Is it safe to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
It’s not surprising that trekking on this mountain is high on many travellers’ priority list. However, because Mt Kilimanjaro is so easy to reach, and because is not technically difficult, this can create its own set of problems. Many people do the ascent much too quickly and end up suffering from headaches, nausea and other (sometimes more serious) effects of altitude sickness. This is obviously going to detract from your enjoyment of going up there and prevents quite a few people from reaching the summit. Scaling a 5895-metre mountain is no joy ride!
To give yourself the best chance of reaching the top, it’s a very good idea to choose the route with more hiking days, though this will not guarantee you plain sailing. Remember the old mountaineering adage: ‘Go high, sleep low’. Also, whatever else you do, walk slowly “pole pole” in the Swahili language, drink a lot of liquid, suck glucose tablets and don’t eat too much (you won’t feel like eating much anyway). Other travellers recommend taking medicine (usually prescribed for elderly patients to treat glaucoma). It’s useful in treating altitude sickness. Staying more night in the mountain camps or huts are going to make the trek into a more days affair and increase your costs, so bear this in mind and make sure that the trekking outfit understands what you have in mind before setting off.
If you get in any serious condition like loss of consciousness or severe headache as well as a limb or born injury or any problem of breathing then there is an emergency medical helicopter evacuation that they can arrive in 5 minutes. And what you have to do is to ask your guide to take you to the nearest helipad and this can be paid by your insurance.
Another problem can be the weather; even though they end up seeing the glaciers on the summits, many visitors go up the mountain without proper gear, completely unprepared for the cold and wet conditions often encountered.
This situation is made worse by some tour companies (and some guidebooks) billing the trek to Kilimanjaro as an easy hike. It’s not unknown for ill-prepared independent trekkers to die on Mt Kilimanjaro sometimes with fatal results.
So, when planning your trek up Mt Kilimanjaro, it is important to realise that this is no small mountain. If you spend at least five nights on the scent before going to the summit on Uhuru Peak, you stand a much better chance of enjoying yourself, and with proper clothes and equipment, you stand a much better chance of surviving too and reach the peak.
If you’re not a regular mountain walker and want to climb on your own without a competent companion or a local guide, is simply asking for trouble. The best time to go, as far as fair weather is concerned, is from June to late October and from late December to February. Contact for best Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours offer.