A walk through the clouds

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Chico (..... the clown)
Feb 19, 2013
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Sandton, South Africa
This will be my third trip to one of my favourite places. I have been looking forward to it for weeks.
A smiling welcome to Tanzania

The mountain is big enough to generate its own weather patterns. A very wet and long day through the rainforest. ......Just cant wait to get to a nice comfortable spot to rest and take my boots off.

Oh boy! The camp site for the first night. I guess it was too much to hope for a dry and level spot to pitch our tents! A very long and uncomfortable night ahead. I discovered I had not paid enough attention and had pitched my tent over a tree root. The whole night I kept slipping out of my tent and struggling to get comfortable on the infernal root. By morning my gear was all wet and covered in mud. Oh boy, what a way to start!

The next day could not arrive quick enough. After a couple of hours of reasonably steep ascent we moved into the cloud forest, a magical fairy wonderland...... only problem was the incessant drip, drip, drip.
Everything was clad in silver lichen and moss.

Even the rocks were dressed in the same silver strands. Truly magical!

Then all of a sudden the clouds part for a brief moment and we are afforded a glimpse of our objective. A few days away still.

The end of a magical day. We set up camp with a fantastic view of the route we need to follow tomorrow. Another very wet night. It just did not stop raining.

By mid morning the following day we had ascended the steep section and emerged on the Alpine Heath. Here the flora had changed dramatically. Still a lot of cloud around. Cloud, cloud and more cloud! By now I am tired of being wet and I can see that tonight is going to be very uncomfortable.

At long last the day is over. We make camp with a stunning view over the clouds. At long last we seem to be emerging from the clouds. The prospect of a bit of sun tomorrow is heartening. The problem tonight is that there is nowhere to pitch the tents, tonight we will have to sleep in the open, at least it promises to be dry.

We wake up to lovely views of Mt Meru in the distance, its summit is the 5th highest in Africa.

By late morning we have ascended into the Alpine Desert. Rocky and desolate, but above all, DRY! At long last I can dry some gear, for the rest of the day I look like a mobile cloths-line.

The end just does not seem to get any closer. It looks stunning now and excitement is mounting just as the air is getting thinner. It is now that you realise how big this thing is.

A great view of tomorrows route. It will be the last day that we are on our own, by late afternoon we will be joining a more travelled route, as the summit nears (near being a relative term)

The following evening we join a large group from France. They have a city of tents, and even boast an ablution tent and a mess tent. Wow! a home from home, they are doing this in luxury, way better organised and probably more fun (we have to carry all our own gear)

As the sun sets the temperature drops sharply. Soon ice starts to cover everything and with a last glance at the sunset we escape into our sleeping bags wearing nearly every bit of clothing we have brought with us. Tonight is going to be very cold!

......... stay tuned for the second instalment. (I need a glass of wine)


Nov 3, 2007
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Eagle, ID
Amazing and beautiful trip! Looking forward to views from the top.
(Maybe the French will share some wine)


Well-Known Member
Oct 4, 2009
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WOW, thank you for these wonderful photographs! What a wonderful tour!


Just call me Tom
Jan 12, 2008
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Kyushu, Japan; warm temperate/subtropical climate
Looks like a great hike. I've always wanted to see those forests of giant Dendrosenecio in person. It amazes me that snow occurs so close to the equator even at those relatively high altitudes. True islands of radically different climate and biology in a tropical sea.

Can't wait for installment 2!


In Remembrance 2023
Supporting Member
Jul 8, 2011
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Kentucky zone 6B
Gary, if it had all the comforts of home, it'd be called "home". That's why
we seek adventure...so we can complain about the weather conditions. It
looks very exciting and strenuous to me. Have a wonderous time!