So the plan is set and you’re getting ready to take on one of the world’s biggest challenges – taking a bit of a trek to do some Kilimanjaro climbing. While this is one of the most exciting things that you can do on a bucket list, it’s also a serious undertaking that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A lot of time and planning goes into a successful summit of this volcanic mountain, and it can be daunting to know exactly where to begin. Here are our top things you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro.
Fitness And Preparation
Tackling a mountain as large and time consuming as Kilimanjaro will inevitably require a large amount of preparation. Not only will you need to prepare your own body and mind by eating right, getting enough rest and physically preparing yourself by exercising and making sure you up your endurance, but you will need to look into the concept of getting a reputable guide in place. Many guides will provide porters as well which will carry your main pack for you, but rest assured, it’s still a fairly strenuous hike.
The altitude of Mount Kilimanjaro is what can affect many (if not most) climbers. Altitude sickness occurs when you ascend to greater heights and the air becomes thinner with not as much oxygen accessible. This leads to headaches, nausea, fatigue, confusion and more and is combated by staying at each level of altitude for a period of time as well as by managing symptoms through proper rest, hydration, diet and the use of pain medication if necessary.
Length Of Time
Due to the altitude along with the pure scale of the climb up Kilimanjaro, many guides suggest that you do the trek in around a week. Some of the routes that are offered take either slightly shorter or slightly longer but can also entertain challenges like having rapid changes in altitude which can cause issues in the body. In this sense it’s a great idea to plan ahead and discuss with your guide which route or routes they suggest depending on your timescale and fitness level.
Time Of Year
The time of year you choose to attempt Kilimanjaro can mean a wildly different experience, including the trail you choose. Different sides of the mountain experience different weather at different (sometimes opposite) times of the year to other sides so it can be useful to research this in advance to be sure that you won’t be caught out in the rain with little to no rain gear. Likewise it can be snowy and cold at the summit most times of year so it’s advisable to pack some level of warm weather gear including a hat, mittens, trousers and fleece jacket. Ultimately, being prepared for whatever the weather will ensure a much more comfortable climb for you and your party.
In all, if you’re planning to head up Kilimanjaro, you will want to be sure to be prepared. Hopefully this little checklist will give you an idea of the things you need to keep in mind to ensure a happy, productive and successful climb for all involved. Good luck, and have fun!