Machu Picchu – A Brief Overview

machu-picchu-trek-inca-trailThe Machu Picchu Trek has become one of the most popular treks in the world. In terms of shear numbers it rivals classic treks like the Everest Base Camp trek and climbing Kilimanjaro.

It is popular because the Andean environment that one treks through is gorgeous, but more importantly, the ruins of Machu Picchu are incredibly beautiful.

Machu Picchu was built around the mid 15th century (1450s) by the Incas as an estate to their emperor. But it’s greatness was to last long. When the Spainish Conquest arrived a century later, the Incas retreated into the jungle and built their last known city, Vilcabamba, which is in fact the real ‘Lost city of the Incas’.

It was not until 1911 that Machu Picchu was discovered again (although it was known by the locals to exist) by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. He believed the site to be the ‘Lost City’ and broke the news to the world.

Since them tourists have been flooding to Machu Picchu to see the site. In 2000 it was reported that over 400,000 toiurists visted the site, making it the largest and most popular torusit destination in Peru.

Concerns over the impact that tourists are having on the site led the Peruvian government to rethink their tourist strategy for the site, and in 2011 limits were introduced on the number of people allowed to visit the site per day. This now stands at 2,500 visitors a day and 500 permits per day for trekkers on the Classic Trail.

The mountain inside the citadel, Huayan Picchu, is also a popular attraction and climbed by many trekkers, although permits now limit the number of climbers that are allowed access (400 per day).

Alternative Machu Picchu trek routes like the Salkantay, Lares and Vilcabamba are fast becoming popular with trekkers as they other a similar authentic experience without the nuisance of too many people on the trail.

Click here to find out more.

Kilimanjaro Packing and Kit List

kilimanjaro-kitSo you are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro! Awesome! Here are my tips and tricks to prepare your Kilimanjaro packing list and gear.

General note: there are usually two kinds of hikers / climber and trekkers on Mount Kilimanjaro. The first group of persons are often miserably not ready plus under-equipped. The second group are often ridiculously over-equipped, carrying everything you can possibly think of up the highest mountain in Africa!

Hopefully this article will help you carry just the right level of equipment up Kilimanjaro for a successful summit!

If you occur to forget a small number of things you can generally lease from your tour company or buy gear from the variety of locals and hawkers who wait and hang around the route entry gates trying to sell you stuff they have collected from previous trekkers.

Keep in mind if you make a decision to buy from these guys they will always try to charge too much. Bartering is presently the way it is done in Tanzania.

Here is my Kilimanjaro Packing and Kit List

Kilimanjaro Clothes and things you wear – layering is the key thing to remember with your Kilimanjaro – you will need a base layer – tops and bottoms, a middle layer or secondary fleece layer – mainly for the top and an outer shell layer – this is your jacket – which needs to be waterproof, very warm and windproof

Kilimanjaro socks and boots – From mountaineering boots to socks along with gaiters. Your feet are what get you up Mount Kilimanjaro. Don’t fall sufferer to buying awful boots or socks that will give you blood blisters! The boots need to support you heal and be waterproof, socks need to be two types – thermal for the summit and high wicking trekking socks for the days before the summit

Stuff for your head – you will need quite a few pieces of equipment for your head. First off is a good pair of sunglasses to prevent your eyes being hurt from the intense UV rays. Second a cap with a neck cover to protect your head, face and neck from sun burn. On summit night you will need a warm beanie to cover your head and ears, a balaclave to shield your face from the gale force winds and snow falls that are common on summit night and a headlamp to see where you are going as you approach the summit – Uhuru peak

Gloves and trekking poles – These two things are really important. You will need a very warm pair of gloves and preferably inners to protect your hands from the freezing temperatures on summit night. You will also need trekking or hiking polls as these can decrease the impact on your knees and joints by up to twenty per cent, which is a main win when you are descending Mount Kilimanjaro

Bags – There are two types of bags that you will need to bring with you on your Kilimanjaro trek – the first is a duffle back or a big back to carry all your gear, including your sleeping bag. These bags are carried by your porter so please try keep them as light as possible – under 15kg. The second bag is your day pack – nice and light to carry your water bottle, valuables and camera gear

Sleeping bags – you will need a very warm, mummy-shaped sleeping bag. Must be able to withstand freezing temperatures

Other stuff to take include water bottles and medications, and camera gear – I recommend the GoPro for Kilimanjaro.

More recommendations on Kilimanjaro packing list here.

Useful retailers include REI, North Face and Mountain Hardwear

Kilimanjaro insurance – the ins and outs

kilimanjaro-travel-insuranceThinking of climbing Kilimanjaro are you? Have you thought about the Kilimanjaro insurance you may require? Probably not.

You have been thinking too much about the other 100 things you need to prepare, as well as focusing on the objective of reaching the summit.

Well the good news is that there are many reliable and specialist insurance providers who provide cover for trekking Kilimanjaro. Here are a few that spring to mind.

In the UK you may want to check out The British Mountaineering Club, Snowcard, JS Insurance and Dog Tag Travel Insurance. Other options include World Nomads and True Traveller.

For detailed information in trekking Kilimanjaro and insurance implications I highly recommend reading this article: www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/kilimanjaro-travel-insurance/. You will find a cool travel insurance calculator there too so you can get an immediate quote.

But to answer the main Kilimanjaro insurance questions here are 4 key answers.

1. The insurance policy you get needs to cover you up to 6,000 meters. Kilimanjaro’s summit stands at 5,895 meters, so you policy needs to cover above this. No standard policies do this so you need to request it specifically from your insurer. Do not purchase insurance from a provider who doesn’t offer this – you will adequately covered.

2. Most people (99% trek Kilimanjaro), but some decided to take more technical routes to the summit. You will need coverage for mountaineering if you plan to do any climbing with ropes and harnesses on Kilimanjaro.

3. Theft in Africa is common. You will be carrying expensive gear and cameras etc. Make sure your policy covers you for theft, damage or loss of any of your valuables. The latter is common when flying. Standard policies usually have a minimum limit of cover for valuables so if you have very expensive equipment make sure to raise the premium to cover these items.

4. Cancellation, interruption and delay of your trip can also occur. Again, most standard travel insurance policies cover this. Make sure that your Kilimanjaro insurance policy provides adequate cover. i would also makes sure that you are covered for tour operator financial default.

So that’s it for the main considerations. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

Remember to check out this interesting article on Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance and visit wiki travel insurance article for loads of tips and tricks.

Go Green Ideas That Can Save You Money

go-green-ideas-9The challenge of going green at work if you are a small to medium sized business is that often it is difficult to find the time, resources or money to invest in green initiatives.

Below I have outlined some go green ideas that don’t require significant investments in either time, resource or cash, but do reap huge benefits in cost savings and can also potentially be used as a competitive advantage.

Go Green Ideas That Give A Competitive Advantage

1. Recycling and your waste as comprehensively as possible and then going one step further with a zero to landfill policy! You should look at implementing a comprehensive recycling system that tries to maximise recycling levels on all waste streams including paper, card, plastic, glass and other consumables. Any residual waste you can send for composting or indeed send to be incinerated and thus create energy that can be put back onto the market. This one initiative can help save money on costly landfill fees for disposal whilst also making you look outstanding as a business

2. Get the organisation mobilised to switch lights and equipment off at the end of every work day. It is amazing how much equipment and lighting is left on in the average office, however most of the culprits would never leave equipment on in their empty home. Communicate to staff about this imperative and show them the facts and figures on how much can be saved if everyone does their bit. If this fails you might want to look at software of plug attachments / sensor that turn off idle equipment

3. Make the move to install energy efficient lights throughout your office. Conduct a light audit and identify which lights are inefficient. Then source efficient alternatives and when the old bulbs blow incrementally switch out to the new lights. Also track which areas are overlit and start de-lamping these areas as this will generate an immediate saving

Free free to write some of your own suggestions below. This website has a comprehensive list of go green ideas.

 

Amazing Kilimanjaro Facts

mount-kilimanjaro-facts-10Are you planning to trek Mount Kilimanjaro?

If so, knowing some all important Mount Kilimanjaro Facts will help you appreciate the trek that much more and also you will be able to impress your fellow climbers with your wide intellectual knowledge of the mountain, region and climbing.

So without further adieu, here are some amazing Mount Kilimanjaro Facts.

Mount Kilimanjaro Facts

1. Mount Kilimanjaro is geographical located in Tanzania – a sub-eastern African country south of Kenya.

2. The mountain is the highest in Africa standing at 19371 feet. That’s nearly 5,900 meters (5,895 to be precise).

3. It is the tallest free standing mountain in the world

4. Three cone shaped peaks make up the upper reaches of Mount Kilimanjaro – two are extinct volcanoes and the other one is a dormant volcano that was last active 200 years ago

5. The names of the peaks are called Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira

6. Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is on Kibo

7. There are 6 routes by which you can climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The Kilimanjaro routes are as follows: Marangu, Machame, Umbwe (all depart from the south), Lemosho and Shira (depart from the west) and the Rongai (departs from the north east). Rongai is the driest and flattest route. Most trekkers use a route called the Mweka to decend the mountain

8. Approximately 10,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro every year. Only forty-five per cent are successful on average

9. Between 3-5 people die on Kilimanjaro every year, mainly due to complications with altitude sickness, falling and previous issues such as the onset of severe malaria symptoms at altitude

10. The mountain has been climbed and summitted by an 87 year old man in 2010 and an 84 year women – so you shouldn’t have a problem

11. You can take between a 5 to 10 day route to climb Kilimanjaro. The longer you take the more chance you have of summiting as you give your body more time to acclimatize.

To read more Kilimanjaro Facts click here.

Environmental Policy Template – Ultimate Guide

environmental-policy-template-6Going green at work is a great thing to do. It makes perfect business sense on two levels. You can use your green credentials to win and retain work, and you can use the initiatives to find energy and resource savings in your operation.

Going green should start with an environmental policy. This will help point you in the right direction and give you a clear vision and strategy for improved environmental performance.

The best policies are based on market leading environmental policy template examples like this one.

Getting your environmental policy right from the get go is the right thing to do. You won’t have to be embarrassed that you can’t respond to environmental questions in tenders or to customer requests for evidence of your environmental credentials. Instead you can simply direct procurement bodies, customers and prospects to your environmental policy.

Also you can share your policy with staff and other stakeholders to establish trust and make employees proud of the place they work.

Getting started with the ultimate guide is easy.

Key things to remember are as follows:

  • Keep the policy straightforward and easy to understand
  • Keep the policy short – only one sheet on single sided paper
  • Use positive language that is proactive as opposed to reactive
  • Always state clearly what you do and what you business stands for – what are you values?
  • Then make a clear statement on your all encompassing environmental objective
  • Underneath this objective state clearly the actions that you are going to take to measure, manage and monitor your environmental performance – don’t do more than 5 actions
  • Use a clear space on the policy to outline how it will be communicated (i.e. website, in foyer, in company report, employee handbooks etc.)
  • Then state how regularly it will be reviewed – one a year is standard
  • Finally make sure it is signed and dated by the managing director / CEO

Remember get these things right and you will have an internationally compliant environmental policy. Get complete advice on environmental policy examples and templates here.

 

 

Green Web Hosting Like You Have Never Seen Before

green-web-hostingWhenever I work with a business I often find that within a few months we have exhausted many of the affordable green initiatives that are easy to implement – I call these low hanging fruits.

Things like recycling programmes, switch off campaigns and installing energy efficient lighting are relatively straightforward to get going. But after these initiatives are complete most companies have either start investing in expensive new technologies or working with pricey consultants.

The one easy initiative that is often forgotten about is switching to green web hosting.

Most companies have a website which they host with a hosting provider. These hosting providers have an enormous impact on the environment because they have to use massive amounts of electricity to keep their data servers running and ensure the data server environment is kept cool at all times.

The huge use of electricity results in many greenhouse gas emissions which of course exacerbate the issues we have with climate change.

The best green web hosting companies get around this by purchasing 100% renewable energy certificates to offset their energy consumption. In doing so they are effectively going carbon neutral and also promoting the economic scaling of alternative fuels and renewables onto the market. This is a positive step and companies can help this movement by investing into green web hosting.

Companies can easily switch to green web hosting by calling their supplier and arranging the switch via a green web hosting company. This begs the question of who are the best green web hosting companies. Fortunately this website has already ranked the top 3 green web hosting suppliers so you can get a full green web hosting review here.

The benefits of green web hosting are clear – you can reduce your indirect greenhouse gas emissions or what you may call your carbon footprint. This is great for your environmental management performance.

But also you can use the green web hosting credentials in your marketing communications. In particular the best green web hosting companies provide great marketing collateral including green eco-tags that you can put on your website to demonstrate your green web hosting credentials.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – The Nuts and Bolts

climb-kilimanjaroLast year I had the fortunate opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro – yes, Mount Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent standing at an ominous 8,985 metres or 19,372 feet. Its scary high! Kilimanjaro is also surprisingly the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

The Mountain is situated in Tanzania, which is just south of Kenya. Tanzania is incredible and the journey gave me the opportunity to go check out the Maasai Mara as well as some awesome wildlife in the Serenghti. I very much recommend visiting.

Not only did I get to see these things but I also had the great fortune to travel to Zanzibar to do some scuba diving. I had never scuba dived before so it was a steep learning curve but super enjoyable.

I didn’t get a chance to see Lake Victoria as I ran out of time.

So what can I say about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Well, firstly the mountain is no easy feat to summit.

You will have to content with the debilating affects of altitude sickness – fortunately if you take a seven or eight day route you should be fine as this gives you lots of time to acclimatise.

There are six routes on Kilimanjaro – Lemosho, Shira, Machame, Marangu, Umbwe and Rongai. There is another route called Mweka which is used for decent only. I wil write another article on routes sometime but I was lucky enough to trek the Machame.

The Machame route on Kilimanjaro ascends from the south and is super beautiful. You trek through 5 climatic zones on Kilimanjaro so you get to see loads of different fauna and flora. The last zone on the summit is glacial – I had never seen glaciers before so it was incredible to see them up close and personal.

The summit night – yes you climb during the night to the summit and it takes 6-8 hours is gruelling. By the time I got to Stellar Point which is about 130 feet below the summit point I was spent. I manage to muster enough power to continue climbing Kilimanjaro to the summit but I was super tire by the end.

We decended Kilimanjaro really quickly. I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to have a proper shower, meal and a beer.

I will write more about more Kilimanjaro experience in a few weeks but if you are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro I recommend checking out this climb Kilimanjaro website.