POLISH TOURISTS ON THEIR WAY TO THE HIGHEST PEAKS OF AFRICA
We would like to introduce the Polish enthusiasts: Robert Gondek and his friends, who set an interesting challange. As Robert stresses: „Africa is the continent, that attracts me continously and I search any pretext to go there, to see a different way with life, wonderful people, impressing landscapes and - to be honest - feel a bit of adrenaline.” The pretext has appeared when the traveller decided to climb onto the highest peaks of every African country. At the beginning he reached Kilimanjaro (Tanzania, 2008) and Ruwenzori (Uganda, 2012) and in the meantime he visited Kenya. He came there with an intention to reach the holy mountain of the Kikuyus, Kambas and Embus, the mountain that has given its name to the entire country – Mount Kenya. Let us present a short report from the climbing expedition onto the Kenyan peak that Report decided to put on our website for all the Kenya lovers:
We enter the Mount Kenya national park passing a wide highway. If anybody of you thinks that this is a highway as we used to conceive it in a European way - is in a really mistake. At the beginning the road is wide – more or less it has lane in each direction. I write purposefully that it has "more or less" than three lanes, since in each direction the road is passed by as many cars as can find enough place. There are also some obstacles. There are some places that lack asphalt. Or mayhbe these are only speed bumps? But are there any speed bumps on a highway? Who knows? Maybe this is just Africa! Im The more far from Nairobi I am the more narrow the road turnes out to be, eventually we get onto an ordinary red-dusty African way. From afar we can admire the snow-covered peaks of the volcano. Here we pass equator and get to the entrance leading to the park. We climb along the Sirimon Route.
Mount Kenya is a volcano with its highest peak that is to high to reach it without professional climbing skills so we do not even dare to think about it. In fact we have some climbing skills but this is not a right context to boast of it. Fortunately Mount Kenya consists of three summits. We will leave two of the highest (Batian and Nelion) for more experienced climbers while we will choose the third peak – that can be reached by trekking – Pt. Lenana. We suppose that all we need is quite a good form and a good acclimatization.
There are 4 days before us, we are assisted by a guide, porters and a cook. The first day passes quickly. After three hours we get onto the attitude of 3300 metres above sea level, in Old Moses Hut. This is a small cottage with only some rooms in it. In each of them there are 4 bunk beds and wide windows. This is why we have enough oxigen during the entire night. This is alao why in the morning each of us has a cold. However nobodz takes care about it. On the second daz we walk along a scenic valley – the Mackinder Valley. It is few kilometres long and is sinking in sunbeams. A cold wind is stopped by a mountain slope and the day starts to be hot. On this attitude there have appeared wonderful trees - grand lobelies and picturesque landscapes. We admire a sound of a murmuring stream, scenic rocks and far before us - Mount Kenya. Apart from it we are accompanied by a thirty degrees heat. These are the circumstances that are worth exhausting to see them. We reach Shipton’s Camp – our second lodging for the night - after 7 hours. Before us there can be seen three the highest Mount Kenya peaks, all of them covered with snow and ice.
We attack the chosen summit on night time with intention to reach it on sunrise. Thousands of stars are lighting up our ascend. A huge summit with its shape that is scarcely visible, inspires our respect. The temperature is minus 15 degrees however an upraised level of adrenaline does not let us feel cold. We do not suffer from frost. We reach a col near the Harris Tarn Lake. Before our eyes we have a picturesque landscape with mountains being painted with colours of rising sun. The surroundings are orange: orange rocks, orange snow and orange we are. The surroundings let us feel like if we would be on Mars. All we need to do is to climb the last ascend. We hold on to chains and step on buckles that are fixed to the rocks. On our way we meet somebody who treats us to raisins. This saves us. The emotions were drowning out our hunger. All in all today we started our climbing on empty stomachs. Suddenly we notice a flapping Kenyan flag with inscription with the name of the summit and its attitude. Mount Kenya has been reached! We feel emotions bringing lump to our throats. Around us we see a wonderful view of Kenya. Afar from us we can even spot Kilimanjaro! However we cannot endure a long time on the peak. A perishing wind makes us descend quickly. We walk down on to the opposite part of the col. The landscape has changed a bit. We pass several small, picturesque lakes. The huge Gorges Valley rises a large impression in our hearts. After over thirteen hours of walking we eventually reach the end. NOw we need to be very careful. This time we need to be beware of elephants. They took a liking to Meru Mount Kenya Lodge as a place to rest. So we did. We celebrate our success with a buttle of Tusker beer and coca-cola. We also deserved a real shower! A shower with hot water! On the following morning we have a last opportunity to admire a beautiful view of Mount Kenya. This is almost the end of our trekking. All that left is a walk across bamboo forest and a dozen or so kilometres of travel by car to Chogoria, where we will have a road leading straight ahead to Nairobi. Now we part from our guide whom we can recommend since he organized and led the expedition perfectly. We still need to come back here - the highest peak of Mount Kenya keeps awaiting.
If you are interested in a full report from Robert's visit to Kenya as well as his reports and wonderful pictures taken during another expeditions, do not hesitate to visit his website.
We keep our fingers crossed for Robert and his friends who will start another stage of their way. This time they will reach Karisimbi volcano in Rwanda, Mount Heha in Burundi and Mount Meru in Tanzania. You can currently follow the Robert's expeditions onto the highest peaks of Africa on his website.