Rod WoodRod Wood recently went to Kenya in the hope of climbing Mount Kenya, whilst raising valuable funds for Send a Cow and a local hospice. Here he reflects on his trip and the effect global warming is having on the country.

Having climbed Kilimanjaro in 2012, I had promised myself to return to Africa in 2017 to safari, and climb Mt Kenya (or try). It seemed a good opportunity to raise some money for a local hospice and Send a Cow.

On June 8th I set off to Kenya, landing in Nairobi the next morning. I was horrified by Kenyan driving as we made our way out of the city to my hotel.
We travelled for four hours through farming land in the Central Highlands to the arid base of Mt Kenya. I met my guide, Boniface, and arrangements were made to start the climb the next day.

The next morning we were off! It took four hours of uphill trekking to reach our first campsite, Judamaier. We had some camp grub but it was cold and dark after 19:00. I retreated to my tent to read “Out of Africa” and attempt to sleep. Alas, there was a puncture in my mattress – no sleep for me!

We were up early for breakfast the next day and set off on a four-five hour trek (everything in Kenya seems to be 4-5 hours!) We walked through the beautiful Likii and Mackinders Valleys. I could have been Exmoor - but 10,000 feet higher!

If I had continued, I may not be writing this now! 

We reached Shiptons Camp after nine hours of hard walking in the hot sun and having ascended 1100 meters. A hard day but we were rewarded with the summit of Point Lenana in front of us.Mt Kenya

Unfortunately the following morning I didn’t feel well and had to make the hard decision to turn back. I was getting married in three weeks and if I had continued, I may well not be writing this now!

It was a sad trek back over the next two days but I had a long chat about Kenya with Boniface. He asked about our cattle and I was staggered when he told me ten of their cows would produce 1kg of milk between them.

After walking through a troop of baboons, we were back at base and I returned to my hotel. After five days on the mountain I had started to smell, so showered fully clothed! I said good bye to my team before joining a safari for the next few days.

A country full of potential

Although I failed in my climb, I still hope to have raised a couple of thousand for my charities. It was a great and unforgettable experience – I look forward to returning next year.

But the most striking memory for me, was of a country so full of potential, but struggling with the absence of water. The rains had finished six weeks early. The effects of global warming are real in sub-Saharan Africa. Dried up river beds and dusty lakes, arid grass land and the fast retreating icecaps of Kilimanjaro – all evidently different from my visit five years ago.

I hope Send a Cow can help these wonderful people reach their potential and ensure their future.

Rod Wood