Kilimanjaro is one of the most climbed mountains in the world, and one which attracts many tourists to Tanzania each and every year. The reason for the mountain’s popularity is because of its relatively easy nature in terms of climbing difficulty. I want to stress that this is not an easy climb, but it requires very little professional equipment, and climbers of all abilities can tackle the mountain.
They call this mountain the ‘Roof of Africa’ and standing at almost 6,000 metres, it is easy to understand why. The biggest challenge with this climb is the altitude at which you will be climbing, as well as the mental challenge which you will face on your way up. As long as your physical condition is at an average level, you can certainly climb Kilimanjaro, and here are some tips to help you get through it.
The most common reason why some trekkers aren’t able to make the summit of Kilimanjaro is not down to the difficulty of the climb, but rather the problems that come as a result of the high altitude. The effects of altitude can happen when you reach about 3,000 metres above sea level, which worsens as you continue the journey. The best way to counteract any problems related to altitude is to acclimatise yourself, and in order to do this on the mountain, ti is recommended that you opt for a longer itinerary, which will give your body plenty of time to get used to the thinner air and lack of oxygen.
Most trekking routes which you have the choice of in order to scale this mountain, are around 70 kilometres in length. Naturally this distance will seem pretty short to you if you are a trekker with years of experience, but for a newbie it can seem like a long way indeed. Most trekking routes will see you walking/trekking/climbing for between 6 and 8 hours per day, so it is fair to say that it is hard going. The day of the summit will usually last between 12-14 hours, and so you really need to mentally prepare yourself to be on your feet for such a length of time. My advice would be that you only opt for the shortest, 5 day itinerary, if you have a wealth of experience of trekking and climbing at high altitude. If you are a newbie, I would recommend taking the 12 day tour which is less of a slog, and can help you to get acclimatised.
Whilst you don’t need to be a fitness freak to be able to climb Kilimanjaro, you will need to put in some kind of training in the days and weeks ahead of your climb. The best course of action is to simply get used to trekking for such a long time, starting this in the 6 weeks running up to the event would be the best idea. The best approach here is just to get yourself into good physical condition, lose some weight and increase your cardio in the run up to your climb.
Standing on top of Kilimanjaro is an incredible experience, and one which is absolutely worth the effort involved.