Monday, 25 June 2012 8:44 AM
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is a dream for many adventure enthusiasts. However, it is important to be 100 per cent prepared for the expedition to ensure you get the most out of it while staying as safe and healthy as possible.
Reaching heights of 5,895 m, it is no easy feat to get to the summit of Africa's tallest mountain. Therefore, it is advisable to take all the precautions you can. Read on to find out what you can do to be as prepared as possible for your climb.
You don't have to be an Olympian to tackle this mountain, but you do need to have a certain level of fitness. The trek itself will require a lot from you and you will have to walk a considerable amount every day. Therefore, it is only sensible to make sure you are in peak physical condition.
Visit a doctor before you sign up to a Kilimanjaro hiking organisation, such as Africa Walking Company, to make sure you are fit enough to complete the challenge. There are various trekking routes, but they typically take between five and nine days, so you can expect a lot of arduous walking whichever trip you opt for.
Not only will you trek a long way, but don't forget that you will be climbing above 2,700 m where the national park boundary is; steep slopes and a lack of oxygen due to the high altitude will make each step that bit harder.
Choose your trip
There are many components to organising your expedition to the summit of the world's tallest freestanding mountain. Not only should you find a trekking company that offers everything you require - a trained guide, food, accommodation and positive reviews - at a reasonable price, but you will need to think about your arrangements before and after your trip.
The nearest town to Kilimanjaro is Moshi in north Tanzania. This is a small area so you may choose to base yourself in Arusha, situated 80 miles away, if you're planning to spend a few days in the country before your expedition. Alternatively, you could fly to Kilimanjaro airport, which is just an hour away from the national park.
You should organise your flights and accommodation for before and after the trip in good time, so you have somewhere comfortable to stay while you are preparing for the long climb, as well as when you've accomplished the feat and are longing for a bed to have a good night's rest in.
When you've made all your arrangements, the most important thing for you to do is make sure you pack everything you need.
Some necessary items to bring include:
• Long-sleeves tops and trousers - This may be Africa, but you will be at extremely high altitudes where temperatures can drop. You will also want to keep warm at night, as you could be camping near its snow-capped peak.
• Walking boots - It is essential to have sturdy walking boots to support your ankles as you climb up and down the slopes. Wear these in before you start your trek to reduce the chance of blisters.
• Sleeping bag - You will be camping on the mountain's slopes so bring something warm to sleep in, as well as a sleeping mat to ensure your kip is as comfortable as possible.
• Water bottle - Avoid becoming dehydrated by making sure you drink enough water.