Shelley, a 29 year-old instructor from Colorado returned from climbing the highest peak in Africa this year, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Here is her candid advice about climbing the fabled mountain.
What country in Africa did you visit? For how many days?
Kenya (2), Tanzania (30), South Africa (10)
What was the first thing you noticed that was unique or different when you arrived?
The bus trip from Nairobi to Arusha was amazing. It was my first experience out of the states, and was amazed by what I saw on that trip.
Which route did you climb on the mountain and for how many days?
This is a two-part story. The first attempt was the Machame Route. It was intended to be a 6-day hike. On the morning of the 4th day I had advanced HACE conditions… saw flashes, perforated or busted ear drum with fluid coming out of my ear, terrible headache, could not walk a straight line so I had to descend.
About one week later, I returned the Machame route with World Tours. I was able to summit on the second trip.
Was it difficult? Did you summit?
It was very difficult (especially since I had broken my back 6 months earlier), but I was able to summit.
What would be one piece of advice you would give other travelers wanting to climb Kilimanjaro?
Hike more slowly than you think you should, and stop only when you have to. This allows you to make it to camp at a descent time without having to rush. Also, if you end up with signs of altitude sickness, descend. A person died on each trip that I went on.
Is there any type of gear they shouldn’t forget to bring?
Be sure to have sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, and very warm, but flexible gloves that you can maneuver in.
Did you go on safari?
Yes, I went to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
What kinds of animals did you see? Did you see anything that was absolutely amazing?
Elephants, Giraffes, Lions, Leopards, Monkeys, Hippos, Croc’s, Dik Dik, Antelope, Gazelle, Rhino, and many other small species. We saw an elephant push over a tree. We saw a lioness that had just had her tail torn off.
Overall, would you recommend people visiting this