Join Gary, Chief Project Manager at Nature Discovery, as he attempts to summit as part of one of our Kilimanjaro Group Treks. Today the group will hike up to 3859m to Shira 2 camp, visiting visit the Cathedral, an amazing viewpoint a short hike off the trail to Shira 2.
“Good morning. How did you sleep? Would you like coffee or tea?”
Its 5.30 and we are getting hot drinks in bed served by Severin our very friendly waiter. French press coffee piping hot that’s better than I get at home is a great way to start the day.
We dress, pack our duffel bags ready for the porters to collect, and get our day bags in order for a longer hike than the previous day. Polite has advised what we need to wear and what to carry. We wear layers as it is very chilly in the morning but will warm up during the day so it’s easy to dress down. We pack rain gear as the weather is unpredictable, our medicines we may need on the trek, snacks, camera, sunblock and of course our valuables like passport and cash that we keep with us at all times.
Breakfast is at 6.10 and we are served a lovely platter of fresh fruit, some steaming hot oats porridge, eggs, sausages and toast, and of course, more of that delicious coffee. Polite checks to see how much water we have drunk as 4 to 5 litres is what’s recommended per day to help a person acclimatize. We are already at 3600m and will hike to 3859m to Shira 2 camp and we need to carry at least 3 litres of water in our bladder packs or water bottles.
We leave at 7am under clear skies and with a chilly breeze so we start with light gloves and beanies. Within an hour the sun has breached the skyline and it starts warming up. We stop at the junction between Shira 1, Shira 2 and the Morum Barrier which is where the day trekkers pass when deciding whether to do a long or short days hike. We remove layers, apply sunblock as the air is thinner so burning is much faster, put on our sunglasses and continue through the Moorland vegetation which is getting sparser and is very similar to Scotland or other Moors.
We decide to visit the Cathedral, an amazing viewpoint a short hike off the trail to Shira 2. It’s a rocky climb with amazing 360-degree vistas going down past Shira 1 all the way up to Uhuru peak.
The amazing Giant Senecio Kilimanjari are all around the top of the ridge and are so unique. When the name Kilimanjari is used, this means the plant is endemic to Kilimanjaro.
We continue to the camp making it a 5 ½ hour trek and 11 km. A hot lunch is waiting and we are ravenous. While munching away on delicious vegetable fritters with marinara sauce, Hungarian sausage and salad, we chat eagerly about the amazing views and weather before going to our tents. We are offered a basin of hot water for washing in the vestibule of our tent which feels so good. We change our shoes and go for a short walk around camp before relaxing with a book or making entries in our journals.
Nature Discovery uses the Mountain Hardware Trango 3 tents for their Kili treks. These are one of the most popular tents for mountaineers because they are easy to set up, sturdy, roomy (we use a 3 person tent for added storage), waterproof and extremely durable. We use closed cell mats on the floor under your sleeping pads to cover any stones and keep out the cold.
We took time today to chat to Severin our waiter. He has been with Nature Discovery for many years and enjoys the team he works with and interacting with the clients he meets; he does not find the altitude or summitting in the early mornings a challenge and wants to keep working on Kili as long as possible.
Once again, we dress warmly for dinner, have our vitals tested, and let Polite know if we are having any altitude or other health issues. We discuss day 3 with Cyprian our assistant guide and then turn in for the night.
Stay tuned for the next blog in this series to find out what happens next!
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