Kilimanjaro 2007 – Day 1

Drive: Marangu to Rongai
Walk:
Rongai (2000m) to Simba Camp (2627m)

Notes and photos from my Kilimanjaro diaries written in 2007. Uploaded to my blog in 2009 but posted with a 2007 publish date.

No hot water in the hotel for a final wash before starting our trek. Braved some cold water instead. Divided all my luggage into day bag, main bag and a bag to leave at the hotel i.e. stuff useless for the climb such as phone charger, shower gel etc…

Set off in minibus to our start site  A few people already have diarrhoea which didn’t make a pleasant journey for them. The bus drove around the volcano at a height of about 1500m-1800m (thanks GPS phone) to get to Rongai, our starting point near the Kenyan border on the north side of Kilimanjaro. Not much to see on the bumpy mountain road for about four hours except for plenty of shops advertising and selling just Coca-Cola.

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We kitted up at the start and were pestered for the first kilometre or so by local kids asking for “chocolate / money”. My lunchbox was on display at the back of my backpack so I was a primary target.

The start of the route was exceptionally dusty and my Nordic walking pole extensions were fairly useless. Enjoyed getting into the rhythm of using the poles and started to appreciate how useful they would be. The dusty path gave way to a path through forest where we saw several black-and-white colobus monkeys.

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After a fairly leisurely walk for four or so hours, we emerged from the forest and tall bushes into a clearing where the many porters had set up our tents. Sharing with Aman, I got out my Thermarest and sleeping bag to set up my bed for the night before it got dark. We were handed a bowl of hot water to wash with before dinner, and made out way to the massive food tent where we all played card games before a sumptuous meal.

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As the clouds cleared after sunset, we finally got our first glimpse of Kibo Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro.

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