1. You are legitimately living above the clouds for more-a-less a week.
2. When you attempt the summit you will experience by far, the most mesmerising, captivating sunrise in the world. There is nothing more breathtaking than the sun stirring and watching the ball of fire rise up high over the whole of Africa. The immensity will overwhelm you.
3. No matter how muscly you are, how many times a week you go to the gym,
how many rugby medals you have, how many marathons you have run, I don’t care if you can lift your body weight x6; the porters are unbelievable and will put you to shame. Guaranteed. We all felt completely inadequate!
4. Let’s get real. It’s not all bright African colours, exotic animals and beautiful landscapes. You will be looking at this for roughly two thirds of the hike…
5. CLIP YOUR TOENAILS BEFORE YOU SET OFF. Otherwise descending steeply, for at least two days, with your toes rammed into the front of your boots is hell. on. earth. Trust me I learnt the hard way.
6. You will be taken the piss out of forever. You’re the git in the group that climbed Kilimanjaro, and you can’t live it down. But DAMN RIGHT you did.
7. Do not expect toilets, they are not toilets as we know. If you are lucky enough to stumble across a ‘toilet’, it is an adventurous shack and you will be met by a hole. The horrific stench will throttle your throat, burn into your eyes and bring up your breakfast, lunch and dinner from three days ago. Here are a few pieces of advice on this point:
7a) Learn to squat; squat every damn day before you leave, you’re not sitting on a toilet for a week. And if you’re not well on the trip (yes, you know what I’m saying), you really really want to know how to squat.
7b) You do not need a piss, you do not need to throw up, nor do you need to shit. No no. You need to ‘send a message’ (the polite way to tell your porter you desperately need to go). By the end of the trip your whole group will be sending texts, emails, need to send a text in about half an hour, asking when is next best opportunity to send an email, demanding they need to send urgent emails, need to send a text RIGHT NOW(!), no the message can’t wait, etc.
8. The epic glacier that spans for miles, visible from Kilimanjaro’s summit, is estimated to be gone within 50 years. If there hasn’t been a more convincing reason yet to get on and tick this off your bucket list, now you have one.
9. When you finally make it to the bottom, get yourself to paradise island aka. Zanzibar, literally only a half hour flight away and treat yourself to a cocktail (or eleven). You just climbed to the roof of Africa, you bloody deserve it.