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Climbing Kilimanjaro

Added 21 Feb 2012
Climbing Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro needs no introduction. Ever since Fearne Cotton and Cheryl Cole swapped their glad rags for hiking boots in a charity summit, the spotlight hasn't budged off the Tanzanian peak. Such is the power of celebrity.

But with the Geordie apparently stating she'd never done anything so mentally and physically demanding, how easy is it really for us mere mortals? After all, most of us won't be ascending with an epic entourage of porters, doctors and guides.

The question though isn't 'how easy is it?' Climbing Kilimanjaro is always going to be a challenge, as there's nothing rudimentary or easy about scaling the world’s highest free-standing mountain. Climbing to 19,300ft (5,900m) you'll battle extremes in altitude, freezing winds and throbbing tendons. But you can do it!

Tackling the peak doesn't actually require any technical ability, so it's a popular choice for amateur climbers. And as long as you're reasonably fit, you've got every chance of attempting it.

Lying on the Tanzania-Kenya border, the mountain is served by Kilimanjaro International Airport, 35km away in the town of Moshi. From here, trekkers can tackle her from one of five official routes: Marangu, Rongai, Machame, Shira and Limosho. Whichever one you opt for, expect it to be hard work, despite the fact you'll be joined by a number of porters and guides.

Don't skimp on equipment either. Boots, clothes and camping gear should all be in tip-top condition. And head there during one of the two dry seasons, namely January to mid-March and June to October, avoiding the rains in April and May.

Uhuru Peak (5893m), Africa’s highest point, will reward your efforts ten-fold. From wild forest to intriguing icefalls and African sunrises to campfire sunsets, it's a trek to never forget.  With the right gear, a determined attitude and a reliable operator, it will undoubtedly be one of the most incredible experiences of your life.

How to do it

You want your guides to be well trained and your equipment to be good quality. It's also worth thinking about length of trip, as while a shorter route may be cheaper, it may not give you ample time to acclimatise. Book with Explore and you can book with complete confidence. Our Kilimanjaro treks are supported by a team of porters and guides. The price includes flights, accommodation, camping equipment, porters and guides, plus the $600 (£379) Kilimanjaro park fees. And with a summit success rate of more than 95%, it's worth every penny.

Check out our Head of Tailormade's, Jenny Hendry's blog of her trip following the Lemosho Route to see how she got on