Climbing Kilimanjaro: Day 1

The Climb Begins


At 9:00AM, a quarter of the crew from Duma Explorer picked us up at the cottage. The adventure begins. We all piled into that bus – which felt crowded at the time – but I didn't know what lay ahead.

Then we stopped to pick up three more climbers which meant all our gear had to go on the roof. All I could think of was hitting a bump and having my duffel fall off! After picking three more climbers, we stopped to load four more porters into the bus. All seats were full and people were sitting in the wheel wells. We settled in for a four hour drive.

My soon to be trail-buddy, Jon Dobbs enjoys the view as we bounce and careen of rocks and ruts in the overcrowded bus.

Flanked by volcanoes. Meru is visible to our left, but our quarry refuses to show herself, remaining buried in clouds. The bumpy bus ride continues. While Meru slid by on our left, and to the right we got our first glimpse of Kilimanjaro with its head buried in the clouds. (The big mountain in the background, not the hill in front, silly.)

At Londorossi Gate we filed our permits. Then it was lunch, followed by the dreaded duffel weigh-in. Each hiker must keep their duffel beneath 20kg -- or 44lbs, we clocked in around 15kg.  I was more worried when the guides checked our day packs.  I knew mine was on the heavy end, but I was also bringing a ton of camera.  Eventually, it was back on the bus for 40 minutes of very sketchy switch backs.  We finally arrived at the Lemosho gate, which would be the start of our climb! One quick photo at the gate, and then a couple hours of hiking to our first camp site.

Andrew, one of our guides explaining details about the forest. These little educational breaks also helped keep the pace nice and slow which is essential to a successful summit.

And we're off!! The path started nice and easy with stairs and bridges. I Can't wait to get to the higher elevations!

I forget what they said would happen to us if these ants bit us. But I remember it was no bueno. Took a big step over these bad boys

Stairway to heaven? Well, stairway to higher altitude for sure. We were at a higher altitude than I've ever hiked just stepping foot off the bus.

While mostly green beneath the canopy, we did spot the occasional spots of color...

...And two different species of monkeys doing monkey business. (This is one of them.)

The food on this trek was insanely good. Everything was designed to get and keep you hydrated and full of energy. Hands-down the best food I've had on trail.  We had fresh vegetables, meat and plenty of ways to make hot water taste delish: hot chocolate; Milo; tea — which we were rationing until we realized it was just a tiny portion of the overall supply.  We ate like kings.

We pulled into our first camp late, so I didn't spend much time taking photos. Don't worry though, there are many more photos of the next seven days.


Next: Day 2 - The Real Climb Begins

Is story time boring you? Check out the Kilimanjaro Trip Page.


Welcome to the first day of our eight-day Kilimanjaro climb. If you’re just tuning in, you may want to start at the beginning of the adventure.

If you're interested in someday climbing Kilimanjaro, check out the main Kili trip page which has links to additional information and resources. 

If photos are your jam, head over to my Google Photos gallery.