Some couples might get married in a venue overlooking a mountain; other couples get married on top of one. Thomson trekkers Nanda and Susheel fall into that second category. The pair climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and exchanged vows on Uhuru Peak in an intimate ceremony officiated by their head guide, James.
“Susheel and I have been ‘on top of the world’ ever since,” said Nanda. “We are so amazed by the experience. Everything was perfect!”
Nanda taking a quick break on the mountain.
A Match Made in Heaven
Nanda and Susheel were introduced by common friends four years ago and quickly discovered that they both shared a passion for hiking and the outdoors. They hike regularly in San Diego and love exploring National Parks all over the country. When Nanda mentioned that a Kili trek was on her bucket list, Susheel was eager to join…one day.
“After we got engaged, we thought it would be fun to get married on Mount Kilimanjaro, and the idea just settled in our mind,” said Nanda.
Posing for a group photo.
Sleeping on top of the clouds at Barafu Camp.
Couples Who Trek Together Stay Together
Training for a Kili trek can be nerve-wracking for anyone, let alone a couple that’s simultaneously preparing to get married. Fortunately for this pair, they had plenty of climbing experience, and wanted a simple but meaningful ceremony.
Almost at the summit!
“We knew there wouldn’t be time for any traditions in the cold and damp weather,” she laughed. “We just wanted to speak our promises and enjoy the moment without fanfare.”
Once they made it to the summit, their head guide James officiated and blessed their union in front of a small group of trekkers and porters.
The moment we had been waiting for: exchanging our vows on the summit!
“Susheel and I just remember the strong emotions from our heart as we stood there on the Roof of Africa, holding hands and speaking words of love and promises of our future,” she explained. “It seemed that even the witnesses faded away and only the two of us were there in the most beautiful setting.”
Shortly after the exchange, another Thomson group approached the summit.
“When they found out what we were celebrating, they sang us a wedding song in Swahili, which was very special,” she noted.
No Kili trek is possible without amazing guides like Jackson, James, Bernard, Gama, and Calvin!
The ‘Honeymoon’ Camp
Though the couple had a 12-day Tanzania and Kenya safari extension to look forward to after their trek, the porters insisted on referring to Crater Camp as the “Honeymoon Camp.” Nanda and Susheel were the only trekkers in their group to stay in the camp overlooking the famous glaciers of Kili.
Playing in the snow! Yes, there’s actually snow in Africa.
“We thoroughly enjoyed each phase of the trek up, in anticipation of the culmination at the summit,” said Nanda. “We had prepared hard for it together and it was rewarded by making our goal a reality.”
To other couples, the newlywed had one inspiring and fitting piece of advice:
“Nothing is impossible if two people love each other! Live the Dream.”
All photos in this article were taken by Susheel Dharia.