Book Review. Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill


Special thanks to Lada Ray for her great review of my book, Kilimanjaro. Thank you, Lada!

Lada Ray Blog

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill

 By M.G. Edwards

Book Review: Conquering your own Kilimanjaro

This book is about many things. At forty, the author, M.G. Edwards, finds himself at a crossroads. Leaving behind the unfulfilling job as part of the American Foreign Service, he embarks on a grueling, excruciating, and at times scary, journey to the top of Africa, the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Sound familiar? How many of us have gone through the same thing at some point in our lives? How many left an unfulfilling job behind, packed a backpack or a suitcase and embarked on a far away journey to look for answers? Only to discover that all of our answers lie within.

I was interested to follow the author’s journey to the top and the challenges he encountered along the way. But I was especially curious to read about the dynamics of…

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Kilimanjaro Book a Global Ebook Award Finalist


My book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, is a finalist for the 2012 Global Ebook Award in the Inspirational/Visionary – Non-Fiction category. The book is a memoir that chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, I tried to change my life by climbing a mountain. This is my true story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age.

To celebrate the occasion, I’ve put the ebook version of Kilimanjaro on sale for a limited time at these booksellers:

gebafinAmazon.com for Kindle (United States) – $1.99

Amazon.co.uk for Kindle (United Kingdom) – £1.32

Amazon.fr for Kindle (France) – €1,87

Amazon.de for Kindle (Germany) – €1,87

Amazon.it for Kindle (Italy) – €1,87

Amazon.es for Kindle (Spain) – €1,87

Barnes & Noble for Nook – $1.99

Smashwords for iPad and other e-readers – $1.99 / enter code SSW50 at check out

In addition, I added a fifth chapter to the excerpt from the book Kilimanjaro. Click here to read the first five chapters. If you like it, you can purchase the entire book from one of the booksellers listed on the last page. Thanks for reading it! I hope you enjoy it.

Readers have called Kilimanjaro “life changing,” “inspirational,” “an epic journey of self-discovery,” and “a peek into someone’s personal travel journal.” It’s a book for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber, mountaineer, or hiker who is interested climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, my book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

The Global Ebook Awards honor and bring attention to ebook publishing. Now in its second year, the Awards are given in 101 specific categories. They are open to all publishers. Each winner is chosen by category rather than based on size or region. This year, almost 1,000 submissions were judged by a panel of more than 250 judges who are experts in the categories and genres of the books nominated. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony to be held in Santa Barbara, California on August 18, 2012. For more information, visit http://globalebookawards.com.

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill is available to purchase for $3.99 mge-kili-cover-front-largeas an ebook from these booksellers:

Apple iTunes

Diesel Ebooks

Goodreads

Kobo Books

The Wordshop

Kilimanjaro is available to buy in print for $9.99 from these booksellers:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Createspace

Diesel Book Store

2011_12_29 Mike Kilimanjaro

Pick up your copy today!

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. His books are available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Kilimanjaro – Thumbs Down!


Many thanks to Diane Holmes for her post about my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill and praise for the photos from the climb. It’s high praise coming from a talented artist like Diane. Thumbs up for her art and rendering of Mount Kilimanjaro. My book Kilimanjaro is available to purchase as an e-book for US$3.99 or in print for US$9.99 from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and many other fine booksellers.

Kilimanjaro Book Nominated for Global Ebook Award


GeBA_Sticker-Nominated-GOLDM.G. Edwards’ debut book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, has been nominated for the 2012 Global Ebook Award in two categories, Inspirational/Visionary – Non-Fiction and Sports/Fitness/Recreation – Non-Fiction.

Kilimanjaro is a memoir chronicling the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. At forty years old and on the verge of a midlife crisis, he tried to change his life by climbing a mountain. This is his true story of facing Kilimanjaro and other challenges at middle age.

Readers rave about Kilimanjaro, calling it “life changing,” “inspirational,” and “an epic journey of self-discovery.” This book is for anyone who feels over the hill and needs encouragement to make a life change in the face of difficult odds. It’s also for the casual climber, mountaineer, or hiker who is interested climbing one of the world’s tallest mountains. Filled with insights and advice for those who are contemplating their own Kilimanjaro climb, this book will put you on the mountain and inspire you to go over it.

Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travelogues. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

The Global Ebook Awards honor and bring attention to the future of book publishing:  Ebooks. Now in its second year, the Awards are given in 72 specific categories. They are open to all publishers. Each winner is chosen as best in its category rather than based on size or region. Submissions are judged by a panel of 250 judges who are experts in the categories and genres of the books nominated. The awards ceremony will be held in Santa Barbara, California on August 18, 2012. For more information, visit http://globalebookawards.com.

Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill is available to purchase as an ebook from mge-kili-cover-front-midthese booksellers:

Amazon.com

Apple iTunes

Barnes & Noble

Diesel Ebooks

Goodreads

Kobo Books

Smashwords

The Wordshop

Kilimanjaro is available in print at these booksellers:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble

Createspace

Diesel Book Store

For more information about the book or M.G. Edwards, visit www.mgedwards.com or worldadventurers.wordpress.com. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/migedwards/, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

The Routes of Kilimanjaro


The various trekking routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, which chronicles my attempt to summit Africa’s highest mountain. The book is on sale now as an e-book for $3.99 and in paperback for $9.99 at Amazon and other booksellers. Kilimanjaro is featured this month as a new release by the World Literary Café.

The routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are as varied as its terrain and vegetation. All ways to the top are difficult, but none are alike. None guarantee you will reach the summit and make it back safely. Some routes, such as the Marangu and Rongai, are considered “easier” than the others because they offer a better chance of success to most climbers. The slopes they ascend are more gradual and longer, and hence give climbers more time to adjust to the high altitude. Steeper climbs, such as those on the Machame and Umbwe routes, are often preferred by more seasoned trekkers. For those seeking a more roundabout way to the summit with great views or a wide range of biodiversity, the Shira Plateau-Lemosho and the Northern Circuit routes could be options. The route you choose depends on you.

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Map from “Kilimanjaro – A Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain” by Henry Stedman. Trailblazer Publications; 3rd edition. Courtesy of Henry Stedman.

The following are general descriptions of the major routes on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Lemosho Route: A longer, lesser-used route that passes through the Shira Plateau, it merges with the Machame Route. Climbers usually reach the summit either via the Western Breach or Machame Route. Lemosho is a walking safari with possible animal sightings, and guides carry firearms in the event that climbers stumble upon predators.

Marangu Route: Also known as the “Coca-Cola” Route, this is the most popular way to the summit and typically takes six days. Its camps have better facilities than those on other routes. The trail starts at the Marangu Gate and passes through Kibo Huts to the summit. Some claim that it is the easiest route and has a higher success rate because it allows climbers more time to acclimatize and a more gradual ascent.

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Machame Route: Also known as the “Whiskey” Route, the Machame is the shortest and steepest route to the summit. It begins on the south side of Kilimanjaro and reaches the summit by scrambling from Barafu Huts up the slope of Kibo Peak. The hard and fast ascent generally decreases climbers’ odds of reaching the summit, although it may be suitable for experienced climbers who adjust quicker to higher altitudes.

Mweka Route: A short, steep route used only for descent. Climbers on the Machame Route often use it to descend the mountain. The trail begins at Barafu Huts and heads south.

Northern Circuit: A lesser-used route that circles the north side of Kibo Peak. Climbers using this route must use another one to reach the summit. The trail follows the alpine desert band around the peak and offers amazing views of the lowlands below.

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Rongai Route: Also called the Nalemuru, Nalemoru, Loitokitok, or Simba Route, this is a moderately steep route starting on the north side of Kilimanjaro close to the Kenyan border. I dubbed the Rongai the “Kilimanjaro Beer” Route because it lies somewhere between a Coca-Cola and a whiskey shot in terms of potency. It usually takes six days and merges with the Marangu Route at Kibo Huts. Some claim that it is the easiest way and has a higher success rate because it allows more time to acclimatize. It is relatively sheltered from the elements on the drier side of the mountain, less crowded, and scenic with its alpine vistas. The original trail began further away in the village of Rongai, but it was closed several years ago, and the Nalemuru was unofficially renamed the Rongai.

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Shira Plateau Route: A long, lesser-used route on the Shira Plateau that merges with the Lemosho Route at Shira Caves Camp. Trekkers who use this route generally follow the Lemosho or Machame routes to the summit.

Umbwe Route: Also known as the “Vodka” Route, it is one of the most difficult routes on Kilimanjaro. Climbers ascend via the Western Breach or the Machame Route. Considered one of the most spectacular ways to reach the summit, it follows a ridge and then passes below the Southern Icefield to merge with the Machame Route at Barafu Huts.

Western Breach/Arrow Glacier Route: Also considered part of the Lemosho Route, this is the most difficult route to the summit. Climbers depart Arrow Glacier Huts, a camp destroyed by rockslides, and summit by scrambling up the Western Breach or climbing the Breach Wall, a 100-meter-high ascent up an icy rock wall. This requires some technical skill, a high level of endurance, and an increased tolerance for high altitudes than the Machame or Marangu routes. It is prone to rockslides and sometimes icy, requiring climbers to cut ice steps or wear crampons. It was closed in 2006 when a rockslide killed several climbers but reopened in December 2007.

More About Mount Kilimanjaro:

Click here to learn more about the book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Click here for photos and descriptions of the full majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about the flora and fauna on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about the dedicated guides, porters, and cooks who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read the story of the iconic wooden sign on Kilimanjaro’s summit and the metal one that replaced it in January 2012.

Click here to read about the vanishing glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the 1936 semi-autobiographical short story by Ernest Hemingway, the 1952 film, and the main character, Harry Street.

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Majesty of Kilimanjaro


buythumb[3]Mount Kilimanjaro looms large in my book, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a chronicle of my attempt to summit the highest mountain in Africa.

The iconic mountain is a sight to behold. I can think of nothing better to capture the feeling of what it’s like to behold this magnificent peak than to share with you some photos of the mountain and short excerpts from the book. I hope that they will give you a glimpse of the majesty that radiates from Mount Kilimanjaro and put you on the mountain.

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“I slithered out of my tent and stumbled into an incredibly majestic view of the Kilimanjaro summit. The clouds parted and the sun appeared, brightening the landscape and warming the air. Kibo Peak rose high in all its glory, as if to say that only those who were worthy could behold her full beauty. Lacey folds of snow lay gently in crevasses made by long-vanished glaciers that raked the mountainside. I was mesmerized by the amazing view and gazed at it for what seemed like an eternity. At that moment, there was nowhere else on Earth I wanted to be.”

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“Kibo Peak reached for the sky yet looked close to the touch, and it beckoned me to head for the summit, a temptation that flattered me with a false confidence. I could not have chosen a better relief for my morning stretch. I faced the mountain and stretched in ways that made me look as if I were performing a sacred rite. I bowed and prostrated my body like a supplicant in a traditional ceremony, casting my arms and legs about in an elaborate ritual. The sunlight painted the landscape in surreal colors. The rock was more brilliant and the shadows deeper and more pronounced in the sunlight. I turned around in mid-exercise and beheld the Serengeti unfurling for miles across the plains into Kenya. Some claimed that Mount Kilimanjaro offered the best views in the world. Looking down on the world below, I had to agree.”

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More About Mount Kilimanjaro:

Click here to learn more about the book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Click here to read about the flora and fauna on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about the dedicated guides, porters, and cooks who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read the story of the iconic wooden sign on Kilimanjaro’s summit and the metal one that replaced it in January 2012.

Click here to read about the vanishing glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the 1936 semi-autobiographical short story by Ernest Hemingway, the 1952 film, and the main character, Harry Street.

buythumb7M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Plant Life of Kilimanjaro


buythumbPlant life is featured in my book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, which chronicles my attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The book is on sale now as an e-book for $3.99  and in paperback for $9.99  from Amazon and other booksellers.

Diverse vegetation from different climate zones graces the slopes of Kilimanjaro. One of the more unique places on Earth, the mountain lies in Africa‘s Afromontane region that straddles the Equator with clusters of freestanding mountains and plateaus surrounded by lowlands. A sky island more at home in the far reaches of the northern and southern hemispheres than the equatorial tropics, Kilimanjaro has amazing biodiversity.

Within days, mountaineers can hike through five different climate zones. These are:

  • Lowlands: Between 2,600 and 5,900 feet (790-1,800 meters), this is the subtropical area located just above the Serengeti plains. An area with heavier rainfall, its vegetation is dominated by banana, coffee, and other plants grown as crops.
  • Rainforest: Between 5,900 and 9,200 feet (1,800-2,800 meters), this is a subtropical rainforest rich with plant and animal life. The widest variety of flowering plants range in this zone.
  • Moorland and heather: Between 9,200 feet and 13,100 feet (2,800-4,000 meters), this area has less vegetation and is dominated by a few plant and animal species, including groundsels, lobelias, heather, and tree moss. Trees disappear above 13,000 feet.
  • Alpine or high desert: Between 13,100 and 16,400 feet (4,000-5,000 meters), this arid, semi-desert zone has no trees and few plants. Sage grass, hearty helichrysum flowers, moss, and thistles are common there.
  • Arctic or summit: Above 16,400 feet (5,000 meters), this is an arid zone with intense sunlight, thin air, and heavy snow and ice. Few to no plants grow there.

The southern and western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro are wetter than its northern and eastern sides. The city of Arusha to the west of Kilimanjaro sits in a tropical bowl, while the Serengeti Plains to the northeast are dry.

Here are some of the species of plant I encountered during my climb.

Mackinder’s Gladiolus (gladiolus watsonioides)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (1)

African blood or fireball lily (scadoxus multiflorus)

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (2)

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

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Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

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Protea kilimandscharica

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (4)

Kniphofia thomsonii

Giant fern

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (8)

Stoebe kilimandscharica

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (9)

Helichrysum meyeri johannis

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The south side of Kilimanjaro is a fertile landscape filled with windswept views of stunted forests and swaths of vegetation. In the subtropical lowlands, wispy bunches of tree moss hang from the trees like tattered voiles ready to spring back to life when the rains return, transforming the forest into a fantasy land.

Tree moss, also known as old man’s beard or Spanish beard (usnea lichen)

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Tree moss

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Tree moss

Tree moss

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Kilimanjaro impatiens (impatiens kilimanjari)

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Kilimanjaro impatiens (impatiens kilimanjari)

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Hebenstretia (the white flowering plant)

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Hebenstretia

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Daisy bush (euryops)

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Dead daisy bush (euryops)

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Golden daisy bush (euryops brownei)

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The north side of Kilimanjaro offers a more Alpine landscape with heather and moorlands dominated by tussock or bunch grass. The view there is more desolate and, in some ways, more intriguing as the vegetation quickly gives way to the exposed mountain. Mountaineers who climb fields of rust-tinged rocks are often left with the impression that they are on the surface of Mars.

Tussock or bunch grass

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Hypericum revolutum

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Dead helichrysum newii

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Helichrysum newii

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Stoebe kilimandscharica with bird

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (30)

Dead philippia excelsa with bird

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In the highlands, the view is dominated by groundsel trees, or dendrosenecios, with trunks like palms and topped with spiky leaf rosettes, as well a cactus-like flowering plant known as the lobelia deckenii.

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

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Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

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Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

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Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

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Giant groundsel (senecio kilimanjari)

Giant lobelia deckenii with bird

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Giant lobelia deckenii

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Giant lobelia deckenii

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Because few plants grow in the high desert, those that do such as sage grass and lobelia deckenii are photo ready. Unlike humans, the vegetation is hearty enough to survive the harsh climate on Kilimanjaro. Still, the mountain has a way of twisting everything at this altitude into bizarre and fascinating shapes.

Helichrysum meyeri johannis and lobelia deckenii

Kilimanjaro Plant Life (44)

Helichrysum cymosum

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Helichrysum cymosum

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Sage grass

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Dead thistle (carduus keniensis)

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If you’re thinking about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, imagine yourself hiking through these places over a few days. If you’ve already been there, I hope that these photos will bring back memories and help you put names to some of the beautiful foliage you saw on your way to and from the summit.

Kilimanjaro Plant Life

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More About Mount Kilimanjaro:

Click here to learn more about the book Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill about the author’s attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain.

Click here to read about the dedicated guides, porters, and cooks who work on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read the story of the iconic wooden sign on Kilimanjaro’s summit and the metal one that replaced it in January 2012.

Click here to read about the vanishing glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Click here to read about The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the 1936 semi-autobiographical short story by Ernest Hemingway, the 1952 film, and the main character, Harry Street.

To learn more about the fauna and flora of Kilimanjaro, visit:

Bill and Cori’s Excellent Adventures

Kilimanjaro Flora

Marijn van der Brink’s Photos

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. His collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an e-book and in print on Amazon.com. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.