June 19, 2012
This August, the newest member of our Kilimanjaro team, Rachel, is going to make her first attempt to summit Kilimanjaro. Follow her progress as she blogs about training for her trek and prepares for her trip to Tanzania. Look for Climb with Rachel posts here in the coming weeks. First, meet Rachel!
I just found out I’m climbing Kilimanjaro this August and I’m beyond excited! After months of studying the mountain, its routes and the logistics involved with our treks, I cannot wait to experience the mountain for myself, first-hand.
I wouldn’t say my experience screams mountaineer but I do have a passion for hiking and the outdoors. Growing up in coastal Texas, which happens to be the flattest region of the state, didn’t exactly provide an optimal environment for hiking. In fact, if you asked me to describe a mountain when I was a child, I would say they were “buildings with trees on them!” Don’t worry, I’ve become much more familiar with mountains since then!
While I was in college in Seattle, day hikes in the Cascade Mountains got me hooked on hiking. Inspired by the mountains of the northwest, I sought out hiking opportunities wherever I traveled, including China – where I lived and worked – and the beautiful mountains of New Zealand. Since moving to the Boston area, I look forward to my weekend excursions to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, which happens to be a perfect place for training for Kili!
Kilimanjaro will be my first high-altitude experience, as the majority of my active background lies at lower elevations…at sea-level, literally! I’ve been a competitive swimmer since I was a kid and recently became an open water distance swimmer – I will be swimming my longest distance yet this summer: 10 miles! Training for open water in New England has been a bit chilly (the ocean doesn’t tend to warm up too much here), but I love the challenges the ocean presents with unpredictable factors like waves, currents, fish and seaweed. It’s so dynamic! When I’m not open water training, I like to join my teammates of the Nahant Knuckleheads; we swim in the ocean when it’s warm and do polar plunges when it’s not!
Like many of our guests, I’m headed to Tanzania as a solo traveler, and know that I will be in the best, most capable hands on the mountain; I am so excited to finally meet our hard-working guides and porters. In the meantime, I have been getting encouragement and lots of support from the staff here at Thomson Safaris, who have 10+ summits among them.
I’ll keep you posted on my training as I go. My regimen has been set up by Fit For Trips, who have been great about creating a custom program to incorporate the activities I already do and adding Kili-specific exercises, which will help me transform from a seasoned swimmer and casual hiker into a high-altitude climber!
Look for more posts as we follow Rachel through her training program. If you’ve climbed Kili before, wish her luck, share a story or offer words of wisdom via posting a comment below!
June 5, 2012
Not only do the heavy rains of spring bring green grasses to the Tanzanian plains, they also allow our team in Tanzania to reboot and prepare for the next wave of guests. The break also marks an annual visit to the US for four Tanzanian staff members, something our US team anxiously awaits each year. One of our visiting colleagues this year was Herriel, a Nyumba Camp Chef.
Our camp chefs are superb and can prepare cuisine that some guests admit is better than meals they’ve had in restaurants in the US. If you’re headed out on safari, ask for a peek behind the scenes and tour a bush kitchen – our staff is happy to show you. You’ll be amazed at the skill and ingenuity of our chefs who make use of limited provisions in bush kitchens.
The soups in our camps are always a big hit – we frequently get asked, What’s the secret ingredient in the soups? Can I get the recipe? Soups like carrot and butternut squash soup, sweet potato cream soup, carrot and ginger soup and even peas and peanut butter soup have not only warmed the bellies of our guests but have also remained in their memories.
During his visit, Herriel—whose culinary prowess always receives great feedback—shared his carrot and ginger soup recipe and prepared it in the Thomson Safaris “test kitchen.” Watch the video below for step-by-step instructions or download the recipe here.
You’ll find this recipe is not only easy to make but also quite crowd-pleasing. The ingredients aren’t unusual or secretive – sometimes the ingredients don’t define the magic of a meal, sometimes it is defined by who has prepared it. Perhaps the secret ingredient is Tanzanian karibu spirit.