Updated: Nov 30, 2022
The Kilimanjaro Experience
The fact that you're here means that you're at least considering a trip to Kili, and that's AWESOME. This once-in-a-lifetime climb is not for the weak, or the faint-hearted. We're here to let you know what to expect, so dust your shoulders off, pop your game face on and let's begin.
First things first – allow us to present you with your options. Everything that we do in life is a direct result of our choices. Let's ensure that you select the right duration and route for you, so to maximise your chances of succeeding this challenge.
The one-day climb: This 'brief' version of the trek is ideal for someone who is just passing by the area and fancies an experience that can slot into their existing schedule. The one-day climb will take you up to the first-base camp and bring you right back down again. You don't have to worry about altitude sickness and you'll still be able to say that you've climbed Kilimanjaro. Win-win.
The five-day climb: On this beautifully scenic journey, you will follow the Marangu route, which is said to be the easiest one. You will enjoy the luxury of sleeping on actual beds, which many describe as comfortable, situated inside huts (as opposed to tents). You'll also benefit from the use of solar power – if you enjoy consuming energy, this is significant for you! We must warn you though, that by the time you reach your final camp, named Kibo Camp, that leisurely smirk might disappear – here you should be cautious as there is a warning of altitude sickness. Be prepared! Some people suffer from vomiting and headaches. You'll descend down the mountain via the same route that you climbed.
The six/seven-day climb: It's your choice. You'll ideally ascend via Machame route for four days and descend via Mweka route for two. This trek is also exceptionally scenic; you'll get to experience the most beautiful rainforests in the world, in all their glory – a wise choice for animal and plant lovers. You'll be sleeping in tents – how very exciting!
Pay attention to this next part. These are our suggestions for what not to forget!
1. Good quality, warm & waterproof clothes. Including gloves. The success rate low for people who complain that they are cold. Wrap up properly!!!
2. Good shoes.
3. Food!!! It's very common to lose your appetite while you're up Kilimanjaro. Eat as mush as possible beforehand for this reason! You will have porters accompanying you to assist you in carrying your 7-days' worth of nourishment. They'll also help to transport the supplies needed to actually cook the food.
Here's an interesting fact: for a typical group of 7 climbers, approximately 16 porters (inc. guides) will carry approximately 150kg of supplies.
4. Headlight. You will be walking at midnight in some cases, and your surroundings will be very dark.
5. Sunglasses! Don't expect to get to the summit without these! It's bright up there.
6. Batteries batteries batteries!!! Power tends to disappear surprisingly quickly up there and you won't really find charging stations.
TAKE CARE WHILST:
• Transporting your tent sticks!!! As in, the sticks that support your tent. So many people break these and it's catastrophic.
• Using cooking gas. You will also use this gas to heat water for showers, drinking and more. Double and triple check that it's turned off after using because once you run out, you can no longer cook your food!
• Choosing your tent. Choose one that will definitely keep you and your belongings dry.
• Stating your dietary requirements. Don't hold back and don't make any assumptions. Be loud and be clear.
• Preparing your own meals. Often, due to particular religions or faiths, we have clients request to prepare their own meals. If this is you, we strongly advise that you check the food schedule that is readily offered and match it where calories are concerned. People have been known to simply run out of both food and energy, resulting in an unsuccessful climb.
Are you wondering how you might celebrate when you do reach the top? We've seen some of the biggest, brightest and broadest smiles to ever grace this planet at the top of Mount Kilimajaro, but some people celebrate in other ways... such as streaking, or proudly cashing in their bets. We've seen it all. From wedding proposals, to some of the most sacred prayers. Not so long ago, we even saw Lionel Messi shooting an advertisement for Turkish Airlines. It's a very emotional experience to stand at the top – expect pure love, joy and elation.
Speaking of love, we have a quick story that we would like to share with you, because ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN while you're climbing up Kili!!! We call it, Don't Stop Her Now.
A group of 10 people from Australia, who had individually booked their trips with the same agent, found themselves climbing Kilimanjaro together. Amongst them was a lady who, at some point, began to feel poorly. She began to lag behind the rest of the group, which was somewhat slowing them down. The lady spoke to the group's guide about how she was feeling, and he suggested that she should stop and turn around. She was devastated by this, because she had been planning this trip for so long – Kilimanjaro was at the top of her bucket list. She tried to go on, but ultimately decided to listen to the guide, and remain at the camp while the rest of the group continued up the mountain.
That same morning, one of the porters, whose job it was to carry this lady's bag, happened to notice a light on in a tent after the group had already set off. This porter spoke no English, but proceeded to check on her and make sure that she was OK. In their own way, they communicated. He wondered why she had stopped climbing, and began encouraging her. She felt inspired and energised by his motivation, and they decided to continue up the mountain together. The porter knew all of the shortcuts and was happy to support the lady physically too. It wasn't long before she realised that she wasn't at the back. This spurred her on and she continued; she even found herself overtaking members of her original group! She proceeded, with encouragement from her porter, and guess what – she made it. The lady sustained an injury on her way down, and the porter carried her to safety.
Despite an obvious language barrier and also (apparently) a rather large age difference, these two individuals fell in love and they ended up getting married. The porter now lives in Australia with his damsel in distress and they have children together.
You literally never know where a trip might lead you in life, or who it might lead you to. Whenever somebody is considering a challenge like this one, we say GO FOR IT. The rewards are endless.
Here are some FAQs:
Q: What is the best time of year to go?
A: July – November
Q: Do I need to be very fit to climb Kili?
A: It is challenging, and some routes are harder than others. Don't let this be your first ever climb.
Q: Can kids climb?
A: Yes! From ages 7 years and up
Q: What happens if I don't make it/can't go on?
A: A guide will escort you back to the closest camp. If you cannot move at all, you will be transported to the 2nd base camp, where an ambulance will then see to you and descend with you. For a doctor to travel by air to see to you, the cost is $2000 – this price in non-negotiable.
Q: What if I forget something?
If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us via the 'contact us' page. We look forward to seeing you soon!