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with Stefan Nestler

The hidden mountain

This was all of Kilimanjaro I saw today

Kilimanjaro played hide-and-seek with me. After the long trip from Cologne via Frankfurt and Addis Ababa to Tanzania, I was looking forward to taking a look at the highest mountain of Africa from the plane. Stupidly, I was sitting in the central aisle. When the pilot announced that Kilimanjaro was now on our left, I roused my neighbor and hurried to a window at the emergency exit to take a snapshot. But I came too late. The lucky ones were able to catch at least a glimpse of the Kili. I only saw clouds.

Annoying snail’s pace

Kilimanjaro poster

After landing at Kilimanjaro Airport, there was no question of thinking of the mountain because I got a little introduction to the pitfalls of Tanzanian bureaucracy. I had to throw the prepared visa form right into the bin, because in the meantime a new one existed. The queues in front of the few counters were long. Very long. The officials behaved in a very friendly manner, but did not let themselves be disturbed and worked at such a low pace that snails would have looked like Formula One racing cars. After more than one and a half (!) hours I finally got the desired stamp in my passport.

Confiscated medicine boxes

Briefing at the hotel

The doctors of the Philipps University Marburg, who will do a study on high altitude sickness during our expedition, suffered even more. The customs officials seized without further ado three boxes with equipment for blood samples and a box of syringes. First they wanted to confiscate even the emergency backpack. Only when emergency medical doctor Christian Kreisel threatened to blame the responsible official for anything that possibly would happen on the expedition, he coughed at least the rucksack up. The four boxes are now to be released after completion of further formalities on Monday and then be brought by jeep onto the mountain.



This mountain also hid behind clouds as we drove from the airport to the hotel. Again no Kilimanjaro! After all, I could admire it on a poster at a gas station. And in the late afternoon, the mountain even showed a small, snow-covered corner. I celebrated this in the hotel with a “Kilimanjaro Beer”. So at least I have pre-tasted the mountain before we’ll set off tomorrow morning. Then we will ascend from Marangu Gate at 1,800 meters to the Mandara Hut at 2,700 meters.


17. February 2018 | 20:46