Kilimanjaro Climb

by Lin Kayton

Tracewidth=350y and I would like to thank everyone who donated toward our charity climb. We had the most remarkable experience, and raised just over R20ꯠ.00 for KZN CPA to use for requirements at Reunion School. While this was far short of our goal, we are comforted in the knowledge that the money will be put to good use.

Returning to Durban, we felt like two little hobbits, back from an incredible adventure, and very happy to be home and safe. Even though we were well prepared physically, the climb was considerably tougher than we’d anticipated.

At 5꽟m above sea level, Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world. It took 5 solid days to climb to the summit, and two days to come down. Thankfully we had each other for moral support when the going got tough, and we were further motivated by the fact that many people back home were following our progress. It certainly buoyed us to know we were not just doing it for ourselves, but for a most worthy cause.

The Kilimanjaro climb tour operators are exceptionally well organised - the guides and food can’t be faulted, and the porters are legendary in their ability to carry upwards of 20kg and sail across treacherous terrain with little to no proper gear. They were a source of great amazement to everyone, and we marvelled at their strength, agility and humility more with each passing day (that for official pay of $5.00 a day before tips).

The best part of the journey – aside from the majestic views and comradeship in our group of 10, which hailed from all over the world – would no doubt be the sense of accomplishment at the end, and learning how far you can push yourself physically and mentally.

Victory is sweet, but very short ... just enough time for a few photos at the top (for those who remembered how to work their cameras and are brave enough to take off their gloves!). Then begins the gruelling descent to base camp, which took us a further 4 hours. A quick bite, one hour of sleep, and then another few hours of descent before reaching camp for the night.

The next day we completed the descent under muddy and dangerously slippery conditions and returned to the hotel by rickety 4x4 to enjoy a much needed shower, dinner with our new best friends, and a comfortable bed. In barely a week, the hotel seemed to have transformed from a simple one star base to the Ritz.

An enjoyable, rewarding, but humbling experience all round. We are aware what a privilege such an excursion is, and would like to thank our families for supporting us in our quest. And thank you for allowing us to share our story.

[ Posted 11 October 2012 ]

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