Day at Kilimanjaro
woke up at 8 am, rested, sore but with a nice sense of achievement. As I got
out of the tent, Kilimanjaro greeted me wit the sun on its side; asking me
“how do you feel”. I subconsciously replied: “like a new person,
thanks my friend”. We readied ourselves for the last walk to mweka gate.
This is a 4 ½ hour walk going down, down, down. Initially through low
bushes which 45 minutes later are replaced by a splendorous rain forest.
Beauty all around. Green so strong that looks like someone had dropped a
bucket of green paint all over.
enjoyed taking photos of small ferns lit by faint sunrays that made it
through the canopy of the forest.
and delicate red flowers (impatiences) and 10 mt tall tree ferns. Wherever
you look it is filled with wonders of nature. We even saw a few black
loeries as we walked along.
walking 4 hrs we reached the gate. There they give you your certificate (if
you made it to the top) and you can buy cool drinks and t-shirts that say,
“I just made it” (I of course got me one) for US15. I bargained the
price of one down to US10.
felt sad to leave such incredible place, but at the same time happy that I
will have a bit of a rest.
stank from head to toe so did my guide. But this is the case with everyone
arriving at this point. There are no big rivers to wash up in Kilimanjaro.
Just little streams that you have to sit patiently for it to fill your
bottles to drink from.
that do the climb with porters have it a bit easier as they do not carry
their weight. But they still have to walk it all. Porters spend hours
collecting water for the people. They are strong and incredibly fast. Some
of them carrying up to 25 kg all the way to Barafu camp. They get paid
almost nothing by their companies (+- US10 a day if they are lucky). 90% of
them are not geared by their companies, so they walk in talkies and
tracksuits. Talking to some of them I found that some companies provide them
with food only every second day; something which I found disgusting.
Companies charge an average of US1500 per person for a climb. They pay the
guides US50 per day and US 10 per day to their porters who do ALL the work.
They get up at first light, prepare breakfast for the clients, pack and
leave the camp after the clients. They ALWAYS overtake the clients and get
to the next camp long before them. When the clients get to the camps,
everything is ready for them; tents, food etc. They are hard working people
and I really feel that government should step in to stop the companies that
are abusing them.
any case, this was a sad note to y climb, but one, which I feel, must be
I forgot to mention on my Climb day was that I had planed to phone my wife
from top of Kilimanjaro as there is cell reception up there. My guide took
his cell especially for this purpose. We loaded it with US 10 of prepaid
voucher. When we got to the top and took the phone out (which was wrapped in
a thick sock), we found that it was frozen solid. My guide was carrying it
in his pocket and because he kept his hand in it too, the sweat from his
hand was collected by the sock and froze instantly. We could not get it
defrosted up there, as the temperature was +- -15 degrees. The water that we
took for drinking in bottles was also frozen solid, even the one carried by
him on his pocket close to his body (is it cold enough for you?). We had to
shake the bottles and break the ice inside to try to drink a few sips.