Not many people can say that they have climbed the tallest mountain on the continent of Africa. At over 19,300 ft., summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy task. Sophomore Livvy Hintz, however, completed this feat this past summer.
After much research, Livvy and her family decided to make the 8,000 mile trip to Africa, where they visited Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the island of Zanzibar.
“My dad has climbed many mountains before, so he wanted to have a family mountain climbing trip before my sister and I leave for college,” Hintz said. “Africa was one place he had not climbed.”
Before heading to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Livvy, her sister senior Maddy Hintz, and her parents toured several national parks in Tanzania. Tarangire National Park, Ngorognoro Conservation Area, and Lake Manyara were a few of Hintz’s favorites.
“My favorite part about the national parks was the amount of wildlife we saw,” Hintz said. “Lions, elephants, and zebras are just a few of the animals we witnessed up close.”
She and her family then headed to Mt. Kilimanjaro to begin their climb, along with 14 porters and two guides who would assist them on their journey.
On an average day day of climbing, Hintz woke up at around six in the morning. First, with the assistance of her porters, she retrieved warm water to wash up with. After that, the family gathered their belongings and head to their eating tent. A typical breakfast consisted of toast, eggs, and porridge, prepared by their personal chef.
Before they began climbing, Hintz’s family had to be medically examined to ensure they could sustain the altitude changes.
“After breakfast every day, we would have a health check that checked your blood oxygen level and your heart rate,” she said. “If we were healthy, we would be given the OK to start climbing.”
From there, Hintz climbed for around five hours, traveling for about eight miles. When they reached the next resting spot, their campsite was already set up by their porters and a hot lunch was prepared by their chef. Hintz and her family then relaxed at their camp for the remainder of the night. There, they learned some of Tanzania’s native language, Swahili, and played cards. Before bed, a final health check was required.
Hintz did face some challenges while climbing, like extreme headaches and freezing temperatures due to the altitude. She was in good physical shape, though, which made the climb more manageable.
“Before we left for Africa, my family and I hiked up a sledding hill 25 times in the heat every Sunday for three weeks and I think that really helped,” Hintz said.
After successfully summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, Hintz and her family headed to Zanzibar, an island west of Tanzania, where they relaxed and scuba dived.
For Hintz, the unique scenery and kind people made the trip one to remember.
“Everywhere we went [in Africa], it was unlike anything I had ever seen before,” she said. “Every person we met was so nice and welcoming.”
Hintz also said that it was nice to get away from her everyday life and focus on the trip and the people that she was with.
“It was an amazing experience to travel to the other side of the world and see a different culture,” Hintz said. “Summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro at 15 [years old] was a really cool accomplishment and an experience I will remember forever.”