Kilimanjaro Expedition – Day 2

Kilimanjaro – Day 2/6: Machame Camp (2,835m) – Shira Cave Camp (3,750m)

Route Map

(click on objectives for extended version)

Technical Box

Difficulty: medium
Duration / distance: 5 hours / 6 km
Marking: Machame Route, unmarked
Water sources: Semira, it only drips sometimes
Minimum altitude: 2,835 meters above sea level, at Machame Camp
Maximum altitude: 3,885 meters above sea level, at the viewpoint on the Shira Plateau
Difference in level: +1,050 m / -100 m
Remarks: Moorland, access with payment and guide

1. Machame Camp

6:00 a.m.
I woke up early, although the guide had announced that the camping activity would start at 7, and at 8 we would start the hike. I enjoyed the first shots of Mount Kilimanjaro, then I listened to a crow concert and had breakfast.

8:00 a.m.
For the second day, we had a short route of only 6 km, to be covered in 5 hours, through a new climatic zone: the Moorland, climbing up to over 3,800 meters above sea level. We were going to cover almost the entire difference in level of 1,000 m in the first half of the route, which is expected to be more demanding, and has a northeast direction. The sun was with us.

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Machame Camp

ravens

Machame Camp

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro

2. The Moorland

The landscape has changed radically compared to the previous day. The dense and green forest suddenly disappeared. We are in the so-called Moorland. It’s true that we didn’t encounter any swamps, and even the land was very dry. Anyway, in this climatic layer it rains less than in the tropical forest.
The dominant colors are green and brown. We meet smaller and rarer shrubs and trees than in the tropical forest area. However, some shrubs can be 10 meters high. Giant heathers and tussock grasses are specific to the area. Few animals live in this area. You can rarely meet small antelopes and elephants, but even these do not stand in the way of tourists taking pictures. White-collared crows fly in the sky, especially in the area of ​​the campsites where, in addition to food scraps from tourists, they can also hunt small rodents.

Insects, I guarantee that they can withstand this environment, I got tangled up with some bites on my hand. The use of repellent substances is recommended. The path is harder, stony in places.

8:30 a.m.
We reach a viewpoint. Because the vegetation has thinned, you can see to the southwest, Mount Meru enveloped at the foot of a sea of ​​clouds. Spectacular!
We are at altitude 3,300 and we have climbed half of the slope. The bushes still keep us mostly in the shade.

Moorland

Moorland

Eric

Eric

Tussock Grass

Tussock Grass

Eric

Mt. Meru

Mt. Meru

Eric

Eric

3. Break and continuation in the Moorland

9:30 a.m.
We take a break next to a rock on which I perched.
9:45 a.m.
We reach above the forest and a wonderful perspective opens up towards Kilimanjaro. Most of the time here you are already above the level of the clouds, which means that it can rain down somewhere, while up here, the sun is shining. We already have to protect our skin as best and more by covering it and smearing it with sun protection cream. The UV factor currently reaches up to 16, which is a very high value.

We also meet some colorful and spectacular plants such as Kniphofia thomsonii or Red hot poker Porters do great with luggage on their backs or even carried on their heads. It’s definitely hard, but the way they move in balance even in rocky areas makes you think it’s child’s play.

Above the forest, we suddenly change direction to the northwest and from now on we keep the altitude almost constant until the next camping base, Shira 1, which means that we have escaped the climb and we are already at an altitude of over 3,700 m.

rock

me

Mt. Kilimanjaro

sea ​​of ​​clouds

Mt. Meru

Red hot poker

Porter

Porteri

4. Samira

10:30 a.m.
We pass by a rock where we should have found water, on the map there is even a permanent watercourse, Samira. A few drops of water trickle down on a rock that can also serve as a temporary shelter. There is also a toilet on the route.
The vegetation is getting smaller and smaller, the road is rocky and dusty. Azizi, the guide, gives me his pole pole theory, namely that here on Kilimanjaro I must learn to climb slowly. This helps us not to get tired and to acclimatize better. The breaks are not to be neglected either. Looking to the left, we will repeatedly admire Mount Meru, whose peak of 4,566 m altitude emerges from the sea of ​​clouds. Superb!

Among the shrubs appear the first specimens of Dendrosenecio kilimanjari (tree groundsel), an endemic that grows only here on Mount Kilimanjaro in this climatic layer, Moorland.
11:30 a.m.
We cross a fairly straight, but rocky area, in fact we are moving along a very wide level curve between two rocky thresholds. This is how the landscape has looked for some time now.

Samira

toilets

me

me

Moorland

Moorland

Mt. Meru

me

Moorland

Dendrosenecio kilimanjari

Rocks

Porter

Moorland

me

Mt. Meru

Karduus keniensis

5. Shira Cave Camp

12:15 p.m.
We arrived at the next base after 4 or so hours. We moved faster than the indicator shows in the morning, 5 hours, although we did not push at all. Even the climb of 1,000 m difference in level in the first part of the route did not seem difficult to me because I approached it pole pole.
I am already at the highest altitude I have ever reached: 3,750 meters above sea level. We are at Shira Cave Camp, where the porters are setting up the tents and we will have lunch. Shortly before arriving I admired birds circling above us and I thought they were eagles. Only in the camp did I see that there were some ravens.
You may not agree, but they were very beautiful because they had white necks. By the way, they are also called white-collared ravens.
From the camp you can see Mount Meru on one side, Mount Kilimanjaro on the other. What a nice place!
In the tent I had enough space for 3 people, even though I was alone, and in the veranda a minimum of comfort with a folding table and chair. Most of the time I served the meal in the tent’s veranda, being a more protected place. While I rested a little, an insect bit me. That is why I return to the recommendation to use repellent substances.

Azizi, the guide, proposed that after the longer break we should go to Shira Cave nearby and then to a nearby viewpoint, which he showed me. The short optional tour was meant to help acclimatization. In fact, I had started to have headaches and a state of digestive discomfort, but I did not assimilate it with the symptoms of altitude sickness, although it was about something like that, I would conclude later. Anyway, I swallowed half of the recommended pill, a diamox equivalent. It would have been better to start taking the altitude pills from Machame Gate.

Shira Camp

Shira Camp

Shira Camp

Shira Camp

White-collared raven

White-collared raven

Mt. Meru

Mt. Meru

the tent

I was bitten

6. Acclimatization at Shira Cave

4:15 p.m.
We start the acclimatization walk. Together with Azizi, I enter the rangers’ house where they fill in a register what we are looking for there, how many there are, etc., the same data that was recorded at the entrance to the park.
4:25 p.m.
We arrived at Shira Cave. It is more like a grotto. It was used as a place of shelter in the ascents of Kilimanjaro before the establishment of the natural park. It is located at 3,845 m altitude.
Near the cave there is a heliport for emergencies. From the cave, a road continues north to Shira Camp 2, but we followed one of the paths to the northeast, climbing a small rocky ridge, at 3,885 m above sea level, to a point that dominates the area.

4:45 p.m.
From the lookout point we saw Shira Camp 2 to the north and Shira Camp or Shira Cave Camp at our feet to the south, where the tents for the next night were waiting for us. To the east opens the Shira Plateau with an altitude of 4,000 – 4,500 m, resulting after the eruption of the Shira volcano, which was destroyed during the eruption, resulting in a fairly flat land viewed on a larger surface.
In the distance, wisps of clouds surround Mount Kilimanjaro, offering a dazzling show of colors. From here, Uhuru Peak seems closer and we can better see the snow tongues of some glaciers on the southern slope. I met German and Dutch tourists with whom I had a great conversation.

Ranger's house

Shira Cave

Belvedere

Belvedere

Shira Camp 2

Shira Camp 2

The Shira Plateau

Kilimanjaro

7. Return to Shira Cave Camp

5:15 p.m.
We returned to Shira Cave Camp, at 3,750 meters above sea level. The headache bothered me more and more. Azizi had told me that from here there is an exit route on the parallel version with the Lemosho Route that off-road vehicles can enter.
After taking several pictures before it got dark, I went to bed early with the desire to be fit for the continuation of the expedition tomorrow. See you tomorrow!

Kilimanjaro

Good night!

Conclusion

On the 2nd day of my ascent on Kilimanjaro, the first symptoms of altitude sickness appeared. Hydration and acclimatization is required. Symbol „Von der Community überprüft“

 

All the best!

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