Adventures in Africa

Chapter 6 - Mt. Kenya

The first day of the trek is relatively easy - we climb from the gate area (at 2,500m') where there is a thick forest up to old Moses' hut (at 3,300m') in the moorland where we will sleep. In late afternoon, just before dusk, there is a hole in the clouds and we are honored to see the summit...

The second day is harder. We climb up to ShiptonĘs hut at 4,200m'. Sometimes, because of the special and weird vegetation, we feel like actors in "Jurassic Park". When we arrive to the hut, we see that some people suffer from high altitude sickness. Not like some of the people who will wake up at 2 o'clock in the morning in order to reach the summit at dusk, we have a good night sleep. We are not in a hurry, and will take one more day to acclimatize.

Because of the special and weird vegetation, we feel like actors in "Jurassic Park".

Shipton's hut at 4,200m'.

On the third day we walk around the summit and climb up to Austrian hut (at 4,700m'). The last hundreds of meters are difficult (we think it's because of the altitude) and we appreciate the soup which the cook prepared for us. Paul the cook really spoils us. First thing in the morning he boils some tea and serves it with biscuits. Soon after a huge amount of pancakes arrives. For lunch he gives us pick-nick bags with sandwiches. He hurries with Amaruru the porter to the end point of the day. In this way the soup is waiting for us on the stove when we arrive, and supper is quickly served soon after. The weak link in the group is Francis who is a late riser. After not waking us (and himself) on time in the first morning, we become responsible to wake up everybody on time.

In the evening Francis tells us about Sir Daniel arap Moi, the president of Kenya. He is more than 70 years old and on power since 1978. Although he is corrupt, he is wise enough to know the limits and to make Kenya a relatively stable economic power in the area. His corruption is not only concerning money, but also women. Nobody knows the exact number of kids he has and from how many mothers, but it is estimated around several dozens.

We go to sleep but hardly succeed. Apparently the altitude takes its toll. At 4 o'clock we wake up and at 5 are already walking. After 45 minutes walk we arrive to Point Lenana at 4,985m' the third highest peak of Mt. Kenya. The highest (Point Batian at 5,199m') and the second highest (Point Nelion at 5,188m') involve advance technical climbing and are off limits to us. The view around us is amazing: the clouds lay down beneath, there is no wind, and thanks to the soft rays of the rising sun, it's relatively hot (our thermometer indicates -5C). It's amazing to see here, less than one degree north of the equator, a real glacier.

We arrive to Point Lenana at 4,985m'.

We start our long way down to Chogoria gate, some 2,000 meters below. The views are amazing. Only when we arrive to the gate rain starts to fall, but we don't care anymore... we go to sleep happy and content.

Friday, the last day, starts fogy, which is the best weather to see elephants. We try hard but find only elephant shit on the dirt road... We go back to "civilization". It's funny to write this now, from Israel, but that is what we felt on our way to Nanyuki. On the way the radio announces about the explosion in Nairobi and Dar em Salem. Although our parents know that we are not in Nairobi, we want to call them. We try for hours to phone home, as other Israelis do, but it's very difficult. All the lines are busy. It takes us a day till we succeed. Meanwhile we go to the meat garden where instead of showing videos they show TV. The pictures are awful. The Kenyans are shocked. We see on their TV the Israeli rescue team working in Nairobi. Later on, when we will arrive to Nairobi we will see Israeli soldiers in uniform in town. The Kenyans are not used to terror attacks: although a national mourning week is declared by President Moi, the disco at our hotel functions well...

Next day we relax from the trek. We give our laundry to be made, and see it 2 hours later drying on the grass lawn of the hotel. I buy a nice (second hand) T shirt and we eat well. Tomorrow we go back to stress - we will return to Nairobi, and this time stay there more than several hours...

Our laundry drying on the grass lawn of the hotel.

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Last modified: Sat Jun 12th 19:05:00 IST 1999