KILIMANJARO FOUND ME!

Mt. Kilimanjaro, I finally saw this snow-capped beauty and she was gorgeous. It was a beautiful sunny day and my second attempt to get an up-close view of this now elusive mountain. This time, we approached it via the Marangu entrance which is the main entrance of Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park. From Arusha, we drove past Moshi to a town called Himo, where we took a left turn to the Marangu gate. And although it was a sunny day, a thick blanket of clouds covered the mountain and blocked our view the entire journey.

At this point, I whispered to God begging him to let me see this mountain, even for 5 seconds. Unlike my timid prayer, he answered with a grand gesture. Just before we took the turn at Himo, the clouds cleared to reveal the steep Mawenzi peak partially covered in snow! I knew it was going to be a perfect day.

At the Marangu offices, one can get a great deal of information about the park and activities to be enjoyed. But till now, the great snow-capped Kibo peak was not visible because of the clouds, and everyone lost hope. I did not. As a consolation prize, we left the national park and veered off to check out waterfalls that our guide kept talking about.

The walk down a steep slope to Kilasiya waterfalls was quite the fitness test. But I am always amazed at how resilient the human spirit is: we never expected some of our friends to make it all the way, but they did! After that “fitness check” few ladies were crazy about making a stop in Moshi town so they could buy tanzanite jewellery. We made the stop for close to an hour but they never bought anything. I was not mad because the longer we stayed, the higher my chances of seeing the mountain. Rumour had it that the clouds cleared between 6 to 7 pm. I was still hopeful!

When all the window shopping was done, we set off for Arusha. I kept turning back hoping the clouds would grant me this magical experience, but they seemed reluctant. The further we drove away, the lower my hopes dropped and then I was starting to make peace with that fact that this wasn’t my lucky day, again! But in a span of 10 minutes, it all changed, I turned back and there she was, she found me. I saw Kilimanjaro!

I couldn’t hold back my excitement and let out a shout of joy, “guys, you can see Kili”. That’s what we were calling her now, Kili. Within seconds, cameras were out taking countless shots of the dame who had eluded us all day! The driver pulled over and let us enjoy our moment. Everyone else was super excited for me and even offered to take shots of me and the mountain, I accepted and enjoyed every bit of it.

Heaven lies somewhere on that snow-capped beauty and I saw it!

This is what I saw:

  1. Beauty
1

Mt. Kilimanjaro in the background and a grateful heart in the foreground

2

Snow capped Kibo peak to the left and Mawenzi peak to the right

2. Main entrance to the National Park at Marangu gate

3

The Marangu gate in a similar style to the Machame gate

3. Kilimanjaro National Park

3a

Est. 1977

4

Rubbing shoulders with greatness…

4a

…and even more greatness!

5

In anticipation of my future climb

5a

Processing information and managing expectations

5b

Couldn’t resist her charm

5c

It all starts with one step

5d

Bright smiles and a sunny heart

DSC_1289

We shall meet again

Funny thing is that I had seen Kilimanjaro before. It was on a road trip from Kampala to Dar-es-salaam in 2015. There were no clouds to obstruct my view; the mountain was there for the taking. But I never felt this excited. My point is: go out there, chase after something you really want, especially when there is a chance of failure. Because when you get it, you will treasure it and be grateful for every moment!

Cheers!

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