As some of you know, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was one of the last things I did before our family relocated back to the United States after three years in Johannesburg. But that doesn’t mean it came as an afterthought. Planning a Kili climb takes time, about a year for most people. So if you would like to add Kili to your Africa bucket list, you almost need to start planning the trip the moment you start your expat assignment. Who knows how long you’ll get to stay?
(If you haven’t thought about putting Mount Kilimanjaro on your Africa bucket list, perhaps you’d like to read Kilimanjaro Diaries. I’m told it has inspired some readers to give it a try – while also inspiring them to make sure to order the toilet tent.)
Climbing Kili is magical. It’s also hard and funny and cold and hot, and for many people life-changing. If you already live in Africa, especially at high altitude in Johannesburg, you’d do yourself a disservice if you didn’t give the highest free-standing mountain in the world at least serious consideration.
No, you don’t have to have mountain-climbing experience. You also don’t have to have above-average fitness. All you need is a spirit of adventure, and perhaps more importantly, a sense of humor. It’s not exactly a cheap vacation, as you need a guided tour to get on the mountain, but it’s also not nearly as expensive as many of your typical African safari destinations. I always viewed it this way: An entire week without having to cook or even plan any meals, somebody carrying all your stuff, and not having to listen to any nagging except perhaps my own – sounds like heaven, right? The view from the summit after 7 exhilarating days is just an added bonus.
People who return from Kili after reading my book often contact me afterwards, and I’ve written about the camaraderie this inspires among fellow Kili alumni here.
But in addition to their stories, people also often share their pictures with me. This typically sends me down a rabbit hole of long reminiscences and bouts of nostalgia. One recent such reader sent me such beautiful pictures that I felt compelled to share them here for all to see. May they inspire you to find a mountain to climb!
The below pictures are all courtesy of Tami Trover Crosson, who successfully climbed Kilimanjaro in February of this year, taking the Lemosho Route. Enjoy!