Hey you, the one who daydreams of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit at sunrise, the one whose life goals include reaching Africa’s highest point and letting out an enormous howl of celebration at the top. What if I shared with you the single best piece of advice to increase your chances of reaching the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world?
It’s true: nothing can fully prepare you for the experience of an African safari. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try. I mean, you’ve already got the proper attitude—love for wild things, sense of adventure, risk-taking—but the real question I know you’re asking is: how many pairs of underwear should I pack?
It’s dawn in Northern Tanzania. The sun is trying to peel itself up from the horizon and you are standing in your safari Land Cruiser, eyes fixed on a sweeping yellow-orange landscape just as little dots begin to pepper the savannah. The day warms, you get closer, and those dots become animals, wildebeests, several hundred thousand of them.
There’s an old saying that goes: “Once you reach the top of the mountain, keep climbing.” It’s a great quote, but when you finally reach the 19,340-foot summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, there’s something about the top of this mountain that feels different. It feels big. Bucket-list big. You’ve just reached the highest point in Africa; there’s literally nowhere else to go!
Knowing a little bit of Swahili before you set off to Tanzania, or any other East African adventure will start your trip off right. And no matter where you go in East Africa, or how little you know, local people will always appreciate your effort to learn basic phrases and words in Swahili. We can assure you that your most shyly-whispered “Jambo Rafiki…” will be met with smiles and sheer delight.