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Climb KILIMANJARO and say:     "I was at the Top of Africa"

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The 6th day we walked for 4 hrs through Rain Forest, Kilimanjaro says good bye!!!

Signing off at Millennium Camp






Walking out via rain Forest!!





6th Day at Kilimanjaro

We 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.

I enjoyed taking photos of small ferns lit by faint sunrays that made it through the canopy of the forest.

Beautiful 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.

After 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.

I felt sad to leave such incredible place, but at the same time happy that I will have a bit of a rest.

I 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.

People 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.

In any case, this was a sad note to y climb, but one, which I feel, must be expressed.

Something 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.


All in all, the experience was one, which I shan’t forget. I will certainly be back, but this first climb I wanted it to be my way. I carried my rough sack and food supplies for 7 days together with my guide (who had never done it like this before), as I wanted to feel Kilimanjaro. I wanted to remember every step, all the pain and every wonder. I wanted to be able to say with conviction “I HAVE CLIMBED KILIMANJARO” with it’s full meaning.

I am apparently one of 3 that have done it so. The rest al do it using the porter system, which basically takes the weight off your shoulders while you walk, but everyone goes through the “CLIMB DAY”, perhaps a bit more rested than us carrying our own goods for 4 to 5 days. But the pain is the same, the achievement is the same, the wonder of kilimanjaro is the same to all of us who have visited it.

Kilimanjaro is a wonder that teases people into attempting the summit, and I think that nature has placed it there with a purpose.

Kilimanjaro  is a call that if you take it, it will fill your life with something indescribable, it will leave you wondering how ridiculously small we are in not acknowledging that we have only this earth to leave on, and that by spoiling it and not caring for it, will one day end all it’s wonder (like kilimanjaro) and with it US!!!


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