Like many travellers I had “Climb Mount Kilimanjaro” firmly written on my bucket list, but if I am honest, I never actually thought I would have the opportunity to do it.
Fortunately, my travel-mad husband also dreamed about climbing Africa’s highest mountain, and one sunny afternoon in June last year he booked the flights to Kilimanjaro International and told me I had just 15 weeks to get ready for this trip of a lifetime!
Am I fit enough to climb Kilimanjaro? Can I afford to climb Kilimanjaro? How long will I need to train for Kilimanjaro? Were just some of the questions that came in to my mind, but once I got over the initial shock, I decided to grasp this amazing opportunity with both hands, and immediately started training for our hike to the Roof of Africa.
Being both highly disciplined and very determined, I developed my own training plan, and thanks to our base in the Austrian Alps, I had the perfect training ground on my doorstep. Hiking, biking, swimming and running became part of everyday life, and before we knew it, we were on our way to Tanzania.
After spending many hours searching for a good Tanzanian climbing company on the internet, we eventually settled on Big Expeditions, who are members of KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program) and IMEC (International Mountain Explorers Connection), and it was possibly the best decision we have ever made.
The service provided before our arrival in Arusha and on site was second-to-none, and we knew that if any company was going to get us to Uhuru Peak, it would be this one! So after a night’s rest at Planet Lodge, we set off to the Machame Gate for day one of our Kilimanjaro Expedition.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a life-changing and rewarding experience, and while some days are tougher than others are, those long hikes, cold nights and dizzying headaches all seem like a distant memory once you reach the snow-capped peaks of this 5895-metre mountain.
Those following our blogs will know that we did make it to Uhuru Peak, and we crossed this once in a lifetime experience off our bucket list, but there is something magical about Mount Kilimanjaro, and for some unknown reason we feel compelled to return…