A porter in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The Kilimanjaro Diaries – Part I: The Trek Begins

In August 2023, Earth’s Edge content creator Arianna travelled to Tanzania to climb the iconic Kilimanjaro. In her Kilimanjaro Diaries series, she details the entire experience – so read on to follow her journey from Dublin to the summit of Africa’s tallest free-standing mountain!

In Part I, the group land in Tanzania and begin their trek to the summit … 

Arrival and Preparation in Tanzania

Following our journey of marathon in-flight movies and crosswords, we traded Dublin for a very hot Doha, before finally touching down in Tanzania. I immediately felt welcome as we were greeted warmly by our expedition leader, Goodluck. We boarded the bus to the Outpost Lodge where we would stay both before and after the climb. Surrounded by towering trees and colossal Monstera plants, it was the perfect place to start our adventure of a lifetime.

That evening, our leaders Goodluck and Walter gave a detailed briefing of the journey ahead. They discussed our gear, weather concerns, and any lingering doubts we had – which only served to help each of us grow more and more excited to begin! With our rucksacks packed and our dry bags (eventually!) stuffed, we enjoyed dinner and an early night’s rest.

A montage of images from  a Kilimanjaro expedition, Tanzania

The Trek To Kilimanjaro Begins

Day 1: We rose early the following morning, and, fueled by a refreshing buffet breakfast, boarded the bus to Machame Gate to begin the climb. When we arrived, the place was pulsating with the contagious energy of the other mountain climbers. With our water bottles filled and a quick lunch, we began our trek, entering the lush rainforest at Kilimanjaro’s base. 

A montage of images from  a Kilimanjaro expedition, Tanzania

The forest teemed with vegetation, sweet bird calls and an array of beautiful flowers and plants. Goodluck was extremely knowledgeable about the surrounding landscape, telling us about all of the local flora. The weather was perfect, and we stopped frequently for photo opportunities and snack breaks. As we trekked, we got to know each other and met the other friendly guides who would accompany us throughout our journey.

A montage of images from  a Kilimanjaro expedition, Tanzania

Reaching Machame Camp

As the daylight waned, we reached Machame Camp, perched above the treeline. Here, we found our tents had been set up by our porters. We blew up our Thermarests, laid out our sleeping bags, and prepped clothes and snacks for the following day. We made ourselves at home in the spacious tents. Goodluck showed us how to use the toilet provided on the trek – honestly, it was luxury compared to toilet setups I’ve had camping before! We then all piled into the mess tent to settle down for the evening.

A montage of images from  a Kilimanjaro expedition, Tanzania

In the cozy mess tent, tea, hot chocolate, and popcorn were a real treat in the evenings – especially delectable after several hours spent trekking! Soon after, our wonderful waiters came to introduce themselves and serve up dinner before we hit the hay. We enjoyed a different soup every night of the expedition, including vegetable, chicken, carrot, potato, and butternut squash soup, each more delicious than the last! This was usually followed up by vegetable stew, chicken or beef, or vegetarian options with chickpeas, as well as delicious salads made with the freshest avocado. Throughout the trip we also enjoyed rice, pasta and potato dishes, and even traditional fried plantains.

In Part II, the group settle into the daily rhythms and rituals of the mountain as they make their way to Lava Tower!

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