Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. While this may sound like a daunting task to complete, it is known as a walk-up mountain — meaning no prior climbing skills are required. While you will finish sore, tired, and possibly sunburnt or cold, depending on the weather, it is guaranteed to be a memorable experience.
Here are a few tips to make it to the summit safely and cheaply.
Do not book in advance
Unlike most things in life where booking in advance is cheaper, for Kilimanjaro, it will not save you money. The big companies charge the most and if you are looking for the best price, the best option is to go in person and talk to as many small tours as possible.
The town of Moshi is where almost all of the trips leave from, and just by walking down the street, tour guides will approach you and offer a price. Keep on bargaining until you find the price right for you and don’t go with the first offer!
Be ready for altitude sickness
The reason why most people do not reach the summit is not that they are out of shape, it is because of altitude sickness. In the vast majority of cases, it causes slight nausea and weakness, and feel like you can, you can usually continue the climb and getting to the top is worth it.
Enjoy the view
The views from Kilimanjaro are guaranteed to be some of the best in the world. Within a couple of days, climbers go from rain forest to desert to snow, and there are some cactus and plants which only grow on this mountain. The stars at night are a sight to see and with clear skies and no light pollution, it feels like you are surrounded by a 3-d movie of light patterns and sights that you don’t see every day. Don’t forget to look up from the trail during the day and try to brave the cold for the nightly views!
Hikers raising money for charity, porters who have been climbing this mountain for 25 years, and interesting people from all over the world are just some of the characters sharing the incredible experience of Kilimanjaro. Almost everyone is friendly and has an interesting story, and being that there is no cell service most of the way, why not make some friends!