Climbing KilimanjaroApril 14, 2014
If you are exploring different medical placements and looking for one that combines hospital experience with adventure, you should take a second look at Gap Medics’ Tanzania placement. When it comes to adventure, no other country offers as many opportunities as Tanzania does. Here you can indulge in scuba diving off Zanzibar island, choose from several different big game safaris, spend weekends exploring the Ruaha National Park or climb Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
Located in North-East of Tanzania and rising to a staggering height of 5895 metres, Kilimanjaro is not just the highest mountain in Africa, it also holds the record as the highest free standing mountain on earth. Conquering the snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro has kindled the enthusiasm of avid trekkers as well as seasoned mountaineers who persevere for the greatest reward of all – the awe-inspiring view from the top. Those who make it to Kilimanjaro’s summit can actually see the curve of the planet and on clear, cloudless days, the views extend as far as the plains of the Masai Mara.
Kilimanjaro has much more to offer than just its magnificent views from the top. Embarking on an expedition to the roof of Africa is the equivalent of travelling on a trip from the Equator to the Arctic. The lower slopes of the mountain are dense with lush tropical forests, which give way to vast expanses of bushland and dry savannah as you climb higher and then at last the snow-covered, alpine desert at the summit.
One of the most welcoming aspects of the mountain is that climbers can access the peak even without any earlier experience of climbing such heights. This is one of the highest mountains that regular tourists can climb without the need for hardcore mountaineering equipment. Most trekkers make it to the rim of the crater with little more than a sturdy walking stick, proper attire and loads of determination. This in no way means it is an easy climb however. Getting to the peak is definitely a feat of human endurance. If you reach Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater or Uhuru Point, which is the actual summit, you will have earned your climbing certificate.
There are 6 trekking routes to the summit that are slightly less demanding than the arduous mountaineering routes. Which one you choose would depend on your level of fitness, stamina and endurance.
Fitness requirements to do the climb
Although it is possible to simply trek a route to the pinnacle of Kilimanjaro without relying on professional climbing equipment, it does require a certain level of stamina and physical fitness along with a realistic awareness of the potential dangers of high altitudes.
Consulting a doctor and getting a physical check-up done for overall fitness before attempting to scale the mountain is advisable.