A day in the Life of a Trekker on Mt Kilimanjaro

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Africa » Tanzania » North » Mount Kilimanjaro
February 6th 2018
Published: February 13th 2018
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I thought some might be interested in what our day looked like whilst climbing Kili.

We were woken by Fadhili, our waiter at around 6.30am. He popped his head in with a tray full of tea, coffee, milo, sugar and powdered milk in one hand and hot water in the other. We then sat in our sleeping bag which was on 2 mattresses, and slowly woke up with every sip of coffee.

Next was starting to pack up our sleeping bag, pack our day pack and pack our back pack which was carried by porters. I was so please that my back pack was under 8kgs, however the porter’s loads were all weighed so they had to share the weight. Before breakfast we had to have all the content of our tents packed.

We then heard Fadhili’s voice again. This time he appeared with a bowl of hot water and soap for each of us. Magnificent! Facewasher in hand, after a few minutes the ‘shower’ was done. Last bit of packing done, and I left the tent with day pack and my walking poles.

We all joined in the Mess Tent at the designated time, usually 7.15am. We were all punctual. Anyone who needed more sterilised water for their containers, filled them up from the enclosed container that Fadhili organised. Greg from Canada also had a mini filtration pump which took any last particles out of the water.

Breakfast included hot drinks with the usual variety of ‘mixers’, yummy, smooth porridge using several different grains, eggs in a variety of formats, sometimes toast, sometimes fried pastries, and a variety of fruit. It was a wholesome breakfast which we needed.

While the porters were packing up camp, we 7, with day packs on and walking poles in hand, started our pole-pole trek with the 3 guides. We usually left before 8.00am. Less than a half an hour later, the fit, fast porters, with their heavy loads, started to pass us. We always said, “Mambo Mambo” (hello) as they passed us and got really excited when we saw our porters coming. There were other companies on the same track so other porters. If they said “Jambo” we would say “Pauwa” in Swahili.

On the way, our guides always reminded us to drink water as hydration in altitude was essential. They would say “sippy sippy”. It became quite a joke as we had noticed that the guides didn’t “sippy sippy”, so we gave them heaps about that, particularly Masu who was the jokester of the group and I am guessing, the oldest. Chunga was the most serious but often the leader and was great at leading the sing songs. Daudi was the tallest and best looking and had the most beautiful, deep talking and singing voice. We later learned he was going into radio announcing. I told him he should apply for TV work also. He had the best singing voice, and we particularly loved it which we were going up the 5895m Uhuru Peak.

Each camp was positioned perfectly for rest and recuperation (except for the most important day/night when we conquered the Peak). We got into camp, usually normal or late lunch time and sat down to a hot lunch. The menu was always so tasty. Tanzanians love using pepper so that was great for me. We particularly loved the cucumber pepper soup.

The meal always started with soups which were amazing. They gave us either chicken dishes or vegetarian dishes, sometimes with rice, chips, sometimes with dahl or naan or other varieties of breads, but all freshly cooked on a single burner gas bottle by one cook and 2 assistances, sitting on little 3 legged stool, inside a small tent. Incredible! We always had fruit. With the hot dishes, we also had hot vegies served in solid containers. We never went hungry, and we got in the habit of checking if there were other dished being bought to us so that we could gauge how much to eat of the earlier dishes served up.

When we got to the next camp which was always so well set up, our porters took our day pack and showed us where our tents were. Many of the days, during our resting (and stretching) in the afternoon, we would see Fadhili again with a bowl of hot (sometimes cold) water. It was so good to have a wash before lunch or dinner.

We all shares the hire of a toilet - best $10 USD each we spent ($70 to hire the toilet and man to carry/manage it).

Each night we had a briefing from the 3 guides and had out VO2 Max taken along with our pulse. We also had to record on a paper, how we felt re how we rated ourselves out of 10, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, ability to eat etc. They monitored us very closely. Each of us had our own sheet of paper where we recorded our results. The briefings included times, distances, the type of terrain and what we needed and would expect the next day. It also gave us an opportunity to ask questions as well as get to know the guides even better and joke around with them. VO2 Max had to be above 80 and they told us that if we assessed ourselves 2 or less, they would take us down the mountain. We all made a mental note of that!!!!!

Several times we got together with the Tanzanians as they all stood in a circle and sang and danced. It was such fun and we got to know them all a little better. They really wanted the environment to be happy and friendly and "like a big family".

Bed time was usually any time between 8.30 – 9.30pm, knowing that as soon as the Tanzanians were up the next morning, we would be awake. We all got into our daily routine and I think we all settled in very well. By day 8-9 we were definitely thinking of long hot showers and hair washing.

If you are considering climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, consider Top Climbers Expedition as your company. The 8 day Lemosho route cost just under $2,200 AUD including everything and it is the most beautiful track and with gentle acclimatisation. I would highly recommend the experience.

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