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Kilimanjaro diary - day seven

Day one  Day two  Day three  Day four  Day five  Day Six  Day seven

It wasn't all over. We still had four hours of walking to do, or rather climbing and sliding down the steep path through the dripping rain forest. No photos, because I'd run out of film. But it felt like we were going home.

Eventually we arrived at the park gates, to be besieged by hordes of T-shirt sellers. We walked down a steep road past the coffee and banana plantations. Tiny kids came out of the farms, dressed in rags, holding their hands out. I didn't give them anything because I knew that, although the farmers sturggle to make a living, they're not the poorest of the poor. I'd seen tin-shack shantytowns in South Africa and I knew what real degrading poverty was like.

We hopped in the Landrover and back to our hotel, where the first thing i did was have the best shower of my life. It was only a warm dribble, but oh, to get clean again after a week of sweating and freezing in the same clothes. I must have spent 30 minutes under there, letting the water wash me clean.

Spruced up and with a beer each, we gathered by the pool with our guides and porters and awarded them hefty tips. They deserved every Tanzanian shilling. They'd got up before us every morning, cooked breakfast, shouldered an entire mobile campsite and had had it set up when we traipsed into camp every night. 

They awarded us certificates with wonderful formality, much speech making and applause, and Isaac sold us some of his farm-fresh coffee at London prices, which i didn't resent.

Then we went and lay on a beach in Zanzibar... 

Go to Zanzibar...  

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