Sunday, February 5, 2012


I made it to Tanzania, and I’ve been staying here in Moshi town. It’s beautiful.  The trees have bright pink and orange flowers, its hot, and everything is dusty. Town is a mixing bowl of people, crazy cars flying down the streets (on left side of the road!), street vendors, bikes, workers – everything in motion.  I took the first day to explore town and get settled in. I stayed at Karibu Hostel just outside of town, however the owner of the hostel told me upon arriving that she was leaving the next day to go back to Austrailia for health reasons. She’d been in a dala dala (little bus) accident, and needed some time to recover. So, I decided I needed to find another hostel to stay in while in Moshi.

The next day I hiked up to the Shimbwe waterfall with a fellow traveller I’d met at the Coffee Shop the day before. We took a dala dala to Shimbwe town, which was quite the experience! Dala dalas are 11 passenger vans that are stuffed full of people. When I say stuffed, I mean that at the max there were 24 people and a baby on the bus with us at one time. 5 bushels of bananas, a chicken, and 3 cases of Kilimanjaro beer were also riding with us at different points. It was wild. Once we got to Shimbwe, we didn’t really know where we were going so we just kept asking people where the maporomoko was, which is the word for waterfall. It was about a 2 hour walk through the little village and the surrounding area until we could see the waterfall. An hours walk from there, through the jungle on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, and we made it! It was definitely worth the long walk. On the way back we got semi lost, but everyone was really helpful and one man walked us a good portion of the way. Everyone here is so friendly and welcoming. When they see a mzungu, a white person, they always say karibu sana! Welcome! 

The waterfall in the distance.

 We made it!

I spent the next couple days preparing for my Kili trek. I met a girl at a local hostel who decided to come with me, so we got organized and went to Weru Weru River Lodge the day before we left for the mountain, where all of the Ahsante Tours climbers stay the night before. Weru Weru is a little oasis about 20 minutes outside of town, and it must be the nicest place in Moshi. When we walked in, someone took our bags and offered us a hot towel and a glass of juice. Its that nice. Two nights at Weru Weru are included in our overall price, because Ahsante owns the lodge. Also, because we joined a group of 34 from the UK our price was really reasonable.  I left for the mountain on January 29th. I just got back yesterday and…I climbed Kilimanjaro!

Uhuru Peak - 19,341 ft!

For the past 6 days, I’ve been on the mountain. It was a challenging, amazing trip, and it was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The first two days were nice, just long walking days, around 6 hours each day. The first night, all of the porters and cooks and guides got everyone singing and dancing together.
Paul and Peter taught us one of the songs as well, and let me tell you—it’s been stuck in my head every since.

Day 2 we walked up through the moorelands. Again the scenery was breath taking, as it was everyday. I couldn’t sleep though! I guess it was a combination of the altitude and the cold. The third day, we climbed to lava tower, which is close in altitude to base camp, the camp you stay at before the summit. Then, we hiked downhill for two hours to Barranco camp. The 4th day was long and hard. It started with traversing the Barranco wall, which is hands and feet climbing up the side of this giant rock wall. We also crossed Karanga valley, which, on the way back up, is so steep you would laugh if you saw it. We were walking so slow. All the guides and porters keep telling us, “pole pole!” Go slow! Our guide was a guy named Paul. He was fantastic. He's 27 and lives here in Moshi. He spoke English really well and new the mountain so well. He was a porter first, then a cook, then an assistant guide, and now he's been a guide for 3 years. Peter was our assistant guide, and the four of us, he said, were familia Kilimanjaro.

On the fourth day, we arrived at base camp at around 2:30 pm, had tea (which we have everyday!) and then had dinner at around 5. Just a side note, we were woken up every morning with tea and coffee in our tents. So nice. And we ate three hot meals a day on the mountain. And we had our own little tent with a table and chairs for every meal. It was glamping - glamour camping - to the max. They thought of every little detail to make it a more comfortable, enjoyable experience for everyone. It’s quite the system them run here. So, every day on the mountain you went to sleep (or tried at least) as soon as it got dark. Every morning we woke up at about 6 so we could be walking by 7. On the summit night we woke up at 11:30 pm. We left at 12:30, in complete darkness. We walked and walked and walked and walked. It was freezing cold and so windy. My nose and face still have wind burn 2 days later! But, through all the light headed hours of walking, I finally made it to Uhuru Peak! It sits at 5895 meters, which is 19,341 ft. Africa’s Highest point! It was worth every step. 

Here are some pictures from the trip!

So far away! - Day 2

 Sunset at Shira Camp - Day 2

 The Shira "Cave" with Naama and some amazing porters and guides - Michael, Angela, and Peter

 Kili keeps on growing! - Day 3

 Lava Tower - Highest point of Day 3

 Taking a break after the Barranco Wall - Day 4

 Amazing sunrise on the summit morning - Day 5

One of the breathtaking glaciers on top of the mountain - Day 5

 A view of Base Camp, heading back down from the summit - Day 5

Familia Kilimanjaro! Lane, Naama, Paul & Peter - Day 6

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