Tapeth the People of the Mountains

The mountain of the Moroto Volcano mountain, range on the border between Uganda and Kenya

— text by Roberto Calcagno

Into the wild, in deep Africa
It's a been a while since we started our hike today. We've been walking in the arid African forest for quite a while. The freshness of the morning is gone, replaced by breathless hot temperatures. The 2000 meters of altitude fortunately bring some fresh air but the temperature is way higher than 30 degrees. Suddenly we hear some movements. We are a bit of scared. We are in a totally unknown place, into the wild, in deep Africa, at the end of the day. And even if the question as whether there were dangerous animals the response of the locals was negative the doubt remains. Finally, the movements result in baboons. We collect some sticks to remove any aggressive baboons. In breaking a branch we hear a new strange noise: a snake? We try to drive out our inner demons and keep going.

It seems to be a historic Columbus movie
We have two bottles of water with biscuits and two chapati, Indian bread with us. Every soon and than, there is a kind of path, but mainly we proceed wild. The goal is a mountain of the Moroto Volcano mountain range on the border between Uganda and Kenya. After another hour, the ground pits are less and we proceed more easily. The climate here is arid hot. I wonder how trees do the leaves despite the total aridity surrounding us. At some point suddenly we see huts: "There are huts. What to do? Let's introduce ourselves."
It seems to be a historic Columbus movie. The first indigenous we are spot is a child who sees us and runs away. We arrive after a few meters to a larger hut complex. There is a very rudimental fence that delimits it, made of twisted twigs interwoven with each other. When we see the people watching us we can leave the sticks, we show the smile the least tense possible offering them our biscuits.

The savannah below us is immense
There will be a dozen people. Half of them children. These are the Tapeth, that's the name of the tribe, as we'll discover later. Every tension really relief once we offer them a ridiculous amount of money for using their paths (something like 6 euro). They point us to the mountain for gestures and body language. We get out of the dazed and happy encounter. I realize that this was the kind of experience I am here for. The savannah below us is immense. We climb up to 2500 meters of this unnamed peak. We refocus and return to the valley, perceiving, perhaps for the first time in our life, what is Thirst. And I think the rain from now on will have a different meaning. Because our Tapeth friends, if they do not rain, are likely to die of thirst.

Roberto Calcagno
/ Trekking Alps Founder – Hiking Guide

I am Roberto Calcagno, Hiking Guide from 2010, funded Trekking Alps website in 2012. I am a Telecommunications Engineer and I could definitively switch my carrer to Hiking guide in 2015. It was the best day of my life as I found also Love in that day: 9th of April will be always my personal National Holiday! I travelled the World and I love cultural differences. I love my job which is a mix of Nature, Beauty and shared experience: my passions all togheter.


My footwear

For this trekking on the mountain of the Moroto Volcano mountain, I used the Tengu Low GTX, Trekking boot that suits for mix surfaces. The upper is made with ultralightweight and durable materials combinated with GORE-TEX® elastic sock to deliver both comfort and precision fitting. The lasting board and sole unit features the exclusive ELICA Natural Stride System technology to enhance the bio-dynamic performance.