Christmas Dinner on Kilimanjaro & Rwanda Trek 2006
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About The Expedition

Kilimanjaro is an 'easy' mountain. People say that because you don't have to be an experienced climber and it is true to say that no real experience is necessary. However, for anyone thinking of doing it, be prepared for what is about to happen.

Yes you can walk it ... and yes it's fun. But the altitude is something that you have to understand. The top of Kilimanjaro is 5,895 metres (that's just short of 20,000 feet) and the air is pretty thin. It's also very dangerous if you don't take it slow and acclimatise properly. On this trip I found out for certain that I really don't like altitude - last time I knew it was very unpleasant but I wasn't sure whether that was a one-off or not. It wasn't!

The itinerary for the trip was as follows:

Weds, 20th December Fly overnight from Heathrow to Nairobi, Kenya and then on to Kilimanjaro,Tanzania, arriving 8:50am on Thursday morning. Transfer by bus to Marangu.
Fri, 22nd December Travel by Jeep to Nale Moru (1,950m) and begin the climb on foot to the first overnight camp at 2,600m.
Sat, 23rd December Continue the trek across the low moorlands to Camp 2 in a sheltered valley near Kikilewa Caves at 3,600m.
Sun, 24th December A steep climb, leaving the vegitation behind, to Mawenzi Tarn where we make Camp 3 at 4,330m.
Christmas Day Cross the 'lunar' dessert to the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall to make Camp 4 at 4,700m. Hold a white tie formal Christmas Dinner with all of the aplomb one would hope for.
Boxing Day We begin the ascent to the summit by torchlight at midnight and head for Gilman's Point (5,685m) where we hope to watch the sun rise over Mawenzi. From there, after a short rest, the plan is to trek around the crater rim, along a snow covered ridge to Uhuru, the crater's highest point at 5,896m. I am hoping to carry my dinner suit to the top (which is definately not advised behaviour!) and celebrate Boxing Day in style. We follow this immediately with a 15 hour descent to Horombo and Camp 5 for a much needed sleep.
Weds, 27th December Continue the descent through tropical rainforest back to Marangu and a transfer back to the hotel for a shower and a beer!
Thurs, 28th December Now we take a detour - it would be a shame to come this far and not see more of Africa. We fly to Nairobi and on to Kigali in Rwanda to visit the memorial to the genocide of 1994 and make a donation to the regeneration fund.
Fri, 29th December Trek into the jungle of Virunga Park in the hope of spotting the rare mountain gorillas.
Sat, 30th December Travel back to Kigali for the return flight to Nairobi.
Sun, 31st December For some of us, an early morning flight back to Heathrow, landing late afternoon, will hopefully repatriate us in time to enjoy New Year's Eve with our families. Others are travelling on to farther fields!