Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 2. Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp. Second day 11.8km walk via Second Caves through the moorland zone.
In September, Lady Lynne and I completed the 70km, 6 day Rongai route ascent of Kilimanjaro. This is our day by day recap of that walk.
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve read the first post, Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 1. Moshi to Rongai Gate to Simba Camp.
There are 5 climate zones of Kilimanjaro that you pass through on your assent.
On Day 1 we had climbed through the rain forest zone. That zone is between 1,800m and 2,800m and receives the highest amount of rainfall.
Today, Day 2 on route to the Kikelewa Camp, we would be climbing through the moorland zone between 2,800m and 4000m which is covered in heather and bright flowers.
Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp
After our first day’s trek we had a pretty good night’s sleep in our new “home” for the next 5 nights. The arctic sleeping bags were certainly cozy.
We were brought a large flask of hot water at 6.30am as our wake up call. There was plenty of water for us to be able to make hot drinks before and during breakfast.
Talking of breakfast, what a feast! It was served at 7.00am and consisted of porridge, bread, omlette, sausages and fruit.
Now you know I’m a huge lover of porridge. I tried millet porridge in Kenya whilst on honeymoon, and loved it.
Today both Lynne and I fell in love with the East African variation of porridge we were served. Made from sorghum and different ground cerials. It was sweet and delicious!
After we had been brought our 2 basins of water to wash in, we packed up and set off at about 9am.
I took the photograph (above) on leaving the Simba camp. It was quite a hive of activity of people getting ready to leave for the day.
The views of Mawenzi, the 2nd peak in the Kilimanjaro area, were really good in the early morning.
Those views would soon be shrouded in mist and cloud though as we continued on the path from Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp.
Throughout this week we always walked at a steady and gentle pace. Our advice from our guide Gilibert was “poli, poli” – slowly, slowly…
We needed to allow out bodies to slowly acclimatize to the altitude.
It was about a 3 hour walk to our lunch stop at the Second Caves Camp and as if though we hadn’t had enough for breakfast, our chef had given us a brunch to carry with us!
We stopped at this rest area, marked by the rocks piled on top of each other at about halfway between the Simba Camp and the Second Caves Camp for our brunch break.
Our brunch food parcels consisted of rolls with jam, cake and juice.
It wasn’t long before our team of porters soon caught up and overtook us. As they would every day.
These guys were amazing.
Not only were they carrying our main rucksacks and equipment for the week, but also their own rucksacks and all the food needed for all of us for the entire expedition. There are no shops or places to stock up on route!
Our only limitation on what we could bring for our climb was that our main rucksacks had to weigh no more than 15kg each.
Our rucksacks had been weighed before we left the hotel to ensure we were in our allowed limit.
Before we reached the Second cave we posed to have our photograph taken in this cave.
Gilibert informed us that the porters used to sleep rough in these caves when escorting their clients.
Up to 15 years ago it was only the clients who had the luxury of a tent.
Nowadays the porters welfare is just as important. The porters sleep in a tent and are also catered for with one hot meal a day made for them by the chef.
Climbing Kilimanjaro does a lot of great things for Tanzania.
It generates about $50 million a year in revenue for touring companies.
The majority goes to the government for park fees but about $13 million is paid directly to guides, porters and cooks, according to a World Bank report.
According to the report, the revenue from the park supports about 400 guides, 10,000 porters, 500 cooks and constitutes about 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
We got the to Second Caves Camp at about 12.00pm.
The camp was quite busy. We just thought it was a lunch stop but it turns out a lot of people actually camp here for the night.
This camp can be used as an extra day’s stopover for the Rongai route.
If you wanted to do the Rongai route in 7 days, maybe having that extra day to acclimatize, this is where you would stay.
Our team had powered on ahead and already set up our tent complete with chairs and table for lunch.
Lunch was fried potato omlette, stir fry cabbage, green beans and half a chicken for mains.
Avocadao and banana for dessert. Tea and coffee for drinks.
There was no way we were ever going to be hungry on this adventure!
After lunch we had another 3 hours of trekking ahead of us before we would reach the Kikelewa Camp.
We explored another cave which was really deep and went much further back than we could venture.
This cave was off the path. As far as I can remember it was called the “Bubble Cave”. In some places, the cave ceiling was so low and we had to take care to avoid banging our heads on the rocks.
We could have done with our head torches at this point. Unfortunately they were in our main rucksacks…….
There were some spots of rain but nothing substantial that afternoon. We finally arrived at the Kikelewa Camp at about 4pm.
We could see our green tent on the hill on the right and our toilet tent behind it.
Just before we could reach our tent we had some flooded moorland to get across.
It was fairly easy to cross though as boulders had been laid over it providing stepping stones to reach the camp safely and without getting wet feet.
Kikelewa Camp is at 3,679m.
There were less people here than at the Simba Camp or the Second Caves Camp.
There was also a noteable drop in temperature.
I began to see why we got fed so often and so substanially. It was needed to keep up warm.
The low cloud and mist remained around the camp for the rest of the evening until night. So there wasn’t much to see.
Inside the tent provided a little bit of shelter from the cold. We stayed in there and played cards until our snacks and dinner arrived.
Yes, we are extremely grateful to an English family who we met at the hotel before we left.
They had just come back from summiting and gave us a pack of playing cards that they had been carrying on their expedition.
We hadn’t believed the cards would come in handy but they certainly did. Plus they kept our minds off the increasing cold.
Tonight our huge tray of freshly cooked popcorn was joined by warm red nuts. They were delicious. Full of protein and energy.
The red nuts reminded me of when we were in Uganda and they were served there. You can see them in a photograph in that post too.
Then it was time for dinner.
Again, like last night we both had fresh vegetable soup for starters.
Lynne had spaghetti with a spinach and pea puree for her main course.
I had beef rendang. There was also a side of peas and carrots to share. Again dessert was fruit. Guava we think!
It had been a longer day today and we were both tired. That helped us to get to sleep straight away.
Plus it gets dark every night at the same time, 7pm. Being so near to the equator means it get’s light at the same time and dark at the same time every day.
So folks that ends Day 2 Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks for Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 3. Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp.
If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading about our other walking adventures such as when we walked coast to coast in the UK on the Hadrian’s Wall Path.
Neil, I’m enjoying vicariously joining your trek up Kilimanjaro. Such great images of you and Lynne. Ones I’m sure you guys will cherish through life. That porridge sounds interesting and hardy. I had no idea that the park contributed so much income to the country. Great info. I will have to remember “poli, poli”, as that’s my speed at this juncture of life. Looking forward to the Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp post.
Thanks Ron. I’m glad I was able to bring the pictures back OK. With no electricty for 6 days I had to carry two batteries. Fortunately they both lasted until we got back!
These posts are fascinating, Neil! Not only do I love the photos detailing the adventure, but I love all of the facts that you have scattered in as well. I can’t believe Kilimanjaro is responsible for 13% of the country’s GDP. That’s insane! I mean it makes sense if you stop and actually think about it, but still…13%! At first I was shocked at the amount of food, too, but then it began to make more sense once you talked about the temperatures. And those porters? Wow, what a tough job. Those guys are heroes!
It’s fortunate that the Kilimanjaro park is well looked after and respected too because of that level of income it brings into the country David. The Tanzanian people are very proud people. I also read that a Porter on Kilimanjaro will earn more doing that than a farmer in the fields.
I LOVE EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT THIS – down to the avocado for dessert because they always served me avocado with fresh lime and salt for dessert and it was THE BEST THING EVER!!! I cannot remake it in the states because it’s just not as fresh. Honestly, your write up of this trek makes me believe I could actually totally do it!
Avocado with fresh lime and salt eh? Sounds delicious! I’ll mention that to Lynne because I think we would like to give that a try too. Yum!
So so enjoyed following along on day 2 of your climb! I didn’t realize there were so many caves along the way and I didn’t realize that your meals would be so darn delicious – I was picturing bars and powdered drinks for 6 days but y’all had quite the spread! My mind was blown when I read that climbing Kilimanjaro brought in $50 million a year in revenue for touring companies! Wow!
We had no idea our meals would be quite so delicious either. Or that there would be so much food and it would be so filling. We actually began to wonder prior to climbing Kilimanjaro if we would make it because we were so full!! Ha ha!