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Things no one ever tells you about climbing Kilimanjaro

For those of you who are thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, it’s worth your time to research and select a reputable company that will ensure your wellness and answers any questions you might have. And so you don’t dive in completely blind, you’ll want to get to know the challenges before you get there.

1. You can be in the best shape and fail to reach the summit.

Altitude sickness is an equal opportunity bully. You may be able to run marathons, but the vomiting, nausea, and sometimes hallucinations can knock you out well before you reach 19,000 feet. You can run almost every day and go rock climbing every week, but to bail at 16,000 feet with headaches and nausea worse than any hangover.

2. Your Life is in Your Guide’s Hands

The summit stands at 19,340 feet – in extreme altitude. At over 10,000 feet, more than 75% of climbers will experience at least some form of mild Acute Mountain Sickness, and at that point, your life is in your guide’s hands. If you really do get sick, you won’t be able to make decisions for yourself, trust me I know. I have been work as a guide for almost 8 years now, you would have stayed on that mountain if it was up to me It’s a good thing to listen to your guide. Some days you lost your desire to do anything but follow your guide up the hill, eat, and sleep. Headaches and nausea would come and go within a few minutes like a wave, and you would relied on guide instructions to keep going.

3. It is one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever be.

So much of the literature talks about the physical aspect of the climb, about pushing yourself to your limits. It talks about the gorgeous view from Uhuru, the summit of Kibo peak. But what we don’t hear enough is that the entire climb is beautiful and other-worldly. So many climbers were so focused on Uhuru, they hardly noticed Mwenzi, the craggy second peak of Kilimanjaro that looms ominously over climbers, since it is near-impossible to climb. They don’t frolic through the willowy elephant grass or take the extra hour to look at some of the clearest night skies in the world.

4. This is Not a Technical Climb

The ascent does not require any technical climbing, however there is one section where you do have to scramble up boulders. But other than that, the climb is rather gradual and simple. The trails are not necessarily demanding; however, the environment is.

5. You need to slow down.

Your guides want you to go “pole pole” – Swahili for “slow.” It’s in their best interest, because you’ll give them good reviews if you make it to the top and avoid altitude sickness. But other members of your group may have a different definition of slow. When you start a climb, there is intense peer pressure to “stay with the group.” some of the group composed of very active, very adventurous people. "I also felt like the mountain passed me by. I hardly remembered anything except staring at my feet, willing them to go faster as my breath grew more ragged. On our second day, one of our guides saw how much I was hurting, grabbed my shoulders and said, “Pole, pole.” While the rest of the group sped ahead, I slowed down. Not only did I feel better, but I noticed things like glacial streams rushing over boulders, chameleons hiding in the branches and butterflies as big as your hand with perfect white polka dots." say one of my client from Germany.

6. Nothing on the mountain will kill you.

Except lack of oxygen, which is why you need to acclimate to the altitude. There is an animal that shrieks at night and sounds like it could tear you from limb to limb. It’s a harmless tree hyrax – no bigger than a cat – but I promise it will keep you from getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

7. You Have An Important Choice to Make

Based on all of this you can see how important it is to pick a guiding company that knows the mountain and can ease you through all of these things so that they are minor speed bumps instead of big issues. Kilimanjaro Destinations operates an extensive range of adventures in Tanzania from climbs on Kili, arrange safaris, daytrips and Zanzibar holidays.

If you have been climb Kilimanjaro already what else will you like people who read this blog to know about kilimanjaro? let me know in the comment

Stay safe xx

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