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Mt Kilimanjaro - Trekili Eco Expeditions

The weather and elements that your body will be subjected to during your ascent to the top of Kilimanjaro are extremely varied. Climbing Kilimanjaro in Shorts has been done but it is recommended that you protect yourself from the elements with the right items.

When you start your ascent from the base of the mountain you’ll be warm and probably even hot, but as you climb higher and higher it will get colder but you’ll also be climbing closer to the sun.

Most people don’t have the ability to control their own body temperature but there is a man from the Netherlands called Wim Hof who can do just that.

Wim is quite unique in that he has learned through meditation to literally control his body temperature and after recent tests it has been discovered that he also has the ability to control his immune system.

The Iceman (as he’s known) has set countless world records for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures which would cause serious medical issues or death in the average person.

wim hof climbing kili in shorts

He believes that we all have the ability to develop these incredible skills and has created a training system to help people do just that. Wim has been studied over the past few years and those studies have confirmed that simply by harnessing his mind through meditation he is able to control his body temperature and produce more antibodies which help to fight infection and disease.

In February 2009, Wim summited Kilimanjaro in 2 days wearing only shorts. He has successfully trained people to be instructors in his methods to show others across the world how they can control their physiology processes to withstand the cold but more importantly adapt to altitude and reduce altitude sickness.

At the beginning of 2014, a group of 26 people climbed Kilimanjaro using the Wim Hof Method (WHM) which enabled them to climb to the top in only 48 hours, and some of the climbers were only wearing shorts! 24 climbers even reached the highest peak on Kilimanjaro which is the Uhuru Peak and is 5895 meters high.

If you’ve studied and practice the Wim Hof Method and completed the full amount of training required to do this, and have the right team in place then this is clearly an incredible feat of physical endurance.

There is however something very important lacking from this experience and that is time.

Taking your time to climb Kilimanjaro using the traditional methods of climbing Pole, Pole not only ensures you don’t suffer with any high altitude side effects but also ensures you’re able to take in the whole experience.

Every step you take enables you to see something different and if you’re trekking up the mountain at warp speed, you can miss so much that you might never see again in your lifetime and we think that would be a shame.

Using the Wim Hof Method could certainly help you acclimatise and would probably be a great addition to training for your trek up mount Kili. Learning advanced breathing techniques whilst developing your fitness training would certainly put you in an excellent position for your Kilimanjaro trek.

When you climb a mountain, always take time to stop and smell the flowers, see the beauty in the nature around you and breathe in the whole experience with every step you take.

When you arrive in the Kilimanjaro rejoin you will no doubt be greeted with warm smiles and the word Karibu which means welcome in Swahili. This means that you will have come into with the Chagga people of Kilimanjaro.

The Chagga tribe are the third largest ethnic group in Tanzania and they like most Tanzanians speak Swahili which is a Bantu language. The Chaga (as they are also known) are traditionally farmers who cultivate crops such as millet, plantains, bananas and coffee. They are also one of the richest tribes thanks to their cultivation of the fertile lands of Kilimanjaro.

chagga people kilimanjaro tanzania

When you go to Tanzania to climb Mt Kilimanjaro you will get to know some of the Chagga tribe very well because they make excellent porters having not only grown up trekking the mountain but having also developed the art of carrying on the head. Today you will find Chagga people doing all types of work from administration to engineering because the Chagga are known to be hard working and industrious.

In the past the Chagga tribes were split up into chiefdoms and Mount Kili became a trading pass, so who better to guide you and support you on your trek to the summit than the ancestors of the original tribes! No one knows this mountain better than the people who grew up living in its shadow.

A lot of the porters on Kili hail from the Chagga people and are proud to continue working on the mountain of their ancestors. They will go to great lengths to ensure your climb is safe and successful because they have such a strong work ethic.

As you climb ‘pole, pole’ up the mountain, your porters will pass you carrying your heavy burden, and as you reach your camp they will have set up your tents and prepared your feast. When you feel like giving up or you are struggling with each step you take, the porters and guides are there with you every step of the way because they want nothing more than to see you succeed in your goal of reaching the summit in the safest way possible.

The Chagga are an important part of Kilimanjaro history and the porters of today are an invaluable group who make your trips to Kilimanjaro and the National Parks possible.

So when you meet a porter or guide on your trekking trip in Tanzania, Chagga or not, you can rest assured they’re a pretty special person because they are simply there to assist you.

Inspirational stories and Mount Kilimanjaro go hand in hand because it is an incredible place and there are so many amazing people that set out to summit it.

One particularly incredible woman is Neelu Memon who has already scaled mountains and is hungry for more.

Neelu was an athletic teenager who loved to snowboard, until one day she became ill and had a post-viral auto-immune response which sent her into a 4 month long coma. This left Neelu with only 30% sight and an inability to walk, talk and swallow due to injury to her brain.

Rehabilitation was an uphill struggle because Neelu had to learn to walk and talk again. Some sight returned but she still lives with limited sight, limited balance and other physical challenges on a daily basis. This was just the beginning of her journey to full health and it took a long time to get there.

But this is a determined woman and nothing was going to keep her from doing what she loved most and that was being outdoors. Since being rehabilitated, Neelu has accomplished many things that some people with full sight and perfect balance only allow themselves to dream of.

Neelu Memon Mt Aspiring

Neelu has dared to be different and has not only overcome life threatening roadblocks but has pushed beyond those limits to realise her dreams. Neelu has cycled tandem in the Paracycling World Championships, climbed Mount Aspiring in New Zealand and is the first legally blind person to complete the Speight’s Coast to Coast challenge in New Zealand.

All this before she’s even 30!

So where does this unstoppable woman plan to trek to next? Well of course Neelu’s planning on achieving something only a few dare to try and that’s to climb the Seven summits.

The Seven summits are the highest peaks across seven continents and only a handful of climbers have achieved this great feat, so it’s especially impressive that a legally blind woman is attempting such a challenging task.

Neelu is planning to climb Mt Kili in August 2014 and has already been in training to prepare for the higher altitude. Considering everything Memon has been through in the past few year’s, climbing Kilimanjaro will probably be a walk in a very high park for her.

Neelu is not only inspiring others with and without disabilities through her expedition efforts, but is also doing this in her day to day work as a Disability Issues Advisor for the Ministry of Social Development

“I really want people to believe they can do anything,” she says. “I believe any disabled person can do what they want to do when they have support.”

There seems to be a lot of truth in the saying, the only limitations you face in life are the ones which you place upon yourself.

We will be following the progress of the seven summit conquest for this amazing blind mountaineer because we have been inspired by her tenacious attitude towards adversity and life.

Are you holding yourself back from experiencing something as amazing as this? Let Neelu Memon’s personal journey inspire you to try something new and be brave enough to reach new heights.

Watch Neelu’s personal message here:

You will often find the kind and hard working people of Tanzania offering to carry your heavy burden, especially the porters of Mt Kilimanjaro. By this they of course mean they will carry your load, on their head!

Seeing people carry huge and heavy bags, sacks and bowls on their head is usually a bit of a shock. It seems impossible and unnatural to those who have never experienced it before. But to the porters of Kilimanjaro, this is an everyday occurrence and one which they learned from being very young.

The practice of carrying weighted packages on the head dates back to ancient times and has been used to carry out daily chores such as fetching water, to show skill in tribal dances and through work such as portering.

But why does the art of carrying on the head appear to be such an easy skill for some people but causes muscle strain, spasm, pain and renders others immobile for days?

Many studies have been carried out over the year’s on how certain races have the ability to develop such a skill. The truth, it seems, still to eludes most scientists but it comes down to walking gait, muscles fibres, environment and the persons centre of gravity.

Kilimanjaro porters head carrying

These are skills that have been built up over time from youth to adulthood so they have developed this even though they appear to have more chance of succeeding than the average Westernised individual.

For those who carry loads on their heads, it seems they are able to reduce the energy which is expended during physical activity and often they are able to cancel the energy used in some cases. When tests have been carried out on Western counterparts, the energy used is unable to be decreased or cancelled and the metabolism increases which makes it virtually impossible to carry the load very far at all.

It is actually more efficient to carry a load on your head because it takes the strain off your back and makes your larger/stronger leg muscles do more of the work.

Whether it’s the sherpa’s of the Himalayas, the workers and homemakers of India, Africa and South America or the bread couriers of Egypt, they have all developed this skill which enriches their lives and the lives of others.

The porters of Kili will make your trek up the mountain a very special one for so many reasons but when they’re carrying your gear on their head whilst trekking to the summit, you’ll no doubt be in awe of their physical and mental endurance.

Unusual Animals in Tanzania

Posted April 03, 2014 | Comments Off

Tanzania is teeming with wildlife that you come to expect because you see images and mentions of them so often in the media. Zebra, hippo, giraffe, elephants and lions all get their fair share of their time in the spotlight and rightly so because they are all magnificent creatures. But there are many different species of wildlife that some have rarely been seen by most people, let alone even heard of!

We’d like to introduce you to just a few of the unique and unusual animals in Tanzania. Although if you want to see them up close and personal, then you’ll just have to book your trek or safari and come out.

Meet the Gerenuk

Gerenuk tanzania animals

The Gerenuk is (Litocranius walleri) is a long necked species of antelope which is often referred to as a giraffe necked antelope as this is where the name stems from in the Somali language. They are an unusual looking creature because their head is rather small but their eyes and ears are big, giving them a very unusual appearance.

They like to live in dry areas and don’t need much water to survive because they get most of their
daily fluid intake from dew which they consume by eating leaves, shoot and flowers on trees. The famous acacia trees in Tanzania are a particular favourite of the Gerenuk and they can often be found standing on their back legs reaching their long necks up to enjoy the berries and buds.

The Gerenuk are similar to humans in that they will be active in the day and sleep through the night, choosing a place where they can keep themselves and their young safe from predators.

Tanzania Gerenuk

Because Gerenuks and Giraffes both enjoy the acacia trees, you will often find them eating from the same trees. The Gerenuk stretching up and the Giraffe bending down.

The Gerenuk is considered Near Threatened so work has begun to monitor their species.

Meet the Bat Eared Fox

Bat eared fox tanzania animals

The Bat Eared Fox has been walking this earth for a very long time but they are not widely mentioned. Their unique ears are usually over 12 cm in length and are black which is why some refer to them as the black eared fox.

They can be found in the grasslands and savannas of Tanzania where they create dens for themselves and their offspring. Their multiple dens contain several chambers and tunnels with multiple exits for a quick escape.

Their diet mainly consists of insects but occasionally they will feast on other small animals, eggs
and even forna. They are also not big water drinkers because they get a lot of their daily fluid intake from the insects they consume.

The Bat Eared Fox is an excellent runner and can even run in reverse without losing speed in order to lose a predator. They have incredible dodging skills too which makes them hard to catch. The male does most of the work with the young and they are mostly monogamous but have been found to live in polygynous groups.

Meet the Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew

Black and rufous elephant shrew tanzania

Just as its name suggests, the Black and Rufous Elephant Shrew is a mole like mammal which has a nose like the trunk of an elephant. They grow much larger than the average Shrew and adults can reach over 25 cm. This particular Shrew is quite striking in colour with its black and red/orange coat.

They live in forests and woodlands because they prefer the leafy habitat. There are four species of giant elephant shrew and they are endemic to Africa. They have a tongue like an aardvark which helps them eat ants, termites and spiders alongside beetles and nuts.

They eat insects (beetles, termites, ants) and spiders, supplementing this with fruits and seeds.

Another fast runner, these little creatures can get up to great speeds in order to escape their predators and don’t scurry down burrows like other small mammals, they either run away or engage diversion tactics.

These shrews are considered vulnerable so work has started to protect the species.

If you are fascinated by this small collection of African wildlife then you’ll be amazed by all the animals, birds and flora you can see and learn about on a trip to Tanzania.

To learn more about African Wildlife and its conservation click here http://www.awf.org/

Trekili Diary

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