Kilimanjaro: Climbing Africa’s Tallest Mountain

From the Lava Tower, we began a two-and-a-half day traverse of Kili’s southern slope. That afternoon, we descended to the beautiful Baranco camp, with steep cliffs on either side of the broad valley, the snows of Kilimanjaro peaking through the clouds behind us, and villages glimmering through the blue haze on the distant plane to our front.

Cartoon-like trees called Senecio Kilimanjari in my guide book stood throughout the valley.

The porters, who’d walked directly from Shira to Baranco, had already set up camp. They rested in their crowded little tents or stood with hands in their pockets, joking with one another.

I was lucky. My body adjusted well to walking and altitude and I had been wondering if it wouldn’t be truer to the spirit of adventure to carry my own tent, food, fuel, but I quickly grew accustomed to the luxury porters provide.

My only task upon arrival at camp was unzipping the door of the tent they had pitched, pulling some belongings from my pack, and waiting for the assistant cook to summon me in his broken English to dinner. (Read more from

Also, see more photos here.