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Hemingway Adventure

Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya

Chyulu Hills, Kenya 
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From the air, the boma, or encampment, of the nomadic Masai looks like a cigarette burn in the middle of the bush. Fenced with thorns and accommodating humans and cattle, the bomas may last two or three years.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureOnce we’re airborne we head south-east across grass so dry it seems to take on the colour and texture of sand. This prairie soon gives way to green scrub and thorn tree cover, but as the mountain comes nearer, the landscape changes with dramatic speed from lush, tropical farmland through rainforest to timber plantations, moorland and eventually alpine desert. The transitions are fast and exhilarating, but not without a cost. As we rise through ten thousand feet I feel the disadvantages of an un-pressurised cabin, shortage of breath, difficulty in writing, a touch of nausea.

We shall never be able to fly high enough to look down on the mountain (it’s just short of twenty thousand feet, and the safe operating altitude for our two small planes is no more than fifteen), but we’re close enough to see vivid detail.

In geological terms Kilimanjaro is a baby, formed by massive volcanic activity less than a million years ago, and far from extinct. On closer examination it is in fact two mountains in one, the wide table-top dome, called Kibo, and on the eastern edge, the much more jagged and dramatic outline of Mawenzi, with sheer sides and precipitous plunging crevasses. The north face of Kibo rises steep, black and fissured to the highest point on the African continent. A glacier runs down from the summit and I can see thick snow walls. It was in these snows that the carcass of a leopard was found in the 1920s.
Chyulu Hills, Kenya 
click to enlarge 
file size
From the air, the boma, or encampment, of the nomadic Masai looks like a cigarette burn in the middle of the bush. Fenced with thorns and accommodating humans and cattle, the bomas may last two or three years.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Book page no: 171

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