Challenging trekking in the Southern Highlands – update from team Alpha one

26th October 2014

Breakfast on trek

We met up with team Alpha one for a couple of days, just over half way through their nineteen day trek across the Southern Highlands near Iringa. In this guest blog Kate, from team Alpha one, sums up their experiences so far.

Over to Kate...

“We rise each morning when the day is cool just before the sun is up. We empty our mess tins of porridge and tea and pack up our temporary home.

Breakfast on trek

Each of us carries all the food and equipment needed for our mobile community that is Alpha one.

Trekking through African countryside

Once we mobilise, we travel together between 12 to 18 kilometres across the breathtaking Southern Highlands of Tanzania. As a community, we are able to experience the complete uniqueness of the most rural settlements in the country, seeing both poor and rich, with the most vibrant sights and smells. Everywhere we go, we feel like celebrities and the children line up along the road to high-five or just touch our hands.

Trekking through village with children following

The sun is our worst enemy and the heat of the day becomes unbearable, but our surroundings and the people we meet inspire us to push that extra kilometre further, just so we can absorb more of Tanzania. Each day, we pass through ever-changing landscapes –past pools full of frogs, through lush jungle and then into arid scrubland.

When we arrive at camp, we collapse in heaps. We dump our bags and raise our tents and start the fire going in time for tea.

Pitching tents

Without television or radio we only have our stories as company and over corned beef and beans we talk about the things we have seen. This inspires us to do as much as we can to support the communities in this beautiful country.

We elect a day leader every day and get really excited over our daily biscuit rations which we share in pairs. We’ve learnt a lot about how invaluable clean water is, having to find, filter and purify our water before we can use it.

Filtering water

We were invited to spend the night camping in a Maasai village. The Maasai people have a very distinctive appearance and dress, as well as a fascinating lifestyle and culture. They wanted to show us how they live, how they raise their children and how they look after their animals. The women taught us how to milk cows and the men showed us how to herd cattle and catch goats. The Maasai cooked dinner for us and we were inspired by the respect they have for food and for their animals, which flourish despite the arid scrubland. The evening ended around the campfire dancing and singing with the Maasai whilst shooting stars flashed overhead.

Maasai dancing

We are over halfway through our trek and although everyone has had moments where they have really had to dig deep to carry on, we are all there for each other. It’s an incredible experience.”

Steve and Ahmadi laughing