On a white roof of a black continent

My novel with Africa dragged down and switched to the stage of serious relationship. And the relationship of this kind is obliges to more frequent than once a few years visits. Therefore, it was decided to somewhat forcing events and plan the next trip, not having time to come to the end of the previous one. The tops covered with snow-white glaciers Against the background of Equatorial vegetation, left an indelible impression in my soul, and the legs are already itching from impatience to ascend any new top. Therefore, the choice of place for the next expedition was very simple: I have long been looking toward Kilimanjaro, dreaming to admire close to the famous snow, until they finally melted, and this moment has come.
Some reference information: Kilimanjaro – the highest point in the African continent (5895 m) and part-time, the largest single-standing mountain in the world. Located in Tanzania, 330 km south of the Equator. It is a dormant stratovolkan, so huge that in good weather it can be seen from a distance of more than 150 kilometers. The best, classic appearance (with elephants and giraffes on the background of the snow-white cap) opens from Kenya, from the territory of the National Park Amboseli. But for a number of reasons, almost all routes on the vertex lie with the South, Tanzanian side. From here the volcano looks, of course, not so impressive, but still impressive.

The mountain was formed about two million years ago and currently consists of three separate peaks: Cybo, Maventi and Shira.
Cybo – the highest and young of the three vertices, is located in the center. 2005 years ago, smoke emissions were observed from the crater. The highest point of the Cybo Volcano – Peak Uhuro. It is he who is the cherished target of almost all countless tourists who climb Kilimanjaro.
The next height is Mavents (5149 m), located east, 5 kilometers. Glaciers on it almost no, and the peak itself is quite strongly destroyed by erosion, which gives it a bizarre outline. The rise in Mavents requires serious skills in rock climbing, in addition, it is necessary to obtain a special permission, so this vertex does not use much popularity.

On a white roof of a black continent

And finally, Shira – the lowest (3962 m) and the oldest, western top. At one time it was the highest point of Kilimanjaro, but after the huge explosion of half a million years ago, was left a giant caldera on a high plateau. Now Shira Plateau – the richest part of the animal Kilimanjaro National Park.
At the top are a few routes (Maranga, Machame, Lemosho, Umbwe, Rongai), differing in the degree of difficulty, duration, beauty of the surrounding landscape, and, of course, the cost of. I will not bore you with a detailed description of all these routes, except to say that Machame seemed to us the best in terms of price and quality. It was decided to stop on this route, as later we have never regretted.
Of the benefits – the average time (6 days) and distance (65 km) runs through a large part of the mountain circle, allowing to see it on three sides, very beautiful scenery, and most importantly, the combination of smooth lifting with discharge height, which provides a more or less normal acclimatization. Less I can name only one – very busy route. In the last year, this route came in first place in popularity, surpassing Maranga. When you consider that every year attempt to climb make 30-40 thousand people, and from them to the Machame and Maranga up to 90% of the flow, you can imagine how many tourists are at the same time the summit attempt (especially in season).
How many of them reach the top but, was unable to find (according to official statistics, only 35-40%), but by personal observation, most of the. At least to an intermediate point Stella Point (5,748 m), which also goes to the offset. When we turned back only a few people. Another thing is that on my own two feet and in full consciousness rises minority. Most of literally crawling, barely moving his feet. Someone to make hands-legs. The converse is also down with the help of guides. The pleasure of climbing is clearly not experience, continuous overcoming yourself.
In general, this is a fairly widespread error, converted by many unscrupulous travel agencies that climbing Kilimanjaro does not constitute absolutely nothing complicated, does not require any special equipment and preparation. Indeed, this is perhaps the only peak of such a height in the world to which you can climb in ordinary boots, without cats, ice axes and other climbing equipment. That is, in fact, it is not mountaineering, but high-rooting trekking. And for a prepared person with a small experience, such an ascent and indeed turns out to be quite simple. But the problem is that there are few people there. For the majority – this is the first top in life, someone did not plan to climb at all, and just came to safari, and the organizers persuaded the quickly sick on the mountain. Technically, a vertex is simple, but no one has canceled the mountain disease.
As a result – wrapped on the autopilot of the body, from time to time returning their breakfast; Someone crying, someone sits with a detached look. Headache, insomnia, no appetite. Especially, according to the stories of guides, it is noticeable on "fast" routes without any acclimatization.
And what cost a couple of months before the trip to run, walk in the pool, drink vitamins, increase hemoglobin, and you see, everything would be quite different.
But let’s not talk about sad. So, the route is selected. On the same forum, I was recommended by a verified guide to which I turned. By brief negotiations and trades by email the plan was approved. Run ahead, I will say that the receiving party worked out 100 percent.
Sixteen-hour flight of Turkish Airlines – and we at Kilimanjaro International Airport. From there on a taxi, we get to Mosha, a small town at the foot of a huge mountain.

The whole industry is sharpened here under the climb. This is a network of large and small travel agencies on the streets, the names of which are in vain offer their services, and private guides, and numerous porters, for whom it is a great opportunity at least somehow earn.
I’ll tell you in more detail how organized ascents. Immediately make a reservation, that yourself, the savage to climb to the top is almost impossible. Climbing without guides and out of standard stroke routes are prohibited. Violators waiting for a very serious penalty. Over the compliance of the order, numerous Rangers follow, the posts of which are throughout the route. I somehow heard the story about two guys (it seems, even from Russia) who tried to climb on the mountain, bypassing the gate of the National Park, but this story suffered sadly. As a result, they were lost, were caught and transferred to justice. So you want, do not want, but you have to pay, and a rather big amount, most of which goes to the cash register of the National Park.
Kilimanjaro brings an essential part of the country’s budget. Suffice it to say that out of 15 National Parks Tanzania Kilimanjaro gives 40 percent of income. Justice for the sake of want to note that this money National Park honestly works. The trail is supported in good condition, on the sides of the breakthrough grooves for water drain. Rarely where you see such cleanliness. No household debris nor cigarette on the route, everything is carefully going and exported down. Stationary toilets are equipped at parking, fairly decent, especially if you compare, for example, with Elbrus. In general, care about the environment, which can not but rejoice.
Normally, one guide and a pair of porters is relying on each recreation participant. Plus cook to the whole group. Porters carry all the necessary equipment and food, and you stay with a light backpack and camera. Comfort level sometimes simply rolls. Porters drags inflatable mattresses, folding chairs and tables, tents-tents. We even have personal biotales seen. You come to the camp, and there already the tent is delivered and the glade is covered. As a nutrition, fried meat, eggs, bread, vegetables, fruits.
In general, not climbing, and rest in a five-star hotel. Perhaps someone will seem quite natural to someone, but we have not satisfied such a program. I do not want to offend anyone, but, in my opinion, it is a clear bust. With the same success you can climb, sitting at home on the sofa in front of the TV. However, this is a personal choice of each.
Eventually managed to agree on the minimum number of accompanying. For two two guides and two porters who carried the things of the guides. We have our own things, including a tent, fuel and a stock of provisions carried themselves. Themselves put the camp, they themselves prepared food. Such an alignment was completely satisfied with us, and our porters who did not have to strain. And we caused surprise among everyone around me because they were the only,
Interestingly, the difference in the price of ascents by the type "All Inclusive" and in the "Spartan" version is only 200-300 dollars, so it is quite possible to understand people paying for comfort.
First day: in the morning we leave the hotel and in an hour you get to the village of Macham, where the gate of the park is located. Height of 1800 meters. We register in the journal and go on the route.

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