Mount Kilimanjaro Defeats Jordanian Princess

Mount Kilimanjaro
It looks like money and privilege can’t buy everything.

Princess Sarah Princess Sara bint Al Faisal of Jordan, niece of King Abdullah II, failed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the Tanzania Daily News reports.

The 18-year-old princess tried to scale the famous mountain last weekend with a large entourage of assistants and Jordanian international students. She reached the Kibo point at 4,700 meters (15,420 feet) but developed altitude sickness. Doctors climbing with her advised her to descend instead of attempting to reach the mountain’s highest summit, Uhuru point at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet).

Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid pulse and more. For full coverage see this PDF document. To prevent altitude sickness, it’s best to ascend in stages, staying overnight at an intermediate altitude to give the body time to adapt. The only cure of altitude sickness is to descend to a lower altitude, which should be done immediately.

It’s difficult to predict who will get altitude sickness. When I climbed to similar elevations in the Himalayas the only symptom I noticed was a need for more breaks. On the other hand, a couple of other trekkers who looked far more fit than I was got very sick and had to descend.

The princess hoped to get a certificate of achievement for scaling the mountain. Only three of her party made it to Uhuru Point and got the certificate. She said that she enjoyed her trip to Tanzania and would try to climb the mountain again.

[Photo courtesy Muhammad Mahdi Karim]

Celebrity Climbers Summit Kilimanjaro For A Cause

Celebrity climbers summit KilimanjaroA group of celebrity climbers topped out on the highest peak in Africa earlier this week in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of clean drinking water in developing nations. The group reached the 19,341-foot summit of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro on Friday after spending seven days scaling its slopes.

The group was led by Grammy-nominated musician Kenna, who was joined by actors Justin Chatwin (Showtime’s “Shameless”) and Beau Garrett (“Tron: Legacy”), as well as Mark Foster of the band Foster the People, amongst others. The team was climbing as part of the Summit on the Summit II expedition, which was organized by Kenna and is a follow-up to a similar trek that took place back in 2010.

The SOTS organization is focused on educating the public about the clean drinking water crisis that many developing countries continue to face. Most of us are accustomed to simply turning on the tap in our homes and getting safe water whenever we need it, but that isn’t the reality for a large number of people around the globe. In fact, according to the Water Project, a non-profit dedicated to delivering clean water to those who need it, more than 800 million people on our planet do not have access to safe drinking water at all. That’s about 11% of the world’s population. This climb of Kilimanjaro was undertaken to educate people of that plight.

A Kilimanjaro trek is a mostly non-technical ascent up the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. If you’re in reasonably good health and take your time, it is possible for many people to reach the summit. Most expeditions up the mountain take roughly 6-7 days to complete, with another day required for the descent. This team went up the scenic Maragnu Route, which is amongst the more popular hikes. A Kili climb is one of the best adventure travel experiences around and there are a number of excellent guide services that can take travelers up the mountain.

[Photo Credit: Summit on the Summit]

Want To Mountain Bike Down Kilimanjaro?

Mountain bike down Kilimanjaro in 2013At 19,340 feet in height, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in all of Africa. Over the years, it has become one of the top adventure travel destinations in the world, drawing in thousands of hikers on an annual basis. But next year, for the first time ever, a small group of travelers will actually get the unique opportunity to bike down the mountain thanks to a new itinerary offered by Trek Travel.

Having secured the first ever permit to mountain bike Kilimanjaro, Trek Travel will launch its inaugural WorldServe Kilimanjaro Bike Tour on February 22 of next year. The 12-day trip will include a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti to witness the Great Migration, a visit to a traditional Maasai village and, of course, a climb to the top of Kilimanjaro followed by a mountain bike descent.

The trip is limited to just 20 travelers, each of whom will be shipped a brand new mountain bike courtesy of Trek. That bike will come in handy while training prior to their departure for Tanzania and they’ll also use it on their ride down the slopes of Kili. On their return home after the trip, the bike is theirs to keep.

While this sounds like an amazing excursion, the trip isn’t being conducted simply for the adventure itself. Trek Travel’s goal is to raise funds for several projects designed to bring fresh drinking water to as many as 150,000 Tanzanians. With that expressed goal in mind, the prices for the trip range from $25,000 up to $85,000, with 90% of the funds going directly to one or more projects specifically focused on generating clean water. Those are steep price tags, of course, but this is a cause that an industrious traveler might be able to use to raise funds of their own.

For more information on the Kilimanjaro Bike Tour, check out the video below and visit the Trek Travel website.


KiliClimb Trek Bike Video from WorldServe International on Vimeo.

Dog found at summit of Kilimanjaro

Climbers found a dog at the summit of KilimanjaroFour climbers on Tanzania‘s Mt. Kilimanjaro had a surprise waiting for them when they arrived at the summit of Africa‘s tallest mountain last week. After making the long, and sometimes arduous, trek to the top, they were surprised to find a dog had arrived before them.

Antoine le Galloudec, Kristina Meese, Irina Manoliv and Monique Indino were climbing with a local tour company, when they approached the top of the mountain, known as Uhuru Peak. Galloudec said that he needed to heed the call of nature and stepped off to the side of the trail to take care of business. He was shocked to find the dog lying on a rock no more than a meter away.

The group was careful not to disturb the adventurous pooch, choosing to instead snap a couple of photos using a cell phone. When they later showed those photos to one of their guides, he told them that the same dog had been spotted at one of Kili’s lower camps ten years ago. Why the dog is still on the mountain, and how it has survived so long, remains a mystery.

High winds and cold temperatures are a common occurrence on Kilimanjaro, although it is the thin air that is usually the most difficult condition for people, and animals, to adapt to. If this really is the same dog that was spotted on the mountain a decade ago, he has probably become quite acclimated to life at altitude. Finding food is most likely a bigger challenge, although while I was there a few years back, there were plenty of small rodents, even high up, and I’m guessing the dog could find scraps left behind at some of the camps as well.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the top treks in the world, and while there are no technical requirements for completing the climb, it is physical demanding to say the least. The hike to the summit generally takes about 5-6 days, and the view of the surrounding landscape is spectacular, however. I’d recommend the climb to anyone looking for a challenging adventure, but be sure to cap the experience with a Serengeti safari afterwards.

Traveling from Africa’s lowest to highest point

Kyle Henning is riding his bike across Africa from its lowest point to its highestTraveling through Africa is always an adventure, but a British man, fresh from a stint in the Peace Corps, has found a way to add even more excitement to a journey through the wildest continent on Earth.

Last week, Kyle Henning set out on a journey that he has dubbed as Low2High: Africa. His adventure started at Lake Assal, located in central Djibouti, which has the distinction of being the lowest point in Africa at 508 feet below sea level. From there, he got on his bike and has started an 1864 mile long ride that will pass through six countries, eventually ending up in Tanzania at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. If all goes according to plan, Henning will then trek to the Kili’s summit, which is the highest point on the continent at 19,340 feet.

While this sounds like a fantastic way to visit East Africa and make one of the world’s great treks on Kilimanjaro, Henning isn’t doing it purely for the adventure. The young man is also hoping to raise funds for the New Day Children’s Center in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The center provides food, clothing, and education for children that would normally be left to fend for themselves on the city streets. Henning has set a modest goal of raising £2,500 (roughly $4000) and as of this writing he has already managed bring in about £888.

You can follow Kyle’s trekking and cycling adventure on his blog, where he is already sharing stories and photos from the road. While he’s been traveling for more than a week already, he still has a long way to go, and plenty to see and do. Judging from his early entries however, he seems to be having the time of his life meeting locals and seeing the landscapes. Can we ask for anything more out of our travel than that?

[Photo credit: Kyle Henning]