Mt Kilimanjaro Daring the Rooftop of Africa word by Wangari Monicah
How It Started
The thought of soaring Africa’s rooftop felt scary, not that I had not thought of it and internalized it for months prior. It still gave me chills. However, I kept asking myself; ‘If not now, when?’ And so I settled on a date and began preparing for it.
Before entertaining the thought of it, I had taken up hiking consistently since October 2020. I would do at least a hike per month which eventually translated into two hikes per month. I had the dream of getting to the highest point of my motherland. So I summited Mt Kenya in March 2021. The next goal automatically for me became Mt Kilimanjaro. Commonly referred to as Kili within the hiking community. This felt intimidating, so I put it off at first. I dreamt about it but chose to wait until I felt ready enough. Mentally and Physically.
Then June 2022 came and I felt ready. It felt right to pursue Kili. One of those cases of if you know, you know. I began intentionally preparing for it.; researching about it, working out, drinking more water, and doing high altitude hikes within Kenya. The Aberdare Ranges offered the perfect training ground.
The 6-Day Mt Kilimanjaro Trek
In the company of three ladies and a support team of 14, we started the pursuit of what would become a highlight in our lives for years to come in November 2022. Mt Kilimanjaro is a beautiful mountain. The trails steadily incline most of the time with just a few spots being steep. The forest has four main zones/regions: Rainforest, low alpine, high alpine, and glacial zone. They change into different features the higher up one goes. Lower altitude is covered in forest trees while higher altitude is covered in gravel and stone.
We trekked for six days via the Machame-Mweka Route. We ascended in four and a half days and descended in one and a half days. The days got harder the higher up we went. Because with higher altitude, oxygen levels decrease making you prone to altitude sickness. I suffered from nausea and a headache on the third day. These went away after taking medicine and resting. Generally, all the days were a party except day three evening and the summit chase. The summit chase usually begins at midnight. Arrival time at the rooftop of Africa depends on the group’s speed. Nothing about it was easy. This was where our grit was tested. We all made it to the summit. 5,895 meters above sea level. Our hearts were full.
During our Kili trek, we would hear ‘pole pole’ often from the Tanzanian guides and porters. This is an instruction for you to take it easy. A step at a time, at your own pace. They would also sing for us especially when we were in the thick of it. Their Swahili proficiency and impressive accent would make yours run and hide in embarrassment.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Mt Kilimanjaro gave me the experience of a lifetime. I hope to experience it more times in this beautiful life.
Upcoming Hike Events
I curate hiking experiences and encourage anyone who would like to join me to do so. Here’s where you can find upcoming hike events; Upcoming Hikes or reach me on +254 726770113. Till next time guys.