And we’re back again with yet another captivating story from Ehab Othman’s recent expedition to the glorious mountain- Kilimanjaro.
Jordan’s former royal photographer, Ehab Othman’s exclusive first hand account of the expedition as told to Musafir.com.
Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania and part of Kilimanjaro National Park, is one of the highest seven summits of the Earth. It is the highest mountain in Africa, and its peak Kibo rises 5895 meters above sea level. Its ice glaciers are more than 11,000 years old. According to the recent research, it has lost about 90% of its ice during the past century. It is highly endangered.
It is blessed with various eco-systems within different altitude levels. It has a rich Rain-forest to begin with and then Moorlands, Alpine desert and the Volcanic summit. And nothing can beat the enthusiasm, the warmth and the spirit of the locals whom Ehab proudly calls as the true heroes of the mountain.
They say, more than the destination, the journey matters. What is your take? What was more exciting, the journey to the highest point or just the highest point in itself?
Ehab: Of course it was the journey. At the peak, I remember that I had mixed feelings. I was so happy but again I didn’t want this trip to end.
Did you pre-train for the expedition?
Ehab: I did a lot of hiking trips in Jordan but nothing will prepare you enough for the mountain. In Jordan, the highest point is at around 2,000 meters. We started Kilimanjaro at 1,800 meters and went up to 5895 meters.
As we know, the ice glaciers are at its peak of extinction, what did it feel like to behold its glory before it is gone?
Ehab: That’s the whole purpose of the trip; to see and document the glaciers. It’s so sad that the very next generation, ‘our kids’ won’t see them. So sad!
Tell us about camping at night there. What was the experience like?
Ehab: Oooh, something else! They’re first class seats to heaven. I love stars and astronomy, and during those nights I truly saw things for the first time ever, like no sky before.
What did you take back from your encounter with the locals whom you proudly call as the true heroes of the mountain?
Ehab: Despite their hard work and minimum wages, they were always smiling and always trying to promote their country. “Tell our story to the world”, they said ; “ tell them about Kilimanjaro and Tanzania.”
The various eco-systems at different altitude levels that you passed through, what was that like?
Ehab: Every level has its own eco-system. You start with a rain forest and end up with a volcanic cold peak. Amazing how rich it was! Everyday was different with super sceneries.
And last but not the least, what went through your mind when you finally set foot on the highest point in Africa?
Ehab: Like nothing else! You’ve just achieved something new in your life. You pushed your limits to new levels. Now you can do anything!
Well, the pictures and the story clearly kindle a desire to make it to Kilimanjaro. This beautiful place is already endangered. Make haste, for one day it will really be too late!
Photographs by : Ehab Othman
Interviewed by : Leeba Thomas