While most people are steering clear of Africa and her beautiful landscapes due to the threats of Ebola, I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, so that’s exactly where I’m headed for the first epic journey of 2015. Last year my sister and I toured through the North and South island of New Zealand doing all kinds of adventures including a hike through the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
This year I’m getting a bit more serious and instead of just a day I’m going 5 days to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania Africa. She sits at 5,985 meters just about 3,000 meters shorter than the tallest peak Mt. Everst, at 8,848 meters.
Before we get into all of the semantics of the trip I guess I should tell you how we’re getting there. From Rome we’ll be going by way of Addis Abba Ethiopia, and after a quick layover we’ll take the last 2 hour flight to Kilimanjaro airport where we will clear customs, pay $100 for entry and exit visa and get picked up by our tour guide for a 4 hour drive to our first destination of the evening, and the next day off to an African Safari!
The entire trip comes as one package and although I don’t always recommend package deals, Mt. Kilimanjaro is a must with a tour company because of all of the fees and requirements to complete the climb. So what do we have planned exactly? After arriving in Kilimanjaro and completing the Serengeti African Safari we will be taken to Nale Moru Gate to begin the climb. The climb itself will last 5 days with the last day being a big push so we can make it to the summit for sunrise. I CAN’T WAIT!
Once the climb is complete I’ll unfortunately be heading back to Rome and everyone else will be on their way to Zanzibar, an island right off the coast of Tanzania and a quick 1 hour flight. They’ll spend a few days at a beach resort there and then head home. eeee!
THE CLIMB (Starting at Nale Moru Gate)
Day 1: From Nale Moru (1,950 m/6,398 ft) Gate to Simba Camp (2,600 m/8,530 ft). Change in elevation: (650 m/2132 ft)
Day 2: Hike from Simba Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft) to Kikelewa Camp (3,450 m/11,320 ft). Change in elevation (700 m/2300 ft)
Day 3: Hike from Kikelewa Camp (3,450 m/11,320 ft) to Mawenzi Tarn Hut (3,870 m/12,700 ft). Change in elevation: (420 m/1380 ft)
Day 4: Hike from Mawenzi Tarn Hut (3,870 m/12,700 ft) to Kibo Hut (4,695 m/15,400 ft). Change in elevation: (1200 m/2700 ft)
Day 5 (BIG DAY): Hike from Kibo Hut (4,695 m/15,400 ft) to Uhuru peak (5,895 m/19,340 ft). Change in elevation: (1200 m/3940 ft). Afterwards descend to Horombo Hut (3,690 m/12,100 ft). 4 km up, 14 km down 10-15 hours Alpine Desert
– THE BIG PUSH: Wake at midnight and prepare for summit ascent. The goal is to climb before dawn in order to reach Uhuru Peak shortly after sunrise. Leave at 1 AM, switchback up steep scree or possibly snow, and reach Gilman’s Point on the crater rim at 5,861 m/18,640 ft between 5 and 7 AM. Another 2 hours of hiking along the crater rim takes you to Kilimanjaro’s true summit, Uhuru Peak, Africa’s highest point. After summiting, descend back to the Kibo Huts and re cross the saddle to the Horombo Huts.
Day 6: Descend from Horombo Hut (3,690 m/12,100 ft) to Marangu Gate (1,830 m/6,000 ft) to Moshi (890 m/2,920 ft). From Marangu Gate we’ll be transfered to where we are off to next!
There’s 5 of us adventurer’s embarking on the journey and I thought I’d give you a small introduction to everybody.
Meet Will (all the way to the right), he’s the brains of this entire operation. He’s done all the legwork, the planning, the tour guide scouting. From start to finish he has put all the effort into this trip and I know everything will run smoothly because of it!
His close second and my good friend Megan is Will’s partner in crime and girlfriend, and she hook lined and sunk me for this trip in one fell swoop. A great travel buddy and soon to release a travel website herself I am so glad to have her during the journey, especially when the struggle becomes real!
Here we have Taylor, he’s definitely an out doors kind of guy, knows the equipment to get, has some good hiking tricks up his sleeve. He has many hobbies and once owned an airplane, it’s not a big deal or anything…
Finally, this is me. I am just an innocent bystander that got thrown into this whole shin dig. I was the last person to join the group, did none of the planning, and therefore can’t take any of the credit.
What I can do, however, is share the experience with you guys through pictures and video!
HEALTH IN AFRICA:
First and Foremost, you’re World Health Organization (WHO) Card, or you can just refer to it as your shot card because essentially its a listing of all of your shots so that if you end up in a hospital in South Africa, they know that all of your shots are current.
– Which leads straight into the YELLOW FEVER SHOT. I hadn’t previously gotten this shot and it was a requirement for the WHO card that you have the date stamped when you last received it. When I did get it my arm hurt for a couple of days like with most shots, but I am immune.
Next MALARIA. Nobody wants to get Malaria but there are all kinds of bacterias in Africa that most people have never been exposed to which can cause very bad sickness if not treated properly. I was given 3 types of pills, 1 you start 5 days before leaving for Africa, 1 you start 2 days before leaving and continue until 7 days after the trip, and 1 pill that is a worse case scenario if you become very sick that will kill all the bacteria in your body, good and bad, in an effort to purge it of all the offensive bacterias.
DIAMOX. To help prevent altitude sickness. As I’ve read multiple times, everybody and anybody can get altitude sickness. It does not matter how physically fit or ready you are. That’s why I’m going to take this drug to help prevent the sickness if possible.
EPI Pens. If you have any kind of severe allergy, then you should have one of these on hand, as well as a couple of boxes of benadryl just in case you eat the wrong thing or get stung by the wrong animal.
HAND WARMERS. As warm of a climate as it will be at the bottom of the mountain in Tanzania, there is quite a trek to the top and the higher in altitude you go the colder it gets. Which is why I’m going to make sure to have a supply of hand warmers and feet warmers with me at all times.
FIRST AID. Cumulatively we plan on bringing the simple first aid supplies as a group to save space in our packs. A few band aids and some duck tape will pretty much get us through the week.
NAUSEA MEDICINE. This is a absolute must for me. From planes, to trains, to automobiles, I ALWAYS keep a stash of Motion Sickness II on me. It works wonders. We’ll be driving in the car for large amounts of time before we begin our climb and it might be a little bumpy. To make sure I don’t get as sick as I did on the windy roads between Norfolk Virginia and Snow Shoe Mountain resort in WV a couple years ago, I’ll take the pills. I have no shame.
And with the most prescriptions and medications I’ve probably ever had at one time in my life, I think I’ve pretty much covered all the basics and I’m almost ready for the trip. Now how, and what am I going to pack all this shit in?!
Everbody needs good jams when climbing to the top of the mountain, which is why I am asking for your help! In the comments below tell me what I need to put on my playlist to make it to the top of the mountain. I’ve already gotten some great ideas and I’m adding them as I go, there’s still a few weeks left! If you want to be one of the contributors, let me know what I should add.
A few things I’ve been doing to prepare myself to climb the mountain. Every week I go to a Water Aerobics class offered at my gym, which I admit is pretty intensive. It is a 45 minutes class twice a week and it involves weights, your own strength training, and sprint swimming in between. Its definitely a decent work out and most of the time I feel like I’m rolling around on my mat like a dead fish.
I run 4 miles once a week and recently have tagged 80 lunges at the end of it. I am not a fast runner. Not at all. A 10 minute a mile pace is a good day for me. When I first started doing the lunges my legs would cramp up and hurt a couple of days later, now they only hurt just a little while after I complete them. That’s something right?!
The other 2 days I do weight training from the Women’s Health Big Book of 15 Minute Exercises. It’s a very fast paced workout but normally I take almost 45 minutes to complete 1 15 minute work out. haha.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE JOURNEY:
Well first and foremost I’ll be using the hashtag #GirlsdoAfrica (yes we are going to be with boys but only the girls have blogs!) and if you’d like to follow, you can find me on my social media, I think you’re going to want to know when the struggle becomes real life:
What other things do you think we should be taking into consideration before we go? Please, speak up!