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Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro travel tips

Kilimanjaro: Africa's highest peak, and its sternest challenge. But don't worry – you CAN make it to the top...

Kilimanjaro advice

  • Stock up on wet wipes – there are no showers on Kilimanjaro.
    Take soluble vitamin C tablets – they’re light to carry and make iodine-purified water taste better.
    Keep your camera inside your coat on summit night – the cold depletes the batteries so the camera may seize at the top.
    Take anti-bacterial handwash – this means you can ‘wash’ your hands without water.
    Don’t leave valuables lying around in your hut or tent.
    Take plenty of US dollars in small denominations to tip your support staff at the end of the trek.
    Consider giving your surplus or unwanted trekking gear to your porters at the end of the trek – many of them are woefully under-dressed, hiking in sandals and thin jumpers.

When to go Kilimanjaro

The best times to climb are outside of the rainy seasons, from mid-December to March and July to October. A full moon might brighten your spirits on the summit night. Start your trek a few days before full moon dates so the full effect coincides with your summit attempt.

Kilimanjaro health and safety

Kilimanjaro is 5,895m; altitude sickness commonly kicks in above 3,000m – most Kilimanjaro climbers will experience some effects. Mild symptoms include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. Moderate effects might be vomiting, persistent headache and constant breathlessness.

If symptoms worsen you start to become incoherent, uncoordinated and confused, you must descend immediately. Acute mountain sickness can be fatal.

To help avoid altitude sickness, climb pole, pole (slowly, slowly). Drink at least three or four litres of water a day. Eat a lot to keep your energy levels up.

Some climbers take Diamox, a drug actually licensed to treat glaucoma that also combats the effects of altitude sickness. Seek advice from your doctor.

Although your risks of catching malaria are low on Kilimanjaro (it is too cold and high for mosquitoes), the disease is rife in Tanzania. Consult a travel-health specialist for advice.

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