Lunch with Monkeys

31 Oct

I ate lunch surrounded by monkeys!!

First day of trekking and the term ‘poli poli’ is possibly my favourite.  ‘Slowly slowly’ – really gentle pace of walking to allow for acclimatisation. 

We set off from the ‘gate’ leaving porters behind packing up tents, food and our main bags.  Only to be overtaken by them along the route as they sped past is to set up camp at Simba Camp. 

The vast area surrounding Kilimanjaro mountain itself is National Park, with several different routes to the top, with camping sites along the way, until the base camps and the final summit day.  We were doing what was called the Rongai Route but isn’t the official one, as that’s not been used by the public for many years as it’s saved for the Army to train on, due to the dangers of, among other things, lions!! 

We walked from around 1230 to 1600, followed by a short acclimatisation climb to help our bodies prepare. 

Most amazing part of the day:  eating packed lunch whilst black and white collabus monkeys ran around the trees above us, scattering leaves on us.  Also briefly glimpsed – a blue monkey (which we are more likely to see on way down). To think we’d been excited to spot an eagle right at the start of the walk – monkeys overtook that by a mile in excitement stakes.  God only knows what we’ll be like when on actual safari – there may be spontaneous combustion! To add to wildlife count – a small chameleon on the path in front of us, who clearly wanted the attention as he was very slow and steady in his walk away from our clicking cameras.

Arrival at Simba – tents all set up and warm water to wash in, plus: a ‘private’ toilet tent – with an actual portable, flushing toilet.  Felt like luxury compared to Nepal. Then to our mess tent for coffee and popcorn; dinner at 1830, at which point I’ll probably fall straight asleep as absolutely shattered. 

The views down mountain are spectacular, across the moorland and back down to rain forest; in the distance, Kenya. 

We’ve briefly glimpsed up the mountain through a break in the cloud – don’t think it’s the top – but it looks bloody high!! 


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