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News Apr-Jun 2013

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Kilimanjaro News April-June 2013

Bombers of Arusha still being sought

Posted June 26 2013.

Police are still seeking the culprits behind the bombing of a political rally in Arusha eleven days ago that killed three people, left twenty others seriously injured and damaged Tanzania’s hard-won status as one of the more stable and peaceful nations in East Africa. The incident occurred last Saturday, 15 June, when a hand grenade was thrown near the National Chairman of the main opposition party, (CHADEMA), as he finished addressing a rally at Soweto Basketball Grounds in Central Kaloleni Ward.

In another twist, it appears that the police were blocked from making any arrests this week despite making good progress in the case.

The bombing has similarities to the bombing of a church in Arusha’s Olasiti district last month, and occurred just a few days before Sunday’s nationwide by-elections in which the country’s ruling party, CCM, won 16 out of the 22 seats up for grabs.

Call to improve the roads leading to Kilimanjaro

Posted June 20 2013

The local MP for the Kilimanjaro region has called for four of the roads that lead up to the gates of the national park to be improved. Dr Cyril Chami (Moshi Rural, CCM), said that Kilimanjaro National Park contributes about 40% of the total revenue of the Tanzanian National Parks Authority (TANAPA) – even though only two of the roads leading to the six gates are actually fully sealed. The call, made in Tanzania’s parliament at Dodoma, is seen as an attempt to put pressure on President Kikwete, who promised these road improvements as part of his election manifesto.

In his speech Dr Chami went on to cite the four roads that he wants to see improved. Among them was the road to Umbwe, of which, Dr Chami claimed, only 19 out of 43 kilometres had been rehabilitated. He also went on to say that by improving the roads, the potential for the mountain to earn even more foreign exchange would be even greater.

Park fees to increase at the end of the month

At the end of this month the long-heralded increases in the park fees for Kilimanjaro finally come into force. From July 1 the Park Entry fee (now known as the Conservation fee) will increase from US$60 to US$70 per day; similarly the Hut fees (the latter applicable to those climbing on the Marangu Route only) will also increase by US$10 per night, from US$50 to US$60; note, however, that it appears that the Camping fees (applicable on all routes except those taking the Marangu Route) remain unchanged. (Note that it is usual for the park fees to be included in the price of your package anyway – it’s very rare that it isn’t nowaday – so if you’ve already booked a trek with an agency, you don’t need to worry about these increases….unless, of course, your agency is particularly incompetent!

Theses increases are part of a countrywide rise in park fee charges; a full list of all the park fees can be found online at http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/parkfees/applicableFees2013.pdf

Tanzania gets ready for Obama

Posted June 13

At the end of this month US president Barack Obama will be paying a visit to Tanzania as part of his first tour of Africa. The visit is seen as something of a coup for the country as it is one of only three – the others being South Africa and Senegal – that the president will be visiting during his one-week whistle-stop tour of the continent. Perhaps surprisingly, his schedule does not include his ancestral home of Kenya, home of his late father. One presumes this is because the president is unwilling to be seen with Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta, who was elected president in March but will shortly be making an appearance at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, where he will be on trial for the part he is alleged to have played in post-election violence in 2007-08.

The visit by Obama is arousing particular interest amongst seasoned diplomatic observers as it follows hot on the heels of a visit by the Chinese leader Xi Jinping back in March. During that trip deals worth over US$800 million were signed including an agreement to build a new port at Bagamoyo. Visitors to Arusha and the capital will already have seen the extensive investment China is ploughing into the country in the form of new roads, shiny high-rise office blocks and other major construction works. Obama’s visit could be seen as an attempt by the US to make sure their superpower rivals don’t have it all their own way in East Africa, particularly as the region is currently enjoying a boom in gas and oil discovery and production.

The visit also provides Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete with the opportunity to showcase the social investments made with the first tranche of the $689.1 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) fund- and in doing so help to smooth the way for the second tranche to arrive. The MCC fund is a US initiative that rewards countries that are commited to good governance and democracy.

Climb for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)

May 9 2013

On the 17th June 2013 one fearless forty-something and three friends from the UK will be attempting to reach the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak, at the top of Kilimanjaro. The quartet – Matt Walmsley, Paul Dobson, Jeff Illidge and Debbie Williams – will be climbing in aid of one of the more obscure – but also one of the most worthwhile – charities we’ve come across.

Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) is a rare incurable disease that has no known cause, cure or treatment. It causes the bile ducts both inside and outside the liver to become scarred, narrowed and eventually blocked. As more ducts become blocked, bile becomes trapped and damages the liver, leading to cirrhosis and liver failure.

Symptoms along the way can often include:

• Chronic, debilitating fatigue

• Severe, uncontrollable itching

• Dangerous infections of the bile ducts

<>• Pain in the body’s Upper Right Quadrant

• Jaundice

PSC Support is a UK charity, totally run by volunteers, that helps people affected by PSC, including sufferers themselves, and their families. PSC Support will make a real difference and will help provide information and support to those affected by PSC, promote PSC and organ donation awareness and develop effective partnerships with those involved with treatment and vitally needed research into PSC.

It is, as you may have guessed, a charity and a cause that is particularly close to Matt’s heart, for his wife, Debbie, was diagnosed with the condition not long after the birth of their first child.

You can sponsor Matt Walmsley as he attempts to climb Kili by visiting his justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/kilimattjaro . We also highly recommend his blog, http://kilimattjaro.com/, which details Matt’s preparation for the big expedition.

We do of course wish Matt and co every success and will let you know how he gets on at the end of the month. Good luck everyone!

Four folks fundraising for the four Fs

Posted May 2 2013

At the end of July this year four intrepid souls from Florida, Colorado and Brazil will be pitting their wits, bravery and calf muscles against Africa’s highest mountain. The four – Mike Schipper, Andrew & Deli Ford and Scott Tuel – will be (hopefully) taking six days on the popular Machame Route to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak – 5895m above sea level. In doing so, the quartet are hoping to raise money for the little-known but very important charity, the Freedom from Fistula Foundation. The Foundation helps women in Africa who are suffering from obstetric fistula caused by obstructed childbirth by providing free surgeries and access to healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth.

You can sponsor Mike and friends by visiting their justgiving page:

http://www.justgiving.com/madsdokmj2013

They have also set up a facebook page where you can follow their progress: http://www.facebook.com/MadsDoKmj2013

We do of course wish them all the best of luck and will let you know how they get on later this year.

Climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro – without ever leaving your sofa!

Those very clever people at Google have recently expanded their impressive Google Maps to include ‘street views’ of some of the world’s biggest/most famous mountains – including the most beautiful of them all, Mount Kilimanjaro!

Of course, in order to provide the images that make up their ‘street view’ of Kili, somebody actually had to visit it (and all the other mountains that they’ve included). Take a bow, therefore, 31-yearold Dan Fredinburg, who – together with his team of crack climbers-cum-computer-nerds, two sets of cameras, a set of fisheye lenses for wider shots, some lightweight tripods and (presumably) an impressive set of calf muscles – undertook the mammoth (but oh so wonderful) task of taking the images that make up their mountain ‘street view’.

For many of the larger, less accessible mountains, such as Everest, viewers will, for the moment at least, have to make do with images of their base camps; but for Kili, the view is from the very summit, Uhuru Peak – all 360° of it! You can see them for yourself at the following address.

http://maps.google.com/help/maps/streetview/gallery/the-worlds-highest-peaks/uhuru.html

Mountain bikers tackle Kilimanjaro

Posted April 3 2013

Following hot on the heels of January’s (largely aborted) attempt by a group of paragliders to launch from the summit of Kilimanjaro comes news of a descent by mountain bike on Africa’s highest mountain. Eighteen people in total participated in the event, all of whom were raising money to provide safe drinking water for Tanzanian communities. The ascent was largely undertaken on two feet as well as two wheels, before the 18 hurtled themselves headlong down the slopes on their bikes.

The trip, which took place at the beginning of last month, was organised by Tanzanian goodwill ambassador Doug Pitt – Brad’s brother. The post-trek publicity seems a little cagey about how many people actually made it up and down in one piece, though one of the riders described the descent as ‘technical’, and only 80% navigable by bike even for expert riders. They seem to have taken the Rongai Route up and, as is traditional with that route, the Marangu Route down. The bikes, in case you were wondering, were usually carried up by porters, not the riders themselves (when they weren’t being ridden, of course).

We do of course congratulate everyone on their bravery and skill in undertaking such an awesome challenge!

Kilimanjaro news Jul-Sept 2013 >>