The early mornings. The arduous trek. The exhaustion and doubt, but the determination to persevere. The exhilaration when you reach the top. If you’re an avid climber, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about: Ascending Mount Kilimanjaro is not a feat that you simply roll out of bed to accomplish. If you’re ready to conquer the beast that is this climb, you’ll be rewarded not only with an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, but also with a panoramic view that will leave you breathless (if your climb hasn’t left you breathless already, that is).
In addition to recommending specialist Africa travel insurance for your adventure, here are some important tips for making your quest an invigorating success.
When’s the Best Time to Go?
The trek itself is already difficult enough – Don’t make it harder for yourself by going during the rainy season! If you’d like to stay as dry as possible, your best bet is to schedule your climb between January and mid-March, or between June and October. These months, called the dry seasons, will give you the clearest view, although the holiday spirit often drives climbers to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro over Christmas and New Year.
How Fit Do I Have to Be?
Although you don’t have to be the world’s greatest climber to succeed on Mount Kilimanjaro, you’re bound to have a better experience if you train before you attempt the trek. However, no matter how fit you are before you arrive in Africa, travel insurance is a must. This is especially important because altitude sickness – which causes many climbers to abruptly break off their trips – may prevent you from reaching your goal.
Which Route Should I Choose?
Apart from the actual climb, picking the route that’s right for you is the hardest part. Out of the six possible routes, ca. 66% of climbers decide on Marangu or Machame. Whereas Machame, a seven-day route, has the highest success rate for reaching the top, Marangu, which is two days shorter, is the only route with sleeping cabins. Comfort, time, success... there are so many factors to consider!
Where Do I Book?
To decide on where to book, you’ll have to have a good, long think about your priorities. What do you think is best: An economical trip, or a safe one? A cabin to sleep in, or a tent? An underexplored route, or a more popular one? Weigh out the options carefully before you make your final choice.
How Much Will It Cost?
Let’s be honest: It ain’t cheap to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. While the bargain bucket option, which is discouraged, costs about $1200, most travel agencies will charge a fee in the ballpark of $2,000 to $3,500. No matter how steep the price, however, all climbers who make it to the top will tell you that the steep trek was everything they hoped for, and more.
How Do I Get There?
Most people choose to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which can be reached easily with five popular airlines. You may find that it’s best to book flights with KLM, which has regular flights and offers handy connections in the US, the UK, and throughout the rest of Europe.
What Should I Take?
Of course, durable walking boots and attire are a given, but the rest will depend heavily on who you choose to book with. While some companies will supply you with sleeping mats and bags, you usually have to bring your own gear. It’s helpful to ask the agency for a kit list so that you’ll have a clear sense of what to bring. Oftentimes, you’ll also be able to rent equipment from them, which is particularly useful if you’re not planning another day-long climb!
For adventures of this magnitude, having insurance is crucial. While many insurance companies will not cover daring treks, Let’s Go Insure’s Africa travel insurance will catch you when you fall. For any climbing-related eventuality, Let’s Go Insure offers peace of mind, and will help you make your bold excursion as stress-free and elating as possible!
Ethan Bailey is an experienced adventure traveller and insurance expert with the team at Let's Go Insure. Ethan’s passion is to inspire his clients to go just that little bit further, deeper and higher on their travels and his expertise in providing the ideal insurance cover allows them to do just that. If you're looking for the best Africa travel insurance Let's Go works with the most experienced underwriters, intermediaries and insurers to offer a range of competitive insurance without compromising on cover.