Sunday, 29 September
Elevation: 2,700 m, forest terrain
We had a quick meeting at reception and we were given water, we also gave the 9kg luggage to the porters by putting them in special numbered green bags. I had one numbered no. 10 and it was “mine” for the rest of the trip. I would always have the same porter, his name was Jaffa and I think he also carried another hiker’s green bag.
The porters packed the luggage on a small bus and we also checked in any excess luggage and valuables at the hotel’s reception. The entrance at Kinapa was about 15 minutes drive away and there the porters had all their (our) luggage weighed and they have a very strict restriction to 20kg which includes 9kg for each of our green bags. Not sure what happened with the other 2kg. We took some photos and none of us really anticipated what awaits us up the mountain. Then we set off and it was a very slow walk. The “pole pole” principle was a constant. We would take one step every 1 to 2 seconds and it seemes it was taking us ages to have any progress. However it was quite clear later on the hike how useful this principle is. At higher altitudes it helps you acclimatise better as you aren’t going up so quickly. You also prevent over exertion of your muscles which if you disobey, you get punished the following day with all the lactic acid your muscles need to process.
8 km after leaving Kinapa we arrived at our first overnight stop at Mandara. The huts there were quite big, we had running water and looking back they were by far the most comfortable huts we staid in. The level of comfort decreased the higher the huts were.
After a bit of rest we set of on a lovely short hike to a nearby crater/caldera.