| 'Was your mom on the
mountain on her own?' asked someone in the back.
'No, there was a group of people
from around the world and they had guides and porters from a local
tribe. The Wachagga grow coffee and bananas but some of them
work on the mountain as well.'
'It usually takes
six days to go up to the top and down again on the Marangu
route. Trekkers stay in sleeping bags in mountain huts at night.
The first two days are uphill through rain forest, and then across
meadows on the slopes of Mawenzi.'
'Are there any animals?'
interrupted Lizzie. She loves her pet bunny.
and Tanzania have all kinds of wildlife, like elephants, lions, zebras
and rhinos. There aren't many animals to see on the mountain,'
I answered 'but if you're lucky and look closely
at rock piles you might spot these cute little guys. They're called
and they're the size of a large rabbit. But the special thing about
them is their nearest animal relative. Bet you can't guess what
They tried. They
came up with all kinds of creatures from aardvarks to warthogs, but
no-one got it. So I had fun telling them that the small hyrax is
cousin to ... the elephant.
Would you believe they have the same kind of feet with nails, and their
brain is like an elephant's too? Wonder if that means they never
'Do they live in those rocks?'
'This kind does. They hang
around clumps of rocks and you have to look hard to see them. There's
another nocturnal type that live in trees, called tree hyrax.
They croak like frogs and scream a lot.'
What do you get when you put a boy hyrax and
a girl hyrax together?
'Amir, we don't want to know!'
It was the end of class but the teacher asked
me to continue in the next geography period.