Monday, July 14, 2008

Climbing Mount Rungwe in one day

We did it. Me and my girlfriend. We managed to hike/climb Mount Rungwe (2960 meter, by Tukuyu in Mbeya Region) to the top and down in one day. It took us 8 hours and 20 minutes (breaks inclusive). On our way we saw two monkey species: Black-white Colobus and Velvet Monkey.

„This is the toughest day of my life“ my girlfriend said as the taxi were driving us back to Bongo Camping. The hike is tough because the terrain changes many times along the way and you have to keep focus on every step in order to stay on your feet. Still watching the monkeys play and jump from tree to tree over your head makes you forget the pain as you fight your way up and down this sleeping vulcano. The terrain changes from jungle at the bottom to close bush to bamboon breath spots to the desert-like opening at the top, where the view is amazingly scenic.
Most people only make it to the view point as also I did two years ago when I visited Tukuyu for the first time. Mount Rungwe is not dangerous climbing, but it is a challenging struggle for your: knees, legs, heart and mind. We are certainly not experienced hikers (in fact we have never hiked before), we play basket every week to keep in shape but most of all we had the will to force this beast of a mountain!
Now everytime when we have a peep at the mountain peak it feels safi sana ("very nice") to have been there. But at the moment of action we questioned our own sanity.

Our timesheet climbing Mount Rungwe:

6.25: Leaving Bongo Camping
6.55: Dropped off by taxi
7.20: By the foot off the mountain – going in to the jungle
9.50: A plateau with a view point – eating and relaxing
10.15: Leaving the view point to the top
11.03: Out of the jungle – view
11.35: Top of Mount Rungwe – Top of the world!!
12.30: Going down from the top
13.30: Reaching the view point for a short break
13.45: Leaving the view point
15.42: Down again by the foot of Mount Rungwe

Some advices from my girlfriend:

- Bring at least 1,5 liters of water if you are aiming for the top
- The ground can be slippery, especially on the way down- trekking shoes are preferable, although we did it in running shoes.
- Bring suncreme – the last hour before the top you are exposed to the midday sun (auuuu...)
- Make sure you have both sweet and salt to consume on the way (but don't litter)
- You should wear long sleeves and trousers as a protection for leaves

More pictures from Mount Rungwe:

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