21-06-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
The sacred mountain appears from the tarmac road leading to Oloitokitok, the last outpost and market before Tanzania.
To get there from Nairobi, it is no longer necessary to get caught up in the traffic on the road to Mombasa and turn off at Emali.
Gradually you will plunge into tranquillity, passing through the hills of Ngong, the green meadows of Kiserian and the hypomea of Kajado, another seasonal sight. Just as from the coast, you take the quiet Tsavo Road to the entrance to Sala Gate, to avoid traffic and civilisation as much as possible.
We decided to travel the day before, get closer and rest, to enjoy a full day with the Myth.
As it was for the Maasai people when centuries ago they settled in these parts after descending from Nubia, Kilimanjaro becomes sacred, it is elected divine at first sight.
It is the eye that tells you that in the whole of Africa there is nothing closer to heaven, nothing natural, not created or modified by human beings, that soars so high into the unknown, that probes the mystery.
Its three peaks are like prophets, sorcerers.
Maybe that's why they were breathing fire until two hundred years ago.
There are three craters that make up the volcanic mountain, which reaches 5895 metres in height: Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. In the centre, like a fantastic profiterole topped with whipped cream, is the Rebmann glacier.
Kilometre by kilometre, as we get closer, the great prophet uncovers its cloud sheets in the morning light and comes out with the shy sun, to stand out in all its magnificence.
We have chosen to wake up with him and we are more than satisfied.
Being in its presence is a great emotion, so different from those aroused by the many other variations on the theme of paradise on earth that Kenya has to offer.
At the height of the village of Kimana, we return to the dirt road, taking the road that leads to the entrance of the Amboseli park.
Kilimanjaro is on our left, imposing itself magnetically and illuminating our path immensely. It is adorned with sunflower fields, mud huts and dry branches, obsequious acacias and banana leaves.
Then the fullness of the panorama reaches its highest point: looking at the savannah animals moving peacefully on its slopes.
The enormous silhouette of an elephant, mirrored in the sun radiating from the eternal snow, becomes like a silver pendant on the chest of a wise old man with a thick white beard; the horns of an antelope draw an imaginary climb towards the peaks; zebras and warthogs move serenely as if the divine mountain were protecting them too.
It is a unique landscape that is worth experiencing at least once. It enters the heart without taking too long and combines the peace of a silence made up of wind and the sounds of beings in freedom with inner peace.
Just outside the Kimana Gate, before returning to the lodge, where we have been given the cottage with the best view of the solitary God of the African peaks, there is a rough track that seems to point straight towards the sacred.
It invites us to climb it and, if it were not already late afternoon, we would want to do it all to see where it ends.
If this is not a metaphor for our lives, I don't know how better to describe how we feel in front of the beauty of something that rises towards infinity and invites us to do the same to give meaning to our journey towards the unknown.
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