Kilimanjaro 2007

9 Visitors Online

This trip was taken in February 2007 taking the popular Marangu (or 'Coca-Cola') route to Kilimanjaro on the east side. We used Zara tours, based out of Moshi, Tanzania and did the 5 day trip, although the 6 day trip is recommended to increase your chances of making it to the top. Tour guides are required to climb Kilimanjaro.

Tours are quite luxurious, and for 2 people there was a crew of 7 that carried your bags, up to 18Kg each, all food, and so on. All you had to do was carry your day bag. Meals were generous and you typically never ate it all. Tours are expensive, simply because the Tanzanian government charges about US$1000 a head to climb the mountain! If you do reach the top you receive a certificate that you can proudly frame as reaching the highest point in Africa.

Entrance sign at Marangu gate... so about 1000m elevation gain per day! (Resting heart rate of 65)
The first day is nice walks through the rainforest in warm temperatures
Mandara camp for the first night (Resting heart rate of 75). This is a nice campground and you hardly notice the 800-900m elevation gain for the day
The huts accommodate 4 people in bunks per side and there's solar lights
Not terribly comfy, but better than tents in the rain
Day 2: a lot less trees and the first view of the mountains (this is Mawenzi). The forest changes to what is called 'moorland', little shrubs. The air is cooler, but the trail isn't steep
Horombo camp for nights 2 and 4, it's a little more crowded. The large hut is where the meals are served (Resting heart rate of 95). This will be the last campsite for running water and now you are noticing the elevation gain. Going to bed at 2pm in the afternoon was looking highly inviting!
Overlooking the campground
There's the goal! In the early morning you can see all these little lights (=flashlights or torches) on the mountain. It looks really close, but then again it is a big mountain and we're still 2 days away!
Getting closer!
These plants are about the last thing with any height on the route
Dead version of the flower above
Some more alpine flowers

Better fill the bottles, although the water is questionable at this point. Let's just say you have long forgotten about the 'floaties' in the water

A mid-day nap. Now you're really lapping on the sunscreen since you burn really fast at elevation
Getting closer and you can see the trails that are in use to get to the top
Kibo hut, time for a brief dinner and a 3 hour 'nap' before the midnight start to the top (resting heart rate of 140!!)
Typically from Kibo hut they wake you at midnight, serve you breakfast and then you start your hike in the dark. It's cold (-5°C) and windy. The first couple of hours are just steep incline on gravel scree. Then it gets a lot worse as you walk undefined switchbacks through the rocks at a steep incline. Because it is so dark, everyone is wearing little headlamps, but you quite often see the headlamps heading towards you as people give up and return to Kibo hut. Also, although you are given hot water for your platypus or water bottle, expect this to be well frozen by half-way up the mountain. About half way up the altitude sickness finally hit me and whatever was eaten for breakfast came up...twice. The final couple of hours are the hardest, seeing that you still can't see where you are going and now you are climbing over large rocks, dehydrated, and have a headache. But then you reach the top for the sunrise and it all seems worth it, or maybe not? The top was -27°C and the trail to Uhuru Peak was closed (this is actually the highest point in Africa, about 150m higher than Gilman's) and would of required another 90 minutes of walking on ice to get to.
Sunrise over Mawenzi Peak from Gilman's point on Kilimanjaro
A look at the receding glaciers from the top of Kilimanjaro
Proof of reaching Gilman's point
I feel really really sick, can we go home now?!
Ah, feel that 'thick' air, about half way down the morning climb to Gilman's. You can see Kibo hut and then the route through the Saddle
The team that transported us up the mountain, including a guide, an assistant guide, a cook, waiter, and porters (yeah, all for 2 people!!)
Travel Pages | Return to GeckoBeach