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Photo: Mana5280 / Unsplash

“Look!” I said, pointing. “There’s one right there!” We’d just shoved off from the dock and paddled our two-person kayak to the other side of the tiny harbor when we spotted our first otter. The furry bundle was stretched out on its back, completely relaxed, its whiskered face and flippered feet poking out of the water. “Wow, that didn’t take long,” my partner remarked, and I agreed, a smile spreading across my face. Suddenly I felt lighter, as though a weight I didn’t know I was carrying had been lifted off my shoulders.

Earlier that morning at home, I’d caught myself spinning in circles as I tried to figure out what we needed for the trip. We weren’t going far — just two hours by car — and it was only for the day, but it was our first out-of-town adventure since COVID struck and I felt totally out of my element. …

KPAP Partner Companies Carry the Load to Support the Mountain Crew During Covid-19

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Mount Kilimanjaro towers over the equatorial plain. (Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash)

In a normal year, some 50,000 adventurers of all ages and abilities flock to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the massive savannah-to-sky volcano in northern Tanzania that tops off at 19,341 feet above sea level — the highest point in Africa. Of course, this year is anything but normal, and as Covid-19 forces travelers to cancel or postpone their climbing trips and subsequent safaris, the communities of Moshi and Arusha — gateways to Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area — are facing a staggering loss of income on top of the unpredictable health concerns brought by the novel coronavirus.

“It’s really frightening to see there is no immediate future in tourism,” confides Wilfred Moshi, a porter-turned-guide who has helped realize Kilimanjaro expeditions since 1999 and now runs Kili Treks Tanzania. “How will we survive?” Julie Veillette, a longtime Arusha resident originally from Canada who operates East African Voyage with her Tanzanian husband, is more blunt: “We need to find solutions. We’re talking about how to save our staff from…


Amanda McKee

Writer and content specialist. Adventure traveler and former guide who has summited Kilimanjaro, explored Lima’s food scene, and communed with monks in Bhutan.

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