Mount Shengena

  • Mount Shengena
  • 2464 m
  • Primary factor 1750 m
  • Tanzania
  • Location: South 04.26779, East 037.93152 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed January 17. 2019.


How to get there:
A good location to start from is the nice village/community of Chome. To get there, first locate the town Same on Hwy. T2 between Dar El Salam and Arusha. Go about 4 km south on T2 from Same, then take the road that forks left. Follow this dirt road about 20 km, keeping right at the roadfork, then find the smaller road that forks left and climbs steeply up the hillside in order to reach Chome. As this roads levels out, continue to the next main road fork. The main services, store etc are to your right, while our recommended guesthouse is steeply uphill to the left shortly before one arrives at this fork.
Route description:
From the center of Chome, proceed south along the main village road (rough) to location S04.28843, E037.89641, where a road forks left (uphill). Follow this road to a small hilltop at location S04.29619, E037.89911. There is a big sign here and a nice looking house on your left. The permit to climb Shengena is supposed to be checked here. Continue along the road as it bends around a bit left, then starts a steep uphill climb. A key waypoint is at location S04.29584, E037.90855, elevation about 1945 meter. Here one should leave the road steeply uphill to the right hand side. (The road continues uphill at this point.) Pick up a trail that runs pretty straight to a campground with a picnic table at location S04.29330, E037.92194, at roughly the same elevation. This distance is roughly 1.5 kilometer. Proceed in the direction slightly right of the peak, follow the trail, it will cross a creek on a wooden bridge then head gently uphill towards the forest. You should pass location S04.29030, E037.92368, elevation about 1930 meter along the correct trail. The trail heads more steeply uphill and arrives at a signed trailfork. Turn left here and follow this trail to the summit.
I climbed this peak together with Geoff (my cook) and a local guide named Joseph. According to Joseph, a fairly large number of Swedes visit this peak every year. He had also noticed a few Norwegians.
Pick up at my Arusha HQ at 0915, to safely make the 1000 bus departure to Same. It had been and still was raining quite hard. Citing the rain, our bus was late, arriving at the bus terminal around 1040, then delaying departure hoping for a few more passengers until 1100. We finally got going, with several more stops to find customers, we finally arrive in Same at 1630. Here, we pick up a climbing permit and buy water, our local guide shows up as well as a landcruiser with a local driver. First home to the guide, since he needed to pick up a few supplies, then on our way to accommodations that are located near the trailhead.
The road was steep and now very muddy due to the recent rain. We caught up with a local bus and two smaller vans, all stuck in the mud. After many tries they succeeded in getting slightly higher before getting stuck again. We started to hike the last few kilometers to our accommodation, while our driver was hopeful that he should somehow get the landcruiser to pass. This had been much easier at the previous problem spot. We hiked up a short-cut trail about 100 vertical meter, as the sun was setting, to find some houses and indeed meet our driver again. Continuing by car, we soon arrived at the intended place for the night. This turned out to be quite a well kept place, dinner then to bed in pretty descent sleeping quarters. The location is at S04.25997, E037.89115, elevation about 1630 meter.
The next morning, nice pancakes for breakfast, then left shortly after 0730. The local road through the village is unbeliveably bad, so one must hold on at all times in the landcruiser. We stop on a small hilltop next to a house with lots of signs, the permit is checked, then we continue only a few hundred meter and the guide, Joseph declares that we should start from here despite the road continuing up the hill.
We start out at 0825, I was thinking that we should continue to follow the road to get to the trailhead that Rob started from when he was here. Possibly, we should take a route that would intersect his route since we now came sort of from the opposite direction. However, pretty soon we noticed that we had "lost" our guide, he just walked considerably slower that Geoff and me. We waited, then some shouting of messages between Geoff and Joseph followed (in Swahilli). The result was that Joseph caame up to us and told us that we should descend back some way, then follow a road that went left. OK, this seemed to imply that we would skip Rob's trailhead and rather intersect his route. However, we again got a bit ahead of Joseph, waited for him as he now told us that we needed to reverse on the road, then descend to a flat area below. This descent was off-trail and full of bush, quite a bit cumbersome. We finally made it down and joined what is called the UNDP trail, intersecting Rob's route then joining it again at place with a trail sign. From here, Joseph wanted us to go ahead as he needed a slower pace.
Geoff and I proceeded to the summit, arriving there at 1100. The weather was gorgeous and we had a long rest waiting for Joseph to catch up. We left together at 1135 and walked down the correct path hitting the campground that also Rob mentions after one hour at 1235. A 15 minute break where Geoff and Joseph had a small lunch. We continued, this time on the proper trail and hit the road where we should have turned right on our ascent. Back at the car at 1315, a nice hike to a forest ultra.
In the afternoon, we walked with Joseph to a cliff overlooking the flat valley below. Joseph told about how the current Pare people had arrived from Kenya looking for land that had water. He told about the old beliefs and how the people had practiced killing newborn babies that somehow deviated from the normal. About how Christianity had ended the practice. How they had been fighting the Masai people that lived on the low (flat) land below. We walked back in the good weather, a nice 2 hour excursion.
The previous climb on this trip was Hanang, the next peak is Sungwi.