97 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro – Birthing An Elephant

I have traveled a lot for my work over the past twenty years, and many people would tell you that I am a pretty savvy travel planner. Like most things that I get involved in, I try to have a plan for everything, especially when traveling internationally. I have never been one of those people to sit in an airport. I know it is part of life and practice should make perfect, but in this case I do not want the practice!

Can I just tell you booking a trip from South Florida to Tanzania, East Africa is one of the hardest things I have EVER done in my life. This one event may well compare to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro truth be told! You just cannot get there from here without giving up two full days of your life, and spending some non-quality time in airports across the world!

I worked for days – I am not exaggerating! I tell you the truth! I spent several hours a day for three straight days trying to find an itinerary that was:
A. Affordable
B. Arriving from door to door in less than 39 hours (I am not kidding here!)
C. Not having layovers in any country for more than 6 hours – some were as long as 14 hours!

Every flight from Miami wants to route you through London. Don’t get me wrong, I love London, but every flight into London also includes a layover of 9 to 10 hours. We thought about doing the London route and getting a hotel near the airport for a nap, a shower and a leisurely afternoon outside of the airport. Sounds better than sitting in an airport for 10 hours right?

Actually it is a brilliant idea – (I have done this before and it works!) but consider this; by the time you pay for a cab to a hotel and pay the day rate for a hotel, you have dropped a significant chunk of cash. And while it is ideal for Geoff to grab a nap, I cannot sleep during the day, so what’s the use? Oh yeah, it’s also a good time to mention that I do not sleep on planes! I am just one of those people who can fly for 15 straight hours after being up all day, and I will not sleep a wink! Geoffrey on the other hand can sleep standing up. ┬áHe will nod off before the wheels are off the ground and I will twiddle my thumbs for the rest of the 7.5 hour flight!

So the London route just did not work for me! We considered leaving from other cities and I have been on every website – tried every combination – double checked each itinerary -compared prices – tried to use alrline miles (and you do not even want me to start telling this story!), tried to book separate legs, and in the end, in spite of trying to book a flight out of every city east of the Mississippi, there was just nothing that suited my fancy or my budget!

When you think it is never going to come together, and you have lost a couple of nights sleep over something (well I have lost a couple of nights sleep – Geoff has slept just fine!), finally out of nowhere it happens! We have finally done it – we have finally booked flights that arrive in slightly less than 24 hours from airport to airport, and I am proud to say that we only have 6 hours of layovers on the way in and 3.5 hours layovers on the way back! Woo Hoo! We did it! I finally broke the back of the airlines! And I might add, I did not have to spend my entire retirement to do it!

We do have an unusual route I might add – oh if I could just spend some time heading up an airline for a little while! I promise I could teach them a thing or two about geography! We will have our share of cities on the way to Tanzania, and a slightly different route on the way home but we did it and I will not grow more than a day older each way!

Our trip will start out in Ft. Lauderdale (I even worked around Miami!) and then we will take a little spin into The Motor City, Detroit of all places. From here after a layover of 4 hours, we fly to Amsterdam and then into Kilimanjaro International in Tanzania, East Africa!

On the way home we leave Kilimanjaro, route back through Amsterdam, have a very brief layover in the beautiful city of Atlanta, Georgia, and then make our way home to Ft. Lauderdale. Not bad and can I tell you once more, total layover time both ways is slightly less than 10 hours – the same amount of time we would have had to layover in London – on each route! Sorry London – we will catch you another time!

Booking this trip was seriously one of the hardest things I have ever done and in the south we have a saying for those events in life that seem to take forever!

Tonight, I feel as if I have just birthed an elephant! – Most people would say they have just booked their flights!

Trust me – I have just birthed an elephant! Pkp

The gestation period for an African Elephant is 640 days or 22 months

Did you know…

The gestation period for an African Elephant is 640 days, it is the longest gestation period of any creature on earth.

New born elephants are born with an incredible body mass of 77 kg, but they weigh only 4$ of their mother’s body weight and 2% of a Male’s body weight.

New born elephants may consume as much as 11.4 liters of milk a day.

Young calves commence weaning from the first year of life and the process continues up to the tenth year of life or until another baby is born.

The brain of a new born elephant is 30%-40% of the size of that of an adult elephant.

Mother elephants allocate care and interact differently depending on the baby elephant’s sex.

This little guy will spend as long as ten years with his mama!



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