Kilimanjaro Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
September 14th, 1999 – by: sarahsan
Climb Africaâ€›s highest mountain, 5895 meters above sea level, without the need for rope or climbing experience. Marangu Route is the easiest route and it usually takes 5 days/4 nights. The hike starts through rain forest where you can observe the birds and monkeys. We arrived at Mandara Hut (2700 m) in the afternoon, left our backpacks and decided to continue to Maundi Crater. The view from the crater over the forest to the main peak of Kibo and Mawensi gives you good inspiration for the trek to come. In the evening at Mandara we were just laying on our backs on the grass admiring the sky. Have never seen a sky so full of stars before. Because it was so dark you could see them so well. It also seemed like they were much bigger and much closer than usual.
From Mandara we continue through a zone of giant heather before we reached the moorland. As you leave the forest you get your first view of the top of the Kibo dome. It was beautiful, but seemed so fare away. The path to Horombo Hut (3720 m) is steep in places, but quite easy to follow. We chose to spend an extra night at Horombo to help acclimatization. This increases the chance of reaching the top. On our extra day at Horombo we walked up to the black and white Zebra Rock and just past 4000 m, then back again for some more rest.
On day 4 we started on the long hike (1000 m ascent) to Kibo Hut (4703 m). The path to Kibo is very easy, but this is where the altitude is starting to get to you. The pace was now very slow. Kibo was very basic and had no water supply, so everything had to be carried up. When you reach Kibo you so much need to rest, but sleeping is almost impossible because of the altitude. After some rest we were woken up at 11 pm and served tea and popcorn, then the last leg on the way up to Gillman's Point (5681 m) starting at midnight. We walked zig zag all through the night and reached the edge of the crater just in time to see the sunrise. This was just spectacular, both headache and nausea were forgotten. From Gillmanâ€›s Point to Uhuru Peak (5895 m) it takes another two hours. I did not consider if I wanted to do it or not. My body was just walking on auto pilot.
Back at the Marangu Gate we were so proud of ourselves. I can absolutely recommend climbing Africaâ€›s hightest mountain, but you should have great respect for how altitude affects you.
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