Above the rainforest

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There is that moment when the rainforests that smother the base of Mt Kilimanjaro give way to the heath and moorland. It comes as a relief to the trekker to step out of the jungle to discover the sun shining in all its glory. It’s been so hidden all this time! Wet clothes can finally dry.

New challenges arise however: the sun can be intense and the cold can tickle the fingers and toes. Protections must be taken against both. The sunscreen comes out of the pack by day, and the fleece guards against the settling frost by night. Ice crystals swaddle the ground and the tents and the shoes and the waterbottles and anything exposed to its nightly caress.

The area between 9,000 feet and 13,000 feet is a low alpine zone dominated by bushes and grasses. Flowers make a startling appearance against the dull colored heath. St John’s Wort, protea, and clumps of “Everlastings” are memorable.

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A clump of prickly and stiff “Everlastings” appear beside the trail. Varieties of Helichrysum are a regular companion of the Kilimanjaro trekker.

We hobnobbed in Africa for the better part of July, but are home now, making plans for future study-tours in the lands of the Bible.

If experiencing the geography, history, and culture of Israel-Palestine is of interest to you, email me at markziese@gmail.com or check out our list of future trips here.