The 5 things you need to do the night before you climb Kilimanjaro
Congratulations! You’re about to have the most incredible physical, mental and emotional experience. Reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is a major achievement for anyone, and one that you’ll always remember. But to make sure this adventure is beautiful daydream rather than a total nightmare, here are five things to do the night before you set out.
- Take it easy
The night before the start of your trip is definitely not the time to party. It’s not the night to go clubbing, do shots or get the cheeky beers in. You need to look after yourself physically and mentally. Ditch the alcohol in favour of water, as good hydration will stave off altitude sickness. Don’t do anything physically tiring, as you’ll need to preserve your energy for the challenge to come, although an evening gentle stroll up the street and back again can keep the nerves at bay. Eat well so that your muscles have a store of glycogen to get you going in the morning.
- Attend the pre-Kilimanjaro meet-up
If you’ve booked a reliable, professional tour company (we like Viva Africa Tours), they’ll hold a pre-climb meet-up the day before you start. It’s essential that you attend this meet-up, so you can find out more details about the climb, meet the guides and your fellow adventurers, and learn about the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness. Your guides will check your health each day of the climb but it makes for a happier climb if you’re confident you know what to look out for, and what to expect on the climb.
- Psych yourself up
Climbing Kilimanjaro is do-able but it’s not easy. You’ll see the most awe-inspiring vistas, you’ll stand triumphantly on the rooftop of Africa, but you’ll also come up against some difficult times. Sometimes you’ll feel so exhausted and that you feel you can’t walk another step. Sometimes your motivation will disappear. To keep yourself mentally strong, create some mantras that you can choose from when you’re feeling tired. Favourites are:
“Just one more step”
“I can do this.”
“Pain is temporary”.
Music is a great motivator so why not create a playlist for your phone, to keep you company during the hard times?
- Check your gear…again
You’ll already have checked your gear, right? If you’re well prepared, you’ll have double-checked your stuff early in the day or even the day before, to give you time to go buy anything that you’re missing. But before you jump into bed, check your kit again, and lay your clothes out for next day. You don’t want to rush around on the morning of the first day because there’s more chance you’ll forget something. And it’s much more fun to start rested, composed and confident than frazzled.
- Get an early night
You’re likely to have an early start in the morning, as all Kilimanjaro routes take off after sun up to get you to the park, through registration and up the first leg on day one. It makes sense to grab as much sleep as you can. Hit the sack when you feel tired; but don’t fret if your excitement keeps you awake. If you don’t sleep well, the first day will be tougher than a usual first day but after that, you’ll be so exhausted from each day’s climb that you’ll sleep like a very tired baby throughout the trip.
Perhaps the biggest top tip for the night before is to enjoy every minute of your adventure. Even the toughest, most experienced climbers don’t find the climb easy, so you can be proud of yourself for giving it a go.