Tanzania 2004 - Mount Kilimanjaro

Reaching Uhuru Peak, the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, was my dream for years. In 1999 I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the first time. That time I made it to Gillman's Point at 5685 m on the crater rim. It's enough for a certificate stating that you've climbed the mountain, but it's not Uhuru Peak, it's not THE TOP.

It was a really exhausting climb back then via the Marangu trail, nicknamed the Coca Cola trail. Exhausting, because I didn't take enough time to get used to the altitude and didn't use drugs against altitude sickness. The Marangu trail is the trail that is most used. It has wooden huts to sleep in and the trail is really scenic.

I desperately wanted to make it to Uhuru Peak this time. That is why I booked this trip that did an excellent preparation for the climb. The trek through the Crater Highlands and the climbs of both the Ol Doinyo Lengai and Mount Meru prepared us for this final climb and ultimate goal of this trip. Well, the ultimate goal for me at least.

The Kilimanjaro is a sleeping volcano. In fact it consists of three volcanos: Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo. Kibo is the highest of these three volcanos. The highest point of Kibo, and thus the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro, is called Uhuru Peak (5895 m).

There are many trails up to the peak. The Marangu and Machame trails are the best known. Marangu is the most popular and Machame is considered the most scenic route. Both these routes are very crowded. I don't care, but many people prefer to take a less busy trail, even if such a trail isn't as beautiful as other trails. We took the Lemosho trail to the top, starting at 2380 m, via Forrest Camp (2785 m), Shira 1 (3470 m), Shira 2 (3840 m) and Arrow Glacier Camp (4800 m). From Arrow Glacier Camp we climbed the Western Breach to reach the crater. The Western Breach is the most difficult non-technical climb up to the crater.

I made it to Uhuru peak and I'm really proud of that. Reaching the highest point of the continent I love so much, was an extraordinary and emotional experience and a dream come true. I also felt very happy because all members of the group made it to the top. After a not too long stay at the peak (you develop a bad headache or worse if staying there too long), we started our descent via the Mweka trail. The Mweka trail is used almost exclusively for descents. We camped at the relatively new Millenium Camp before our final descent through beautiful forests to the Mweka park entrance.

Londorosi Gate
Rules at Londorosi Gate
Forest Camp, Christmas Eve
Rest on the way to Shira 1
View on Kibo from Shira 1
Another view on Kibo
Porters going up and down the mountain
Giant lobelias
Shira 2
Our group tent with Rieno en Dirk enjoying the view
Shira 2 with Kibo hidden behind the clouds
The view on Kibo changes constantly
The view on Kibo changes constantly
On the way to Arrow Glacier Camp
Len, about to take her daypack to move on after a short break
Dramatic lava landscape
Lava Tower
Lava Tower
View on the Western Breach
Twan, filling a water bottle
Another view on the Western Breach
Arrow Glacier Camp
Arrow Glacier Camp and the Western Breach
The Western Breach
Arrow Glacier Camp
The Western Breach
The Western Breach
The Western Breach
Climb to the crater
Climb to the crater (Courtesy HT Wandelreizen / Dirk Verwoerd)
Reached the crater
Glacier in the crater
Glacier in the crater
Final climb to the crater rim; after this it's an almost flat walk to the peak
The crater as seen from the rim
Me at Uhuru Peak, the highest point on the African continent
The group at Uhuru Peak (Courtesy HT Wandelreizen / Dirk Verwoerd)
Another picture of a glacier in the crater
Pebble found in Oss, my place of birth, with my name on it, now forever on the roof of Africa
At Milennium Camp, the final camp during the descent
The beautiful forest on the descent to Mweka gate
The beautiful forest on the descent to Mweka gate
Down in Moshi, tired, smelly, lost seven kilo's, but very happy and relieved

<-- Previous: Mount Meru