What a beautiful place.
Kilimanjaro was definitely an experience I wont be forgetting. The people, the country, the animals, and the whole vibe were all amazing, and obviously the climb itself was brilliant.
We began our journey in Moshi, a small town in close proximity to Mt Kilimanjaro. We got to the hotel relatively late and seemed to drift of fairly rapidly as we were already set to start the next morning at 11am. I woke up whilst my father was in the shower and went to look out the window at the weather, but to my surprise the first thing my eyes fell onto was Mt Kilimanjaro in all its pride and beauty. What a way to start the day, followed by an even nicer view at breakfast looking onto what would soon probably be more of an enemy!
We met our guides from Ascend Tanzania (ill tell you more about them later on) who greeted us with a warm and happy welcome. We set off pretty much straight away in the van and travelled through forests and small towns filled with smiley school children waving us through till we reached the gate to the Marangu Route. We decided a few months before the trip that the 5 day route commonly known as the coca cola route was our best option.
The first day of trekking was brisk and short, however the scenery was absolutely incredible. Towering forestry and lots of animals including monkeys were scattered along the way, making this day very enjoyable. We reached Mandara huts (2700m) at around 3 in the afternoon and rested from then on.
We were nervous about the food as we had no idea what to expect, but the only word to describe is was WOW! The food was exceptional, every day was a completely different meal, stacked with enough food for about 5 people when really it was only two of us, and extremely tasty. This made me very happy! We also got an oxygen saturation test and heart rate test every afternoon which was very professional.
The second day was slightly longer and took us up to the Horombo huts (3720m) which were comfortable enough and again greeted us with food. The trek to these huts took around 6 hours and consisted of mainly shrubs and fewer animals to keep us company.
The next day was again a tougher hike which reached into the alpine terrain and lasted around 8 hours, eventually reaching the Kibo huts - essentially Base camp. The hike was again mostly alpine dessert terrain with little life except for huge scary crows that had no problem stealing all your lunch! We reached Kibo huts and had a sleep before eating an early dinner at 5 which consisted of a huge amount of spaghetti, getting us prepared for summit day. We were planning to leave for the summit at 12 that night so it was important we got as much rest as possible, however I still managed to cram in some maths revision at 4700m as I was to be greeted with A level mocks at home.
12 o clock came pretty quickly and we set off at a very very slow pace up the what felt like a vertical scree slope! It was evil, it was long, and it was very very tiring... We reached Gilmans point (5685m), a signed checkpoint which marked the start of the end pretty much. We plodded on through what was now completely snow and reached our second checkpoint, Stella point (5756m) where it was now daytime. This meant we only had about 30 minutes to the summits, and i couldnt wait!
We eventually reached the summit at around 5am with huge proud smiles on our faces.
The way down was absolutely hilarious and consisted of a massive slide down the scree that seemed to last about an hour and before we knew it we were already at the Kibo huts! We then proceeded further that afternoon to the Horombo huts in order to get to a lower altitude and recover ourselves. At this point we were both pretty knackered...
The next day we made it down to the gate of the Marangu route and we were on our way to the hotel!! The last full day was spent with my mum who had been on a safari in the meantime (not fair) and was feeling nice a refreshed having just been paddling in her pool an hour before... We visited the town and bought the usual souvenirs, a shit painting that has gone missing already, a couple of salad spoons with giraffes on them and of course a Kilimanjaro T Shirt..
All in all this trip was absolutely brilliant, and was made 100 times better by our incredible guides from 'Ascend Tanzania', who I would thoroughly recommend - the food was amazing, they were very friendly, the pacing throughout the climb was on point, and most importantly we made it to the summit with not one bit of altitude sickness!