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    10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

    10 minutes read
    Facts about mount Kilimanjaro
    10 Tips For A Successful Climb To The Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

    Taking on Kilimanjaro is a challenging task, so we ensure that we equip every trekker with some knowledge they can use to have a triumphant climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

    So, without much further ado, here are ten tips for a successful climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro:

    Tip #1: Choose the right route up the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

    Summit of mount kilimanjaro

    To have the highest chance of climbing success, you’ll have to be at the lowest risk for altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is a significant reason some trekkers fail to climb Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit.

    However, this would be fine if you acclimatize to the mountain’s conditions while you climb. The key here is to take the longer routes to the summit rather than choosing the shorter ones, as you’ll be giving your body a higher opportunity to cope with the lack of oxygen at higher elevations, increasing your chance for summit success. 

    Thus, taking the 7-day Machame or the 8-day Lemosho route will offer a much higher chance of success than the five- to six-day route. Those who choose the 7-day climb have a success rate of 85%, while those who take the 6-day climb have 44%, and 5-day climb with only a 27% success rate. 

    The routes you choose and the number of days you spend on the mountain are significant in your summit success.

    Therefore, choose your route wisely.

    Tip #2: Train yourself well before climbing the summit of mount Kilimanjaro

    Tanzania - train yourself well before climbing the summit of mount kilimanjaro. - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    Although Kilimanjaro is deemed a trekking peak and requires no technical training, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to train yourself. To successfully climb up to the summit of Kilimanjaro, one has to be fit enough. After all, this is the highest mountain in Africa.

    But exactly how do you train yourself? You should start training by hiking mountains or hills at 10,500 feet. Daily hikes at this altitude will simulate the Kilimanjaro climb for your body. 

    So, to get the best training results, ensure the mountains you climb beforehand have enough elevation. If you are still looking for trails near your place, you can train yourself by going up and down a staircase. But know that hills or mountain hikes are the best preparation methods.

    You can train using a bike or treadmill for about 30 to 40 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week. Preparing yourself for at least 2 to 3 months for your Kilimanjaro climb is recommended.

    In particular, you’ll need to do:

    Tip #3: Water is your friend: Hydrate regularly

    Tanzania - water is your friend hydrate regularly - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    You tend to get dehydrated quickly because of the dry air at a high altitude. This can increase the risk of headaches, overall fatigue, and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).

    Thus, drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration, which can contribute to mountain sickness. Although a slight headache is common for most hikers, it can become AMS if not handled early.

    Drinking a lot of water can help prevent additional discomfort linked to dehydration and headaches. Water is provided for each hiker at the campsite, so it’s best always to carry at least 3 liters of water to keep yourself hydrated.

    Tip #4: Be comfortable with the wilderness and hike at a slow pace

    Tanzania - be comfortable with the wilderness and hike at a slow pace - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    Tip number four would be preparing yourself mentally. You must be comfortable with the wilderness as you must stay in the bush for several days.

    You’ll be sleeping outdoors in a tent under a chilly night condition, and you’ll also be experiencing rugged conditions along your adventure. You’ll take a baby wipe shower, encounter dirt all day, and face bugs of all sizes.

    However, never worry about your comfort, as Easy Travel will ensure we give the best we can to make each client comfortable. Although most of the accommodation on our Kilimanjaro trips is camping (except the Marangu route), we ensure to provide the best sleeping conditions for our hikers. 

    We also have a private toilet, so you don’t have to use the public ‘squat toilet,’ which is usually uncomfortable and dirty. Regarding the trekking pace, it’s ideal to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at a slow pace. 

    This will make a significant difference because it won’t strain your body. As a result, your body can cope with the lack of oxygen in higher elevations. So, never try to race your way to the campsite, as it can negatively affect your body.

    Enjoy the scenery and talk with fellow trekkers to make your journey up Kilimanjaro more memorable and fun. After all, you’re here to experience Mount Kilimanjaro.

    Tip #5: Pack and wear the right gear to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

    Pack

    It’s essential to pack and wear the right gear to have a successful climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Thus, it’s best to have a list of gear you must bring to make your summit journey much easier.

    So, to make it easier for our clients, we made a list of equipment to refer to. Some of the gear involved can be found in the box below.

    ITEMSQUANTITYITEMSQUANTITY
    Headlight/ torch1Balaclava1
    Sunglass1Warm Hat1
    Sun Hat1Base Layer2
    Top Fleece2Warm Jacket1
    Poncho1Long Underwear2
    Ski Pant1Rain Pant1
    Thin Socks2Thick Socks3
    Mountain Boots2Tennis Shoe1
    Gators1Warm Gloves2
    Ski Gloves2Duffel Bag / Rucksack1
    Day Packs1Scarf1
    Walking Poles1  

    With the right gear, you’ll keep yourself warm and make the trekking journey more manageable and bearable.

    Tip #6: Eat more food and have some snacks

    Tanzania - eat more food and have some snacks - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    Another tip to ensure a successful climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro is to eat your meals and have some snacks along the way. When you’re at a high altitude, you tend to lose your appetite, so eating may not be tempting, no matter how delicious the food looks.

    However, it would help if you ate your meals to keep going. You’ll need a lot of energy for this expedition and can get enough fuel from eating more food.

    Bring some high-calorie snacks from home with you as much as possible to keep you filled on your climb. At the campsite, we’ll also provide delicious meals, snacks, and beverages to ensure you have nutrition on the mountain.

    If you have some favorite protein bars, you can bring them to your Kilimanjaro expedition to munch on your climb. You can also get some nuts, M&M’s, and hard candies.

    Tip #7: Research

    Travel solo in tanzania

    When going to an unknown place, it’s always best to do some research before you go to make sure that you’re prepared for what’s to come. It’s best to read materials that can help you know how to handle the possible challenges ahead.

    This way, you can reduce your anxiety as you’ll be anticipating situations and somewhat know what to do. It’s best to start reading blogs related to Kilimanjaro and familiarise yourself with the things that can happen at high elevations.

    It would also help to visit travel forums related to the Kilimanjaro climb to see the experiences of other trekkers. Moreover, you can also watch YouTube videos of the Kilimanjaro climb expedition to learn more about the climb and know what to expect.

    Tip #8: Get enough sleep

    Tanzania - get enough sleep - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    Another essential tip is to get enough sleep on the mountain. Sleep is necessary to help your body recover from the long hours of hiking and ease up acute mountain sickness.

    When you’re on the mountain, you’ll get used to waking up, eating breakfast, hiking, eating lunch and dinner, sleeping, and then repeating the cycle. However, sleeping on the mountain can be challenging during the chilly nights, and some hikers report being able to sleep altogether.

    This can be considered normal as your body adjusts to mountain conditions, especially Kilimanjaro altitude sickness. But, as the days pass by, your body will begin to cope, and the quality of your sleep will improve.

    To recover faster, save your energy throughout the day. Take a break if you need one and take time to relax in your tent once you arrive at the campsite.

    Furthermore, change from your trekking clothes to sleeping clothes after some rest, and to replenish your energy, make sure to eat your dinner even if you don’t feel like eating.

    Tip #9: Choose a reliable & trustworthy tour operator for your Kilimanjaro adventure

    Tanzania - trip advisor hall of fame easy travel cover - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    Choosing a reliable and trustworthy tour operator for your Kilimanjaro adventure is another key to a successful Kilimanjaro climb. Thus, when selecting a tour operator, ensure they’re well-established and have a long-standing reputation for high-quality and excellent services.

    Avoid choosing shady companies that don’t have standardized procedures, as it can result in a hit-or-miss service. Protect the money you invest in your Kilimanjaro adventure by ensuring you’re with the right company.

    An experienced and excellent guide knows how to set the right pace for the group and can detect early signs of altitude sickness. This way, AMS or altitude sickness won’t worsen and can be treated immediately.

    Most importantly, it’s best to associate with a company with good guides who can coordinate effectively during rescue emergencies since they’re highly trained in safety protocols. Although choosing the cheapest option possible can be tempting, you need services from reliable and established companies regarding your Kilimanjaro adventure.

    That way, you can rest assured that you’re safe and protected throughout your Kilimanjaro climb.

    Tip #10: Stay positive!

    Tanzania - stay positive - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    You must always stay positive to climb successfully up to Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit. Doubts will surely come to you, particularly on the summit day, and things will get more challenging.

    Thus, whenever you think of quitting, remember you’re almost there. You came way too far to turn back now. Think about your hard work to reach a particular elevation of the mountain and the challenges you have overcome.  

    If you keep a positive attitude and mindset, you’ll overcome all the challenges on Kilimanjaro and have a successful summit. Just believe in yourself and take it one step at a time.

    How to train for Kilimanjaro?

    Tanzania - how to train for kilimanjaro - 10 tips for a successful climb to the summit of mount kilimanjaro

    To train for Kilimanjaro, it’s ideal to hike a mountain or hills with an elevation of 10,500 ft. to simulate the Kilimanjaro climb. However, if you don’t have a mountain or hill near you, you can go up and down using your stairs with a backpack.

    In addition, train using a bike or a treadmill for about 30 to 40 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week. Do this for at least 2 to 3 months to ensure you’re ready for your climbing Mount Kilimanjaro adventure.

    Moreover, warm-ups, aerobic exercises, and strength training should be done. This way, you can ensure your body can cope quickly with the mountain’s conditions, especially during summit night.

    Conclusion

    Ready for your adventure up the highest mountain in Africa? Got your dates set? What about your gear? We know preparation, planning, and arriving can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never been to Tanzania before. 

    We recommend contacting one of our Kilimanjaro specialists, who can help you plan your adventure from beginning to end. We at Easy Travel are here to help build your dream adventures.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is the best time to climb the Kilimanjaro summit?

    The best period to climb Kilimanjaro largely depends on your preference for the weather; however, the generally recommended periods are from January to March and June to October. 

    These periods are considered the dry seasons on the mountain and provide hikers with the best conditions for a successful climb. Climbing during the rainy season (April, May, November, and early December) is possible, but trails can become slippery, making the trek more challenging.

    How fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

    Climbing Kilimanjaro doesn’t require any technical climbing skills, but a moderate to strong level of physical fitness is highly recommended. Depending on the route, this is because the climb can involve 4 to 9 days of hiking for approximately 5 to 7 hours a day. Regular cardiovascular exercise (like jogging and cycling) combined with weightlifting exercises to strengthen your legs greatly aid in preparing you for the climb.

    How do I prepare for altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro?

    Allowing your body to acclimatize naturally is vital to prepare for altitude sickness. This can be achieved by following the ‘climb high, sleep low’ approach, ascending no more than 500m per day above 2,500m. 

    You can also use Acetazolamide (Diamox) medication to help with symptoms. Staying well-hydrated and eating sufficient nutrients can also aid in preventing altitude sickness.

    What should I pack for my Kilimanjaro climb?

    For a Kilimanjaro climb, pack layers of clothing that can accommodate the fluctuating temperatures. This includes thermal underwear, trekking pants, waterproof jackets, warm gloves, hats, and good-quality hiking boots. 

    Equipment like headlamps, hiking poles, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential for the climb. Additionally, pack necessary medications and a basic first aid kit.

    How do I choose the right Kilimanjaro climb operator?

    Choosing the right Kilimanjaro climb operator is crucial in ensuring a safe and fulfilling experience. Look for an operator who follows ethical tourism guidelines, has a high success rate, shows transparency in cost structure, and provides trained, knowledgeable guides. Reading reviews and getting good recommendations can also help find a reliable operator.

    Is it safe to climb Kilimanjaro?

    It is generally safe to climb Kilimanjaro if safety precautions are followed. This includes ensuring adequate preparation, proper acclimatization, staying hydrated, and responding promptly to symptoms of altitude sickness. Hiring a reputable climbing operator with skilled guides offers a safer climbing experience.

    What foods will I eat during my Kilimanjaro climb?

    During a Kilimanjaro climb, stay fueled with a diet rich in carbohydrates and protein, providing energy and aiding muscle recovery. You can expect to eat vegetables, pasta, rice, bread, meat, and snacks like fruits and nuts. Hydration is also vital, so ensure that you drink plenty of water.

    How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

    Climbing Kilimanjaro can take 5 to 9 days, depending on the route. Routes with longer durations are generally recommended, as they provide more time for acclimatization, which significantly increases the chances of reaching the summit.

    What are the common symptoms of altitude sickness in Kilimanjaro?

    Common symptoms of altitude sickness in Kilimanjaro include headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and loss of appetite. More severe symptoms can include difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, and disorientation. Paying attention to these symptoms is essential, as early detection and response can prevent complications.

    What can I expect at the summit of Kilimanjaro?

    The summit of Kilimanjaro provides a breathtaking spectacle, with panoramic views of the vast African plains below and clouds stretching out into the horizon. The journey is challenging, but the reward upon reaching the summit — standing on the roof of Africa — is truly awe-inspiring. Remember to take a moment to savor this accomplishment.

    Which route should I choose for my Kilimanjaro climb?

    The route choice for your Kilimanjaro climb largely depends on personal preferences and physical fitness levels. More challenging routes like the Umbwe can be shorter but steeper, while routes like the Marangu and Machame usually offer a slower ascent and better acclimatization opportunities. Consult with your tour operator to choose the most suitable route for you.

    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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