Day 7: Kilimanjaro Climb: Mweka Camp (3100m) to Mweka Gate (1500m)
We start the day with a huge breakfast as we try to recover from our calorie deficit caused by yesterday's madness. This is closely followed by issuing tips to our fabulous crew of guides and porters. As we were dealing with a crew of 40, who are all tipped according to seniority, this is an immensely complicated procedure and thankfully we have a human calculator on hand (in the form of Ken).
We are quickly hurried off down the trail by Msuri and there is an end of term feel on the trail today. Porters rush down the trail, eager to get back to their homes and families, whilst trekkers are dreaming of hot showers and comfortable beds.
This last day was something of a highlight for me. The trail winds through beautiful cloud forest, the pressure is off and the pace is relaxed, which gives me time to chat with everyone in the group. Although we have only spent seven or eight days together we have gelled into a great team and I have made some wonderful friends. It is great to have this time to chat about the climb and plans for the future.
All too soon the noise of Mweka Gate overwhelms the birdsong of the cloud forest and we are thrust back into the real world. Traders hustle for our business, offering t-shirts, carvings and ice cold cokes whilst we wait for our land rovers to take is back to Arusha. I fill in our names, passport numbers and occupations in the big black book for the final time and Hezron and Stacey soon arrive to whisk us back to Arusha and our waiting showers at the Outpost.
Our Kilimanjaro Climb is over and all that remains is to enjoy a fabulous celebratory meal at the Bay Leaf in Arusha.
The next day we start to head our different ways. Caroline leaves at the crack of dawn, Tony mid-morning and the rest of us on a one day safari to the Arusha National Park before catching a late night flight back to the UK via Amsterdam.
Personally the trip has been a inspiring experience. It serves to remind me why I get so much satisfaction from making dreams come true, the joy of travelling and after 15 years reignites my love of Tanzania. The only things that remains is to start planning my next adventure to Tanzania and perfecting our range of Kilimanjaro Climbs and Safaris.
A great trip!