Will You Take on the Mighty Kilimanjaro?

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The mere mention of some place names is enough to send a shiver down any traveller’s spine. If we think of the word Kilimanjaro we immediately picture an achingly beautiful, snow capped mountain and outstanding views of a largely unspoilt landscape.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the biggest freestanding mountain on the planet. It sits in the country of Tanzania and has been tempting climbers to give it a go for over a century and a half. If you love a bit of adventure but aren’t sure whether you can take on the mighty Kilimanjaro what facts do you need to know?

Not Technical But Not Easy Either

k1The good news is that climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t impossible and might not even be as difficult as you might think. You don’t even really need to climb as such, as you can walk all the way to the top. This is a popular trekking route for charity events and most travel agencies claim high success rates, although official success rates are much lower than those claimed by these agencies. It isn’t a technical climb like some other mountains of a similar height but that doesn’t make it exactly easy. The high altitude, the changing temperatures and the strong winds can make it a tough slog to get to the top. As with most long treks, the key is in being prepared both mentally and physically. Recent reports from Kilimanjaro suggest that the biggest single problem lies in people taking the climb too lightly, which leads to almost 60% of climbers turning back before they reach the summit. It isn’t a walk in the park and as long as you don’t treat it as though it were then you should be fine.

Choose Your Route

There are 7 different official routes you can choose from to get to the top of the mountain. Some are easier than others and you should do some research to find the one which best suits you. An issue which causes some concern is the fact that many climbers try to climb the mountain too quickly, leading to bouts of pretty horrible altitude sickness. The type of sickness can’t be avoided altogether but making a slower ascent can help minimise the effects of it. As well as choosing the best route for you there is also a need to choose an itinerary which allows you time to acclimatise while you climb. Planning for a climb of about a week or more should be long enough for you to do it safely and successfully, with the 5 day treks many tourists choose considered by many experts to be on the short side.

 The Benefits

k3There are some incredible benefits to be gained from taking on Kilimanjaro. As we have seen, it has a relatively low ascent success rate for what is essentially a long trek. This means that you will get an unbelievable feeling of elation when you reach the top and look out at the views around you. Actually, some of the best views on the walk are to be found lower down but there will be nothing to beat the feeling of being on top of the mountain. In fact, it could be one of the greatest feelings of your entire life. It can also be a rewarding experience to spend time in the local communities near to Kilimanjaro. Many tourists arrive, take on the mountain and then leave without ever seeing much of the area. If you have time to do it in a more relaxed way then you will find some very friendly people and a fascinating culture to explore in cities and towns such as Arusha and Moshi.

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