It was a daunting challenge to keep running trips to Kilimanjaro during the pandemic. We ran some private trips in October, November, and December 2020. We also ran a few scheduled treks in October and December 2020. It was time for me to step forward and go to Kilimanjaro and manage groups of people coming from across the US.
Testing all our Staff for Covid
Firstly, we had the task of test all our staff so we could run all these Kilimanjaro trips. All tests came back negative which was great, and no staff were sick leading up to any of the trips. We had one staff member go down on one of our January 2021 trips but not for COVID-19.
Sheraton Hotel in Arusha
On arriving in Arusha, only our groups were wearing masks. All other tourists were mask free which was very strange. All our staff and hotel staff were wearing masks, some hotel staff did a better job than others, but we limited our time around the local hotel staff and moved quickly towards the mountain.
It was very strange arriving at the Londrossi Gate. We were the only team on the mountain that day. There was a small team who passed us on route to the Shira Plateau but they skipped one of the camps and found out later half of their group were evacuated for altitude related issues. This is very normal on Kilimanjaro. Far too many people are rushing up the mountain too fast and skipping important acclimatization. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
I am telling you from experience you need a minimum of 8 days on the mountain. You also need 3 night’s sleep before moving up to 4,600m/ 15,000 feet at the Lava Tower. We have 4 nights sleeping between 3,500m and 4,050m before moving up to Kosovo Camp and the summit. This is important to your safety and success. Read some reviews from our trips.
Kilimanjaro was Overgrown
The lower mountain is certainly overgrown. We had to bush whack through a lot of the lower trails. The rainforest has had 95% less traffic than normal. It was nice to see regeneration, especially after the Kilimanjaro fires on the eastern side of the mountain in October 2020. The monkey’s and wildlife were buzzing, and we could see and hear more noise on the western slopes of Kilimanjaro.
We hope more people will return to Kilimanjaro from June 2021 onwards and the trails can feel the footsteps of trekkers aiming for this very special summit.
Alone on Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is usually teeming with trekkers. Our staff were so happy to be back walking these famous trails across Kilimanjaro and once again the Dream Team came good for all our clients. They were happy to receive funds collected from Ian Taylor Trekking clients from March to September 2020 if you would like to contribute do let us know.
Lack of Acclimatization
I never enjoy watching people struggle on the descent. I can tell you on my second Kilimanjaro trip, every single person we saw coming down above Barafu Camp needed some level of assistance. One guy was in extreme hypoxia. All hikers, if you can call them that all had local guides carrying their backpacks and others needed more assistance than that.
This is always very disappointing to see. Kilimanjaro is a big mountain and requires excellent acclimatization and physical preparation. We can help you under the challenges and get fully prepared for this exciting adventure.
Alone on the Summit
It is rare to hike to the summit with no other teams around us. I think there was a total of 20 hikers on our summit nights. This was a gift as we did not have to interact with other teams and listen to them singing, vomiting, holding us up or getting in the way. It was a privilege to have the crater rim and summit all to ourselves.
I think Kilimanjaro was enjoying less people on the mountain. The forest was full of life, there was less trash high on the mountain and we were treated to some world class sunrises on the two summit attempts. In saying that, our staff are ready for people to return to Kilimanjaro. If you would like to learn more about our trips, service and unique itinerary. Get in touch and learn from our experience.