Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 4. Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp. Fourth day 9km walk to the summit base camp.
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.
Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp was our fourth day hiking to Kilimanjaro. Make sure you’ve caught up on the previous 3 days first :-
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 1. Moshi to Rongai Gate to Simba Camp.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 2. Simba Camp to Kikelewa Camp.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 3. Kikelewa Camp to Mawenzi Tarn Camp.
Today, Day 4 on route to the Kibo Camp we continued our gradual hike through the alpine desert zone. Kibo camp was our summit base camp.
As you’ll see in the photographs the route is dry, barren and inhospitable but still spectacular in its own right.
Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp
We were getting used to the freezing cold nights and waking up with frost and ice on the the ground.
But, Lady Lynne and I had already begun to talk and look forward excitedly to our restful week to come.
Then we would be sitting by a swimming pool in Zanzibar. After the climb was over!
It wasn’t that we weren’t enjoying ourselves. We were. But our levels of comfort were certainly being challenged!
I always remember being taught “its better to be too hot than to be too cold”.
When you’re too hot you can strip off layers of clothing to cool down.
But when you’re cold, even when you put extra layers of clothing on, it still takes the body a lot of energy and time to heat up!
And so it was that we awoke cold on that Thursday morning.
Looking up though, the jagged Mawenzi Peak at 5148m looked stunning as the mist began to clear around it.
And looking down from our 4315m height towards the plains of Africa the sea of clouds was even more amazing than the day before.
Our hot breakfast of African porridge was eagerly anticipated that morning.
Pancakes and omlettes too soon had us fixed and ready to walk to our next destination.
The Kibo camp which is the summit camp and the highest camp was 9km and 5 hours walk away.
After climbing over a small ridge the view was breathtaking.
Although the Kibo was partially shrouded in clouds we could see far in the distance to the left, the Kibo camp that we were heading for.
The landscape was dramatic and windswept. But the path was easy going.
The area that we were walking on towards the Kibo camp is known as “The Saddle”.
The saddle is a 5 km barren plain of alpine desert between the two main peaks of Kilimanjaro: Mawenzi and Kibo.
Not alot survives in this harsh environment. In fact there is no running water here. Nor is there any running water available in any streams at the Kibo Camp. This is still the dry season.
Our team were carrying enough water as well as our equipment for our one night stay at Kibo Camp.
We arrived at Kibo Camp at lunchtime.
The air is thinner here and the day temperature cooler than the other camps we had been at.
We were encouraged to rest and take it easy here. Keeping our energy for our 7 hour trek to the summit that night.
The clouds kept rolling across the area of the saddle all day. It’s often described as a lunar landscape.
Looking back towards Mawenzi Peak, the Kibo camp lies nestled amonst the rocks sheltered in part from the cool wind.
On arrival our team already had our tent set up for us. We were soon eating lunch of a hearty potato soup, pancakes and watermelon.
There are wooden huts here at the Kibo camp. And more being built.
The huts are for those people doing the Marangu Route ascent of Kilimanjaro.
The Marangu Route is the easiest and cheapest route. But as it’s the shortest route it also means there is less time for acclimatization.
Therefore it is the route with least success of summiting Kilimanjaro.
We chose the Rongai Route because it meant we would have the best chance of success.
After relaxing and playing cards in our tent it was time to have an early dinner and early night, and hopefully to get some sleep. After all this was the big night.
For the ascent would begin at Midnight……..
So folks that ends Day 4 Mawenzi Tarn Camp to Kibo Camp. Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks for Climbing Kilimanjaro Day 5. Summit Day!
If you enjoyed reading this then you might also be interested in reading about our other walking adventures such as when Lady Lynne climbed her first Munro, Ben Lomond.