What an experience! I know some people pour scorn on Kilimanjaro these days because it's 'too popular', 'too easy' or too 'too expensive'. It's none of those things - it's an amazing mountain and one hell of a trek!
We arrived in Moshi on November 12th ready to commence a 7 day Machame route trek on the 13th. We had hired Daniel Ngowi of Tro-Peaks - a small company I had read about in a lonely planet review. It was a bit of a gamble booking a company that you didn't know a lot about but they turned out to be some of the most professional and hardworking people I have had pleasure to meet.
The Machame Gate was deserted. This was to be a sign of things to come and the decision to choose to trek in the rainy season when it was quieter, turned out to be inspired.
It took about 45 minutes to sort out the formalities and after posing with the crew, we set off at around 9am.
The rainforest is a great place to start the adventure. Not to cold, not too hot, fairly easy terrain, and a multitude of interesting plants to feast your eyes on...if you like that sort of thing!
Treeferns were abundant. They were all Cyathea manniana as far as we could tell.
Lobelia gibberoa was impressive!
As were the porters. Incredible stamina and strength!
I think we took around 4 hours to reach the first camp, Machame Hut, which is on the edge of the heath and moorland zone. A strange and moody place, quite unlike any other I have visited.
Day 2 to follow.