Some dreams are fulfilled quickly. Some take a little while longer.
I first dreamt of climbing Kilimanjaro whilst staying in a tent on the beach at Kendwe Rocks in Zanzibar as a twenty year old backpacker, travelling through East Africa on a two month adventure. Kilimanjaro was a faint silhouette rising from the African plain. There wasn’t must else to do so I rued not having the opportunity and time to climb Kili on that occasion.
Fourteen years later I was back in Tanzania, older, wiser, married and a father but when I landed at Kilimanjaro International Airport it felt like yesterday that I was sitting on the beach in Zanzibar, dreaming of climbing Kilimanjaro. The good news being that I had managed to turn my passion for travel into my job. I was lucky enough to be leading a recce trip for Macs Adventure, the adventure travel company I founded in 2003.
Through our email newsletter I had recruited 10 brave souls to share the adventure of the first Macs Adventure Kilimanjaro climb. Fortunately most knew what they were getting themselves into as they had travelled with us before and I had been lucky enough to guide a few of them previously. They must be suckers for punishment.
Tony, a consummate organiser, recruited his brother Ian, brother in law Mike, son Dave and daughter Susie. John, a man with a real passion for the outdoors, convinced the lovely Sarah to come along. Caroline, a picture of determination, was on her third Macs Adventure trip whilst Ken, our man from Brussels, and Ron who’s never short of a story, were both filled with enthusiasm for their second Macs trip.
True to form KLM delivered us safely to Tanzania, but left our baggage spread out between Amsterdam and Nairobi. O well, happy days! Nothing like spending the first nine hours of your holiday, oh I mean working week, tracing luggage at the airport. Everything eventually arrived and we were all set for our Kilimanjaro Climb.
We were staying at The Outpost and Pamoja Expedition Lodge in Arusha. Comfortable, clean and relaxed. Nothing special, but fine for a couple of nights before Kili. Still the toilets were luxury compared to what we would enjoy on the mountain.
Msuri, quietly spoken, but with that quiet confidence that comes from climbing Kilimanjaro hundreds of times over the past nine years met us at the outpost for a thorough briefing. And mainly to answer the hundreds of questions that everyone has before a big unknown.
On Monday morning we met the most important man on the mountain, Matata, our chef. Or should that be miracle worker, what he can produce in a tent at over 3000m on a gas stove is unbelievable.
Msuri and Matata were backed up by a crew of 38. 3 Assistant guides, Emmanual, Zwadi and Geoffrey and a tough team of 35 porters. Yes, that s a total crew of 40 people to look after 11 clients! This is camping like I have never experienced before.