Kili Weather



Kilimanjaro Factfile

At 19,340 feet, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the only one of the seven summits (highest mountain on each continent) that is accessible without mountaineering equipment and experience.

It's the highest freestanding mountain in the world and one of the largest volcanoes, dormant rather than extinct.

On the summit, the lungs can only absorb half the amount of oxygen compared to sea-level.

The summit at Uhuru Peak is more than 1,600 feet higher than Everest base camp.

Estimates vary, but around 20,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year. Almost half fail to reach the summit.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Committed

Yes, I've finally taken the plunge and booked my Kilimanjaro climb with The Marangu Hotel , a very old established climbing operator that has been guiding trekkers to the roof of Africa since 1932. The most important consideration for me is the ethical treatment of the porters involved in the climb. I want to climb this mountain, but I also want to be sure the people who are going to be carrying my food and equipment will be properly equipped and clothed. There are many horror stories of ill clad and over-burdened porters dying of hypothermia while sleeping without adequate shelter and food, not all of them employed by cheapskate operators. Some well-known outfits recommended by the most popular travel guides have been involved in distressing incidents in recent years. The situation is improving, mainly due to two organisations; the International Porter Protection Group, and the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project are worthwhile causes attempting to improve conditions for people employed on the mountain. The Marangu Hotel is a partner of the latter and sends its properly paid porters out with all necessary gear and clothing for the extremes of climate they'll encounter.

The hotel is also attractive to me because it's old-fashioned and familiar from my youthful days in East Africa – I spent many happy weekends and holidays in very similar surroundings. It may lack the luxuries of the big modern hotels in Arusha, but it's a family run business with a good reputation as a base for climbing Kilimanjaro. Yes, I'm going back to my childhood for this trip. I've booked in for two nights before and two nights after the six-day climb up the Rongai route, which will begin on 16th September. A day spent lazing by the pool and exploring the village area before starting the climb should get rid of any lingering travel fatigue, and has the added advantage of some mild altitude acclimatisation (apparently the key to a successful summit attempt), as Marangu is situated at nearly 6000 feet on the lower slopes of the mountain.

Many climbing operators pay off their porters and guides on the morning of the final day's trekking, then bus the trekkers back in the afternoon to a nearby hotel for a quick wash and brush up before transferring them straight to the airport for their return flight home. I much prefer the idea of the Marangu Hotel's way of ending the climb – everyone returns to the hotel for an informal party, where the trekkers can thank the staff in the traditional way by buying them drinks and giving tips and gifts to those who've been particularly helpful. There's apparently a singsong involved as well – it all sounds a lot of fun and a good way to end a hard few days of trekking. Another day of lounging by the pool or playing croquet should help to dispel some aches and pains before the enforced discomfort of a long flight home, although I'm working on the idea of adding a day or two's safari onto the end of my trip. It seems a waste to travel so far and not take advantage of all the locality has to offer.

Now the big decision has been made, I have to start researching flights, either to Nairobi or Kilimanjaro airport. I think it will probably be a straight choice between convenience and cost.

1 comment:

sojournsafaris said...

To choose the right Kilimanjaro Climb route for you, there are plenty of variables to be mindful of.
Who: Who is climbing? The whole group's abilities must be factored into choosing a route. The rest of the party is relying on your decision. Pick a route that best fits everyone.
What: What limitations surround your climb? Are you bound by a budget? Or the number of days on your trip? There are cheap/expensive routes, and short/long itineraries.
How: How do you see your trek? Do you want the most challenging route or a less strenuous one? These answers will affect which route is for you.
Where: Where do you want to begin your climb? The routes start from all sides of the mountain. Where you begin affects cost, scenery and scenic variety.
Why: Why are you climbing? Is it very important to summit? Then choose a route with a high success rate. Do you want to take the best photos? Then pick the most scenic route.
When: If you are climbing during the dry season, great. But if you are climbing during the rainy season or the shoulder seasons, then the route you select can play into the climb's difficulty.
So Which is the best route to use to climb up kilimanjaro? Lemosho Route and Rongai Route are the most scenic routes up kilimanjaro. Mt Kilimanjaro Machame route is also a scenic and very popular route with many climbers.
The Marangu Route Climb is however the most used route since it has the advantage of sleeping in huts with bunker beds, hot showers, beverages and beers in the evenings are also available. Marangu is also the shorter route and can be done in 5 days although an extra day for acclimatisation is recommended.