Day 1: Drop off and Hike to Shira 2 Camp

A quick recap from the night before. Ron and I arrived at Kilimanjaro airport at 8pm. It took two hours to go through customs, so be prepared to wait! They take your photo, fingerprints from both hands, and use a whole page in your passport for a visa. It seemed extensive but made us feel even safer about exploring Tanzania. We got picked up by Altezza, the tour company we choose to go with. I will go into more detail why we are so incredibly thankful we chose them over 26 other companies! More on that later… anyhow it was a 40 minute drive to Aisha Machame Hotel. This is also home base for Altezza.

DAY 1

We got up at 7am. Had continental breakfast from the adorable Aisha Machame Hotel. They had lots of choices from custom made omelets, cereals, fruit and sausages. We then had our briefing with Dmitry. I have been in contact with him since we first started planning this trip in April. He broke down what to expect each day and answered any questions we had. We then picked up all the gear we rented, packed our duffle bags for the climb and gave him the remainder of our stuff to lock up for the week while were climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

We jumped in the van at 9:45am with our whole crew for the week and began our 3 hour drive to  Londorosi Gate. It was a bumpy and dusty ride but the views along the way were awesome! They call it the African massage, lol!

You could see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance!We made it to the gate!Once we arrived, everyone got out and unpacked all the gear. By law they have to weigh each bag since each porter can only carry up to 80 pounds. There were several other companies doing the same so it took almost two hours.We ate our delicious vegetarian lunch box while they sorted everything out. The sandwich was avocado, egg and tomato, YUM!I had to see what it was like to be a porter. Lets just say I wouldn’t make it very far! These things are heavy!We drove another 30 minutes to Morum Picnic site. This is where we officially got introduced to all TWELVE of our crew members. Ron and I couldn’t believe it. We definitely felt very spoiled and were excited to get to know all of them!We officially began our seven day hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro! Our commander, chi chi bo bo  (his nick name) was explaining everything. Him and Haji hike with us the whole time making sure everything runs smoothly!

The porters passed us like it was nothing!
The trail became more lush after a couple hours.Our fingers got a little tingly and light headed but it was normal since we were up 12,000ft. We started taking our altitude sickness pills the day before we arrived in hopes we wouldn’t get affected. We took Diamox 125mg each morning of our hike.

The trail was super dusty! I regret wearing my tennis shoes for day one and wished I wore my Ahnu boots!

These cactus, tree, weed looking things can only be found on Kilimanjaro and a handful of other East African mountains. You will only find them above 14,000ft though this one was around 12,000ft! I am obsessed with tress so I was super pumped when I found out the rarity of these things! I forget what they called them but the proper name is, Dendrosenecio kilimanjari. Weird right?! Be sure to stay tuned for day two where were amongst 100’s of these racing 10-20+ feet!

We hiked about four hours and made it to Shira 2 Camp. We had a fast pace, they estimate the hike usually taking five hours.

We sign in at each camp. It was cool to see where everyone else was from and what they did for a living.The porters had everything set up for us already! We slept in the North Face tent with 3inch pads, talk about luxury camping!We were officially above the clouds!Surprisingly, the porters had cell service!You can see Mount Meru, the fifth summit of Africa in the distance. We both were in awe staring at the peaks breaking through the clouds with the sunset glow.

The light cloud cover aloud us to stare right into the sun!This guy had an awesome view!But we also an awesome view! Can you see the tiny sun!?We washed up with hot water, ate dinner and passed out since tomorrow was a long day! Before we went to bed, Mangu our server for the week (Sounds like Mango but with a U) gave us  hot water rubber sacks for our sleeping bags. We were confused at first but now I have to say, WOW, they are amazing! They stayed hot nearly all night and kept us extra warm! We shoved them inside our sleeping bags near our feet. Click here, for an example. I have not purchased these yet but I plan to. We will never go camping without them now! We slept great! The next morning we took a picture in front of Shira 2 Camp sign and then started our long hike to the Lava Tower and Barranco Camp (my favorite camp of all) for the night!Now I am going to get REAL, real quick! Shira 2 Camp is the last toilet seat you get to sit on until you make to the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro so take advantage of it! There is only one toilet for each sex. The women’s is all the way to the right and the mens is on the far left. The rest are squatting holes. Ron and I didn’t realize this until the next morning. Every base camp from here on out are squatting holes. They are basically port-a-potties with two, two by fours big enough for your feet to stand on and then a hole no bigger than your head to do your business in! Now just picture tons of people using these that are not use to squatting in a little hole. Lets just say it’s not pretty and I learned to hold my breath for a long time! After a few days we got the hang of it. I will admit it was our least favorite part of the whole trip but we are in the wild so it comes with the territory! You can also pay extra for a private toilet that Altezza sets up at each base camp. If we were to do it again we would defiantly pay extra for one.

My greatest recommendation is to bring a roll or two of toilet paper! We forgot and this amazing couple gave us a roll! We quickly learned TP is like GOLD on the mountain.

What do you think of Mt. Kilimanjaro so far? I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, Share and Subscribe to stay up to date on my latest adventures!

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Day 1

HIKE: Morum Picnic site to Shira 2 Camp (elevation change from 3,407m – 3,850m) (11,177ft – 12,631ft)

TRAVEL COMPANY: Altezza climbing & Safari

DISTANCE: Expect to hike 4-5 hours. Incline is very mild. Easy hike.

TIPS: Take altitude sickness pills (we got ours from our local travel clinic, though Altezza supplies them as well), hike slower than usual and drink lots of water to help with acclimating.

-Bring a 1-2 rolls of toilet paper and baby wipes.

-Take advantage of the last toilet seat for the remainder of the hike or pay extra for a private toilet from Altezza.

Our Mt. Kilimanjaro climb and Safari trip with Altezza Climbing & Safari was discounted. However, as always, my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!

2 Comments on “Day 1: Drop off and Hike to Shira 2 Camp”

    1. That is awesome Terra! Sounds like you may just have to do it some day ;)! Hiking summit night and watching the sunrise was an experience we will never forget.

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