It’s all about proper planning
A Kilimanjaro climb is a very special type of adventure, beyond a traditional vacation. Unlike popular beach vacations or simple hiking tours, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro requires certain preparations. After all, this adventure takes hikers to the highest point of Africa at 5,895 m/19,340 f. This is often the highest altitude many climbers to ever achieve, making this trip a true adventure of a lifetime. In this way, Kilimanjaro adventures are dangerous and unless the trekking party is staffed by the professional guides and equipped with proper equipment, the hikers are exposed to certain high altitude-related risks.
Please note, a set of proper gear is critical – you can’t climb Kilimanjaro in your usual hiking outfit.
There are some other important moments to keep in mind when preparing for this mind-blowing adventure in the heart of Africa. In this article we’ve summarized the key recommendation tips for a successful and hassle-free Kilimanjaro adventure.
Choose the right operator
As far as planning your trip is concerned, this is perhaps the most important part. Booking with Altezza Travel is infallibly the best way to ensure that you are booking with the right people. Every year we take over a thousand trekkers to the Roof of Africa. Our office and climbing base are right at the foothills of Kilimanjaro and we personally manage, control and supervise each and every departure. Some notable perks of booking with us are:
Local presence – we are a fully registered company operating from Kilimanjaro. We don’t subcontract our climbs. We organize each and every climb ourselves, so you can rest assured all the details will be professionally handled and any questions or concerns we will address directly – no third parties!
We are one of the few operators in the country to own two hotels, our own vehicles, and other facilities for running adventures. One of the hotels – Aishi Machame Hotel – is the place where our Kilimanjaro climbing base is located. This makes it possible for us to keep control over each and every part of your trip.
We have proper gear and equipment from the North Face, Black Diamond, Red Fox, and other respected brands for mountain climbing. We are also one of the largest tourism employers in the country. There are over 1500 professionals (guides, porters, cooks, etc.) in our Kilimanjaro guiding crew
Choose longer itineraries for your trip
You’ve probably read on the internet that Kilimanjaro itineraries vary from short 5-day treks to longer 7 and 8-day adventures. Some trips with Crater Camping may even take 10 days or more. It may be tempting to choose a shorter itinerary, because anyway, don’t all of them lead you to the peak of Africa? So what is the reason for paying more and spending more time on the slopes of Kilimanjaro?
Well, there are two main reasons:
Better acclimatization. The higher you ascend on your trek, the lower oxygen saturation level in the air becomes. It happens because the atmospheric pressure drops and tiny molecules of oxygen become dispersed. Basically, every breath you take at higher altitudes results in less oxygen getting to your body. However, your body can adapt to this through more intense and deeper breathing, and faster transmission of oxygen through the body by red blood cells and other bodily transformations. However, your body needs time and energy for this transformation. That is why staying longer on the mountain is important. You may read more about acclimatization in this article.
It is also important to note that ‘rushing’ up Kilimanjaro, and not allowing sufficient time for acclimatization (your body’s adaptation to lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes) could result in altitude sickness and risk you needing to return to a lower altitude before successfully reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Basically, a shorter itinerary decreases your chances of successfully climbing Kilimanjaro. You can read more about that in this article.
Better scenic experiences. When rushing forward to the next camp before sunset, one can easily skip the most picturesque areas of Kilimanjaro. It is certainly a bad idea – Kilimanjaro is one of the most beautiful places on the planet! Why not linger a little on Shira Plateau or Barranco Wall to enjoy a beautiful view and take stunning pictures? Or just make a little siesta with a cup of tea in the company of your friends right in the middle of a hike from one camp to another?
Spend some time training for Kilimanjaro
One needs to hike an average of three to five miles every day through a rugged terrain on a Kilimanjaro climb. This requires good stamina, and a strong cardiovascular system. If you currently spend most of your time sitting in an office, there are several things you can do to get ready for your Kilimanjaro adventure:
Running and bike-riding are excellent exercises to prepare for Kilimanjaro. A 3-mile run or a 5-mile bike ride every other day is a good start. Swimming is also an excellent activity to strengthen your heart and blood vessels.
If you have a gym membership, running on a treadmill will be helpful. Also, performing some planks and squats will make your legs stronger and better prepared for long Kilimanjaro hikes.
While working out in the gym, it is important to focus more on aerobic and cardio activities than on muscle building. For Kilimanjaro, stamina is much more important than physical strength.
If you live close to the countryside, long (6-10 miles) hikes cross-country are the best way to get ready for the future mountain climb. This is something similar to what you will be doing on Mount Kilimanjaro. Focus on hills and steep inclines to prepare your body for the slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Also, if you bought new hiking boots for the Kilimanjaro tour, a cross-country hike is an excellent opportunity to break them in. Taking new, unused boots for a Kilimanjaro trip is certainly not a good idea. You are likely to get painful blisters and calluses with brand-new boots, and this could turn what originally seemed to be an exhilarating adventure into a torturous walk. If you ‘break in’ your new hiking boots through training exercises, they should be comfortable and ready in time for your Kilimanjaro climb.