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Climbing Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro


What's it really like to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

The mountain is actually a dormant volcano which consists of three volcanic cones. The peak of Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak and stands at 5,895m or 19,341 feet above sea level.

The ascent is not considered to be a technically difficult ascent as no special climbing equipment is required but it can be a challenging ascent due to the rate that people make the climb. The longer that you take to ascend then the higher the probability you have of reaching the summit without any issues.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 

 

reaching mount kilimanjaro summit 

We chatted to our Tailor Made specialist Catha, who successfully made the ascent a couple of years ago:

How many people were in your kilimanjaro group and how helpful were your guides? 

My parents and I were a group of three, we wanted to do this just the three of us, so we wouldn't have to adjust to the fastest/ slowest person in the group. Our guides were amazing! They literally sang us to the top of Kili, and carried our day packs on summit nights as well, so we just had to walk to the top! 

Note: You have to have a guide to do the Kilimanjaro trek, it is not possible to enter the national park without a guide. 

 

how to climb mount kilimanjaro

Did you have to take any special equipment or was it all supplied for you?

Mount Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb, so you don't need anything special. We did invest in good gear and a good thermarest and they were totally worth the money! They provided us with tents, a lot of food and water. 

Did you have to put up tents and cook?

Tents are carried by the porters and they are much faster, so everything is set up by the time you get to the campsite. Every group has a chef and it's incredible what they can prepare with minimal equipment. Somebody actually carries a gas tank up!

 

What wildlife did you see as you did the kilimanjaro trek? (if any)

Lots of birds and monkey in the rainforest, but the higher up you go, the less wildlife there is. 

Did you suffer from any altitude sickness on kilimanjaro?

I normally adjust quite well to the altitude, but my appetite just completely disappears. And on summit night I was feeling somewhat queasy, but that passes as soon as you go down again. 

How difficult was the ascent and descent?

Until summit night it was going really well and even too easy! Summit night was really tough and I felt several times like giving up. But I'm glad I kept going 'pole pole' (slowly, slowly) and made it! 

On the route we did we went from Barafu Hut, at 4600 metres, all the way up to 5895 m in about 7 hours. Then you go back down to basecamp (Barafu) to have lunch, pack up your stuff and then you still go down another 1500 metres to Mweka Camp. The going down is very hard on the knees and you start shaking and legs start trembling and it's really easy to trip! As well because the path is not just an easy path, but has many challenging parts with huge rocks and you have to sort of crawl down at times. But you feel instantly better the lower you get! 

 

How did it feel once you reached the summit?

Absolute feeling of euphoria! No other way to describe it! I actually filmed myself as I was approaching the summit and there were a few expletives to describe what I was feeling. 

Any advice for people who want to do or are about to climb mount kilimanjaro?

Go 'pole pole' (slowly, slowly), get yourself some good gear and enjoy! 

 

Fancy giving it a go?
Discover our new Kenya - Tanzania Safari and Kilimanjaro Overland info page and view the departure dates and prices.