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Hemingway Adventure

Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya

Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya 
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Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureNo one knows what the leopard was doing at such an altitude, but the legend inspired ‘The Snows of Kilimanjaro’, one of Hemingway’s finest short stories.

Not that Richard regards the story as legend. He says his father pointed out the bones of the leopard when he took him up the mountain as a child. If we have time he can show me the remains of a Dakota aircraft that smashed into the side of Mawenzi with a valuable haul of emeralds on board. Part of the fuselage still hangs there, and no one has yet been able to reach the emeralds.

One man recently hauled himself up to the top of Kilimanjaro to attempt the world para-gliding record.

‘And did he do it?’

Richard makes a quick adjustment to keep us alongside the camera plane.

‘He was never seen again.’

By now the cloud is rolling up the walls of Kilimanjaro like a shroud and there is no time for Dakotas or emeralds. By ten o’clock it has enveloped us and the mountain might just as well not be there.

Richard turns the Cessna and heads back across the plain. On the way home he takes me low over game grazing on the salt licks and skims the tops of the acacia orchard where the white rhino which Hemingway hunted were once found in abundance. Now they’re virtually gone. Poachers have reduced their numbers from several hundred to six, maybe ten. The demand from Asia for rhino horn has killed its source.

Richard raises his voice over the noise of the engine, ‘The days of the wild rhino are over. Finished.’
Chyulu Hills, Kenya 
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Going to clear lethal Wakamba cattle traps.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Book page no: 175

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