Kilimanjaro Field Guide
As much as it is a physical challenge, climbing Kilimanjaro is a sensory journey. To better heighten and understand that part of the climb, Tusker’s owners Eddie and Amy Frank with Thomas Rüegg have just published, “The Flora of Kilimanjaro—A Field Guide.”
Their Kilimanjaro flora guidebook is the first and most comprehensive to be published solely dedicated to its flora. Get it and it will fire up your senses. It will please your visual sense and give you a deeper understanding of where you have trekked to attain the summit of Africa’s iconic mountain.
It is a book that will satisfy your curiosity while on the trail and once back home, answer some of the questions you thought about, but may have been too tired to ask. Getting the book before your trip and studying it also pays dividends.
It will raise your visual antenna alerting you to the possible plants and trees you will likely see once you step into this national park. From your first step in the rainforest at Kilimanjaro’s base, you will start seeing the plants captured in the book’s 96 pages of color photos. Some plants explode in flashy red, pink and purple in various variegations while others are creamy or white, but no less important.
You are entering a world of floristic sight, smell and texture so keep the guidebook in a side pouch of your pack for ready reference. While most climbers are singularly focused on the heights they have yet to scale, the guidebook will help ground you in the beauty at your feet.
Far richer experience
“Trekking, traveling overland or climbing mountains in East Africa can be a far richer experience for anyone who devotes even a small amount of time beforehand to learning more about the region’s unique, indigenous flora and fauna,” writes David Bunnin the book’s forward.
Bunn is the Director of Conservation for the State of California and has always appreciated Eddie’s attention to detail, his skill with a camera and deep appreciation of nature. Bunn met Eddie on a train between Nairobi and Mombasa in 1983 and has traveled with him since. He considers Eddie to be a step ahead in the adventure travel business.
A less evasive indulgence
Some people get overly dependent on guidebooks. We see birdwatchers glued to their weighty, encyclopedic guidebooks trailside and are so studious they miss birds in flight. The guidebook replaces the actual experience for some. Enjoying plants is a less evasive indulgence, plants don’t move, but they are seasonal and you have to have your radar turned on to see them.
Guidebooks are tools to be used smartly and on Kilimanjaro this is certainly true. Trekking in a group with guides and people of different backgrounds/interests is a team experience over tough often times austere terrain. You can lose your sense of biodiversity discovery in trying to power forward to reach the summit especially if you are only there to achieve a bucket list goal—climbing the highest point in Africa.
Senses on fire
Eddie describes the Kilimanjaro flora experience best. “Climbing through the five vegetation zones, you discover an astounding world of flora that fires up your senses. This feeling of wonder is an unexpected bonus to the challenge of climbing to the summit of the world’s highest solitary peak. It makes every hour of your struggle enjoyable and ignites the same sense of awe you experienced when you made new discoveries as a child.”
Get your copy of The Flora of Kilimanjaro now!