How Do I Prepare To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro ?This question is very important because of good preparation you will increase your summit success rate, minimize cost and also reduce the risk of getting mountain sickness.
We have analyzed 25 points on how to prepare for a successfully mount kilimanjaro climb. With these 25 preparation conquering kilimanjaro is must.
How do I prepare to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Let’s show you how!
1). Choose a minimum of 8 days climbing mt Kilimanjaro.
Why 8 days because you will have a summit success rate of 90% and you will have enough time to acclimatize. So you will have significantly reduce the risk of mountain sickness.
Choosing less day reduce your summit success rate (40% for 5 days climb). Your chances of success reduce drastically if you select less days on Kilimanjaro. Also good acclimatization should be your top concern.
2). Choose the right route for your Kilimanjaro climb
Most people book their Kilimanjaro climb in advance, and it can be the first mistake.
There are many climb routes up Kilimanjaro, and there are many operators. A Kilimanjaro climb is expensive, so you will be looking for the cheapest deal.
The cheapest Kilimanjaro climbs are the shortest routes. Each day on the mountain will add a few hundred dollars in the total.
It is possible to book a five day but it’s a Big mistake.
No responsible operator should offer five day climb to people with no previous experience at high altitude climb and are not acclimatized.
The statistics shows Mount Kilimanjaro National Park indicate climbers on five day routes have 40% summit reach!
All the five day routes offer additional day for acclimatization. Spend the money on that extra day.
To increase chances of reaching the summit consider choosing one of the longer routes.
Which route is the best to climb mount kilimanjaro all details.
3 Planing the date.
Best time to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro are the dry months Jan or Feb and Aug or Sep. but also June and October are good. weather on Kilimanjaro
Mt. Kilimanjaro Weather
The Mt Kilimanjaro weather (good or bad) affects your climb and your success rate chances. When to plan your climb for Kilimanjaro is an important decision.
Bad weather on mount Kilimanjaro not only makes for a miserable(bad) trek and ruins your pictures, most importantly it simply makes the climb very hard!
You chance to reach the summit increases if the weather on Kilimanjaro is good.
Mount Kilimanjaro close to equator. There are only dry and rainy periods seasons.
Climbing mount Kilimanjaro during the rainy season means you have to go through very deep mud on the first days.
At higher altitude fog and drizzle. Slowly the moisture will creep into your clothes and gear.
On top you have to fight through ice and snow. Having moisture in your clothes, is not going to help with the cold on top of mount kilimanjaro.
But there are other factors to consider as well. The temperature, the view and the number of people trekking the mountain.
There is no accurate and fast answer on single best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
See Kilimanjaro weather details every month.
The Weather on Kilimanjaro – When is the best time to Climb Kilimanjaro?
January – March
Mid January – mid March is a good time to climb mount Kilimanjaro. The weather is average, not so cold, not so wet, and there aren’t as many trekkers. It’s mainly dry, clear with few clouds and occasional small showers. Thou in March the chances of rain increase as you approach the rain season.
April – June
The long rainy season starts the end of March to mid June. Its impossible to predict exactly when it stops raining. These months are so wet that many operators simply do not offer kili hikes in April/May at all.
June – August
The rain gradually stops and the temperatures drop on Kilimanjaro. The weather on Kilimanjaro is not very dry and clear but the nights will be very cold. The number of climbers increases as the months progresses.
August – October
August and the September is the peak climbing season on mt Kilimanjaro. The weather is perfect with clear days and warmer than in June and July.
You may however see clouds blanketing the rain forest, moorland zone and the southern routes you may get rained on the first and second days. But once you leave the rain forest behind then all will be good. These good conditions last to mid October when the short rains starts.
The weather on mt Kilimanjaro becomes unstable and the number of people climbing drops. Their will be clouds and occasional thunderstorms. You should be equipped to with stand the occasional shower. This can present any major problems.
November their is small rains to and the rain goes on to mid-December. The temperatures will drop and the rains may some time continue for 2 to 3 days. This is Not the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
The 4 to 6 weeks around Christmas and New Year are the second peak climbing season on climbing Kilimanjaro. Traffic is very high despite there still being a small chance of rainfall and thick clouds at the lower regions. This is not the time I would choose.
Important to note about the weather on mt Kilimanjaro
You may decide to climb any time because you might want to avoid the population or because that is the only time off from work. In that case take the Rongai Route. Its is much drier than the other mount Kilimanjaro routes.
And if you want the best weather on Kilimanjaro but less people choose the Rongai, Shira and Lemosho than on the overcrowded Machame route and Marangu route.
The other thing are the temperatures.
The day and night temperatures are very different. In that respect the temperature during the day can be well above 30°C and the night below 0°C. At the summit temperature at night can drop to -20°C (-5 F).
4 ). Good physical conditioning is important.
You should not aim at running, you are hiking up and down. Endurance training and leg strength is Key.. No problem f you mixing up your training with running but it should not be your focus.
You should put on weighted back pack to build up the weight you will carry. Train 4 to 5 times a week. We will talk you through the best way to prepare for mount Kilimanjaro climb.
5). Understand elevation gains.
Think about this a bit more. You will daily walk distances and elevation gains during Kilimanjaro climb. So you should be able to build a training time table that works for you.
Thou at Kilimanjaro you will have 30% to 50% less oxygen the best way to prepare for is by putting your leg muscles under more pressure at sea level.
The best way achieve this is by adding weight to your back pack at the gym on very training session. You should increase the weight weekly.
6). Build the right training program.
So this is just an addition to number 3. Your preparation should start 1 to 3 months before of your Kilimanjaro climb. If you can’t access hills and mountains you can train by walking at least 1 hour a day.
Why not get professional advice from our experts. They have climbed Kilimanjaro many times.
7). The right clothing for mount kilimanjaro.
It is said that the temperatures at Mount Kilimanjaro can be above 100 degrees to below zero. It is important for all climbers to understand how to dress according to mountain weather
Wearing many layers of cloth is the best way to keep your body in good temperature range no matter what the at the mountain is.
layering is versatile, thermally and space efficient. A climber can add or remove cloths to adapt with change in weather, activity and body temperature.
Scientifically, it is warmer to wear many thin layers than one thick single layer because the air between the layers provides insulation and takes small space in your backpack.
The technical clothing you bring on Mount Kilimanjaro can be categorized into three types of layers: mid layer, base layer and outer shell. Each layer performs a specific function.
It is moisture-wicking item that is worn against the skin. Moving sweat from your body, this layer should keep you dry and provide some insulation.
Base layers can be worn alone in warm weather or doubled-up during cold weather. Try wearing them on and see if you like the feeling of them against your skin because you will spend the entire week on mount Kilimanjaro with base layers on.
The purpose of a mid layer is to provide warmth. Therefore you should look for cloth that have good insulating qualities like Wool or cotton.
Fleece provide good insulation as they are thin, comfortable, fast-drying and light-weight but lacks wind protection.
Note that a heavyweight down jacket are used as an outer layer. Can be worn over a thin mid layer, such as fleece, or over an outer layer, such as a hard shell.
Synthetic insulated jackets are not as warm or light as down, but they function even when wet.
They are designed to provide protection against wind, rain and snow.
Outer layers have built in insulation but we recommend having each layer for greater versatility.
With these gear you will be able to withstand whatever weather at Mount Kilimanjaro It is very important that you note changing conditions when hiking and adapt (unzip layers before you sweat, zip up or add layers before its cold, wear waterproof gear before you get wet).
8). Get trekking boots for mount Kilimanjaro climb.
It is very important to buy good trekking boots early. I prefer (La Sportiva Trango GTX trekking boots). Trekking boots should have rigid sole on. The Trango boots are water proof, lightweight warm and very solid.
The sole of the climbing boots should not the slippery. Make sure your boots are in a good condition.
9). Vaccination needed for mount kilimanjaro.
You will need to some vaccinations which are mandatory before coming to Tanzania. Also be protected against malaria. Your doctor will recommend medication that you will need to bring.
We include all vaccinations and medications required for mount kilimanjaro Check out our list
10). Hydration on your Kilimanjaro climb is important.
You need to drink a lot of water prior and during the climb. Drink 4 to 5 liters per day on the mountain. Make sure you are well hydrated.
Avoid dehydrating at altitude without noticing. Our bodies adjust to the high altitude by eliminating more water. Keep drinking more water every time at Kilimanjaro.
11). Getting the pace correct can make all the difference climbing Kilimanjaro.
We have enough experience to help you summit of Kilimanjaro. Nevertheless doesn’t mean you should not prepare. You need have to trained and prepare for kilimanjaro climb.
On Kilimanjaro with 30 to 40% less oxygen and less than 50% oxygen getting to your muscles above 18,000 feet. So the pace you move at and heart rate you maintain on the mountain is so important
Let all the anyone people pass you by. You are trying to get from point A to point B using little energy as possible. You need to keep low heart rate as possible.
To minimize the damage on your muscles on a daily basis. Acclimatize slowly and to give yourself the best chance of summit Kilimanjaro.
12). Pick a team who pay their staff correctly.
You make sure your choice a trekking operator who pays well their guides, cook and porters. Most of the operators do not pay well their staff below the standard required by Kilimanjaro national park.
Poor payment of porters result in many deaths during Mount Kilimanjaro climb, because they cannot afford good clothes, and equipment needed for the climb
13). Have oxygen on your Kilimanjaro climb.
You need to have oxygen each day high on Kilimanjaro. We have one bottle of oxygen for 5 people. We carry this every day of the Kilimanjaro climb.
Always a number of other teams and people are looking to use our oxygen! You need bottled oxygen on your Kilimanjaro climb
You also need daily monitoring for heart rate and oxygen levels. To minimize the risk you face during Kilimanjaro climb. It is really important from the beginning of the trip.
14). Have emergency evacuation access.
The Lemosho route offer the best emergency evacuation road on Kilimanjaro. This evacuation road is situated between Shira camp 11,482 feet and Shira camp 2 at 12,631 feet.
Our treks have Flying Doctor coverage option and we can get you off the mountain very quickly as possible on the western side of Kilimanjaro.
On day 3 we get up to 13,123 feet. We will monitor your oxygen saturation daily but if you are not coping with the lack of oxygen we will see real indicators at this elevation and if you need to descend from the mountain.
We will take you to a hospital very quickly from here. This is a very important safety factor you need to consider before Kilimanjaro climb.
15). Make sure you have proper support on your summit climb.
We always help other teams on Kilimanjaro they have less guides for their people and when people get in trouble we have to help where possible most lack medical equipment’s.
We will have 1 guide and 1 support staff heading to the summit for each climber heading to the summit it is necessary.
In case you are struggling to get down the mountain you need to have this safety measure in place and minimize the risk you are taking on Kilimanjaro climb.
16). Join a small group.
Small group gives better attention, and concerns on the mountain can be managed faster. In a smaller teams you have better access to staff and our guides can get to know you better and spot altitude related issues faster.
Our guides will be able to spot small changes in your behavior and react quickly. Smaller groups are more relaxed, safer and more enjoyable experience on Kilimanjaro climb.
We have a maximum of 12 people makes a more successful, enjoyable and positive overall experience for each team member.
17). Practice the right breathing techniques needed for high altitude trekking.
The right technique is to deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. No need to be doing this every day and it will vary from start to summit night.
This technique needs focus and trust me you will need this technique during your summit night to make sure you are giving your brain, lungs, heart and body enough oxygen to reach the Uhuru peak summit and get back safely below 18,000 feet.
18) Book your flight
The best(closest) airport to land near Mount Kilimanjaro is Kilimanjaro international Airport (JRO).
Kilimanjaro airport is between Moshi and Arusha also know as safari capital to national parks like Ngorongoro, Serengeti, etc.
19) Get a visa
You should have a visa to visit Tanzania and passport valid for 6 months.
Easiest way is upon arrival in Tanzania At the airport. Its cost 50 usd except for USA citizens it cost 100 Usd to get a visa
20) Getting into shape
Mt. Kilimanjaro is popular climb because Kilimanjaro requires no expertise. In fact, it’s a hike. You can walk up to the top of kilimanjaro.
That sounds easy but it is not that easy!
Training for Kilimanjaro and avoiding altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro is the key for a successful Mount Kilimanjaro summit
Kilimanjaro needs you to practice long distance trekking and hiking experience! It also helps if you have camping experience, because you will be camping during climb Kilimanjaro.
About 50% of the people who climb mt Kilimanjaro summit. There our client success rates is 80% to 90% because we prefer more days from 7 days
With the right preparation you have 90% success chance on kilimanjaro.
In most cases of failed summit it’s because of altitude sickness.
Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is not about luck, age, or experience. It’s entirely up to you to be willing to research and invest your time and money in right place.
21) Organizing the necessary equipment
If you booked with us then, the price include quality camping equipment.
Many Kilimanjaro trek operators offer gear for rent (see the price) You may not want to buy a gear for one time use or have to many luggage while on a trip.
See all equipment you can regularly rent like down sleeping bags, insulation pads and down jackets.
A part from that you will also need good quality, thermal under and upper layers of cloths, gloves, warm hat, good sunglasses, sunscreen also for lips, a day pack, rain protection and camel back.
Most importantly is high quality hiking boots and they need to fit you well!
Equipment needed for mount Kilimanjaro and there prices
- Duffel bag needs to be large for climbing gear, clothing and will be carried by porters. And Extra bags to be left at the hotel.
- Small luggage to lock zippers
- Day backpack – should be between 20 – 35 litres. Should be large enough to carry your own water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks and warm clothing
- Sleeping bag
- Ski-pole or walking stick
- Waterproof rucksack liner or heavy duty plastic sack
- Elasticated waterproof rucksack cover
- Water bottle
- Kilimanjaro map which can be bought at Park gate
High Altitude Gear
- Waterproof, breathable and windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
- Waterproof, breathable and windproof pants (outer wear)
- Polar fleece (middle layer)
- Thermal underwear (under layers)
- Mittens or warm gloves
- Glove liners which is also necessary
- One pair thermal (polertex) socks
- Thermal water flask
- Hiking pants
- Regular underwear
- Raincoat or Poncho
- Semi-stiff hiking boots and water resistant with mid weight boots work great
- Shoes for overnight camps with sneakers and running shoes.
- Socks with several pairs for the climb
- Liner socks which will help keep feet dry and limit the risk of blisters
Clothing for Climbing Kilimanjaro
- Sweat-wicking T-shirts or vests
- Fleece (Polartec 300 grading or similar)
- Insulated down jacket or similar
- Down mittens or similar
- Thermal Long-Johns or compression tights for summit night
- Lightweight walking trousers (avoid jeans or heavy cotton as they chafe and dry slowly)
- Underwear (Lycra shorts and briefs are usually better than boxer shorts which gather and chafe)
- Very good quality hiking socks and thin liner socks. (We advise that socks should be at least a size too small otherwise they stretch and bunch causing blisters)
- Breathable lightweight waterproofs (jacket and trousers).
- Waterproof walking boots, sturdy and worn-in. A Gore-Tex membrane or similar is advised. While Alpine or C 3 boots are not required for Kilimanjaro it is important that your boots have good ankle and arch support and good deep read patterns.
- Calf gaiters
- Goretex Mountain Cap or Woolen Hat
- Wide brimmed sun hat to protect face, ears and neck
- Sun hat or similar (with a brim)
- Collapsible ski stick (optional but highly recommended)
- Water bottles – should be 2 or 3 with total capacity of 4 litres
- Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb
- Water purification tablets
- Sunglasses, with quality dark lenses for the climb and securing strap
- Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries
- Toiletry kit ( with soap, tooth brush, wet wipes, etc.)
- Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+
- Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
- Toilet paper
- Money belt for passport and valuables
Medical and First Aid Supplies
- Headache tablets
- Altitude sickness-Diamox (if it is not allergic to sulpha)
- Diarrhoea – Imodium
- Nausea – Valoid
- Malaria – Prophylaxis
- Water purification tablets
- Muscular sprains
- Abrasions blisters and cuts – Plaster and bandages
- Antiseptic cream – Betadine
- Flu and colds
- Eye drops
- Insect repellent
- Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
- Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
- Pocket knife
- Notebook and pencil
- Plastic bags to keep clothes dry (masking tape)
- Energy snacks and sweets
- Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod
Documents Needed When Travelling to Kilimanjaro
- Passport (with additional 6 months’ validity after proposed expedition return date)
- Tanzanian Entry Visa. (If flying to Nairobi and taking the bus to Arusha Kenyan visas can be bought on arrival at Nairobi airport.)
- Air Travel Documents
- Cash in US dollars in denominations of $10 and $20 and $1 (tipping allowance and local purchases, taxis, meals, etc)
- Credit Card (recommended for eventualities only)
- Travel Insurance Documents
- Vaccination Certificates (Yellow Fever, if visiting a ‘risk zone’ prior to entering Tanzania)
- Travelers Cheques are not recommend as they are subject to very poor conversion rates in Arusha
A list of essential Kilimanjaro equipment and tips on packing for Kilimanjaro.
22) Mount Kilimanjaro Packing List Tips
Mount Kilimanjaro packing list that you can use during the actual packing of your bags is included in the Kilimanjaro climbing guide click the link to learn more.
Which Kilimanjaro gear is essential and why is explained in Kilimanjaro equipment list.
There are more things you may want to pack for Kilimanjaro, beyond that essential equipment.
Below are tips and ideas for packing before Kilimanjaro.
List of packing tips for the flight and for Mount Kilimanjaro
- Pack all essential gear in your hand luggage because its the only way to be sure it arrives on time. African airports are always losing luggage.
- Wear your boots on during the flight! Your boots are very important item that you can NOT afford to lose. You should not wear in another pair of boots in a few days recommended.
- Any gear that is valuable to lose should stay home.
- Flying from or via the US you are not allowed to lock bags. Pack inteligently. Valuables should go on the bottom of the bag. On the top you can place underwear, socks and maps…
- Theft is not really a problem unless you are quite irresponsible. Usually it is opportunistic because most people in Africa are very poor.
- Pack sunscreen and mosquito repellent you need and some extra. Its not easy to find in Tanzania.
- Rechargeable batteries are good, but you may not be able to recharge them while in Mount kilimanjaro. Get batteries for back up. Batteries are available everywhere.
List of packing tips for Mt Kilimanjaro
- Pack everything you really need but nothing else. You are only allowed to take 15 kg up the mountain anyway or you may have to pay for an additional porter.
Example toothbrush and paste, soap and a mini towel you’ll have use.
Anything you don’t need leave at the hotel with written receipt.
- Take clothes pegs or strong clips you can attach items outside your pack during the day, to dry in the sun at afternoon.
- Socks you can wash them at night and dry them on your pack during the day.
- Water bottles you should get at least one bottle that can double as a hot water bottle.
- You should be able to wear all your clothes on top of each other.
- Don’t carry water on the outside during the summit night because it will freeze.
- During the summit climb carry your camera and battery on your body to keep them warm.
- Take enough money for tipping your guides, cook and porters, but leave all valuables in the hotel safe with a written receipt.
What to do during a Kilimanjaro climb
23) Walk Pole pole(Slowly and Steady)
It’s very important during Kilimanjaro climb. You will be surprised HOW slow your guide make you walk.
You walk so slowly that the first day because it will seems ridiculous.
Soon you will notice stoping for a photo and catching up leaves you breathless. Drinking water while walking becomes an effort. The slow speed does not seem so slow again.
Do not be tempted into speeding up or walking fast. (Altitude sickness is more common in groups climbs than it is during private climbs)
Another group passing you just let them go because nothing to gain on Kilimanjaro when you are the first.
The group with lowest success rate is young males between 20 and 30, they are always the fastest to.
Often they feel they have to be in front, the best, and being strong plus fit makes it just so easy to walk too fast.
Older people have a good success rate because they are wiser than that many of them aren’t fit enough to walking too fast.
OK, I think you got a straight message. Pole pole!
24) How to avoiding altitude sickness at Kilimanjaro
Keep drinking water
Avoid dehydrating at altitude without noticing. And our bodies adjusts to the high altitude by eliminating more water. Keep drinking it.
Climbers lose their appetite at altitude but your body always burns through a lot of calories. And you will need carbohydrate foods because are better than fatty foods.
The correct gear is a key, shivering isn’t nice and hypothermia dangerous, but also warmth reduce your risk of succumbing to altitude sickness.
Keep your day pack light.
Only take important things. Every extra kilo need more oxygen to carry.
And last avoid alcohol, tobacco and most avoid sleeping tablets
25) Choose the right number of days for you Kilimanjaro trek
The best number of days to climb Mount Kilimanjaro can be analyzed based on the many factors. And we will analyze the right number of days Kilimanjaro route based on 7 Key factors such as miles covered, length, cost, hours, acclimatization, success and scenery.
We can all agree that the best number of days to trek mount kilimanjaro is from 7 days to 10 days, which means the more days you have and the higher your summit success rate.