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Kilimanjaro - Rongai route. 18 July 2014

Anonymous
Wed, 01/22/2014 - 16:24

Hello!

Have you or are you thinking of booking onto the 18th July departure for the Rongai route up Kilimanjaro?

I've booked as a solo traveller but hopefully my brother will book on to the same trip in the near future.

 At the time I write this the departure is awaiting Exodus declaring it guaranteed, so just one or two more climbers do the trick.

 Garry

Anonymous
Fri, 02/21/2014 - 19:10

Hi Garry

I booked today so it looks like I will also be joining you :-) I know a few people who have done this trip with Exodus and they have all said its brilliant and an amazing experience. I can't wait to go!

Leo

Anonymous
Sun, 02/23/2014 - 12:48

Hello Leo!

Barring natural disasters and all that, I'll see you in Tanzania. It's good to see the 18th July departure is now guaranteed, so there must be a few more of us out there as well. My brother is not one of them though, his work circumstances are still too uncertain for him to make the commitment.

 This will be my first trip with Exodus but their reputation certainly appears to be second to none, backed up by the positive experiences of the people you know it should be really good... altitude permitting.

 

Anonymous
Sun, 02/23/2014 - 16:51

You sure will if not at the airport before :-) shame your brother can't join you. The trips normally attract a good bunch of people, so you will be in good company. This will actually be my 6th trip with Exodus and I have never had a bad experience with them and have pretty much stopped looking anywhere else when I need an adventure fix. When I booked there were 4 others and I would expect a few more as it seems to be a popular trip.

Anonymous
Tue, 02/25/2014 - 09:46

Oh cool! When I booked in early January there was only one other booking on this particular trip, so it's filling up slowly but surely.

 

I glad you can back up the good reputation of Exodus, this is one of those things where I'm not interested in who is the cheapest, I want to know who is the best.

 I've just got a little trip to Iceland next week and then the planning and prep for Kilimanjaro really starts.

Leo
Fri, 04/04/2014 - 22:29

Hope you had a good break in Iceland.

Have you started your planning and training yet? I've just started getting my kit together and I was doing quite well with training until I got hit with bad case of flu which set me right back.

Only a few more months now :-)

Anyone else joining?

Fri, 04/11/2014 - 16:50

Thanks Leo,

Due to some severe weather, the trip to Iceland wasn't the best but never mind. Onwards and upwards now. There was however a family group of Americans from New Jersey in the same hotel. They'd climbed Kilimanjaro via the Shira route at new year just gone. Their top advice was to ensure you had good waterproofs, for them it rained everyday except summit day but I imagine Rongai in July will be very different than Shira in January.

This is uncanny, my training for Kilimanjaro has come to a stop for the first time since January... due to a particularly bad dose of flu. I'd go as far as saying I havn't felt as ill at any other time in my adult life. Quite frustrating really.

I still need to buy myself a new sleeping bag and sleeping mat that will be more appropriate for the climate and conditions of kilimanjaro. That's the only significant kit I need to get. Come pay day in April, I'll fix up some of the other things like top up insurance, flights to/from Heathrow and I might get the Tanzanian tourist visa in advance too, just to save a little messing about upon arrival.

Yep it's close to being only three months to go, yikes!

Leo
Thu, 04/17/2014 - 13:38

Shame about the weather but like you say onwards and upwards. Hopefully we will see some good weather in July and its not a complete wash out, but I think we will need to be prepared for all eventualities rain, wind, sun, snow.

I picked up a new down sleeping bag, and therm-a-rest mat a few weeks ago, so I'm pretty much good to go apart from a few bits.

I was also planning to get my visa in advance. You do pay a premium but it does certainly cut out a lot of the hassle of getting it on arrival.

Are you currently not booked on the group flight with Exodus or are you flying into Heathrow from somewhere else?

Sat, 04/19/2014 - 12:05

Indeed, fingers crossed for reasonable weather in July. When I was doing a little research into Kilimanjaro, July is apparently one of the drier and clearer months of the year but the payback is it is colder but yes, lets be prepared for anything.

I couldn't hold on any longer and got myself that new sleeping bag too. I'm like a kid at Christmas with it all. Having said that I won't be so enthusiastic when I go to the docs next month for my jabs and other medication.

Yes, I'm booked onto the Ethiopian Airlines group flight. I live near Manchester so just need to fix up travel to and from Heathrow. It's strange that there is no clear winner between driving, flying or train, in terms of time, cost and convenience for what is a relatively short journey.

I read this Kindle book the other day, it's pretty good and give a good insight into what is coming. I noticed the authors link to it while reading the reviews of Kilimanjaro/Rongai on the Exodus website

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00BUMV948/ref=oh_d__o00_details_o00_...

I'm becoming very curious as to how many people are in our group

Leo
Wed, 04/23/2014 - 13:52

Thanks for the Kindle link, I just purchased it :-)

I know what you mean about getting to Heathrow, I have a friend who lives just outside Manchester who has the same dilemma each time he travels.

I'm hoping I won't need any jabs as I've had quite a few over the past few years but will be going to the docs to check.

I actually contacted Exodus yesterday about a walking weekend trip, and yes curiosity got the better of me too so I asked and 7 were booked (20s - 50s) so a good range of ages which should make for a good group.

Leo
Thu, 04/24/2014 - 10:03

The book is a very good read and I finished it last night, I am however now slightly nervous and excited about what I have let myself in for.....

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 10:24

I've ended up booking flights to/from Heathrow but it really is a toss of a coin between flying and driving. Flying to Heathrow for an onward flight isn't so bad when your luggage is checked through to your final destination at Manchester or where ever your point of origin is but in this instance I'll have to collect my luggage at T5 and then get over to T1 to check it in again, it's just a load of messing about.

I'm up to date with Hep A & B vaccinations but I wonder if the nurse will want to stab me with rabies and tetanus etc. Fingers crossed you don't need anymore but I suspect I will.

Seven is an excellent group size, with the outside possibility of late bookings adding to it. I'm happy with that and the wide age range is always good for group dynamics. We'll all be able to mutually support each other to the top and back.

I read another Kindle book written by someone who'd done the Rongai route as well. It's a stark reminder that it might not be plain sailing all the way and that feeling unwell in some way or another is pretty much to be expected.

I remember climbing Mount Teide in Tenerife. At 3718 metres it's nowhere near as high as Kilimanjaro but still high altitude. I basically went from the hotel at sea level to 3718 metres in the space of about 6 hours. That was driving to the start at 2360m and then hiking the rest in about 5 hours. On reflection it's no wonder I felt sick :D

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 10:31

I don't know if you've got your visa yet Leo but I got mine back the other day. It only took about a week and a half from posting the application to receiving it.

There's something to be mindful of though. Despite the fact the Tanzania High Commission website advises applying two months before travel, the visa they issue is valid from the day they process your application. Not the day you specify that you intend to enter Tanzania. So I now have a visa that expires only five days after the end of the Kilimanjaro trip. That should be ok but there's no safety net if I break my leg or something. If you follow their advice and apply two months in advance, a 90 day visa practically becomes a 30 day visa.

I sent them an email querying and complaining but haven't had and don't really expect a reply.

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 00:18

Hi Garry, Leo
I did this trip with Exodus a few years ago, and it was brilliant. Take a water bottle (or two) - I had a water bladder that fitted into my daysack, but the water in the tube and bite valve froze solid on the summit day.

And don't forget anti-malarials - one of our guides actually came down with malaria halfway up, so everyone gave him any spare malarone tablets they had. He met us when we came down, looking much better, but he had to leave the trip to be taken to the doctor.

Hope you have a great trip - it was one of the best I've been on.

Oh, and I keep going back to Exodus for trips abroad - I love that they use local guides, and they have always been great.

Leo
Sat, 05/10/2014 - 22:54

Thanks Garry for the info, I'm sure you will be fine with it expiring 5 days after the end of the trip.

I haven't applied for mine yet but probably will in the next couple of weeks.

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 08:03

Yes, you're right, the visa should be fine. It is something to be wary of for people going on safari tours or to Zanzibar after Kilimanjaro. Considering the fairly quick processing time, there's no problem with leaving the application a little later. What's the betting getting a visa in advance saves us no time or hassle at all upon arrival in Tanzania?

Thanks for your encouragement and advice Michael. I'm now sorting out all those little things I'll need and perhaps you can help. If you remember, which factor of sun lotion did you and your fellow climbers use? I already have a bottle of sports factor 20 in my cupboard but I'm wondering if that is going to be high enough.

Thanks

Leo
Wed, 05/14/2014 - 22:34

Garry, getting a visa in advance from my experience does certainly take a lot of the hassle away, doesn't save any money but saves queuing. It's still likely that we will be waiting around for other group members. Going to send mine off in the morning to get it out of the way.

Michael, thanks for the warning about the tube freezing and I will definitely be bringing a water bottle.

Garry something I learnt from doing the Inca trail a few years ago where it also gets pretty cold overnight (no where near freezing though) is that if you bring one of the metal flasks (Sigg or similar) then you can use it as a hot water bottle overnight and have drinking water for the morning. You do need to be careful it doesn't leak in your sleeping bag though and especially if you bring a down bag as it won't dry.

Michael are you also able to offer any advice on clothing and in particular for summit day? Was it so cold that you were needing to trek wearing a down jacket?

I have a down jacket already that I was planning on taking that packs really small and is 600 fill hydrophobic down but I have absolutely no idea how it will perform at extreme temperatures and Berghaus who made it were pretty useless at offering any advice on temp ratings.

What sorts of clothing were you wearing and did you find it cold?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Leo
Tue, 05/20/2014 - 19:48

Hi Garry, thought I would let you know my visa turned up today :-)

I really don't know why they say apply two months before and then process the application in less than a week only to make it valid from date of issue. Makes no sense at all.

Not long now.

Thu, 05/22/2014 - 11:53

Hi Leo,

Yes, I'm in full agreement there. The Tanzanian High Commission need to clarify their website or better still, reconsider their visa issueing policy.

I got myself one of those Sigg bottles.

When I paid my balance last week I asked about the group size and it was still seven confirmed plus one possible.

You're not kidding it's not long off now. I'm finding every other spare minute I have now a Kilimanjaro related thought will pass through my head :D

Leo
Thu, 05/29/2014 - 19:43

Now starting to feel very real and July will be soon upon us....

Went to see the nurse today for travel advice, fortunately no jabs needed but she did get me thinking about having a rabies jab but I'm a little undecided as it's not cheap, is not a cure and just buys more time. Do you have any thoughts on this? The cost doesn't really bother me and it's more that I've been told it's not the most pleasant jab to have which is putting me off.

I guess I will sleep on it for a day or 2 before deciding if I want it.

I also got prescribed my anti-malarials and decided to take Proguanil/Atovaquone (Malarone) again not cheap but have the least side effects she told me Asda and Boots offer the best prices so worth shopping around if you were planning on taking this.

The nurse also told me about a good website for travel advice which I thought I would share
http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/country_page_TZ.htm
Well slowly slowly I'm getting ready and a few more bits ticked off my list :-) just a few wicking tops to buy and I think that's it.

Thu, 05/29/2014 - 22:23

I'm so jealous guys - this is an amazing trip - did it at Christmas.

We had perfect weather, dry days, cold nights. Luckily for us only rained when we got back to the gate.

I would say hire one of the sleeping mats from exodus - they are great quality, like a mini mattress.

On summit night put your water tube inside your rucksack, we did and mine didn't freeze. I also carried a metal sig bottle - turned it upside down and that was ok too.

Its no problem getting a visa on arrival if you prefer.

Have fun.

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 10:44

Hi Leo!

I didn't get away quite as lightly as you when I went to see the nurse. I got a jab in each arm. I also got some Malarone. Perhaps like you, I'm not on a penny pinching budget, so even though it is the more costly option, it's worth it for the supposesdly milder/fewer side effects. The nurse suggested I shop around for the Malarone because there is some price variation. I walked out of the medical centre and straight to the nearest Boots in the town centre where they relieved me of £48 for 17 tablets.

I had an "oh dammit" moment a few days ago. I did a test pack in my 70L holdall for the kit I would have on the mountain. I was well under the 15kg limit but my stuff was piling out of the top, the bag was too small. A brand new 100L version of the same holdall was swiftly ordered! I'm a tall bloke so everything is just that little bit bigger, longer sleeping bag, longer sleeping mat, size 12 shoes... all together it quickly takes up space.

Helenbird77, thanks for your encouragement. I hope we have exactly the same kind of weather as you did. We've go to have a little rain to justify hauling the waterproofs up and down the mountain and what better time than just as we're finishing :D

I'm actually tieing myself in knots trying to decide which waterproof trousers to take. Do I take just my lightweight pack away over trousers or my proper waterproof walking trousers as well? Decisions, decisions.

Leo
Thu, 06/05/2014 - 16:29

Great to see another positive review for Kili and thanks for the tip about putting the water tube inside the rucksack.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 21:39

You'll wear the waterproofs on the way down - you'll be running down loose scree and it will cover you! Gaiters might also be useful to keep it out of your boots.

I just had lightweight ones that I wore over my actual trousers.

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 19:29

Thank you

Over trousers it is!

However just when I'd decided not to take my gaiters... haha!

As I write it's just over three weeks until our departure and I will finally stop debating with myself over what to take and what can stay at home.

Leo
Mon, 06/23/2014 - 21:19

Hopefully you have now sorted your packing dilemma and for the trek you should get sent an Exodus kit bag, so your bigger holdall you will leave at the hotel. Mine turned up today.

If you can I would try and travel light and by the sounds of it you are but I agree the stuff does quickly take up space, boots and maybe some of the other essentials you may want to wear or carry on the plane.

I've been on trips before where luggage hasn't arrived and yes you can probably hire stuff locally but boots especially are very personal and can be difficult to get a good fit.

I'm nearly ready now and I think I have everything I need and I decided in the end not to bother with a rabies jab but in addition to the Malorone, I am going to take Diamox, which I don't think I mentioned previously, and if you haven't come across diamox before then it can help combat the effects of altitude sickness, again not cheap, has some side effects and is private prescription only.

Not too long now and we will have to try and arrange to meet up at the airport somewhere.

Sun, 06/29/2014 - 16:02

Hi Leo,

Just less than three weeks until departure as I wirte this. That really starts to focus my mind. If not my packing list! A self created problem through having too much kit to choose from so I'm probably more deserving of ridicule for it.

I got my Exodus kit bag a few days ago too but to be honest I don't think I'll use it at all. I have a similarly sized Lifeventure duffle bag or holdall of similar capacity that is lighter. The covering letter suggested donating it to the porters which I certainly will do space/airline baggage allowance permitting. I have a little used pair of boots in very good condition that are a shade too small for me that I will bring and donate too and will give them priority over the Exodus bag if it becomes an "either, or" situation.

I'm going to elevate myself to good luck charm status having lapped the world several times over and never had luggage go missing. Jinxed it now, haven't I?

Great minds think alike, I got myself some Diamox too. Well generic Acetalzolamide to be accurate. I asked about it when I had my vaccinations but even though Diamox was mentioned on the NHS website the nurse looked at to confirm the recommendations for Tanzania she admitted she'd never heard of it so could not prescribe it to me herself and would have to speak with my doctor. The plan was she would ring me to let me know if my doctor would prescribe it or not. After a couple of weeks of hearing nothing I took that to be a "no" but it could just have easily been that she'd forgotten. So I turned to the trusty old internet and there is a British based online pharmacy "DrFox" on which you complete an online consultation which is then reviewed by a doctor (I believe them haha) who will either approve or deny your application. A few days later a bottle of fresh juicy Acetalzolamide with a prescription label from a pharmacy in Glasgow dropped through my door. Sorted! So if I start to glow in the dark or grow three heads on the climb, you'll know why.

The scheduled arrival time of my flight to Heathrow is 1815, then after baggage reclaim there is the fuss of getting over to Terminal 1. So it's a little difficult for me to be specific about precisely what time I will be checking in or even where I'm supposed to be. The revised slightly later flight departure for Ethiopia was a bonus for me. In any case, yes we can work something out.

Leo
Thu, 07/17/2014 - 20:16

Hi Garry

Don't know if you will see this but hopefully our paths will cross somewhere at Heathrow and if you see someone with a black beghaus bag and an Exodus tag on it then it may be me :-)

See you Friday

Leo

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