No way, right? Wrong! While Kilimanjaro is indeed one of the most challenging mountains in the world to climb (as in it takes days, it isn’t just a couple hour thing), it’s not just for adults! Bonus right? Especially if you’re a parent whose bucket list includes traversing this enormous, beautiful, rugged and awe-inspiring mountain, even with kids in tow. But how can you make sure everyone gets the ultimate enjoyment out of the climb and experience? Here are a couple of great tips on climbing ‘Kili’ with kids.
Prepare Yourself And The Family Beforehand
Climbing Kilimanjaro is no small feat for anyone, especially children. Depending on the ages of your children you may need to check that the Tanzanian authorities will allow children of certain ages to climb the mountain as in the past children under ten haven’t been allowed to do so. This is probably one of the first things to check into if your children are under the age of ten, but if they aren’t, happy days and you can plan ahead.
One of the most important aspects of preparedness for a climb like Kilimanjaro is the fitness component. You can begin to get prepared by going on long walks with the family or taking on lower level hiking challenges in your home region. You may even want to try out mountain climbing by taking on a much smaller range together first. However you decide to go about it, preparedness is key for a successful Kilimanjaro climb.
Pick The Ideal Route
There are a number of routes up Kilimanjaro and each of them have their own benefits and downfalls in terms of skill needed, cost, length and difficulty. Some of the routes are more expensive and take longer to traverse than others, with the average being around five days for a climb. The Rongai, Marangu and the Shira route are good for families, but the Shira route (while you get to drive in for a lot of the way) takes you from zero to quite high elevation without preparedness, so it can be a bit hard on the body. This may be better for older children.
Pack The Right Gear
Packing the right stuff to head out the door with is integral to making sure that everyone has the best time possible while climbing Kilimanjaro. Depending on the time of year you go you may need slightly different kit, but on the whole you will need waterproofs, good hiking boots, wool socks, cotton clothing, a hat, sunglasses, sweater of some kind and the like. Think general camping but then also including perhaps a pair of gloves. Having waterproof trousers also wouldn’t go amiss, especially if you’re taking the south slopes of the mountain where it can be significantly damper particularly in the wet season.
So even if you and your family are beginners at mountaineering never fear – Kilimanjaro is within reach. By preparing and knowing what to expect and what you need to do you can ensure that you not only have an amazing family holiday but also that you all successfully share that moment of bliss at the top after conquering Africa’s highest mountain!