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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: Tips on
How to Reach the Top

Kilimanjaro starts on the dusty hot plains around Moshi town and then moves to the lush villages on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. From here you ascend through tropical rainforest, alpine desert to near artic conditions at the summit. Many people fail because they are ill equipped and sometimes people die in attempting the climb.

Ensure that you are well equipped for the attempt on Kilimanjaro. Draw up a checklist or print one of the many websites of a Kilimanjaro specialist.

To be physically prepared is important. You will be hiking to the top; it is a demanding climb so make sure your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges that lie ahead. In the months and weeks before your departure for Tanzania take part in a training program to ensure your body is in shape for your Kilimanjaro expedition.

Mental preparation is also important. You should always remain in a positive state of mind, but not overly confident. Your mental stamina will, without a doubt, make the difference on the last day when you climb toward the summit. Try to look ahead at what may happen, situations you may encounter on the mountain and try to work out the most suitable course of action, either by yourself and then as a group.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Adequate travel insurance is important; be certain that your travel and medical insurance will also provide you with cover for the climb up Kilimanjaro.

Your guides will instruct you on the best way to reach the top of Kilimanjaro. It is in their interest that you reach the top so listen to them. They Know Best. When climbing you will be repeatedly told ‘pole pole’ which is go slowly in Swahili; besides, the first day or two the scenery is lovely so take it slowly and enjoy the surroundings. People often want to take the climb quickly and altitude sickness stops them short of reaching their goal — the highest point in Africa.

You will also be told to drink water — make sure you drink at least four litres of liquid per day, preferably water. Water on the mountain is safe to drink from the second day onwards, but care should always be taken. Remember, a stomach upset can dehydrate you and this will make the climb all the more difficult, if not dangerous.

Climb as lightly as possible. This becomes even more important on your summit night. Extra weight will slow you down and will also make breathing more difficult. Clothing lists are available from most websites.

A ski pole is essential as it reduces external and internal loads on the knee joints. Using one ski pole is a must, but two poles are recommended. These can be rented in Tanzania. Replace your headlamp and camera batteries with new ones on your summit night.

Do a little research, be a good scout, be prepared and most of all, enjoy the climb!

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