Despite being one of the most achievable climbs of the globe’s seven summits, Mount Kilimanjaro remains a rock to be reckoned with. Everyone who makes Kili their home for a week experiences the ills of high altitude, freezing temperatures, loss of appetite, and very few opportunities for real rest. But for those who reach the top, temporary pain dissolves into permanent victory at 5,895 meters on Uhuru Peak.
We had a stellar team of guides and porters who ushered us up the mountain, and became memorable friends along the way. After all, how could you forget legends like Man Africa, Mr. Pole Pole, Big 6, Fabulous, and Forty-Two? Climbing mountains is rooted in personal accomplishment, but it’s the opportunity to face a challenge with others that makes it special.
Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain, casts a broad shadow across the early morning sky, dwarfing its neighbor, Mount Meru. We successfully reached Uhuru Peak at 6:30am, delighted despite the thin air. (c) Andrew Klein
Looking into the abyss on Mount Kilimanjaro. (c) Andrew Klein
Africa, Part 1 of 4: South Africa
Five years ago, our friend, Reuben Hernandez, left his 9-5 to pursue a creative career of his own making. To kick it off, he packed a bag with a camera and the longest lens he had, and flew to South Africa. It proved to be the beginning of a lucrative career and a life of travel. We liked the sound of that, so it only made sense for the launch of Klein & Corazón to begin in similar fashion.
We met up with Reuben in Johannesburg where we were soon joined by Dudley Gradwell, retired Kruger National Park veterinarian. Dudley spent five days guiding us through the park, recounting unusual encounters with wildlife (lions pawing his tent at night, teaching his pet cheetah to hunt impala, darting buffalo from helicopters), and sharing heaps of rusk each morning.
Winter colors in South Africa are reminiscent of fall in the northern hemisphere, with a dash of zebra. (c) Andrew Klein
Sunset over the bushveldt. (c) Andrew Klein
Golden hour in Kruger National Park is a bit more magical when filled with elephant, hippo, and hyena. (c) Andrew Klein
We were fortunate to spot most of the antelope species in Kruger Park, including a pair of Rhone, but the simple impala still stands out amongst the mopane trees. (c) Andrew Klein
This is Shaka, a king cheeta born in captivity at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Center in South Africa, the leading organization reintroducing cheetah back into the African wild. King cheetah are the result of a recessive gene that reveals their unique coat pattern. Although their markings are striking, their ability to camouflage is compromised, making it difficult for them to hunt in the wild. (c) Andrew Klein
Not all that glitters is gold. A Nile crocodile slides across a river gilded with the reflection of mopane. (c) Andrew Klein
Galactic goodnight from Shimuwini Bushveld Camp. (c) Andrew Klein
Despite being the tallest living terrestrial animal, giraffe seem to have an innate ability to hide in plain sight. This extra large male nearly went unnoticed, even though he was browsing leaves right next to the road. (c) Andrew Klein
We soon embarked on a multi-day drive across South Africa to our friend Garth’s family sheep farm in the Karoo. Garth is a film-maker who got his start chasing meerkats around the Namibian desert with a GoPro rig. We collected Garth and made our way to the Garden Route, winding along the southern coast past famous surf breaks and rivers that cut deep into the green earth. Destination: Cape Town.
Cape Town is one of those places that delivers on all levels. Dramatic landscapes, vibrant city life, serene wine country, and sharks. Flying sharks, to be exact. False Bay is one of the only places in the world where great white sharks are observed breaching as they hunt seals. We were fortunate to capture a few flying fins, then hopped in a cage to get up close and personal with the ocean’s apex predator. Recent articles point to controversy over cage diving operations, theorizing that chumming is changing shark behavior and contributing to shark-human conflict. Our own unscientific observations? Sharks are curious creatures, but there is a lot of food in the water that they’d prefer. It does make you pause a bit though when you see the shark warning flags fluttering in the wind at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg.
It’s not hard to see why the road that follows the southern coast of Africa is called the Garden Route. The drive from Jeffrey’s Bay to Cape Town is a verdant landscape, often dropping in dramatic fashion to a narrow river bottom that soon meets the sea. If you’re willing to brave oncoming traffic and vertigo, this view of the Storms River is yours. (c) Andrew Klein
This is our friend and fellow film-maker, Garth, atop his backyard mountain, Lion’s Head. (c) Andrew Klein
A bright little spot called Surfer’s Corner outside of Cape Town. (c) Andrew Klein
This is what a tough day for a Cape Fur Seal looks like. To see a 3.5 meter great white shark breach while hunting its prey was an exhilarating and rare spectacle, largely only observed here in False Bay, South Africa. Afterward, we suited up and took a dip with these impressive creatures. (c) Andrew Klein
Table Mountain, fading in the last of the day’s golden light. (c) Andrew Klein
A bit of pinotage and cheese in Stellenbosch, and we bid the land of Mandela auvoir. Next up, Africa Part 2: Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mountains of Memories
Growing up in Idaho meant huckleberry-stained fingers, wet waders, and chairlift chats with friends and strangers alike. It’s a land of quiet magic. These days I split my time between two world-class cities: San Francisco and New York. There’s an irreplaceable energy and creativity in these places, but it’s the sort that requires you to keep a brisk pace. So it’s always a pleasure to return to roots, breath mountain air, and explore where the soul rests easy.
– Andrew Klein, founder
Get out and find a big sky this weekend. We found one (along with a couple big storms, big trout, and big fun) in Idaho. Photo (c) Andrew Klein
What does Monday look like at your office? This is ours. It’s also the place where our love for the outdoors was born. The Sawtooths, White Clouds, and Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (how’s that for a name?) are the canvas of our yout. Here “population” refers to elk, salmon, and wolves. Let’s keep it that way. Photo (c) Andrew Klein
There’s something about the high desert in the evening. It’s hardly lonely, especially when you can share the warm wind with a close friend. Photo (c) Andrew Klein