ESSENTIAL MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENTS
Good equipment is vital for a safe enjoyable trip. The following is a list of basic essentials.
|Sleeping bag. A down or fiberfill sleeping bag rated at least ‘3 seasons’ plus thermarest/Isomat if camping.|
|Comfortable walking boots. Good semi-stiff walking boots are suitable for most walks.|
|Water proof jacket & trousers. A good waterproof jacket (with zip to assist ventilation) is essential. Waterproof trousers are optional.|
|Head cover. A woolen hut or balaclava is invaluable.|
|Sun protection. A good sun cream, lip cream, sunglasses and sun hat.|
|Rucksack or duffle bag.|
|Medical first aid kit including; Headache – syndols, diarrhea-Imodium, Nausea-valid, Malaria-prophylaxis, water purification tablets, bandages, muscular sprains, Abrasions, insect repellent, blister and cuts plasters, pain killers, Flu and colds.|
|Pair of socks|
|Long sleeved shirts and trousers, thin jumpers and a duvet jacket is a luxury to have.|
|Wash Kit, towel, toilet soap|
|Water bottle (1 to 2 ltr)|
|Warm jacket and trousers|
The best exercise for Kilimanjaro is to do lots of walking.
During work days, try to walk as much as you can … take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving or catching a taxi. Try to get at least an hour of walking into every day. In addition to this, try to get some morning and evening sessions of aerobic activity in, such as cycling, running or spinning. An hour of any of these activities three or four times a week will be a great help. You may want to do some muscle-building weights work in the gym, but this is probably only appropriate for people used to this type of activity and is not a necessity for this trek.
Weekends and days off you should try to head for the hills. Try to walk for 6 to 8 hours, perhaps on consecutive days. Even try camping out on the nights in between, but be careful not to put yourself off the whole idea. Increase the pace, especially on uphill sections to increase your aerobic capacity. Use the boots that you will bring with you to Kilimanjaro so that they are well worn in.
Some guidebooks say that you should be able to run for half an hour without being out of breath. Don’t be disheartened by this kind of talk … many of us are not cut out for running and this is not an achievable goal. Remember that Kilimanjaro is a walk, not a run, but one which requires a higher than usual aerobic capacity due to the extreme altitude. Just get as fit as you reasonably can in the timescale available. Make it a priority and make the effort. That way if you don’t make it to the top at least you know you gave it a good shot.
The Trekking Day
On the trek you are accompanied by a ‘trek crew’ which consists of a local guide or guides, a cook plus kitchen staff, and a team of porters. The porters transport all our personal and communal equipment, allowing you to walk with just a light day pack. We sleep in large two-man tents or single tent and will have a separate mess tent where we take meals. The trekking day starts early. Typically you would be woken in your tents around 7am. The cook will bring a cup of tea and we then have breakfast whilst the porters dismantle the camp and prepare their loads. We plan to be leaving camp around 8 or 9am to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures. The cook will provide everyone with a packed lunch and we can take this at our leisure, usually after about two or three hours of walking we then continue for a couple of hours more, reaching camp by 3pm. The porters will pitch the tents (although we will be expected to help) and they then deliver your trek bag to the door of the tent. You are then free to relax until we have our evening meal usually taken around 6pm.
We must be prepared for rain and even snowfall at any time during the year. The paths we follow are very well-defined and easy to follow. On Kilimanjaro the summit day involves climbing moderately steep scree slopes which can be loose.
Temperatures during the day will normally be temperate and typically around 20 degrees C. When starting the walk to Kilimanjaro it will be possible to hike wearing shorts, and indeed it may be necessary if the day is hot and humid. Night time temperatures at the higher elevations on Kilimanjaro will be below zero and a down jacket is recommended for these chilly nights. Normally you can expect clear and crisp mornings, with an afternoon cloud build-up, usually clearing again in the evening.
The following three steps are a guide to achieving acclimatization:
Water: A fluid intake of 4 – 5 liters per day is recommended. Fluid intake improves circulation and most other bodily functions, but does not increase fluid leakage from the body. Thirst should not be an indicator of proper fluid intake; if your urine is clear then you are drinking enough.
Slow Walk: Pace is a critical factor on all routes. Unless there is a very steep uphill section your breathing rate should be the same as if you were walking down the street. If you cannot hold a conversation you are walking too fast. Breathing through the nose for the first 2 days of the climb will limit the pace. Walk “softly” allowing your knees to gently cushion each pace. “Pole Pole” < go slowly > is the phrase that will echo around your head as it is repeated to you by the guides.
Walk high sleep low: If you have enough energy and are not feeling the affects of altitude, then you might take an afternoon stroll further up the mountain before descending to sleep. Almost all routes offer an extra day for acclimatization. Taking this day increases your chances of getting to the top by 30% and increases you chances of actually getting some enjoyment out of the experience by much more than that. We do not offer climbs which do not include this extra day.
Serious cases of altitude sickness can only be treated by immediate descent. Our Chief guides are all experienced in dealing with the problems of altitude. It may be necessary for one to descend to a lower altitude where an assistant guide remains behind while the others continue with the climb.
Please also note that rescue services are conducted by the Kilimanjaro National Park.
While trekking you will only need to carry the things you need during the day, such as waterproofs, fleece jacket, snacks, camera, water bottle etc. The remainder of your personal equipment will be carried by porters and you will need a strong duffel bag for this. Any personal belongings not required for the climb can be left at the hotel in Moshi and for this you need to bring a suitable hold all, preferably lockable if you are leaving valuable items.
For most of the road journey’s we will travel in 4WD Land Cruiser which are ideally suited to Africa’s rough roads. Occasionally where road conditions permit we may also use a 4WD minibus.
All nationalities require a full 10 year passport and this must be valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay. Most nationalities including British passport holders require a visa for Tanzania. The fee is currently £50 if obtained in advance of travel, but the visa can also be obtained on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport for $50.
Please take a moment to review our suggested list of some reminders and planning tips to ensure you have a worry free holiday.
- Ensure all passports are current and valid for at least 6 months AFTER the departure date, and each has at least 2 blank pages.
- Make extra copies of passport and airline tickets to take with you on your trip. Please ensure you keep these documents separate from the originals in the event of an emergency such as your passport getting lost or stolen.
- We recommend that you call your airlines a few days before your departure to reconfirm your flight times, as schedules are always subject to change. We would also need the information details of your arrival and departure.
- You are required to bring a maximum of 20kg. Any unwanted baggage and suitcases can be safely stored at the hotel or in our safe store.
- You are required to bring good equipment which is vital for a safe and enjoyable trip.
- It is imperative that you obtain malaria prophylactics before entering Tanzania.