Preface

I remember growing up surrounded by wildlife books and watching wildlife documentaries. The National Geographic show, and “El Hombre y la Tierra” (Spanish for The Man and the Earth) were on the TV every Saturday morning.

While watching these shows when growing up, Africa and the Kilimanjaro National Park were always portrayed as magical places, where the Savanah meets the snow.
Later in my life, I start reading Ernest Hemmingway and discovered his book “The Snow of Kilimanjaro”, where a few of the opening chapters of the book continue adding to that mystery:

“Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai ‘Ngaje Ngai’, the House of God. Close to the western summit, there is a dried and frozen carcas of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.”

In 2022, after a few months of planning, I was lucky enough to finally go to Africa and hike Kili, with the intent of having seven days of uninterrupted hiking and photography time. The journey to the “roof of Africa” is an amazing experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. The mountain itself is a sight to behold, and the climb is a great adventure.

The seven-day trek to the summit is not easy, but it is doable for most people with a medium level of fitness. Probably the most important tip is to take your time and drink plenty of water. The hike is composed of 5 major climate zones, from the Rainforest Zone to the Artic Zone. For photography, it feels like having 5 trips in 1, where if you have the time (and the energy) the landscape photography opportunities will be endless.
You will also find lots of species of flora, like the “Impatiens Kilimanjari” and if you are lucky, fauna, that is endemic to Kilimanjaro National Park.

But, above all, what surprised me the most, is that Kilimanjaro is a mountain of People.
The Tanzanian people are truly what makes the mountain come alive. They work tirelessly, to make sure that everyone that visits the mountain has a great experience, always with a smile on their faces and open to help, supporting thousands of tourists per year on their summiting attempts.

On any given day, there will be people from all walks of life, countries, and cultures, that have come together to attempt to summit the mountain.
This is what makes the experience unique, the interactions and stories that you will have with the other hikers.

Some people will make the summit, some will have to turn back, but everyone will have a story to tell.

If you are considering summiting Kilimanjaro, I urge you to do it, and if you can, try to do it with a local company, to help support the tourism industry in Tanzania.
And if you are a photographer, you will surely not be disappointed.
Happy Hiking!

“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.
 
Greg Child

Kilimanjaro, The Top of Africa

Mount Kilimanjaro under the Milky Way skies. At 4000 Mts above sea level you can experience the most amazing peaceful skies while hiking to Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kilimanjaro under the Milky Way skies. At 4000 Mts above sea level you can experience the most amazing peaceful skies.

Staring from the Lemosho Gate, from   lush, fertile rainforest. Colobus Monkeys and Blue Monkeys can be seen.

From Shira Camp, The mountain starts to reveal to you. Here at, 3,847m. Shira is one of the highest plateaus in the world in the moorland zone. The heath and moorland zone also referred to as the heather or moorland is the last zone before you reach the alpine zone. This zone is distinguished by heath-like vegetation and terrain filled with wildflowers.

At Barranco camp, We leave the heath zone and enter the alpine zone, with its volcanic landscape, you can really feel that you enter a different landscape

Giant Lobelia

On the last day, The push to the summit is an experience of a life time.  Hikers start the push in the middle of the night aiming to arrive for sunrise, ascending from 4500 Mts, to 5900 Mts.


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Free to use for education or conservation purposes license. My images are free to use for any conservation and education purposes. You qualify if for example, you are an NGO or NPO, if you would like to use my pictures on your presentation or conservation website or in your school project. Please contact me explaining your use case.


GEAR

The photography gear used in this story. Click on the items for more details.

CAMERAS

Nikon D850

 

LENSES

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm 1.8

Tamron SP-70-200mm F/2.8

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G

ACCESORIES

Peak Design Travel Tripod

FStop Tilopa 50L

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