Four climbers on Tanzania‘s Mt. Kilimanjaro had a surprise waiting for them when they arrived at the summit of Africa‘s tallest mountain last week. After making the long, and sometimes arduous, trek to the top, they were surprised to find a dog had arrived before them.
Antoine le Galloudec, Kristina Meese, Irina Manoliv and Monique Indino were climbing with a local tour company, when they approached the top of the mountain, known as Uhuru Peak. Galloudec said that he needed to heed the call of nature and stepped off to the side of the trail to take care of business. He was shocked to find the dog lying on a rock no more than a meter away.
The group was careful not to disturb the adventurous pooch, choosing to instead snap a couple of photos using a cell phone. When they later showed those photos to one of their guides, he told them that the same dog had been spotted at one of Kili’s lower camps ten years ago. Why the dog is still on the mountain, and how it has survived so long, remains a mystery.
High winds and cold temperatures are a common occurrence on Kilimanjaro, although it is the thin air that is usually the most difficult condition for people, and animals, to adapt to. If this really is the same dog that was spotted on the mountain a decade ago, he has probably become quite acclimated to life at altitude. Finding food is most likely a bigger challenge, although while I was there a few years back, there were plenty of small rodents, even high up, and I’m guessing the dog could find scraps left behind at some of the camps as well.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the top treks in the world, and while there are no technical requirements for completing the climb, it is physical demanding to say the least. The hike to the summit generally takes about 5-6 days, and the view of the surrounding landscape is spectacular, however. I’d recommend the climb to anyone looking for a challenging adventure, but be sure to cap the experience with a Serengeti safari afterwards.