THE CORE GENESIS TO CONQUER AFRICA’SAFRICA’S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN – MT KILIMANJARO
TRAVELLING DAY: As the dawn appeared on the horizon, it meant a new day for us with another unique Mt Kilimanjaro experience.
We started our safari adventure at the Arusha shuttles station in Nairobi City. We left the station at 07:00 AM and drove along Mombasa Road. After driving for 30 minutes, we joined a diversion along Kajiando-Namanga Road. We arrived safely at the Kenya-Tanzania border. After an hour of passport checks at the border, we continued with the safari to Mt Kilimanjaro.
We crossed the border and drove towards Arusha-Moshi Road to the start of our Mount Kilimanjaro hike. The clear vicinity looked remote, and nothing could create much attention along the road. The remoteness of the Mount Kilimanjaro vicinity was an attraction to the nomadic Maasai Community. We could see their herds of cattle in thousands along the Serengeti and beyond the Mt Kilimanjaro area. Further on was an extended stretch of pale trees (thorny) with no trace of settlements in that area. As we continued on for about 1.5 hours, the environs changed randomly. Before seeing the great Mount Kilimanjaro, we were treated to another magnificent sight. Above the high sky emerged giant pointed peaks almost covered by the mist. This was the beautiful sight of Meru Mountain that could be seen from a distance. The sight of this mountain bought our interest in the mission ahead: to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro!
Mr Andreas, a man determined to climb Mount Kilimanjaro who was silent all through, spoke up for the first time and shouted with joy when he saw the mountain. Below the Meru Mountain were impressive farms as people in that area were in the developing world as civilization took shape. A little bit, Unlike Mount Kilimanjaro, on the right side of Meru Mountain was a sloppy scape, and on the left side ran a saddle plain.
Continuing with our journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, we entered the Centre of the city without our knowledge after a 2-hour drive. This is because everything that covered that area was definitely beautiful. We arrived in Arusha, and some passengers alighted-this was the first station. After a 30 minutes break for drinks and snacks, we drove off from Arusha to Mt Kilimanjaro along Moshi-Dar Salaam Road. It took us 2 hours to reach Arusha because the traffic rules on the road had a speed limit-50KM/hr. We arrived at Moshi, Mount Kilimanjaro foot, 0inlate evening, and the views were fantastic because we could see Mount Kilimanjaro summit in the far distance. The weather in Moshi was very pleasant as cool air lit the atmosphere. It created ample time for us to have a discussion about our journey from Nairobi to Moshi.
After dinner, we retired for overnight rest.
DAY 1: MOSHI URBAN – PREPARATION FOR THE MOUNT KILIMANJARO HIKE
We met at 10:00 AM after a long night’s rest in the city. The city was well sheltered by beautiful, greener trees that were above it and kept the city warm throughout the night. We took a tour around the city as we waited for the rest of the Mount Kilimanjaro hiking clients who were arriving in the afternoon.
We were served a kingly diet (a breakfast fit for people about to take on the great Mt Kilimanjaro), and we shared it warmly together, cracking jokes in order to prepare the mood for the day. After breakfast, we drove off to the Airport to catch up with the other two clients.
CLIENTS NAME – MOUNT KILIMANJARO HIKERS
Andares-55 years old Animal Doctor working in Swiss
Steffv-26 years old Journalists from Germany.
Martha-33 years old High schoolteacher from Germany. She was born again Christian.
We departed from the airport to Moshi to commence our Mount Kilimanjaro hike. We had a great moment with Steffv and Martha. We climbed Mount Kenya with them in 2017, and they did it very well. The group comprised 12 hikers climbing Mount Kenya on that trip, and it was a success. We had to meet up for lunch hour in Moshi. The lady’s choice of food was Salad and pizza. After lunch, Steffav and Martha left us for a shower and afternoon nap. They were very tired due to the long flight to Moshi.
Andres and I had an opportunity after lunch to explore the city. Moshi is situated on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is embedded in North Eastern that joins the Safari network circuit in Tanzania-Main-National parks- Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Serengeti, Amboseli and many others.
We observed good public relations that helped attract foreign guests to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The city gives the guests a bright warm welcome which enhances the trustworthiness and security of foreign guests. Areas of public relations create a good atmosphere for everyone that visits Moshi city and the entire Mount Kilimanjaro region. The areas around Moshi practice extensive farming in which they produce maize, beans and bananas once per year.
Moshi town population is 40,000 people- Chagga remains the highest population in the town and the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. The name Moshi has been reported to have its origin in smoke from a nearby Mountain.
BUFFALO HOTEL– It offers second-class service at affordable prices for all seeking to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. It is built on a tourism avenue, ultimately making it an attraction with impressive and elegant service. After 3 hour’s walk we went back to our Hotel-Buffalo Hotel. We met with the other guests for briefing and preparations for six days Mount Kilimanjaro hike. We sorted our personal stuff and gear for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We had a meeting also with the porters and guide to engage us and encourage us into the hiking mood in order to reach Mount Kilimanjaro summit would be no easy feat. We would be accompanied by 13 porters (cooks, chef) and three guides. We checked the foodstuffs and camping equipment and also checked their conditions. After confirming all was in order, we agreed with the entire team we would meet the next day-17, January 2022, at 09:00 AM, ready to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. All the team and clients were healthy and normal except for Andreas. We had a low appetite but compensated with a lot of fluids.
We retired for the night in readiness for the next day to commence the Mount Kilimanjaro hike.
DAY 2: MACHAME GATE (1,490 M) HIKE TO MACHAME CAMP (2,980 M) – Mt KILIMANJARO
After an early breakfast at Buffalo Hotel, we were picked up and driven to Machame gate. In the neighboring areas, we saw many villages on busy farms with people busy feeding their livestock. The road to Mount Kilimanjaro was in good condition but passed through hilly areas that reduced our speed. Banana plantations spread like a forest that makes the boundary to the Machame Main forest Mt Kilimanjaro. After arriving at the Machame Park gate of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, we had to register at the gate before entry. After registration, the chefs had to organize a cold lunch for the clients because it was noon. We didn’t really enjoy the cold lunch because it started raining and temperatures dropped extremely low, like 7 degree Celsius. After lunch, exactly at 1:00 PM, we had to put on rain gear and warm clothing. It is normal to climb Mount Kilimanjaro while it rains. We set off at a quick pace in order to keep ourselves warm. After entering the heart of the forest, the temperatures rise because of Flora which spreads its beauty and shelter the vicinity. This caught our attention, and the clients stopped to learn the names of different spectacular flora (trees, plants and flowers).
FLORA IN THIS ALTITUDE- Sycamore, Junipers (Inpatients Macaranga, Kilimanjiri)-These are the two species growing in Mount Kilimanjaro only, also Old-man beards, Camphor.
As we continue climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and gain enough height, the vegetation tends to change as well as the altitude. Similarly, the Mt Kilimanjaro climate changes; above the trees, the primates were hanging on the branches. They include blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and terrestrial olive baboons who moved under the trees.
Species of birds in Mount Kilimanjaro Forest could be spotted –Hartlab’s Turaco, Red-eyed doves, and Bearded vultures. The cuckoo is solitary species and hard to see, but we happened to be lucky and saw one flying over the trees.
Similarly, Mt Kilimanjaro FAUNA was spotted (footprints) of many animals, buffalos, elephants, and Aardvark-Abbots duckers.
The views in Mount Kilimanjaro Forest changed our intentions because the ecosystem in the forest was so wonderful. Plant life, fresh air and microorganism depend on one another for survival. The entire Mt Kilimanjaro catchment areas store and release rainwater and regulate the flows of the streams.
It took us like 4.5 hours from the gate to the camp (2,980M), and we were in good health and hardly tired. We were met by our whole Mount Kilimanjaro hike team, ready to serve us snacks and hot water, chocolate and coffee to keep us warm. After this, we had our dinner and overnight in Machame first camp. The Machame camp is situated along the Mount Kilimanjaro Forest line, just neighboring to heathland.
DAY 3: MINTOS-MECHAME CAMP TO SHIRA CAMP (3,840 M) – Mt KILIMANJARO
After early breakfast, we set off for our ascent, leaving the forest line and joining the heathland moorland zone. The heathland accommodates various species of flowers that are unique .ie. Red hot poker, Protea, St.John worts, and everlasting flowers. These floras spread on the Mt Kilimanjaro landscape beautifully, creating a uniqueness of its own. As we ascent much higher, we caught up with another wet and somewhat boggy moorland. The spread of pinky grass covers the landscape, and some scattered vegetation like Lobelias, giant groundsels and Ascencio plant covers some parts of Mount Kilimanjaro. On the sides of the leaves of Lobelias, we watched hanging beautiful colored malachite Sunbirds. Also, in these upland moors, no fine soil can be traced (aerosols peat). Further on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, we arrived on the rocky ridges on the Shira plateau, where spectacular streams invade the rocky ridge down the valleys. The valleys were much greener than the high ridges.
Our Mount Kilimanjaro hike took us past the ridges towards the western side views, and ahead of us was a fabulous view of the Western Beach and its glacier. We gradually entered the open Mt Kilimanjaro campsite on the upland (3,840M). The tents were pinked in a certain pattern that made the entire campsite look colorful. The climb up Mount Kilimanjaro had us arrive late afternoon, and by now, our chef had prepared warm water for everyone to refresh from the hot day hike (15⁰C to 20⁰C). After refreshing from the day’s Mount Kilimanjaro hike, we joined together in the mess tent to enjoy hot drinks, chocolate, coffee, milo, tea and snacks. After a rest of one hour, we went exploring Mt Kilimanjaro in the nearby areas around the camp, then returned back to the camp. After the walk, we had a great time in the mess for stories and more discussions about the African culture and traditional norms of various tribes. We watched the spectacular Mount Kilimanjaro sunset as it sank down the horizon. The sun lit the sky with glorious orange color.
It was now 6:15 PM, and everybody was making their way into the tents to call it a night after a long day climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Also, the temperatures had dropped to 5⁰C. The leftovers were left for the scavengers of Mount Kilimanjaro to feed on.
It was now dinner time, and our able chef placed the meal on the medium portable aluminum table. The diet when hiking Mount Kilimanjaro caters to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. We enjoyed the meal together as a family. As was the custom when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there was hot water always on the table for the guests.
After dinner, I noticed the altitude was 3840M, and I recalled the physical assessment. I made the three guests stand in a line while lifting one leg to knee level, and it took 10 minutes to balance. All three guests qualified for the Mount Kilimanjaro hike assessment. The assessment searches out the clients of the following; dizziness, shock and health capabilities. It also gives an assurance of the next day’s Mount Kilimanjaro climb. We then retired to our kingly tents for the night’s rest.
DAY 4: SHIRA CAMP (3840M) TO LAVA TOWER (4630M) TO BARRANCO CAMP(3950M)
Following an early morning breakfast, we left the Mt Kilimanjaro moorland environment and joined with a semi-desert and rocky landscape. After hours of walking east, we came face to face with the LAVA TOWER (4630M). As we continued climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the terrain changed into pinkish rocks (volcanic rocks-like). This Mount Kilimanjaro terrain has the following rocks; basalt and kenystes, volcanic massive, which has six types of rocks. Basalt is a hard rock which takes many years before weathering sabotage.
This rocky landscape gives room for some rodents and their prey to survive on the mountain. The bearded vulture, Augur buzzard, Alpine swift and also White-necked raven colonize parts of Mt Kilimanjaro (Alpine zone). In the alpine zone, micro-organisms’ existence is very low because only the pale everlasting daisies can survive in this harsh environment. As we continued climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the ascent of the respiratory organs (like lungs) had abnormal functions. The reduction of oxygen caused puffed-up and dizziness at this altitude. The 2-hour Mount Kilimanjaro trek changed the momentum and walking pace because of hard breathing and chest pain. After 10 minutes, we were standing under a humongous wall rock (the lava tower)-4630M. At this height, we were served with cold lunch. This gave us a much-needed moment to rest, and we regained our strength for the rest of the Mount Kilimanjaro hike. The temperatures remained warm and calm under the shelter of the tower as we rested and caught our breath for 1.5 hours.
After lunch and a long break, I checked our Mount Kilimanjaro hiking guests, and no one had exhibited any signs of altitude sickness. We were now at 4630M altitude and were heading to Barranco campsite (3950M). The 4600M descent gave us the advantage to our bodies to adjust to high altitudes and climb Mount Kilimanjaro better. It took us two hrs. walk to descend the rocky ravine. This gave us relaxation and relief, and we could breathe normally, not a hectic Mount Kilimanjaro hike whatsoever! However, it kept our kneecaps sore due to the steepness and slippery nature of the valley. While still descending the Mount Kilimanjaro valley, we lost all the views of the mountain because of the humongous Barraco wall. The wall hindered the whole front parts of the Mount Kilimanjaro summit and montane zone. We descended slowly down the loose gravel until Barraco Camp (3950M). Inside the valley, camp were magnificent views, and we caught up with the calmness of low humidity and evening sunshine and clear sky. Mt Kilimanjaro temperatures were now around 15⁰C. After arrival at the Barraco Camp, the three clients were exhausted. They took a hot shower to refresh and had 1 hour’s rest. That evening I noticed that the clients were not in a joyful mood. This was caused by the high Mount Kilimanjaro altitude, which caused low appetite and stomach upset. I advised them to drink a lot of water (fluids). Therefore, we decided to have an early dinner so that guests could have enough time to rest for the next day’s Mount Kilimanjaro hike.
DAY 5. BARRACCO (3950M) TO KARANGA CAMP (4034M) – MOUNT KILIMANJARO
The day appeared so unfriendly to all of us. Our minds were prepared to conquer the great Barraco wall of Mt Kilimanjaro, which is a force to reckon with. It was a tough challenge, and we had to wake up early to check on the weather to see if it was favorable. The Mount Kilimanjaro mist had covered the visibility of the wall and the valley.
After breakfast, my clients-Andreas, Steevf and Martha, had smiling faces as they looked at an intimidating wall on an already intimidating mountain. We could only see a quarter of the wall, and we decided to start climbing Mount Kilimanjaro slowly. We anticipated getting to the top of the wall after 1 hr. and 20 mins. The weather favored us because it was cool and misty such that you could not see the bottom of the wall.
After climbing the challenging wall on Mt Kilimanjaro, the mist cleared away on top of the wall. We had a magnificent view of Mount Kilimanjaro summit (Uhuru peaks) and Helm glaciers which were above the clouds. Our Mount Kilimanjaro hike was now heading down to Karanga Valley. Therefore the terrain changed, and sceneries and altitude were much high, and everyone had to descend slowly and carefully. The scree looked slippery. No animal could survive on the high Mount Kilimanjaro elevation because the Alpine desert stone and lava desert dominate. On Mt Kilimanjaro, rocks only lichen and moss, which marks the only life; otherwise, no other animals or plant can exist here. As we descended 4600M to 4240 M down Karanga valley, our clients had enough strength to hike the Karanga ridges, which was about 700M to the topmost. We gradually continued our Mount Kilimanjaro hike until we reached on top of Karanga valley at 1:00 PM. By now, we were hungry and tired, and already the porters and chef had arrived at the camping site for preparations. They had prepared the lunch meals and also pinched the camping site for the best accommodation on Mount Kilimanjaro for the night. We were served with hot lunch (pasta and minced beef) and fruit. The meal served was rich in vitamins and proteins. Good fuel for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
After lunch, everybody had to take a nap and relax until evening. The camp is located over the valley and very open for the Mt Kilimanjaro storms and wind. We were lucky, and the weather changed in the afternoon with a clear sky and temperatures of 18⁰C, which was pleasant outside the camp.
Dinner was now here with us, and we were served another kingly diet to close the day’sday’s Mount Kilimanjaro hike. This was the first night that we almost had a sleepless night, but we were all in good health.
DAY 6. KARANGA CAMP (4034M) TO BARAFU CAMP(4600M)-3 4 HOURS – Mt KILIMANJARO
After our breakfast, we left Karanga camp 4034M, with a trial that intercepts with the Mweka route, which is used to descend on the final two days. As we continued hiking Mount Kilimanjaro for an hour, we reached a hut. This is the last water stop for the porters because there is no accessible water at Barafu Camp(4550M) for hours. The Mount Kilimanjaro hike from Karanga to Barafu was quite easy, and we hiked in slowly until we stepped onto Barafu camp. The name “Barafu” is a Swahili name meaning “ice”, and this camp is located on a ridge that is exposed to the strong Mt Kilimanjaro wind and storms.
We arrived in the early afternoon, and we had to familiarize ourselves with the camp before dusk set in. The Mount Kilimanjaro weather was clear but still freezing cold as we set our feet on Barafu Camp. The atmosphere was unpleasant due to the cold weather, and everyone had to seek warmth from their sleeping bags. We all longed for the darkness to befall Mt Kilimanjaro, but hours were delayed on our side. The high Mt Kilimanjaro altitude provided sleepless nights, but fortunately, we had to wake up at 11:30 PM for breakfast. We had an early dinner at about 06:00 PM to give ourselves ample time to sleep in the highest camp in Africa. After dinner, we joined together for a briefing in preparation for the Mount Kilimanjaro summit attempt in the early morning. After the briefing, we all went to sleep at 06:30 PM.
DAY 7. MOUNT KILIMANJARO SUMMIT ATTEMPT FROM BARAFU CAMP (4600M) TO UHURU PEAK (5895M), THEN DOWN TO MWEKA (3100M) -14 HOURS WALKING!!
This particular night on Mount Kilimanjaro was a bright and clear sky with stars very visible. I woke up the hikers around 11:30 PM for tea and biscuits (snacks). We took around 30 minutes to prepare for the great challenge ahead of us. At midnight we started hiking Mount Kilimanjaro for the summit attempt through the route that heads north and ascends over rock scree. During the Mount Kilimanjaro summit attempt, everyone in the group experienced mixed feelings as the climb became more and more challenging. Steefv was seriously affected by mountain sickness after a Mount Kilimanjaro hike of 3 hours. She developed stomach upsets and vomiting, and we had her sit down and drink a lot of water. After several drinks, she recovered and continued heading with us to Mount Kilimanjaro summit.
When we reached Stella Point(5685M), which is located on the Crater rim, we enjoyed the magnificent sunrise. We continued climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for an hour on a snow-covered trail to Uhuru Peak (5895M). The clients gazed in amazement, for they had no imagination of such wonderful creation; the Majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. They couldn’tcouldn’t imagine they could conquer the high altitude of Mt Kilimanjaro. We had a photo session and eye views, and a great celebration for the great achievement (accomplishment). The Mount Kilimanjaro summit was beautifully covered by snow, and the glacier covered the crater rim. The weather was so cold, but we had the proper clothing to keep off the cold from touching our bodies. After taking enough photos, we opted to descend and pushed on for 3 hours until we returned to Barafu Camp. It was quite easy to go down as opposed to the ascent. The scree slopes characterized by the eternal ice region up to Mount Kilimanjaro summit (Uhuru Peak) were dreadful and intimidating at first glance. At Barafu camp, we rested and enjoyed a hot lunch basking in the sun and our successful Mount Kilimanjaro hike. After eating our meal, we continued descending to Mweka Hut (3100M).
We quickened our pace climbing down Mt Kilimanjaro as we left Barafu camp towards the scree and the rocks. The road leads through rocks on towards the moorland, with everything looking beautiful. The hikers, however, were not feeling well; they were quite exhausted, and Steffv had a serious headache and dizziness. But as we continued the descent down Mount Kilimanjaro, she felt better. However, we still decided to call the rescue team from Mweka Camp (TANAPA), which was near Mount Kilimanjaro. They sent their rescue van that drove us off the park to Moshi, and we arrived in the evening. Steffv went for a checkup at the hospital, and they confirmed it was mountain sickness. She was treated, and she felt much better as we returned back to our hotel (Buffalo) for the overnight. We were exhausted from hiking Mount Kilimanjaro and sleepless nights on the mountain. We refreshed with hot showers, and with no more Mt Kilimanjaro to conquer that night, we went to bed.
DAY 8. DEPATURE DAY – LEAVING MOUNT KILIMANJARO
After breakfast, we had to meet the whole team for a group celebration, for we had accomplished the mission of successfully climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The clients were happy with the services of the team and gave each person some tips. The group gathered in a circle and sang their traditional mountain songs as they bid farewell to the guests.
After saying goodbye to the team, we drove off to the airport for flights back home.
Everything had ended well by the Mighty hand of God.