One other interesting nugget emerged from my interview with Betty Lobooiki, the current boss of the Kilimanjaro Park Authorities (KINAPA) last month. The old Kidia Route, which was last open about ten years ago, is to be reopened as a special route for those who want a bit more privacy on their Kilimanjaro climb.
The Kidia Route was originally established as a descent-only route as a replacement for the Mweka Trail, which was undergoing repairs and renovations back in the early 2000s. It’s a lovely trail – there can be no doubt about that – and is the one that perhaps most closely matches the route taken by Hans Meyer back in 1887 during his first successful climb of Kili.
KINAPA have decided to reopen the route after several celebrities complained about the lack of privacy they had on the trail. This is particularly pertinent when celebrities – such as Martina Navratilova and Roman Abramovic – suffer from altitude sickness and are in some distress along the way, and have to return to their hotel having failed to get to the summit.
So how are they going to decide who is worthy of being allowed on the trail? By the usual device of charging more, of course, so that only those who can afford the Kidia Trail can use it. The reopening of the trail is still a little way off, though KINAPA have already set out detailed plans including the type of hut accommodation that will be available to trekkers en route.
We look forward to seeing how the plans develop.