“Pole pole” on Kilimanjaro
This was the last Kilimanjaro trip of the season and all six clients made to the top. The group arrived on the 9th August 2014. First night at our private camp was very special place to be. Driving in darkness from the airport, Michael said, “Ben, what are we going to see?” “Nothing!” I answered, jokingly. It is very dark but we could see some lights in the villages, and in the park before camp we saw a waterbuck and three rabbits. So perhaps I was wrong, as we did see something!
Tanzania at night. Mountain Madness collection
The morning of the 10th, the group were introduced to each other and met properly. The sounds of animals during the night and to be able to see them in the day time was amazing. As the Trip Leader, I did the trip briefing and it seemed like everyone felt happy to be with such knowledgeable guides. The best part of the briefing was explaining the history of the Tanzania that lots of people do not know, clients are always happy to hear more about my beautiful country. The group also learned some of the Kiswahili words that we could use along the trail.
Mount Kilimanjaro at dawn as seen from Mount Meru. Mountain Madness collection
The group had a chance to hike to the waterfalls to the base of Mount Meru. Not only did we discuss the history of the waterfalls but they learned a lot about the tribe that lives near that mountain (Meru tribe). If that was not enough we then had sundowners, which was outstanding because we had troop of baboons at every angle very close to us and the cape buffaloes on the other side. Michael said, “what a spectacular day!”
The group at the Mount Meru waterfalls. Ben Mality photo
Climbing Kilimanjaro from day one was very nice as you learn a lot from the guides and porters. Most porters did not speak English but you could tell that they were happy working with Mountain Madness. Hiking in the Montane Forest, it is always fun to hear and see monkeys and birds. It was so nice to see animal tracks at the Shira Plateau. These were tracks of elands, cape buffaloes, jackals and mountain duiker.
The Western Breach was the best part of the climb as you see the best part of the mountain. The rock formation and the landscape below were amazing. It was the best way to get to the summit and the clients were particularly impressed after seeing the crowds on the opposite side of the mountain during the descent.
On the trail. Ben Mality photo
The ash pit, or summit crater, was an amazing place to go. The team explored the crater and had so much fun taking pictures of the impressive glacier. I took a moment to explore the second rim of the inner crater. It was exciting to see the wet sulphur and smoke rising from it. It is an excellent place to see, though, with the sulphur fumes, you have to be careful not to be there too long otherwise you will get a slight headache. I wish the rest of the clients had decided to come with me! It is the place that very few people get the chance to see. Come with Mountain Madness and you will be able to go there and see.
The Furtwangler Glacier near our camp is melting quickly. It was sad to see how it gets smaller every time I go there. I hope more people will come to see it before it disappears.
Crater Camp. Mountain Madness collection
Crater Camp was cold but the hot water bottles that were given to the clients made a big difference. All slept well and summited quickly on the following day. People who started from the other routes at midnight did not look as healthy and rested as our clients. They were tired and froze the whole night while we had a short climb to the summit (1 hour). Our team had 100% success! “Pole pole” means slowly in Kiswahili, and it is the key of success on the mountain. The group had two young ones, Thomas (14yrs) and Nicola (15yrs) and all made to the top of Kilimanjaro (19,340ft). For sure it was a strong group and I am happy that all made to the top.
Showing off the Mountain Madness zip hoodie. Ben Mality photo
~MM Guide Benhadad Mality