Climbing Kilimanjaro is neither easy nor cheap, but if you have always dreamed of climbing Africa’s highest mountain on a journey of self-discovery and adventure, there are endless reasons why you should turn that dream into a reality in 2015.
Kilimanjaro is now easily accessible from all major international airports, and if you book your flights approximately 3 months before your climb, you should get a good deal (this does not apply to Christmas & New Year!). Once you have booked your flights and confirmed your climb with a reputable Kilimanjaro Climbing Company (check out Henry Stedman’s book for advice), the rest is up to you – but here are 10 Tips to Help you Reach Uhuru Peak based on my own experience…
- Pack as much hiking gear in your hand luggage as possible and always travel in your hiking boots. Luggage delays happen, and while you can rent clothing and hiking gear in Arusha, you don’t want to be climbing Kili in strange boots!
- Eat, drink, eat, drink and repeat. If you have booked with a good company, food and beverages will be plentiful – so indulge and give your body the energy it needs to succeed.
- Listen to your Mountain Guide. He knows what it takes to reach Uhuru Peak – he’s probably been there 50 times already, so heed his advice.
- Enjoy every day. Uhuru Peak is your main prize, but the fact that you are hiking Kilimanjaro is amazing – don’t forget to enjoy the days leading up to the summit.
- Take photos – of everything, everyone and anything! You are probably never going to do this again.
- Listen to your body, if you feel a headache coming on, act quickly. A simple Ibuprofen tablet and a litre of water could be all you need to overcome altitude headaches (worked for me!).
- Take an inflatable mattress and the warmest sleeping bag you can find. The ground is hard and the temperatures are freezing – so be prepared!
- Speak to your porters and cooks, these guys are the life and soul of Kilimanjaro, and if they can climb with a 20kg pack – just imagine what you can do!
- Learn a few words of Swahili – it’s a fantastic language and you’ll have a whole lot of laughs along the way if you can speak with the mountain crew in their own language.
- Don’t stress about success – in the unlikely event that you do not make it to Uhuru Peak, you have still been to Tanzania and still attempted the mighty Kilimanjaro – that’s success in itself!