Sunrise from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro | Panorama

Some of the most beautiful places that I have seen in the world have been while hiking. From the lush forests and mountains of the Milford Track in New Zealand, to the high altitude of the Himalayas on the Mount Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal, my love for hiking has taken me to places that I would have never seen otherwise. I consider myself an experienced hiker, but all of the training, fitness and experience couldn’t really prepare me for what I would face on the summit day of my trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

After 8 hours of hiking the day before and three days of hiking before that, I had to get up before midnight to start the ascent to the summit. I had handled the trek very well so far, but in the darkness and freezing cold after having no sleep, the trek was grueling to say the least. The altitude hit me at about 5000m, and for the rest of the night I had to slog my way up the mountain with a headache, dizziness, nausea and overall exhaustion, and with the darkness I could never really know how much further I had to go. The mountain itself was messing with my mind, and that was what was really getting to me.

The trek seemed to go on forever, and we were all battling to push our bodies to the limit to make it to the top. Eventually though, as I basically had to will my legs to keep moving, I found myself at Stella Point, which is the rim of the crater at 5739m, and the hardest part was now over. Exhausted and pushed to the limit, the battles and pain of the last five or six hours was completely washed away as I looked out at the scene before me.

I had made it to Stella Point in time to watch the sunrise, and it was truly one of the most beautiful sights that I have seen in my life. The soft light of the first rays of sunlight burst up above the horizon, slowly lighting up the land around me. I was speechless.

Panorama of the sunrise from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

This photo is a panorama of this particular scene, and although this really needs to be seen in person to truly appreciate it, I think that you will be able to see what I’m talking about from this photo. Click on the image to view it in full size.

After this point I then trekked on to Uhuru Peak – the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, and I felt on top of the world. You can read the full story here.

Have you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro or completed another challenging hike that pushed you to the limits? I’d love to hear your story.


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9 comments… add one
  • Bram Nov 9, 2012

    That’s an amaaaazing picture, Dean. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the ten things I really want to do in my life. I don’t exactly know why that is, but yeah, I will definitely be standing there as well some day. I hope I’ll be as lucky as you were to watch such a great sunrise.
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    • Dean Wickham Nov 13, 2012

      Thank you Bram. Climbing Kilimanjaro was at the top of my list of things that I wanted to do. It was really something that is very hard to describe. I hope you make it there someday 🙂

  • this is an inspiring panorama and I am in love with Kilimanjaro. I regret I have not fancy early on climbing mountains and trek hiking but I will try it one step at a time though.

    This post is awesome 🙂

    • Dean Wickham Nov 13, 2012

      Thanks Wends, I’m glad you enjoyed the panorama. It’s never too late to do these things and you can climb the highest mountains in the world at just about any age if you are fit and able enough. I saw a 70 year old man at the summit of Kilimanjaro when I was there. One step at a time is exactly right.

  • Daniël Nov 25, 2012

    Great photo. I look forward to reading the full story… am planning to do this climb next November with summit day on my 34th birthday…. congratulations on making it to the roof of Africa.

    • Dean Wickham Nov 29, 2012

      Thanks Daniel. You can read the full story starting here It’s split into five parts. Congrats on making the decision to climb Kili. It will certainly be a birthday to remember! 🙂 Cheers

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