Day 4: Simba Camp – Second Cave Camp (21st October)

Approx 6km (3.75 miles) – Estimated time = 4 to 5 hours, we did it in 4 hours

We were “woken up” by the porters bringing us a cup of tea in our tents at 6:30am.  I was already awake of course.  Packed up my kit and went for breakfast at 7:15am.  The morning was dry after the heavy night rains and there were brilliant views of both Kibo (the summit crater) and Mawenzi (Kilimanjaro’s secondary but more technical peak) in the cloudless sky.

MAWENZI PEAK FROM SIMBA CAMP: KIBO PEAK FROM SIMBA CAMP:

We set off at 8am sharp and the route took us through brushland and heathland.  The path was dusty and steep in parts but in general it was another easy day.  However with my lack of sleep the previous night I decided to take it very easy.  Pole-pole was the order of the day and I took many short breaks to admire the view and to drink plenty of fluids.

VIEW FROM SIMBA CAMP:                          ON ROUTE TO 2ND CAVE CAMP:

We walked past 1st cave where we stopped for photos and then continued towards 2nd cave camp which is in a beautiful and idyllic location with great views of Kilimanjaro as well as of the plains of Kenya in the distance.

On arriving at 2nd cave camp I felt a bit grotty and had a bit of a neck & shoulder ache but that was probably caused by the “heavy” rucksack that I was carrying (heavy by my standards – nothing like the weight the porters have to carry – those guys are tough).  There were no signs of altitude sickness but I did feel a bit light headed due to the lack of sleep and I found it difficult to eat much food so I had to force down as much as possible.  After lunch I went to my tent for a nap and after an hours deep sleep I felt absolutely brilliant.

At 3:30pm we hiked a further 150m up the hill to help with the acclimatisation process and stayed there for about 20 minutes before returning to the camp.

2ND CAVE CAMP:

2ND CAVE CAMP:                                     ASSISTANT MOUNTAIN GUIDES AND ME:

The weather was sunny and warm all the way to the camp during the morning hike and the temperatures stayed at around 28C / 82F.  The afternoon was also warm but when the clouds came over the temperature dropped very rapidly to around 22-23C / 72-74F and then rose rapidly again as the clouds blew away.

We went to bed at around 8pm after dinner and I slept a bit better.  I woke at midnight and was awake for a while before falling asleep again.

Night camp : 2nd Cave Camp (3479m / 11,400ft)

Height climbed today (including extra acclimatisation climb): 960m / 3150ft

Temperatures: 22-28C / 72-82F during day to around 10C / 50F inside tent at night

Climate: Sunny with a few clouds in the afternoon. Clear sky at night.

 

Day 5: Second Cave Camp – Kikelewa Camp (22nd October)

Approx 6km (3.75 miles) – Estimated time = 4 to 6 hours, we did it in 4 hours

I awoke this morning to the sounds of the dawn chorus mixed with “Jambo Jambo” playing on the camp porter’s radio.  It was a really surreal experience as the sounds blended in really well with each other.  The lads came around to the tents at 5:30am to wake us up with a mug of tea.  They got their timings wrong; Africa time again!!  I was awake anyway so packed up my kit and went to the mess tent for breakfast.  The view of Mount Kibo (Kilimanjaro’s main peak) was stunning with it’s cap of bright white mushroom cloud.

VIEWS OF KIBO FROM 2ND CAVE CAMP:

It was much colder this morning when we set off across the open moorland at 8am and most of us had put on an extra layer of clothes.  Although I felt amazing after a good night’s sleep, the first 30 minutes of the trek was a bit of a struggle with breathlessness and slight weakness but once I got into my stride, the 4 hour trek to Kikelawa camp was another relatively easy day.

SETTING OFF FROM 2ND CAVE CAMP:                    SAUMU AND MYSELF:

The camp came into sight as we came over a small ridge and the views of the Kenyan plains beyond the camp were breathtaking.  We were way above the clouds that floated gently over the plains.  As we walked into camp the porters and guides had an impromptu sing-song which was great fun.  There are some fun “mountain” songs that they always sing and dance to; their voices and dancing were brilliant and it uplifted all our spirits.  I even had spare energy to clap and sing along with them (with the few Swahili words that I had learnt).

After lunch I had a 30 minute nap in my tent which was hotter than a greenhouse with the bright sun beating down on us.  We then trekked a further 300m (approx 1000ft) higher to acclimatise for the next day before returning to the camp for dinner.  We had to layer up quite a bit as it was starting to get cold, especially when we passed through shadows or when clouds came over but when the sun came out again it warmed up very rapidly.  There was the start of a slight headache but it soon passed.

VEIWS OF THE PLAINS OF KENYA FROM MY TENT:

JOHN (TEAM LEADER) AND MYSELF: OUR WATER SOURCE NEAR THE CAMP:

Up to now our group had been trekking on the hill alone but at this camp there were five other groups of trekkers who had arrived from different start routes, so it was getting quite busy and noisy.

After dinner we went to our tents at 8pm and I was asleep within a very short time.  I was up again at midnight and slept fitfully until the morning.

Night camp : Kikelewa Camp (3679m / 12,100ft)

Height climbed today (including extra acclimatisation climb): 500m / 1650ft

Temperatures: 20-25C / 68-77F during day to around 7C / 45F inside tent at night

Climate: Sunny with a few clouds in the afternoon. Clear sky at night.

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