The adventurous traveller is always looking for a new challenge such as the one presented to those who dare the rugged terrain and steep slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. Here are some things you need to know before you head out.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the focal point for many adventurous mountain climbers. At 19,341 feet above sea level, it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and is made up of three volcanic cones.
The first climb that successfully reached the summit was by German climbers Edward Oehler and Fritz Klute in 1912, after several failed attempts by previous climbers. Since then, the mountain has become one of the most popular hiking spots in the world.
Six routes are available for hiking:
- Lemosho (6 - 7 days)
- Machame (6 - 7 days, most scenic, though steep)
- Marangu (5 - 6 days)
- Rongai (6 - 7 days, simplest route)
- Shira (6 - 7- days)
- Umbwe (6 - 7 days)
The route you choose should depend on the level of exertion you can safely deal with. Checking with your doctor before you travel is strongly recommended.
Some tips for a successful climb:
- Make sure you are sufficiently fit - even the easiest hike can be difficult for someone who has cardiovascular issues or low muscle mass.
- Make sure you have all the equipment needed. Some operators supply equipment, so check with your operator to see what you need to provide for yourself.
- Get travel insurance. Anything is possible on the hike and you don't want to find that you are experiencing illness or injury with no access to medical care.
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you have an ample supply of fresh water.
- Take it easy - trying to speed walk to the summit will exhaust you early into the climb.
- Make sure you have adequate clothing and comfortable hiking boots.
- Make sure you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (or, Altitude sickness) - recognizing the symptoms early enough can prevent it from becoming fatal.
Once you've dealt with any risks involved, all you have left is to enjoy your climb. Mount Kilimanjaro offers stunning scenery and promises the adventure of a lifetime!