Leesha and Lau coordinated an incredible experience for me and my friend to work a local hospital in karatu. We worked in the labor and delivery ward and greatly enhanced our skill set as birth doulas. It was the kind of experience that I would never have been able to coordinate on my own. True local insider access. They also kindly coordinated a safari on our last day with their awesome staff Patrick and Ossman. It felt like we were kickin it with good friends all day. Patrick was our driver and we spent a lot of time with him- he is now one of my dear dear friends. I’m so grateful for him and the love he has for his country. I always felt safe and well taken care of! We stayed across the street from Leesha’s at Mama’s house which was comfortable and hospitible with a beautiful family. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience. And I didn’t feel like I tourist which I greatly appreciated! I highly recommend organizing your travels in Tanzania through Boma.
- Choose your route
- There are 6 routes on Kilimanjaro and the length of climbs ranges from 5 days to 9. Some include camping at the crater rim, some have huts for sleeping, and some have a higher successful summit rate than others. Click here to read more about the Kilimanjaro routes.
- Choose your outfitter (Boma Africa, obviously!)
- There are many travel agents that sell the tours to a second hand outfitter “on the ground” in Tanzania or Kenya. It’s worth confirming who will be executing your climb so that you can have all the information on their safety standards and services provided. www.bomaafrica.com
- Being in good health and fitness is an asset when attempting to summit Kilimanjaro. Cardiovascular training, along with some climbing/ mountainous hiking can help to prepare you. To reduce the risk of altitude sickness you can spend some time at higher altitude before your climb. You can do this by doing some hiking at home, or in and around Arusha. Read more about preparing for your climb here!
- Break in your boots
- A good pair of boots is a must on Kilimanjaro. They should have good ankle support, water proof, and warm, and of course, be comfortable! IF you are buying new boots for this epic adventure, make sure you break them in before you come. Nothing is worse than finishing off day 1 with a giant blister!
- Practice your day pack
- Same as above- if you are getting a new day pack, break it in! Practice putting in all the items you will be carrying for the day to make sure everything fits and you will be comfortable. Typically you would carry rain gear, 3L of water, your lunch box, sunscreen, a hat, lipsyl, your camera, and extra layers of clothing, that either get peeled off or get put on as the day goes by. What to expect on the mountain is explained in more detail here.
- Think about Medication
- You may want to discuss with your physician to see if taking medication to help prevent altitude sickness is a good option for you. Also ask about other medications or vaccinations you might need for travel to Tanzania.
- Bring an SPF lipsyl
- Make sure you bring a lipsyl with SPF!
- Remember “Pole Pole”- walk slowly!
- Walking slowly will increase your chances of submitting successfully! Conserve your energy and give your body time to adjust to changes in altitude. This will be on the of the first Swahili words you will learn from your guides, Pole, pole- Slowly!
- Drink a sip of water every 10 minutes
- Hydration is important in any physical endeavour, and dehydration can increase the risk of altitude sickness. Taking frequent small sips throughout your climb keeps you well hydrated and fit to climb to Uhuru peak! To see your packing list, click here.
- Turn back if reccommended
- Your guides are trained to recognize the signs of altitude sickness and fatigue. If they have concerns regarding your health they will recommend beginning to descend. While this can be very disappointing, it’s important to take their advice seriously. Kilimanjaro is a friendly mountain, climbed by thousands, young and old, from around the world every year, but needs also to be taken seriously as altitude sickness can be a very serious health hazard. More on safety here.
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