Reaching The Highest Point in Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro

My venture into East Africa, Tanzania was a mind plan for many years and the biggest drawing card? ….Mount Kilimanjaro -  The magnetising realm of the highest mountain on the motherland continent of Africa and the highest free standing mountain on earth! The gratifying feeling of being on the top of your world.

Not on the best fitness enthusiast level and having embarked on a raw food lifestyle many around me regarded the Kilimanjaro plan mystifying and found no reason or logic to withstand reaching the risk of a peak.

Until it is actually done, never mind those that frowned, you will personally see lessons learned along the way,  not as a mountain expert or travel guide, but pure soul reflection of a climb of note.


 My Trip Dates:  9 May 2011- 16 May 2011

Type of travel: Bus from the city centre of Dar-es Salaam to Moshi town. Slept over 9 May for the coming journey ahead.

The group had a wide range and diversity from the youngest of only 12years old ! We paid $1800 per person. There were eight people in total.

Choosing the Route

The planted sub conscious droning on streaming fear of the risk came in handy to factor common sense when it was time for coordination of the final plan of the adventure. Most will climb Kilimanjaro just once, so the path chosen should ensure success to get to the top!

Now statistics can really be unreliable depending on who is consulted. The estimation is that only thirty percent of people reach  Uhuru Peak.

There are basically six official routes to get to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

  1. Marangu
  2. Lemosho
  3. Rongai
  4. Umbwe
  5. Shira
  6. Machame

Three of these routes, namely Marangu, Machame and Umbwe approach from a southerly direction. Two of the routes Lemosho and Shira from the west and Rongai from the northeasterly side.

Each has s considerations to take note of and differing success rates. I chose the five night Rongai route. It is consistent and gradual except when reaching the final ascent. It is less crowded and has a wider range of scenery.

Each person daring to venture the climb up should choose the best one for themselves or group that accompanies them.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a cheap mission and needs to be carefully planned. It is better not to try not cut corners and risk injury as a result.

Day one

We hiked for five hours!  It was approximately eight kilometres in total. We were picked up in Arusha after an early morning breakfast. We drove to the Marangu Gate.

The trail starts in tall corn fields leading to pine forests. It was a gradual ascent and we enjoyed the surroundings. The Montane forests were spectacular. We had a lunch break halfway up.  Our tents were set up by the time we reached  1st caves camp. We were made aware of cold temperatures of the night and served a warm supper!

Day two

On day two we hiked about seven hours up to Kekelewa caveat 3600m.  We passed the second cave at 3450m and took a lunch break. All was set up by the time we reached the freezing and exposed camp!

 Day Three

On day 3 we ventured towards the Mawenzu tarn camp at 4330m. The trail was short but we got to see some exotic plants in the moorland.  The views were just spectacular and we gazed at the sunset splendor.

Day Four

On Day four we made our way up to the Kibo hut at 4700m. It took about five hours. The area is an alpine desert. It was an early night that evening.

Day Five

Day Five took about eight hours, An ascent six kilometres up. We were on a mission to reach the summit! We were woken up close to midnight to begin the attempt to reach the summit. Rock and the steep path ahead at the highest altitude ever. We reached the snow covered point until the summit. A lifetime accomplishment!

Day Six

Descend back down is about 27 km for six hours.We stopped at Horombo Hut  at 3720m and finally Marangu Gate (1980m)

Research matters

The dormant volcano Kilimanjaro comprises of the volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Kibo, this is where the Uhuru summit is .

Kibo is dormant but it is not extinct. The last eruption happened 360000 years back. Volcanic activity occurred two hundred years ago and the ash pit is visible from the Uhuru Peak.

The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak and stands at 5,895m.  Mount Everest, 8,848 meters which are just over 2,950 meters higher than Kilimanjaro.

Depending on which route is taken, it is a walking mountain, so no need to worry if about grappling skills. If you happen to not be an avid hiker, it is best to get some practice trails beforehand.

More preparation will help. Prepare hiking between four and twelve hours each day for approximately six or seven days. You need to be comfortable with endurance bearing in mind the distance as well.

  • Do a through gear checklist. Get hiking boots. No one needs to deal with blister s and other feet issues.
  • The temperature and weather can fluctuate dramatically from the start to the end of the trip, so it is better to choose wick fabrics and bring along layers.
  • Get good quality thermal underwear and a warm hat, gloves, sunscreen and sunglasses, rain protection, a day pack, camel backs and water bottles

No Rushing!

This is not a race, not a sprint. Chill out, relax and check out amazing views along the way while your body adjusts. The guides are helpful in pacing out the climb appropriately

Once the days hiking is over get ready to set up camp. Take a short climb up and back down for the body to adjust and acclimatise.  Acute mountain sickness can affect the strongest and healthiest. All are susceptible and gender age or fitness does not correlate.

Be aware of the realities

It is an awkward truth that acute mountain sickness causes about ten people to die each year when they attempt to get to the top of Kilimanjaro. Many have to be carried down before getting to the top.  The major issue causing evacuations as a result of altitude sickness.

Now success is also about drinking plenty water amounts and eating on a regular basis as well even if there may be a case of appetite loss.  Get a guide or a company that provides good meals as well. There is a medication for acute mountain sickness if you feel an onset of symptoms coming up as well as prevention.

Once a certain point has been reached there is no way of curing any acute altitude sickness and at this time it would be best to stop the climb and head back down. It is important to pay attention to the body and never underestimate any signs of dangers.

Amazing sights along the way

The journey up offers travel passing through a rainforest, where there are pep monkeys and other crawlies too and worldly unique vegetation.

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Once the top is reached there is not a lot of vegetation, but snow and rock, and the view from above get you viewing the clouds below! It is an amazing planet earth venture of note. Each camp along the way is breathtaking peaceful and beautiful beyond words.

It is the best time to click into a soul connection. Breathe m think and clear the mind. Contemplate your soul purpose, you connect the environment and think about how and why your calling here appeared.

But before delving into headspace do get to know the guides as well as fellow hikers that will accompany you on the journey ahead. There is a lot to learn from each other. Encouragement, patience and support are really needed.

The Mountain is Mind Over Matter

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It is not completely true that there is no real challenge, It is a mountain for sure. The highest free standing in the world and the top of Africa!

By mind, over matter, we all reach an awareness level. We program our minds to create success or failure levels. Even if you decide that you are reaching the summit, it takes full energy, focus and total discipline.

I thought that summiting Lion’s Head and Table Mountain in Cape Town meant my mind level has been conquered.  You have to work your mind up to not stand in the way of your mission to the Uhuru Peak summit.

The body is capable of the most incredible things. Once self-doubt is dealt with, the mental weariness slips away, new heights of capabilities gets discovered.

In actual fact, the final ten hours are extremely brutal in ways that are not imagined. On the last two nights, you only get to sleep for a limited time before taking off at midnight to keep going up.

You cannot spend much time at the altitude reached so there is a need to go up and down to maximise the hours of sunlight you can capture. You get tired. It is freezing cold! The altitude causes some brain waves to jerk you up a little. Oxygen is so thin and getting enough to breathe is a mission. And the physical exertion is overbearing.

The last miles to the top are steep and the sand gravel is not your best friend this time. Every time you step forward you slide half of a step backwards. It feels like a cruel joke on you. You got to keep holding up and will make it to the top.

And then you get to see the world from the most spectacular and you open your eyes and see that it was all worth it!

You will be at a conquering energy kneeling down in tears of exuberance, and there is a mobile reception on the top by the way. so get ready to Messenger, Tweet a and Skype away!

Once you are on the top, you get fifteen minutes there as the altitude to too tough for the body.   You will need to journey down approximately sixty percent back before you can camp again.  This can be another mission especially if you struggled to get to the summit.

Nevertheless, it is a well-earned victory. Nobody can really be sure they can make it to the top. Once you exit the gate of Kilimanjaro National park, the realisation hits you. You made it all the way and got the to top of the tallest free standing mountain in the whole world.  You travel 50 miles and climb up19300 feet. And you are down to earth!

The human body and strength of your spirit can make you accomplish and handle amazing miracles you never imagined. Pushing yourself to the limits by reaching the peak of this mountain is the ultimate.

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Exuberance and pride are intensely overwhelming. It stays engraved in mind archives for any day you may feel down or demotivated. The unparalleled memory of upliftment despite any triumphs you are faced with. Anyone who can afford it and is game should definitely not miss this one!

 

 

12 Mountain Climbing and Hiking trips in the Heart of Motherland Africa- Tanzania

Planning to travel to Africa and venture on mountain climbing?  Let’s start at the beginning of creation, the heart of the motherland, Tanzania.

Many nature lovers, come out to explore amazing wildlife and exciting Safaris. Others that have little interest in game drives and Safaris opt for climbing and hiking adventures. It becomes a combo of a Safari and a mountain climbing venture as the lush pathways have many wildlife sightings as well.

 

A traveler to Tanzania aiming to reach the peaks usually aim for Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro is number one on the list. It is the most famous and the highest mountain on the continent of motherland Africa.

 

Other mountain ranges that have attractive peaks are in the North and East of Tanzania. We have Mt Meru, Ol Donyo Lengai active volcano, and the tamer Usambara Mountains, gentle Crater Highlands slopes.

1. Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro


First on the list is Mount Kilimanjaro. In the northern Tanzania plateau with snowy peaks, above the rolling hills.The glaciers and slopes reaching way above the clouds.


2. Mt Meru Crater

Mount Meru

Mt Meru Crater is neglected if favor of his East neighbor Mt Kilimanjaro. This mountain close to Arusha National Park is definitely an experience that will be an unforgettable memory.

The low slopes are covered in a highlight of a dense forest where buffalos graze and the colobus monkeys play.

This extinct volcano has a base of a perfect crater and an additional inner crater with sheer, sharp cliffs. The subsidiary peak is formed by the Ash Cone. Momela lakes and Ngurdoto Crater are visible from the mountain slopes.


3. Crater Highlands

Crater Highlands

The Crater Highlands rise up from the Rift Valley.The lush chain of volcanoes and mountains including the Ngorogongo conservation area that is surrounded by Massai tribal lands. Hiking Safaris offer tourists a pathway from Ngorongoro Crater to the foot of Ol Donyo Lengai and a chance to see stunning scenery of spectacular Tanzania.

Hiking Safaris offer tourists a pathway from Ngorongoro Crater to the foot of Ol Donyo Lengai and a chance to see stunning scenery of spectacular Tanzania.

This is a hiking adventure of a lifetime. Large zebra and wildebeest herds graze nearby and lions lay back in the sun. At the calling of dawn, the black rhino return and to the thick layer of crater forests after completing their dew-laden grass in early morning mists. Nearby Massai herd goats and cattle over the green pastures of highland slopes.

At the calling of dawn, the black rhino return and to the thick layer of crater forests after completing their dew-laden grass in early morning mists. Nearby Massai herd goats and cattle over the green pastures of highland slopes.

4. The Eastern Arc Mountain Range

Eastern Arc Mountain Range


Stretching all the way from the Taita Hills South of Kenya to the Southern Highlands of Tanzania the Eastern Arc mountain range has a long history of geological activity.

It is estimated to be over a hundred million years old and some formations are six hundred million years old. The climate stability allows this area to inhabit a wide array of insect and plant life to amazing species of birds.

5. Livingstone Mountains

Livingstone Mountains

A low altitude range of mountains that on the border of Lake Nyasa.It is in a remote location and difficult to reach as the pathways are uncharted for the climb and are usually unexplored.

6. Monduli Mountains


A few hours away from Arusha, a day trip to the Monduli Mountains can either be a journey of a casual day trip or part of a hiking itinerary that is longer.

Massai herd cattle along the slopes and various cultural tour programs offer visitors an opportunity to learn about traditional medicines and local culture of the Massai.

It is surrounded by views of the rift valley, Mount Meru, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

7. Mount Hanang


Located on bumpy tracks about 200km on the South East of Arusha, the extinct volcanic crater is a stunning feature above the plains.It is usually a two-day climb, that takes trekkers via several tribal lands including the semi-nomadic  Barabaig, known for goatskin garments.


8. Ol Donyo Lengai

Ol Doinyo Lengai

Overlooking The Kenya bushland and Lake Natron, Ol Donyo Lengai meaning ‘ the home of God’ in Massai, this is an active volcano and an undiscovered and spectacular climb in Tanzania.

It has sporadic volcano eruptions, sending gray lava streams down the rim of the crater and spits out hot ash into the air. The climb is usually overnight for hikers to experience the spectacular sunrise over the escarpment of the Rift Valley.


9. Pare Mountains

Pare Mountians

On The Eastern Arc range in the North East of Tanzania lies the remote Pare Mountains and is extremely rewarding to trekkers on a search for trails off beaten paths.

It is home to the Pare tribe, pastoralists, and agriculturists who have retained traditional life.A Pare mountain hike takes visitors through beautiful forests and local villages, part of Tanzania that is little visited.

10. Udzungwa Mountains

Udzungwa Mountain


The Udzungwa Mountains is located on the west of Dar es Salaam.It rises from the West of Selous Game Reserve. Vervet monkeys play in the forests and forest antelopes can be viewed at certain times of the day. The botanical diversity is exceptional, and the park hosts numerous endangered species of birds. The peak of the mountain offers views of the Selous game reserve and the coast of the Indian Ocean. It is a worthwhile venture.

11. Uluguru Mountains

Uluguru Mountains

The Uluguru mountains overlook the Morogoro agricultural area and part of the Eastern Arc range. Named after the Luguru tribe, a group that farms on the verdant slopes.This area is amidst the oldest forests in Africa.Hiking here is pleasant and rewarding.It has a plethora of endemic insect and bird species.


12. Usambara Mountains

Usambara Mountains

Part of the Eastern Arc in the North East and is divided by 4km valley of farms and small villages. There are day trips and overnight treks, taking visitors through an area of concentrated biodiversity. Bird watching is rewarding and the views include the Indian Ocean and Massai Steppe.

Welcome To Tanzania!  #ExploreMotherlandAfrica.

Reaching The Highest Point in Africa – Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is the tallest and the most famous mountain in the continent of motherland  Africa.

Mount Kilimanjaro is in the north of Tanzania, located in the Kilimanjaro National Park.

tanzania-kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano which has three separate volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo, where the Uhuru summit is located.

Kibo is dormant but it is not extinct.  Three hundred and sixty years ago, the last eruption from Kibo occurred. Volcanic activity that occurred  two hundred years back and resulted in the ash pit (that is visible from the Uhuru Peak)

 Hikers journey through five differing ecosystems – from alpine desert to rainforest right up to the arctic snowcap. Climbing 19,340 feet up is undoubtedly an empowering adventure of note.
 Approximately 35,000 people launch to climb each year. The number of people that actually reach the top of the summit remains an elusive statistic.

The “Kili” climbs can take between five and nine days, depending on the route you choose and the time you have for the mission and reach the altitude.

There is a total of  Kilimanjaro routes. Three routes from the south including, Machame, Marangu and Umbwe , two routes from the west – Lemosho and Shira, from the  North-East Rongai.  Another option is the Northern Circuit approaching from the with Lemosho as the starting point, and circles around the north  following a summit passage through Gilman’s Point.

The first successful Kilimanjaro expedition took place 125 years ago. In October 1889, mountain climbers on a mission to reach the peak conquered the Mount Kilimanjaro after forty years of previous attempts.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, the most iconic peak in the world.

 The Venture to Kilimanjaro

Snow capped and close to the equator, Mount Kilimanjaro attracts climbers from all over the globe. Reaching Africa’s highest point is a challenge many seek to undertake. Why?

It is Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s highest freestanding mountain.

Open plains rise up to touch soaring clouds with snow capped peaks at an elevation of 5895m.

Every ecological system existing in the world can be found on the mountain from tropical crops to cultivated slopes, lush forests n wild animals. Cactus like plantations, giant lobelia lies in above the forest. A saddle stretches between the Mawezi and Kobo peaks.

Cactus like plantations, giant lobelia lies in above the forest. A saddle stretches between the Mawezi and Kobo peaks.

The roof of Africa is a wonderland of magnificent beauty.

Kilimanjaro is an accessible summit. The Kobo peak can be reached without any special mountaineering equipment or climbing experience. A determination with proper clothing is all that is needed. The climb takes about six days with about five overnight stays in tents or mountain huts.
Gillman’s point is the lower peak on Kobo and Uhuru peak is the highest point. Spectacular glacier views and a wide crater.It is unforgettable triumph point expedition.

 Main tips to take note off.

  • Tourists need to register and climb with a licensed guide.
  • Kilimanjaro is not as easy as literature reads out. The trail is steep and sections are filled with boulders that are two foot high
  • Altitude sickness can affect the fittest.

Knowing all these tips many venture for the  climb again to make it to the absolute top of Kilimanjaro

If you ever make it take a Kilimanjaro expedition, it is the most beautiful place that you will ever reach. It is pushing

The clearest night sky and willowy grass and the second peak loom ominously and untouched as it is an impossible climb.

There is much more along the way to Uhuru. It is about pushing yourself to the limits to gorgeous views from Uhuru, the summit of the Kibo peak.  The entire climb takes you into another world.