Climbing the Roof of Africa – Day 1 on Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro Africa

Getting started…

MOUNT KILIMANJARO, 5895m, highest mountain of Africa, one of the Seven Summits!!!

On 25th December 2015, six months after booking our flights, we finally were at Munich airport to board our flight to Tanzania – what a day! As we didn’t want to join an “open” tour, but rather have our own company we know the sport and fitness level from, we started recruiting almost a year before and four guys and good friends from allover Germany joined us.

Via one stopp in Istanbul and roughly 18 hours, our Turkish Airlines flight (consider the Turkish football league shirt in the picture above – it didn’t get him an upgrade in the end…) reached Kilimanjaro International Airport. We got picked up from a driver from our tour operator Ahsante Tours and got dropped at our lodge in Moshi.

The next day we met our tanzanian guide named Julio Ludago. After a short chat we figured out that this is the guy who is attempting to break the world record in running up and down Kilimanjaro in under 7 hours. (Find out more about Julio!) Crazy world… With this in mind you immediately feel very safe and in good hands on the one hand, but on the other hand absolutely unfit. 🙂

Julio eventually checked all our gear and equipment and got us detailed insights in what’s gonna happen the next 8 days. We attempted to climb the mountain from the West via the Lemosho route and spend one night (preferrably after the summit) in the crater on 5.790m – so better be well prepared! We decided for this longer and less travelled route as we wanted to higher our chances to reach the summit due to a better acclimatization. And the crater we included as we thought it would be something speical not many people do. 🙂

A detailed blogpost about what to pack and bring for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will follow soon!

Let the games begin!

In the morning of 27th December we registered to Mount Kilimanjaro Nationalpark at Londorossi Gate, the western entrance gate to the park. This is also where we met our whole crew and where the porters packed the luggage. Everyone is allowed to carry 20kg plus their own equipment, so we were able to pass them 15kg maximum. The rest was filled up with food, camping gear and tent equipment.

It was another merely half hour drive on a dirt road to the real start of our trek, the Lemosho Gate, on 2.360m. Punctually when we arrived at the trailhead.. it started raining! But thanks to our McKinley hardshell equipment this didn’t work us up! 🙂

Lemosho Gate Kilimanjaro
Start of our Kilimanjaro climb at Lemohso Gate

Even with the rain the trek was beautiful! We climbed about 2,5 hours and 7km through lush rainforest and spotted many apes and monekys. As we are usually quite fast hikers, it was really hard to stick to the very (VERY!) slow pace the guides adviced us to take. We tried to drink as much as possible, although we did neither sweat nor were thirsty, but had to fuel up our bodies for “heigher grounds”.

McKinley Hiking Kilimanjaro
Beautiful rainforest view on our day up to Camp 1

The first night on Kilimanjaro

The first night we stayed in a lovely place called “Big Tree Camp” or just “Forest Camp”. Once we reached the camp, our crew had already built up our tents and coffee and popcorn was waiting for us. 🙂

The nationalpark staff takes their job very serious and in each camp you have to register again with your whole group. After a short rest with coffee and tea we explored the surroundings of the campground and found a quite beautiful place to relax.

Dinner at the mountain was always quite early around 7 pm and after eating with our group, we decided to get in touch with the locals. 🙂

Well, actually we were in search of power (Note: There is no power or charging options on the mountain, so you have to household with your camera and cell phone battery! Especially higher up you have to keep them close to your body to keep them warm, or they will discharge quite quickly..), but ultimately got invited by the camp staff for a second dinner at their cozy little hut. That, believe us, was an adventure itself!

“This was the initial trick, but the second followed quick!”

Night tent view

Continue to read about Day 2 on Kilimanjaro! 🙂

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