Wellness & Fitness

Unstoppable hiker who has climbed over 100 mountains 


Rose Kimondo on Mt Meru in Tanzania in 2021. PHOTO | POOL

There is a cliché many would be familiar with, "it’s about the journey, not the destination". Hikers understand this so well and Rose Kimondo who has climbed over 100 mountains, for fun, is one of them.

She started mountain climbing as a pastime activity six years ago, out of curiosity. Her curiosity has never stopped. 

“I started hiking while at the university in 2018. It wasn’t about physical fitness. Everybody kept talking about climbing Mt Kenya and it kept bothering me how one was able to summit the second tallest mountain in Africa and have fun,” says the 27-year-old quantity surveyor.


Rose Kimondo stands on glacier at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. PHOTO | POOL

As a student, she had to pull all her savings to quench her curiosity at a time when hiking was costly and associated with the rich. 

"This is why I paused, due to financial constraints,” she offers. During the pandemic, Ms Kimondo pulled out her hiking gear again.

“After Covid-19, there emerged cheaper options for hiking on a budget, people became innovative. Previously, we used to engage a tour company which made it expensive, but during the pandemic, people of the same interests realised that they could organise hikes on their own,” she says.

Despite being on her maiden voyage to Mt Kenya, Ms Kimondo knew she would do it again. “What I enjoyed and had me hooked to hiking was nature and the calmness of the mountains.

That had my spirit on a different level and I knew I would for sure do it again and again, and I've never stopped,” she says.

After Mt Kenya, she climbed Mt Longonot, then Sleeping Warriors, a group of hills near the shores of Lake Elementaita that resembles a man lying down on his back.

She then travelled to Uganda and voyaged through Mt Elgon and Virunga Mountains, a chain of volcanoes stretching between Rwanda, DRC and Uganda.

“They are beautiful mountains, tough, but a very enjoyable hike,” she says.

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Rose Kimondo on Mt Meru in Tanzania in 2021. PHOTO | POOL

The highest peak she has summitted is Mt Kilimanjaro, which stands at 5,898 metres. “Should you take on Mt Kilimanjaro and pick the Marangu route, there are cute huts set up for the last camp before you summit, and you pay about Sh2,000 for a night.

There is clean running water and good bathrooms, and I hear they recently installed Wi-Fi. This is the most luxurious hike I have witnessed,” she says.

For new hikers, Ms Kimondo offers some basic tips.

“You need to establish if it’s a hot or cold hike. Depending on the weather, you may need a puffy vest or down jacket, lightweight fleece pullover, warm hat, sunglasses and gloves. But one staple thing is rain gear. Always carry your poncho and rain pants. Also carry food depending on the length of the hike," she says. 

In case you're camping, she suggests you carry power banks, small lanterns, and tents besides the basics such as the right hiking shoes; figure out if you need trail running shoes, waterproof hiking boots or sturdy boots.

Your hiking socks shouldn’t be cotton because they absorb sweat. Also, invest in trekking poles.

If you are not planning to hire a guide, choose a hiking route before D-day. Factor in the distance to and from the trailhead, overall distance, elevation gain and fitness level.


Rose Kimondo at Lake Two Tarn in Mt Kenya in 2022. PHOTO | POOL

“Honestly assess your fitness levels, the kilometres and hours you can comfortably hike. You want to have an enjoyable experience rather than suffering through a long strenuous hike,” she says.

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