What better way to start 2010 than by climbing Africa’s tallest mountain, and then going game viewing in the eighth wonder of the world, the Ngorongoro Crater. I am writing this dispatch from our hotel in the Crater, looking out on the sun setting and countless animals wandering across the grasslands of the interior of the crater.
On January 4 at 7:15 am our entire group of nine stood on the roof of Africa, at 19,341 feet on Kilimanjaro. It was an incredible feeling to have us all on top together, especially after this unusual week on the mountain. Normally the beginning of January is one of the driest times of the year on Kilimanjaro. This year, we had almost daily rain and snow. While this made for some challenging days hiking, it made the mountain even more beautiful than its normal self, with snow covering the peak above 14,000 feet.
And our summit day was perfect – no wind, warm, and perfectly clear. This perfect day definitely made up for some of the earlier cloudy days, and allowed us to spend almost an hour on the summit, taking photos and celebrating our climb.
After our time on top, we raced down the peak, dropping to 12,000 feet the first night, and then to the park entrance at 6,000 feet the next day. We started our post-summit celebrations with the best pizza you can find in Tanzania, and have been celebrating ever since, with two incredible days of safari so far. The pictures of close encounters with elephants, giraffes, and cheetahs should speak for themselves. And we still have one more day of safari before catching our flights home, so we know there are much more animal sightings to come!
If you have ever dreamed of seeing Africa, and enjoy trekking, hiking, or climbing, join us this year for our Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari. Kilimanjaro is a completely non-technical hike done over 7 days, and Alpenglow has a success rate of over 90%. And safari-ing in Tanzania is an experience everyone should have in their life. We have two more trips to Kilimanjaro coming up in 2010, one in July and one in December. Check out the website for details, and join us this year!
-Adrian Ballinger, Alpenglow Expeditions