The track vegetation changes dramatically; pine forest, moorland, semi desert, alpine and finally lunar desert.
At just under 6000 metres above sea level Mt Kilimanjaro is the worlds highest free standing mountain, & one of the worlds largest (extinct) volcanoes.
We chose to climb it via the Rongai Route being 4 days up and 2 days down. The initial trek for 3.5 days took us from the town of Moshi at an elevation of 880 metres to Kibo Hut Base Camp at 4700 metres.
The final ascent to 5895 metres began at midnight over loose volcanic scree requiring us to zig-zag or switchback our way up, meaning we covered 6 km’s distance to gain 1200 metres in elevation.
The altitude hit us all hard ensuring regular rest stops were mandatory throughout the 7 hour final climb to the summit. The lunar landscape topped by the massive ice glaciers on the volcano rim were surreal viewing.
With restricted time at the summit to savour our achievements we were reminded by the guides our job was now only half done.