Elephant Hill

IMG 5137

My second hiking tour in Kenya: This time I join up with a hiking group from St. Martin, we want to climb Elephant Hill in the Aberdare Ranges, just over 3600m high. We are enough to charter a minibus for ourselves and the drive to the starting point is fun and entertaining. At the park entrance - the whole Aberdare-Ranges are a big national park - we already have a ranger waiting who would guide us. He is armed, since apparently sometimes elephants or lions can cross your path. Hmm, that will be interesting... Not unexpectedly, a fast pace is chosen, and I line up in the back third. The troop soon pulls apart, and the Ranger is struggling to keep us together, especially as another group is travelling on the same route. When the climb begins, I move up to the front midfield, playing out my alpine background. But, although there are breaks, they serve only to take a group photo and have a quick sip of water, then people press on. After three hours of the constant climb I have to give up on the pre-summit - the tail of the elephant (3550m) and take a “real” break. It is after 13h and my breakfast of 5h30 was already used up. After convincing the ranger that it is not the height but the hunger that stopped me and he can follow the group without worries, I wait here until they come back. Then I make a decent lunch break, with cheese sandwich including a siesta. Gradually, I get company from members of the other group, who are also satisfied with the tail of the elephant. The view is phenomenal from here. After a good one and a half hour, the first of my group reappear and we start the return journey. Of course, again at a brisk pace and without the opportunity to look at the vegetation (for example, extensive bamboo forests). As I find out, the first real rest was planned to be on the elephant's head, with no one having a proper picnic. Next time I have to plan a better breakfast. Or check if maybe there is possibly a seniors hiking group too.