Comoros

Grande Comore Island

Iconi Crater rim, 122 m 14:4:18

This is a small volcanic crater to the southb of Moroni town which can be seen from there. We took a shared taxi from Moroni to Iconi village, after talking to some boys sitting about there by a tree who pointed out the way to us, and would have accompanied us, but only for a lot more money than we were prepared to pay for their company, we decided to go ourselves. And sure it did not look far up to the crater rim, which we had gained a viez of on the way from the road. There were some bnana plantations up there, and we spoke some words as we passed to one of the cultivators. Small paths led us soon to the crater rim, passing through a gap in a wall near where somebody appeared to be (or have been and since abandoned) building a house. We decided to proceed anti_clockwize from here (as was Petro’s choice) towards what appeared to us the highest point. The rim is farily narrow, and clearly not too many people ventured along here (young people on the island no doubt preferring football _ as was evident from the activity on the local pitch just below us that afternoon; The going got somewhat bushy, and the ridge narrowed with a steep drop at both sides, but we bashed on as far as what appeared to us the highest point, from where we could not readily proceed further; We had from our traverse quite good viezs over the sister crater to the south known as Bashile; On the return we explored a little in the other direction from the part built house to the place marked on ME maps as a viewpoint, and yest maybe it would have been nice to have continued on exploring a little further, but the daylight had the better of us, and we were obliged to descend in respect of it.

Total time for our exploprations  2 hours

2 : 238:

Bashile 210m 15:4:18

This crater; somewhat higher and more perfectly formed, as we had seen from the plane on first coming in to land on Comoros, indeed quite magnificently formed; It lies on the other side of Iconi village. We took a taxi again from Moroni and were fortunate to be dropped off at the far end of the settlement near the beach at the foot of the hill. A man there gave us directions along a path by the shore drawing a little map for us in the dust of the road to indicate where we should turn off the track around the foot to ascend the hill most easily.

We were surprised to find so much activity taking place that Sunday afternoon, along this small road, passing several people walking there to and from their cultivations, for indeed crops and vegetables zere growing there when you looked beneath the trees.  At length we found the small path leading up to our left, up the steep slope through the bush then onto the crater rim which we ascended through the long grass tp the highest point where there is a communication mast.  From here we had good views into the crater, and over to the long slopes of the Karthala volcano inland, which we hoped to climb later. We could also see Shingilla village below us with its prominent mosque, and look back over Iconi village and the cliffs of the crater we had climbed the day previously rising darkly from the sea.

Time for this trip inclugin gthe walk back through Iconi village, talking with a local farmer along the way, 3 hours

3 Mvoumi Hill 314 m  16/4/18

This is a small hill on the footslopes of Karthala volcano named after the village it lies beside; with its narrow streets somewhat reminiscent of villages in France, if not so well preserved. We found a track leading up beside the village, past an area where were deposited a small nunber of (the grteat many) old cars that one meets around the island. On the top there is a communication mast, but it was worth the effort of exploration (and wondering if we were quite allowed to be there) with a wide viez from there down to the coast, and over the Iconi crater.

4 Le Karthala 2361 m 17/4/18

With Hamid Isaka, an inhabitant of Mvoumi village from where the path begins leading up the volcano.

This great sized volcano is the spectaculart landmark of Grande Comore Island, though from below the summit is rarely seen as a band of cloud habitually sits around the upper slopes. Though fro, the other islands of Comoros we were able to see the whole mountain easily as we discovered later.

It is a long walk, and you must climb up from some 300 metres above sea level, along a very gentle slope by a well used bush path. There is not a great deal of difference to see for the first part apart from the trees with some small plots of culivations of bananas interspersed amoungst them. But gradually one gains the feeling of  attaining some height; and occasionally we were able to look back through the trees towards the coast, seeing back as far as the airport. At length we crossed a track where we found an encampment of univerisity students who told us they were studying the birds there, pointing out that there were many species of birds on Comoros island, as indeed made sense, just like the isolated island of New Zealand, it was largely devoud of animal specioes until man brought them on boats in its native state. Indeed as in New Zealand we found the birds here very tame, noting a bright scarlet red one we tried to photograph which we had not seen before (as we recalled)

As we got higher the trees became bigger and we also began crossing and recrossing a track which we later found led to some habitations on the mountain where the forest recedes to grassland.  We stopped to talk with some of the people living there, looking after the cattle that were grazing up there. From there on we were on open paths with pleasant grassland and some trees, which receded as we got higher to a greater cover of native juniper and other high level bush vegetation which looked quite picturesqu on photogrqphs. Then at last, after some five hours of walking we gained the crater rim, and were able to appreciazte the vaste size of the crater here _ indeed this is the largest volcanic crater in the world we found. It extended in many directions, and we could see so,e plumes of smoke from the gentle volcanic activity taking place here.

Our guide led us around the rim for some way over a higher point, and then down a styeep path which led into the crater itself on on eof the side streams; Here we took a well earned rest for our lunch, after whiuch Petro and Hasan explored a little further a promontory inside the crater to gain some more viezs of the crater bed.

We took the same route back, returning in the dark at the end, after a 10 and a half hour walk, our guide somewhat fatigued,

5 Kua Hill 364 m 20/4/18

This hill we ascended from Mitsamiouli at the north end of Grande Comore Island.

After visiting and making aquaintance of Micky and Christopher in the bay to the east of Mitamiole, we contiuned on east, first along the coastal road then turning up inland to a prominent bare grassy pyramidal topped hill we could see in the distance, one of a number of intriguing °pimplies° we arisin gin this northern part of the island. It was real exploration for us, for as yet we had no real notion of how the country was in this part of the island; and it was interesting to see when we arrived how much cultivation there was there hidden amongst the greeen hills. It was fortunate for us that a road ran, climbing up through several villages, finally passing Kua, right past the foot of the hill we had set our sights on, so that when we turned off it we did not have so long a hal up to the summit itself, though it was still a respe’ctable clamber up there past some plots; through a bit of forest then up a way through the long grass to our summit point from where many questions were answered for us as to the nature of this place. From here we looked back to quite q wide roughly cultivated green valley. We also could see well down to the northern coast of the island and some villages by the shore;  with some spurs of the slopes stretching down below us. We could also see around the corner to the east the Isle de Tortues,  (Turtle Island) glimpsed in the distqnce as marked on our map..  I  was very happy to have made it to that place.

We descended by something of a similar route, again  finding ourselvers travelling the last part in the early darkness that falls here just after 6 pm

6 La Grille _ Antenna peak 1072 m 21/4/18

From Mitsamiouli we took a taxi to Ntsoueni village, then found another taking us up the hill to Maoueni village, where we were then already at 700 metres above sea level. A local man pointed out to us the path we should take to ascend to the mountain. We were keen to reach some kind opf peak,  whilst it seemed there were several different ones in the area known as La Grille which means °rainforest°;  If we had looked at Google maps beforehand we would have seen easily how the paths lay, and we found ourselves anyway in very pleasant forested area mixed with cultivaqted trees, inculding the one producing a sweet red fruit Petro was already fa,iliar with, of which we picked and ate quite q a good number along the way.  The road at length brought us round, curving behind one of the hills to the summit where was located a communication mast from where we could look over some other forested hills roundabout, eventually identifying the highest Zambajou 1084 bm as marked on the map in the guidebook lent to us by our friend Micky.

We descended retracing our steps by the same route until we found the track leading to the other side of the island, following this towards a place on the eastern coast called Dimadjou, passing on route some very fine green and lush country where the native trees were mixed thoroughly with the cultivated ones.  Greetiong as we did several of the local farmers talking there, and admiring so much lush  and photogenic vegetation growing beside us on route.

MOHELI ISLAND

7 Bahjaroni Mountain 704 m  Bandalankoua range  24/4/18

Part of the way with locals Abdul and his son fron*m Fomboni, whom we met in the forest along with their two donkeys, who agreed to show us to the summit.

This is the first hill we climbed by way of our explorations of the  line of forested hills arising in the centre of Moheli Island. We were keen to climb to the highest peak,  though on this first dqy we reqched only a smaller peak some 80 metres short of the highest point we had seen on the map. Though we weree quite content to find ourselves there in the end with the help of our two guides who led us on small tracks through the rainforest there to a small but distinctive outlying peak we measured as 704 metres fro, where we had glimses through the trees to the eastern side of the island and some of the smaller islands off the coast there which are designated as wildlife reserve.

It was certainly a very pleasant walk; and really it was amasing to find such wonderful lush and pristine rainforest growing there, so readily accessible, thinking that in other coiuntries in Africa you would have to pay much money to enter National parks to see something like this. Drinking as we wenty the pure mountain spring water than ran in the streams there.

8 Mze Koukoule Mpountain 781 m 26/4/18

Finally we made it to the highest point on the island after two further days of exploration. The first day time was against us, and we reached only toi a point at 760 metres; The following day we decided to retuyrn and attain the higher summit.

The route we took began at the resting spot called the Place de France in Fomboni town, from where we followed tracks traversing until we crossed the Mhambouani river where many people were busy washing and utilising the river. From the other side a good well used track leads up a spur, first passing through coconut plantations and then the forest, coming to really spectacular mountain scenery as you would hardly imagine could exist on such a small island, seeing there grand watrerfalls emerging at the valley head through the forest. The path then led round to the right, getting somewhat smaller and steeper as we ascended the final ridge to the mountain itself, passing the first peak then continuing on through the forest to the highest point.

Afterwards we tried to explore for the route across the island as marked on our guidebook map^, but we did not succeed in finding it. And alas we did not have any further days on this beautiful island of Moheli to continue our explorations further and see all that we really desired to to satisfy our curiosity about the place.

Time to the summit from the PLace de France 2  1/2 hours

ANJOUAN ISLAND

From Mutsamudu

9  Ntingui Peak 1595 m 29/4/18

On the descent accompanied by a large contingent of students from various p^laces on the island.

Unfortunately in the end we only had one full day on Anjouan Island to explore this remarkable place. But very fortunately by arising at a good hour and with a good propportion of good luck we were able to make the fullest use of this time, and not only make the steep and challenging ascent of the highest peak on the island; but alsoi return by a different route seeing the well knozn Dzialande lake, and returning by taxi and matatu seeing the interior of the island. So this was a really wonderful and memorable day for us.

We decided to do it ourselves, and we had teh benefit of a photograph of a 1:50,000 map on the wall of the hotel where we were staying whiuch shoed a good and clear path pleading up to the summit fron the coast beginning in the suburb of Hombo.  However it was not quite so straightforward as it appeared for there were many other paths; leading to the many cultivations up there on the slopes, of trees and also casavba here growing notably tall here. So we had to ask the way of the villagers several times; at one point having to go and search some out in the bush when we got somewhat off the track. The country is quite steep here and we had to make a couple of steep decents into river valleys before we came to the clear slopes of the mountain _ and sure we knew we would have to climb steeply up, for how could you climb a mountain of this elevation from sea level in such a short distance withough really having to scramlble; It was wonderful though to be there, particulkarly  when the path was fairly clear following up a narrow spur, for such country I was thinking might usually make a very short proportion of a climb, and here we were traversing through thick rainforest for some hours. Though admittedly it became aq little disconcerning lqter after we missed the path and had to bash our way up our own way through the thick undergrowth and trees _ by trhen we were at 1400 metres so we could not turn back, aware how easy it would be to get lost in the forest here if you did not tak the greatest care.

However we soon regained the worn way and as we came higher it appeared to  ber morte used _ then we started to heare voices of many people from beyond on the summit, which came certainly as a reassurrance to us. And all too soon we werere in q toally different situation _ as rather of a partly _ with a great number of bouyant and  curious students there wanting to tak photographs witrh us on thier mobile phones.  We were aware that a path led down fro, the summit to the other side, passing a small  lake, and this  of course was the way the students had comre up. We were very happy to follow with them on thier return, being extremely  impressed by the speed and agility with whickh many of them descended by the very steep path through the forest, men and young won*men, for sure they must have been accustoned to this kind of territiry.

It was a steep 600 metres descent all the same on a well used steep path to the Lake Dzialand itslef; which lay nestled there quietly surrounded by reeds, home for diving birds seen through the soft mist, whilst all around arose the sttep and spectuacular slopes of the mountains, which we could already hardly beluieve we had scaled.

A path led past the south of the lake and around the far isde to emerge at a dirt road  along which a great many local people were walking, many carrying on thier heads some bananas or other produce from the farms. It seemed now we werere really back in Africa where the village people were  workiong hard living simple lieves.

Finally we came to Dindri village, passing  through more spectacular scenery as we did, from where just as it was nearing  dark we found a taxi to take us to the junctioln at the Col de Patsi, and from there a matatu back to the main town;, being very content with our achievement, even if aware there aas so much more to see

From the sea to the summit we took 5 3/4 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uganda /Tanzania reflexions 2018

Kotido Uganda 8.2.18

Waiting beside the matatu. There are boys here mending bicycles, fixing punctures on tyres, dusty from the road, which are worn smooth to feel.

There is a hill there, ahead of us , in the direction we are (to be) heading, silhouetted in misty pale purple beyond the line of bushes, from which the wind blew (then) as I wrote, but now already the direction has changed – blustery wind of desert places where we see goats and cattle being moved in groups across the roads.

Yesterday we returned from our sejour amidst a little cluster of mountains, two of which we climbed to the summits, seeing the views in all directions – for there was not too much haze. It’s rocky here upon the peaks, and yes, there we find more life and more vegetation on the mountain, despite the wastage.

Much work is taking place here as I look from my perch beside the sandy road, beneath a beautiful pale=leaved spreading tree, which cavorts above us in the breeze. My friend is here too, we both sit, we both are travellers – we stayed just beyond at the Traveller’s Inn.

You can buy many things here, in this dusty small town – for there are roads – built by Chinese. The people here are karamoja – many dressed in coloured blankets of the pastoralists.

There are many ants too, on the roots of this tree on which we (both) sit

I hear some people behind talking, hear the word ‘moja’. Two black hens appear at my side.

But we cannot – hey that bird is there again silhouetted black against the hill ahead, with its several peaks.

A beetle is currently making progress across the top of this paper; now investigating the corner.

KENYA

Kitale bus stand 18.2.18

Trees are here

And many fruits of the most delicious variety can be bought from stalls here alongside the market, which is not busy today as it is a Sunday.

We heard the sounds of familiar hymn singing as we walked past closed shops into the town – along the dusty path past the place where the two Swedish students had been working (whom I talked to where I was here before alone).

And already this place brings with it, with the bustle, the tones of friendship – as – for both of us – we already know Kenya, in our own ways.

We pass some Masai too, whom my friends greets – though they are more traditionally clothed – finding people from his own country here.

We must have a long wait before we leave, remaining here with other idlers, yet with our own purpose – for it is there somewhere.

For underlying whatever we appear to be achieving seems always another strand of our project. It is not just about making friends, it is not just about climbing to the summits to extend and realise our limits, it is not just about..

It may be hours before we leave.

1.30p,

Still we wait

There are trees here too, dangling clusters of thin leaves

Hey my friend…

 

6.30 pm Loiangalani Malabo Resort Hotel

 

25.4.18

Dear,  my dear friend who sees all

Because

Now I was talking to a man yesterday – here was philosophy. He tells me it is his duty to his culture to

Laisamis Silent Guest House 4.3.18

Here we are sitting.. whilst the birds – yes they must be happy now because the rain has come

Arusha – in the park

Wednesday 21.3.18

The sun shines today – I see blue through the branches of the tree that graces the space above us here

22.3.18

Waiting in the park, waiting here, beneath the patterns of tropical greenery,

Here we sit like trees;  living things which grow

It can feel such a terrible thing when you lose something – how I understand – there looking into the place (where it was) and not believing

It takes time to forget

Yes, how so often the thing that comes again in its place turns out better than the thing which we lost

Mosquitoes are biting my feet

Two masai are walking past – something people greet me in their language, to see if I know, to find out if I know them

This morning I passed many there trading in gem-stones in the street

 

Kenya 2018

1 Kalomachuch Hill 22.2.18

With Thon-magai Atem and Josepha Kalo, teachers at the Cush primary school at the Kakuma Refugee camp.

This is a small rocky hill to the southwest of the extensive refugee camps beside Kakuma town. It lies just beyond the Angelina Jolie school where we saw some girls heading away for what they told us what half term. Though it seems the children were actually going on strike over a change in headmistress.

It was a short rocky scramble to the summit, after a walk across the plains to the camp. It  was very pleasant up there with some interesting rocky outcrops, though to scale the highest point would have required a lot more nerve that we possessed.

From here we gained views over to the distance refugee camps, and the meandering dry river nearby, which still preserved some green vegetation on its banks. We saw also distant hills on the direction of Lokoggia and towards the Uganda border.

 

2 Turkana County

From Lodwar

2 Pilgrimage Hill and Lodwar Mountain 20.3.18 and 23.2.18

Sam and Petro

There are a number of small rocky peaks around Lodwar, with two standing out, one because it bears a prominent figure with outstretched arms upon the top. The hills is something of a Christian pilgrimage place, with many stones illustrating quotations from the Bible beside the well-made path of the ascent.

Despite the modest size of the hill, there was nonetheless an excellent view around to the surrounding (flat) country and the adjacent rocky hills about the town. We could also see down to the Turkwell River, running through the town, and another dry tributary to the north.

Three days later we decided to climb a higher and more prominent hill a little further from the town, we had been told was called Lodwar Hill. We took a motorbike to near the base, and walked from there  up the rocky slopes, by way of a gully at times. It was quite steep with much scree towards the top, so that it felt atleast a small achievement to reach the summit from where we had a pleasant outlook back  towards the town. About 3 hours for the whole trip

3 Middle Island Hill and crater. Lake Turkana

24.2.18

Sam Petro and a Turkana fisherman from Kalakol.  This island lies in the middle of Lake Turkana, one of three intriguing islands in the lake. We were lucky enough to have to opportunity to come close to it, land and walk up the short way to the crater rim whilst we were crossing the lake from Kalakol to Moite. It was very beautiful nearby, even though everything remained parched and dry, there was long buff grass here covering the hills, and we discovered a really beautiful large turquoise lake in the center. It would have made an excellent walk to continue (the not too long way) around following the ridge around the whole crater. But as it is officially a national park, and our fishermen friends were interested primarily to complete their journey, we did not stop for this.

 

4 Moite Hill Marsabit country 25.2.18

Sam. Petro and Padash, a local pastoralist from Moite village

This dry rocky hill we had seen on our crossing of the lake, looking intriguingly on the shore north of Moite. It had looked a fair distance to reach the summit, though it was hard to estimate.

It is actually a fairly large mountain, with more than one peak, and in the end we opted to climb up the southern peak nearest to Moite, which in the event proved not such a long walk. The ground was dry and rocky with some spiny trees to take care to avoid on the way. Almost everything was dry here, so not much greenery to be seen.

The summit afforded a pleasant viewpoint, east over to the plains of Marsabit, whilst nearby we could see the winding skein of the Alim River just below, currently dry but with still some green trees along its banks, the bed of which the people of the village must dig holes to obtain their water for drinking and cooking. (For the water of the lake is too salty for drinking continuously).

5  Mount Kulal (Masi peak( 2295 metre  27-2 to 1.3 18

Sam, Petro with Peter Sunyasi from Loiyangaliani working in the Malabo camp.

This walk took us three days.  I had been very interested to climb Mount Kulal the year before being the upstanding highest mountain in the area, and certainly as we ascended it we came to appreciate the sheer size of the mountain, even though not as massive as Mount Elgon.  On the first day we walked across the dry stony Turkana plans from Lioyangalini to a village at the foot of the mountain called Arashi. It took us about six hours carrying our packs, in the fiarly strong heat. On route we followed for a whole the course of a stream bed in which a small amount of water was still flowing from a spring, and many local Samburu people were here, resting under the trees, bringing thier goats and camels here to a small haven of life and greenery.  Some of these people were carrying guns, for it seemed they were afraid of cattle rustling from other tribes.

In the evening we  slept at the end of the village there, consisting of a cluster of simple manyattas. We set our mats upon the ground of a streambed, beside the house of one of the elder men.

The following morning we set off up the mountain, which was not a steep climb, with a good path leading there, as many people grazed thier animals there. At the very summit itself there was a small area of native forest still remaining, with some tall trees, which we penetrated through to the highest point. We had been very careful to try and make sure we ascended the highest point of Mount Kulal, and our guide had explained that the peaks we reached, called Masi peak, was  the highest spot.  From our measurements it is ten metres higher than Gatab peak, at the other side of the mountain, which we could see on our way down, and it possibly the more popular peak to climb. It was not very obvious indeed from where we were to tell, But we were content with our walk, finding some of the upper slopes of the inner part of the mountain also clothed in tall surviving forest.

We made our way down the same way we had come up, spending another night  enjoying the hospitality of the Samburu people  of Arashi village, who brought our friends two large pieces of beef meet during the night, as there was a celebration happening just then.In the morning we experienced some unseasonal and unexpected rain just after dawn, obliging us to shelter in one of the manyattas before  it abated enough for us to set off back to Loiyanganali,  The rain  had made the sandy surface very soft, as we discovered. But it was very nice to think of the ‘blessing’ of the rain that had fallen so early and exexpectedly.

Loiangalini Hill 535 m. 2.3.18

With Sean Ryan, and English tourist from Tunbridge Wells, who we met in Loiyangalni.

 

This hill we climbed as an easy afternoon excursion on our rest day following our ascent of Mount Kulal. It made a pleasant walk across the stony desert, from behind a new church that had been built to the west of the town.  The rocky summit made a pleasant but easy climb, and we were able to selct some boulders to sit upon to admire the view. From there we could look over to the El Molo villages on an island near the shore of Lake Turkana, and down to the South Island (national park). We looked back of course to Mount Kulal, which appeared a long way distant, and to the smaller Mount Nero range to the south. Time to the summit, about one hour

7 Laisamis rock outcrop. 4.3.18

This small rocky outcrop sticks out above the low scrub besode a stream bed in the desert area beside Laisamis. We were fortunate to make a walk one afternoon out into the desert , following a period of some days of rain, when the life around was springing into actioon. It was very wonderful to encounter so many birds all busy there in pairs, mating and  spinging there.

8 Tumutumu Hill  5.3.18

Sam and Petro

This small hill we identified on ME maps, at * metres.  We took a motorbike from Karatina village to the foot, from where we found small and inviting forest paths leading to the summit. It seemed again our ME maps was not entirely accurate as to the highest point, as we came to a spot in the forest some metres higher. It was very pleasant walking there on the lush forested land, so different from the areas we had visited earlier, with a damp  cool climate near the foot of Mount Kenya, which we could look up towards the slopes of  through the trees in places.Certainly it was just sad that our walk on the hill could not be prolonged,.  But we were able to extend it by walking back tghe six or so kilometres to Karatine thrpough the rich agricultural land whith many fruits trees growin and much cultivation by the local ‘farming’ people living there.

We also saw many beautiful and colourful birds on our walk, appreciating them particularly as we stopped at one point for a break beside a small stream, watching the  yellow weaver birds briging green grass to build thier nests.

Uganda II

5 Embala Peak,

 

12.1.18

A Lykonyo name meaning impala.

Sam, with Jakob from the Kases district, a guide on the Rwenzoris from the Bakonyi tribe.

This hill lies opposite Emusangali peak, which we had climbed the day before, across the Mobuku River. It is often ascended in the early morning by tourists, who have a strong likelihood of seeing Mount Stanley from the summit. We of course were too late for this, and made the easy ascent through the cultivation s which cover the hillside apart from some eucalyptus, There is also cultivation of casava here. From the summit we had a good view into the Rwenzori National Park, which appeared very tempting now with the lush green forests covering the hillsides and the river Mobuku see running up the valley.

On the descent Jakob told me some things about the Bakonji tribe, which inhabits the Rwenzori region, and how the people had migrated from the adjacent FCongo some three hundred years ago, across the mountains. Whilst there still many of the Bakonji living in the Congo. We found all these people very friendly and welcoming, though also highly immersed in thier own culture and not always too knowledgeable or interested about the rest of Uganda.

It was interesting too, that later on our travels we found other people in Uganda had a strange opinion of the Bakonju, as being somewhat unfriendly, so that they were afraid to go to the Rwenzori’, This seemed to us rather amusing.

 

6  Rwenzori Mountains, 13.1 – 18.2.18

Mount Stanley – Margharita Peak (named in 1906 by an Italian explorer, the Duke of Abruzzi, whom our guide told us several things about on our walk). He have the highest peak in the range the name Margharita after the Queen of Italy at the time.

Mount Stanley refers to the cluster of higher peaks.,  named after the American explorer Henry Morton Stanley, the first to see the snowy peak here in 1888.

Though certainly there is a lot less snow on these mountains now than there would have been then, even our guide, the chief Guide of the Rwenzori Mountaineering Association with whom we were privileged to be accompanied.  He had been climbing in these mountains for more than thirty years. It was a five day trip for us to reach and descend from the peak, setting off from Nyakalengiya village at the edge of the entrance to the National Park.  We had in our partly four porters and two guides, and were staying at the huts along the way.

The Rwenzori is a really amazing place. I have never seen so much wonderful and intact mountain vegetation anywhere  There are different classifications of the forest, and one is aware of it as one progresses. Notable is the montain forest on the way up to the firest hut (called Nyabitale) at 2651 metres. It was only a three hour walk for us to reach there, so we had time in the afternoon to make an excursion to Lake Mahome, set in the deep forest. But containing no fish;.

 

The walk basically took us around a circuit, following first, heading up the Biaku River,  staying the second night at the John Matte hut, at 3990 metres, which was quite cold. We were very lucky in that an extensive  section of boardwalk had been constructed over the tussok grass bogs, which must have saved us many hours of muddy walking that would have been otherwise, and older climbers who had been many years ago had told me about.

The summit  ascent is from the Ehish hut which lies at 4500 metres. We set off at 6am, when it was still  dark

7 Bella Vista Hill 1745 m 19.1.18

Sam and Petro

Bungyangyabo District

The name appears to derive from the name of the hotel overlooking a large crater lake which rests at the foot of this modest but prominent hill. I had spotted this small hill marked on a map seen at the gate of the Rwenzori National Park, where it was given a different name.  But when we arrived at Kasunganjanja village nearby we were told it was called Bella Vista. We left our bags in a shop, by the main road, then we took a motorbike which dropped us inside the Bella Vista Hotel. A receptionist there was quite ready to lend us a guide to take us up the hill, but we decided it was easy enough to see the route by ourselves. It was a fairly steep climb up, to reach a communication mast, which however is not located on the summit itself, so we proceeded beyond over the grassland (with a few eucalyptus planted here)  and some species of long needles pines. From the higher elevation we looked over the surrounding land, alas it was quite hazy there, so we were not able very easily to spot any of the other small crater lakes seen on our map around us, apart from the intriguing greening coloured lake below us, where we could see some small canoes, and some boys were quietly fishing.

Time to the summit : 40 minutes from the Bella Vista Hotel

8 From Fort Portal, Kabarole District

Saaka Volcano. 21.1 18

This was an easy Sunday walk to three small peaks lying to the northwest of Fort Portal which we deciede to explore.  First we walked for an hour of so out of the town along Saaka road, also named on a old signpost Duke of Abrizzi Road. We came gradually closer, then at the foot of the hill we saw that a number of prisoners on yellow uniforms had been set to work on the farms there. However thier supervisors were not unconducive for us to pass, and pointed us the way up the slope. The top alas is well burnt, at the walk along the rim of the volcano is somewhat unpleasantly dusty due to the tar. There is still however some palms and natural vegetation surviving in the crater.

Part of the are is owned by the Mountains of the Moon University, a branch of which we descended to at the far side of the first volcano. We then greeted the askari at the gate there, looking after the deserted premises, as it was then Sunday. From there we walked over two further volcanic hills, giving view to some small lakes beyond, thelargest called Saaka Lakje, the final hill being the highest with the best view. Though it was still too hazy to gat much of a view of the Rwenzori from there.

 

Anyway it made a very pleasant Sunday outing for us,  exploring the countryside around the town.

From Hoima Town

9 Hoima or Bujumbura Hill 24.1.18

Sam and Petro

There are several small hills around Hoima town as noted by us on Google maps. We decided on some of the hills to the west, passing on route near to the large Bujumbura Cathedral, speaking with an erudite elderly priest, wearing a large cross, who directed us back to the junction of the road. We followed road, crossing a small river, then made our way on paths towards some habitations at the foot of the hill. We then ascended the slopes by small paths until we came to the grassy ridge with some bushes. It was pleasant enough walking, seeing quite a number of cattle and goats grazing there, and greeting some buys who were stayig up there in a shelter. We walked, not as far as the furthest summit, but to a rounded peak in the middle of the range. where we sat upon tje remnamts of a burnt log to eat our lunch.

So it makde a pleasant  excurstion, some 2 and a half hours to the second summit from the town. getting us out of the dust and disorder of Hoima town.

10 From Omiya-Anyima village. Omiya-Amyima sub-district.

Ogod Ukolo rock and Barongwe hill

 

26.1.18

 

Ogod Ukolo rock is a smooth rocky promonotory lying to the north of Omiya Anyima village. We went there with Dennis, caretaker of the bar at hotel in the village where we were staying and Patrick, a boda-boda driver, who told us how about ten years before, during the war in Uganda, there had been an army camp on the top of this hill, of which you could still see a few remnants.

From here we had good views out over the dry  countryside roundabout, and our guides pointed out to us the locations of the three boreholes in the village, where people obtained thier water, as well as several primary school. We were also told the names of  three sub-countires around us, which we could see in different directions. The local people here being it seemed very conversant which which district or sub-country, or parish they are looking at or in.

We then continued along tracks another half an our to the next hill, called Barongwe which we had seen from the first top, to render a more substantial evening walk.

 

11 Ogili Mountain, 1992 m 27.1.18

 

Sam, Petro with Dennis and Patrick from Omiya-Amyima village

This hill is marked on ME maps. And we were very attracted to see it when we passed on the bus. So whilst we were intending to proceed further we stopped at Omiya-Amyima to try to explore it.

From Omiya-Amyima village we rode on Patrick’s motorbike to the foot of the hill. Here we stopped at the farm and boma of an elderly man called Livingstone, who first took us on a brief tour around his fruit orchard, where oranges and tangerines were growing very productively, fed by the stream that runs off the mountain nearby, in a notable conducive spot.  We left the motorbike here, then set off on small paths up the hillside, passing some sugar cane and bananas at the foot.  There was a small section of tall forest, but alas most of the upper part of the forest had been burnt, and was either black and charred or totally dty. We met quite a number of people here carrying down loads of bamboo poles which they had cut earlier for the making of a house. We also met some hunter there, accompanied by a dog, and carrying hand made bows and arrows.

The upper part was a little stepper, after we had left the dry bamboo forest, making our way over successive promontories to the summit peak where we sat in the shade of a remnant tree to eat our lunch.

From here we had good views over the surrounding plains and adjacent smaller hills. Time to summit from the foot, 2 and a half hours.

12 Ungala Mountain  28.1.18

Namukora sub-county

Persons, Sam with Dennis Selsio Christopha and Selasi Kilama Akanagaston from Ungala Village

This mountain lies on the opposite side of the valley to Ogili, we had climbed the day previously. With its rocky profile it looked intriguing to attempt to climb, to continue the job of exploring the small mountains in this area.

Route. From Omiya-Anyima village I took a motorbike towards the mountain, passing between Ungala with Akara mountain to the left to reach the far side. Both mountains are impressive steep rocky outcrops, such that one must wonder if they are actually climable.

Most people seemed to know of a way up to the smaller peak of Ungala to the south, on which is an MTN communication mast. But I was more interested to climb to the summit of the rocky peak itself.

At the far side of the mountain was a small collection of bomas, and here my motorbike driver  helped me find someone who could take me up the mountain. I ended with two men, possibly brothers, along with two dogs, who were clearly conversant with hunting in the area. Though alas, as commonly much of the forest here had been recently burnt, though there were still some green trees remaining there, particularly in the valley to the left.

These were two rather rough escorts,  but they knew the area and were not afraid to exert themselves in an attempt at the peak. After we had climbed up steeply we arrived at the foot of the cliffs which arise to the summit. He we began making our way up a fissure in the rocks, leaving the dogs behind here, who were keen to follow but could not make it on the rock.

There was sufficient remnant vegetation in the cracks to make our attempt possible, with a hefty haul up through a rock hole at one point, by way of scaling the rock. finally we came to the fresh air and breeze of the ridge, from where we were able to scale to steep rock, taking off our shoes here to reach a summit rock. This was not however the highest point, as another rock loomed beyond, though we were certainly close, and it seemed we had done justice to the mountain in our exertions in the time available.

We descended by something of the same route, on the return meeting with a rock hyrax and a bush buck, which the dogs (which had now gathered back to us) were set to chase, but fortunately (as far as I was concerned) were not swift enough to catch. Though I was sensing that my guides were feeling that their trip would have been ,more ‘worthwhile’ had they brought back an animal to eat.

I was very happy anyway to reach to second summit of this mountain, as it was certainly quite a challenge to reach, and I would not have made it had it not been for the confident guides who accompanied me.

13 Orom Mountain (sometimes called Lasulat) 29.1.18

 

Orom  sub-county, Kitgum District

Persons : Sam, Petro, Kidega David, a piki-piki driver and community teacher from Orom, and Okeny Alfred, a young man from Ngarayak village at the foot of the mountain.

From Orom we took a piki-piki with Kidega David through the cultivated land to the foot of the mountain, where at the final set of simple bomas we found a young man who agreed to lead us up the mountain. Indeed we had found an excellent guide who was fit and happy to exert himself in the heat of the day. Kidega David was keen to come with us, though he was not at all used to climbing mountains, but in the event he did a sterling job, and was only slowed down at the end when the wellingtons he was wearing started giving him severe blisters.

There was a good path up the slopes through the semi-burnt forest, becoming steeper until we reached a stream bed. We then descended to a wooded gully where there were still some native trees, passing through the forest then climbing up through the buff long (unburnt grass) towards the peak of the mountain we could see from below. We saw however that the highest point lay beyond this to the right, so we diverted towards this, climbing up through some remnant forest here to the higher elevation. From here we gained good views of the whole Orom Range, which is quite extensive, aware (also from consulting ME Maps) that we were not actually even then on the very highest point, but it lay too far away for us to scale, and was not, as we saw significantly higher than where we were. So we were quite content with our efforts. The peak we climbed we were told was called Lasulat.

Our total walk from the boma was 6 hours, of fairly steep climbing in hot conditions.

14 Kamakoi Mountain

Kaabong District, Karenga sub-county.

This modest hill lies just behind Karenga village, and it made an inviting evening excursion on the evening we arrived, to give us some perspective of the area. It is quite rocky with a light covering of trees, so we were able to more or less make our own way to the summit, after we had left the small path behind the bomas at the foot.

The summit proved an excellent viewpoint in all directions, northwards to some spectacular rocky peaks in the neighborhood, of which we later identified the rocky know of Kolob and the more distant triple peak of Kilere. We could also look south to the smaller hills stretching down to another sun-county, of which we pinpointed several peaks we were inspired to make and attempt to scale. We looked northeast too towards the Kipedo National park on the plains, somewhat in the distance,

15 Kilere Mountain, 1.2.18

Sam, Petro with Nakoma Charles and Amore Jackson from Nakitot village.

This is the spectacular triple crested mountain we had seen from Kamakoi, somewhat towards the west of the range. From Karenga we took a piki-piki to the second Nakilot  village behind the hill slope; where we found one of the chiefs of the village (who told us he was actually a policeman) we helped us find two local people to guide us to the mountain.

It was a very interesting and pleasant walk, across quite spectacular bouldery country, with some intriguingly shaped promontories, there, one of which we were told was called in the local Karamoja language ‘head of a man’.  For here we are now in the full territory of the Karamoja people, and thus we were to expect to find people eking oiut a subsistence living in the forest and at higher elevations. After a couple of hours walking, alongside the valley of the Elolog River, where there was still a trickle of water to be discerned, and where one of our guides was eyeing up the branches of some of the native trees, which had a use in the building of houses.

At length, after some two hours, we arrived at a few bomas of Kilere village, where people were living temporarily, trying to cultivate beans and sorghum there. They may also have grown maize, as we passed a woman and a child there grinding it to make ugali the laborious way with stones.  We also saw many baboons on the rocks above the sorghum plots, which it seemed must have recently lost their homes, as a large area of forest on the opposite side had been burnt the day before (with some patches still smouldering). After greeting some of the inhabitants of the area, and gathering  some information,  we set off again towards the peak itself. The towering peak to the right seemed definitely unscalable, but it seemed possible we might be able to climb the higher middle peak, across the rock. #

We clambered up first on the scaleable rocky slope, then crossed through a very beautiful piece of unburnt native forest, which was a real pleasure to walk in, and surely (it seemed to me) must illustrate to our guides the benefit of keeping the forest, even just for ease of walking. We then reached the upper ridge, between the westernmost peaks. where we found a pleasant and quite spectacular viewpoint on the far side, giving us view over to the further peaks in the range, and to the plains beyond.  It did look very possible to climb the middle peak from here, but for safety’s sake we did not commit ourselves too far on the rock, partly also reluctant to trust as a handhold a root that had previously been burnt.

On the return we spoke some more to the inhabitants of the bomas there who gave our guides some cooked pumpkin to eat, and some water from the local spring.

Total trip, 8 and a half hours

16 Kangole Mountain 2.2.18

With Alina Denmark and Lukong William from Lorwana village

Karenga sub-county

This made a short afternoon excursion on our rest day after climbing Kilere.  This small rocky peak we could see as a lower outlier of the range of hills to the southwest of Karenga village which made quite a spectacular and picturesque vista from Karenga village. We made our our way on village paths (passing many women carrying large loads of cotton, wrapped in cloths on their heads,) for it seemed just now the cotton was being harvested, and buyers were in the vicinity collecting the cotton.  We arrived at Lorwana village at the foot of the hill, and here we diplomatically instigated two local men to take us there. It was only in fact a twenty minute climb to the ridge between the rocky peaks, where we sat upon a rock perch admiring the hills and land around talking with the two boys.  Again it seemed that it was possible to scale the lower of the two peaks, and clearly you could see from the rock that people had been there. However, as it was very exposed making the move on the rock, we decided against it, and to be satisfied with our view from the lower rock.

17 Kolob 3.2.18

With Akulbo David, an older man from Nalemoni ward of Karema village,  who had one of his houses in the boma behind the Karamajong Pride Guiesthouse where we were staying, who we had met there on the first evening we arrived.

We were very keen to climb this hill, as it had been the first mountain we had been inspired to climb from Kamakoi Mountain the first evening.

First we walked back along the road, then we took a path leading up the valley, through the bush and grassland which brought us in time to a high cave in which some Karamoja people had made a temporary home. We found here also some others working in the cultivation nearby. It seemed these people were able to eke out a living here cultivating and hunting. Indeed we saw a baboon skin laid out in the cave.  From here we continued along the valley, passing at first some very beautiful rocks and caves set in the forest. At length we branched up to the right towards the ridge of our mountain which we could see through the trees. It was a little tough going through the bush and long grass, whilst our guide was denouncing that it would have been much easier had the area been burnt. We of course did not agree. And certainly it was healthier to our lungs and nostrils not breathing the black soot. We came at length to the ridge, from where we were able to scale the not too steep rock to make our way to the summit of our peak, very happy that we had made it, as it had not always been certain to us that the peak was actually scaleable (we had had conflicting reports), our ‘muse’ guide deciding to remain at the foot of the rock for a rest, rather than attempt the rock. It was certainly an excellent viewpoint, being somewhat higher than everything around, with good view back to Kilere which we had attempted earlier.

On the return our guide told us he had three wives and fifteen children.

He led us by a somewhat easier, and less vegetated way rough the far side of the adjacent rocky peak, to descend more or less at the cave where the people were living.

Time to summit from Karenga. 3 and a half hours.

18 Ahor Mountain. Abim sub-county, Kotido District

5.2.18

With Lomomba Patrick from Akor village, and six boys (all his relatives) from the same village, three of whom were Olanga Wilfred, Will Brian and Jan Julius Namapiri, plus a dog

We had now arrived at the area of intriguing  small hills set around the township of  Abim which we had identified from Google maps earlier.  It seemed from the village that the mountain called Ahor, was the highest of the range, so we decided to make an attempt at this,

From Akim village we walked along the road  towards Iue, for a couple of kilometres, shortly before the turning to Akor village being greeted by a man an a shop (who it seemed was quite accustomed to drinking the local spirit, called warangi, which comes in plastic sachets, and people call ‘cavera’ (meaning plastic bag).  Anyway after being assured we were greeting him correctly (to his liking) he agreed to accompany us up the mountain.  So he led us then to his village, where we met his wife there, (who was looking a little worried when we first saw him)., whom we greeted. Then we set off up the path up through the stoney thin bush, being led by several small boys who decided to accompany us (and later turned out to be our guide’s relatives). higher up the path abated and we cut off up through the bush towards th base of the summit rock, finding many bright red beetles in the leaf litter of the burnt forest. This we were able to scale by a rift at the left side, waiting at the summit with three of the boys, whilst Patrick and two of the slower ones and the dog caught us up.

there was a little bit of shade up there in the low  bushes, and we were able to look around from here at the surrounding peaks, notably the steep unscaleable pinnacle rock we had seen from  the  road on our approach to Abim, which we were told is called Rwot, meaning chief in the local language, which here we were told was tua., the people calling themselves Labonians. Though there may also have been Karamoja  living here too,

We descended by the far side of the mountain, which was less burnt, following for quite some way the bed of a dried stream. Our guide had thought we might find some water here. But all sources were dried up until we came to a pool nearer to the base, which is seemed was used a drinking hole by the baboons,  hearing several cries from them on the descent.

Finally as we had a brief rest in the open area,  just before the village, our host told us how he had three wives and twenty six children.

Time to summit 1 hour 40 minutes. Whole trip 6 hours.

19 Akara Mountain

6.2.18 From Abim

Sam and Petro.

This is another of the hills of the Abim range, on the opposite side of the valley to Akor, which we had been able to view the day before. It seemed this would be a pleasant afternoon excursion for an easier day after our Akor Ascent.

We had been told by our guide the day previously, the name of this peak. Though I had no further confirmation of it. Most people seemed only to know th name of Akor. However it proved a somewhat more challenging mountain than it may have appeared from the base, with three distinct peaks to it. The middle one involving a rocky scramble to the summit, from where it is necessary to descend again through some well preserved forest.  In fact Petro was the only one who made it to the summit that day, climbing up the third peak by way of a grassy fissure in the rocky face. This was due to our mislaying each other in the bamboo forest at the foot of the second peak.  Perhaps we had become so accustoned to burnt open land, we were not prepared for taking care in the thicker forest.

I  returned more to the right, meeting a  small possum like animals by the remnants of a stream.  I also heard the cries of many baboons emanating from the upper area, and disturbed a red eared hare on the second summit. Certainly I was very sad not to have made it to the summit myself, as this hill seemed definately worthy of the challenge of the climb.

20 From Moroto, Moroto District

Moroto Mountain, Emaget  peak. 2700m 9.2.18

With Samuel, a piki-piki driver from Moroto town and Lokaru , a Karamoja man from Kondonyo village.

This is the northernmost of the three volcanoes lying on the border with Kenya, which I had seen earlier from Mtelo mountain in Kenya, making a chain from Mount Elgon, Mount Kadam and Moroto.

It is a big mountain, and there was some confusion at first as to which was the highest peak. From a distance on the approach to Moroto town you can see an area of higher jagged peaks behind to the right, which we assumed with the highest point. Though when we actually arrived there, we discovered we were still far from the point of Moroto peak marked on ME Maps, and indeed we could see some way in the distance, at the head of the next valley along the adjacent ridge, a higher peak. However we were in the event quite satisfied with the effort we made and the walk that we did, to the spectacular Emaget peak, for it was not so easy organizing how to get there.

First we took a piki-piki anti-clockwise round the mountain from Moroto town,  passing the valley and which is known as Lawrence peak, which is an easier tourist option. When we arrived at Kodonyo village we took a rather stony track up the valley, sometimes walking, which led after some kilometres to the Kodonyo school Here we found a young headmaster, and signed the visitors book there. He was helpful and found us a local Karamoja boy (who was not attending the school, and spoke no other than his native language). He proved however a very useful and competent guide for us, leading from the front, with few words. From the school we headed up the steep slopes to the left by a small path, until we gained the ridge. From here it was a pleasant way, through light forest, unfortunately in many places burnt, whilst a ranging fire billowed as we walked from a nearer slope, somewhat obscuring our photographs of the spectacular peak we coul.d see ahead.

It was an interesting way to the peak itself, traversing somewhat behind, then heading up alongside a rock cave, until we gained the breezy summit. From here we chose to ascend the easternmost peak, discovering here, when we gained a view from the far summit, that the highest point of the Moroto Range lay still far beyond, and would requite quite a different route to ascend.

From there we descended back to the school. where some children were still about, working the water pump at the bore for us, so we could drink some much appreciated water.

21 Matany Hill 1300 metres 10.2.18

 

Matany Sub-county, Napak district

Sam and Petro.

This small hill, marked on ME Maps, we decided to ascend, on a break on our journey from Moroto to Iriri. We took a matatu which dropped us off in the centre of Matany village, where we left our packs in a restaurant, after eating soe lunch there. We then set off across country, through flat grassland, passing several bomas, along a small path which led conveniently in the direction of our hill, which gradually loomed closer. After about an hour and a quarter we were at the foot, from where it was an easy 20 minute climb to the rocky top where is located a cross. Part way up there is also a monument to local people of Napak district killed in the wars.

Even through small, it was a very interesting viewpoint for the surrounding land. We were also fortunate in that the weather was not so hazy that day. We had excellent views now over to Mount Kadam, and Napak Hills in the distance, and could look back towards Moroto mountain, with a similar small (cross capped) hill at Kangole, arising between from the plain.

We then returned the way we had come, and proceeded on our journey.

22 Napak Range, Kalapata peak (2536m) 11.2.18

Napak District,

From Iriri village.

Sam, Petro and William, a local man fro Iriri town and an experienced climber of the hill.

This hill we were very happy about, because we ended up climbing to the exact summit (higher in fact that the point marked on ME maps).  So we were very gratified we had actually made it to the real and final summit this time. It also proved a very excellent viewpoint up there, with beautiful views over to Mount Kadam beyond, and the hills of Kenya (around Kapenguria) behind it, with the smooth slope of Mount Elgon now appearing beyond to the south.

From Iriri village we took a piki-piki a few kilometres to a boma at the foot of the hill. From here was ascended, passing two more habitations on the slopes, towards the rocky bluffs above us. Certainly the mountain looks spectacular from this side, with high rocky cliffs, and it is only by dint of a well marked way, traversing around the base and up by a niche in the hills that we were able to scale the mountain. It was certainly a very spectacular route, and through quite a lot was burnt there was still enough forest left there to leave some pleasant memories in the mind afterwards.

So it was a very pleasant, if quite streuous walk in the heat with our very competant guide. On the way back we passed the boma where his elderly parents were living. There was also much marijuana growing on the hill here,  The local people also commonly take snutt

Time to summit from the boma 3 and a half hours.

23  Mount Kadam 3084 m 13.2.18

With John Bosco, from Nakapiripiri village.

This is a spectacular mountain lying to the larger massif of Mount Elgon. I had seen it from the Kenya side a year earlier and been inspired to climb it if I ever got to Uganda. And this was the last of the large volcanic ranges we got to in Uganda, and indeed we were impressed from below, seeing the rocky outcrops of the summit area and being pleasantly surprised to find so much forest still remaining here.

It was not at all obvious from the base exactly where the summit lay. And we did not have a great deal of confidence in our guide’s ability to take us to the actual summit. So it was rather a kind of puzzle,  though it turned out for us a very pleasant walk that day, even though in the end it turned out we did not actually manage to scale the summit plateau.

From Nakapiripiri we found small paths through the farmland to the foot of the mountain. From here we climbed up on very pleasant forest paths, passing several small basic wooden temporary habitation where some Karamoja people were eking out a living there. First our ‘guide’ took us to a view point to the west side of the main peak, and from there we could see that maybe it would be best to ascend from the south side.

However  he ended up taking us the way he knew, along a well used forest trail through the forest to the northern side of the peak, to a point, as he explained to us where he had taken four other parties of tourists in the past, who had carried up tents and camped there for the night, before attempting to scale the rocky faces to arrive at the plateau, each time however failing.

We were, at the point some 26,000 metres in elevation, some 400 metres short of the summit. But anyway we had had a pleasant four hours walk to arrive there, and we had good views from this point into the peaks of Kenya and to other hills of the Mount Kadam range.  So we were obliged to be content with where we had reached.

It was not until the following day when we were passing out of the village to head to our next destination that we got talking to the Deputy-Resident District Commissioner in his office, that  we discovered that the proper way to ascend was from the south side, where it was possible to scale to plateau. It turned out too that a group of  tourists were just there on the mountain just then making it a two day trip with a local guide to attempt the actual summit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanzania I – Arusha – Manyara

ARUSHA REGION

1

From Longido Village

Longido 2637

base 1400

(Masai name meaning ‘Sharpening stone’

With Juma and Haley, two young people from Longido village

This is the first peak I saw on the way into Tanzania, and I was immediately impressed with its towering shape with an intriguing rock cap, and the beautiful thick natural forest which fully clothed the mountain. So I returned to Longido village to try to climb it.
we set off along the well trodden path up towards the mountain,  The path it seems is used by hunters and people working in the wildlife service, for hunting was practiced here as Juma had told me. Indeed I heard a shot further round in the forest as we walked. And this may have explained the scarcity of animal life here, for the forest was very quiet , as, it seemed there ought surely to be much more animals here , considering the luxuriance of the forest we were passing through.
Juma explained that there were elephants and buffaloes here at times, but at this time they migrated east to the slopes of Kilimanjaro to find better grass. We passed a very old piece of elephant dung, though this  was not really sufficient evidence to convince me of their presence?
As we climbed the forest became more impressive. It was truly wonderful to see forest that had not been burned or damaged and modified by grazing or wood cutting. There were still many species here, and it was all beautifully alive and green, passing through the different zones, notably that of lichen covered trees as we gained height.
There was still mist on the top when we reached the ridge, but there was nonetheless a wonderful feeling of being high up, in a fresh place,, with the blustering wind carrying the cloud over the crest. we proceeded along the rocky surface, here covered in undamaged mountain scrub vegetation, aligned in natural artistic patterns in accordance with the rocks and outcrops- as natural a place as maybe it was possible to find on the earth in its present state of utilisation by mankind..
It was a short scramble up a steep rock gully to the peak itself,  the long rocky spur which forms the ‘sharpening stone’ of the name.
It was intriguing to watch the mist was rolling in over the crest of the ridge, from the peak, creating a dramatic and atmospheric scene as we stood (or sat) there, the two boys eating the biscuits they had bought with them as sustenance. The mist was gradually lifting, with brighter patched sometimes appearing and occasional glimpses through it to the impressive swathes of natural forest which clothed the lower slopes to the north.
I was rather loath to leave the summit, for myself  I would have waited there for the mist to clear – it felt such a privilege to be there seeing this amazing vegetation, which was so rare to see, in my experience of climbing mountains in Africa
But the boys were getting cold, and were ready to descend; though we did get some view out to the plains to the west from the ridge before we descended to the forest, and to the rocky peaks behind which we had just climbed. For the mist was fast lifting.
So anyway I had to remind myself of the a privilege to climb this mountain, and find the wonderful vegetation there, despite the somewhat restricted circumstances of climbing it.

2

From Ketumbiene village

Ketumbiene

2858m, ascend from

 

I
I set out along the road towards Ndalette, as had been pointed out to me , though not unduly early. After some hours I came out of the bush-clad slopes to arrive in cultivated areas, continuing along the road, to traverse around a couple of the volcanic ridges to where the ascent to the summit appeared less steep.

some substantial tall forest clothed the steep slopes on this side, rendering a certain formidability to the mountain here. As I decide to turn up, I pass two young boys whom I greet, who accorded that this was the way to the ‘miliman’.
There is something rather idyllic I often find about living on the upper slopes of mountains, as I noted on  , passing  some bombas. The air was fresh and cooler than below, and there is more water here.
I climb up quite steeply over an extensive meadow, then I am in the forest following cattle tracks, which continue along the ridge as a continuous path, discovering here several different species of stinging nettles which I try to avoid.
It is a long haul up, but I persist to finally arrive at the summit plateau, though I did not gain a view through the trees. and as it was already 3.30 I did not have time to explore the summit fully, but climbed part way up a tree, rather as a token gesture to the view.
I returned by a different way, descending  steeply by a forest path which brought me past some stumps of big trees which had been felled, of a rather beautiful reddish wood which may have been some kind of mahogany. It came out eventually at some bush and meadows which I made my way down by small paths, til I came back to the habitations.
I still had a long way to descend , and evening was already drawing in. But I was , enjoying the balmy light of this time of day, and the sensation of really getting a feel for the size of this mountain – it is big – as I progressed gradually down one its many spurs. I was passed first  by a clerical looking man carrying a briefcase also walking down, and a motorcycle carrying two people. which stopped for me, but as the driver was not experienced, they were not able to take three people.
I arrived at the village about 8.30, now quite dark, to be greeted cordially by several people about there as I passed though.

3

From Gelai Bomba

15.4.17

Ol donyo Lenderos  – Hill

Masai name) – from the original owner of the bomba there.
Kazaroo (Swahili name) – means ‘difficult to climb’

I had arrived in the village of Gelai Bomba on a Saturday afternoon, soon apprising it was market day, and the place was busy with traders and visitors many sitting under trees.
I too decide to do so, in a quiet area beyond the water tank, to make some sketches of the three small hills (outliers of the substantial mountain of Gelai itself lying behind us). The looming rainclouds and sounds of thunder then began to suggest themselves as more than merely threatening, and after some large drops fall, I am obliged to terminate my sketch and decide to move up by the watertank where I am nearer to shelter should a real downpour ensue.
Here I get talking to some people, and then to a man who speaks good English, who says that ‘it will not rain’, which doesn’t prove the case, and we are soon running for shelter under the porch of a nearby restaurant. This man is called Ali, and after a while he invites me to his home, which is nearby, and I am welcomed in by his mother, who runs a small eating place there, where I sit and drink the water I was offered. The restaurant being very busy just then, due to all the visitors.
The rain has now stopped, and Ali suggest we can walk up towards the eastern hill, which we do, passing two well-built houses with water-tanks on the roof (which I had noted earlier as rather standing out from the other dwellings) which it turned out had  been quarters for some missionaries ) who had since departed.  We also passed a long structure which had been built by the American ‘Chuck’ as a cattle dip for the masai. Though it was not currently  used.
As we are getting so near it I suggest that we might climb the small mountain there on this side, the name which Ali had told me meant ‘difficult to climb’. Indeed this proved so, because the ground was very lose and quite steep, so you had to work hard to gain any kind of footing.
There was more vegetation of top – and fair view back out to Ketumbeine and Longonot too to the west, Ali pointing out some of the roads down below in the plain.
We had begun to descend by the south side, but soon abandoned it as too hard a way, and returned to the summit and the way we had come, which proved a little like descending steep snow in places. Ali here remembering how the slopes. not so long before had been covered in trees, with monkeys living here. But as there were more people in the area now, most had been cut for fuel wood.

4

Ol Donyo Gelai
After the place Gelai Bomba, or Gelai Meringue

Bomba = cattle trough

Ali had offered to accompany me up this mountain, and I was happy about
that and confident I would enjoy his company. We set off about 7.30 from
the village following a route which he knew up a well-used route up towards
a cattle trough, near to a corrugated-roofed building which you could see
in the distance from below. We were greeting quite a number of people along
the way, with more or less attention. I was interested to observe how it
was done here; there are many different words that can be used in the
greetings here, some of which I was getting to know, realising tht you can
get quite a long way in satisfactory conversation with people here using
the greetings alone.
At one point Ali had a longer conversation with two men leading some goats.
Afterwards he explained that they were traders. They had bought the sheep
at the market the previous day, and were taking them to thier homes. Then
later they would be taken (by some other men) over the border to Kenya,
where they would be sold. It seemed that money was to be made in selling
the goats in Kenya just now.
We arrived at the water tank, the furthest Ali had previously been six
years ago, Ali pointing out that then there had been only the corrugated
roofed house, and that all the mud and stick houses there now had been
constructed subsequently. Her we  had a brief rest, and Ali spoke to a
woman there who explained the way.
Our route then took us by traversing tracks around towards the western side
of the mountain, passing many cultivations here (and many birds here too I
noted). The Masai people here unusually were cultivating maize and beans,
because normally they primarily kept livestock, and did not go into farming.
At length we came to the track leading up to the top, which had been
constructed by a tourist company, as we ascended gaining good views over to
Lake Natron to the west, with its surrounding crust of white salt deposits.
Ali was pleased to see this too. And I was happy to gain a new perspective
from here, out over the plains to the Ngorongorngo mountains, and west in
the distance to what I supposed were the Serengeti plains.
As we are gaining the steeper parts Ali decided to stay there and rest
whilst I continued on the now less substantial track which rose and then ran
behind three still forested peaks that formed the summit, though I did not
make the diversion to ascend any of them, thinking rather of time and my
companion waiting below. Also of the thought I had earlier that to climb a
mountain requires effort, (and maybe that was one way you could define a
mountain, in that it took some effort to get there), but to get to the
actual summit took ‘extra’.

As we are descending the weather became quite dramatic, with grey clouds
now looming over Ketumbene beyond, such that a camera could have done good
justice to the tones and shades of the landscape with substantial patches
of forest on the higher slopes. It took a while to come, but it did, and we
retreated then into a nearby bomba. This was the first time I had entered
one of these traditional mud houses, and certainly I was aware it was quite
a privilege. I was surprised to find how big there were inside. And the
inside is divided into compartments by further mud and stick walls, so that
when you enter you are first in the porch, and this is where we sat, then
Ali exchanged places with me so I could see inside, where three women were
sat about a fire in the centre, in the darkness you could mostly make out
their jewelry and decorative metal bands, and also the home-made bed
behind. There was certainly a sense that the house was rather the preserve
of the women, whose job it is to maintain and repair the houses.

We then continued our descent this time more directly by the tourist
track, which joined the track that could be used by motorbikes, gaining a
lift for p

5

17.4.17

Ol Donyo Lorkine (Masai name)
means ‘place of goats’
Ngakedo – original name, after the original owner of the place

This small outlier, opposite to Kazeroo I decided to climb as a start to the day , the morning before I left Gelai Bomba.
I set off a 8am, making my way over the thinly bushed terrain, by the easiest route which took me past quite a number of bomas, where I was duly greeted, and invited by a young lady carrying a baby in to her house to take tea. At the final boma I was somewhat ‘accosted’ by four young men who were keen to know what I was doing there. they led me pass on, and I climbed up easily, to where there were more trees to the summit, from where I gained a view of the road I was intending to take to the west, and over to the many small outlying hills in the plain in the distance.
it was more forested on the far side of the hill, which maybe accounted for my disturbing a deer there. There were also many birds.
On the descent I spoke again to the young man, who asked me what I had seen there, and invited me to drink tea, which he said was strong, and to eat some meat.
So a pleasant walk, even if this must maybe be classified as a hill

From Engaruka

6 Masonic – In progress

11

From Engaruka

Simolamungi

Ou Nisijoo (Engaruka Hill) 22.4.17

Masai name = grass for lactating cows.

I was happy to find this small hill at Engaruka, tucked in along with
another at the foot of the tree-clad escarpment of the Ngorongorong
range. It is an easy climb up from a track beyond the school, leading,
as I was told to some historic ruins of traditional villages. From the
peak the lushness of the area here is apparent, as the area here below
the foothills is watered and irrigated by a gurgling stream, which I
could hear beyond. From the summit I could look down of the cultivated
plots, with bananas and other fruits, and the large fig trees too,
some of them veritable giants which lined the track leading up from
the village.
The pleasant evening light was illuminating the valley as I descended,
happy to have found, even if only a hill, some new viewpoint to survey
the area from.

24.4.17

 

Loko Kimojie (Masai) = Hill of baboons

This characterful, prominent hill is a familiar feature of the view
south from Lake Natron, one of the many promontories arising from the
plain, but somewhat larger than those hills nearer the lake,
sufficient to classify it in my mind as a small mountain.
And by good chance the place where Peter and I disembarked from the
(somewhat uncomfortable ride in the back of a truck (along with a cow
and a couple of goats), on route to our proposed camping place at the
foot of Ol Donyo Lengai, I found we were now at the foot of this
shapely hill, nestled at the foot of ‘the great’ Ol Donyo Lengai
itself, as a mini-version. As time prevailed, we were thus able to
contemplate the ascent, as something of a warm up to our target for
the following day.
After caching our packs in a handy cave at its foot, we set up through
the fairly long grass, for the modest ascent. For this mountain is not
grazed (at present) so was preserving the lushness of grass, and the
sense of it being the preserve of wild animals, of which we saw there
a bush-buck near the summit.
From the summit indeed we could look down at the cattle and goats in
the grazed area to the south, but there were no people at all in the
beautiful U-shaped valley behind between Kerimas and OL Donyo Lengai.
This area is due to be left for later in the season. Whilst in
Engarasera I had been told about how the grazing was managed, by a
committee of twelve people in the village. And certainly the
organisation of this could be seen.

The summit proved an excellent viewpoint too over the whole area, as
we sat for a while eating lunch, Peter pointing out the many small
hummocks at the west side of Mt Gelai, which appeared to good effect
from here.

8

Ol Donyo Lengai. 25.4.17

Masai name = mountain of God

We had set up camp the night before under a small tree (one of two in
that area beside the dry river gorge), the home too of quite a number
of lesser mark weaver birds which had built their nests there, and
greeted us with some of their variable song, as we arose too at first
light.
The route we were taking up this magnificent, and somewhat formidable
mountain, standing in the landscape as an almost perfect cone, was the
former route which geologists had used when they had been studying the
mountain following the eruption in 2007. We were to ascend up the
broadest of the many ridges that ran down the mountainside, though
when Peter had pointed it out the previous day, I really could not
believe from looking that it was possible to ascend by this way, as
the higher part looked impossibly steep from below.

We set off first, over gentler grassy slopes, as rather still the
approach to the mountain as such. finding here much long grass, and
some tracks of baboons, then beginning the ascent up our fissure,
which to my amazement actually led up right the way to the crater
edge. It became fairly tough going, partly higher up due the effect of
altitude becoming apparent, and also the fragility of the ground,
which though it appeared like firm rock, very easily crumbled beneath,
much like steep snow. So it safer to step in the places where the
vegetation had made root.
This was the amazing thing up there, the wonderful wealth of life here
– notably birds heard though the mist which was (fortunately)
gradually lifting ahead of us as we climbed.
There was an amazing wealth of plants here, colonising the grey layer
of deposited volcanic ash, which deeply coated the harder rock
beneath. It was amazing to see nature here in its pristine state.
Peter had been here last in 2007, at which time he recalled there had
been no plants at all, when it had been necessary to cut steps in the
ash, in order to ascend. These holes, which had now hardened,
breaking a trail through the firmed (but untrustworthy crust), to aid
us on our way – in many of them too sprouted seedling of colonising
plants.
After several hours we arrived at the southern crater, with a smooth
rim forming an easy path around part of the rim, coated in many places
with a deposit of salt which had been leached out from the volcanic
ash.
The actual summit was ahead of us, forming a triangular crest – and
yes this time I was determined to make the ‘extra effort’ to get
there, which meant scrambling up ‘baboon style’ using hands and feet
to keep a footing on the lose steep surface.
From the summit we then gained a view of the smaller active crater,
which still exhibited a small slither of white steam from one side,
pleased to learn that the ‘guided tourists’ who normally ascent from
the north side (during the night) did not actually go to the summit
itself.

And from here we gained a broader perspective on the area which, after
two weeks, I was beginning to become familiar with, now seeing one of
the smaller Ngorongoro craters to good effect.
Yet. despite the life and reviving vegetation there, the mountain
still preserved very much a formidability, particularly near the
summit with the steep drop below and the deep fissures radiating
about.

But we made it down with care in four hours, being rewarded, as we
traversed the final footslopes the rocky nook beside the dry river
where we had stached our tent, to seeing many skeins of flamingos,
wending their way in graceful formation, dark sillhouettes in the sky,
making their evening migration from the shores of Lake Natron to the
south, to the lake in the largest crater of the Ngorongoro highlands.

26.4.17 Kerimas

Masai name = Place of grazing.

Nguesuk – other name
Standing opposite Ol Donyo Lengai, as a sister volcano (though here
long since active) Kerimas proved quite a different character of
mountain – a place of grazing, as its name implied, and without the
formidability of its neighbour.
First we set off across the plains with our packs, towards one of the
Masai bomas as the foot of the slope. Here we were able to leave our
packs, and some of the residents there pointed out the way to us. We
were also able to fill our water bottles here, from water which had
been collected from rain (as opposed to being brought on donkeys from
the large well at Gelai Boma) which was a somewhat unapetising green
colour, and we were obliged to drink in moderation.
The vegetation we could see on the mountainside, as a band of trees,
proved on arrival there not an impediment, and we ascended gradually
beside a grassy gorge, by pleasant grazing paths through the lush
meadows, covered in many flowers of different kinds, and a certain
aroma of herbs, for just now the area is not grazed. We came at
length to a spot beneath a tree, resting beside a temporary boma, that
some of the villagers we had spoken to used in the season when grazing
there, beside which were quite a number of wild (miniature) tomatoes
growing, which I had first seen the day before, and proved quite
pleasant to eat when in the mood.

This time we were content with one of the secondary summits which
nonetheless afforded the view we required, down into the grass floored
crater. It also afforded the best view of the Ngorongorngo range which
I had seen so far in the area. AND – for the first time I saw the
distant shape of Kilimanjaro which Peter pointed out, distantly to the
left of Mount Meru.

Following the descent, in which we surprised at close quarters a
bush-buck and watched a couple of agile clipspringers bounding away,
and passing too the wooded area we were called at loudly by a large
black baboon from the branches of a trees – very clearly reminding us
that ‘this was his territory, and what were were doing intruding
here), we again visited the boma, where we sat outside one of the
huts on goat-skin mats and talked for a while with the villagers. We
also bought from there people some local yoghourt, that was made from
the cows milk, which was poured out of a long (almost meter long)
decorated gourd (which comes in the shape of a cone), after the man
had shaken it several times like a musical instrument, into tin mugs.

27.4.17 Shiaula Mugo
Masai name = God’s Hole

This was an entirely chance ascent, as we were waiting by the road to
find a lift to Selela, We had been camping the previous night beneath
a different tree, somewhat land closer to the bomas, which some people
had erected a brush enclosure around. Peter had also asked some boys
from the bomas to bring a pot, and sticks., and he was able (after
some time) to heat some water and make coffee.
By now I was really beginning to appreciate this area we had been
camping in for three days, and it appeared particularly magnificent
and panoramic in the atmospheric early morning light, such that all
around I was seeing ‘perfect photographs’ for the camera, the tones
and contrast picked out in the clarity, the scenes enlivened by the
trains and skeins of goats and cattle making thier way slowly away
from the villages where they had been housed for the night, to further
grazing at the footslopes of Mt Gelai.
There was also a truly prize photograph, as we passed a traingular
rocky hill rising from one side a modest sized crater, as it appeared
in the foreground with the larger cone of OD Lengai behind, still
capped in cloud.

After we had been waiting a while, with no signs of trucks of traffic
appearing, I suggested that we might just as well climb this little
peak that we were sitting beside. So we set off up it with our packs,
following the short rocky slope to the side of the crater, to the
summit where the rock had formed a perfect bench to sit on.

From here we were able to look down into the rather perfectly shaped
crater below, and appreciate too the number of bomas that dotted the
plain to the foot of Kerimas.

28.4.17 Or Porkhill (Masai name ) = Hot mountain

We had initially been give the name for this modest sized mountain,
that sits beside and is connected to the rift Valley escarpment of the
Ngoronogos behind the village of Selela. We had initially been give
the name for it as Mbululu, though on speaking to a woman at the
village just below the summit, we were told this was the name of the
area. It was a fertile place, with the land beyond covered in small
fields of maize, growing up well here. The route up brought us mostly
through forest, in which stood particularly near the base a
goodnumber of boaboa trees, which their enormous thick trunks, which
produce an edible fruit which you could buy at the market in the
village.
Peter also explained that these trees were hollowed out and used as
temporary habitation by the bushman people, who exist in small number
in the regions to the west of here.
In the forest itself were many gum tree, the most useful is one called
Esi Lelau, which is also the name of one of the hills we could see in
the distance. The resin from this is collected, and when it becomes
firm is chewed as gum, having a menthol taste.
There was also another remarkable species of gum tree with a speckly
truly-blue trunk. though apparently the gum from this is not so good
to eat.

From the summit on which stands a telephone mast, we had another
pictureque morning view of the countryside nearby the escarpment, with
a patchwork of small fields, as a pageant of purple-brown and green
beneath the grey striated sky. with the shapes of the mountains beyond
tinged a deep slightly sombre blue.
Whilst nearer to the rstream outlet from the gorge to our left
bananas, papayas and fruit trees were growing.

Ol Donyo Lengai. 25.4.17

Masai name = mountain of God

We had set up camp the night before  under a small tree (one of two in
that area beside the dry river gorge), the home too of quite a number
of lesser mark weaver birds which had built their nests there, and
greeted us with some of their variable song, as we arose too at first
light.
The route we were taking up this magnificent, and somewhat formidable
mountain, standing in the landscape as an almost perfect cone, was the
former route which geologists had used when they had been studying the
mountain following the eruption in 2007.  We were to ascend up the
broadest of the many ridges that ran down the mountainside, though
when Peter had pointed it out the previous day, I really could not
believe from looking that it was possible to ascend by this way, as
the higher part looked impossibly steep from below.

We set off first, over gentler grassy slopes, as rather still the
approach to the mountain as such. finding here much long grass, and
some tracks of baboons, then beginning the ascent up our fissure,
which to my amazement actually led up right the way to the crater
edge. It became fairly tough going, partly higher up due the effect of
altitude becoming apparent, and also the fragility of the ground,
which though it appeared like firm rock, very easily crumbled beneath,
much like steep snow. So it safer to step in the places where the
vegetation had made root.
This was the amazing thing up there, the wonderful wealth of life here
– notably birds heard though the mist which was (fortunately)
gradually lifting ahead of us as we climbed.
There was an amazing wealth of plants here, colonizing the grey layer
of deposited volcanic ash, which deeply coated the harder rock
beneath. It was amazing to see nature here in its pristine state.
Peter had been here last in 2007, at which time he recalled there had
been no plants at all, when it had been necessary to cut steps in the
ash, in order to ascend. These holes, which had  now hardened,
breaking a trail through the firmed (but untrustworthy crust), to aid
us on our way – in many of them too sprouted seedling of colonizing
plants.
After several hours we arrived at the southern crater, with a smooth
rim forming an easy path around part of the rim, coated in many places
with a deposit of salt which had been leached out from the volcanic
ash.
The actual summit was ahead of us, forming  a triangular crest – and
yes this time I was determined to make the ‘extra effort’ to get
there, which meant scrambling up ‘baboon style’ using hands and feet
to keep a footing on the lose steep surface.
From the summit we then gained a view of the smaller active crater,
which still exhibited a small slither of white steam from one side,
pleased to learn that the ‘guided tourists’ who normally ascent from
the north side (during the night) did not actually go to the summit
itself.

And from here we gained a broader perspective on the area which, after
two weeks, I was beginning to become familiar with, now seeing one of
the smaller Ngorongoro craters to good effect.
Yet. despite the life and reviving vegetation there, the mountain
still preserved very much the formidable, particularly near the
summit with the steep drop below and the deep fissures radiating
about.

But we made it down with care in four hours, being rewarded, as we
traversed the final footslopes the rocky nook beside the dry river
where we had stashed our tent, to seeing many skeins of flamingos,
wending their way in graceful formation, dark silhouettes in the sky,
making their evening migration from the shores of Lake Natron to the
south, to the lake in the largest crater of the Ngorongoro highlands.

26.4.17 Kerimas

Masai name = Place of grazing.

Nguesuk – other name
Standing opposite Ol Donyo Lengai, as a sister volcano (though here
long since active) Kerimas proved quite a different character of
mountain – a place of grazing, as its name implied, and without the
formidability of its neighbour.
First we set off across the plains with our packs, towards one of the
Masai bomas as the foot of the slope. Here we were able to leave our
packs, and some of the residents there pointed out the way to us. We
were also able to fill our water bottles here, from water which had
been collected from rain (as opposed to being brought on donkeys from
the large well at Gelai Boma) which was a somewhat unapetising green
colour, and we were obliged to drink in moderation.
The vegetation we could see on the mountainside, as a band of trees,
proved on arrival there not an impediment, and we ascended gradually
beside a grassy gorge, by pleasant grazing paths through the lush
meadows, covered in many flowers of different kinds, and a certain
aroma of herbs,  for just now the area is not grazed. We came at
length to a spot beneath a tree, resting beside a temporary boma, that
some of the villagers we had spoken to used in the season when grazing
there, beside which were quite a number of  wild (miniature) tomatoes
growing, which I had first seen the day before, and proved quite
pleasant to eat when in the mood.

This time we were content with one of the secondary summits which
nonetheless afforded the view we required, down into the grass floored
crater. It also afforded the best view of the Ngorongorngo range which
I had seen so far in the area. AND – for the first time I saw the
distant shape of Kilimanjaro which Peter pointed out, distantly to the
left of Mount Meru.

Following the descent, in which we surprised at close quarters a
bush-buck and watched a couple of agile clipspringers bounding away,
and passing too the wooded area we were called at  loudly  by a large
black baboon from the branches of a trees – very clearly reminding us
that ‘this was his territory, and what were were doing intruding
here),   we again visited the boma, where we sat outside one of the
huts on goat-skin mats and talked for a while with the villagers. We
also bought from there people some local yoghourt, that was made from
the cows milk, which was poured out of a long (almost meter long)
decorated gourd (which comes in the shape of a cone), after the man
had shaken it several times like a musical instrument, into tin mugs.

27.4.17 Shiaula Mugo
Masai name = God’s Hole

This was an entirely chance ascent, as we were waiting by the road to
find a lift to Selela, We had been camping the previous night beneath
a different tree, somewhat land closer to the bomas, which some people
had erected a brush enclosure around. Peter had also asked some boys
from the bomas to bring a pot, and sticks., and he was able (after
some time) to heat some water and make coffee.
By now I was really beginning to appreciate this area we had been
camping in for three days, and it appeared particularly magnificent
and panoramic in the atmospheric early morning light, such that all
around I was seeing ‘perfect photographs’ for the camera, the tones
and contrast picked out in the clarity, the scenes enlivened by the
trains and skeins of goats and cattle making thier way slowly away
from the villages where they had been housed for the night, to further
grazing at the footslopes of Mt Gelai.
There was also a truly prize photograph, as we passed a traingular
rocky hill rising from one side a modest sized crater, as it appeared
in the foreground with the larger cone of OD Lengai behind, still
capped in cloud.

After we had been waiting a while, with no signs of trucks of traffic
appearing, I suggested that we might just as well climb this little
peak that we were sitting beside. So we set off up it with our packs,
following the short rocky slope to the side of the crater, to the
summit where the rock had formed a perfect bench to sit on.

From here we were able to look down into the rather perfectly shaped
crater below, and appreciate too the number of bomas that dotted the
plain to the foot of Kerimas.

28.4.17 Or Porkhill (Masai name ) = Hot mountain

We had initially been give the name for this modest sized mountain,
that sits beside and is connected to the rift Valley escarpment of the
Ngoronogos behind the village of Selela. We had initially been give
the name for it as Mbululu, though on speaking to a woman at the
village just below the summit, we were told this was the name of the
area. It was a fertile place, with the land beyond covered in small
fields of maize, growing up well here. The route up brought us mostly
through forest,  in which stood particularly near the base a
goodnumber of boaboa trees, which their enormous thick trunks, which
produce an edible fruit which you could buy at the market in the
village.
Peter also explained that these trees were hollowed out and used as
temporary habitation by the bushman people, who exist in small number
in the regions to the west of here.
In the forest itself were many gum tree, the most useful is one called
Esi Lelau, which is also the name of one of the hills we could see in
the distance. The resin from this is collected, and when it becomes
firm is chewed as gum, having a menthol taste.
There was also another remarkable species of gum tree with a speckly
truly-blue trunk. though apparently the gum from this is not so good
to eat.

From the summit on which stands a telephone mast, we had another
pictureque morning view of the countryside nearby the escarpment, with
a patchwork of small fields, as a pageant of purple-brown and green
beneath the grey striated sky. with the shapes of the mountains beyond
tinged a deep slightly sombre blue.
Whilst nearer to the rstream outlet from the gorge to our left
bananas, papayas and fruit trees were growing.

Getron 30.4.17 Iraqui tribe name, after an animal, now extinct which used to live there.

Ascended from Endalla village,

Peter, me, Nicko, (a local lady showing us the way for part)

Atop the summit boulder of Qualelo rock the day precious I had been inspired by this upstanding wooded peak with a twin summit prominent in the rolling country to the south. This it seemed must make a fine viewpoint, so we decided on this as our target for the following day.

After a substantial breakfast provided by our hosts, we set off along with Nicko, who was to accompany us, along the farm tracks in the direction of our mountain. After a couple of hours walking we gained the footslopes, which were still used for cultivation. I was most interested in the houses here, which were unlike anything I had seen previously. They were clearly designed for a place receiving a fair amount of rain. Rectangular rather than round, made of a substantial pailing of poles, whilst the mud covering between the crack was somewhat cursory. They were thatched here with light rushes, the rooves with some considerable overhand (to protect the walls) and sometimes quite sharply pointed, so the effect had something of that of Norwegian rustic dwellings. On the return we stopped at some particularly large ones and on asking the owners took a look inside one of the most substantial, which reminded me a little of some ancient viking rood hall.

Having finally begun our climb up, we took the services of a young lady who showed us the way. The final stretch to the summit was bush, (some of which had been replanted after felling) which we clambered through to gain the summit rock, which provided a perfect viewpoint perch.

Unfortunately the day was somewhat misty, as it is still the rainy season here, so we did not gain views to the more distant places (until later in the afternoon on our return), from the summit. But this was not really a disadvantage, because the cloudy weather provided some atmospheric character to the proximate area. For from the top we had a magnificent view over Lake Manyara, which we estimated we were now about half way along, either way. The lake pale and glistening beyond, whilst nearer at hand we looked down to a curved sandy bay, which was inside the Lake Manyara National Park (our peak itself being not so far outside the boundary of it) to gain a ‘free’ birds-eye peek into the reserved territory. Down below us in the bay we could see flocks of flamingos, soaring about tranquilly above the water, with others flying in smooth skeins about the hills nearby. At the far side of the bay the hills of the escarpment rose in higher buttresses, totally tree covered and wild looking, as clearly the preserve solely for the wild animals.

Peter had visited this place several times in the work as guide, and pointed out the road there along which the tourists would be brought on safari, and to see the game animals that could be viewed there.

We stayed on the summit for nearly an hour and a half, long enough for the picture of that rather magnificent place to be well imprinted on our minds. But we could not wait until the mist cleared completely, as we knew it must, but descended thence and wound our way back through the cultivated lands, towards Endalla, passing at last the Qualelo rock where we had been the evening previous. At this point, gaining for the first time a glimpse of the ‘elusive’ Ol Tiene, nestled in the Ngorongoro Hills to the north, which I was finally at leave to draw, as Nicko was taking us, on a motorbike he had borrowed from a friend, to the nearest village where we could get transport back to Karatu and beyond.

HILLS AND VIEWPOINTS

Kivutu Hill

From Arusha town
I set off very speculatively from Arusha after a morning of heavy rain towards a couple of the outlying conical peaks which could be seen from the town, set at the foot of the looming massif of Mount Meru.
I find a way off the main road called Serai lane, and am happy to find myself suddenly in villages, heading now towards the two conical peaks. The vegetation is amazingly lush here, with many plantations of banana trees and other fruits. Soon it begins raining again, an absolute downpour in which I shelter under the eve of a house along with a lady selling bananas and other fruits at a stall nearby. I am happy to find it abates, so continue up the track, past the habitations, to find that it is heading gradually upwards and generally towards the higher of the conical hills.
I had been so speculative in my setting out, I had not really believed in the possibility of actually ascending a mountain that day, in view of the general formidable of the city where I had found myself on first arriving in Tanzania.
But I now realized that it might actually be possible to ascend the higher peak, even so late, if I could find a way up through the plantations upon its slopes. I begin investigating ways, and a  man points me on further, then setting out on a possible track I encounter an elderly man, who indicates that there is a way but it is very muddy, an he does not advise me to go up there, saying something about ‘how would your grandmother feel?’
Anyway he lets me go, showing me the way. And I am soon climbing up briskly on small paths beside the fields. Further on I encounter another man who points me further round the hill, and after a traverse I am above the plantations and in the somewhat prickly forest. I am continually amazed to see so much lushness and greenery, for this is real tropical forest here, even if not in its pristine state. And after some steep and muddy climbing I finally arrive at the summit where there are several communication masts in an enclosure, where some people are living. From here there are views down over to the neighboring peak, now appearing considerably lower, and out to the misty shapes of further peaks to the west, appearing in radiant hues in the  evening illumination when occasionally apparently through the obscuring tropical greenery.
I descend by a somewhat less prickly path, noting that the mud here is not of a particularly slippery type, to arrive at length in the back yard of somebody’s allotment, to the amusement of the people there (as I hear the voices exclaiming being me).
I am back at the main road just before it is finally dark, to find a matatu heading into the town.

Ol Donyo Sabuk 25.3.18

Masai name means ‘big mountain’

It was nearly a year after climbing Kivutu, that one Sunday afternoon I decided to ascend it’s smaller neighbour to the west, which made a pleasant if somewhat short climb. Again I walked up from the main Moshi road, on village tracks, I think this one was leading to a waterfall. Once around the back of the mountain I found small tracks up through the banana plantations and planted forest. On the top is a single communication mast. I surprised two women here who were cutting wood, clearly not expecting to see a muzungu up there. Through the trees you had a view  over to the nearby part of Arusha town.

It made a pleasant if rather a short walk.

 

Ou Nisijoo (Engaruka Hill) 22.4.17

Masai name = grass for lactating cows.

I was happy to find this small hill at Engaruka, tucked in along with
another at the foot of the tree-clad escarpment of the Ngorongorong
range. It is an easy climb up from a track beyond the school, leading,
as I was told to some historic ruins of traditional villages. From the
peak the lushness of the area here is apparent, as the area here below
the foothills is watered and irrigated by a gurgling stream, which I
could hear beyond. From the summit I could look down of the cultivated
plots, with bananas and other fruits, and the large fig trees too,
some of them veritable giants which lined the track leading up from
the village.
The pleasant evening light was illuminating the valley as I descended,
happy to have found, even if only a hill, some new viewpoint to survey
the area from.

24.4.17

Loko Kimojie  (Masai) = Hill of baboons

This characterful, prominent hill is a familiar feature of the view
south from Lake Natron, one of the many promontories arising from the
plain, but somewhat larger than those hills nearer the lake,
sufficient to classify it in my mind as a small mountain.
And by good chance the place where Peter and I disembarked from the
(somewhat uncomfortable ride in the back of a truck (along with a cow
and a couple of goats), on route to our proposed camping place at the
foot of Ol Donyo Lengai, I found we were now at the foot of this
shapely hill, nestled at the foot of ‘the great’ Ol Donyo Lengai
itself, as a mini-version. As time prevailed, we were thus able to
contemplate the ascent, as something of a warm up to our target for
the following day.
After caching our packs in a handy cave at its foot, we set up through
the fairly long grass, for the modest ascent. For this mountain is not
grazed (at present) so was preserving the lushness of grass, and the
sense of it being the preserve of wild animals, of which we saw there
a bush-buck near the summit.
From the summit indeed we could look down at the cattle and goats in
the grazed area to the south, but there were no people at all in the
beautiful U-shaped valley behind between Kerimas and OL Donyo Lengai.
This area is due to be left for later in the season. Whilst in
Engarasera I had been told about how the grazing was managed, by a
committee of twelve people in the village. And certainly the
organisation of this could be seen.

The summit proved an excellent viewpoint too over the whole area, as
we sat for a while eating lunch, Peter pointing out the many small
hummocks at the west side of Mt Gelai, which appeared to good effect
from here.

Qualelo Rock 29.4.17, named after the person who lived there.

From Endalla village

Me, Peter, Nicko

This was a totally unplanned ascent, of which there is some tale as to how we got to it.

For the mountain which Peter had in mind to climb that day was Esilalae (Masai name) meaning gum tree, which we would climb from Mto Wambu where we were staying. A small outlier at the corner of E * mountain.

The evening before just as the sun is setting we go out of the city in a tut-tut to an incline of the road where we can gain some view. But what inspires me then is another peak, sticking up prominently, in dark silhouette on the skyline to the west, which I draw. ‘I think I would rather climb this one’ I say. We are assuming this mountain is Ol Tiene, which one of Peter’s friends in Mto Wamba had recommended as an interesting peak to climb in the region.

So Peter gets on his phone again this evening, and we arrange the following day to go to the township of Karate where we are to meet another contact, a friend of an acquaintance from guiding.

This friend is Yoha, and we meet as planned and over some soda at a spacious cafe exchange information. But then it turns out that the prominent mountain I had drawn is not Ol Tiene, but some smaller hill closer to the village where Yoha’s family lives. And he kindly invites us to stay with his family there at Endalla village.

So Peter and I proceed by the local landrover transport to Endalla, all the way studying the hills we are passing to try and identify the one I drew. Finally passing a prominent one, with a line of trees along one ridge, and on asking a fellow passenger we find it is called Basoda Ouish, which is the name in the (local) Iraqi language, that of many of the people living in the region, whose ancestors were distant immigrants from Iraq, (via Ethiopia). And make up a tribe here called Iraqui.

On arriving at Yoha’s family house, and welcomed  by the parents and others, we are keen to gain some view of the surrounding neighbourhood, and spotting a nearby small hill we decide to climb it, along with Nicko (Yona’s brother), who leads us up along small paths beside the fields here planted with maize, with millet growing beneath as an undercrop, and in some places mixed with sunflowers.

It is only really a small cluster of rocks, so possible could not correctly be classified as a hill, but it had a name, and a definate prominent in the landscape, and indeed took some effort to climb to the top of the highest one, so is certainly considered worthy of an account.

There were actually two clusters of boulders which constituted the said-named hill, of which we headed first to the higher, where Mr Qualelo himself, a 71-year old army veteran, (who told us he had fought against Uganda when there had been a war between these two countries), lived alone in a small wood and thatched house beside the summit.

After greetings with him Peter and I hauled ourselves up to the highest boulder from where we gained a perspective on the land, of lush rolling farmland  country, here on the plateau land to the west of Lake Manyara. Here there was practically no grazing at all, it was entirely agricultural country.

From our minor viewpoint we could see Basoda Ouish quite clearly, and also in the opposite direction to the south, another peak, which Mr Qualelo identified for us as called Getron.

Following this we visited the other rock cluster, this time all three of us climbing atop the highest rock to gain a perspective of the land, Peter pointing out to me the position of Lake Eyasi, which though we could not see it, he was aware lay beyond the plateau and Ngorongo Escarpment to the west.

1 – Ol Kokola

From Arusha town
I set off very speculatively from Arusha after a morning of heavy rain towards a couple of the outlying conical peaks which could be seen from the town, set at the foot of the looming massif of Mount Meru.
I find a way off the main road called Serai lane, and am happy to find myself suddenly in villages, heading now towards the two conical peaks. The vegetation is amazingly lush here, with many plantations of banana trees and other fruits. Soon it begins raining again, an absolute downpour in which I shelter under the eve of a house along with a lady selling bananas and other fruits at a stall nearby. I am happy to find it abates, so continue up the track, past the habitations, to find that it is heading gradually upwards and generally towards the higher of the conical hills.
I had been so speculative in my setting out, I had not really believed in the possibility of actually ascending a mountain that day, in view of the general formidable of the city where I had found myself on first arriving in Tanzania.
But I now realized that it might actually be possible to ascend the higher peak, even so late, if I could find a way up through the plantations upon its slopes. I begin investigating ways, and a  man points me on further, then setting out on a possible track I encounter an elderly man, who indicates that there is a way but it is very muddy, an he does not advise me to go up there, saying something about ‘how would your grandmother feel?’
Anyway he lets me go, showing me the way. And I am soon climbing up briskly on small paths beside the fields. Further on I encounter another man who points me further round the hill, and after a traverse I am above the plantations and in the somewhat prickly forest. I am continually amazed to see so much lushness and greenery, for this is real tropical forest here, even if not in its pristine state. And after some steep and muddy climbing I finally arrive at the summit where there are several communication masts in an enclosure, where some people are living. From here there are views down over to the neighboring peak, now appearing considerably lower, and out to the misty shapes of further peaks to the west, appearing in radiant hues in the  evening illumination when occasionally apparently through the obscuring tropical greenery.
I descend by a somewhat less prickly path, noting that the mud here is not of a particularly slippery type, to arrive at length in the back yard of somebody’s allotment, to the amusement of the people there (as I hear the voices exclaiming being me).
I am back at the main road just before it is finally dark, to find a matatu heading into the town.

Tanzania IV – Morogoro to Mbamba bay

MOROGORO REGION

ULUGURU MOUNTAINS

From Morogoro Town

Bondwa Peak 2008 12.7.17

Uluguru name means ravens

 

Persons, Sam, Peter and McKappa from Forest Hill, Morogoro

This peak is easily ascended from the rock gardens to the east of Morogoro town. The lower part is well cultivated with maize, beans, bananas and other crops, and also carrots and onions grown here. We also saw some strawberries.
The upper section, passed the village called Morningside, reflecting the German settlement here, is bounded by a line of tall Eucalyptus trees. Above this line the area is managed by the Tanzania Forest Service and cultivation is not allowed here. The path through the forest is easy going and very pleasant, arriving at the summit where there is a communication mast, with two watchmen living here. Visitors can sign a book kept in their quarters.
It is a popular peak for climbing with tourists.
There are views to the west on the ascent over to the nearby hills and over Morogoro and Minto mountain beyond. Further views are likely to be obscured by mist which can rise later in the day.

This is a mountain well frequented by tourists, and on the route up and on the summit we met with several parties and their guides, who had all taken some 6 or seven hours for the ascent, whilst it too us only 3 1/2 hours from the Rock Garden in Morogoro, not going particularly fast.
It is a pleasant walk, mostly on tracks through the cultivated land, where many carrots are grown, and also some strawberries and fruits. There are a number of villages here, and we were greeted cordially by the people working in the fields, as we passed.
We then came to a line of Eucalyptus trees marking the boundary of the Tanzania Forest Service Area. After this we were in natural rainforest, which made pleasant walking on small paths. At the top of the hill there is a communication mast, and two askaris live here, keeping a book in their house which visitors can sign if they wish.
Three hours to the summit from Mbuyuni village

Lupanga Peak 2139 13.7.17

Uluguru name, means machete

This is a spectacular mountain to climb. It sits adjacent to Bongwa peak to the north with a similar aspect. And the summit area is also

Lupanga Peak 2138

Uluguru name, meaning machete orn account of its shape. Also called Inchakari in Swahili.

Accompanying persons  Mckappa  and Ormali Ordealo from Morogoro villages.

So here we are again. We set off again from the Yahazi gardens near where we were staying. The peak has something of the same aspect as Bondwa, in that you are looking out to the west as you climb, back over Morogoro town. But we are soon past the villages and the boundary of Eucalyptus trees which marks the boundary of the KFS area, to pass the signpost and enter the forest.

At this point the scenery becomes rather unexpectedly spectacular, for as we climb, and we are ascending here very steeply all the time, so gaining height quickly – sometimes gaining views down to the steep bush-clad valley there below us, surely a place for animals. Indeed we see a Colobus monkey, at least McKappa does, on the way into the forest, suggesting perhaps here is quite a large area of natural forest in which the less common animals can have a home.

It is a steep climb, as I said. And we are greeted with a signboard at a rock viewpoint where we still have 508 metres to climb up. We gather from our friends that ‘most people’ do not progress too much further from here, but feel that have exerted themselves enough by this point.

And indeed the path is perhaps a little less distinct, but well enough defined, and it makes a very satisfying climb, up the face through the forest til we gain the ridge which we have seen ahead from the viewpoint, from where it is an easier walk through the lichen-clad trees on a ridge path to the summit itself. Here we find a simple viewing structure to allow a view above the trees, though as the mist had risen and closed in over the top as we walked we did not gain a view from the top of it. But instead ate our lunch in the shelter that had been built there.

Anyway it is very satisfying peak to climb, and a beautiful walk up here.

 

Mindo

Accompanying persons  Mckappa  from Morogoro villages.

This modest sized mountain lying to the west of Morogoro town stands as something of a landmark.  It is not to high to ascend. Our guide was a little sceptical about going there at all, it turned out, believing that the people living there were not good. We did not find many, just a few people staying in temporary shelters where they were eking out a living on the dry slopes growing some corn and beans. They were friendly and polite to us as we passed, directing us to the summit, which we had to ourselves, after wading through some quite high grass and scrub vegetation to get there, lending a sense of exploration.
It was still a bit hazy that day, so any views to the west were still obscured. But from here we gained a new perspective on the Uluguru mountains  where we had been, seeing further south now, and gaining a little more sense of the extent of the range.  But it was a very pleasant climb up there. There are just a few trees left on the summit, but further along the slope there are more cliffs and some woodland

Choma peak

Uluguru name

Accompanying persons  Mckappa

This peak lies between Bondwa and LLupanga, a little behind.The route up is similar to that of Bondwa, passing through the cultivated land, following beside the river with several small waterfalls to see and hear. We crossed over the stream, and climbed up to the line of eucalyptus forming the boundary of the TFS area. Then we were ascending through the forest, not quite a s steeply as on Lupanga, to gain a position just below the summit by a small forest path. There were some large moss-covered trees up here. We climbed a bit over the other side to try to gain a view to the territory beyond, seeing through the trees to the wooded area south of Kilole which our guide told us was named Luguru, with a village there called Nachiro. On the return we were rewarded at last with some clearer weather so finally we were able to see the range of mountains to the west of the Morogoro region, out to Kigole. which is called the Turiana mountains.

 

Changuella Peak 1521 m,  7.4.18

With McKappa, a farmer from Forest Hill, Morogoro

This peak we climbed about nine months later when we chanced to have a few days to spare near Morogoro. We  stayed again at the Jahazi Garden, meeting our friend there who suggested this mountain. For already we had climbed the highest and most prominent of the peaks in this area. This peak lies a little beyond Bondwa, under its shadow as it were. To get to it we climbed up again on steep tracks and paths through the villages and settlements on this hillside, being reminded how much cultivation there is on this side of the Uluguru mountains, stretching up quite some way, by steep fields, where carrots and strawberries notably are grown on the quite sandy soil among many other crops.  This small rock capped peak stands as rather an outlier of the range, and offers good view of the southern side of bonda, though itself it is still below the line of eucalptus trees which marks the boundary of the forest reserve area.

 

Lukobe Hill 8.4.18

With McKappa, and his brother Abu, also joined by a local man John, who lived something as a hermit at the base of the mountain.

This hill stands to the west of Morogoro town, as a boundary, as a twin, to the north of Mindo peak. There is however still some native forest on the top of this one, and when we came around to the northeastern side we saw that it is quite rocky with some spectacular cliffs on the eastern side.

From Morogoro town we took a matatu out to the village near the foot, from here finding a good track leading to the base of the mountain. We made our way then around the foot, chancing upon, at the end of a path a small habitation where we found the ‘chief’ of the area, whose name was John. He agreed to show us the path up the mountain, leading us up from his homestead on a bare path through the long grass until we reached the ridge. From here small paths led through the tall grass here til we gained the trees nearer the summit.  After a little bashing through the forest we reached the summit, which consists of a clearing where our guide had some time before planted some banana trees and peppers, though as he explained he had not visited that place for some time. So anyway we gained a little knowledge too from our escort, who clearly knew the mountain very well as he had lived there many years on different parts of it, eking out an existence there, for as he explained to us he did not like to stay in the village where there was hassle and too many regulations for his taste.

I l Dodomoa

20.7.17
Wahehe name

This peak we ascended ourselves from Mbuyuni village, located on the main road. which actually lies at the other side of the Ruaha river marking the boundary between the Iringa and Morogoro regions here.

The land was very dry here, and almost all the trees had lost their leaves, as we noticed in the forest on the slopes. Though it was still very pleasant there, with many different species here, somewhat rocky with many leaves of different colours on the ground.

At the top of the slope there were people living, grazing sheep. And we s

On the way up we had spoke to a young man at a boma, made of wood and reeds, of rectangular shape. There had been goats there in a pen and several dogs lying there. Peter had asked..

I really wanted to write some poetry yesterday, on the descent from the mountain, which I had climbed with Peter alone. Sitting there eating our lunch in the shade of a tree, amidst the long grass – long being more than two metres high so that wading though it we could see nothing – no view from the summit. We had already climbed up by a small path through a small forest of trees which still graces the top.

It was really beautiful coming down through the forest through the trees, which the pastel coloured leaves littering the ground. There were many baobabs there too at the foot of the hill, of which Petro picked up a good number ‘for me’.

We saw some monkeys in the forest  and there was evidence of larger animals in the grassland by the summit. From here we gained views to the Uluguru National Park to the south

IRINGA  REGION

Marg’alisce

Origin of name unknown.
Accompanying persons, Juma from Kinusi village
This peak, which forms something more of a ridge lies to the West of the flat valley where we found ourselves the previous evening at Kinusi village. It is not far to the foot of the slope where the forest begins, with a path leading up, though not so much used. For though there is grassland nearer the top it seemed much of the land had been grazed in the path, but had not been used recently, so that the scrub species were now growing back. We passed under some tall cliffs and then, having come to the end of the path, made our own way up through the vegetation, climbing some way to the summit itself. The summit proved to be quite a good viewpoint, and the view down over the cliffs and steep slope was indeed quite spectacular.
We returned following the ridge, passing a number of ‘shambas’ where corn had still not been harvested.
Tangawana
Wahehe name meaning lost children
Accompanying persons, Juma from Kinusi village
From Kinusi village we followed tracks across the fields, past the baobab trees. to the foot of the hill where we found small paths leaving up through the forest. There were notably more leaves on the trees here than on the other side of the valley – so we were appreciating the greenery. Nearer the top there were savanna grassland, and it was a very pleasant place to sit, with views out now in every direction. So that we now gained a good perspective on the whole area around. out east to the Morogoro Hills above Kilole, South to Idodoma, and the way that we had travelled from Mbuyuni and the Ruaha River by bus. To the north we could not see the peaks in the area near Winza, and further hills beyond in the south of the Dodoma Region.
We descended by following the ridge long, towards the valley between this hiss and the next mountain called Matonia, with its intriguing summit crested with rocks. Looking down on a wooded gorge with a waterfall here (with water running in it, though we could not see it).
We found here a really spectacular viewpoint, overlooking this steep wooded valley, with some beautiful trees nearby, appearing most photogenic with their flowers and fruits. It was notable here too how the region to the east was quite green, whilst the forest on the other side of the valley was purple tinged and dry.
We saw a number of babppns on this walk, as we were descending through the forest, our guide collecting some peices of dry wood along the way which he carried back with some effort.
From WINZA village
Kikuyu Mountain 23.7.17
Wahehe Name
This mountain had been pointed out to us by Juma the previous day. and was suggested to us for an afternoon’s walk from Winza village where we were staying. We took tracks from Winza out towards the base, passing a great many baobab trees in this dry region. We decided here to attempt to ascend the mountain through the  woodland by our own way, which proved a steep and fairly strenuous climb up, through the vegetation was not thorny. There were not too many leaves on the trees here either, whilst the ground was decorated with the different colours of fairly newly fallen leaves which made the ascent very picturesque.
Finally we gained the ridge, and found some small path here leading to the summit ridge with several rocks along its crest. We climbed up to the top of one of them and had new views now over the surrounding region, and back to where we had been near to Kinusi.
We descended by something of a similar route
Nyarumba
Wasagala name, as from the local Wasagala tribe.
Accompanying persons: Dumish and Kudra from Winza village
This peak I had long been anticipating climbing, as it stands out as a distinct feature on Goodl Maps. A mountain isilated in the flat area between other peaks. As expected it ptoved to be a volcano, and has three distinct ‘arms’ or ridges leading to the cetnra point, although this is not so obvious when viewing the hill from Winza  viallge. We took two local people with us who led us forest through the cultivated land with many baobab trees to the base. The mountain is entirely forest, with some clearer areas only upon the summit ridges. though it i sused for collecting wood, and also as found many traps had been set along the way, so it seems a popular place for hunting small animals. It was very pleasant walking along small paths through the dry woodland on the ascent, just a few leaves still on the trees here. The  higher ridges are quite narrow and make very pleasant walking.
It was very wonderful when we finally arrived at the summit, to see our posiition on the Google Maps on PEter’s phone, and find we were located right at the centre, at the heart of this rather special mountain.
The route we descended was a little overgrown,  but still it was very pleasant.
The volcanic nature of this peak also explains why the collecting and trading of gen-stones is so popular in the nearby Winza viallge, many people here were asking us if we were interested, and often it was assumed that our purpose there was also to look for valuable rocks.

 

Mwembe Togwa 26.7.17 HILL
Swahili name nmeaning sour mangoes.
Persons Sam and PEter
This long wooded hill lies right in the middle of Irigna town, not so high as some of the surrounding peaks, but it made a wonderful walk along the ridge, through the woodland with the colours and variety of vegetation, and views to different parts of the town, sounds of which sometimes emanated from below.  There were small paths along the ridge, but there was a greater sense of remoteness and wildness to the western side, as we made our way between the rocky crests, to arrive at a final viewpoint, clambering up a rock at the penultimate peak of the ridge, from where we had a really spectacular view of the final peak, capped with an amazing smooth shaped rock standing uprioght like a mitre of a priests cap. With the small hills poking up behind and the trees clambering about, in the low afternoon illumination, the scene suggested something out of Gormenghast. And sure I could not do justice to it in my attempt at a sketch there.
2 Kiwele 27.7.17
Swahili name meaning Maize flowers.
Persons Sam and PEter.
This small mountain lying to the north of Iringa town, we had spotted the previous day from Mwembe Togwa hill. It is outside the town, beyond the built up area. And we walked for a couple of hours through the open and less populated areas passing schools and some cultivation to arrive at its foot. There were small paths leading up the slope, clothed in thin scrub and light bush. And we brached off this to arrive at the eastern summit, where we sat in the warm sunshine admiring the views to the south, over to somewhat hazy peaks of the ranges of small mountains which lie to the south of Iringa town.
Ideremule  29.7.17
Swahili name.
Sam and PEter
We are now staying at a place called Tungamalenga,  a litel further along the road to the south from iDodi which we had arrived at by bus the day before. Here we found a place to stay not at great expense, in a somewhat tourist spot, which serves the Ruaha National park (and two other large game reserves) in the plains to the west.
This peak is prominent behing the village, behnd the Tarrewa River which still has water flowing in it.
The whole mountain is covered in forest, and it is not a mountain too much climbed we found, though people went up here, as we observed to cut trees and collect wood, and also maybe to graze in the dry season. For though the undergrowth is quite thick in parts, part of the moutain is rather like savannah, having clearly been burnt in the past, with long grass only beneath the trees, at this time brown and parched and easy to walk through.
Many of the trees had lost their leaves now, and the colourful leaves lay fairly freshly in the ground as we walked, making for a very picturesque and varies carpet for us to walk on, as we climbed, with the different patterns and colours becoming apparent, as we passed areas of different species. A few of the trees higher up still had some leavs on too. IT was really very wonderful to see the colours all around us, and the many picturesque details of the vegetation and rocks as we walked – so I took away a very pleasant memory of that place, even if in some places it was fiarly tough going bashing our way through the dense bush undergrowth.
We saw up there bush buck, baboons, rock hyrax, francolin and helmeted guinea fowl
It was also very pleasant when we came to the ridge to make our way along it, clambering up a few steep and rocky places to reach the penultimate (but highest) summit.  From here we had some views through the trees to the flat plains beyond to the west, home of the anaimald of the plains, and the more frequented national park and game reserves.
Makombe 30.7.17
Swahili name
May also be the mountain named as Kibwangale on some maps, 1890 m
Persons: Sam, Peter and MArra a Barbaic pastoralists living in a boma near to Mapogoro village (iDoma district)
I had seen this mountain on relief maps of the area, standing somewhat higher  than any of the surrounding peaks. It had looked a little daunting from our explorations the day before, when we had perused the slopes from a small foothill at its base. For the mountain is entirely covered in trees, and it seemed, as iDeremule peaks we must surely encounter some dense vegetation.
But as it turned out the walk was really one of the easiest and most pleasant we had had for a while, passing all the time through fairly open savannah-type forest, most of which, once we had passed the drier lower area which was well grazed, still had leaves on the trees. It seemed very wonderful, considering how dry the area we were in had become to encounter greenery of trees about us. whilst also enjoying the colours of the fallen leaves on the ground, and many orange-brown butterflies, sometimes in great numbers. We also saw baboons here, and some eland  in the bush lower down, and quite a number of iguanas and lizards, along ith, of course many different birds which intrigued with their varying calls.
Our guide, who lived with his family in a simple boma at the base made sure we did not stray onto a different route on the way down. He told us a story on the summit, about how this mountain was sometimes used by cattle- rustlers for hiding the cattle, and how there was a passage for animals across part of the moutain lower down. Apparently just recently some cattle thieves had been caught, and it seemed rather severely treated by the local people, so they had to go into hospital before they went to jail.
NJOMBE REGION
Livingston Mountain 2.8.17
NAmes after a former missionary whop had lived in this area
Persons: Sam, PEtro amd another Peter, a charcoal maker from Chimala village
PEter and I had set out from Chimala village ourselves, having been admiring the mountain the evening before when wee arrived in Chimala after our long juorney through the Iringa REgion from IDodi. The various ridges and gullies looked quite intriguing, but the vegetation did not appear too thick from below. Sp we were thinking that even had we not found one, we would be able to make our own path.
But not far on the way to the foot we met the local man Peter, who told us that the area was managed as a forest reserve, and we were theoretically in need of getting permission from the District Officce before we could climb it.
Anyway, he offered to come with us as our local guide, leading us first up one of the steep river gullies, where a number of people were building the piles for making charcoal. Indeed there was a great amount f charcoal production on the hill there at that time.  It turned out quite a steep climb up this side, even if, once on the ridge we found a good path leading to the top. Our guide proved fitter even than us.
The woodland was really wonderful here, and there was still energy left to appreciate it. PArticularly on the descent, when we looked down steeply and quite spectacularly over the lower ridges of the mountain, into a stream gorge.
The summit, ot turned out was exactly on the boundary of the Kitulo National Park, which we could see beyond, now over to the rollowing country of the Elton platea. So that the appraoch to the mountain from this side would have been quite an easy stroll.
We also picked quite a number of wild fruits from the trees near to the base which our guide was quite familiar with, noting others also edible which were not yet ripe. Onbe of them he named for us as Zabibu Mweta, and another, like hard small brown appleas he alled Makongosh. Visada, a kind of fig, was not yet ready.
We saw also  quite a number of olive baboons up there

MBEYA REGION

Loleta Peak 2654 m 4.8.17

Swahili name. The lower part is called Msalabani on account of the cross

This modest peak which arises behind Mbeya town is certainly worth the
climb. There is an easy path up through the forest, which here has a
large component of eucalptus and higher up some planted pines along
with the native species. The route we took followed a track through
the forest, as recommended as a way to us by some young boys there who
were collecting small sticks (for whilst this area is managed as a
reserve by the Tanzania Forest Service, and there is a sign asking
people not to damage tree or collect, there is, as we observed still
some small scale useage of the forest area). The route we tkk emerged
at a village where the people directed us on a small path beyond the
shambas which led to a small peak on which has been set a white
painted metal cross. From here small paths led us up steeply to the
ridge, where it was very pleasant indeed walking there through the dry
buff grass experiencing the fresh air and open aspect of that place.
At the top itself we counted seven communication masts, which we
proceeded beyond to a spot near some planted pine trees to sit and
admire the, (alas) somewhat hazed view out to the north over the
rolling hill country, and west to the spectacular pyramid of Mbeya
peak.
For the descent we passed by the cross and found a good path leading
down through the forest, where small concrete shrines had been built
along the way, as this was a route well used by pilgrims.
Time two hours to the summit from Mbeya town

2 Mbeya Peak 2814 5.8.17

This is a spectacular and picturesque mountain as seen from below and
nearby, actually a series of peaks which make up a rather distinct
small mountain range, though it is more usual to climb only the
eastern and highest peak, up which there is a good path (also leading
to some villages on the hills nearby.
Whilst we were on the top, it being Saturday we encountered two other
parties, some evangelists, some of whom were praying there, and a
group of young people we assumed must be students. One of the
evangelists explained to us that from there on a clear day we should
be able to see Lake Rukwe – but that day the haze obscured it from us.
There is forest too on this walk, through the higher part is grassland
with some traces of (perhaps an original) alpine vegetation. For the
path passes through some low bush on the ascent, crossing a couple of
pleasant (and useful) running streams. So the whole walk makes a very
picturesque visial experience and there is sense of pilgrimage about
the ascent.

NJOMBE REGION II

Rungwe 2981m 7.8.17

Persons : Sam, Peter and Oscar Tossie, a ranger from the Tanzania
Forest Service living in Ilole.

Rugwe is a big mountain volcano dominating a large area, much of which
is cultivated on its lower slopes, and clearly it is very fertile here
for many many crops are grown here including many bananas, with beans
and potatoes, on the cool slopes, with also tea plantations and some
extensive orchards of avocados. Whilst the mountain itself is clothed
entirely in native forest, apart from the very summit area which is
open grassland. So there are not too many views along the way, apart
from occasionally through the trees – but is makes for a very pleasant
walk. A good number of the trees have also been labelled here by the
TFS who keep good management over the area. There is an excellent path
up, and a gate at the base manned by Forest Rangers, one of whom, a
very fit man who strode up the stteep slopes with extreme ease.
It was actually quite cold on the top with a fair wind blowing, though
we had no views to the south (where we might at times have seen as far
as Lake Nyasa) for the white cloud was billowing up the slope, But we
saw well over to the east and the somewhat broken remnants of what
appeared to have been a large crater here of the original volcano,
somewhat broken up with other peaks beyond.
It was truly impressive to see the forest here, and it seemed a real
privilege to have the opportunity to be walking there, a place very
much the home to the wildlife and animals – and we were seeing and
hearing many monkeys there as we walked. So a very pleasant peak to
climb, which took us some three hours from the forest service gate.
With a 2 and a half hour walk afterwards back to Ilole village where
we were staying.

Matema Peak – Livingstone Mountains 10.8.17

This is one of the peaks in the most interesting and intriguing line
of mountains that runs along the eastern edge of Lake Nyasa on the
northern part. We saw many wonderful peaks here, and much attractive
and beautiful native forest from the boat later when we travelled down
the lake to Lupindu, and I really was inspired to think that this
region could warrant to great deal more explorations.
Anyway we began at Matema, from the beach there the day previously
spotting a distinct higher triangul peak poking up behind the coastal
slopes. And we found a man called Boniface, who was on the beach
there, where he rented out canoes, to accompany us there the next day.
So the next morning we found a path up the slopes from behind the
houses near the foot, climbing up steeply through the casava plots,
but soon entering the forest. I was very impressed here, to find,
after not much climbing some very beautiful native forest, which was
more or less undamaged by human interference -f wood collection and
charcoal making – and there were quite a few monkeys ere called to
each other as w passed. In one sense up there, for it was not a long
walk, it felt like we were near civilisation, and we could see the
beach and the line of surf by Matema stretching out below. On the
other hand it felt quite isolated and remote there, with some patches
of mist coming an going from the summit, with a sense of wilderness
bout the area beyond. There was a beautiful sense of quiet too in the
forest here.

Manyika Mountain (Lupindu) 13.8.17

It took us a while to find the definitive name for this peak, but
eventually we established that it was Manyika. For there are a number
of smaller peaks adjacent to this summit making indeed for some
spectacular and pictureqeu country here in this part of the
Livingstone mountains. I was now aware, on our route south, we were
perhaps past the most spectacular and remote of the Livingstone peaks,
at least in terns of vegetation cover. For the mountains in this are
are well settled, and our mountain indeed had been burnt in the past,
so that much of it was now grass and scrub – but this anyway did not
detract from the beauty of the mountain here, and made indeed for a
pleasant experience foor walking along the ridges and the open
hillside where we had always a constant good view of our surroundings.
It turned out a long day for us, some 12 hours in all. For we were
staying at Sanga (Lupindu) , down beside the lake, and it was an hour
and a half walk first to Ngumbili (over Lupindu Hill which we had
climbed in our explorations the day previously). As arranged we met
here our local guide, Winifred from Ngumbili village, who it turned
out knew the area very well, as he kept some goats here on the
hillside, which to the surprise of Peter where not shepherded by left
entirely to themselves. And Winifred impressed us at one point when we
passed them by calling some of them to him, from across the hillside.
The main summit of this mountain arises spectacularly like a hammer
head above the surrounding area, and this was part of the attraction
of climbing it for us. To get to it, it is necessary to walk around to
the far side where the slopes are sufficiently inclined to scale. It
is a spectacular walk around the back of three pyramidal lower peaks
called Ngollo which we passed behind, at one point we had a steep
ascent over some rocks, but otherwise we were on on good mountain
paths until the final stretch to the summit, where we made our way to
the top over grass and alpine vegetation which a good number of
flowers.
The summit affords an excellent viewpoint over to the plateau-like
hills nearby and a taller peak to the north (which intrigued us to
climb) called Kilambo back along the Livingston Range. We could also
look inland to Lusake village set in the flat valley behind the range,
which is the district capital of the area, as our friend was pointing
out several times to us.
We returne by a somewhat different route, following this time an
adjacent ridge to that which we had come up, finding here more uncut
forest, which made for very pleasant walking for a strech.

Mbongo Peak 17.8.17

We had now travelled by boat to Mbamba, further south on the lake, and
alas had come now almost to the end of the fascinating Livingstone
mountains, whilst the mountains here were lower and really more
classifiable as hills. Though from Mbamba across the bay and the
Ruhuhu River still appears one distinct peak higher than the
neighbouring lhills, and though it does not appear to high, by the
time we had climbed it, and made our way through some fairly dense
vegetation, with some steep and very loose gravelly surface which
needed great care to keep a footing we had decided his could
definately be categorised as a mountain.

From Mamba village we walked along the beack to Mbongo village at the
foot of the mountain, behind which we found some small paths which led
up through the forest, though not as far as the summit itself, so we
had to find our own way up through the trees.
It was very pleasant sitting on the top, where there are a few rock
patches, looking out over quite a large amount of forest below –
basking in yellows and greens, , there was certainly a sense of
elevation over the surrounding area. We could also see over to Malawi
now on the far side of the Lake, with the nearer promontory of
Chilumba appearing through the haze, and some peaks of a higher range
of mountains just discernable through the haze to the south.
For our descent we decided to make a more direct route down to Mbongo,
and we gained our share of exercise in this, as we did not find any
paths this way, so we were mostly having to make our way over the
steep gravel. We descended the final part by way of the stream bed,
which proved a pleasant and efficient route over the rocks. At one
point here we encountered a very large python, which we watched as it
slid very slowly aware, climbing up the slope.

The mountain was covered in light forest which still retained its leaves here.

RUVUMA REGION

Lituhi Hill 18.8.17

This is a small hill on the lakeside near Lituihi village. It is
easily climbed by small paths from behind the village leading to the
school. It made a pleasant walk here for us, the hill is well utilised
by the local people notably for making charcoal, of which we saw some
in progress and met several locals working up there.
There is no very distinct top, but we found what we concluded was the
highest point, and proceeded a little beyond to a viewpoint where we
had a good view of the line of hills which the people here called the
Songea Mountain, deciding thence that we must find a way to climb at
least one of them.

Nansoya 19.8.17

This is only a relatively small mountain, set in a landscape now of
quite a number of hills, but not so much distinct mountain. But we
classified this as a mountain, because first it was the highest peak,
as we were told in the Ruvuma REgion, and also when we arrived there,
quite early in the morning we were greeted with a cold wind blowing
and were surrounded by cloud so as we set there, trying to keep warm
in the long grass we gained only a view that this felt like a real
mountain.
There is a communication mast on the top. and whilst we were there,
just about to depart we encountered another man here, Daniel, who was
the askari for the mast. He had, it turned out, followed us up to the
summit, having noted us passing on the piiki-piki which we had taken
from Litungu where we had been dropped from the bus earlier.
So he accompanied us down the mountain, leading us partly by a short
cut through a pleasant patch of fgrassy native forest, rather thanall
the way on the track we had take up, past some rough cultivation and
coffee plantation.

Mbamba Bay hill 21.8.17

This is a prominent hill which lies to the south of Mbamba Bay,
gracing the coastline. It jis covered still in native forest with many
giant boulders between covering the whole slopes and just invited to
be climbed. We found a good path leading up from behind the village,
through the very pleasant woodland to the summit area where there are
a number of large boulders which it is possible to climb up onto to
gain a view beyond the trees. We were interested particularly to look
south to see what lay beyond, and catch some glimpses of neighbouring
Mozambique, which we were able to do. We also found a quite
spectacular perch on a rock overlooking the rocky coast below and an
island beyond, with a spectacular 180 degree view over the sea here,
watching the canoes and boats of the fishermen passing below.
The highest rock in act has a small cairn of flat rocks placed upon
it. But that we determined must have been scaled by someone a great
deal more daring and agile than us, for it is steep bounder to climb.

After, still feeling a little that we had not walked far enough, we
descended to a lower peak which we could see overlooking the next bay.
We thought maybe to proceed back along the coast from here, but this
proved not a feasible option, as the vegetation on the lower slope was
mostly of very tall grasses, and very slow and difficult to negotiate.
So it proved much better to climb back up to the forest, where it was
not hard to make our way through the trees, and return to the
descending path.

Tumbie Hill 23.8.17

This is really definitely a hill rather than a mountain, and takes
maybe only 20 minutes to scale from this foot to the summit. It lies
on the northern end of Mbamba bay, opposite the more prominent Mbamba
Bay hill, the summit is graced with several large boulders, and it is
also covered in trees, so all the same it is rather a beautiful hill
to contemplate from the Bio Camp on the beach below it.

We ascended in fact from behind Ndelene village, finding small paths
leading part way up, then we proceeded up through the trees and then
made our way through the long grass and boulders to a perch on one of
the summit boulders. There were two disadvantages here, first a great
number of midges or sandflies which lurked in the vegetation here – in
fact we could see from the summit clouds of them over the sea, which
appeared like smoke. We had been quite confused as to what we had been
seeing at first, until we were told by a man on the beach later what
it was. The other discomfort here was some hairy stemmed plant
whichwas quite painful when the hairs got stuck in the skin. But
otherwise it was a very beautiful place, and we decided to descend to
a small rocky cove beyond where we sat on the rocks for quite a while
and swam in the clear water, before we returned partly by the rocky
coast, then over the crest back this time to descend to the biocamp,
and proceed along the beack back to Mbamba Bay.

Tanzania II – Katesh – Tanga

Manyara REGION

From Katesh

20 Kigeda

Barbaic name, Also called Antenna Hill

Persons Sam and Peter.
Climbed from Yuno Domo village near Katesh.

This rather inauspicious hill on the outskirts of Katesh, near to a village called Yuno Domo, where we met and were talking to some young people from the school there, rather interested to meet white person. We decided to climb it, on a very wet and cool afternoon, after exploring for the start of the way up to the great neighbouring peak of Hannan. It is just a short hike up through light bush to the summit, where there are several communication antenna. Amongst the bushes at the top we found a local man praying, suggesting perhaps this was a common place for the local people to walk.
And our small hill proved infact an excellend viewpoint, such that, looking out over the cultivated plains to the southwest, it really felt like we were viewing a not insubstantial corner of Tanzania, albeit remembering this is a big country. These were in fact the only views we had from our stay there, for the following day’s climb we made to Hannan the landscape was totally enshrouded,
We looked down over many small hills surrounding Katesh, including two we had been given names for by three girlst from the school, one being Bangua (or Gawali) and another called Labae hills.

21. Hanang Barbaic name. Persons Peter and Sam.

It was a somewhat muddy walk from Katesh village along the tracks to the start of the path, due to rain all the previous night, such that great clods of earth soon accumulated on our shoes. But eventually we reached the Tanzania Forest Service signpost which marks the start of the path up the mountain, just past a house where the lady there told us a party had just passed in front of us, climbing the mountain. A pleasant path then led us through woodland. Then after a while we met a local guide employed by the Forest Service who had come down due to an injury from the upper party, leaving another two guides with them.
After some short climb we were out of the bush into more open country with long grass, and some interesting alpine vegetation – so now it felt we were really on a mountain, though we could see nothing because the mountain that day remained totally enshrouded in thick mist. But the path was good, so there was no worry to proceed. After some time we met another guide bringing down some young people from the forward party who had decided not to continue on. And not so much further we met the bulk of thier party, an American man working in the local hospital and his son, who were resting also about to descend.
Unperturbed by the ‘dire tales’ from these guides as to the steepness of the path ahead, we continued on our excellent path, and were soon passing some open areas where tourist sometimes camped up on the mountain (for I presume a dawn viewing from the summit). We were told we would know we were on the summit when we reached some painted rocks, which we passed, continuing on some way along the path which follows (we supposed) the ridge of the crater edge, and which leads right across the mountain top to another village.
But weather did not permit us to gain much of a view, only of the looking small summits ahead of us, and it was very cold. So we made a very rapid descent, passing on route the Americans and thier guide before we reached the forest, being rewarded lower down by a few tantalising but magnificent glimpses in the lower regions where the mist cleared a little around us, to see the beautiful forest clade slopes (home to many baboons) of some of the fissures and crest od which this mountain is composed.

22 Quarah (Babati Mountain). Iraqui name, after a snmall tribe, now extinct which has since merged with the Iraqui people living here.
Persons Sam, Peter and Emmanuel.
On the first day Peter had recruited a local man, an askari working at the guesthouse in Babati managed by his friend. We walked with him up the road towards the mountain, to the end of it, which was a place called Mrana Juu (Juu meaning summit). Then we took a track behind some houses, to emerge at a Forest Service path, along which were some signboards identifying some important trees, including the Mountain Acacia which we saw many of on the ascent. There seem to be a bit of confusion as to what was meant by the ‘summit’ of our peak. And as the bulk of the mountain above us was mostly enshrouded in cloud, there was no evidence of it, though it was clearly there. And our guide led us to a small local viewpoint, which people clearly came to, from where you could see down through the trees to Babati town below, the lake behind, and the small hills, two of which we had identified as Mount Sinai, and another called Miomboni, to the west of the lake, named after a yellow-barked acacia,

The following day, Peter and I decided to proceed up this route again, exploring further along the path beyond the viewpoint we had reached the previous day. A small path led onwards through the forest for some way, gradually petering out, after which we continued up some further by our own route (leaving marks to secure our return). coming at length to a small summit where were growing some magnificent tall rainforest trees which I was very happy to see – for sure it was a wild place where no person maybe ever went. The mist was still enshrouding beyond, and we clearly determined there was no path continuing to the summit from there so we descended by the same route.

On better information we discovered later that a route to the summit existed from Gallapo village, on the opposite side of the mountain, so after climbing Hannan we proceeded there. Here Peter got talking to people and found us a local man who knew the forest paths to take us to the summit. We duly met him the following morning, his name was Quaru, another younger man accompanying him called Bwai, who came from Engaranaro village where we set off along small paths, first through light bush, and then we began climbing up a steeper open slope, resting on a rock there, which provided the only real views we got from the mountain, in the corner to the north we identified our familliar friends Sangawe, Vilima vitatum, Makuyuni, and also hills in the Tarangine National Park. Down below were other smaller peaks in the plain of the Rift Valley, some of which we named, and others we puzzled over.

From this point on we were in the tall rainforest, which in places had been partially cleared, but still retained a good base of ground vegetation, following small paths, which had clearly been used by local people for collecting bush honey and medicianl plants, and also for hunting. though we gathered only the experienced ventured here, and there was a strong memory of some people having been lost in here fro three days. We were given also another name for this peak which means ‘dark place’, due to the forest cover, and the formidability of our being there.
We crossed several streams and proceeded traversing somewhat to the right, to a place where the vegetaion became quite thick, at which point our two guides began to dissent, and desired to turn back. However we managed to persuade them to continue on at least a little, and it proved by happy chance that we soon gained a clearer path, which seemed to be following a crater ridge, which rose less steeply until we came finally to the summit crater which we partially encircled and then went inside, resting there in the long grass to share our lunch, in the place frequented by elephants, as had left evidence in thier dung.
Fauna also included a close encounter with a bush buck, its brown head and ear poking above the vegetation for a while observing us.
So anyway Peter was very pleased, after our two failed attempts to finally reach the summit of this challenging mountain.

DODOMA REGION

23 Kingasi Mountain, Irangi name meaning ‘grass for the roof’

Persons Peter and Sam
We have now travelled south into the Kongoa Mountains, which form a broken escarpment, rising up from the Rift valley, and I had identified from Google Maps a more distinct peak to the north.
On passing this in the matatu we find a magnificent sight of a five tiered rocky pillar looming over the forest. And the next day we return to Majengo village, from where we take a piki-piki, through Kingasi village, along some paths towards the base. We are dropped off at the edge of the cultivated land and begin our walk up through some really pleasant dry woodland, with leafy trees, and many rocks, making a picturesque scenery, and a feeling of somewhere quite different from the wet rainforest places we had since been in.,
At length we reached the plateau, which is grazed and also cultivated, with many people living here. And from a summit there we looked down on the villages below, one of which we knew was called Bongo.
It was too enticing not to continue along, so we proceeded along the ridge, first to a taller summit, where we gained really excelled view in every direction, becoming aware how this peak is somewhat higher than everything around it. We were able to see back to Babati Mountain and Hannan, and south to directions and ranges we had so far never looked in, and other peaks in the Dodoma region, as yet unknown to us.
The tallest summit we were able to scale too, following tracks and paths passing some high level cultivation, which had not so long before been acquired from the rainforest, with some big burnt stumps still remaining. The very top of the mountain however is still rainforest, with some remarkable huge figs with convoluted windings of the trucks. It is, we found out, a sacred place in the area for the people, which is well visited. And indeed from the top we could hear some drumming and singing from some praying activity, but we did not go along to investigate.
We found a more direct way to descent, again through the dry forest, til we reached the lower land, walking back to Majengo passing some amazing boabab trees of huge size, with amazing patterns of bark.

24 Olo Sukut
Masai name meaning salt springs. It is also called Mzungu mountain, due to an aircraft having once crashed nearby.

Persons Sam, Peter and Odupoi, a boy who came with us to the summit to tell us some names, who was grazing goats there, who came from a vaillage called Engireni at the foot of the hill.

This is just a small hill which we spotted from Kiteto town, one of a number of wooded peaks in the vicinity, which we decided to climb in a window of slightly less wet weather, as had prevailed all the day
From Kiteto town we took the road towards the hill from near the bus statuion, then found a track and small (grazing) paths leading through the bush to a rocky outcrop and then to the summit itself. From the forther gaining view to some of the peaks to the south, quite a number of which our friend named for us, including Masacca Sacca (which means place people look for fruits), Ol Donyo Noyke – red rocks mountain, Ropusi Soito – blue rocks, Oronga Hogi – after a prickly tree, and to the east over the place Lolololuni – hill of small holes, Ol Doroko, after a tree for making ropes, Oloro benek – after the black leaves of a tree. Nearby, clad in forest were the shales of Olo Pongori, meaning crooked hill, and Or Geha meaning crater.
To the south Ole Kelai, after the name of an ancestor, Kali kali – long ridge, and Il Toroba, after a tribe of bushmen living there
Loingati – wildebeast mountain.
The rain was all the time looming, with deep grey forboding clouds, and our views were soon obscured as the rain proceeded again for our descent. Nonetheless in such weather, despite its proximity to the town this hill still retains a sense of wildness, particularly from its eastern side, which looks over other forested hills.

MANYARA REGION II

25 Kotete Mountain

This is a small hill which we had spotted from Naberera village, and decided to visit on the afternoon we arrived so as to gain a perspective over the surrounding area.
We were taken to the base by Michael, a piki-piki driver, who also climbed up to the summit with us, which involved a short rock scramble on the ascent. And certainly it proved an excelled viewpoint for the nearer hills, clockwiise to one called Ndovo Turk Elephant Tusk hill, with a distinct protruding rock, and another more distant called Le,elope, (a Masai name meaning place without water, Soitonade, meaning red rocks, a pimply peak called Lorbene (meaning cow-skin bag) and round south to the more distant distinct double pyramid of Lendanae (Swahili name), which we knew of but had not previously identified.
And in the very far distance we could see the area we had just come from, with Mount Robo, and another called Kirasi near to Olo Sukat. The plains beyond dotted in trees.

26 Rohianna /Lorkimaita

Masai neame means womans belt, which refers to the whole mountain. Lorkimaita is the name of the main summit peak which is after an ancestor.

We had spotted this moutain from Nabaera village on our arrival the previous day, and been inspired by its rocky surface and the most characterful and challenging of the peaks in the immediate area. With a huge boulder summit which looked maybe impossible to scale.
We set off from Naberera in the morning, walking along tracks after and hour and a half arriving at the village of Kananbo near the base. Here we spoke to some people living in the bomas, and recruited a young boy to show us the way to the path. Though he did not go far with us, expressing a wish to go back after not too far. We proceed on around the foot to the valley between the high summit, and the western summit, first on a path, then making our way by goat tracks (not much used just now in this season, as there is not grazing here just now) to arrive at the base of the great rock which forms the summit. After some exploration we decided it was not possible to scale it safely from this side, so we dropped down to the left and went round the other side finding a small cleared area where people were grazing animals. From here we spotted a possible route up the southern side, and managed by this way to scale the summit to the plateau rock. This proved again a really excellent viewpoint to the surrounding area particularly in the clear weather prevailing that day. To the north we could see Lolkisale, and beyond to Makuyuni, Or Porko, Mount Mero, KLongido peeking out behind and Kilimanjaro. To the east, beyond the peaks we had identified the day before we could now see the Usangi mountains, where we hoped to continue our journey later.
This moutain seemed very special, partly because there was a sense that it was not too often visited. And though it is not so great a size the ascent is something of a challenge. It is also a place of animals – we saw ourselves a good number of clipspringer about the top, and many mongoose burrows. On the return we found we were being observed by serveral rock hyrax living in a rock cave, from thier rocky perch which was striped white by the accumulation of thier droppings. We also saw footprints of hyena in th path near the village, and many birds, which Peter identified for me, inclugding the call of the morning call thrush, many starlings with thier distinct orange wings and blue back, a barbet with a black and yellow-green speckled back and a flash of orange, an several buffalo weaver, mostly white with a black stripe on its head. There were many weaver birds nests too, often neatly hanging from the trees, as if on strings. Today also there were dung beetles busy on the path, rolling perfectly-constucted balls, back to thier burrows, tro provide nests for thier young.
We descended by much the same route, coming round again to the foot, to wonder again at the amazing rocky summit, which it had seemed impossible to climb from below – amazed indeed that we had actually been there.

ARUSHA REGION II

28 Lolkisale
Masai name after a clan called Sali. Persons, Sam, Peter, Olais from Engosipa village.

This modest sized mountain, standing out on the rift valley plain was one we had been contemplating for many weeks already, and speculating over whether we could see it. It was only when we got to Nabarera that we finally decided we had correctly identified it.
The previous evening we had approached the mountain from the western side, towards Lolkisale village, and been impressed with the rocky nature of it, and distinctive outcrops, interspersed amongst the good covering of bush, lending character it was not possible to discern from afar.
We had been invited to stay at Engosipa village, where we camped beside a house of the boma, and our host offered to take us up the mountain the following day. As there are signals on the top, there is actually a well-made track up the mountain, but we ascended by smaller paths through the vegetation and low bush. The day was misty, so there was no view from the summit when we arrived, but we talked to the three men who lived there looking after the communication masks, who it appeared were mostly complaining about the small amount they were paid.
We descended by the main track, gaining at last some views, north to the northern peaks of Or Porco and other hills, And west to our friend Vilima Vitatu and Lake Manyara.
We could also look out at small peaks we had seen from the foot of Babati, and down to a mini Lolkisale, also harbouring a commumication mask, and forested nestled at its western foot.
Intriging in the distance was another Ol Donyo Sambu, meaining white mountain – the third so far identified by us, which we speculated about travelling to, but were somewhat put off by the gloomy weather.

29 Monduli (North Side)
Masai name meaning rainy mountain. Can also be called Lashainy which means drizzle.
Persons Sam, Peter, Jonas, a ranger from the TFS who accompanied us from the TFS office in Monduli Juu.

This big mountain had so far been something of an enigma, as it was generally enshouded by cloud or appearing only as a shape in the hazy distance. And we did not actually see it from the Southern side until after we had decended when we returned to Monduli village, then gaining a perspective on the several summit peaks and forest clad slopes. But the northern side harbours less forest, just on the upper summits, though still as we found retaining a considerable area for wildlife to keep its presence, as we discovered. This was maybe one of the special things about going there, seeing the evidence of the animals, which included the holes made by elephant tusks in some dry mud, droppings of buffalo, and flattened grass where they had lain, finding too a quill of a porcupine , and eating our lunch on the eastern summit an area which elephants clearly enjoyed to be too. Though there was no view from here due to the trees. We had earlier been shown the small crater lake between the two eastern summits, at that point enshrouded in mist, which contained geothermally heated water, which felt tepid to touch.
We had hoped to ascend the higher summit to the west, and our guide had valiantly set out through the thick vegettion to forge for us a way there, for as he explained, most people he brought up the moutain only came as far as the crater, and it was rare for anybody to trequest to visit the summit. So that any path that had been made previously had been oblitered. But we abandoned the attempt, due to the number of nettled there, some of the giant variety, and Peter was wearing only shorts. So it would have been more feasible in the dry season when the vegetation, now at its greenest and lushest, had died back a bit.
We learnt also the names of quite a number of plants there on the way down from our guide, including the lons paw flower, the black-eyed Susan, the large white lilly, wild marijana, Dracome with its grass-like spines, and bush tobacco.
And thus we returned, back along the track, to reach again the farmland, below the line of posts set there by the TFS, with the maize and barley and beans was grown on the lower mountain slopes.

KILIMANJARO region

30 Sahara Hill
Local name meaning desert

Persons Sam, Peter, Shabani and Simon, two boys from engara Nairobi village.

We decided to visit this area at the western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in order to explore some of the small hills at the foot of this famous looming peak, which as yet we had not had a glimpse of. So after we had settled ourselves in Engara Nairobi village, which means in Swahili, Cold water, as attested by the perennial stream running beside it which runs off Mount Kilimanjaro neaby, we set off towards a fairly bare but well shaped hill, meeting first two boys who we recruited to accomapny us at tell us some things about the place. The area surrounding the foot is extensively farned, primarily with potatoes, then in purple flower, also with some barley and beans. On route we found also small patches of whistl acacia, along with the yellow-barked variety. It was a gentle and pleasant walk to the summit, from where we could look back on our familiar friends Longido, with Orok appearing behind, with Kerimasi, Gelai, Mundarar hills appearing beside Mount Meru. Nearer at hand the boys identified for us other small hills, including Manyara hill (named after a plant) Ndara(Masai name after a tree that is used to make brushes to clean calabashes), Serengeti Hill, and behind towards Kilimanjaro, the base only of which we could see, a collpsed crater hill called Kilimahewa, Swahibli name meaning windy hill, forested in part, and also with plantations, which I was suprprised to see. For these were pine trees.
To the southwest we could also see Magadhi Lake, presumably where the fish came from which we had seen for sale in the village, and Peter pointed out two cottages neat to Endaraquoi Hill, on the resort here run by an Englishman who lived in the area.
Despite the open nature of the route we had taken, which was very pleasant and tidy place to been, with a good sense of fresh air. There was, in the forested plains beyond, as the boys pointed out to us, quite a lot of wildlife living. They indeed pointed out some dust in a clearing in the distance which they explained was made by elephants moving about there.

ARUSHA REGION III

31 Esi Lalae and La Silwa

Esi Lalae – Masai name, meaning gum tree. Lo Silwa – Masai name meaning place of eland.

27.5.17

In the morning we took a three-wheeler tut-tut from Mto Wambu, which drove us across country to the foot of Lo Silwa hill, near to a small hill called Na Donyek (which means red-eye hill), the former which forms an outlier to the taller Esi Lalae mountain behind. We climb up over successive rounded hills, the ground here quite dry covered in thick savanna grass with open forest of low trees (many different species of acacias might be found here),and with the yellows and pale greens and the glowing sunlight it was very pleasant going. There were also many types of small orange flower here, surely worthy of botanical study (should one have a book). We saw several clipspringer in the grassland lower down and one bush-buck identified by Peter. Then as we were climbing up a higher slope we heard behind us the heavy footfalls of a group of animals, and looking back we saw a herd of eland crossing the hill behind us. More and more came, coming over from the valley below up to the mountain, and later when we sat upon the summit we could see many of them in the distance, not in the least disturbed or apparently noticing us at all. We were not in fact on the highest summit, which is perhaps a more popular walk, but on the slightly lower eastern summit, which possessed perhaps a certain sense of isolation and pleasant serenity. From the summit, which is more or less bare of trees we had excellent views south to our familiar friends, Lolkisale and the hills nearby towards the mini-pyramid of ol donyo sambu. Both Babati mountain and Hanang were also clear, and we could look down the rift valley as far as the Kingasi mountain.To the west, above Lake Manyara the distinctive shape of Basoda Ouish could be seen, and further north we had excellent views to the Ngongororo crater.
Hence it proved a very pleasant climb that day in the sunny weather, (specially appreciated after so much rainy-season rain we have been experiencing elsewhere), and quite a long day after we had walked back to Mto Wambu the extra two and a half hours across the plains for the return, seeing there many interesting birds in the bush. A total walk of about 9 hours.

28.5.17

Losimingor

Masai name after a small beetle
Persons Sam and Peter.

We took the three-wheeler with the samedriver as the day previous to the same place as the day before, this time walking behind Na Donyek hill and across the flat valley area to the foot of one of the ridges of Losimingor mountain which we had identified as clear of vegetation the day before. It proved a good choice, and an efficient route up, with only some scrambling over rocky gassy ground and light bush – the very best kind of ridge walking. There were paths lower down made by animals, though it was quite grassy higher, and towards the summit, as we were getting more tired the herbaceous vegetation became thicker still with some patches of very tall elephant grass.
We did not see so many animals, as the day before, though there was good evidence of their presence in some fresh dung, and places where the grass had been flattened, and a general sense of animals being here. But other parts of this mountain are quite well forested, it is made up of several ridges, some of which drop down quite steeply to form impressive rocky canyons, steeply covered in forests, places where it seemed people would never venture. Only at the base were signs of people, with some signs of bicycle tracks, and the sound of someone cutting wood – and we were told too that people come here to collect wood, in the taller (and in fact very photogenic forest which resides at the base.
This mountain was a particularly photogenic place I found, with the long grass and trees in places, and many colours which a sketch could not do justice to.
Certainly this mountain has a different character than its more rounded neighbour Esi Lelai, all the same the route we took up did not seem formidable. But we did not venture to attempt to walk along the summit ridge, which was forested for the most part, and we were content just to look at it.

33 La Porco

29.5.17
Masai name, after a clan of that name.

Persons: Sam, Peter and Daoudi Ndari, a Masai from Engarogi village.

This modest sized mountain I had been looking at for some time on google maps, as intriguing by its neat shape and relative isolation from the neighboring hills, and I had long been thinking of climbing it. From Nanya junction on the main road (which was having its market day that day) we took a piki-piki (actually two, as they insisted) over some low hills on tracks to the foot of the mountain, where there is a small village called Engarogi. We were dropped off just before the village itself, and on alighting we met a group of four young men from the village who immediately began questioning us about our intention. Meantime I had begun to draw the mountain, which I had immediately recognised as very beautiful, with its grass and bushy lowerpart, and the upper portion still covered in forest.
Anyway, after quite a lot of talking between Peter and the Masai there, the chief of the village was called, and he arrived in a large car with some other elders. But anyway it started to look hopeful when we were escorted by an older man to the village itself, and soon we found ourselves being welcomed in to the garden of the well-appointed house of the chief himself, where we sat, some ten of us in the party on chairs made of wood and cow hide. A lady in a more modest house nearby then brought a bucket full of yoghourt, which was delivered out by two of the older men (with somerelish on thier part it seemed to be eating it). Which turned out to be a well-known Masai dish, as it contained also peices of maize in the bottom of the cup.
Having partaken on this hospitablity, there was some negotiation with the chief as to how much we must pay for a local guide to take us up the hill – he being a man it seemed who was well versed in business, and we found out later that he lived also in Arusha and had a business dealing in gem stones.
Our guide was a young and fit masai man, who was clearly happy to take us up the hill, wearing the traditional masai sandals made of peices of motorcycle tyre, with someexpertise.
It was not a difficult climb up, as the mountain is not too big, which was fortunate as it was already afternoon before we had got started. It was also fortuitous that people did venture up to the summit here, through the forest which was of the moss-lichen zone, so not overly tall trees, with the sunlight filtering through to us there, and some viewsdown to other parts of the mountain appearingthrough the trees, so it was very pleasant being up there. The forest paths were mostly muddy, made primarily by warthogs it seemed, with much sign of buffalo too in the droppings andflat areas where they rested. On the way up in the vegetation there was quite alotof wild marijuana, and in the forest a good number ofnettles which had to be avoided. Wereached the higher summit,and continued on beyond along the narrow ridges that form the bulk of the mountain, gaining more of a perspective ofthis very beautiful mountain which is well forested on all its slopes.
There were views too, a slightly different perspective on our familiar friends Kerimasi, Ketumbeine and Gelai than we had seen higherto, and goodviews over to Monduli, the size of which could really be appreciated from here. The plains below and footslopes of Monduli were particularly picturesque just now as much of the land is covered in yellow flowers, coming along with the green.
It really was a wonderful place for taking photographs that day.

KILIMANJARO REGION II

34 Shana Hill and Pari Mountain (exploration)

23-24/5/17

35 Kindoroko 1.6.17

A Pari name after a plant.

Persons: Sam,Peter and Ernest,a motorbike mechanic from Kwakoa village.

This mountain which we had spotted fromKwakoa village, and is formed of a series of hump-backed peaks on either side of a valley, culminating in a smaller forest-clad peak, which intriged due to its natural nature set in the otherwise quite well utilised area.
The walk up proved somewhat idyllic,first along the valley with the sound of the running stream nearby. With many mangoe trees growing here lushly (though notin fruit in this season). There weremany different kinds of butterfly here, including a most unusual one of colours purple and orange, and a larger black and white emperor. After some time we began climbing on steeper paths to reach the cultivated higher area where many people were living. There were a great many bananas growing here.

KILIMANJARO REGION II

North Pari Mountains

34 Shana Hill, and Mamba viewpoint – (exploration)

This small rocky hill lies just behind the town of Mwanga, and rather invited to be climbed, not least to obtain a view. We ended up climbing it twice, though the weather was somewhat overcast and wet, so that all but the nearby hills were mostly obscrured. Nonetheless it gave a satisfactory viewpoint from the rocky perch of the summit, such that we felt already well away from the civilisation below. On the way up we had met several local people, walking there who greeted us, and there is much grazing near the base. The vegetation is light, but sometimes prickly bush, with notably some aromatic herbs growing here, or bushes with pleasantly aromatic leaves, and many bushes with red berries. On route we saw a baby chamelion, there were also many butterfies here, and also dragonflies. There are views from here out to the plains, where, that day we were able to identify the prominenty hill with the communication mast, we found out was called Milima Voda, with the smaller Kilima Shule Migro to its right. We also saw Lake Nyumba Yamunga beyond.
On the 24th we climbed up further, making our way through the bush to the adjacent ridge, from where we had a view over the far side down to the village of Lamba, and beyond to the peak called Mount Kaili. We had hoped to climb this, by traversing around the ridge. But found the vegetation too thick, so we dropped down to Lamba village where Peter asked a man about the way up. However we were soon approached by some others, who told us we must get permission from the village office before we could climb it. Unfortinatly the chief there was no conducive to us, telling us we must first seek permission from the District Council in Mwanga. So we abandoned this, and contined walking along the road, in the hope of gaining some view of the area. We then too a matatu to Kiquene junction, from where we gained a view of Mount Kamel, (another peak we had been told about) partially enshrouded in mist, and walked a little way from there, then took a path up through a banana plantation, and then followed a track leading up towards a small hill above Mamba village containing a communication mast. On route we looked back and saw a most intriguing view to intriguing mountains further south arising from the plain. We asked a woman in a house there what they were, and she told us they were near to a place called Buttu, kindly inviting us to climb up into her garden plot so that we could gain a better view.

 

23-24/5/17

35 Kindoroko 1.6.17

A Pari name after a plant.

Persons: Sam,Peter and Ernest,a motorbike mechanic from Kwakoa village.

This mountain which we had spotted from Kwakoa village, and is formed of a series of hump-backed peaks on either side of a valley, culminating in a smaller forest-clad peak, which intriged due to its natural nature set in the otherwise quite well utilised area.
The walk up proved somewhat idyllic,first along the valley with the sound of the runningstream nearby. With many mangoe trees growing here lushly (though notin fruit in this season). There weremany different kinds of butterfly here, including a most unusual one of colours purple and orange, and a larger black and white emperor. After some time we began climbing on steeper paths to reach the cultivated higher area where many people were living. There were a great many bananas growing here.

36 Ol Donyo Moite (hill) 2.6.17

Masai name meaning crater.

Persons: Sam, Peter and Jacob Kinyamuesi, chief of Nadumoro, the masai village near to the mountain.

We had actually intended climbing the mountain called Ndea, which we had seen first from Mamba, and been told it was near Buttu. On further information we discovered it’s real name, and in the morning had taken a piki-piki from Kwakoa, where we had been staying across country to the nearby village of Nadumoro. Here we were welcomed by the chief, who Peter had already been put in contact with, as being a friend of Ernest, the motorbike mechanic we had walked with the previous day. In the village we were greeted also by several of the elders, conversing beneath a shady tree, and we were offered tea and a plate of meat, which others were partaking off at that time.
The chief meantime had explained that Ndea was not a mountain anybody climbed, and though it was grazed til part way up, you would need to cut your way up to gain the summit through the upper bush. He therefore suggested we climb the smaller hill behind the village, called Ol Donyo Moite, offering to accompany us there himself.
So the three of us set off to the foot, some half hour walk through the open acacia forest. Once there we climbed up through the bush, to gain the summit. The top itself was obscured by trees, but we dropped down a little to a rocky perch on the south side, and from there had a wonderful view down to the wooded plains of the Mikomazi National Park, and the surrounding peaks, including Motoroz (meaning place of geese), Ol Donyo Gol (hard mnountain), OD Ngurunga (inner mountain) and east over to the border with Kenya, where we could see the Foi Mountain, and Ol Donyo Wasc, and into the Tsavo National Park. Lake Jipa (half in Kenya and half in Tanzania) could also be seen from here.
Indeed, even though it is not so high, this small peak proved an excelled viewpoint, partly because it is not obscured by other mountain, being the easternmost outlier of the range,
On the walk we saw many yellow and purple butterflies, Peter also saw a mongoose, and a lesser kundi. We were also told about the elephants here, which often stray from the national park into the area around the villages.

37 Ol Donyo Didi 3.6.17

Person Sam and Peter

We were given a lift to the base by a local man called Samuel, a friend of Joseph from Naduromo, the short distance from Pangaro village (on the main road south) to the base of the second summit of the ridge. From here we climbed directly up to the ridge, then contined on up the open slope to the grassy summit of the ridge we had seen from below, which retrains a small patch of bush. The higher summit was still misted at this point, but we could see that the way ahead was quite well forested, and unlikely to be easily penetrable. So we dropped down and decided to skirt round to try to ascend up an adjacent valley, finding an overgrown path through the vegetation taking us round. Our attempt to ascend through the forest however proved unsuccessful, (apart from that we gained some perspective of the still wild and rampantly green forest remaining here) and indeed would have required more determination that we possessed. Peter then suggested we ask some of the local people – for there were houses up there, for the area by the adjacent ridge was well cultivated with maize and beans and other crops. A lady there directed us along paths towards the ridge where we found a good track leading up to the communication mast which graced the higher summit (which due to the mist we had not seen until there). We contined up here, greeting and having some conversation with some women working in the fields there, passing through the area of high forest still remaining at the summit. There was no view from there, due to the trees, which stretch down and clothe the steeper slopes to the south and west. But we had already gained some rather wonderful ‘alpine style’ view on the ascent and the traverse out over to the blue-tinged mountains surrounding the small valley plain behind Pangaro village, which we had travelled through the day previous. From the first summit, on the return, we also gained our ‘prize’ views back over the plains to our erstwhile friend, the twin pyramidal peaks of Lendanae, looming surprisingly close (it seemed) from here. I was very happy to have climbed this mountain, which preserves rather different facets, for though it is cultivated and inhabited high up on the eastern side, on the west, as seen from the road it looms up, with its several jagged ridges dropping down in spectacular forested cliffs, retaining thus its wilder aspect.

South Pari Mountains

38 Mtwangwa Sangu (Hill) 4.6.17

Persoms Peter and Sam

This is one of several small hills that can easily be ascended from Same town, and it proved a very accessible and pleasant place for a short walk on the Sunday afternoon. We walked first past the busy market, which was going strong that day – Sunday being market day in this town. and found a good path leading up towards and past the communication mast which graces the lower part of the hill, all too soon gaining the summit, where we gained our views, over to the surrounding mountains, of which we gained some names after two young boys appeared (they lived in the village below and were looking for two stray cattle that wandered). It was one of them, with a bit of throught, told us the name of the mountain. From here we looked south to the larger hills of Chogoboro (meaning baor mountain) and North to the forested slopes of Same Mountain. We could also see back into the Miko Mazi National Park, lending a different perspective to that we had gained from OD Moite.
In character this is a rather beautiful mountain, as the surface is well specked with large boulders, in between is growing a healthy mixture of different types of vegetation, in different colours of green, with some tall darker tree cactus, and the paler long grasses, between other kinds of bushes and trees. As we walked we saw many small scarlet red flowers in the vegetation, being the predominante colour of the flowers in that place.

29 Chambogo Mountain 5.6.17

Persons: Peter, Sam amd Ernest Kazoku from Samesafari tours, for part of the ascent, who we had met in the town earlier that morning.

As we could see from below, this mountain through grazed on some of the lower ridges still retains its forest cover in the higher summit area, and most people we spoke to in the town through that it was not possible to gain the summit, though we were also told it might be possible from a village called Mwenga at the other side of the mountain. However in the morning, as we were debating about transport, Peter got talking to Kazoku, a local man running a tour company who was able to give us quite a lot of information about the local peaks, including Rune across the plain, . He was game also to accompany us, and try to ascend from the Same (south side), so we set off with him.
It was about an hours walk to the base, after which we in due course found a good path leading up the grazed area of the slope, which had been cut into a grove by people dragging wood – for much wood is being taken out from the higher forest (it seems ilegally) by the local people just then. Indeed we passed a large group of women carrying down bundles of long branches on thier heads. And when we reached the forest we heard the sound of wood cutting, and Peter spoke to the people there, who told us it may be possible to reach the summit, but there was no path.
Meantime our (busy) friend Kazoku had left us, as he was due to meet a client from America at Arusha airport that evening, so we contined without his company for the ascent up through the forest, which was not too difficult, as the ground was fairly dry and there was not too much ground vegetation. People had been there too, making small paths, particularly in the lower section where we found several heaps ready prepared for charcoal burning, and one that was already smoking away.
It was very pleasant forest up there, and enjoyable walking, and with a bit of persistance we finally gained the summit area, and sat there to eat our lunch, enjoying the greenery (albeit without any view), soon to be visited by a curious bush-buck which came quite near, but was soon frightened away after I had greeted it. We also saw many butterfles that day, on route through the open area, many white and yellow, amongst others, at one point I disturbed a whole raft of them resting upon a rocky and was for a while surrounded by theie fluttering shapes.
We were very happy to have reached the summit of this mountain, being, as it were something of an unknown, as to wether it was possible.

North Pare Mountains

30 Same Mountain (South summit) 6.6.17

Named after the adjacent town

Persons Sam, Peter, Joseph Mnjokave, a friend and colleage of Kazoku who had accompaned us the previous day, who generally worked in Dar-es-Salaam as a singer and composer.

This mountain we were told (by the director of the Elephant Motel which we had been welcomed to visit by Kazoku the day previously) was much more interesting to climb that its neighbour Chambogo. And certainly this hill is rugged, and well covered in bush a[art from the lower part of the southern ridge, so the possibility of climbing it seemed a great privildge. And we would not have considered it feasible but that Kazoko (who told us that he had been up there himself more than once) had offered to find us a local man to accompany us. Though as it turned out, the usual guide was not initially contactable, so we found ourselves with another man, who had not been up there himself either. But in the event he turned out most also interested to make the effort to climb it, and proved very good company in our explorations.

From Same town we walked along the road towards the southern ridge, and from the base we ascended by a good path through the grazed area. Once however we gained the forest the path terminated and we had to make our own way up through the trees. Some parts were a little thick, and in small clearings the ground vegetation was thicker. It took some persistence and conviction, but the whole party was behind the attempt, so we pressed on until at some length we came to the first summit. From here we found ourslelves., in thicker forest now upon a ridge, from where we began to gain views to the left side spectacularly down to the town below. The forest also became wetter here, with taller trees, now we had gained the height of ‘true’ rainforest. Whilst lower the ground had been quite dry. It was something of a relief in fact to gain this perspective, for having traversed through the forest for some hours, we now found ourselves within sight and earshot of the familiar town down below (home of Joseph, who was quite excited now to have succeeded so unexpectedly in sourmouting the feat of climbing his local mountain). The summit itself is also spectacular, being perched on a tall rock butresss. From here you gain a good view over the the (higher) northern summit, completely forest clad, which it may have been possible to reach via this ridge, but needed a lot more time that we had available to us.
We saw some signs of animals in the forest, and at several point smelt the musty odour of animals about us. Joseph pointed out to us at one point the small droppings of a suni (deer); on the ascent he too had had a close encounter with a red duka. As we are walking back along the base, we pass a small flock of comely birds which Peter tells me were white browed sparrow weavers.
So we were very happy to have gained the summit of this seldom climbed mountain, which when we looked back to it later from the town might wonder ‘was I really up there’

KILIMANJARO REGION II

North Pari Mountains

34 Shana Hill, and Mamba viewpoint – (exploration)

This small rocky hill lies just behind the town of Mwanga, and rather invited to be climbed, not least to obtain a view. We ended up climbing it twice, though the weather was somewhat overcast and wet, so that all but the nearby hills were mostly obscrured. Nonetheless it gave a satisfactory viewpoint from the rocky perch of the summit, such that we felt already well away from the civilisation below. On the way up we had met several local people, walking there who greeted us, and there is much grazing near the base. The vegetation is light, but sometimes prickly bush, with notably some aromatic herbs growing here, or bushes with pleasantly aromatic leaves, and many bushes with red berries. On route we saw a baby chamelion, there were also many butterfies here, and also dragonflies. There are views from here out to the plains, where, that day we were able to identify the prominenty hill with the communication mast, we found out was called Milima Voda, with the smaller Kilima Shule Migro to its right. We also saw Lake Nyumba Yamunga beyond.
On the 24th we climbed up further, making our way through the bush to the adjacent ridge, from where we had a view over the far side down to the village of Lamba, and beyond to the peak called Mount Kaili. We had hoped to climb this, by traversing around the ridge. But found the vegetation too thick, so we dropped down to Lamba village where Peter asked a man about the way up. However we were soon approached by some others, who told us we must get permission from the village office before we could climb it. Unfortinatly the chief there was no conducive to us, telling us we must first seek permission from the District Council in Mwanga. So we abandoned this, and contined walking along the road, in the hope of gaining some view of the area. We then too a matatu to Kiquene junction, from where we gained a view of Mount Kamel, (another peak we had been told about) partially enshrouded in mist, and walked a little way from there, then took a path up through a banana plantation, and then followed a track leading up towards a small hill above Mamba village containing a communication mast. On route we looked back and saw a most intriguing view to intriguing mountains further south arising from the plain. We asked a woman in a house there what they were, and she told us they were near to a place called Buttu, kindly inviting us to climb up into her garden plot so that we could gain a better view.

 

23-24/5/17

35 Kindoroko 1.6.17

A Pari name after a plant.

Persons: Sam,Peter and Ernest,a motorbike mechanic from Kwakoa village.

This mountain which we had spotted from Kwakoa village, and is formed of a series of hump-backed peaks on either side of a valley, culminating in a smaller forest-clad peak, which intriged due to its natural nature set in the otherwise quite well utilised area.
The walk up proved somewhat idyllic,first along the valley with the sound of the runningstream nearby. With many mangoe trees growing here lushly (though notin fruit in this season). There weremany different kinds of butterfly here, including a most unusual one of colours purple and orange, and a larger black and white emperor. After some time we began climbing on steeper paths to reach the cultivated higher area where many people were living. There were a great many bananas growing here.

36 Ol Donyo Moite (hill) 2.6.17

Masai name meaning crater.

Persons: Sam, Peter and Jacob Kinyamuesi, chief of Nadumoro, the masai village near to the mountain.

We had actually intended climbing the mountain called Ndea, which we had seen first from Mamba, and been told it was near Buttu. On further information we discovered it’s real name, and in the morning had taken a piki-piki from Kwakoa, where we had been staying across country to the nearby village of Nadumoro. Here we were welcomed by the chief, who Peter had already been put in contact with, as being a friend of Ernest, the motorbike mechanic we had walked with the previous day. In the village we were greeted also by several of the elders, conversing beneath a shady tree, and we were offered tea and a plate of meat, which others were partaking off at that time.
The chief meantime had explained that Ndea was not a mountain anybody climbed, and though it was grazed til part way up, you would need to cut your way up to gain the summit through the upper bush. He therefore suggested we climb the smaller hill behind the village, called Ol Donyo Moite, offering to accompany us there himself.
So the three of us set off to the foot, some half hour walk through the open acacia forest. Once there we climbed up through the bush, to gain the summit. The top itself was obscured by trees, but we dropped down a little to a rocky perch on the south side, and from there had a wonderful view down to the wooded plains of the Mikomazi National Park, and the surrounding peaks, including Motoroz (meaning place of geese), Ol Donyo Gol (hard mnountain), OD Ngurunga (inner mountain) and east over to the border with Kenya, where we could see the Foi Mountain, and Ol Donyo Wasc, and into the Tsavo National Park. Lake Jipa (half in Kenya and half in Tanzania) could also be seen from here.
Indeed, even though it is not so high, this small peak proved an excelled viewpoint, partly because it is not obscured by other mountain, being the easternmost outlier of the range,
On the walk we saw many yellow and purple butterflies, Peter also saw a mongoose, and a lesser kundi. We were also told about the elephants here, which often stray from the national park into the area around the villages.

37 Ol Donyo Didi 3.6.17

Person Sam and Peter

We were given a lift to the base by a local man called Samuel, a friend of Joseph from Naduromo, the short distance from Pangaro village (on the main road south) to the base of the second summit of the ridge. From here we climbed directly up to the ridge, then contined on up the open slope to the grassy summit of the ridge we had seen from below, which retrains a small patch of bush. The higher summit was still misted at this point, but we could see that the way ahead was quite well forested, and unlikely to be easily penetrable. So we dropped down and decided to skirt round to try to ascend up an adjacent valley, finding an overgrown path through the vegetation taking us round. Our attempt to ascend through the forest however proved unsuccessful, (apart from that we gained some perspective of the still wild and rampantly green forest remaining here) and indeed would have required more determination that we possessed. Peter then suggested we ask some of the local people – for there were houses up there, for the area by the adjacent ridge was well cultivated with maize and beans and other crops. A lady there directed us along paths towards the ridge where we found a good track leading up to the communication mast which graced the higher summit (which due to the mist we had not seen until there). We contined up here, greeting and having some conversation with some women working in the fields there, passing through the area of high forest still remaining at the summit. There was no view from there, due to the trees, which stretch down and clothe the steeper slopes to the south and west. But we had already gained some rather wonderful ‘alpine style’ view on the ascent and the traverse out over to the blue-tinged mountains surrounding the small valley plain behind Pangaro village, which we had travelled through the day previous. From the first summit, on the return, we also gained our ‘prize’ views back over the plains to our erstwhile friend, the twin pyramidal peaks of Lendanae, looming surprisingly close (it seemed) from here. I was very happy to have climbed this mountain, which preserves rather different facets, for though it is cultivated and inhabited high up on the eastern side, on the west, as seen from the road it looms up, with its several jagged ridges dropping down in spectacular forested cliffs, retaining thus its wilder aspect.

South Pari Mountains

38 Mtwangwa Sangu (Hill) 4.6.17

Persoms Peter and Sam

This is one of several small hills that can easily be ascended from Same town, and it proved a very accessible and pleasant place for a short walk on the Sunday afternoon. We walked first past the busy market, which was going strong that day – Sunday being market day in this town. and found a good path leading up towards and past the communication mast which graces the lower part of the hill, all too soon gaining the summit, where we gained our views, over to the surrounding mountains, of which we gained some names after two young boys appeared (they lived in the village below and were looking for two stray cattle that wandered). It was one of them, with a bit of throught, told us the name of the mountain. From here we looked south to the larger hills of Chogoboro (meaning baor mountain) and North to the forested slopes of Same Mountain. We could also see back into the Miko Mazi National Park, lending a different perspective to that we had gained from OD Moite.
In character this is a rather beautiful mountain, as the surface is well specked with large boulders, in between is growing a healthy mixture of different types of vegetation, in different colours of green, with some tall darker tree cactus, and the paler long grasses, between other kinds of bushes and trees. As we walked we saw many small scarlet red flowers in the vegetation, being the predominante colour of the flowers in that place.

29 Chambogo Mountain 5.6.17

Persons: Peter, Sam amd Ernest Kazoku from Samesafari tours, for part of the ascent, who we had met in the town earlier that morning.

As we could see from below, this mountain through grazed on some of the lower ridges still retains its forest cover in the higher summit area, and most people we spoke to in the town through that it was not possible to gain the summit, though we were also told it might be possible from a village called Mwenga at the other side of the mountain. However in the morning, as we were debating about transport, Peter got talking to Kazoku, a local man running a tour company who was able to give us quite a lot of information about the local peaks, including Rune across the plain, . He was game also to accompany us, and try to ascend from the Same (south side), so we set off with him.
It was about an hours walk to the base, after which we in due course found a good path leading up the grazed area of the slope, which had been cut into a grove by people dragging wood – for much wood is being taken out from the higher forest (it seems ilegally) by the local people just then. Indeed we passed a large group of women carrying down bundles of long branches on thier heads. And when we reached the forest we heard the sound of wood cutting, and Peter spoke to the people there, who told us it may be possible to reach the summit, but there was no path.
Meantime our (busy) friend Kazoku had left us, as he was due to meet a client from America at Arusha airport that evening, so we contined without his company for the ascent up through the forest, which was not too difficult, as the ground was fairly dry and there was not too much ground vegetation. People had been there too, making small paths, particularly in the lower section where we found several heaps ready prepared for charcoal burning, and one that was already smoking away.
It was very pleasant forest up there, and enjoyable walking, and with a bit of persistance we finally gained the summit area, and sat there to eat our lunch, enjoying the greenery (albeit without any view), soon to be visited by a curious bush-buck which came quite near, but was soon frightened away after I had greeted it. We also saw many butterfles that day, on route through the open area, many white and yellow, amongst others, at one point I disturbed a whole raft of them resting upon a rocky and was for a while surrounded by theie fluttering shapes.
We were very happy to have reached the summit of this mountain, being, as it were something of an unknown, as to wether it was possible.

Kiwanja Hill 7.6.17

This small hill near to Same town we decided to climb by way of an afternoon excursion, walking to the outskirts of the town, crossing the abandoned railway line beside the old station – Petro recalling how he had actually seen the trains working here, more than ten years ago in Arusha. The mountain, not so inspiring from a distance gains its full character once we had climbed up through the bushy (somewhat prickly) vegetation to the summit crest, where we found some rather magnificent rocky perches which we had to scramble our way up onto, affording rather wonderful (and also peaceful) views out to the plains beyond. It was a beautifully clear day too, with that special illumination one obtains in late afternoon. It was quite breezy up there too, with a solitary swallow soaring about the rocky crests, gliding expertly in the strong air currents. There were a good number of butterflies here too. We had good views now to what we then throught of as the Ruvu Mountains (later we would find out they were called Olo Sere) to the south, and back along the Pare Escarpment to Dido and Kerinjiko hill. The land below was an artistic patchwork of cultivation and blocks of woodland scrub, a pleasing mix of browns and greens. It seemed a very pleasing place for photography.

 

42 Olo Sere (1250m) 8.6.17

Masai name meaning white stripes. Also sometimes called Ruvu Mountain, from a distance, being close to the Ruvu River. Also in Swahili Yitengenie.

Persons: Sam, Peter, Nangala Koole, secretary of the village committee in Monganu village.

From Monganu village we proceeded to the base of the mountain through the grazed scrubland. Then at the foot we decided to try to ascend to the dip between the southernmost and adjacent summit. Though the mountain is not so high, it was a long job to get up, as the whole mountain is covered in thick bush with much thorny undergrowth and prickly cacti, so our progress was somewhat intermittent, with the necessity of some hacking with the machete on the part of Nangala, who was happy in this task. Higher up we had some respite when we were able to ascend up by a section of rocks themselves, and once we had gained the ridge (after some 2 and a half hours from the foot) the going was somewhat easier.
We saw quite a number of clipspringers up there, especially higher up, and there was a pleasing sense of this being the territory of animals. (Though lower down the vegetation was too thick, and not so much sign of larger animal life). It felt very special to be up there, in the knowledge that few, if maybe anyone had every been there – not at least within living memory, and slightly disconcerting too, as we had made a fairly late start, and it was already 3 by the time we reached first summit, with the knowledge that there was no easy way off this peak either. But fortified with lunch (sharing company with a few small bees that seemed to be attracted by Nangala’s blue Masai blanket, we pressed on to the higher summit itself. It was very nice up there upon the rocky perches, with views out west towards the Ruvu River, and smaller peaks beyond, and the hills we already knew to the north and the south. It was also quite amazing seeing the other peaks of the mountain, and getting a sense of the sense of this small, barely visited range.
From the highest summit we pressed on down to the next col and decided to descend from there, at first gaining a pleasant respite with some grassy descent through open woodland. But this did not continue, and half way down we were back in the prickly, cactus strewn bush, and the necessity of cutting and forging a route, so as not to cut us amd our clothes to shreds. Time was moving on too, and we watched the pleasing sight of the sun setting ahead over the plains. Fortunately we had made it to the foot, where the going was suddenly considerably easier, following the cattle tracks through the bush, as the nearly full moon arose now to the east behind the mountain we had just scaled and descended from.

The following day we gained further views back to this amazing mountain as we looked back on our walk to the Ruvu River, the great rocky faces appearing to good effect in the morning sunlight.

MANYARA REGION / KILIMANJARO

43 Engage Hill (viewpoint). 9.6.17

Named from the village nearby.
Persons: Sam, Peter and Nangala Koole for the latter part of the way.

From Monganu village Peter and I set off across the plains in the direction of the Ruvu River, across the rather pleasing sandy country of the flat river plain. We did not get far as we were soon offered a (free) lift in a matatu heading to the village of Ruvu Feringine. From here we continued towards the river, now on paths, passing through some cultivation, with bananas and coconuts and other forested areas. Once we reached the river, we found we were able to be ferried across in a sturdy dug-out canoe to the opposite bank, now finding ourselves in Manyara region (having begun our journey in Kilimanjaro). We walked a little way, as we were drawing some of the further hills in the plains Nangala joined us and suggested we walk to a nearby hill/viewpoint so we could gain a better view beyond. The hill, beside the village of Engare, is a very short ascent, and something more of a point on a ridge as opposed to a hill itself. But nonetheless it made a satisfactory picnic spot with which to share our lunch with our Masai friend who explained that the low hills in front of us, forming an intriguing ridge which we had been following besides since we had been in Moshi, was called the Lemony Ridge (here) which meant in Masai, rhino. It seemed it would have been nice to make our way out and climb one of the small hills which we saw – but then we did not have time to satisfy all our inspirations.

We also worked out that the Ruvu River arises in Lake Nyaumbaya Mungu to the north, and reaches the sea at Pangala in Tanga region.

44 Shengena 2462m 12.6.17

Persons: Sam, Petro, Noru Mndene and Tomaine from Chome village.

Shengena had proved to be a very elusive mountain to us. I had known about it for some time, having I think initially spotted it marked on a map, and someone had told us about it when we were near Lendanai. I knew it was high, we later found it to be the second highest peak in the Kilimanjaro region, but by some way it seems. But I had failed to find any sign of a significant high peak on google maps, and through much of the north Pare mountain we found people did not even know of this peak.
Howeve when we arrived in Same, we found a tour guide called Kazoku, who was able to tell us about it, and how it was in a conservation area called Chome, even if we remained in the dark for some time as to exactly where this was too.
Anyway, we were keen to climb this peak. And on the Sunday, which is marked day in Same, we were able to get a truck (we, fortunately travelling in the front seats, rather than as cattle in the rear) heading, very slowly on the very rough road, wending up through the mountains arriving eventually to Chome village in the darkness of evening.
We were fortunate in easily arranging two local people to show us up the mountain the following day, who turned out both fit young guys, who led us along at quite a racing pace. Admittedly the weather was not good, being quite dark and intermittently pouring with rain, so hardly condusive tomuch stopping.
First we ascended by steep paths, through the villages and cultivated hillsides, arriving at an area of moorland, with scrub which some time ago had been burnt. We crossed some of this and arrived at a sign indicating Campsite, 45 minutes. Soon after this we were in the Chome Forest reserve itself, now quite different territory, with almost pristine natural woodland, with a beautiful path passing through it, and the music of birdsong accompanying us as we went (albeit still at a cracking pace). Some of the trees had labels on, including I recall a Podocarpus Usambarensis, suggesting there were some species exisiting here quite special to this region, as indeed I discovered when reading the Conservation area leaflet later. I became aware that this somewhat hidden (high level) region is maybe something of a refuge for interesting high level species. We were fortunate too to see some of the beautiful Angola pied Colobus monkeys here, moving through the tress in front of us as we descended.
At the summit we found an observation platform, which gave a view over the trees – but that was all for us, for the mountain was fully clothed in mist for us that day. We gained only one brief peek of it on the return, when we had emerged back into the moorland area, looking back at the rounded wooded shape of the summit area behind. But maybe anyway the forest was what it was all about in terms of Shengena, and sense of having a rare peak at this intriguing hidden place, which was especially intriguing to see in the misty weather which we experienced that day – and is probably common over this mountain.
So it was a very wonderful walk, and felt a very special place to be, even if our young, and fit companions did not give us too much time for contemplation there.

45 Makassa 14.6.17 Near Hedaru

Persons: Sam and Peter

We were a bit in the dark when we arrived in Hedaru as to what we were looking at in terms of mountains, and which were the significant peaks in the vicinity, despite the fact that Google maps seems to suggest there were some distinctive mountains nearby. But the first afternoon we arrived we walked out of the town towards the hills, first passing through some idyllic territory beside the running river with many boabab trees, and rocks about the scenery, then further found ourselves on a rough track (that had, it seemed once been a motorable road) heading alongside a flowing river, up into some beautifully scenic territory with sheer rocky faces dropping down at the valley sides. I was inspired just to continue walking along this road, which some local people had told us eventually led (after six or seven hours walking) to a village high up in the mountains called Mamba.

Anyway we set off the next day, on the road towards Mamba, climbing steadily along the road, rising at length to more cultivated areas, where there were more people living, having forged some steep plots from the often rocky soil where the ground was sufficiently flat. We were obliged to greet many people we passed, a lot of them carrying hoes, who as Petro commented were most welcoming to us, to their territory, greeting us often with ‘karibu’. or Karibuni. The day before we had learnt several names of peaks from local people, though we were still somewhat confused as to which peaks some of these names referred to, partly due to the fact that it had been misty, so some of the tops of the mountains were obscured.
Anyway, having climbed up on the road, which in places was eroding at the side, or covered in slumped rock and soil, but still passable by motorbikes, nearly to the col, we were told we were in Makassa village, which was the name of a peak I had been given the day before. And by some fortuitous circumstance, we found ourselves walking on a smaller trail below a ridge, and were soon heading up a small path into the forest scrub above where people collected wood, bush bashing our way the short distance from the termination of the paths to the summit. And though we had no view, we found a pleasant spot there in the trees to eat our lunch, happy at the idea we had rather by chance actually climbed to the top of a mountain.

It was certainly a very beautiful and recommended walk up the old road to Mamba.

46 Hedaru Viewpoint 15.6.17
persons Sam and Petro

This is a just a small foothill we were inspired to climb in the afternoon of our rest day, and the only ‘small hill’ we identified within easy walkning distance of Hedaru town. It was also useful for us to go there as we wanted to investigate the ridge behind it, as a possible way of ascent up to Sawave mountain the following day.
It was a pleasant walk, first following paths between the houses, then crossing though the maize and beans fields on small paths to reach the hill. From our small rocky perch we had a good view out to the plains and to Makanya Hill to the north, which we had passed (but not been out towards). It was a nice spot to sit for a while, hearing the voices of some boys grazing goats nearby, and had we disturbed them to ask, we might have found this little hillock had its own name.

47 Sawawe 16.6.17

Persons Sam and Petro.

This amazing looking rocky face sticks up from the ridge behind Hedaru, The first day we arrived I was inspired to attempt to climb it, not even knowing if it was indeed possible. After some time we learnt the correct name of it. For it is also sometimes called Sine, after the village on the hillside just below it.
We walked again from Hedaru by the route we had taken the day before to the foot of the ridge. This time ascended it, by a fairly steep small path, which brought us up at a satisfying pace, til we gained an area of steep rock which we had to negotiate, at one point having so explore a little to find a way around some giant boulders, fortunately chancing on a way, by climbing up a rock which led us above onto a used way.
Above the rocks it was slighly easier going, then we gained the summit of the ridge which was cultivated with maize and sugar cane. From here we dropped down a little to the right, and climbed up thence by well-trodden paths through the village of Sine which lies about the ridge. HEre we were greeted at a house by an older man, who we assumed must have been an elder of the village. Fortunately he was welcoming to us, and did not object to our purpose of ascending the peak above, and after asked us to take a photograph of him with us. HAving gained the ascent from him, and greeted his wife, we continued our ascent, gaining some more directions from people in the village, and then a man higher up beside a fallen tree, who told us the direction we should go, but that there was no actual path to the peak itself. For at that point the summits were still misted so it was not too clear where our ‘spectacular’ peak actually lay from there.
We then branched off the main path right towards the ridge, on a small path with petered out in the high forest, and we bashed our way thence through the vegetation and trees til we could see light ahead, and happily emerged at the top of the grand cliffs we had seen from below. It really was a rocky perch, you felt the sense of a sheer drop below. And it proved a really wonderful viewpoint to southern end of the Pare Mountains which we had not yet seen, and beyond to a small mountain called Mabogo, which lies between the Pare and the Usambara Ranges. We could also see Mafi mountain, the outier of the Usambaras we had seen on Google Maps, and we had seen earlier in the distance from Lendanai. Below us there were white collared ravens, whilst we had seen a number of rather magnificent kite eagles soaring about the rocks on the ascent of the ridge.
Our friend Lendanai was still visible too, to the northwest, a shape in the hazy distance.
Having afforded our views, we returned by a similar route, this time dropping down more directly by the well-trodden village paths from Sine to Hedaru below; for the upper part having the company of a girl returning home from her boarding school higher up the mountain, we invited us to her home to meet her parents.

This really was a beautiful walk to this mountain, being an introguing place in itself. The walk had many different elements, a satisfying ridge climb, some boulderly scrambling, a village path, and a woodland path, then a short bit of bush bashing to arrive at a spectacular place which few people ever make it to.
WE were also made to feel very welcome here by the villagers that we passed, on the return speaking again to the old man and his wife outside thier house.

TANGA REGION

48 Bahai Hill (Magamba) 17.6.17

A Wasingua name, after a sacred place of the ancient Bahai tribe.

Persons. Sam, Petro, Meshaki Kidogi from Magamba Kwalkonge village, a member of the village committee.

This is just a small hill beside the Magamba village, and an easy ascent by a direct path up the slope, led there by our guide. It was a pleasant respite too after the somewhat bumpy ride in the market bus from Momba to get there,
Seated on a rock just beyond the summit, Meshaki pointed out to us the names of some of the nearby hill, to the south seeing the ridge of a jagged hill called Kilole, and a smaller rounded hump called Changade. Behind us was the forested mountain of Mafi, which we were hoping to climb the next day.
From here we could also look down on the fields of sizal which are grown extensively nearby, telling us they were owned by an Englishman.
Peter and I, went ourselves up this hill to the summit just before dusk the following day, this time rewarded by the sight of many swallows soaring about the top, making a musical chorus when they clustered together in flight, then disturbing a large hare on the summit as we returned.,

49 Mafi Mountain. 18.6.17

Wasingua name
Persons: Sam, Peter, Hasani and Shaboni, two farmers from Magamba Kwalkonge village, also Suhi Rajabo, a man from nearby who joined us on the ascent through the forest.

This substantial outlier of the Usambaras we had identied easily from Google maps, partly because it is quite a broad hill, somethng of a diamond shape. I had long been contemplating climbing it, though had earlier been given the name of it as Mombo, the name of the small town in the adjacent Usambara foothills, only finding out its real name shortly before we arrived at Magamba village near its foot.
When we arrived in Magamba ths hill seemed somewhat daunting, as we saw that it was entirely clothed in forest. So we could not be at all sure if it was possible to actually get to the top. This again is a very beautiful mountain to see, due to the forest cover, and quite a number of intriguing cliffs enbedded in the slopes. There wsa also a very beautiful tall waterfal flowing here just now, down through the forest, which was really a wonderful sight to see here.
The evening before, after we arrived in the village we met six people from the village office, who had been amassed especially for us that Sunday evening. And after paying a donation to the village, we made arrangements to be shown up the hill by two local people the following morning.
From Magamba village we followed tracks and paths through the farmland, past the corn and beans, to the foot of the mountain. We then followed a good path along the ridge which brought us up into the forest. At a turning in the path, as one of our guides was debating which route to take, we were joined by another man, who had decided he also was interested to see the summit of this hill.
He seemed a little more conversant of the way. And it was not difficult to ascend through the forest by the ridge on small paths. Indeed we came to the summit well before I expected it, and at that point the top was still clothed in mist, so we had not knowing if we were really there, or any views to the rest of the mountain beyond. Fortunatly the mist cleared soon after, and as we had much time, we were able to descend a bit and explore the summit area, gaining some views to the ranged of smaller hills to the north, which were named for us as Toronto and Don Ongai. We also came through a clearer area where we had views to the saddle of the mountain, almost entirely clothed in high forest, and to the slightly lower western summit. We returned by something of our own route on the first part of the descent, descending below the ridge, on steep slopes, passing below an outcrop of rocks. On route we gained some perspective of the forest here, which contains some very tall trees, and also many wild bananas and palms amongst it. Our guided eventually descided to reascend to the ridge, and there we regained the path by which we had come. Once on it stopping for a rest to share our lunch together.

On the descent, after we had reached the farmland, we stopped for a while to speak to some farmers there, collected under a tent roasting some corns, and further along were given a bag of small chilli peppers, as a gift from one of the farmers, who picked some for us. So we were treated with much hospitality there.

Our somewhat roundabout route had given us a bit more of a perspective on the mountain and forest, than if we had just made an easy ascent and descent by the ridge. For though the mountain appears quite formibale due to its entire forest cover, most of it we found was not too difficul to penetrate. And the mountain is not so big that it would take too long to descent.

50 Mombo Mountain, 20/6/17
We did not get a name for this mountain, but I call it Mombo Hill as it sits behind the town.
We came up here by way of exploration, following small paths rising behind the town. The ridge is fairly open of vegetation and you soon gain a sense of height, and a fine perspective on the central part of the West Usambaras range, and also back to the plains.. And also a good view down to the then burgeoning waterfall on the Mombo river, feeding down from the mountains.
51 Quamungu 21/6/17
We had first spotted this peak, standing up a little higher then its neighbours in the Usambaras from the foot of Mafi mountain a few days earlier. It was noticeable for its bald summit with just a single line of trees rising at one side. And it seemed a worthy landmark and an inspiration as a place to begin our exploration of the West Usambaras range. After we had gained a better view of it from Mombo hill our inspiration continued.
To get to the foot we took a matatu from Mombo town, heading up the valley towards Lushoto. We disembarked at the Vugu junction, and with some direction from the man picki-piki drivers waiting there, we headed up on a small steep path towards the ridge. The walk was mostly through cultivated land, with some bush by the streams. It was pleasant going with many greetings along the way. The upper part of the hill is bare, and makes a good viewpoint for the southern part of the range, where there is somewhat more forest than the surroundings. For the west Usambaras as well populated and much cultivated on the upper part, which allows for many paths, but not so much forest to view.
We had a little company up there of some women who were taking down wood from there which had been cut.
The trees gracing the side of the hill we found to be Eucalyptus.
On the return we were greeted cordially by a lady we had me on the way up, who was happy to know we had made it all the way to the top of thier local mountain.
52 Mtai and Mlessa 22/23.6.17
Mtai
We had decided we should explore some of the peaks we had seen in the haze from Quamungu in the Lushoto region. So we took a matatu there in the morning with our packs. Here we spotted a signpost to a guesthouse at Iringi Viewpoint, and decided to head out there, walking the 6 kilometres on the dirt road.
At Iringi village after finding a place to camp beside a salubrious hotel,  we made our way to the local viewpoint, a long-standing tourist destination, with several decades worth of grafitti marked upon a rock. The rocky outcrop at the western edge of the range formed a spectacular and slightly hairy viewpoint, over the the plains beyond, and back up to the other spectacular rocky outcrops gracing this part of the range. Here we got talking to a local man from Iringi village called Pascal who offered to take us up one of the nearby mountains.
We were keen to climb an actual peak, and though it was already afternoon and the mist was definitavely settled about the peaks we decided to set off. We followed some small paths through the villages, Pascal pointing out to us (in tour guide fashion the names of some of the useful plants along the way). Many fruits are grown in this area including loganberries and loquats which I had not seen elsewhere.
We did not reach the summit that afternoon, but set out again the following morning with Pascal again, following well used trails through the heathland and bracken scrub, which is more of less devoid of large trees here, apart from some stumps. For it seems that following fairly extensive cutting of wood here, there had been a large fire decimating the vegetation. some twenty years previously. And this is evidence in the even growth of colonising vegetation which we see now.
We passed over several small summits, our guide being somewhat reluctant to continue too far. But we managed to persuade him to keep going until we reached the southernmost summit of the Mtai mountain – somewhat desiring to proceed further over to the next one. But, our guide could not be induced, so we had to be content with the hill we had climbed.
53 Kambe Mountain 22/23.6.17
Kambe is a rocky outlying peak, rising opposite to the Irente viewpoint. We had visited the highest part of it the first evening, where there is a constructed viewing place on the crest of the ridge just before it. To get to the actual peak from here requres a very steep climb down to a gully, then a further ascent. The owner of the land was in the process of building some wooden steps down the sttep rocky face, in order to create a tourist attraction. The people there were actually happy to take us there, even though the construction as it stands looks very shakey and dangerous. But there was not time.
The following afternoon we discovered there was a ‘free’ rocky viewpoint, equally, or perhaps more spectacular a little further down on the same mountain, so we opted to go there. It was indeed a wonderful place, again involving a short clamber down before ascending to the rocky perch itself. From there we could look aside to the grand cliffs to the side, vegetated picturesquely in palms and other lush tropcial vegetation. Ahead of us was a small similar peak where goats were perched precariously grazing. Certainly we felt we were amply satisfied with the view and perspective from this ‘perch’.
54 Magoretto 25.6.17
Usambaras name, after an ancestor who used to live here
Persons Sam, Peter, for the summit ascent Edward and Francis from Magoretto village
Magoretto is a small mountain range which forms an outlier of the East Usambaras. I had spotted it on Google maps and long been interested to visit here. We found a place to stay in Muheza town, from where we could see the green forested mountain looming quite near us. The next day we set off ourselves along the muddy dirt road towards Magetto village which we were told was near the top of the mountain, people advising us that the road, also used by motorbikes was the /best/ way up the mountain. As we went the rain began to come down, and the road became very muddy, with the motorbikes having a tough and slippery time negotiating the steeper parts. It was a pleasant way though, with quite a lot of forest on the slopes, particular near to the rocky parts. The upper part however we found was more settled, passing a school and a village. Here we recruited two local men to take us to the summit itself, who came along in professtional mode with machetes to cut a way through the bush if needed.
Actually there was a reasonable path, which follows for some way the boundary between the part of the mountain owned by private (Swiss) owners, called the estate, which is mostly left as rainforest, and the area cultivated by the local people. There were beans and tomatotes and other crops here, rather pleasingly mixed up with the native trees, which were mostly left growing amongst the crops.
The summit itself lies upon a rocky crest. It is not too far or arduous a trek up there from the village, and it seemed people went up there quite often just ot gain the view. We did not get much ourselves  that day due to the prevailing mist, merely the occasional perspective of the plains beyond to the east, and the occasional glimpse of a thin luminous line which we assumed was the sea beside Tanga.
It was certainly a fine place to be anyway, and a pleasant way to spend a part of the Sunday afternoon for our guides.
55 Mbole Hill 26.6.17
Sam, Peter and ‘Rasta’ Muella from Amani village
After we had found our way up the rough and winding route to Amani village we were keen to gain a perspective of the area and see some of the very special rainforest that exists here in the Eastern Usambaras, with some species particular to this area alone.
After we had found ‘rasta’, whose other name we did not know initially, as everyoe naturally called him rasta. He suggested to go up Mbole Mountain, and we still had time.
This is perhaps more a viewpoint than a mountain, and though it took us an hour or so to walk to from Amani village, you might have been able to get there more easily by piki-piki, as it seemed some people up there we met had done, this day being the first of the celebration of Eid for the local Muslim population. It was quite a spectacular spot, with a drop down below to the Mbole river in the gorge (which we could not see), and views across to primarily forested hillsides. We could also see some clearer area which our friend pointed out, which we were told were tea plantations.
56 Menge Menge 27.6.17
This peak is actually more of a viewpoint, on the very edge of the East Usambaras range, which our ‘rasta’ friend had suggested we go to.
It was some three hours walk from Amani village to get there, first passing on small tracks and paths through the primarily rainforest area, til we came out to the area of tea plantations which we wended our way through on the winding paths. Some of the tea trees were quite aged as we could see, with substatial convoluated boles, beneath the tidy pruning, for the tea plantations have been there for some 80 years, being established by the British when there were in Tanzania.
At the summit there are several smart wood and brush shelters with small hedges about set there for  viewing and picnics, constructed there by the EUTCO (East Usambaras Tea Company) the logo of which is written there at the entrance in topiaried bushes. Fortunatly for us the mist cleared shortly after we arrived there, and we were able to gain the full view, looking down upon Korogwe town below, beside the Longella River, which runs in the flat valley between the Easten and Western Usambaras, the water from which is channelled into fields where rice is grown, as we could see from our viewpoint.
57 Nyalusanga 28.6.17
Sam, Peter and ‘rasta’ muella from Amani village
We had spotted this peak from the Mbole mountain the first afternoon, as being notably ‘bald’ of forest vegetation and standing a little above its surroundings. We had passed quite close to it on our way to Menge menge the day before, and had been inspired to think of climbing it, as being something of a distinctive mountain. So the following day we took a different, more northern route, passing through similar country and vegetation as the previous day,  then following the area of tea plantations we came to more rolling territory. A small path traversed around the mountain itself, following it it we felt we were really on a mountain. We branched up from this over the heathland to the summit, and it was certainly worth the view. We now had a really excellend view down to the Longella River and to the peaks at the upper end of it. Being a littled higher than the surroundings we had a good view over this corner of the East Usambaras, gaining some perspective of the size of this range.
58 Haringala Mountain 30.6.17
Sam. Peter with Juma Kamote and Davie Lukindo from Mashewa village for the walk to Mbumba village. Then with Afisa Nasti and Safiri Samoed from Mbumba village for the ascent to the summit.
This is one of several intriguing rocky peaks, as we had spotted from Nyalusanga, located at the head of the Longella River valley, beside th tributary here of the Mbumba River. It was a bit difficult to decide exactly what was what from the base at Mashewa, however we gradually gained some information as to names, and our two guides who we had recruited from Mashewa village gave us the names of five peaks, of which we opted for one.
We followed a well used ‘village’ path up from behind Mashewa for some way. Then Juma and Davie decided we should take a short cut to the mountain. So one of them went to ask the owner of the land there is we could pass over it. After a bit of waiting a young boy came and led us to where some men were mending a sugar cane press. We saw another one of these later in the day, in operation They are totally home-made affairs, made of wood and twine with justtwo pices of metal. The juice runs into a pan below which is put in a hole in the ground. The produce we assume was used for making the local ‘beer’, which we had seen quite a lot of for sale in bottles in the villages of the East Usambaras earlier.
We then left them and took a path up through the banana plantations, then were in the rainforest itself, andbegan to clamber up very steeply towards some cliffs, in the process distubing some monkeys which began hailing our presence. We had just negotiated a difficult part, when our guides called us back. Then we discvered that we were being followed by a substantial posse of local people along with some dogs. They called us down, and we were obliged to followed them to the village office in Mbumba village.
Here the chief was already sitting, and some conversation ensued. But it seemed anyway no harm was done. And  the people in the upper village were rather miffed that they had not been recruited as ‘guides’ to tourists, as it was actually this community who owned and looked after the mountain we were intending to climb.
So we filled in our names in the village register, and paid a small village fee. The chief then recuited two new guides for us, and we set off woth them first through the plantations towards the mountain.
The upper part if entirely forested, and very steep. We had a machete with us, and it was highly necessary here for cutting a way up the slope. It seemed not many people actually scaled this mountain, though people did go there.
The ascent to the summit was through thick bush, up a very very steep slope. But it was absolutely amazingly spectacular being there. For the mountain stands like a gatepost to the junction between the valley of the Longella River on one side, and on the other to the Eastern plains, looking out to the plains and the hazy peaks at the border with Kenya, (and back to the M National Park).
The summit itself formed quite a small perch, and though somewhat bush covered we were able to gain some views from there. We also came away with some combes of bush honey which our guides had found in a fallen trees. They removed the ants from it by lighting a fire with some bracken.