Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak at 5896m, and hundreds of trekkers scale the volcanic mountain each year. The destination remains popular as it’s possible to reach the peak without technical experience, yet the climb is far from an easy one, and many will experience sickness and fatigue along the way.
Any mountaineering activity has its risks, and incidents which happen abroad can have severe consequences for life back in the UK. Long-term physical damage and taking off work as a result of an injury will have financial implications, so knowing how and where to seek holiday compensation before a climb is vital. This is only one of several factors you’ll have to take into account if considering scaling Kilimanjaro.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a pro climber in order to reach the summit. Although a reasonable level of fitness is required, the path to the top inclines at a gentle gradient and is not technically challenging. Many other mountains require equipment like ice picks as well as specialist know-how, though fortunately Kilimanjaro is suitable for the novice climber.
There are six officially sanctioned routes which can be followed, and each offers a slightly different experience. The scenic Machame path, for example, offers fully catered camping and has a high success rate. The Rongai route, in contrast, offers a tougher summit ascent and therefore is recommended for the more experienced climber.
Scaling Kilimanjaro offers amazing views and unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime sights. One some routes it is possible to hike through five different climatic zones, seeing a range of flora, fauna and wildlife along the way. If opting for a Southern or Western route it is also possible to spend a night in the crater near the mountain’s summit. This experience is hugely rewarding, allowing climbers to explore the area in daylight, including the impressive Furtwängler Glacier.
Despite the established pathways, the length of time involved – up to 7 days – still means the experience of scaling Kilimanjaro is a grueling one. Ascending too quickly can result in altitude sickness which can cause headaches, vomiting and digestive problems, causing some to turn back. There is no quick fix for altitude sickness, and many climbers prefer to manage symptoms rather than give up the attempt altogether.
There are also costs to consider when thinking about a climb. Although you don’t have to be a professional climber to reach the top, the mountain can only be visited with a licensed guide. Many choose to visit on an organised tour arranged by a specialist company, which can cost upwards of $900. Opting for a cheaper trip may mean inadequate camping gear, food provisions and additional park fees.
The amazing sights and feelings of exhilaration which accompany a Kilimanjaro climb may prove unforgettable, though these should always be weighed up against the possible dangers and risks which accompany any mountaineering pursuit.