Name ID 1654
Sadleir, Randal Tanzania, Journey to Republic
Page Number: 202
Extract Date: 1957
A second excellent hotel, the Marangu Hotel, run by Mr Bennett's sister-in-law a couple of miles away from the Kibo, completed the tourist trade infrastructure and climbers took off on a trek through the rainforest on the first stage of the 36-mile walk to the summit.
A river with a spectacular waterfall ran under a little bridge between the two hotels. Ice cold waters ran down the mountain and fed the Marangu Hotel swimming pool, perhaps the coldest in which I have ever swum. A glowing carpet of pink wild flowers covered the green verges of the road making Marangu a sylvan paradise from which from time to time one caught tantalizing glimpses of the snow-clad glory of Kibo and the black rocky fast-ness of Mawenzi, speckled sometimes with a hint of snow. The mighty mountain seemed to cast a spell on everyone. The Chagga had known since time immemorial that the gods dwelt there, so would never desecrate such a holy place. That Europeans should wish to climb to the top seemed stupid, pointless and profane.
Like all goddesses, the mountain hid her beauty coyly, some-times for days at a time behind wispy veils of gossamer tinged with the rainbow colours of the sky. The brooding spirit of the mountain, which seemed to follow one nearly everywhere one went in the Northern Province, never looking exactly the same and constantly fascinated me.
Another feature of Marangu was Nicholas Marko's bar, a short walk from the Kibo Hotel. I often went there after dinner for a chat and a drink with the locals, who kept me up to date with the latest intelligence, political and otherwise. The regulars included teachers, local government and cooperative officers, nurses and coffee farmers, and the conversation was always lively and amusing. As in Dar es Salaam, though usually the only European present, I was invariably treated with great courtesy. The latest hits from the Congo provided excellent background music.