Mount Kilimanjaro is not only the highest point in Africa – it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world! Any climber who attempts to climb Kilimanjaro should prepare mentally and physically with an exercise regime and an understanding of altitude.
While Mount Kilimanjaro is a ‘walkable mountain’ – You do not need any technical climbing or mountaineering skills to get to the summit. So, you don’t need to be a mountaineer. You just need to be able to walk. – it does not mean that it is an easy climb. Hikers should be physically fit, but at 19,340 feet (5,895 m), simply being in top physical shape may not be enough. Training for Kilimanjaro is essential for a safe and successful summit.
When is the Best Time to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s proximity to the equator, this region does not experience extremes of winter or summer weather. Instead, Kilimanjaro has wet seasons (rainy) and dry seasons (not rainy).
Kilimanjaro has four seasons: the short rainy season, long rainy season, short dry season, and long dry season.
The best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro is during either of the dry seasons. January and February constitute the short dry season with clear skies in the morning and evening but during the day clouds may appear along with brief showers. July through October constitutes the long dry season. These are the best months to visit generally speaking.
However, if you don’t mind the possibility of a little rain and clouds, you can book your trip for the transitional months of June, December, and mid-March. These are considered good times to climb.
The short rainy season occurs during the month of November. The long rainy season goes from the middle of March to the beginning of June. We do not recommend trekking during these times due to wet conditions and visibility may be low due to heavy clouds. But for experienced backpackers who have endured such conditions before, it is a possible option to avoid the crowds. It is very quiet. You may very well be the only party at a campsite.
Packing List for Kilimanjaro Climb
It is very important to have the right gear when climbing Kilimanjaro. During your expedition, you may encounter many different types of weather and a wide range of temperatures. The gear you bring must be able to withstand these variables. The link below is our recommended gear list. You are required to bring all necessary items for your climb. Note that some gear may be rented from our store in Tanzania. View the Packing List
Fitness and Training to Climb Kilimanjaro
A question we get asked a lot is ‘how fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro? Fitness and training are other important step in your Kilimanjaro preparation. How you train is a significant factor in how you will fare on your Kilimanjaro climb. Most of our clients have never hiked for so many consecutive days at such high elevations. Therefore we urge you to be in the best shape of your life. Obviously, it is not easy to climb the tallest mountain in Africa. Although the trekking is at a slow pace and most hiking days end in the mid-afternoon, the combination of physical activity, poor sleep, diminished appetite, dehydration, weather, and altitude are working against you. As you make the push to the summit, your endurance will be tested.
We recommend starting training at least two months before your departure date, though – the earlier the better. You may require more or less depending on your current fitness and your hiking acumen. Note that hiking should be the foundation of your training and is far more important than other types of activity such as running or weightlifting.
In conclusion – the Kilimanjaro training plan
Climbing Kilimanjaro is an incredible experience and, with a Kilimanjaro training plan, can be achieved by most, regardless of age or physical condition. Once you have your cardiovascular system up and running then all you need is a positive attitude and a willingness to push yourself.
More important than this is allowing your body to acclimatize to the altitude. More often than not, climbers will not reach the summit due to altitude issues. If you have any questions about the Kilimanjaro training plan just email us and we will respond as soon as possible.
Frequently asked questions
Can a beginner climb Kilimanjaro?
A beginner can climb Mount Kilimanjaro if they are prepared to make the climb. Beginners should be sure to train adequately and take extra time to ensure that they are ready before attempting to conquer the mountain.
Can smokers climb Kilimanjaro?
Smokers can climb the mountain. However, it’s important to remember that lung capacity can be hindered by smoking, so extra training might be necessary. Smoking and climbing Kilimanjaro does pose a small risk, but when managed properly, shouldn’t hinder the experience.
How hard is Kilimanjaro Hike?
Kilimanjaro is quite difficult to hike. This is mainly due to its short climb time that doesn’t allow for the body to smoothly and easily adjust to the rising altitude.
Entry Requirements to Tanzania?
A passport and visa are required to travel to Tanzania for most citizens, including nationals from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other European Union countries, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
The passport must be valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay.
Visas can be obtained prior to departure from the Tanzanian embassy or at points of entry into Tanzania, including Kilimanjaro Airport. The visa cost for US citizens is $100 and $50 for others. Obtaining a Visa at Kilimanjaro Airport is a relatively simple process. When you arrive, as you enter the airport there will be two lines. The line on the right is for people purchasing a visa. The line straight ahead is for people who have a visa. To get your visa, fill out the visa application, show them your passport and pay the fee. You will stand in three lines in total to get through immigration control or for more information visit Tanzania Immigration.
Medications and Vaccinations
The following vaccinations are commonly advised by general medical practitioners and are best administered when detailed below but, again, they are not required by Tanzanian border authorities to be evidenced as having been administered. The list of recommended vaccinations for East African travel is updated regularly by the WHO. Your local healthcare practice will usually have an up-to-date list. Please consult them, if you subscribe to the practice of obtaining vaccines.
- Yellow Fever (required if entering Tanzania from an ‘infected area’)
- Hepatitis A
Kilipeak Adventure we strongly recommend that you bring:
- Diamox, an FDA approved prescription used to prevent and treat altitude sickness
- Ciprofloxacin, a powerful anti-diarrhea medication
- Doxycycline, Mefloquine or another anti-malarial drug, designed to prevent or cure malaria
- Ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to treat headaches (do not use aspirin, which thins the blood)
Having these four medications in your kit covers you for the most common medical conditions experienced on the mountain.
It is prudent for every client to have a medical check-up to see whether he or she have any medical conditions that increase the risks of trekking at high altitude. The minimum age of participants of our climbs is 12 years old. All clients 65 years of age or older are required to bring a doctor’s certificate stating they are fit to climb Kilimanjaro.
Do you Have Age Restriction?
Anyone from children over the age of 10 to older generations in their 65 s or older are required to bring a doctor’s certificate stating they are fit to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. All you need is determination and the will to get to the summit (Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world). The real challenge with climbing Kilimanjaro is the altitude and the rate of ascent. Don’t worry Kilipeak Adventure team will be with you every step of the way! Our guides are highly skilled professionals and are a key component to your success.
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is mandatory for all clients traveling with Kilipeak Adventure. You must have a valid travel insurance policy in order to participate in our climbs. Travel insurance should cover high altitude trekking (not mountaineering) up to 6,000 meters, medical and repatriation costs. Therefore it is very important that you acquire travel insurance. Kilipeak Adventure we recommend the travel insurance by World Nomad which has good coverage at an affordable price
Do I Need to Exchange Money to Tanzanian Shillings?
U.S. Dollars are accepted in Tanzania. Therefore, it is not necessary to exchange into Tanzanian Shillings. However, if you plan to make many small purchases, you will get a better deal by using local currency because vendors will round up if you pay in dollars.
Our Kilimanjaro Head and Assistant guides are Wilderness First Responder Certified (WFR), are licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park, have significant experience climbing Kilimanjaro, and speak English fluently and professionally trained to take you safely to Uhuru peak, and back. Our Head guides have experience of 50-100+ successful summits and work with a handpicked crew of experienced Assistant guides, Cooks, and Porters. Their strong, genuine, and friendly characters combined with their passion for Kilimanjaro contribute to the quality of experience, link to Kilimanjaro culture, and provide that extra motivation, when needed during the expedition, to reach the summit and come back safely.
Kilimanjaro porters are the heart and soul of the mountain. There are few experiences as humbling as being passed by porters on a climb. They carry food, water, and equipment to ensure a comfortable climb and an increased summit success rate. They are certainly among the hardest working men in Tanzania and we make sure they are rewarded properly for their efforts. Kilipeak Adventure’s and Safari’s porters receive $15/person/day, which is the highest salary level and un-preceded in the history of Kilimanjaro expeditions. We are proud of this fact and know that this is a fair amount, agreed upon by our staff, for the hard work done!
Tipping in Tanzania
Tipping your Kilimanjaro and safari staff is customary, though not obligatory. These tipping guidelines are intended to assist you in determining a proper tip amount for your guides and porters. The total number of staff depends on how many climbers are at the party, which route, and how many days you are on the mountain. We will communicate the number of staff to you before your trip so you can prepare the tips. Note that the figures below constitute an appropriate tip for good service. It is perfectly acceptable to give less or more than these figures. READ MORE
Tipping on Safari
The general guideline for tipping during the safari is between $20-$25 per person per day to your driver and cook for camping safari $15-$20 per person per day. However, this is just a rough figure you may tip less or more.
Where Do the Trips begin?
Our trips begin in Arusha is a town situated at the foot of Mount Meru, Tanzania. Or Moshi is a town located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO): The most convenient way to travel to Tanzania is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (Airport Code: JRO). Kilipeak Adventure and Safari’s provides a pick-up from the airport to your hotel. Local contact numbers and details on how to meet up with our staff will be distributed upon booking.
Arusha Airport (ARK): Arusha has a small airport in the city. Therefore, flights into and out of this airport are very limited. If you are coming from Zanzibar this may be an option for you.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO): Some clients choose to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya. From Nairobi, you can take a daily shuttle bus to Arusha or Moshi for an estimated cost of 30 USD. The ride is about 6-7 hours. We recommend using Riverside Shuttle from Nairobi to Tanzania – Arusha or Moshi.
The Seven Mount Kilimanjaro Routes
There are seven established routes that leads to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro 5,895 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level in Tanzania. The routes are Marangu route, Rongai route, Lemosho route, Machame route, Shira route, Northern Circuit route and Umbwe route.
There’s also a decent -Only route which are Mweka roure.
Each of the Kilimanjaro route has its own advantages and disadvantages, Like cost, the scenery and the summit success rate. We encourage you to select the route that best suits you- and make the most of your comfort and increase the chance of success to the top of Africa.