Mountain hiking: What you need to know: This is one of the most adventurous activities. Persons that take on hiking safaris, usually want conquer great heights and to challenge their bodies and physique to greater extent. Hikers visit the East African region to hike majorly Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro which is one of the highest mountains in the entire world and one of the hard ones to conquer. For persons that cannot take on the Kilimanjaro challenge, they usually take on Kenya’s Mt. Kenya or Uganda’s Mt. Rwenzori.
Whichever mountain you desire to take on be assured that you will have an exciting experience. However before you take on this experience, here are some of the things you need to know.
- The best time for mountain hiking
Mountains are always cold in the dry and wet season, you will find mountains cold. However the rate at which a mountain is cold will be influenced by the current regional weather. Meaning during the dry seasons the mountains are cold but quite bearable which is not the case for the wet season; during the wet season the mountain cold is in negatives and also the rains are pouring daily which may affect your hike, trails will be slippery and foggier compared to how it would be in the dry season.
That said it’s not impossible to hike in the wet season, it’s just a better experience when done during the dry season.
- Right age to hike
Well, definitely children cannot take on these extraneous mountain hikes any one in the age group of a child can not hike. Hiking is very demanding on the Physical and mental state of a person, so the appropriate age to take on a hike (mountain hike) would be 18 years and above. However there have been 15, 16, 17 year olds who have attempted these hikes and actually done well.
Thus the right age may be relative, but what’s most important is the physical and mental state of the hiker.
- Hiking gear
Unlike other safari trips, for hiking you actually need specific gear to take you through the trip. For starters, hiking boots are a must have, you can not hike without them; the other essential gear include gumboots, warmers, socks, gloves, waterproof carriers, sleeping bag, rain coat, pants and tops, head covers, hats, scarfs.
You may also want to carry snacks, water bottle (a must), toiletries and other essential stuff to use. Consult with you tour operator for the full list of gear you need for a successful night.
- Other information
Other information you may need to know about hiking Mt Rwenzori includes:-
- Acute Mountain Sickness sometimes called altitude sickness; you may get altitude sickness above 4000m. When this happens you may need to rest for awhile before proceeding. However to prevent it from happening you have to climb the mountain at a slow pace to help the body adjust as it builds up more blood cells to absorb the little oxygen available. Also drink loads of water.
- Though you may want to reach the summit, you may not be reach the top so prepare yourself mentally to enjoy every moment of your experience no matter if you reach the top.
- Don’t expect to take a shower in the 6 or 10 days of your hike; one its extremely cold, you want to keep warm all the time, two there is no water to waste, the water carried is for drinking and cooking and it needs to be reserved for all the hiking days.
- There will be meals on your hike especially breakfast and supper but you may need to carry snacks and some fruits like mangoes, oranges etc. to snack on while you climb, you need to keep reenergising always.
That said there is a lot of information you need to know before you take on a Mt. Rwenzori, this article doesn’t exhaust it all, so consult your tour operator before hand for more detailed information.