In Africa, a writer named Harry lies on a cot under a mimosa tree, slowly dying from a gangrene infection in his leg.
Next to him is his wife, Helen, who keeps vigil by his side, filled with fear and desperation.
Harry is bitter towards Helen, who he views as partly responsible for his failure as a writer by providing a comfortable life that drained away his talent. He alternately berates her and consoles her, as his impending death leaves him exhausted and fractious.
That's what kills us. Hot weather too, and talking about how we'll go together some time to the Gare Saint-Lazare
As he lies there, Harry goes into painful detail about all the stories he never wrote, his recollections becoming both clear and disturbing.
As he reflects on his lost opportunities and unfulfilled life, he falls in and out of consciousness. Harry intersperses his recollections with arguments with Helen, all the while, feeling the impending sense of his death. Eventually, rescue arrives, in the form of a bush pilot who comes to fly Harry to a hospital. But it is too late, the infection had consumed Harry to the point where he does not even care about the rescue. As he flies away, he imagines he sees the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, a place he has always wanted to visit.
Back at the camp, after the plane takes off, Helen wakes from sleep to realize something is wrong. Despite her calls, Harry doesn't respond, and she realizes with horror that he is dead.
No, you see. It's not snow and them all saying, It's not snow we were mistaken.
Her cries of grief are punctuated by the eerie laughter of a hyena outside the tent.