Travel: Kilimanjaro day 1

I feel like that I’m turning this blog, originally a food blog, into a travel blog! 😆 Hope you still enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it.

Okay. Let’s move into the most exciting part of the trip to Tanzania: the 6 day journey of climbing Kilimanjaro!!!

Let me first tell you that after 11 hrs of hard work, breathing problem, physical exhaustion, half blindness and severe headache, we all successfully summit the highest peak in Africa: the Uhuru peak, 5895 meters high!


This is our group people of 8 with 3 guides and 2 porters. As you can see, we were happily exhausted! 🙂


Before I get into the day by day event. I want to say: Climbing Kili was a fantastic experience but what made the experience unique and life changing is the people who made it possible! Pristine Trails is the tour company who booked our entire trip. I must say: they’re the BEST in the WORLD!!! It was 32 people in total (27 porters, 3 guides, 1 chef, 1 assistant chef) who took care of us. They’re a group of young entrepreneurs, full of energy and passion. I’ve never felt so taken care of by someone before! ALL of them are always genuinely kind, helpful and made us feel so spoiled!!!


These are the three guides: Adam (left), Patrick (center) and Mussa (right). Spending 6 days with them was so fun and chatting with them is so enjoyable and mind opening. None of them have a college degree but I can assure you, they’re smarter and sharper than many PhDs. I just love love being with them!!!


This is Charger Boy, our daily porter (usually porters carry 20 kgs of things like equipments, tents, food, our luggage, etc, and they walk ahead of us to settle the camp and prepare the food, water, etc. But we hired two more porters to walk with us to carry our day packs so we don’t need to carry absolutely nothing! How clever!!!)

Without this man I wouldn’t be able to get to the summit, much less getting down from the mountain. The physical exhaustion combined with being half blind (because my eyes were severely irritated by dust from day 3, I could barely open my eyes) almost prohibited me to continue once I reached 5600 meter. He took me to the top by letting me hold the straps of my daypack that he was carrying so I didn’t have to look my steps nor to hold the poles. Once I reached the summit, I felt I’ve exhausted all my energy so I could barely stand by myself. So he hold me in the above position and dragged me down >2000 meters the same day.

Okay. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Day 1: We started in Moshi, got our rental gears and ready to start.


It was a long drive (2-3 hrs) from Moshi to the gate of Rongai route, Nalemoru Gate at 2020 m. The Rongai route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, close to the Kenyan border. Rongai passes through true wilderness areas for days before joining the Marangu route at Kibo camp. This route descends down the Marangu route.

Once we arrived there, we had a cold lunch, the only cold lunch we had in those 6 days.


burger, chicken wing, samosa and mini banana. They don’t look very appetizing but in fact they were delicious!


This is our crew, 27 porters, 2 chefs and 2 guides. They were waiting for their bag to be weighted. No porter is allowed to carry more than 20 kg.


Here we are, all fresh and ready to start!


We begin the hike on a wide path that winds up cultivated area of maize and potatoes before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently but gently through montane forest. The forest begins to thin out and the first camp, Simba is at the edge of the moorland zone with expanse vistas over the Kenyan plains.


several water and pee breaks on the way



And we arrived our first camp: Simba Camp.

Distance: 8 kms

Hours: 6

Altitude gained: up 680 m

Once we arrived, the food tent, or our private cafeteria, was ready for hot tea and popcorns.



It was followed by dinner: soup, spaghetti with a meat sauce and a veggie sauce with PB. DELICIOUS!!!

Oh… did I mention that the food in those 6 days was AMAZING? I’ve been in many fine restaurants, but the truth is, other than the presentation, our chef Mr. Mangi Mangi won over all of them!!! EVERY SINGLE MEAL was SCRUMPTIOUS!!! I don’t usually eat red meat but I ate happily; I don’t usually eat white bread/pasta/rice, but I enjoyed every bite of them! Mr. Mangi Mangi is such a gifted chef! He prepared the most delicious food and made sure that no one in our group lost appetite due to high altitude. In fact, he just opened mine. During those 6 days, I ate more than ever and enjoyed sooooo soooo much everything!!! After we came back, everyone misses Mr. Mangi Mangi. We’re even thinking about making a e-cookbook of his cook. 😆


Here’s our tent


Each tent sleeps two people


here’s my roommate Sarah for the entire trip. We didn’t know each other before the trip but after 14 days together almost 24 hrs a day, we became very good friends. In fact, I’m at her apartment as I’m writing this! 😉


To be continued….



Filed under travel

7 responses to “Travel: Kilimanjaro day 1

  1. Erin

    I love your travel posts Coco 🙂

  2. What an AMAZING experience!! Congratulations on making it to the top of the highest peak!!

  3. This sounds like so much fun, but HARD! I bet that made it so much more rewarding. Can’t wait for the rest!

    PS: I’ll read what ever you want to write about!!!

  4. Ben

    after first para…i found i finally regret so much that i didn’t go with you guys to climb the kili!!! bad~~~

  5. what an accomplishment! pack me in your suitcase next time haha. i love the first photo of you! was it the most physically challenging thing you’ve ever done? i’m so glad you had a good tent roomie! it probably made the experience much more memorable 🙂

  6. I love your travel posts! I was looking forward to your recap of your Kilimanjaro trip as I had known about it for a while… 🙂 So glad you made it! Sounds very exhausting! Sorry about your eye problems; I’m even more impressed that you made it despite them!!!

    Sounds like a very well organized and wonderfully planned trip! Truly an experience of a lifetime!

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