Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 59895 meters or 19341 feet is the highest freestanding mountain around the world. The mountain remains the tallest in Africa. Located in Tanzania, the mountain provides the best hiking experience. Conquering the summit is usually an unforgettable moment that requires a lot of endurance, fitness and the right gear.
Before you start planning for this lifetime adventure, here are a few things you should know.
1. Vaccinations and medical checks
Conquering the Kilimanjaro requires you to be in the best state of your health. As per the law, travelling to Tanzania needs you to take a few vaccinations, and they include; Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Rabies, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. Also, it’s advisable to swallow the antidiarrheal and antimalarial drugs before getting into the country.
When it comes to starting the hiking experience, you must ensure that you’re medically fit. Otherwise, don’t expect the government officials or the park’s staff to do any medical checkups. Luckily, most of the tour operators will check your heart rate to ensure that you don’t have health issues that could put your life at risk.
2. Permit and travel documents
Like any other park, hiking in Kilimanjaro National Park requires a permit. However, the license shouldn’t stress you because it is usually taken care of in your tour package. Therefore, it is advisable to book a tour agent before the day of the trip. Early bookings ensure that you prevent the last-minute hassles.
Besides, securing a tour agent can be hectic, especially during the high seasons. Also, the reservations can save you a lot of money because the tour operators offer all-inclusive packages. For your travelling, you will require a visa to visit Tanzania. You can get your visa at the Tanzanian airport. However, it’s advisable to obtain it a few months before your trip to avoid the last-minute surprises.
3. Packing list
Your packing list is something that you should take your time to draft when it comes to participating in the Kilimanjaro hike. You must ensure that you carry only what is needed. Also, this doesn’t mean that you leave some critical items that could make your hiking safe and comfortable. First, you need a pair of sturdy hiking boots to protect your feet while giving your ankles a better support.
Also, remember to pack some gaiters. As stated earlier, the Kilimanjaro hike is different and you require to protect your lower leg in the best way possible. Sunglasses also go well with the sun, which at times may not be welcomed. When it comes to your clothing, remember to carry some waterproof or even insulated jackets and pants to avoid getting cold. These are the basic things you need in your backpack for your hike to be a success. However, you can add a few other things to make your hiking comfortable. Luckily, there are porters around the park, and who can help you with the luggage at a small fee.
4. When to visit
When it comes to hiking, the weather pattern is one thing that you should consider. In Tanzania, the wet season run from March to June and November. Trekking during these months is quite dangerous. Only a few trekking operators offer their services during this period, and only experienced hikers. The best time to visit Kilimanjaro is August to October or December to February. The August period is dry while the December season has warmer days and reasonable chances of rain. Therefore, confirm with your trip advisor to come up with a date that has a fair weather and suits your schedule.
5. The trails
Every hike starts with a path, and Mount Kilimanjaro has eight of them. Luckily, This is the best resource for Kilimanjaro trekking routes, and be sure that each trek has a specific length and set of challenges. Marangu, a 64-kilometer trek, is the most popular and hence the most crowded. The Umbwe trek is the shortest (37 km), but the most challenging treks among the eight. However, the track offers an excellent scenic view to enjoy. Other treks include; Machame, northern Circuit, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, and Mweka which is intended only for descents.
Hiking in the highest freestanding mountain, Kilimanjaro, is a lifetime adventure. Although a challenge, the hike is worth taking. Planning for this hike should be taken seriously to avoid messing the whole experience. In the article, there are top five things that you should have in your mind before booking your flight to Tanzania or setting your foot in Kilimanjaro National Park.