For some reason, many trekkers feel that lighting a fire and sitting around it in the evening is an integral part of the whole camping experience.
But Kilimanjaro still bears plenty of scars from damage caused by out-of-control fires.
There’s absolutely no need to light a fire on Kilimanjaro.For cooking, your guides and porters should use kerosene, while for heat, put another layer of clothes on, or cuddle up to somebody who doesn’t mind being cuddled up to.
Boil, filter or purify your drinking water
This will help to reduce the number of non-returnable, non-reusable, non-biodegradable and very non-environmentally friendly plastic mineral water bottles that are used on Kili.
Use the purpose-built latrines on Kilimanjaro
True, some of them could do with emptying (especially the central toilet at the Barranco campsite, which is now so full that the pile of human waste is in danger of developing a snowy cap all of its own), but this is still better than having piles of poo behind all the bushes on the trail and toilet paper hanging from every bough.
If the situation is really urgent and you cannot wait until you reach one of the purpose-built latrines along the way, deliberate before you defecate: firstly, make sure you’re at least 20m away from both the path and any streams or rivers – the mountain is still the main source of water for many villages and the people who live there would prefer it if you didn’t crap in their H2O. Secondly, take a plastic spade or trowel with you so you can dig a hole to squat over, and cover this hole with plenty of earth when you’ve finished. And finally, dispose of your toilet paper properly, by either burning it (the preferable method) or, if this is not feasible, by putting it in the hole you’ve just dug and covering it with plenty of soil.
One reader has written in to say that it’s very difficult to burn soggy toilet paper. My editor, however, has conducted a controlled experiment and gives this advice: ‘If you light the dry corner of partially wet loo paper and twirl it round so the flame dries the wet bit it does all burn up’. Give it a go next time you need to, err, go. The reader does, in fact, go on to say that trekkers should adopt the ‘pack it in – pack it out’ method, ie to double-bag toilet paper (preferably in a ziplock bag) and take it out of the park; and this, to be fair, is the best way to keep Kili pristine and paper-free.
Leave Kilimanjaro’s flora and fauna alone