Everyone who climbed mighty Mount Kilimanjaro knows the Swahili expression “Pole Pole” meaning “slowly, slowly”. Apart from a few Diamox tablets and a good fitness level walking slowly up to the 5,895m (19,331 ft) high summit of Africa’s highest mountain is the key for success. Unfortunately the Tanzanians extended that philosophy also to the local airport: Kilimanjaro International Airport (IATA: JRO).
But let’s first start with the basics: As you would think, the airport mainly serves travellers as their destination airport for the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is located between the two cities Arusha and Moshi and is also in close proximity of what must be two of Africa’s best wildlife reserves: Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. KLM is the only non-African airline with frequent flights from Amsterdam Schiphol.
Alright, now back to the airports relaxed efficiency: I thought we had plenty of time at our hands when we arrived at the airport 3 hours before our scheduled departure back to Amsterdam (read the related article). But with various security checks, a long check-in queue and, worst of all, a stupidly strangely complicated immigration system, we basically just got to the gate right on time for boarding. Another annoyance was that all the shops are located before the last security check. My suggestion therefore is to take it easy (Pole Pole), have a look at the shops, eat something and wait until the queue for the gate dies down. Just make sure you don’t miss your flight!
There are still a few things you can do, so here are my top 3 things to do at Kilimanjaro Airport:
- Look at the people boarding your flight and guess who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (hint: watch them walk!)
- Make your fellow travel companions happy and buy some Coca-Cola, Snickers, Kitkat, Pringles and Cookies (17.500 Schilling)
- Flick through your digital camera’s pictures and smile about the unforgettable moments during your trip
Unfortunately the airport’s duty free shop did not have either Veuve Clicquot or Chanel No. 5 for my usual price rating but then, in my opinion at least, buying expensive French champagne in Africa doesn’t sound right in the first place.
[Picture from Flickr]