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Kilimanjaro, Tanzania


I have added the maps of Kilimanjaro and the parks we went on Safari.

Airport is just west of Moshi and east of Arusha.

Our hotel was in Moshi and we motored to the hike north at the Machame route Gate, the entrance to the park proper. When we returned, we exited the park on a different trail to the Mweka Gate, taking us past the marathon route to Moshi.

Park map shows each camp we stayed on the way up and down with elevation at each camp. Each day's hike wasn't more than 10k allowing us to acclimate to the thin air. (6 camps total, five up one down.)

Safari took us from Moshi through Arusha towards Ngorongoro preserve, east of Serengeti Plain.

We Begin on Foot

We finally reached the main gate for Machame trailhead. It’s a fortress. A huge barbed wire fence greets explorers at the gate, and many hawkers were barraging us. They are always waiting to get chosen as porters or just simply trying to sell shirts, hats, bandanas, junky souvenirs, or whatever. Once inside the gate we were safe from the disturbances. We stopped by the ranger station. (Those are desks at various campsites along the climb where you check in with the park police.) After signing in, we observed one of the people who would be our cook choosing and packing up the fresh vegetables we would need for our week on the mountain. We were eager to sample the local fare.

We left. The trail was cool and very well groomed, with impatiens and passion flowers all along the way. The sereneness of the trails was refreshing, with many different birds singing. We reached the halfway mark of the trail about 1:30 p.m. under full sun. About this time we met up with a couple from Germany and chatted a bit. I was already huffing and puffing getting to this point because we were still severely jet lagged.

The trail continued up through dense trees, but then they began to thin out as the way inclined. The pace for me started to slow a bit. Our guide regulated our pace. Bill and Craig were strong climbers. I was content to lag behind them and take my own pace, enjoy the solitude. I was really not interested in hearing American politics here in Africa. Something that quite upset me whenever we came upon travelers from other countries was that somehow the conversation had to swing around to Bush bashing.

We reached Machame Camp (at 9,996 feet) late afternoon. Just after our arrival, the skies opened up, and it rained hard. It was a messy and crowded site—especially with the mud from the rain. Thank goodness it wasn’t long-lived. The sun came out to present some incredible views of Kili and surrounding mountains. I knew I got some good shots. We spent time meeting other hikers from France and Australia.

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