A Native Son Conquers Mt. Kilimanjaro

Ndifo’s Owner & Lead Guide, Steve Ngowi on the Meaning of His Climb

Steve was born on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro as a member of the Chagga tribe of northern Tanzania.  Most Tanzanians don’t get the chance to climb Kili, so it’s not something he ever thought he’d do. But now that now that Steve is a safari company owner, he wants to experience every aspect of East African tourism so that he can provide guidance for his own guests when they choose to add on activities to their safaris.  That means getting ready to summit the 19,341ft (5,895m) peak in April.

Steve reflects on what this journey means to him:

“We call Kilimanjaro the pillar of our strength as the Chagga tribe. The mountain is just next door but unfortunately many of us cannot manage to climb it.  We see people fly across the world to come and record that they have been on the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.  But we as Tanzanians we aren’t lucky to climb it because it’s expensive. Just to invest in the gear to go for the climb people will ask themselves if they can afford it.  So, I am honored to do it as a Tanzanian.

I always viewed the mountain as the highest point of the earth. Every morning we would go see it as the skies was clear, looking at the snow above it. It was always a beautiful view.  Now I am going to climb it!

The mountain in our community is being viewed as the mountain of strength and survival. Most of our land gets water from this mountain.  The water that flows down the slopes is the same water we will use for our daily use, Now I get to see this source.  Water is very meaningful for us.  My grandmother used to warn us that when we see the water leave and our farm is dry, the end would be very close.  Now many communities will struggle if this water goes away, which there is always threat of.  Now the river only flows in the rainy season and there can be a struggle with water in Tanzania.

No one in my family has ever been to the top of Kilimanjaro. We are really looking forward to it, and sometimes now, I dream of it.”

Follow along with Steve as he gets ready for this journey of a lifetime.