A Kilimanjaro hike sounds like a lot of fun to go on, but what exactly will you be doing on that mountain?
And if you've never climbed a mountain before, much less the tallest free standing one in the world with ice-caps at the top and the possibility of altitude sickness, just what are you getting yourself into here?
Good question. Better to ask before you go! Here is exactly what you are getting yourself into if you go on such a trip.
A day by day description of an ascent using the Machame route which is the second most travelled trail on the mountain.
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You turn up. Preferably at a hotel close to Kili. That's all you need to do today because to climb a mountain one needs to start at the bottom.
After an early wake-up call and a hearty breakfast (easy on the beans...consider your fellow travellers), you will mosey along to the Machame Gate which is officially the start of the trail.
From here you will amble through plantation and natural rainforest to the Machame Hut at 9900 ft. Easy enough.
You do the breakfast thing again (you don't have to carry the ingredients - porters do that for you) and here the walking becomes a little steeper as lush green forest gives way to moorland to get to the Shira Plateau.
The Kilimanjaro guides will set a very slow pace to help your acclimatization process. You should reach the Shira hut (12 600 ft) after about 5 to 7 hours of hiking.
This is where the going gets a little tougher because you get some pretty extreme altitude changes thrown at you today. It's not called the acclimatization day for nothing.
You will climb past the Lava Tower (15 180 ft) and after lunch start descending slowly again towards the Baranco hut which is only 150 ft higher in altitude than Shira hut.
By this time you should be getting pretty used to the kilimanjaro hiking routine so the 6 to 7 hour walk to the Barafu hut at 14 910 ft should be a cinch for you.
This is the big one. Today you are going to stand on the roof of Africa. But you will have to get up at midnight so that you will be in time for the sunrise (which will probably be the most rewarding one you will ever see).
This is the most challenging part both mentally and physically of the whole Kilimanjaro hike. Most people that fail to summit drop out here.
But when you make it, you will be on Uhuru peak at 19 400 ft, the highest point on the mountain.
You will also see the glacial snow that caps the mountain all year round but take a good look because it won't be there much longer.
After spending a little time to celebrate your success you will descend towards the Mweka Hut.
After your last mountain side breakfast you will head down to Mweka gate and catch a vehicle back to your hotel to rest your weary bones.
To see how others have fared on their trips, take a look at these Kilimanjaro climb travel reviews. They will give you an added dimension in what to expect.
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