On Tuesday we hiked to the top of Mount Kasigau, one of the highest peaks in the Taita region with an altitude of 1600 meters. Our day started with an early wakeup and breakfast already at 6 am, since our plan was to arrive at our destination as early as possible. The aim of the early start was to avoid the hot midday sun before making it to the shadowy forest part of the hike, and to make it down before the sunset. The bus ride from the research station to Kasigau mountain took approximately 2-3 hours including one stop at the gas-station.
During the bus ride, the weather was a little gloomy and rainy. But once we got to our destination the weather cleared up and the sun started to shine. During the hike we observed the changing environment and vegetation, which comprises of savanna to cloud forest. At the bottom of the mountain it was drier with scattered forest, but the further up we got, the vegetation changed to bigger trees and more greenery. In the higher altitudes even the moisture was more noticeable and it got colder.
As we hiked to the top, we followed a water pipe to make sure we were on the right track. Most of the hike the terrain is very steep and quite rocky, so we had to be careful where to put our steps. Once we reached the top, we had lunch, enjoyed the view, and took a group photo before heading down again. On our way down we had to be careful of the safari ants that tried to climb up our legs, we had to be in almost constant movement to avoid getting bitten by them. All in all, the hike took us about 8 hours with some breaks on the way – approximately 4 hours up and 3 hours down. The whole route was about 14 km long.
At the end of the hike, once we made it back down, we were greeted by local women who sang to us and sold handmade baskets in different colors. After some of us had bought baskets we got back on the bus and made it to the station for a tasty dinner. I think everyone was pretty tired after the long day and hike, so right after dinner it was time for bed. All in all, it was a fulfilling day, and the hike was not as rough as many of us had thought in the beginning!