kilimanjaro

Exploring South Africa and Tanzania with Reuben Hernandez by Katherine Yaksich

My guest post and Africa images on the We Keep Exploring blog:

My dear friend Andrew and I decided to do a 6 week adventure in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zanzibar because he quit his job this year and launched his own company. We wanted to do some things we have never done before, such as summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, one of the seven summits and the highest mountain in Africa. I was on a personal long time mission to see Great White sharks breach in South Africa, which I missed on my previous two trips to Cape Town. Just over five years ago, I also quit my full time job, hit the reset button, and hopped on a plane bound for South Africa.

For the past five years, traveling and exploration has been much of an independent pursuit, as I am often sent out on assignments on my own or other people just don’t have the flexibility to join me. A huge challenge with being away on the road so much is that I can sometimes feel disconnected from my community and friends. Building community, exploring, and creating are some of my core values, and to be able to share all of those things together at the same time with a good friend is quite meaningful and memorable. And at times it was beautiful and transcendent, especially at the top of Africa at nearly 20,000 ft above sea level, and when we took a boat out to surf the outer reefs of Zanzibar. 

Lately, I’ve had this grand vision of building community through travel, exploration, and creating art, and I’m reminded of the following quote by Christopher McCandless, “Happiness only real when shared.”

There is beauty everywhere worth pursuing and exploring, even in the places that we least expect it. Get out there and find it. Be fearless. Be wild. Be free.

All My Best,
Reuben

by Katherine Yaksich

At the summit we were greeted by spectacular views, like this one of the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro casting a shadow across Mt. Meru  

#bigcatsplayball  

(at Mount Kilimanjaro)

At the summit we were greeted by spectacular views, like this one of the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro casting a shadow across Mt. Meru

#bigcatsplayball

(at Mount Kilimanjaro)

by Katherine Yaksich

Above the clouds at 14,000 ft   

#takeflight #bigcatsplayball  


(at Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania)

Above the clouds at 14,000 ft

#takeflight #bigcatsplayball

(at Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania)

by Katherine Yaksich

11:27 PM | Barafu Base Camp | 15,357 ft  

The scene at base camp approximately 30 min before making the push for the summit. Those glaciers look absolutely spectacular from the top.   

#bigcatsplayball  

(at Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania)

11:27 PM | Barafu Base Camp | 15,357 ft

The scene at base camp approximately 30 min before making the push for the summit. Those glaciers look absolutely spectacular from the top.

#bigcatsplayball

(at Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania)

by Katherine Yaksich

6:36 AM | 19,341 ft above sea level  

We somehow managed to make it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on day 5 of our journey. At this point I had been up for over 24 hours, and it was probably one of the most challenging days of my life. It’s difficult to describe everything that went into this journey, but for sure the human spirit can endure much more than we think.  

I was emotional at the top because when we embarked for the summit at midnight, I didn’t think I could make it. Surely I thought I would pass out and fall over the edge, or have a heart attack as my heart was racing the entire time. My fellow teammates even saw me stumble on the way up and barely make it on the way down, assisted. Kilimanjaro broke me, and perhaps even transformed me.   

Kilimanjaro is all about the journey. I will probably barely remember the 10 minutes that we spent at the summit. But I will never forget the people we met and the beauty we experienced along the way.  

Photo by @andrewmklein  

#keepexploring #bigcatsplayball  

(at Mount Kilimanjaro)

6:36 AM | 19,341 ft above sea level

We somehow managed to make it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro on day 5 of our journey. At this point I had been up for over 24 hours, and it was probably one of the most challenging days of my life. It’s difficult to describe everything that went into this journey, but for sure the human spirit can endure much more than we think.

I was emotional at the top because when we embarked for the summit at midnight, I didn’t think I could make it. Surely I thought I would pass out and fall over the edge, or have a heart attack as my heart was racing the entire time. My fellow teammates even saw me stumble on the way up and barely make it on the way down, assisted. Kilimanjaro broke me, and perhaps even transformed me.

Kilimanjaro is all about the journey. I will probably barely remember the 10 minutes that we spent at the summit. But I will never forget the people we met and the beauty we experienced along the way.

Photo by @andrewmklein

#keepexploring #bigcatsplayball

(at Mount Kilimanjaro)

by Katherine Yaksich

Paul, aka Mr. Pole Pole, is a legend on Mount Kilimanjaro. He’s been climbing the mountain for 15 years and has summited more than 200 times. He has spent the night inside some of Kilimanjaro’s caves and is very well respected on the mountain. He is sometimes referred to as Babu (Swahili for grandfather) because he has mentored and helped train a lot of the guides.  

Kilimanjaro was one of the most challenging things I have ever done, and I wouldn’t have been able to make it without people like Mr. Pole Pole.   

#makeportraits #bigcatsplayball  

(at Mount Kilimanjaro)

Paul, aka Mr. Pole Pole, is a legend on Mount Kilimanjaro. He’s been climbing the mountain for 15 years and has summited more than 200 times. He has spent the night inside some of Kilimanjaro’s caves and is very well respected on the mountain. He is sometimes referred to as Babu (Swahili for grandfather) because he has mentored and helped train a lot of the guides.

Kilimanjaro was one of the most challenging things I have ever done, and I wouldn’t have been able to make it without people like Mr. Pole Pole.

#makeportraits #bigcatsplayball

(at Mount Kilimanjaro)

by Katherine Yaksich

Getting geared up to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with @andrewmklein.  

 I’m hoping these lightweight hiking shoes will carry me nearly 20,000 ft to the summit. 

 Do any of you have any tips to share for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro?  

 We leave in just over a month so let the countdown begin…  

 #neverstopexploring #bigcatsplayball 

 (at New York City)

Getting geared up to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with @andrewmklein.

I’m hoping these lightweight hiking shoes will carry me nearly 20,000 ft to the summit.

Do any of you have any tips to share for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro?

We leave in just over a month so let the countdown begin…

#neverstopexploring #bigcatsplayball

(at New York City)