Africa, Kilimanjaro Trek, Mount Kenya Rock-Climb and Trek, Wild Game Safari News January
Africa, Kilimanjaro Trek, Mount Kenya Rock-Climb and Trek, Wild Game Safari News January
During the second half of February we set off to East Africa for three weeks of glorious walking, safaris, and a bit of climbing. Some of us flew to Nairobi Airport in Kenya and others to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. We met in Moshe at the Impala hotel and had a very relaxing time there. Then we drove through coffee plantations and banana groves to the Machame gate and checked in, met our friendly porters and skillful cooks, then walked up hill through amazing forests of tall trees and giant heather to reach the Shira Plateau.
We saw many different types of birds. We rested at the Shira Plateau, then walked across to the barranco hut, where we took another rest day, now above treeline. Now we were on our way over to the Barafu hut and we gained the ridge at “high camp” where we bedded down for the night. We awoke very early, then walked to the summit accompanied by our trusty porters.
The going was very slow but we made it carefully to the top of mwensi where we saw the incredible sunrise and spectacular views across Tanzania and Kenya. Just a few more minutes brought us to the summit and we took our photos next to the famous Kilimanjaro summit sign, truly a lifetime achievement. Then we carried on down the mountain for two days and caught a bus back to Moshe.
Some of us boarded a flight home at Kilimanjaro National Airport and the rest of us caught a comfortable coach back to Nairobi, where we rested for a day, then drove to the Naro Moru Gate of Mt Kenya National Park. It really is a beautiful park with big trees, lots of baboons, buffalo, birds, and even a few Elephants. It was relatively untouristed as we waked up through amazing “cloud-forests” of giant loblelia trees into hanging valleys.
After a rest day, we split into two groups and one group made a several day summit circuit excursion around the mountain, sampling high altitude lakes and huts, and a gorgeous sunrise on famous Point Lenana. The other group went up to the Austrian Hut and climbed the good quality rock of McKinder’s route to the high summit of Nelion, then abseiled back down.
We all walked together back to the Naro Moru gate, and after a restful sleep in a real bed, we boarded a bus and drove up to the Serengeti, where we stayed in a jungle campsite then spent two thrilling days driving around on the vast plains of the Serengeti looking at wildebeests, spotting lions, giraffes, zebras, hippo, even a rhino! We saw many types of birds and it was a thrilling and exotic experience. Finally we drove back to Nairobi in our bus and boarded our flight home. It felt like our three weeks in East Africa had rocketed past in just 5 minutes!
Hi this is Dan calling from SummitClimb.com.
We’re on the summit of Kilimanjaro. It’s a beautiful morning, about 7:00 a.m., and we’ve got a lot of people up here from our team. We’ve got Paul, Kelly, Elselien, Arnold, Dan, Sylvia. We also have some excellent African guides supporting us here, with our 3 porters.
Everyone seems to be feeling pretty good. It’s fairly hot up here at the top of the highest peak in Africa. We’ll be sending you some photos when we get down a little lower where we can download them.
Thanks for following our climb. Bye for now.
I am calling in with a dispatch for the 28th of January on Saturday, 9:00 a.m.
I’m calling from the high camp on Kilimanjaro at 4600 metres. Four of our members reached the summit this morning at 6:00. They were Felix, Cheryl, Wayne, and Karmen, together with Augustino. They are coming down to the high camp now.
Today six of us are going up to sleep in the crater. That would be Kelly, Paul, Sylvia, Arnold, and Dan, together with Joseph and several porters. We’ll look forward to going to the summit on the 29th. Hopefully everything will go well, as the weather is perfect right now with no clouds, clear skies and light winds. The temperatures are rather warm. I’m not even sure if it got below freezing last night. It didn’t seem to anyway. So wish us luck and we will call you back with another dispatch. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. back to top
Our top rock leader Felix helping Sylvia set up a proper Abseil at Lukenya rock wall (Arnold Coster). back to top
Don Morton stretching out on the boulders at McKinder's camp (Dan Mazur).
Peter Horsey, top Kenyan climber on the McKinder's boulders. Look for a new Kenya rock-climbing guidebook from Peter later this year (Dan Mazur).
Point Pigott with snow, leaders Arnold Coster and Felix Berg approaching (Dan Mazur).
Jack, Clemens and Felix traversing the Pigott Wall (Dan Mazur). back to top
An alpine start and a golden sunrise above 5000 metre Point Lenana, an inspiring, breathtaking, and very high trekker's peak on the summit circuit trek of Mt. Kenya (Dan Mazur).
Giraffes seen during our morning game drive, after a lovely night under the Acacia trees (Dan Mazur).
Colourful, strong, friendly Masai people jumping during a tribal dance in their village in the Amboseli (Dan Mazur). back to top
Very sorry for the delay in my reply. I am writing to you from the 2850 metre-high Umbwe Cave campsite on this seldom ascended route on Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. Today's weather was very warm and a bit muggy for most of the day, then it rained for 90 minutes between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm. 30 well-equipped Africans and ten of us foreigners from 5 nations are camped in an equatorial jungle, replete with colourful birds, monkeys, and loads of rather large trees veritably festooned with hanging moss. Because our chosen route of ascent is far from the beaten track, we only saw two other foriegners on the trail today. Our path was steep but did not require any climbing, it only represented the most enjoyable of trekking with wonderful views of the lush forest throughout. After our pleasant dinner of well prepared local fruits, vegetables, meats, fresh juice, and tea and coffee, we enjoyed a Swahili language lesson presented by several of our African friends. They laughed a lot as we tried to pronounce the new words in their local language, and a good time was had by all. I wish you were here with us.
-From Dan and all of us on the SummitClimb Africa team back to top
We hope we will be able to remain successful and safe during the forthcoming climb. On the route we have chosen, the Western Breech, three hikers were tragically killed by rockfall approximately 3 weeks ago. We send our sincere condolences to the families, loved ones, friends and colleagues of those who have been lost. All of us are very sad. We hope that we will be able to use that route and climb the mountain with respect to those fallen climbers and total safety. We plan to avoid any all rockfall routes, and choose our camps extremely carefully. We will do our best to try to minimize the risk.
During the last three days, after 9 of us climbed to the summit of Mt. Kenya, and 6 made the gorgeous summit circuit trek, we have completed the following:
21 January, 2006, rest in Nairobi.
22 January, 2006, Drive to Amboseli National Park. We did an elephant Game drive and camped in the center of the park under an Acacia tree. We saw no other tourists that night.
23 January, 2006, Did a Zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and giraffe game drive, visited a primitive Masai village, went to a five-star hotel (!) for lunch, entered Tanzania and drove to Moshi.
24 January, exploring around Moshi, getting our park permits, visiting the Kilimanjaro porter's association to donate clothing to needy porters and their families, and having a five-star dinner.
Several of our friends stayed in Kenya. To Don, Jack, Jorge, Liz and Martha, we miss you already and wish you all of the best!
Thanks again for following EverestNews, and please wish us the best of luck as we try to find a solution to the Western Breech problem. Yours Sincerely from all of us at SummitClimb.com back to top
Here is what Jack Moyer has to say: "After a well earned rest day, I'd like to report the many summit achievements that were earned yesterday among the climbing contingent of our SummitClimb group. 9 of us from Kenya, Europe, North America, and the Middle East made the summit of Nelion in very favorable weather conditions: neither snow nor rain were encountered during the entire day of climbing, quite an unusual set of conditions as those who have climbed Mt. Kenya can attest to.
Making the summit of Nelion was particularly meaningful for me as it is the second attempt on Mt. Kenya for myself. Five years ago I had done a self-organized climb from the north approach and encountered pretty much the opposite set of conditions and outcomes. During that attempt there was the usual rain-sleet-snow combo everyday, and that along with the need for an unanticipated bivy only made for a second attempt sometime in the future.
Well, yesterday I was finally able to make the summit of this equatorial mountain, and did this in the company of an array of clients and guides from all over the world. Among the members of the SummitClimb group are people from Canada, Germany, Holland, Kenya and the US, and the professions and backgrounds among all the people here are equally as varied and interesting.
Dan as well as the other leaders of this SummitClimb trip have all made considerable efforts to insure both a great climb on Mt. Kenya and memorable trekking of the Circuit Route around the massif itself. The climbing guides especially, Felix, Arnold, Charles and Peter all were amazing in their knowledge of mountain craft, experience and, shall I say, their patience.
We trek out to the Naro Moro park gate tomorrow and then drive onwards to Nairobi, where most of the group will get organized for the safari and Kili trek that follow. I'll be leaving the group before the safari to return to the reality of my job in Saudi Arabia, though I shall do so with the satisfaction of having achieved a long delayed goal on such an outstanding mountain.
Regards and good luck to the rest of the SummitClimb group heading onwards to Kili,
Jack M." back to top
Don and Leonard after they made a second attempt (Dan Mazur). back to top
Here are several of our climbers on the summit of Mt. Kenya at 5188 metres. From left to right: Charles, Arnold, Sylvia, Martha, and Peter (Dan Mazur). back to top
This is Dan calling for SummitClimb from the summit of Mt. Kenya.
There are nine of us up here today. We have Felix, Clements, Jack, Peter, Sylvia, Arnold, Martha, Dan, and Charles, our excellent guide. Today is the 18th of January. We are all feeling pretty healthy and getting ready to make the abseil down.
Don Morton walked to the base of the climb this morning with Leonard and Duncan and decided he wasn’t feeling up to it, so went back to the hut.
The nine of us are now planning to descend to McKinder’s camp. It is warm up here on the summit today. It’s snowing lightly, with almost no wind, and kind of foggy, although the clouds have been blowing in and out.
So wish us luck on the way down, nice to talk to you and speak to you soon. Thank you. Bye, bye.
We will be resting here at MckInder Camp for a few days, getting used to the altitude and exploring around the area. We will also be doing some great treks and climbs as a warm up for our summit circuit trek (2 days of breathtaking trekking above 4000 metres) and climb to the summit of Mt Kenya (16 pitches of good rock). Its an extremely beautiful place. We have seen almost no other groups, a total of six foreigners and a few porters today. Mt. Kenya really is off of the beaten path. Yesterday was quite rainy in the afternoon, but today the weather was better and it was dry and beautiful with intermittent rain and hail nearly the entire day. We will keep you posted through the next days with many further updates.
Photos coming soon.
Thanks for following our story! Dan Mazur back to top
Here is a picture of our team meeting at the hotel. Eslelien is telling everyone about what to bring (Dan Mazur).