Tanzania [tanzaˈni.a] – Day 0-1 June 27-28

What a beginning to a trip. Tanzania requires(d) a negative COVID test valid within 72 hours upon entry. Delta requires a valid one upon boarding. In most cities that is not possible given the delay in test reporting. We didn’t know this until in three cities our posse was denied boarding. We started over, new tests, new paperwork, etc.

Frantic calls to an amazing travel agent, Sandy (https://www.travelleaders.com/travel_agent/agent-details.aspx?id=1262 and we were rebooked 72 hours-ish later.

This place isn’t easy to get to. What a cluster. It was tempting to bag the trip but I am so glad that we didn’t. It was probably the most amazing travel experience I’ve ever had.

On Saturday night, June 26, we drove two hours from Calistoga to a hotel near the Sacramento airport so we could catch a 6AM flight to MSP. At SMF we presented our new negative COVID test results, and Tanzania Visas and were allowed to board. At MSP we met our other hearty travelers (Bryan and Josh from Mpls and Kate and Dan who flew up from Nashville). Our next stop was Schiphol (AMS) and then after a couple of hours layover, the final leg to Kilimanjaro airport (JRO).

MSP to AMS was uneventful, layover uneventful, AMS to JRO uneventful (except for the delay while they loaded water onto the plane. From the amount of time it took, we figured they were using an eyedropper to load the water). But wait, there’s more.

At JRO it became interesting. We landed an hour late at 9:00 PM. The optional rapid COVID test for $25 was no longer optional. The required customs form was unknown to us, but there were badly xeroxed copies available on the table to fill out. We were also photographed and fully fingerprinted, etc. etc. It was easier entering Cuba or Russia.

After all of that we were greeted by our driver, Nosoro, and finally arrived at our hotel via minibus at about 11:30 PM. They offered dinner, we declined. Time for bed.

Here is our trip route, the posse at MSP, our cabin and our room.

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