Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – Part 5

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7-Day Machame Route – Day 5 Karanga Camp

When a lifelong dream becomes a reality, I believe that one of the best ways to preserve those precious memories is to put the experience down in words. A diary, a notepad, or in this case, a blog, are great tools for remembering, sharing and reliving those highs and lows that come with an extreme adventure, and as we share our Kilimanjaro Climb story over the coming days, we hope it encourages you to share your own.

Day 5 – Karanga Camp

By now, we had come to the conclusion that we were not going to sleep much during our Kilimanjaro climb!  The night had been particularly cold (Mathew informed us temperatures had plummeted to minus 10), and despite our extra warm sleeping bags and thermal sleeping suits, we struggled to keep warm.  By the time daylight arrived, we were wide-awake, my eyes and lips had swollen again, and I had a pulsating headache – the first sign of altitude sickness.

A strong believer in ‘mind over matter’, I quickly drank a litre of water and popped one of the Ibuprofen tablets that “I definitely wasn’t going to take”. Within 30 minutes, my headache had completely disappeared, my facial swelling had subsided, and I felt fit and ready to tackle the Barranco Wall – phew!

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7 Day Machame Route - Day 5 Karanga Camp

The imposing Barranco wall shelters barranco Camp, and as such, sunlight doesn’t reach the camp until around 8am. Mathew had advised us that we would have a late start to avoid the ‘traffic’ on the wall, so we lazed in our tents until the warmth of the sun reached our campsite, and then headed to the mess tent for breakfast.  Today, Kelvin served a delicious menu of porridge, scrambled eggs on toast, and fresh fruits – just what we needed to keep our energy levels high for the day.

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7 Day Machame Route - Day 5 Karanga Camp

After a short walk to the base of the Barranco wall, we began our ascent.  Steep, but definitely not technical, the wall really is easier than it looks, and when you consider that the porters mount it with 20 kilos of luggage balanced on their heads or backs, there is no reason why any fit person cannot make it.

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7 Day Machame Route - Day 5 Karanga Camp

Climbing Barranco wall takes around 1 and half hours, and the views from the top are spectacular.  Greeted with stunning views of summit, we all felt as though we were getting closer to our prize, and there was a real buzz of excitement in the air as we took photos of each other with the peak behind us – something I will never forget.

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7 Day Machame Route - Day 5 Karanga Camp

After a short break for water, snickers, and photo’s, we carried on towards our base camp for the evening Karanga Camp, and arrived there in time for our lunch of fresh onion soup, chicken, freshly fried chips, and a mixed salad.

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7 Day Machame Route - Day 5 Karanga Camp

This is where the 7-Day Machame Route varies from the shorter Kilimanjaro routes, which continue straight on to Barafu camp, and then summit the same night.  We had the whole afternoon to acclimatize, relax, take pictures and chat with our crew.

Climbing Kilimanjaro 7 Day Machame Route - Day 5 Karanga Camp

Dinner tonight followed a Mexican theme and included beef tortillas, black beans in sauce, rice with vegetables, and a fresh fruit platter.  After dinner, we were entertained by Butlas, fondly referred to as ‘Maflombe’, who intrigued us with stories about his previous job as a ‘fake’ pastor!  Proving that language is no barrier, he entertained us late into the evening with his fun stories in a mixture of English and Swahili, and by the time we finally retired to our tent, we were exhausted from laughing, but very happy and excited about the following day – D-Day!

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