Breakfast at 7am. Final kit check and we’re off to meet our team for the week. Slightly embarrassed to find such a large and capable support team- 2 guides (Ramadhan and Kisanga), cook (Dennis), waiter (Chas) and nine porters to carry the kit. Recent regulations impose limitations of a maximum of 20kg weight to carry per porter, hence the large team. They carry our bags and their own kit as well as all the camping and cooking gear and food.
We start walking from Machame Gate along a gentle incline through rain forest for about six hours to our first overnight stop at Machame Camp. Saw blue monkeys high up in the trees above the path. The camp itself looks a little like a refugee camp, with tents pitched on sloping muddy terrain. Of course, being a rain forest, it’s very wet weather. We have a ‘mess tent’ for my brothers and me, where we eat a meal of fried fish and potatoes. There’s no alcohol allowed on the mountain because of the risks of complications with adjusting to the altitude during the week. Apparently Italian and Russian clients are notorious for not complying!