For more detailed information and your further reading pleasure, I would highly recommend the following books. Not all of them are directly related to Kilimanjaro, but they all had an impact on my own Kilimanjaro Uncovered journey – by providing useful information, by inspiring me, by putting things into perspective, or simply by providing good entertainment.
As I believe most Kilimanjaro hikers are amateurs like me who are more intrigued by personal challenges, learning about Africa, health & fitness or finding inspiration in general, rather than technical mountaineering, I hope you will enjoy them equally.
Kilimanjaro guide books:
Kilimanjaro – The Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain
Henry Stedman’s best selling guide book is loaded with information and insights. It is not only well researched and informative (including also lots of information that’s not available from free sources online), but I also find his direct and somewhat eccentric writing style highly entertaining and easy reading.
Mount Kilimanjaro: Trekkers Guide to the Summit
Mark Whitman’s concise and easy-to-read guide book has much of the information most hikers will want to know without delving into too many details. It will mostly appeal to those who prefer a concise summary in the form of a book (e.g. for a flight) rather than looking up information online.
Kilimanjaro hiking stories:
Kilimanjaro Uncovered: An Alternative Path to Bliss
Can I even self-promote my own book? Objectively, I’ve written the first review of the Northern Circuit, a thoroughly (if not obsessively) researched documentary and an authentic account that doesn’t shy away from inconvenient truths. Subjectively, I can’t wait to hear from you – did you like my story?
Kilimanjaro Diaries: Or, How I Spent a Week Dreaming of Toilets, Drinking Crappy Water, and Making Bad Jokes While Having the Time of My Life
I read five review books before I went on my own adventure. Eva Melusine Thieme’s diaries definitely stood out as the most humorous and easy reading. At the risk of giving myself some competition – Eva did a great job and deserves a special mention.
No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks
I find Ed Viesturs very inspiring, a veritable legend. His writing style is both captivating and insightful. What I like most – despite his out-of-this-world achievements, he seems to have maintained a down-to-earth personality. His book also helped me put my amateurish Kilimanjaro trip back into perspective.
The Zanzibar Chest: A Memoir of Love and War
OMG – how ignorant I was until Aidan Hartley opened my eyes! Whether you want to better understand Africa, history or wars; whether you are looking for facts, action, romance or endless tears; or whether you simply strive to be an educated global citizen – this is MUST READ for EVERYONE
The Shadow of the Sun
If you find Zanzibar Chest too depressing and violent (though I would encourage you to keep reading nevertheless), Ryszard Kapuscinski’s classic may be just right for you. It will make you understand African cultures and peoples like no other. I found it at times demandingly long and overly detailed, but the effort was fully worthwhile.
The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
For those intrigued by social development issues, I would highly recommend Jacqueline Novogratz’ inspiring personal memoir. Her captivating story about creating sustainable impact not only provides us a new perspective about philanthropy, but is also packed with insights into Africa overall.
Dodging Elephants: Leaving the rat race for a bike race – 8000 miles across Africa
For a humorous read of an extreme physical adventure packed with insights into Africa and its diversity, I recommend Alice Morrison’s book about cycling all the way from Cairo to Cape Town. Even if you are not interested in cycling at all, it is a great read and helps to put Kilimanjaro back into perspective.
Health & nutrition:
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers
Dr. Perlmutter opened my eyes – we are what we eat. Changing my diet tremendously increased my fitness and my confidence in my physical abilities. I was never very athletic, yet by the time I went to Kilimanjaro others considered me abnormally fit. I truly believe that the right diet was crucial for me.
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
Dr. Davis’ philosophy is very similar to Dr. Perlmutter, but with a holistic view of our entire body. It may challenge ingrained thinking patterns, but I strongly recommend to give it a try. In my case, changing my diet made me feel so good that letting go of old habits turned out to be far easier than it initially seemed.
The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change
Adam Braun inspired me that we can all be the change we want to see, we just need to follow our heart and make it happen. I wanted to read a review of the Northern Circuit route, more transparency in Kilimanjaro literature and a more efficient operator booking process. What’s the change you want to see?
30 Something and Over It: What Happens When You Wake Up And Don’t Want to Go To Work…Ever Again
This is for all the young women who want more from life than just a corporate career or kids. Kasey Edwards comforted me that there are many more women who feel like me, and showed me a way to realize my own projects while keeping my career. You want it all? Then just own it and go for it. You can have it all!
I’m always looking for great books to read. Do you know any other great books that should be included? Please leave a comment.