MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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September 10, 2013

Clear Skies on Kilimanjaro Climb

Having arrived in Tanzania two days before their Kilimanjaro climb, Katherine and Daniel chose to customize their itinerary to relax in the Duluti Lodge waiting for their Mountain Madness guide to meet them for their briefing. On August 6th, I arrived and joined them in the lodge for our first briefing. Daniel and Katherine were happy to see me but apprehensive about what lie ahead.

Katherine and Daniel ready for their adventure. Ben Mality photo

”I’m scared Ben! Is it going to be this cold on the mountain?” Katherine asked.  “It gets cold on the mountain, certainly; mostly in the morning and evening. But not to worry, you will always be warm as you hike and your sleeping bag will keep you toasty warm while you sleep,” I replied.  They were so excited to be on this adventure and were excited at the thought of reaching the roof of Africa. To ease their worries, I joked, “We are going to eat an elephant tomorrow. Remember it is a big animal, so one bite at a time!”  Everyone laughed, perhaps feeling a little more at ease.

The climbers with their trekking staff. Ben Mality photo

Day one at the trailhead we met with the porters and Daniel and Katherine were amazed at the number of staff we had for just two people. “We carry a lot of things and we want to be self-sufficient on the mountain,” I said. After sorting through the details of the next several days, we started our climb.

 

Ben, Daniel and Katherine. Ben Mality photo

One of the best parts about this trek is the food.  The food is so good on the mountain and Daniel and Katherine were happy to be able to have anything they requested. However, we do try to introduce local food to our guests and this trip was no exception. Machalari from the Chagga Tribe and Ugali - which is traditional food from Tanzania, are always favorites with our clients.  Daniel and Katherine enjoyed this food so much that from the second day forward, that’s almost all they wanted! This is the life you can enjoy on the mountain; sharing meals with local people and learning from local guides in a land as beautiful as Tanzania.

A delicious spread. Ben Mality photo

This is one of the reasons I love guiding for Mountain Madness. We all agree that the cultural exchange is just as important as the climb!  Another fun part of the trip was playing cards: guides, porters and clients.  And not western card games, but local card games. This became habit for all of us and everyday after lunch we would start playing cards and play until it was time for dinner.  Amongst all this eating, cultural exchange and card playing, we climbed a mountain! The tallest mountain in Africa, no less. 

 

Success! Ben Mality photo

We were very fortunate in regards to the weather on this trip as during the day we saw lots of sunshine, however that made for low temperatures at night. The trail was dusty with the absence of rain but Daniel and Katherine marched on, pushing themselves higher and higher until finally we reached the summit.  Both clients were thrilled to have made it to the top and went home with memories to be cherished forever.  

- MM Guide Benhadad Mality