics we have available.  What we make of it then, depends on each of us.  Therefore, everyone in the group should know that they are all active participants in this adventure, and your positive attitude and ability to adapt are the keys for a great experience on this safari.