Lesser-Known Things to Take on the Inca Trail

inca-trail-equipment-listThe Incas constructed an elaborate network of almost 25,000 miles of trails in order to to connect their mammoth empire that reaches from Quito in Ecuador to Santiago in Chile and Mendoza in Argentina. You can travel along a 26-mile stretch which is widely regarded as one of the best treks in the world and encompasses the important Incan archaeological sites of not only Machu Picchu but also Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna. This trek has grown increasingly popular in the last 30 years. Access to it is strictly controlled – the number of permits available has been limited to around 200 a day for tourists since 2001. If you attempt this venture, there are some less well-known items you should bring.

Sleeping in the company of others, you may well find yourself reminded that some people snore, in which case you would rather have earplugs, particularly if you are a light sleeper. A blow-up pillow will increase your comfort in return for little packing space. Sleeping with a hat on will prevent your body from losing heat.

Some cash will be required for pay-to-use toilets, to tip the porters and guides and purchase snacks. The need for snacks will arise due to your burning much more in the way of calories than usual and the opportunity to satisfy it will present itself as you pass small villages. You will surely feel the need to tip – those people carry and set up tents, amongst other things, and cook three meals a day and prepare a snack. Porters should be awarded $15 per day. Bills larger than $20 will not be accepted. There are ATMs in Cuzco and Aguas Calientes, but precious few, so it would be wise to obtain cash before arriving to begin your trek.

With soap and water not readily to hand, you should take hand sanitiser. A travel-sized pack can be clipped to your backpack. You will already have become aware of the need to always have toilet paper, even for restaurants, and the consideration is even more important given that you will often be using the “Inca toilet” – the bushes. It is pretty much expected that you will take some from the last hotel or hostel in which you stay.

Many people do not consider it until it comes to pass, but a blister on your foot can drastically curtail your joy. Unaddressed, this issue will only get worse. Hence you should take some form of blister treatment. You might be able to prevent this situation if you break in your shoes before hiking.

You will find many uses for a smartphone – as an alarm clock, to take pictures and to provide music, which works wonders against tiredness. One use you will certainly not have for your phone is phoning, as there’s no reception. Bear in mind that you will have no electricity for at least four days.

Your knees are generally asked to cope with flat surfaces. This will not be the case on the Inca Trail, where you also have increased pack weight and may be active for longer than you are used to. People often suffer discomfort in this area. Knee supports – either an athletic support or just a bandage around the knee – can be useful. They should only be employed if you need them, because otherwise, the knee grows accustomed to external support and can be weakened.

You will make use of a good torch to locate your belongings in your tent and to make potentially perilous trips to the toilet after dark, which will involved walking on steps or uneven, muddy banks. Chemical toilets tend to be perched precariously on slopes.

Finally, some brief points: you will need plastic bags for rubbish and to protect your belongings. At midday, the sun can be harsh, so you should have good quality sunscreen – cheaper variants get cakey. At high altitudes, the sun can be strong even if it does not feel very hot. Bring something to read in the evenings. You will most assuredly not be gathering around the campfire, as fires are not permitted.

Here is a complete Inca Trail Packing List.

Trekking to Machu Picchu – How to avoid the crowds?

machu-picchu-treksFor the vast majority of people, Machu Picchu is the principal feature of any holiday in Peru. With its name meaning “old mountain” and coming from the mountain to its south, it was originally constructed by the Incas in the 15th century, going undisturbed by the invading Spaniards and falling into disrepair. It was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a professor of Latin American studies at Yale University. It retains many of its original features to this day and is one of South America’s most impressive sights as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Machu Picchu sits in a saddle betwixt two lushly-forested peaks, 7,970 feet above sea level. Its elevation could be to make it less prone to the landslides that are highly common in the valley below and allow a clear view of the three different valleys, which would have been strategically useful. Of course, the views garnered from the site are most beautiful, and the Incas would have appreciated them just as much as you will.

Machu Picchu’s inaccessible location only serves to highlight its impressiveness. It covers 116 square miles, while the state of Liechtenstein is only 62. Unless you are walking the Inca Trail, one of the 10 best trekking trails in the world, a train from Cuzco or the Sacred Valley will deposit you in the valley below, whereupon you take a bus along the windy road that cuts into the side of the mountain.

You can partake of the city’s streets, temples, staircases, delicate gardens and complex system of aqueducts. Entry costs around £37. It is wise to stay overnight at Machu Picchu or the nearby village of Aguas Calientes to enable you to return to the site in advance of the multitudes of day trippers. Almost 2,000 people come every day.

Two of Machu Picchu’s most striking features are the Intihuatana stone and the Royal Tomb. The Intihuatana stone is a carved pillar with a square stone base whose corners point to the four cardinal points – north, south east and west. It shows when the equinoxes occur. The Royal Tomb is believed to be where sacrificial and burial rituals were performed, and over 100 skeletons have been found there.

Knowledge of Machu Picchu remains sketchy despite scores of studies. Much speculation has been made as to its function. Early in the 20th century, US osteologist – one who studies skeletons – George Eaton declared the skeletal remains found to be 80 percent female and Bingham speculated that Machu Picchu was a city for chosen women with a temple dedicated to the Virgins of the Sun, a holy order devoted to the Incan sun god, Inti.

Now, however, the work in 2000 of John Verano, an anthropologist then employed, like Bingham, by Yale, has shown the gender breakdown to be 50/50. The Andean people are generally shorter and less muscular than the European and African skeletons with which Eaton would have been more closely acquainted. Eaton believed that those skeletons that were of children were the product of “indiscretions” by the virgins.

Machu Picchu could have escaped the Spanish because the large numbers of natives working for them and willing to aid them in any fashion were unaware of its existence. This was perhaps because its was one of the royal estates of Pachacuteq in the middle of the 15th century and would have been abandoned after his death. Alternatively, it could have been known only to the Inca elite.

Here is some great information on the Machu Picchu Trek and check out these tour options from Private Expeditions.

Kilimanjaro Equipment List

kilimanjaro-packing-listSo you are planning to trek Kilimanjaro, that’s awesome!

There are four climatic zones on Kili so you will require a bunch of warm clothes, a high-quality set of water-resistant, decent mountaineering boots plus some pieces of equipment.

A full list of the equipment desired for mountaineering Mount Kilimanjaro is listed below.

Here is my Kilimanjaro equipment list. For more details see this article here.

Feet

TREKKING BOOTS: Strong, water-resistant, well broken in and good enough to bear your ankle. It’s a good idea to wear them on plane in case your luggage gets misplaced.

SOCKS: Three thermal pairs of socks are critical. A number of wear thin pair below a thick pair, wash the thin pair at night and hook them to their pack to dried out the next day.

Bottom Half

TREKKING TROUSERS: Don’t go for cotton or jeans. Fleece lined trousers are a first-rate of pick.

THERMAL UNDERWEAR: One pair of synthetic long john bottoms plus 1 or 2 tops.

Top Half

T-SHIRTS/SHIRTS: Don’t go for cotton except synthetic preferably with wicking properties.

SHELL JACKET: Non-compulsory if you carry enough fleeces but still useful.

DOWN JACKET: By means of sufficient fleeces and a high-quality rainproof jacket for additional insulation on the summit nighttime a down jacket is not desirable however if you have got the finances it’s well worth it.

GLOVES: Fleece-lined is first-class, mittens over a thin thermal pair is most excellent although not necessary. A thinner pair for round camp is also a good idea.

SUNGLASSES: U.V. protection from sun

Other Equipment

SLEEPING BAG: three -season or two-season with liner. Closed cell sleeping carpet offers.

DUFFLE BAG: The porters will bear this. The porters will carry it on their heads as well as it will make their work harder.

DAY PACK: Always make sure you are much comfortable on foot extended distances with it.

TRAVEL BAG: For your gear, you do not desire on Kilimanjaro . reserved secure in anticipation of your come back from Kilimanjaro tour

WATER PURIFICATION TABLETS: Iodine is most excellent however first attempt it at your own home .Flavored powder might be helps. We always boil all water on the mountain although enhanced safe than sorry.

PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS: Take a small Towel, toothbrush, toothpaste; wipes as well as alcohol-based hand antiseptic are helpful. Soap & hot water is supplies every day.

PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT: Antiseptic cream, plasters, knee supports, moleskin or compeed, Ibruprofen, Aspirin, Paracetamol etc, Imodium, re-hydrating powder, throat sweets and creepy-crawly insect repellent might be very useful.

READING MATERIAL: For the lengthy evenings in camp which you want to spent with your reading.

AUDIO VISUAL EQUIPMENT: Take a good camera that has a panoramic function. The best adventure camera is the GoPro. Have a look at this article to see why: www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/gopro-kilimanjaro/

Here are some recommended retailers and review sites for Kilimanjaro gear.

REI

North Face

Kilimanjaro Packing List

Insurance to trek Kilimanjaro

kilimanjaro-insuranceIf you are planning to trek Kilimanjaro there are a number of things you need to get ready before departing for Tanzania.

For example, you will need a yellow fever vaccination. After the vaccination you will be provide with a yellow card which you need to present when arriving in Tanzania. You will also need to think about the risks of malaria and might want to take malaria tablets if you are planning to do a safari or visit Zanzibar. Note: there are no mosquitoes above 1,800 meters so you can probably get away without taking malaria tablets if you only plan to trek Kilimanjaro – just be careful on either side of the climb and wear insect repellent.

The one thing that many trekkers forget to organise though is Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance. Here are some key considerations but you can find a detailed article on this page – insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro, it also includes an insurance calculator.

The most important factor that you need to consider when buying travel insurance for Kilimanjaro is that you are covered for high altitude trekking. Your insurance needs to cover you for trekking up to 6,000 meters. If it doesn’t include high altitude then it will not be of any use if something goes wrong high up on the mountain. And many things can go wrong, the most common issue is complications associated with acute mountain sickness. Your insurance should cover emergency evacuation and medical costs in the country.

Other considerations you should look at include:

Theft: you will be carrying valuable items like expensive clothing, sleeping bag, trekking polls and cameras. As you are in a developing country, the risk of theft is high. Moreover the risk of lost or damaged baggage during your flight can be detrimental to your summit success chances. Make sure your insurance covers theft

Cancellation, delay and financial default: Things often go wrong when one travels – flights are sometimes cancelled or delayed and tour operators can go bust. Makes sure your insurance covers you for any of these eventualities.

For more detailed information on travel insurance check out this Wiki article and confused.com have a really good frequently asked questions section here.

You can use the calculator on this page to get a Kilimanjaro travel insurance quote: see www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-travel-insurance/

All the best for your Kilimanjaro trek!

Go Green Ideas for a Small Business

go-green-ideas-2Are you a small business looking to go green? If so the biggest hurdle is probably finding the time and money to invest in green business ideas that are going to have a positive impact in your busy.

In this post I have highlighted some go green ideas that:

1. don’t cost a lot of money to implement. In some cases they are totally free

2. don’t take a lot of time to get off the ground. Moreover they are not resource sapping

Implementing these ideas well will ensure that you get a quick payback in terms of energy and resource savings as well as develop a compelling story that you can market to your customers and potential clients.

3 Go Green Ideas for a Small Business

1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Have a look at your operation and identify what you can reduce using (for example you can start double sided printing which will halve your printing needs overnight and save you a tonne of cash). Then look at what you can reuse. Sticking with the paper example you get staff to keep scrap paper on their desk which they can use instead of taking new paper every time they want to scribble a note. And then you can also invest in a comprehensive recycling scheme.

2. Switch off and power down. It may sound obvious but you will be surprised how much equipment and lighting is left on when you and all your staff go home. You wouldn’t leave things on in your house so why do we at work. Get people to recognize this fact by running a switch off campaign to get people to turn off their idle computers and monitors when they leave work, turn off idle printers and most importantly turn off lights. If that doesn’t work invest into affordable automatic shutdown plugs

3. Switch to green web hosting. If you have a website you are already using a hosting company. You can easily switch to a more sustainable supplier – a green web hosting company – and then claim the benefit of having a carbon neutral website. You can market this fact on your website and the great thing is that it costs no additional money as green web hosting companies charge the same price as normal web hosters

Here are some more go green ideas from this professional sustainable business website 

Mount Kilimanjaro Facts and Interesting Figures

kilimanjaro-factsSo you are interested in Mount Kilimanjaro. Perhaps you are going to Tanzania on a safari holiday or more exciting, to trek Kilimanjaro. Either way knowing some important Mount Kilimanjaro Facts will stand you in good stead when you get to Tanzania..

In this article I have tried to highlight the most important Mount Kilimanjaro facts. If I have missed anything please let me know.

First up.

1. Mount Kilimanjaro is situtaed in the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania, Africa.

2. Tanzania is a n incredible country that houses not only the mountain but Lake Victoria, Zanzibar, the Serengeti Plains and the ancient Masai Mara.

3. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mount on the continent of Africa and also the highest standalone mountain in the world! How high?

4. The mountain stands at an ominous 5,895 meters or 19371 feet into the sky – yes small planes have to fly around it it is so big

5. It is such a large geographic feature that it generates its own weather – the rainy season is in April – May.

6. The mountain can be separated into five climate zones. On the lower reaches the mountain is a tropical rainforest. Banana plantations cover the lower slopes. As one ascends the fauna and fauna change dramatically. At 3000 meters the landscape become shrub land or moorland in setting – little bushes, small rodents, big birds, At around 4,200 meters the mountain setting becomes like an alpine landscape with lots of dry exposed rock formations. This then gives way to a dessert landscape constituted by a very fine glacial silt. Right at the top of the mountain is a glacial setting

7. The glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro have been receding since the early 20th century and are now nearly 90% gone

8. There are six mount Kilimanjaro trekking routes – two from the west are called Lemosho and Shira, 3 from the south are called Machame, Maragu and Umbwe and one from the north east is called Rongai.

For more Kilimanjaro facts we recommend this Kilimanjaro website.

 

 

Environmental Policy Tips – Write a Policy for Your Company!

environmental-policyAre you thinking of implementing an environmental policy but don’t know where to start and what to write?

Look no further!

On this page I have highlighted the key tips that you should be aware of to write an incredible environmental policy. I haven’t included environmental policy template. If you are looking for an environmental policy template I highly recommend checking out this marketing leading environmental policy template guide.

An environmental policy has become a very important document for organisations to implement as many customers and procurement bodies now look for clear environmental performance indicators when assessing suppliers. Without an environmental policy it is quite difficult to demonstrate what you are doing in terms of environmental performance.

Also when you have an environmental policy you will find that it has positive implications in terms of retaining customers and helping find savings in your operation. You will be surprised how much money is wasted on inefficient resource and energy practices.

So here are  the top tips you need to know when writing an environmental policy.

Firstly, make sure that your policy has senior management buy in. The guys at the top need to believe in the benefits of implementing an environmental policy to ensure that it hits the shop floor and makes an impact.

Secondly, the policy needs to be easy to understand and short. No more than one A4 page.

In the policy you should include a description about your company and what you do. You should outline any environmental legislation that you have to comply with and also clearly articulate what your overarching environmental objective is.

In the middle of the policy you should state the actions that you are taking to measure, manage and monitor your environmental impacts. Remember to use positive and proactive language – there is no place for reactive language in an environmental policy.

Finally your policy should be signed and dated by the managing director and ensure it is prominently displayed throughout your organisation.

Remember to review your environmental policy at least once and year, and always ensure consistency with the current evolution of the organisation.

Find out more here.

Green web hosting made really simple

best-green-web-hosting-3Are you looking at your IT infrastructure and thinking of how you can go green?

Perhaps you have already considered automatic power shutdown technologies to shut down computers and other equipment automatically.

A great initiative that is affordable to implement and very quick to setup is switching your hosting company from a traditional suppliers to a green web hosting company.

Why? Isn’t hosting a service and therefore I don’t have any responsibility or control?

Technically no as you are responsible for emissions in your supply chain – also known as scope three emissions.

And yes you do have the ability to control these emissions – you can purchase green web hosting.

Why is hosting a service that you should be looking at?

Simple, hosting is a very energy intensive service. Hosting companies spend load so money purchasing electricity to power their data servers and keep them cool – the latter is really important as if servers aren’t kept below a certain temperature they will overheat and result in downtime. No one wants there website to go down right?

Green web hosting companies typically operate in the same way as traditional hosting services in that they purchase traditional energy from the electricity grid. The difference is that they then go to the renewable market and purchase 100% renewable energy certificates to offset their emissions. Some of the best green web hosting companies purchase 3 times their electricity consumption, yes 300%!

Why is this good for you?

Well if you purchase green web hosting that is powered 100% off renewable energy you can claim a absolute reduction the indirect emissions on your carbon footprint. Green web hosting is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint without breaking your back or costing the earth.

Also once you go with a green web hosting provider you are unusually provided with great marketing collateral like green web hosting eco tags that you can use prominently on your website to communicate confidently your green credentials to customers and prospects. Awesomeness personified.

This article provides a very detailed overview and recommendation on the top three green web hosting companies. Have a read.

What are the routes to climb Kilimanjaro?

mount-kilimanjaro-routesYou’ll find six Kilimanjaro tracks – Machame, Umbwe, Marangu, Rongai, Shira and Lemosho – that one can use as their preferred option to climb Kilimanjaro. The Mweka route is needed for decent only.

The Machame, Umbwe and Marangu route depart on the southern side of Mount Kilimanjaro. Machame is the most famous and arguably one of the most scenic routes in the South. It is also popular since it gives hikers the opportunity to trek high and sleep low – this is a most effective way to acclimatize to altitude and prepare the body for the summit.

The Rongai route from the North and Marangu route from the South are also well liked as climbers get to stay in little huts. The Rongai route is flatter on the lower reaches and usually takes longer to go up, but doesn’t give hikers the opportunity to trek high and sleep low.

Below I have highlighted a few of the key features on all of the Kilimanjaro Routes.

You can find useful information here:

Machame Option

  • Highly recommended for scenic worth, with medium achievement rate. Not proposed for first-time hikers
  • Most technically difficult route available which doesn’t require a permit. This is because of the steep trek up Barranco Wall on the fourth day Day 4
  • Just the thing for acclimatization with plenty of walk high, rest low opportunities
  • Invigorating trek with breath-taking scenery through 5 different climatic zones
  • Good opportunity to split pre-summit morning climb to abandon climbers rested before summiting
  • Very well-liked trail, therefore could be busy
  • Only camping with tents

Marangu Option

  • Often referred to as the ‘Coca-Cola’ route due to older days when the soda was once available for purchase along the route
  • Often selected by unprepared, inexperienced trekkers because of the reputation as the simplest and easiest route. Ironically this means that it has a low success rate
  • Is the shortest route up the mountain after the Umbwe, but less time climbing means less time to acclimatize, therefore success rate is low
  • Dormitory hut design accommodation
  • Less scenic caused by ascent and descent on same route

Lemosho Route

  • Recommended. Good success rate for most climbers. Great for acclimatization as many climb high, sleep low opportunities
  • Remote and also spectacular dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro. Great photo opportunities
  • Converges with the Machame Route on the morning of day four at the Barranco Wall
  • Experience Kilimanjaro’s different climatic fauna and flora as you climb higher
  • Catered camping in tents only

Shira Route

  • Shira Route is the same as Lemosho, except the Shira Option has a higher start point and therefore poorer acclimatisation and low success rate

Rongai Option

  • Only northern method to Kilimanjaro
  • Least scenic route
  • Offers an accurate wilderness experience for the early stages with the climb
  • Very tough final summit night in the North
  • Least acclimatisation options
  • Less scenic and also flat on the lower reaches – then very steep on the summit night
  • Usually dry and therefore good for hikers planning to climb during the rainy season
  • Camping in tents

Umbwe Route

  • Steep, brief route with poor success rate
  • Poor acclimatization caused by rapid ascent
  • Very remote and peaceful
  • Fully catered camping only

Check out this site for more information on Kilimanjaro Routes