Published: November 7th 2011September 15th 2011
Day 6 - Horombo Huts to Marangu Gate 3721m - 1905m Walking distance: 20.8 km / 12.92 miles Walking time: 5 hours Descent: 1816 m
On the final day we woke to brilliant bright sunshine with the cloud layer hugging the landscape below us. The previous days challenge seemed a distant memory and we were now looking forward to getting off the mountain to have our first shower in 6 days.
After our last breakfast we all gathered for the porter tipping ceremony. It is obligatory to tip the team of porters, cooks, waiters and guides who make it possible to reach the summit; without them we certainly wouldn't have made it and the low wages they are earning do not reflect the hard and dangerous work they do, and always with a friendly "Jambo!" (Hi!).
When everyone gathered we realised it was the first time we had seen the whole team together. Little had we realised there were so many as other than the main guides who walked with us everyday and the waiters who served dinner we seldom saw the behind-the-scene men. In total there was about 30 men!
The group started with a song
The Ports performed a song and dance to congratulate us.
and dance which although in Swahili was surprisingly catchy and we would find ourselves singing it over the next few days. Each group leader was then given their tips to distribute and we said our thanks before beginning the final walk down to the gate.
The weather remained sunny for the entire day and so allowed us to see the landscape we missed seeing on the way up due to the low cloud. The view was stunning with numerous smaller mountains, wild flowers and strange trees. It was a long and gradual downhill walk as we descended 1816m over about 21km. We both agreed that walking downhill was more effort than going up as you put a lot more shocks through your body.
Around 5 hours later we finally reached the gate after 6 days in which we climbed 3990m over 36km and then descended over the same ground. What better way to celebrate than with a Kilimanjaro beer!
The enormity of what we achieved didn't immediately sink in we were more interested in our first shower in six days. Once showered and in clean clothes we celebrated with a meal in our comfy hotel and really
had a chance to allow the adventure we had completed to sink in.
The amazing adventure was over, we said our goodbyes to our fellow trekkers who were flying home but we were off on our second adventure, safari in the Serengeti.
There are more photos below