A trip to the roof of Africa: Mount Kilimanjaro
The journey started with a dream of my dad to climb the highest free-standing mountain in the world with his children. Two weeks ago (January 6 at 06:05 AM) we were standing on Uhuru Peak and looking at a sky full of clouds burning in the morning sun. This is the best way to describe the view on the top of the Kilimanjaro.
On December 29th we flew from Schiphol Airport to Kilimanjaro International Airport to start our adventure on Mnt Kili. Yes, we celebrated New Year’s eve with a glass of gluhwein in Kilimanjaro’s mountain forest with our guides and porters. Cheers to that!
In the next four days we noticed that we were getting closer and closer to the steep parts of the mountain. We started at 1800m altitude, but in four days-time we reached the 4600m camps.
Day six is important because it’s the day before reaching basecamp and the day you need to prepare for the summit. The name of basecamp is Barafu Camp which is Swahili for “ice camp”. When we arrived at basecamp around 11 AM, we got a warm lunch and made sure to eat plenty. All lunches and dinners were great: 3 courses with lots of veggies and taste! Then, at 2 PM, you need to sleep but we were too excited for what was coming.
The guides woke us at 11 PM so we would be up and hiking at midnight. The climb to the summit takes about 6 hours. Basecamp has an altitude of 4673m and we are going to Uhuru Peak at 5895m.
Walking pole pole (slowly, slowly) we were getting closer and closer. I think that around 3 or 4 AM I was not feeling my fingers or feet anymore – the cold was terrible (-25 degree Celsius) and the freezing temperature of the wind even worse. At this point I thought multiple times of turning back.. but I am so glad I didn’t and kept on walking.
Around 5:15 AM we arrived at Stella Point. We knew that it would take us only 45 minutes more to the top from Stella Point. Great accomplishment and a big smile came on our faces. We can do it! And indeed, almost 45 minutes later we were standing on the roof of Africa while the sun was rising and filling the sky with a red glow. It was incredible! I am happy my sister got her camera out and managed to take pictures of us on Uhuru Peak because my fingers were not in a state of “action”. Hereby the evidence: we have climbed the Kilimanjaro in 6 days!!
The way back was euphoric and we couldn’t stop talking about the view, the moment, the not-feeling of our hands & feet. That same day we descended to 3100m and had a BIG lunch and dinner. The next day we walked through the mountain forest back to the gate, 1800m.
What an adventure!
Many thanks to the great crew and guides that helped us during this journey.
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