Ascent to Hanang-Idara ya Mkuu wa Wilaya on 2017-04-04

Climber: Sean Caulfield

Date:Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
Point Reached:Hanang - Idara ya Mkuu wa Wilaya
    Elevation:6234 ft / 1900 m
    Remaining Elevation:4977 ft / 1517 m (94% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Took a bus from Arusha to Katesh (TSH.11,000, pay on the bus, not to any middlemen in the bus station). We left Arusha at 6:40am & it took about 4 hours to reach Katesh.

I got out of bus station quickly & crossed the road to avoid anyone approaching me & offering to be my guide, then headed up the hill towards the large antennae, which are near to the "Idara ya Mkuu wa Wilaya", or municipal hall, where I needed to register & pay the Forest Reserve fee of $30. I had to ask for directions a couple of times but eventually found it.

Here I was directed to an office (not the empty no. 15 mentioned elsewhere online), where I declared my intention to hike up, camp for the night near the top, then summit & descend the following day.

I signed the register & was about to pay the reserve fee when the official changed his mind & began calling one of his friends, who was a guide. He now insisted it was not possible to climb the mountain guideless - "too dangerous".

I explained to him that I had experience hiking much higher mountains, but to no avail. My only option was to pay him the fee, get a hotel in Katesh for the night, then hike with his friend the guide the next day. I tried reasoning with him further, but finally gave up & stormed out of the office, walked down to the main road & flagged down a bus back to Arusha.

I have very mixed feelings about Tanzania, it is undoubtedly a beautiful country full of lovely friendly people, but the fees charged for activities in National Parks are extortionate & out of all proportion.

Maybe I should have spent a night in Katesh & done the day hike the next day, I'm sure it would have been a great hike, but that would have cost me a further day from my (short) trip, I might have summited in a cloud & I would have spent more than I paid for e.g. on Pico de Orizaba in Mexico to climb the 4th highest mountain in Tanzania.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:328 ft / 99 m
    Trailhead:5906 ft / 1800 m

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