Climbing to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro was by far one of the most challenging adventures I have ever undertaken, and one which pushed me beyond both my physical and emotional limits. And while I felt like jumping off the mountain to die during the more difficult parts of the climb, the experience was easily the most worthwhile challenge I have ever undertaken, and by far my greatest travel accomplishment.
This post is part of the series called ‘Sleep less, dream more’ in which we share uncommon sleeping places and circumstances travelers encountered during their trip.
Written by Megan Claire.
Next to standing at the top of that god forsaken mountain, broken and beaten from the difficult trek, one of the most exhilarating experiences was waking up each morning, and opening our tent to a view of the clouds. And we weren’t looking up at them; we had climbed so high we were looking down!
It’s a strange sight to behold, staring out at a sea of pure white clouds blocking your view of the world below; a view so mesmerizing you want to run and jump almost believing they would catch you as they do in the cartoons.
The rugged snow capped mountain may be extremely impressive and beautiful from afar, however the far more spectacular sights were offered from the mountain itself.
Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa, and the highest free standing mountain in the world! At 5,895 meters (or 19,341 feet) above sea level, it was one hell of a climb; and at that height, you’re literally sleeping above the clouds!
With no infrastructure on the mountain, your accommodation choices are between a hut or a tent; though either way, after a grueling day climbing, you accommodation is already set up and waiting for you upon your arrival at each camp.
Porters race ahead on Kilimanjaro carrying your equipment between camps. Regardless of the fact that they were burdened with all of our gear, they still managed to climb at a much faster pace beating us to our final destination with time to set up camp before we got there. It was fairly soul destroying to see a man run past you carrying a table on his head while you were struggling to climb with a simple daypack!
I was so incredibly thankful for the plastic skylight on the roof of my tent, offering views of the night sky. Because we had no cloud cover, I went to sleep each evening with a spectacular view of the stars. And while there was a thin piece of material separating me from that beautiful night sky, it was as if we were sleeping under the stars.
While I was the only solo traveler within my climbing group, this was fine, as it meant I enjoyed a comfortable two man tent to myself. While trying to get comfortable in my sleeping bag at 19,000 feet high, I was thanking god I’ve never been prone to sleepwalking!
That would have been quite a fall!
About the author
Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home. Meg authors “Mapping Megan”, an adventure travel blog which aims to give you the best tips and advice on travelling, volunteering, living, working and holidaying abroad. You can also follow her journey on Facebook.
Great story from Mapping Megan! Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a challenge I am preparing myself for as we speak! My husband and I both feel like we can’t go to Kenya and not do it. I love the photo of you lying on the marker, it really communicates the challenge of making a climb like this. Kudos to you for completing it!
Hi Lina! Thanks for stopping by :) I also love that photo of Megan! I’ve also been to Kenya and we did think about it, but didn’t have the time in the end. However, after reading Megan’s story I feel I should return and conquer that Kili ;)! Good luck with the climb and enjoy Kenya!!
Thanks Lina! So glad you enjoyed the story – and kudos on deciding to do the climb for yourself! It’s definitely something you should attempt if you’re in the area. Feel free to reach out if you want any tips or advice in the lead up – it’s going to be challenging, but amazing!
Thanks for featuring my story! I love this series so it’s an honor to be included!
Beautiful post! I would love to climb Kilimanjaro someday- it sounds like you had an awesome experience.
Thanks Jimmy for reading :)!