Climbing Kilimanjaro: An Adventure to the Top of the World

Climbing Kilimanjaro: An Adventure to the Top of the World

Not many people realise that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is no longer reserved for rugged adventurers, weather-worn explorers and leathery mountain folk. It is an achievable dream for even those of average fitness who long for an adventure holiday they will never forget.

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

THE RONGAI ROUTE:

Of the six routes leading to the top of Kilimanjaro the Rongai Route is recognised as the ‘easiest’ but be warned: that is not the same as ‘easy’. The Route begins in Marangu, just below the Kenya-Tanzania border and gently winds up the mountain over several days, which allows many people to adjust to the high altitudes more successfully. The guided groups are small and are accompanied by porters who carry the majority of the equipment, food and water. Many even have a chef who prepares three meals a day, which is a much-appreciated luxury after a hard day’s climbing.

One tour company offering this expedition is Exodus. Experienced in this area, they use a route which climbs from 2600m above sea level to Uhuru Peak, the highest summit at 5895 meters, over seven days. The views throughout the excursion are spectacular; each day brings a different landscape from forests, to farmland, to the barren wastelands that are a sure sign the summit is nearing. Sharing an extraordinary experience like this one, many walkers find that they make fast friends of those they travel with.

The last part of the climb is made in early morning darkness, which seems like madness. Travellers make their way around the crater’s edge and eventually find themselves standing on the top of the world watching the first rays of sunlight spread over an icy glacier and the Tanzanian landscape spread out below their feet. There are no words for a feeling like this, but what a story to tell.

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

If you are considering a trip like this you must invest in good equipment. It gets cold; very cold. When night falls and the mists creep up you will not want to find yourself wishing you had brought more thermal clothing and a better sleeping bag. A great pair of hiking boots is essential, your feet have got to get you to the top, so look after them well. Always listen to your guide. He is responsible for a lot of lives up on that mountain and has to take things like altitude sickness very seriously. In fact many people aren’t able to reach the summit because they haven’t acclimatised properly. Take your guide’s advice to avoid it; and bear in mind that sometimes even seasoned climbers have had to turn back, so try not to be too disappointed if you are one of those who suffer with it. Most importantly, travel with a reputable company who will ensure you travel safely, have guides who know the area well and can recognise the signs of altitude sickness.

Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is no longer only the plaything of the diehard explorer. It is the challenge of a lifetime and yet encourages even average Joes to give it a go. You have to earn it, but it is really worth it. Climb Kilimanjaro, make your memories and tell your adventure story.

This guest article was contributed by Pete Smith. Pete writes regularly on his travel experiences for a range of websites and blogs. He has travelled with Exodus.co.uk, a company which practices responsible tourism; funding a project which teaches the porters and other staff English, which is so important when dealing with tourists and allowing the local communities to broaden their employment horizons. This is a concept very close to Pete’s heart.

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