MACHAME ROUTE DAY 7: FROM MWEKA BACK TO MOSHI – THE END
It’s never over until it’s over and so it was with Kilimanjaro. Before we could enjoy our first shower in a week, we had to walk down from Mweka Camp all the way to the Mweka Gate, about 10k or 6 miles. All downhill. Wet and slippery to boot, with hundreds of steps and rocky drops testing one’s agility and balance constantly.
Of course we were happy and rested by now, having enjoyed a good and long night’s rest at around 10,000 feet the previous night. Even so, piled on top of the previous day’s extraordinary test of endurance, it was something. My quads took a beating which I was reminded of over the following two or three days because of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Earlier that morning, just before leaving camp, the camp crew and guides had given us a rousing farewell with a few songs extolling our virtues (or so we hope) and ending with the traditional Kilimanjaro Jambo song.
We opted to have the tipping included in the price to be distributed by the tour operator office. It is also possible to use this farewell event to hand the tips directly to the persons involved, which in retrospect may have been a better choice. We will revisit this issue for any future attempts.
We reached Mweka Gate at around 1100A, checked out, received our completion certificates and then were treated to a sparkling wine celebration in the parking lot.
Back in the vehicle we set off for Moshi Town for a quick shopping interlude. Most of the other customers were tourists too and the prices were marked in US$. Nonetheless they had a good variety of items from $10 shirts to Tanzanite stones costing several thousand dollars. And everything in between: wooden carvings, drums, ceremonial sticks, place mats, bracelets, wall hangings and more.
After a lunch of kuku and chips at a small kiosk, we drove the 45 minutes or so to Arusha and that was that. A short debriefing from Leila of Summits, last farewells and our Kilimanjaro adventure had come to an end. The following day we’d be heading off to Amboseli in Kenya for somewhat more distant looks at Kili, hopefully with a Tusker in hand!
Would I do it again? Yes – a return to Kilimanjaro to summit via the Rongai Route is in the planning stages. The trip will include a few days in Kenya prior to the climb.
Would I recommend a Kili attempt for others? Yes again. If you think you can do it, you probably can. Do some hiking, build up your leg strength and of course – pole pole.
What would I do differently? I would certainly try to get a bit more lean before getting on a plane for Kilimanjaro – and I would take more photographs. I think I was too pre-occupied with simply climbing and making it, the first time around, to properly document this amazing adventure.
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