The day before departure

Trip Start Feb 15, 2008
1
9
Trip End Feb 25, 2008


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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm not sure exactly when I first got the urge to climb Africa's hightest mountain - Mt Kilimanjaro, but it was after my first trip to Africa last year that I actually decided to go through with it. I met quite a few people in Zanzibar who'd just come back from doing the climb, and they all raved about how great it had been. If they could all get to the top, how hard could it be??

So after scraping together some cash (lets face it, this is not a cheap adventure) and convincing my boss to let me have some MORE time off work, I went ahead and booked the trip. And after months of planning and research, plus hundreds of spent on all manner of gear and equipment, the day of my departure to Tanzania has almost arrived.

But before I begin, a little bit of background to Kili for the non-trekkers amongst you....

At 5,895m, Mt Kilimanjaro (affectionaly known as 'Kili') is situated in northern Tanzania, near the border of Kenya. It's the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, and the highest in Africa. To put it into perspective, Everest is 8,840m, and for the Aussies reading this, Mt Kosciusco is a measly 2,228 metres, so its somewhere in between. Kili is the only mountain which you can 'walk' to the top of, but that doesnt mean it's easy. It just means you dont need to use ropes, crampons and other scary climbing equipment (aka Joe Simpson) to get there, and for that reason it attracts around 30,000 trekkers a year.

The trek generally takes between 4 and 7 days, depending on which route you take. There are 3 or 4 main routes up the mountain - one of them involves staying in mountain huts, and the others all involve camping. Based on the recommendations of others, I have decided to go via the northern Rongai route which is meant to be one of the quieter paths. I just don't fancy sleeping in stinky old huts with 20 snoring men when I can have my very own tent. Mmmm luxury....
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