Martina Navratilova is leading a group of 27 fundraisers to the summit of Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, to raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, a charity helping the lives over one million disadvantaged youngsters worldwide through sports-based projects.
Martina will be issuing a daily blog on their progress as they make their way toward the summit via the Rongai Route.
DAY ONE: Monday December 6, 2010
Forest Trek to 2,600m
Day one of the Mount Kilimanjaro fundraising challenge and the team are all in high spirits after a consistent but gentle first day of climbing. It feels great to be underway, and I am thrilled to be joined by a group of 27 fundraisers, including the British Olympic badminton star Gail Emms and German Paralympian cyclist Michael Teuber. We are all so impressed that Michael is with us. He is a really determined young man.
After an early breakfast this morning, we made our way to the Marangu National Park gate, where we registered for the expedition. The climb began at the village of Nale Moru, just south of the Kenya-Tanzania border. From there, the porters led us on a small path winding through fields of maize and potatoes, before entering a pine forest; it was here that we saw a variety of wildlife, including the Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey.
I was hoping for some great views as we walked, but to be honest the weather so far has not been what we hoped for. It's been dull and damp and in the distance we have seen thunderstorms and lightning.
The walking today has been fairly easy, we've been introduced to 'pole-pole' which means 'slowly, slowly', to allow our bodies to acclimatise properly, so it has been a gentle day.
We have now all reached the campsite, where we will now refuel with lots of drinks and stock up on carbs before trying to get a good night of sleep and recharge our batteries ahead of the second leg of the challenge early tomorrow morning.
After so many months of planning and expectation I can't tell you how exciting it is to be on the way at last.