Below is a story about a recent trip to Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania written by one of my student’s at my English school, Smith’s school of English Ohtsu.
My student’s name is Mitsuhiro. He is a Forest Keeper and a very determined English student, as English helps him with all his travelling. His hobbies include running marathons, para-gliding and mountaineering. This last hobby in particular leads him to travel a lot, and for this he is inspired to study hard every day. He has been studying with us at Smith’s school of English Ohtsu since Fall 2009, and we are incredibly proud of the progress he has made so far. I want to thank Mitsuhiro for allowing me to publish his incredible story, and I hope you enjoy it.
My Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa travels.
I joined a trekking tour due to climb Mt Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in Africa for about two weeks in early February.
Trekking generally refers to hiking on famous roads. However, you may be aiming to reach the top of a mountain like this tour.
Tour staffs carry group equipment such as food, tents, etc when trekking. So they set up tents and also cook meals for tourists. It is relatively easy to climb a mountain compared to full-fledged climbing.
This tour’s itinerary was as follows.
The first day (Feb.6). It was snowy on this day in Shiga area. I worried that trains were delayed. Set time was at 9 o’clock p.m. at Kansai international airport. I left home early at 6 o’clock. But fortunately the train was not delayed.
At KIX I met other tour members and a guide. Total was 10 persons. Five women and five men.
We boarded the airplane for Dubai in U.A.E departing at 11:30. It was full.
The second day (Feb.7). After 11 hours and 30 minutes flight, we arrived in Dubai at local time 5:30 a.m. We transferred to a flight to Nairobi, Kenya here. Then we arrived in Nairobi at local time 3:00 p.m. after a flight of 5 hours .
It was slightly hot but not as I thought. Perhaps I think the reason is that Nairobi is located at 1,650m above sea level.
We headed for the hotel in two cars.
The third day (Feb.8). On this early morning we started to go to the border town Namanga in Kenya with a minibus. Then we went into Arusha which is one of the major cities in Tanzania. And we transferred from the minibus to another.
We arrived at a hotel in Moshi town that is the base for climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.
The fourth day (Feb.9). It was a sunny day. At 8:30 a.m. we got on a minibus from the hotel and went to the Machame gate which is the starting point for climbing. At the park office our guide followed the necessary procedures for entering the park. And we joined local guides, porters, and cooks. At 11:00 a.m. we really started to hike to Mt Kilimanjaro. We hiked through the forest zone. At 4 o’clock we arrived at the first tent site, Machame Hut. From this day we started to live in small tents with two persons each.
The fifth day (Feb 10). It was a sunny day. Every morning until the day of attacking the peak, we got up at 7:00 a.m. and left at 8:30. We hiked through the low shrub zone. We arrived at Shira Cave tent site.
The sixth day (Feb 11). It was sunny in the morning. But after a while it began to drizzle. We were over 4,000m above mean sea level. We ate lunch at a rocky peak named Lava Tower. At 3:00 p.m. we arrived at Great Barranco Valley tent site.
The seventh day (Feb.12). It was sunny. We climbed a steep slope called Great Barranco Wall. It was crowded with tourists and porters, because many tourists and porters started to climb up through the narrow path all at once.
We hiked slowly for the mountain sickness prevention and arrived before noon at Karanga tent site. In the evening it was foggy.
The eighth day (Feb.13). It was sunny until the evening. We made a short trip also today for the mountain sickness prevention. We arrived at Barafu tent site before noon. We took a rest for that night’s peak attack. It was snowy before dinner. It stopped snowing and the wind began to blow . It got cold.
Mt Mawenzi was very beautiful because it became clear due to snow and wind. We could see Mt Kilimanjaro very near. We took a nap.
The ninth day (Feb.14). We got up at 11:00 at night. We ate a snack. We started at midnight. We were equipped with headlamps and wore warm clothes. We began to hike up slowly toward Uhuru Peak. Other teams began walking. The stars were twinkling clearly. It was very cold. We arrived at Stella Point before dawn at the outer point near the summit. And then finally at 6:30 a.m. we arrived at Uhuru Peak (5,895m AMSL) the highest peak in Africa. The sun was shining. It was very cold and windy. But it made many people very happy to arrive at the top. We were taking pictures of each other. The summit was covered slightly with snow. We could see the thick cross-sections of the glaciers. The 360-degrees view was spectacular. I thought to stay longer on the summit but we had to hike down the top after about 30 minutes due to cold. We went down so fast. After arriving in Barafu, we arranged our luggage. We still hiked down to Mweka camp. At 3:00 p.m. We arrived at Mweka camp (3,100m). We had teatime and took dinner delightfully. And we immediately fell asleep.
The tenth day (Feb.15). After breakfast, we held a farewell party. Our staff sang a Kilimanjaro song for us. We also sang songs for them in return. We left at 7:30 a.m. and walked leisurely. We arrived safely at Mweka gate at 10:45 a.m. We finished this tour.
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