Last week Real Madrid was in Tanzania. In addition to a football match against the national team, they also climbed part of Kilimanjaro. Currently, we also get many requests for the climb and I thought about my own climbing four years ago which was not so well organized by the tour operator where I booked. I was living in the Netherlands and wanted the cheapest of the cheapest. On my old blog, I found the report of the climb. See here: “Here we are after a great experience at high altitude. Last Tuesday our trip began, we were retrieved by Yzak and porters at nine with a minivan. On to Machame Gate at 1800m. After all the formalities, (it took an hour, which is not too bad) we started walking to Machame Hut. The tour went through the rainforest, so it was raining. On the way, we saw monkeys. We were constantly overtaken by running porters with huge luggage bags on their heads. Fortunately, they are now only allowed to carry 20 kg, which used to be different. After five hours of walking, we arrived at Machame Camp (3000). The tents were ready, including the five-star dinner room. A large tent where we always ate and porters slept at night. At breakfast, there was always a certain smell in the dinner room. At this camp, it was not so cold. We had to pour our needs in a latrine, but we got quickly used to that. Next morning, Wednesday, we left for Shira Camp. The first part of the route ran over rocky terrain with low vegetation. We could see the lunch point all the time, but it took quite a long time before we were there. Then it was another hour to Shira Camp (3900 m). Here, Grieta had a big headache and felt nauseated. In addition, she could not eat. The others had little headache. Therefore, it was as exciting whether Grieta would continue. The next day fortunately, she felt better and we went with new courage on the way to Lava Tower (4600). The route to this rock is built in for acclimatization. Well, we could see the importance. It was tough, very tough, and when we got there Derk, Jan and Marion were not feeling well. We had no desire to eat lunch. We could not sit too long because then we fell asleep. After lunch without food intake, we descended back down to 3950 meters. This was Barranco Camp. Here it was very foggy and cold. The next morning the fog was gone and we saw Barranco Wall. Wow! We had to go up. The wall is 300 meters high and here we really had to scramble. Eventually it was all right. Even Jan has overcome his fear of heights here. Once up there, we walked to Karanga Camp (3950) for two hours. Overall, this day was not that tough. We had lunch on the campsite and were able to relax all afternoon. The next day, Saturday, we left for the last camp, Barafu Hut (4700). This trip took about four hours. The last part we still had quite a climb. The tents were completely hidden between the rocks. We were here at half past two and got lunch immediately. We then rested because it was, after all, the day before the summit night (the stage to the top). At five o’clock we got dinner (literally dinner: because it was always a three course meal consisting of soup, potatoes / pasta / rice with sauce and the first days also meat, and finally fresh tropical fruits and coffee / tea). Then we made everything ready for the summit night (!!! many clothes as it could be -16) and at seven o’clock we went to sleep (this was not unique). At half past eleven at night, we were woken up with a cup of tea (which was every morning like that) and biscuits. We dressed and off we went. With a head light! The moon was full and there was a lot of wind. The first part consisted of a climb of 100 meters. Then there was a flat part (false flat) where the wind began to stir. We saw the entire route in front of us as the headlights of other groups were visible, which was not motivating. After two hours Grieta was done. She did not want to climb for more hours. She therefore went back with Julius (assistant guide). Jan, Derk and Marion continued with Yzak. The trip went zigzagging up between the boulders over a path of ash. We constantly slipped back a bit. Drinking from the camel bag with hose while walking was almost impossible to do. After another two hours, Derk was so tired that he did not want to continue (5200 meters). Since there was only one guide with us, we all decided to go back. It soon became clear that Derk had altitude sickness. He fell down constantly and could not do anything anymore. Yzak dragged him down. Julius came back from the camp where he had left Grieta and together with Yzak dragged Derk back to the camp. We arrived there at half past seven. Gradually, Derk awoke and at the end he got back to his famous speeches, so it seemed things were going to be okay. After an hour of sleep and breakfast, he was okay. At half past ten, we went down to the last camp of the trip (3000 m). Sixteen km down in four hours. The camp was not really the place to be. It was very muddy. During lunch, Yzak came with the ability to go down to the exit of Kilimanjaro National Park so we could go to a hotel in Moshi. That meant that we had to go down another 14 km while Grieta and Marion already had blue toenails. However, the hot shower was calling! Therefore, we decided to leave the mud and went on the way. That was a wrong choice. Yzak had said that it was not so steep, but actually, it was 14 km walking down the stairs. At last, we did not know in front whether we were alive behind. However, we made it. Our shoes were cleaned and we paid gratuities to guides, porters, cook and waiter and left with a mini bus to Moshi. Therefore, it was done. A relief and a completely new experience! It was awesome. Moreover, most importantly, through unofficial channels, we have understood that the amount required for the doctor’s house has been raised!!! ”
This was my report of Kilimanjaro. We then chose a cheap trip, which was wrong. The fact that there were not enough guides during the summit-night meant that we have not reached the summit. Despite that, it was a great experience. The magnificent views of Mount Meru and the hills and valleys on the Kilimanjaro itself are breathtaking. You are in a different world for days and are busy much with your own. In addition, there is of course the group with whom you can share everything. With this experience, I now know what is important when organizing a climb for our clients. Health and safety are paramount. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a piece of cake and constant monitoring of symptoms of altitude sickness is vital. For me, this ascent led to a complete turnaround in my life, because half a year later I started my life in Tanzania. In any case, the ascent of Kilimanjaro is an experience for life.