decembernomad decembernomad

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Samir | Adventure Travel  Some of my favourite pics from my travels 📍 Sydney, Aus 📷 Panasonic Tz100 🔚 Tanzania 🇹🇿 + Uganda 🇺🇬 🔜 Colombia 🇨🇴 + Peru 🇵🇪

One of Africa’s natural wonders.

Around 2.5 million years ago, a super-volcano in Tanzania (thought to be as big or bigger than Kilimanjaro) erupted and collapsed into what has become among the world’s largest calderas.

Then, after a million years, abundant water and vegetation started to attract more and more wildlife. Fast forward to today and this place is home to over 25,000 animals including the [endangered] black rhino, leopards, buffalos, elephants, zebras, warthogs, and the densest population of lions in the world.

Almost 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 264 sq kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is an awesome natural wonder.

Around 30,000 people attempt Kilimanjaro each year, and roughly 70% get to see this sunrise from the peak.

One of the biggest reasons for this is acute mountain sickness (or altitude sickness. If you’re headed on any mountain or volcano trek and spending more than four hours above 2,000 m / 6,500 ft, two tips for acclimatisation are:

Firstly, go slow. Even if you feel good, slow down and enjoy the scenery. As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure decreases. As a result, less oxygen is available to the body’s tissues, so the heart and lungs need to work harder to compensate and the body needs time to adjust.

Secondly, there’s a concept called ‘climb high, sleep low’ which involves sleeping at a lower elevation than that to which you ascended during the day. A rule of thumb is that above 3,000 m (~9,800 ft), don’t increase your sleeping altitude (i.e. where you camp) by any more than 300 m (~980 ft) per day.

If you don’t have a trek coming up, then that was a waste of 30 secs but hope you dig the pic.

There’s a project called #25zero that identifies 25 mountains on the equator (0 ° latitude) that had a glacier, and estimates that by the year 2040, all of that ice will be gone as a result of climate change. The goal of this project’s founder, @timjarvisam , is to scale all of these mountains and raise awareness of climate change around the world.

Jarvis talks about Kilimanjaro’s decreasing snowfall and desiccating glaciers (often going immediately from a solid state to a gaseous state (i.e. skipping a liquid state), which is terrible for local farmers who rely on seasonal water from the slow-moving frozen rivers to support their crops and livestock.

While it’s too late to save the glaciers on the equator, we can still save more of the world’s ice so it doesn’t disappear so fast.

What can you do?

1. Don’t invest your money in fossil-fuel-related businesses (either directly or indirectly via super or pension plan)
2. Consume more life experiences instead of material shit
3. If you can afford to, donate to @25zero_

Around 30,000 people attempt to reach Kilimanjaro’s peak every year for this unforgettable moment, standing on the “Roof of Africa” as the sun rises over the clouds and epic mountain landscape.

People can only stay up here for about 15 minutes before needing to head back down to lower altitude, but it’s one of the entire continent’s most breathtaking sights.

Two of my travel buddies for the last few years, @robieet and one of my best friends from high school, David (not on insta). David and I have actually traveled together pretty much every year since 2009. Some fond, hilarious and overall epic memories over the years.

Do you prefer to travel solo or with a friend?

P.s. Yes, we all bought the same pants for this trip 😂

Would you love to live in this little red hut here? High up on the mountain, among the clouds and away from technology and civilisation, even for just a little while?

Answer: you wouldn’t, because it’s actually a toilet.

Surrounding area was breathtaking tho 👌🏽

All the gear and no idea.

Kilimanjaro’s Highland Desert Zone (the 4th out of 5 climate zones) sits between 4,000 - 5,000m high and is an environment so brutal that no animals can live here. Some plants do, but they are among the most isolated, mutated, or rare species found almost nowhere else in the world.

One of these is the giant senecio tree here on the left.

Kinda looks like a cross between a cactus and a pineapple, these alien-looking plants can only be found on Kilimanjaro above 4,000m / 14,000 ft.

In order to survive in such a brutal environment (extreme altitude, the harsh sun during the day and the below-freezing temperatures at night), this thing has evolved water storage in the pith of the stem, and the leaves close when the temperature drops too far - a natural anti-freeze mechanism. The plant self-insulates too.

How crazy is nature?! 🤯

This was on Day 1 of Kilimanjaro. Excited, optimistic...and no idea what I was getting myself into.

Challenges arise from being out of your comfort zone but we all have an inner strength and potential we often underestimate until we’re pushed.

Most importantly though, out of your comfort zone you learn about what you can work on to improve yourself.

After overcoming adversity in more extreme forms, your threshold for what you recognise as uncomfortable rises as your comfort zone expands. What used to be outside of that bubble is now within it, and there’s a new challenge on the horizon. I don’t think that journey ever ends. It's an awesome thing.

All the essentials we take for granted at home - food, water, and shelter - need to be carried, set up and packed up every day on this mountain.

The “leave no trace” principle.

This is just part of the reason why Kili cannot be summited alone and why the guides and porters are the real MVPs. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

How cool are elephants? 3m tall, can weigh up to 7 tonnes, they literally change the landscape around them and even create their own sunscreen... 🤯

I learned Tanzania has unfortunately been hit extremely hard by the elephant poaching crisis since around 1970 when there were an estimated 400,000 elephants roaming around.

Guess how many there are today?

About 40,000.

Good work is being done but it’s a hard fight. @wwf is a great organisation to support to protect animals like elephants and help them get back to the millions that once roamed Africa a century ago.

How sad would it be if we lost this species?

A male lion in Kenya’s Masai Mara inhaling the female’s scent before he closes his nostrils to allow the scent into the vomeronasal organ (VMO) - a chemoreceptor that gives sensory feedback.

Many other mammals like big cats and antelopes do this (it’s called the “flehmen grimace”) and the most common time to see it is when a dominant male is testing a female’s scent for fertility.

In this case, the male was clearly down but lioness wasn’t feeling it.

Happy Valentine’s Day, all! Hope it’s going better than these two 😂

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