Storyteller: Becarra Fletcher, Australia
What were the reasons for your travel?
This hike was part of a longer trip to Africa to visit my partner JP’s family. I visited Southern Africa in 2013 and whilst I experienced some amazing safaris, I didn’t have time to explore Tanzania. JP grew up in South Africa, and his dad climbed Kilimanjaro in 1996. We both love hiking and exploring new places. As the world’s highest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro is a unique opportunity to hike through different landscapes, and we saw it as a great physical challenge. Climbing Kilimanjaro has been on each of our bucket lists for a long time. After reaching the summit and making it back to Moshi Town, we also went on safari through the Serengeti. Tanzania is an incredible country with amazing landscapes, people and wildlife.
What is your favorite image and why?
I love taking photos. Creating photo books is such a great way to share travel with family and friends. The photos of each campsite signs from each day (like page 46) are a reminder of how high we climbed each day – and how we felt when we got there! I took these photos each day, knowing I would use them in the photo book. My favorite shot in the book is on page 38. I can’t take credit for the image – I was too busy climbing the rocks to take photos at this stage. This was the most technical part of our hike, and the one morning when it was too challenging for me to have my camera in my hand. Our guide, a local from Moshi, did a great job capturing the challenge of the climb alongside the landscape we were exploring. I also like the photo on page 21, of one of the guides taking a rest - you can see Mount Meru mountain in the background. The guides and porters work so hard to make it possible for us to climb, I love that this photo shows the smile that they always had on their faces. The photos from the top, Uhuru Peak, on page 52 and 53, are favorites because of the accomplishment that we all felt when we got to the top (not knowing how hard it was going to be to go down!)
What is your favorite story behind a single shot in the book?
My favorite memory behind a single shot would have to be the photo of myself and JP on page 48. We woke up at 11 pm so we could climb through the night to the summit. This image was taken at about 5.30 am, just as the sun was rising through the clouds. Our group was exhausted and concentrating on each step as we hiked through the darkness. Just before this shot was taken our guides spontaneously started dancing and singing the Kilimanjaro Song at the top of their lungs. Stopping, watching and joining in on the singing was the pick-me-up we all needed to get us to the top! The photo on page 34 of our guides singing and clapping was them at a campsite a new nights earlier.