Our accounts clerk extraordinaire, Laura Nesbit, has just come back from conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania! She tells us all about her experience:
I climbed Machu Picchu on our Amazon & Incas tour about 18 months ago and was ready for another challenge. Having spoken to a lot of people within the company, I decided that Mt. Kilimanjaro should be the next mountain on my list!
We've got a lot of 'trekkers' here at Gecko's so I asked their advice on whether I needed to do any special training in preparation for the climb. I was already fairly active with running and going to the gym a few times a week, so I didn’t actually do much more other than increasing my cardio. I walked the 1000 steps trail in the Dandenongs a couple of times to introduce some hill climbing to my training and tried to use the stairs at work whenever possible (we're on the fourth floor).
Reaching Uhuru Summit was the best feeling ever! It was well worth the 33kms from the start of the climb (and the 33kms back down again!). The trek itself was really enjoyable too; walking through differing landscapes and vegetation as we got higher, and being surrounded by awesome views at every turn.
The sunsets at Horombo (one of the huts we stay in en-route) were just beautiful – it was a real highlight to sit and contemplate the serene surroundings after a rewarding day’s trek, with the setting sun as the backdrop. A very peaceful way to unwind before doing it all again the next day!
For those of you considering the trek, I think mental preparation is really important. Physical preparation is a must – you need to be fit and you need to have the right gear, but I think it's even more important to be mentally psyched for it. You need the drive and determination to reach the summit – if you have that, the rest takes care of itself.
Eat lots, drink lots and sleep lots! Climbing at altitude kills your appetite for all three, yet they are all vital to make it to the top. The staff with me on the trek – the guide, porters and cook - were all very helpful and supportive. They fed me well and kept my spirits high – to make sure I’d reach the top!
I took anti-altitude sickness tablets and found they really helped. Suffering altitude sickness can affect the fittest of people, and make summiting Kili seem inordinately difficult. I always take ear plugs and an eye mask when I travel. These are great for trying to get some sleep on the flight, but also a life saver when trying to sleep in the dormitory styles lodges on the trek.
Thanks Laura! If you'd like a challenge this year, you can climb Mt. Kilimanjaro on our 8-day trek.
Better yet, get a group of friends or the members of your fitness class together for a private group climb of the mountain. You can contact our private groups department by email: email@example.com