Posted on: March 14, 2014 | Comments Off
If you’re looking for a quieter route to trek Mount Kilimanjaro then you should consider trekking the Rongai Loitokitok route.
The original Rongai route used to begin at the village of the same name but a number of years ago the authorities decided to close it as they came to the decision that two trails that had very few trekkers certainly wasn’t needed. This particular route can still be seen on maps but people who want to trek Mountain Kilimanjaro from the North use the Loitokitok route.
Today the Rongai route is approached from the north and the route starts south of the Kenya – Tanzania border. You will tend to find that the majority of people trek Mount Kilimanjaro via the more well known routes such as the Marangu and Machame routes but choosing the Rongai route will enable you to see a part of the mountain that very few people will ever experience.
As you climb Mount Kilimanjaro from the north you can experience the best of both worlds as you will descend on the south side on the Marangu route, this will give you the opportunity of seeing both sides of the mountain so you will experience magnificent views of the savannahs on your trek to the roof of Africa.
As you make your way along the Rongai route the gradient is generally quite gentle compared to other routes and so isn’t as challenging as the other routes on Mount Kilimanjaro which makes it an ideal route for the less experienced trekker. You will pass through alpine moorland, forests and farmland as you climb ever closer to the glacial peak of Kibo.
Your trek will begin in the small village of Nale Moru that will take you through farm land and into a pine forest where you will start your gentle climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. You will most likely see much more wildlife on this route compared to other routes because it is visited far less.
It’s not unusual to see some larger animals including warthog, water buffalo, bush buck and dik dik. You may even be lucky enough to see some elephants and hyaenas.
The last stretch of the trek is the most challenging part of it and is in fact completed through the night, but that final ascent is worth all the effort because when you reach the top and see the sun rising, you will feel absolutely incredible, euphoric and/or very emotional.
The Rongai Loitokitok route is a fantastic route if you’re looking for a little solitude where you can experience the beautiful scenery and wildlife without the hustle and bustle of the more populated routes.
Q: Trekked Mt Kili more than once? Which route is your favourite?
Posted on: March 10, 2014 | Comments Off
When you’re planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro you need to make sure you plan every little detail because this will make all the difference to your experience on the mountain.
One of the most common mistakes climbers make is over packing before they leave home. It’s important to be very selective in what you take but it’s also important to take particular items that will be essential for your trip.
All of your clothing should match the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro as it can be extremely sunny in the mornings, afternoons tend to be colder and cloudy and when the night time arrives the temperature can drop to below freezing. So it may be a good idea to dress in layers, so you can remove or put on clothes as needed.
A good sleeping bag is essential for the night times, you should aim for a season 3 or 4 sleeping bag as the temperature can drop well below freezing. A season 3 or 4 should definitely protect you from the freezing temperatures and ensure you get a good nights sleep.
A sleeping mat is generally provided but if you would like some extra comfort than an inflatable mat would be a good idea.
A thermally protected drinking bottle that holds at least 3 liters of water is advisable. Ordinary plastic water bottles should be avoided as these may crack the higher you climb.
You should purchase a good pair of hiking boots that are completely broken in before you even think about about climbing Kilimanjaro, blisters are really not a good idea when you spend most of your day hiking! Special socks that take moisture away from your skin should be worn under a warmer pair of socks. As the temperature gets colder then a good thick pair of woolen socks should be worn over the top.
Gaiters are a perfect accompaniment to your walking boots. They are great for keeping the mud and snow out of your boots. Always choose ones that are breathable material.
Hiking trousers with base layers are ideal for your trek. The base layers should be made of wool as these will keep you warm when the temperature drops. Waterproof trousers should be worn over your hiking trousers so that your lower half doesn’t get wet when the weather changes. These can protect you when the weather gets a little windy. When the temperature warms up then a pair of shorts are always a great idea to wear.
Two to three warm layers for your upper body are ideal. You can remove or add depending on the temperature and weather. A good waterproof jacket will be needed to stop you from getting wet.
A good pair of thermal gloves will be needed along with a thinner pair to wear under them.
A warm hat that covers both your head and ears should be taken, as well as a sun hat with a wide rim to protect you for the sun. If you experience the cold it’s advisable that you take a warm snuggly hat to wear at night because this will help keep the heat in your body and will no doubt help you sleep more soundly.
Don’t forget your sunglasses because you will definitely need them. As the altitude gets higher the UV exposure also gets stronger. It’s important that your sunglasses protect against UVA, b and c rays.
Making sure that you have the correct gear for your climb will make you experience far more fun.
We have a full list of the type of gear you’ll need to climb Mt Kili successfully and you can also hire the climbing gear so you don’t have the added expense of investing in all this stuff if you only plan to do this type of climb once. This is the ideal option too if you want to make sure your climbing gear for Kilimanjaro is of the highest quality and standards.
Check out our Top Kilimanjaro Trekking Tips
Posted on: March 08, 2014 | Comments Off
Tanzania is one of the most incredible places in the world to visit and with over 400 species of birdlife it’s the ideal place for a birding holiday, especially in the Serengeti. It offers many opportunities to see a wide variety of birdlife from migratory birds to resident birds.
In Tanzania there thousands of birds to see whether that be on the snowy summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the many lakes that surround the area. The birdlife is vast and thriving, so what could be better than a birding holiday in the Serengeti?
The Serengeti National Park is home to more than 500 different species of birds including the incredible lilac breasted roller bird, Kori bustard, finches, larks, ostriches and the amazing secretary bird.
The secretary bird is an extremely large bird of prey native to Africa. They are generally over four feet tall and spend their time strolling along the ground in between acacia trees and short grasses looking for food. Although they are incredibly tall they are excellent flyers and nest in acacia trees at night.
To see the secretary bird in flight is an amazing sight not only because of their size but because they are also so incredibly graceful.
You will also find that the National Park is home to three endangered bird species; the Rufous tailed weaver, the beautiful Fischer’s lovebird and the Grey rumped spur fowl.
There is also a bird that can be found here called the Honeyguide who has a special relationship with the Ratel (also known as the honey badger). Because Ratel’s are so fond of bee honey (hence their name) they pull down beehives which helps out the Honeyguide because they can easily then enjoy the beeswax.
If you’re looking for a bird watchers paradise then Arusha National Park is definitely the place you want to visit. With more than 350 species of birds, the area has remained the perfect habitat for these creatures since the dawn of time.
Flamingos are a common sight in the park, specifically at the mesmerizing Momela lakes.
From October to April the lakes are highly populated by water fowl from Europe and many other birds that are just passing through. During the rest of the year the local birds including pochards, grebes and various different geese occupy the lakes.
If you are lucky enough, you could spot a Hartlaub turaco and a narina trogon. The magnificent crowned eagles are a common sight as are the Levaillant’s cuckoo and lanner falcon.
The rich bird life that you will experience certainly will not leave you disappointed. In fact it will be something that you will remember for the rest of your life.
If you long to see some of the most incredible birds and wildlife in the world, then a birding holiday in Tanzania should be the next on your list.
Q: What birds have you seen on your Tanzanian trips?
Posted on: March 05, 2014 | Comments Off
There was a recent news article that stated Kilimanjaro was under pressure from an influx of tourists wanting to climb to the summit and that this was having a detrimental impact on the great mountain and surrounding areas.
We can assure you that this isn’t the case and that all organisations in place to protect the mountain, Kilimanjaro and Serengeti regions are all working together to ensure it never does. Taking care of the Tanzanian National parks and their inhabitants is of paramount importance.
The Tanzanian National Parks Authority issued a statement on their website which goes into detail about how they work to protect the region, its natural beauty and the habitat of the people and wildlife.
While we all obviously want to encourage more people to come and see the wonders of Tanzania for themselves, we do so with a good conscience. Our aim is to show the world the beauty this great country has to offer whilst helping to develop its economy; providing further jobs, education and the chance to live a more secure life for the people of Kilimanjaro.
The impact our travelers have on this area, the environment, the people, and the wildlife all matter to us very much, which is why we work with the organisations who are taking care of the Tanzanian National Parks and who love and respect this ecosystem.
We run our eco trekking expeditions within the guidelines of the International Ecotourism Society which is a non profit organisation set up to promote ecotourism. Ecotourism is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” It is our aim to help preserve, protect and at the same time improve the environments we travel through by following strict guidelines and practices.
We work to minimize visitor impact, provide local people with good wages, secure employment, leave no trace on our treks and safaris and all of this means we can trek in the knowledge that the only thing we’re leaving behind are the Tanzanian friends we made along the way.
There is real progress being made by all organisations working together to ensure Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti thrive because more visitors are coming to Tanzania.
When reputable trekking companies follow these guidelines and work with the local authorities, this helps to stamp out any low budget international mountain trekking companies that don’t hold these principles to heart.
Trekili believe in providing the highest quality luxury trekking experience and whilst taking good care of staff and visitors, it’s also extremely important to take care of our beloved Tanzanian home too.
When you book your Tanzanian adventure, make sure you’re booking with a locally based trekking company who’s part of the Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators at the very least. This will ensure you’re protected by them should the unexpected happen.
When you’re travelling to somewhere such as Tanzania, you want to make sure every tiny detail is taken care of and you’re in the safest of hands, which is why organisations such as TATO exist and why Trekili are proud to be a member of them.
We’ll give the Tanzanian National Parks authority the final word…
Conclusively, as our mission stands: “To sustainably conserve and manage park resources and their aesthetic value, for the benefit of present and future generations of mankind, as well as efficiently provide high class tourism products and services,” Tanzania National Parks through Kilimanjaro National Park will continue to work tirelessly in ensuring that this mission is attained.
Posted on: March 01, 2014 | Comments Off
If you want to stand on the roof of Africa then you’re going to need some top Kilimanjaro trekking tips to make sure you reach that summit. These handy tips (along with experienced guides and helpful porters) will ensure you get there and back with nothing but a smile on your face.
As with any event in life, always be prepared! You are trekking to the top one of the most accessible but no less challenging mountains in the world so you must get yourself ready for such an undertaking, even if you’re an experienced mountaineer. No two climbs are the same.
So we’ve prepared a handy list for you to look through to help you ready yourself for the expedition ahead. This is by no means exhaustive but will provide you with a good grounding to launch your trek from.
Top Kilimanjaro Trekking Tips
1. Prepare yourself physically by starting your training at least two months before you plan to do your trek. The earlier you can start training the better you will be able to handle the physical challenges that lay ahead.
2. Prepare yourself mentally for the challenge by fully understanding what’s involved in a trek on Kilimanjaro. Research others experiences and visualise your goal of reaching the summit.
3. Climb at your own pace, don’t be influenced by anyone else because everyone is an individual and what works well for them may not for you. Take your ascent slowly, slowly. Getting to the top is not a race or a competition, and your health and safety will be greatly improved if you take your time. The summit will still be there when you reach the top so take your time to enjoy the entire experience and make sure that you do indeed reach the summit.
4. Ensure you have a cozy hat with you because this will come in handy the higher you climb and will help you sleep better at night as it will help you retain heat. A good pair of socks and ear plugs will also be very welcome when you settle down for the night.
5. You will need tissues throughout your Kilimanjaro climb without a doubt but no more so than when you reach the summit because it is truly an incredible sight which takes your breath away and evokes many emotions. It is not uncommon to be brought to tears by your achievement and the magnificence of your surroundings.
6. A little Swahili will take you a long way. Make an effort to get to know your guides, porters and they will become great friends by the end of your expedition. When you meet local villagers or town folk, make the effort to say “hello, how are you” before you ask any questions because this is customary in Tanzania.
Here’s a few basics which will help you show respect, make friends and leave a good impression:
> Hello = Jambo / hujambo / Salama
> How are you? = Habari gani
> Nice to meet you = Nafurahi kukuona
> What is your name? = Jina lako nani?
> My name is = Jina langu ni …
> Please = Tafadhali
> Thank you = Asante
> Thank you very much = Asante sana
> Yes = Ndiyo
> No = Hapana
> Do you speak English? = Unasema kiingereza?
> Goodnight = Lala salama
> Excuse me = Samahani
> Can you help me? = Tafadhali, naomba msaada
Q: What are your top trekking tips?
Posted on: February 26, 2014 | Comments Off
If you’re a runner then you’ll no doubt like a goal and a challenge. Just running a city marathon is challenge enough for some people but then there’s those who like to take it up a notch. The Kilimanjaro marathon is truly a marathon with a difference because your run is at the base of the highest freestanding mountain in the world, so not your average marathon scene.
The route is 26.2 miles and situated in Tanzania, south of the equator. The run is between 830-1150m altitude and can be in 90 degree heat, which makes it one of the more challenging marathons in the world.
The Kilimanjaro marathon has been established for 12 years. If you don’t want to run a full 26.2 miles then you can choose to run the half marathon or even the 5K instead. There’s something for everyone at this great sporting event which is why it is becoming so popular with international runners.
For the past 12 years at the beginning of March people descend from around the world in the town of Moshi, Tanzania where they to begin their run from the Moshi stadium. The marathon was originally set up to promote sport in Tanzania, it has the backing of a number of different official organisations, including the IAAF and the Tanzania Tourist Board.
There are many professional runners who come to the race and especially from the Kenyan circuit. The higher altitude training benefits the runners in preparation for lower altitude runs.
The marathon route is a fantastic way to see some of the sights of the local area because it passes through the town of Moshi, up through villages, local farmland, coffee plantations and toward the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The whole route is lined with local villagers and spectators cheering on everyone taking part in each of the races.
There is very much a party atmosphere in the whole local area because this is a great event in the Kilimanjaro calendar. There’s lots of entertainment with musicians and dancers. There’s also food and drink being sold for everyone to enjoy.
February / March is a perfect time to visit Tanzania, and so is also the ideal months to hold this event. The run is also at the time of the annual migration of the wildebeest into the Serengeti National Park so is the perfect time to fit in a safari too.
Anyone who likes a physical, mental and life changing challenge might like to consider a triple trek expedition which could include a climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro, a safari and rounded off with the Kilimanjaro marathon in 2015.
Could there any better way to push yourself to new limits and experience all the wonders of Tanzania in one trip? We would recommend a trip to Chemka Hot Springs after this trekking triathlon for certain.
If you’re already in Tanzania and fancy a bit of a challenging walk or run on Sunday 2nd March then you can still sign up to join the Kilimanjaro Marathon in Moshi. Alternatively you can make it part of your Tanzanian visit in 2015 and book a whole holiday of a lifetime fitness challenge for yourself and friends.
Get in touch and we’ll help you organise the whole thing.
Posted on: February 21, 2014 | Comments Off
The Seven summits challenge is a great test for anyone who is passionate about mountain climbing. Many people have achieved it, some have not been so successful but the reward is in the trying because so few people even consider doing such a thing.
So how incredible it would be for the first ever siblings to summit all of the 7 highest mountains in the world, across seven continents?
The amazing Brother and Sister conquering the Seven Summits together.
Pakistani siblings Mizra Ali and Samina Baig reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to tick off another of the worlds highest peaks on their quest to conquer them all.
Mizra Ali was reportedly overjoyed when he spoke of their achievement at the summit of Kilimanjaro. He said it felt fantastic reaching the top after experiencing heavy snow and rain on their ascent. Expressing his great joy to have arrived at the roof of Africa at last.
Samina Baig is the first Pakistani woman (and youngest Muslim) to carry the Pakistani national flag to the top of Mount Everest in the Himalayas in 2013. Both siblings are participating in this event through the Adventure Diplomacy Expedition, which is a Youth Mountaineering Education Program that seeks to promote mountain sports to the youth of Pakistan.
The brother and sister team are taking on these great challenges to raise awareness for Gender equality and empower women worldwide. We think it empowers everyone and anyone because so far to date, just under 200 people have complete the Seven Summits challenge!
Mizra and Samina aim to help build a positive image for Pakistan’s tourism industry. Samina is now a national hero in Pakistan and will no doubt gain more attention as her and her Brother conquer their remaining seven summits and beyond.
The siblings seek to use adventure as a platform to bring about change, bring people together, inspire people to do more, be more and become one with nature. They embody the ideals of the Youth Mountaineering Education Program by doing this.
The next stage of the siblings expedition is in Bali (Indonesia) to summit the Mount Carstenz Pyramid and they are expected to complete their Adventure Diplomacy in August 2014.
We wish Mizra and Samina all the very best on their continued adventures in mountaineering. We were impressed by their story and so we are sure you will be too.
Posted on: February 19, 2014 | Comments Off
We are delighted to report on some very exciting news for Tanzania and particularly the Kilimanjaro tourist industry. The Chinese Mountaineering Association and Kilimanjaro are uniting to create a wonderful new partnership.
The Chinese Mountaineering Association recently worked with Tanzanian Tourism to bring about a climb for Chinese diplomats to summit the top of Mount Kilimanjaro with crew members of the China Central Television (CCTV) group which will broadcast footage of their climb to highlight the greatness of climbing Kili to the Chinese nation.
The Chinese Mountaineering Association (or CMA as they’re also known), was founded in April 1958 with its headquarters based in Beijing. They are an non-governmental organization and a member of the All-China Sports Federation. The CMA is China’s only national organisation for mountaineering. In October 1985, the CMA became a formal member of the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation.
Wang Yongfen of the CMA, pledged to work with CCTV to promote Tanzanian tourism to provide a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries. This work is to help boost the Tanzanian economy by helping to promote the wealth of natural tourist attractions to across the world.
The entire climb was captured by CCTV crew members and journalists which will broadcast the video to encourage other Chinese citizens to take up the challenge of trekking to the summit of Africa’s tallest mountain.
For many years there has been a mutually respectful bond between Tanzania and China and while no one wants to cause further harm to the wildlife and environment by inviting so many to visit this great land, if it’s done with respect, some of the poorest people in the world will benefit from this partnership.
Reastus Lufangulo of the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) has welcomed the attention for Tanzania and believes the group will help to promote the natural great wonders of Africa to Asian countries, so that even more people across the world can experience all that this great country has to offer.
Promoting trekking expeditions and safaris in the Serengeti can only be a positive step if those travelling from China and East Asia choose a trekking company that values the wildlife and environment in Tanzania.
As we have touched upon on previous posts, if trekkers choose budget trekking companies then the impact from their visit and the heavy footprint that they leave behind will ensure that this beautiful place suffers under the heavy burden of so many boots trekking it’s land.
It is down to the trekking companies to work in such a way that their trips leave no trace on the paths they travel down with each expedition, be it on the back of Mt Kilimanjaro or on the foot of the Serengeti. Travelling in an ecological way and respecting the people, the wildlife, the plant life and the environment should be at the top of the check list.
This partnership being forged between the Tanzanian and Chinese is a welcome one and will no doubt bring great things for the people of both great countries. Friendships are formed on the foothills of Kilimanjaro, so we look forward to making many more friends from China and all across East Asia.
Together we will experience great things and leave without a trace but take it all with us in our hearts and minds.
Posted on: February 13, 2014 | Comments Off
If you’re looking to go on a trekking holiday to Mount kilimanjaro and you’re either a vegetarian or vegan or have special dietary requirements you may think that a trekking expedition in Tanzania might not be the right type of trip or place for you to go.
Tanzanians enjoy a wide variety of foods including vegetables, grains, pulses/legumes, nuts/seeds and fresh fruit making this type of trekking holiday perfect for all dietary requirements.
A handful of travel companies find if difficult to understand that vegetarians and vegans enjoy trying different foods, the same as people who eat meat and fish. Salads are enjoyable to a certain degree but they aren’t something that you want to eat every day! You want to be able to enjoy the local cuisine whilst still avoiding the foods that you don’t want or can’t eat.
That’s why most trekking holiday companies offer a vegetarian and vegan trekking safari for your special dietary requirements also including lactose, wheat and gluten intolerance.
As you plan your trekking holiday you will be required to describe what foods you eat and what foods you don’t so they are able to prepare the appropriate foods for you without you worrying about what you will be eating whilst on your expedition.
You’ll find the highly skilled cooks on the trek are able to prepare amazing foods to the highest possible standard with only a handful of ingredients, this is despite the lack of cooking equipment. Some cooks do use MSG in their food preparation so if you’re concerned about the use of this in your food, ensure you mention that to them.
It’s important that the foods you eat whilst on your trek are easy to eat and easy to digest, especially at such a high altitude. It is also important to include all of your food groups in your diet everyday, including your protein, carbohydrates and fats, which gives you with the correct nutrients and energy to help you power through each day.
A typical breakfast on the mountains generally consists of cereals, porridge, fresh seasonal fruits, pancakes, toast with various different condiments or if you prefer a full english/vegetarian cooked breakfast. You will also have a choice of coffee, tea, juice and drinking chocolate.
Snacks can be anything from fresh fruits, chocolate, and biscuits. You can even bring your own favorite snacks along if you prefer.
Lunches are generally soups, sandwiches, boiled eggs, fresh fruits and perhaps even hot foods depending on the length of the day you will be trekking and various drinks.
Afternoon tea on the mountain can include popcorn, cakes and nuts which is often everyone’s favourite meal of the day as you can probably imagine.
You can expect to eat on your last meal of the day anything from vegetable or meat soups, stews, spaghetti bolognaise, casserole, curries followed by fresh fruits and ugali which is a local dish.
Before you go to sleep at night you can enjoy a hot beverage in your tent.
As you can see the foods that are offered are geared towards everyone whatever your dietary requirements may be. It’s important that you inform your travel company of what you would like before you start your trekking holiday so they are properly prepared to meet your specific needs.
Here at Trekili we provide luxury trekking holidays so you can rest assured that we can cater for your needs. If there are special requests in relation to the food you want or need to eat during your expedition with us then please select the specific dietary requirement in the application form and we will plan accordingly.
Posted on: February 10, 2014 | Comments Off
Lynn Whitnall a Trustee of Wildlife Heritage Foundation and CEO of Paradise Wildlife Park reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with nine conservationists on Sunday 26th January for each of their chosen charities including the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Smarden.
Steve Sampson and his son Peter Sampson purchased the Sanctuary in June 2000 and have done excellent work in order to conserve endangered species of big cats and highlight the current crisis within the preservation of wildlife worldwide.
Lynn is taking part in several charity events in 2014 to raise a total of £50,000 for the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, which is dedicated to the captive breeding of endangered big cats within the European Endangered Species Programme.
Wildlife Heritage Foundation Kilimanjaro Charity Trek
The many conservationists completed the climb for their own chosen charities including Action for the Wild, Rhinos in Lewa and Wildlife Vets International. They were especially keen to raise awareness of the European Association of Zoos (EAZE) and the Aquarias Pole to Pole campaign to highlight the impact the planet is havign on the polar caps and especially the Emperor penguin and Polar Bear.
The whole team trained for many months to make sure their fitness levels good enough to be able to complete the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. After all, many people, wildlife and organisations were depending on them to reach that summit. Each person had an intense fitness programme to follow, as well as completing many climbs in the UK, including Snowdonia and Kinder Scout before their greatest ascent.
Kilimanjaro and the Montane Forest Belt is rich in many different species which includes mammals, primates, carnivores, antelopes and bats. The Cape buffalo, blue monkey, white colobus, western black and leopards can all be seen in the Montane forest.
The team may have been lucky enough to see grey duiker, eland, bushbuck and red duiker. Around the Tarakia and Namwai rivers an estimated 220 endangered African elephants can be found and sometimes they may even venture up onto the higher slopes of the mountain.
The endangered black rhinos could once be seen in this area and was last sighted in 2006 in Western Africa (as could the mountain reedbuck) but unfortunately both are now extinct.
Although they battled altitude sickness and extreme weather conditions, this trip of a lifetime was worth the effort. The experience of Tanzania’s incredible wildlife, and achieving their goal by reaching the summit will forever be ingrained in their memories and has helped make a big difference to each of their chosen charities.
Wildlife conservation is extremely important and is a cause close the heart of Trekili.
Protecting the wildlife and environment is of paramount importance to us which is why we provide eco trekking expeditions, so we can play a part in helping preserve this great land and all who inhabit it.
If you’re planning a trekking expedition for charity and are conscious about the footprint you leave behind, get in touch with us because we care about the environment, the people, the wildlife and you.
If you’d like to make a donation to Lynn’s charity challenges you can do so (and read more about her story) by clicking the link here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LynnWhitnall