Date: Sept/Oct. School holidays
Report by: Caro Ekermans, Circle president Tygerberg, as told by Juliet Thomatos and Sandy Delport
During the Sept/Oct school holidays I, Juliet Thomatos, and Sandy Delport of the Joostenberg branch, left for Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain peak in Africa, at 595metres above sea level. We arrived in the town called Moshi, near Kilimanjaro, and left for the national park gate on the following day.
The trip started through the rainforest, which was beautiful. It took 7 hours to get to the first hut for the night – Mandara Hut – which is 272m above sea level. The following day took us through the desert where vegetation got less and less, till we reached Horombo Hut, 372m above sea level. We were surprised to see lots of protea plants and the everlasting flower which looks like our South African vygies, but as the name says, it lasts forever. There was no wildlife except for the occasional bird, as not much can live at such high altitudes. We were now above the clouds and the views were breathtaking. By now our oxygen levels had started lowering as our bodies were adapting to the high altitudes. The following day was spent acclimatizing at that altitude and on day four we set off for base camp, Kibo Hut, 475m above sea level. The weather was extremely cold, -12 degrees, by now and at midnight we set off from base camp to summit. Through sheer determination and with the aid of great guides we summited at Uhuru Peak at 08:15, after 8 hours of walking through loose sand/ volcanic ash and over rocks. The feeling was unbelievable and a very emotional moment for us. We planted the WAA flag, which we had carried all the way, at the top! It took 2 days to descend back to the park gate, but our feeling of accomplishment, pride and awe in ourselves made the hike back very easy.