Kilimanjaro is an example of a strato-volcano, which actually means that it is one huge heap of ash built up over the course of several eruptions. Providentially, it is dormant at present and the last main eruption occurred around 360, 000 years ago, whereas the latest activity took place just two centuries ago. Kilimanjaro has 0.85 square miles (2.2 square kilometres) of glacial ice and is fast losing it. The glaciers have withered 82 percent since 1912 and reduced 33 percent since 1989. In two decades, it might be free of ice thus greatly upsetting local crop irrigation and drinking water.
You will pass through five different zones of vegetation and climate as you ascend Kilimanjaro.
The Lower Slopes/Cultivation
With a mean rainfall of 45 inches every year, the climate is tropical between 2,600 feet and 5,900 feet. The lowlands are densely cultivated with banana and coffee plantations at present and the deforestation is an element in the shrivelling glaciers on Kilimanjaro.
The highest volume of rainfall of up to 78 inches per year is received by this zone which is between 5, 900 feet and 9,200 feet. The moisture gives rise to a belt of a thick tropical rain forest.
Covered with bright flowers and heather, between 9,200 feet and 13, 100 feet is the moorland zone. A black moor where flora such as groundsels and lobelias thrive lies above the heath.
There is a semi-desert area that gets not up to 10 inches of rain in a year between 13,100 feet and 16,400 feet. Temperature runs from the mid-80s to under freezing point at night. Only vegetation such as lichens or moss can stay alive here.
The peak zone above 16,400 feet is an arctic wasteland, seared by severe sunlight during the day and ice-covered at night. The thin air up here holds half as much oxygen as at sea level.
Ensure you ask your guide to endeavour to spot animals for you as you ascend the Kilimanjaro. Despite the harsh climate, there is enough to look out for as there are more than 140 mammal species inhabiting Kilimanjaro. No less than seven species of larger mammal have been documented above the tree line which included bushbuck, red duiker, eland, elephants, grey duiker, buffalo and tree hyrax. Three species of primates also live in the montane forests to wit: white and black colobus monkeys, galagos and blue monkeys. More than 180 bird species have been documented as inhabiting the slopes of Kilimanjaro comprising Hornbills, speckled mousebirds, malachite sunbird and Hartlaub’s turaco.
How To Successfully Climb Kilimanjaro
Though most days ascending Kilimanjaro are not more difficult than a regular day trekking in your neighbourhood, there are some elements that make it a truly difficult task. First, you would be trekking for not less than 7 days nonstop and this exerts a huge stress on your joints and muscles. Secondly, as you ascend, the oxygen percentage in the atmosphere drop down quickly so you are receiving lesser power with each breath. Every breath has around half the volume of oxygen which you would usually have, at the summit. Third, though a lot of days are not too tough, the night of summit is very difficult with a climb of more than 1,500 metres, a climb down of almost 3,000 metres and about 14-16 hours trekking. So as to successfully scale these challenges, you must be in a good physical condition. You can read in depth guidance on training on kandooadventures.com but the major elements to work at are flexibility, legs’ muscle strength and cardiovascular strength. The truly severe issues caused by elevation are initiated by pressure changes across tissues where outer air joins your body fluid.
Eating Plenty And Being Well Hydrated
Each day, you will use up around 4,000 calories and that is just about twice your typical consumption. You will use up more than 6,000 calories on summit night. As climbers state, ‘you have to fuel the hike!’ Whether you have appetite or you do not due to elevation sickness, you must continue eating. Find a lot of finger food that you actually love and take along a diverse supply because even that snack which you love will not seem appetising by your third night on the trek. Plenty drinking is more essential even than to eat as it is so easy to be dehydrated in the cold, dry air. Dehydration symptoms are quite similar to those of altitude sickness. It is not rare for a person to climb down and then discover that what they required was enough water. There will be limitless volumes of hot drinks at dinner and breakfast and water of 2 litres which you would be given daily but you must make sure that you continue drinking. Talking as an expert guide, when your urine is yellow, it means you need to take more water as you are under-hydrated. You can still read more on how to look after.
Good equipment begins with your feet. Never make the mistake of coming for your ascent in a sparkling new pair of boots which have been worn only in your yard. Ensure those boots of yours are comfortable and worn in well. Next, ensure you are taking care of your head. You will require something that gives adequate sun protection on the lower slopes and you require a truly warm beanie, maybe even balaclava for summit night; on very chill nights, these can also serve as nightcap. Also, consider clothing covers. The variation in temperature daily can be up to as 35°C and rather than depending on a sole jacket, layering is the best method of dealing with this. Mittens and gaiters are strongly recommended. Kilimanjaro is an inactive volcano. It is dusty on the peak. A boot covered in dust is not comfortable at all. Pack over-mittens and mittens as there is no known glove pairs truly adequately warm for the summit night. Other crucial items are hiking poles for the climb down, lots of high factor sunscreen, a comfy day pack, 4-season sleeping bag and, a head torch for the night ascent.