My first experience of mountain climbing started with Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Africa said to be the mountain that anyone can climb. Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, standing at an altitude of 5895 meters or 19340 feet as written on the sign at Uhuru Peak itself.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is an amazing cultural and bio diverse experience. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro offers a full experience with surprises and beauty. It is more of a walking trek with minimal technical climbing skills required. However, you do need to have a good level of fitness and you should do an adequate amount of training at least 2 months prior. Beyond physical fitness you need mental fitness and a good support team to summit. The altitude is also something to consider, being prepared for it and adequate acclimatization on the mountain with the right route and guides can significantly increase your chances of summiting.
Reaching the summit will depend a lot on how you handle the altitude, the key to altitude sickness is something I have learnt since I started climbing and that is how fast you try to summit. Slow down, take your time and let your body adjust to the altitude. I also took altitude sickness pills Acetazolamide as a precaution, it was my first climb and I didn’t know how my body would react to the altitude. I did experience some light headiness and a few headaches but overall my success was due to my determination to succeed.
The summit experience itself is not so spectacular, it’s a high peak set in a rocky crater, and very crowded, you will have to wait your turn for your Kilimanjaro summit photo. But the experience and the fact you have climbed one of the seven summits and the highest mountain in Africa is worth it. Yet you don’t get long to spend much time to reflect whilst at the summit, it is not advisable to spend too long of a time at that altitude and the guides will quickly get you ascending back down to camp.
Planning and preparation are crucial to your success and how much you will enjoy the trip, having peace of mind is a big factor knowing you have planned the trip giving yourself enough time to make the trek, acclimatize and feel confident that you are in safe hands, with the right trekking agency. The dates and the routes are equally important; the route I went through was the Machame route set over a period of a week allowing gradual acclimatization and an excellent chance of reaching the summit, all routes except Marangu route require you to camp, Marangu have huts instead of camping.
And if you think you will be seeing African wildlife, then book a safari not a climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Wildlife does exist on Mount Kilimanjaro, especially in the forests that cover the lower slopes. But spotting animals on Mt. Kilimanjaro is not as easy as you might think, I didn’t see any, and with the amount of people around I am not surprised, wildlife and people tend not to mix well together.
Below is the agency I used and how to get there from Qatar.
Agency provides you with all the itinerary and equipment list for you prior to travel.
Qatar Airways direct flights to Mount Kilimanjaro are around 6 hrs. 15 mins.
From the airport the agency arranged all transportation.