because life's an adventure

JoJaffa starts Trekking

and heads for the Nepalese Himalayas and beyond...

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Getting more out of....going trekking
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The Sensuality of Trekking

Imagine trekking under a clear blue sky, through lush valleys with snaking rivers, crossing bridges that look like they are made of string spanning some of the best wild water you have ever seen. Pass through pine forests that are home to the brown bear, then gradually gain height rising above the clouds to reach the Rooftop Of The World. Gaze through the crisp mountain air at views over snow covered peaks that stretch as far as the eye can see. To check out some more great views click here.

Perhaps you prefer trekking through the bush, perhaps hitching a ride in a dugout canoe with the sound of parrots, monkeys and wilder animals keeping your senses alert, or making your way on foot gaining height through the early morning mist to where a family of gorillas are known to live.$PIC6

As you gain altitude you will arrive at a place where oxygen is low and ultraviolet light is high, and where thick Rhododendrons grow as high as houses. You may have reached The Mountains of the Moon.

Trekking is physically demanding but will make you feel alive and at one with nature. Your senses will change as you learn to read the weather and the terrain, even time itself will seem to alter its shape. Your day is not planned or governed by the clock but by the sun, moon and weather. After a hard days trekking you will learn from the sun and shadows as to what time to set camp or take shelter for the night. If you are not with a specialist tour company or have hired the experience of local porters, you will set up your own camp and cook a much needed meal.

Darkness comes quickly and with it if the sky is clear, more stars than you imagined could exist in the night sky. First time trekkers from the city though exhausted from the first days trek have been known to be so amazed that they spent most of the night stargazing. You will wake early with the animals and first light, and with a hunger for food and the day ahead. The day’s timetable will depend on the terrain, the weather, obtaining water and food.

The Pioneering spirit of Trekking

Wherever you decide to trek you will undoubtedly come into contact with some or perhaps many local people. In fact, as well as the scenery and nature’s elements, it is having the chance to meet these people that has much appeal to the trekker. Their differences in culture, religion, their attitude to you the trekker, the materials they use and mostly the genuine straight forward down to earth hospitality of most people in these remote areas of the world, is what makes a trek that extra bit special.

It is common to be invited into a stranger’s home to share the best of their food and be given a bed for the night. Take care not to take advantage as they may be offering you much more than they can afford.

The skills of these remote people are also to be much admired.

How they use local materials or animals, their handicrafts, how they are in tune with the elements and seasons. Their education may have been different than ours but they are all experts in the skills they need and we are like toddlers learning to walk in their world.

For a further selection of photos, try JoJaffa's Trekking gallery no. 1 or Trekking gallery no. 2

Tell us what got you interested in going trekking.

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Getting started

Age - is no barrier to a succesful trip, just choose a suitable grade of walk.

Safety is of great importance and you should check out the safety record of your tour leader. Also, make sure that they possess and use all the essential safety equipment and that you follow JoJaffa's basic hygiene tips.


Health and fitness - all trekking demands good levels of health and fitness. Remember, that you’ll spend most of your time walking up an down step hills and paths, so make sure that you are capable of short bursts of strenuous activity.

Choose your trek with care. For a first time trip take an easy to moderate route (see JoJaffa's grade of walks advice above). The distances covered are not great so you should have plenty of time to rest. Whilst the physical exertion is strenuous at times, it is not sustained. Make sure you follow JoJaffa's health and fitness tips

Altitude sickness - this can be a problem above 3,000 feet. The key is to allow yourself enough time – usually a couple of days to aclimatise, before you set off into the wilderness. A good tour operator should already build this into the program – usually a chance to look around Katmandu or similar beautiful city.

Less able - can anyone advice JoJaffa on less able people’s trekking experiences?

Cost - trekking doesn’t come cheap. As with all things you tend to get what you pay for. As well as all the usual costs of flight, accommodation and tour operator fee, you’ll need to spend money on visas and permits. You tour operator help sort these out.

In addition, a good pair of boots, top quality jacket and other clothing essentials are vital if you’re going to be comfortable and enjoy your trip. Check out our kit and caboodle section for advice.

Trekking Decisions

Decide whether you want to go alone, own group of part of an organised group. Then choose a place and then the best season to go. Then book and enjoy.

When to go

Check the best trekking season for your destination. You do not want to be arriving in mid winter or at the height of the monsoon season (or perhaps you do?).

Who to go with:

Only trek alone if you are extremely experienced and know the area well, accidents and extreme weather conditions can happen even on short treks, always let someone know where you are going and, if possible, when you expect to be back.

If you’re going to trek with a group then you’ve got two options. Either get to the nearest big town to the trek and meet up with other travellers or if go with an operator based in your home country.

If you’re taking an annual holiday then use a good Adventure Tour Operator. Otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time waiting around for visas and arranging stuff. Most operators can arrange for you to join a small group trek to one of the great trekking destinations around the world.

If you wish to go it alone, (ie without using a tour operator) you should still trek travel with at least one other person for safety reasons. Try to gather as much information about the area you are going to first and read all the guide books you can lay your hands on. You'll need to be prepared.

Where to go

Choose the kind of trekking experience you want

  • High mountain pass
  • Jungle
  • Desert
  • or perhaps a combination?
Then you'll need to find a tour operator to take you there. Check back to this space - a list of tour operators is coming soon.

Organised Trekking

Adventure tour operators and trekking companies are very useful, as they take care of all the organisation and planning details, they can sometimes also offer access to areas that would otherwise be closed to the independent traveller.

A good adventure tour operator specialising in trekking, will arrange flights, visas and permits. They will give you a recommended list of equipment you will need for the trekking area and any local guides and porters will be ready and kitted out on your arrival. It is usually not possible though to change your trekking route mid trip and your travelling companions for the trek are fixed.

These appear to be some of the best companies (we've not trekked with them - but they seem well organised and know what they are doing)

Before booking with a company, check them out to get a feel for how and where they operate. It is usually just a matter of emailing or phoning them for more information. Ask for their fact sheet detailing how to prepare for the trip.

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Getting more out of....going trekking

Check out your route with online maps of the Nepalese Himalayas.

Tackle the difficult trekking routes - look for the higher altitude walks or attempt the long walk to the Everest base camp

Get the low down the local Trekking information in Nepal

Check here for ideas on trekking beyond Nepal.

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Kit and caboodle

Need a good book, video or more advice? JoJaffa has picked out the best for you. For each book/ video just click on the amazon link find out the price and get more information.

If you can suggest any good books about going trekking, let us know.

Recommended Reading

Books : Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya
by Stan Armington
The Lonely Planet guide to Nepalese Trekking. As always with Lonely Plant, a well researched book covering all details and destinations. This book is the must have guide if you are going to Nepal.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Books : Lonely Planet Nepal
by Tony Wheeler, Hugh Finlay, Everist Richard
If your interest in Nepal extends beyond the treks, then this book runs the Trekking Guide a close second.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Books : Trekking in the Everest Region
by Jamie McGuiness
The most popular alternative, just in case you're not a Lonely Planet fan. Superb maps and great detail.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Books : In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro
by Rick Ridgeway
Ridgeway's account follows his travels from the peak of Kilimanjaro to the plains and foot hills beneath. A story of a great explorer.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Books : Trekking in the Patagonian Andes
by Clem Lindenmayer
Lonely Planet's guide to South American trekking. Includes details on over 27 treks and the usual detail you'd expect from this publisher.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Books : Trekking in East Africa
by David Else
Lonely Planet's guide to the Kilimanjaro region and neighbouring countries.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Books : Make Your Knowledge Sell
by Monique Harris and Ken Evoy
Information publishing is set to become the big earner for the little people on the web. The authors state that 'there is a book in everyone. Each of us lives a life of unique circumstances and experiences that results in building a body of knowledge.' Crucially, that knowledge has value and can be packaged and sold to others. But how would you go about something like this? Publishing is an intricate business off line - but online the hassles can be automated away. How? Well that's the beauty of this e-book. Harris and Evoy have compiled the most complete guide on generating an idea, creating an book, packaging it, selling it and distributing it. Great book, brilliantly executed and designed for the novice and expert alike.

More info from Sitesell

Stuff you just have to get:

  • Buy a really good pair of lightweight walking boots. Then walk them in before hand to avoid blisters. Also bring spare laces.
  • A pair of trainer/ track-shoes. To wear in the camp at night of when the boot is wet.
  • Warm jacket. Fiberfill or down should be adequate. This is especially necessary during the winter.
  • Sleeping bag to -15 C or sleep sheet (if renting)
  • A rain-proof jacket with hood or a poncho. Get the one that is guaranteed waterproof.

You can hire most things – although quality is hard to guarantee – but your own trainer shoes and boots you simply must have - and make sure you've walked them in.

For the best in shoes, boots, jackets and gear check out Fogdog's online outdoor store.

Fogdog has loads of product reviews, great prices and can deliver worldwide. Do allow extra time for your goods to arrive if you live outside the USA.

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Spoil yourself

Go trekking further afield:

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Open Outcry

Got a question? Get an answer!

Post a message to the trekking discussion board.

You might just

  • have a general question about going trekking?
  • want to make a comment
  • want to share tips and advice with fellow JoJaffa-ers?

... Then why not use our going trekking chat board

Maybe someone has already asked that burning question you're longing to find the answer to ...

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If you are interested in going trekking, you'll probably also enjoy some or all of the following

Do it for the adrenalin rush!

Lean forward as far as you can and plant your paddle ahead of you. Keep each foot firmly jammed under the gaps between the inflatable dinghy's wall and floor. And put your back into it...go White Water Rafting
And Aloe Vera for when you get sun burn!

How about

Start an Internet Business
or even
Bungee Jumping?
- well, you've only got one life after all?

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