The idea of climbing a mountain in Africa, with a height of 4,895 metres seems like an ideal activity for the fittest, the most courageous and the ones that like a good adventure. But perhaps, you have been mistaken all this time and this might be something that interests you and will challenge you in ways you didn’t think it was possible, but will certainly reward you greatly!
All over the world, there are hundreds of mountains which go over 5,000m. Only in Asia, there are at least 100 mountains with heights over 7,200 metres! As this may indicate, there’s a lot of places for you to practice and go over your limits!
Why should I climb such a high mountain?
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world. Sounds scary, but you can certainly do it! Situated in the northern part of Tanzania, this mountain has been climbed over 1,000,000 times (with a rate of success of 61.3%) throughout the years, since it's been opened for the public in the 1970s. Going to such a remote place in Africa will make you have a different perspective on the place you live, you’ll get to know the country and its culture (quite a few people speak English), see beautiful scenarios, go through 5 distinct climate zones and be one of the last few people to see its massive glaciers, as these are rapidly disappearing. There’s probably nothing that will make you feel better than reaching the top of Africa!
How do I practice?
A lot of people that undertake this endeavour start by exercising more often. Walking, cycling and any other cardio physical activities will be a great help to make you more fit for the climb. In order to be prepared (at least mentally), many South African amateurs start by climbing Ben Nevis or Snowdon, the highest in South Africa.
Who can climb Kilimanjaro?
This climb is for anyone! Kilimanjaro has been climbed by people over 85 years old, so if you’re physically fit, you shouldn't have to worry! The biggest dangers of climbing a mountain as high as Kilimanjaro is the altitude and the high chances of suffering altitude sickness. Fortunately, all the guides are really well trained and tested, and know how to handle this situation. There are also medicines available to ease these symptoms.
What are the costs of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
The climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro can be quite pricey. According to the national park, is strictly forbidden to climb without a guide and porters, which makes the prices go higher. But keep in mind that you will help the local economy! A normal price for a package goes from £1000 to £3000, but have in mind that the quality and how well prepared the teams are will change according to how much you pay. Others costs to consider include the equipment, food, the stay in hotels for a few days and the flights. Emirates normally operates flights from London to Dar Es Salaam, every day!
What’s the best time of the year to climb Kilimanjaro?
There are two trekking seasons which are more appropriate to climb Kilimanjaro, which is between January-March and June-October. These are usually the driest months and the least snowy, which can make a big difference in your experience, especially when considering how cold and slippery it can get up there!
So, do you think you can rise to the occasion and be the highest person in Africa? Check the companies that offer these services, flights, YouTube videos of personal experiences, and talk to your friends about it, you might find a climbing buddy!
Photo: Francisco Bento