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Climbing Kilimanjaro?

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East Climbing Kilimanjaro?

1. Posted by Demian (Full Member 117 posts) 10y

As I want to enjoy my stay on the African continent as much as possible, I'm contemplating going to the Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

I was wondering if any of you fine people ever climbed Kilimanjaro, and what the experiences are.

What are good/bad touroperators/prices? The cheapest I saw so far was Dreamworld Adventures: 9250 Rand (US$1300/€1000) for 8 days, including flight from Johannesburg, South Africa (where i'm staying). Is that reasonable?

Howe should I prepare? I've done a lot of mountain hiking, but never above 3500 meters. What can I expect in the higher ranges if the Kili?

Thanks!

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 10y

Well, I haven't climbed the Kilimanjaro, but 1000 euro including a return flight does'nt sound that bad. But for this kind of trips it's probably better to pay some more and have really good guides and equipment.

But above 3000-3500 metres AMS appears...acute mountain sickness. Just listen to your own body and start searching on the internet about what kind of symptoms are normal and which ones are really dangerous and forces you to descent again.
Don't listen to the guides if they say it's ok because it has been said that some guides force you to go and reach the summit so that they get a bigger tip.

It appears that good fysical conditions say nothing about the possibility of getting AMS. It's even said that they have a bigger risk because they are more active and don't notice that there's less oxygen in the air.

Good luck....8 of 10 reach the top which is better chance than winning the jackpot in Las Vegas.

3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

Ah, Kilimanjaro. I've tried to climb her, but she rebuffed me.

Not sure on what a flight from South Africa to Tanzania costs, but when I was looking around at Kilimanjaro prices went from $US 600 on up. I paid $US 1300 for 3 days hotel and 6 days on the mountain. Be sure to find out exactly what you are getting - tents, guides, etc. Also do some research on the company to make sure they are legit. In addition to here, check out the message board on lonely planet (called Thorn tree) to see if there is any advice on the company. Also, check out the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators to see other companies you might want to check out. I note that Dreamworld isn't one of their members.

Here's a trip report on Kilimanjaro that I wrote up after the climb.

For training, if you've done a lot of mountain hiking and are still in pretty decent shape, then you should be good. Just continue to train by hiking. If you get an opportunity to do some high altitude hiking, that would be ideal, but as Utrecht mentions, there isn't much you can do to ward off AMS - it's impossible to predict who could be impacted or when they could be impacted. Not to scare you, but you can read about my brush with high altitude pulmonary eadema in my blog.

Enjoy Kili, and feel free to post any other questions.

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

...and just arriving in my mailbox today, the latest Outside online newsletter, with an answer to the question "is there anything I can do to prep for high altitude climbing?" The answer can be found here.

5. Posted by kyebrown (Budding Member 62 posts) 10y

Hi I climbed Kili in 2002 when I was 17, unfortunately it beat me too, as I got altitude sickeness about 30 minutes into the final ascent. The higher regions are pretty desolate, loose rock, rock and abit more rock from what my friends told me, there's also a glacier up there and it gets pretty damn cold, terriffic experience though, i did the 5 days up and 2 down trail aswell, overall its quite a challenging climb with very varying terrains from top to bottom, the locals tell you the best way to get to the top is to take it pole pole which is slowly slowly. We did a few aclimatisation climbs around tanzania before, nothing too high though and we spent a few days at the foot of the mountain. If you've done alot of mountain climbing before you should be fine but there are some spectacular views on the way up, its what first began my desire to travel. Sorry I can't give you more info on tour guides but i can't remember off the top of my head, i shall try and look it up at home and post again. The stuff utrecht said about AMS is true, the fitter you are the more subsceptible you are, i was in good shape and the climb didn't beat me it was AMS i didn't have a clue where I was! Hope you make it to the top, I shall be trying again!

6. Posted by Demian (Full Member 117 posts) 10y

Thanks guys!

I'm pretty aware of AMS (or HAS as I know it - High Altitude Sickness), as I read quite some mountaineering books and even wrote articles about Everest climbs...

Was more wondering about personal experiences, and whether it really is the crowded mountain a lot of people say it is... just wondering if I want to spend my money on that now I'm here, or just wait until I've got more to fund an expedition to a more remote mountain like Elbrus...

Greg, that's some good advice checking the credibility of the company, because their price sounds almost to good to be true (a separate ticket Joburg-Nairobi will set you back about 6000 rand alone). But they wouldn't be in the Tanzanian tour operators association, as it is a South African company...

cheers!

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

The South African company will probably use a local company to do the guiding - ask them who they use locally, and see what you can find out on that company as well.

Whether the mountain is crowded or not, I suppose, depends on what you mean by crowded.

I went up Rongai, which is a less used route than Marangu or Machame. Unless you are willing to pay for a private expedition, there's never really a point when you are alone on the mountain. Your own group will probably include 10 or so people, and I believe that there was another 2 or 3 groups on the Rongai route the same time as us, which in general we only came across in fleeting bits - on the first day setting out, then again a few times at camp and lunch sites. When hiking, it was always just our group. We'd often be passed by porters, though.

We came down Marangu, and that looked a lot more crowded, as there are groomed paths and huts. Rongai has some groomed paths near the bottom of the mountain, but past the 1st day you are pretty much on rocky dirt paths.

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