After a long flight, with a very long layover in Istanbul, I landed in Kilimanjaro National Airport. It was the middle of the night but luckily Nyange Adventures provides a pick up, so I had nothing to be worried about. I cannot find the proper words to express my gratitude towards these people that made this trip happen so smoothly for me.
Firstly, the driver took me to the Honey Badger Lodge. This place is an amazing spot to relax and to feel extremely comfortable. It is not very cheap but Nyange includes one night before and one after the climb to get in the mood of your climbing adventure and to relax afterwards. In the afternoon I visited the office of Nyange to get everything settled down with Praise, the owner. They arranged a really beautiful package for me with everything I wanted to do (the climb itself costs 1580 USD). My adventure could begin.
I started with a 2-days safari. I joined a mixed group (a Spanish family, an English girl and a New-Zealand girl) and we went in one of these cool jeeps you normally only see on the national geographic channel. We went to Tarangire National Park. Where we had the most amazing time admiring lions, elephants, giraffes (my favorite!), zebras and so much more. It was incredible how much beauty there was over there. In the evening we slept in a sort of camping place where the tents were put up for you in advance: Heaven Nature.
The rest of the group was signed up for a 4-day safari, so the next day I left with my personal guide, Richard, to go to the Ngorongoro Crater. Richard was just amazing! He told me all the small interesting facts about the species living there and also that the crater that we were going to visit wasn’t really a crater but a collapsed volcanic coon. On this day I started to take the Diamox. Aleasha, the girl from New Zealand, she was a paramedic, told me to take a half pill in the morning and a half one at lunch, starting one day before the trekking. One minor problem with these pills: You have to pee a lot, like really a lot! So, there we were admiring these beautiful lions eating their lunch while I had a call from nature to run to a toilet. Of course it was out of the question to get out of the jeep and to take a little wee next to the lions. My hero Richard drove as fast as possible to the nearest toilets and I was saved. Thus keep this in mind: when taking Diamox you have to go to the toilet a lot! (You have to drink a lot of water also).
In the evening we returned to Moshi and I slept in the Backpackers Paradise. This wasn’t my favorite place because there were lots of mosquitos in the room but it was very central and close to the office. This was necessary because the next morning I had to have a check up of my stuff with one of the guides, Kevin, who was climbing with me. The day came and I was exhilarated like never before. I was so stressed and excited at the same time. Steve, a terrific guy working in the office, offered me breakfast and coffee and presented me to the people I was going to climb with, a Swedish couple. At first I was thinking: “A couple?! Hello third wheel…”. But Matilda and Filip turned out to be amazing people to do this with.
Then we met the whole crew: Our cook (called: mister Delicious. If one thing is sure: you don’t starve during your trip), our porters and our guides (Jackson and Kevin). These people made this journey happen and I am really thankful for them to have come with us with such an enthusiasm and care about us. We took the mini-van up to the foot of the mountain and that day (the 3th of September) we started climbing the Kilimanjaro. The first day you hike through the rain forest. As the word says, it was raining that day. Luckily for us it wasn’t that bad and we didn’t get soaked (I was also well prepared for the rain by putting all my clothes in separate plastic bags in the big backpack which also had rain protection).
While you are walking you always keep it Polé Polé (slowly). As you are gaining in altitude you do not want to go too fast. The first part is like if you were in Tarzan’s house with all the lianas and hanging moss that is called: Old men’s beard. The hike was about 11km and we gained 1200m (1800m à 3000m). At the end of the journey you get out of the jungle and arrive in an open space where suddenly we saw the summit of Kilimanjaro for the first time. This was the moment that I realized what a great adventure I was on (and of course that I had to climb 2985m more to get to the top in 4 days: CRAZY!).
The camping spot was extremely beautiful. When you arrive your porters have already put up all your stuff and you can change into warm clothes and have delicious food. We got a bowl of water to wash ourselves and the scenery was perfect. At night the stars were amazing. If it weren’t that cold I would have slept outside the tent to gaze them all night long. We went to bed early, like every night, and I was thinking that if this were already so beautiful, how would it be up, on the top?
(To be continued)
P.S.: My name was pretty difficult to say so they asked for my last name, which was difficult as well. I explained them that when you say it in two parts “petit lion” it becomes ‘little lion’ in French. Ever since they all called me little lion.
P.S.S.: I have so many things to tell that I cannot put everything in one article. Subscribe with your email address to receive an email when the next part is out!
Have a nice week and Merry Christmas to you all!