I've had so many emails from people who have read my posts and told me that they now feel inspired to go and climb their own mountain, and not just Kilimanjaro. This makes me so happy. I never set out to inspire anyone, but I feel so honoured to have had people say this to me, so thank you guys and girls for cheering up this injured mountain lover!
A lot of people have asked me questions about Kilimanjaro, nothing that hasn't been answered online before, but I guess it's different when it's someone you know! So I thought I would compile those I've received so far in to a hand Q&A post!
If you have any other questions about Kilimanjaro, please feel free to comment below and I'll endeavour to answer asap!
So, without further ado...
Which tour company did you use?
Their website is here!
How did you choose a route?
There are shorter routes, longer routes and they all differ in terms of difficulty. The Machame Route is known as the 'whiskey route' and is harder than the 'Coca Cola' Marangu Route. I also based it on the fact I wanted to camp in tents all the way up and not stay in a hut. Be aware that some of the shorter, cheaper routes also give you less time to acclimatise. I was lucky as I didn't suffer any altitude sickness, but the longer you give yourself, the more likely you are to summit.
Another good tip is to choose dates/a route where you summit around the full moon, as it's brighter! We summited the night before, and it was dark, but not so much :)
Information on all of the routes can be found here!
How much did it cost?
This cost did not include my travel vaccinations/medicine, flights (£450), equipment (most of which I owned already as I'm outdoorsy), or tips for my guides and porters (I'll cover that later)
Kilimanjaro is easy to climb though, right?
However, and I say this with the utmost importance, the altitude is what makes it difficult.
Will I get altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness can affect even the fittest of people, and from what I saw up the mountain it's luck of the draw. I was very fortunate not to even suffer from a headache, but I made sure to drink a LOT of water.
We saw people being helped down from the Lava Tower and I know of people who were projectile vomiting in their tents on the second night. You may get nosebleeds, you may be sick, you will find it harder to breathe, you may not sleep well.
Don't let this put you off though. As I said, I didn't suffer any of the above aside from a little breathlessness as the air was thin! A few guys I climbed with only had a headache. If you want to take Diamox as a preventative measure to aid your symtoms, you can. I took half a tablet twice a day on the last 2 days before summiting, so maybe this was what helped (seek advice from your Dr on this first, as it's not suitable for everyone).
Your guides will keep an eye on you. Do not hide any symptoms from them. If they are too bad then your guide will make you descend immediately. You may think it's ok to go on, but trust your guides. Acute Mountain Sickness can be fatal if ignored.
Can you climb with Asthma?
Do I need to be fit?
It's always best to get some experience of hill walking in though, and if you live in a flat area, stick the treadmill on an incline and wear a backpack!
Do I need to purify my water?
Are there toilets?
What gear do I need?
Make sure you take boots that are worn in though. That's my biggest piece of advice. Mine were like gloves, thankfully, but if you wear a new pair and get blisters, it will be very uncomfortable!
Can I shower on the mountain?
What's the food like?
Is it cold?
That being said, and whilst the summit was freeeeezing cold due to the wind, I was able to take some layers off to descend and was in leggings a t shirt and thin down jacket!
Can I climb solo?
If you mean can you climb if you have nobody to climb with? Yes you can. I did exactly that.
I was placed in a group with 3 other Brits and we then climbed with 3 South Africans. Whilst it would have been nice to have had someone else I knew there to share it with, I am a very independent person and so it didn't really phase me. I probably came across as super quiet and boring to the rest of them, but I was just trying to admire and take everything in!
What happens if I injure myself?
How much do you need to tip?
Is it actually worth the money you pay?
Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits of the world, and out of these seven it is the 4th highest but arguably the easiest of the seven.
I want to climb again, partly because I'd like to do it without injuring myself. I'd have enjoyed being at the summit a lot more if I'd been able to walk without hobbling! Partly because I just fell in love with Tanzania and the mountain. So much so that I've had it tattooed on to my foot!