Climbing Kilimanjaro: Essential Preparation Tips

Climbing Kilimanjaro: Essential Preparation Tips

Joining the ranks of those who have conquered Kilimanjaro is an incredible feat. Climbing Kilimanjaro is an exceptional physical undertaking which requires sufficient training. Sitting in northern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. It is a desired destination for many adventurists. Besides the thrill of conquering the mountain, Kilimanjaro offers unbeatable views, incredible landscapes and some of the most beautiful wildlife views. If you are seeking an unforgettable journey which offers countless inspiring moments, then this trek should be on your bucket list. There are several packages available for Kilimanjaro treks.

Climbing Kilimanjaro does not have to be a strenuous expedition. However, it requires sufficient training and preparation to be able to conquer the 5,895-meter high mountain. Here a few tips that can help you prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro:

Choosing your Route

There are about seven main routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Selecting the best route is the biggest challenge for most climbers. To increase your chances of success and lower the risk of high altitude sicknesses, it is always advisable to select the longer route. The chances of reaching the peak of the mountain increase significantly as the number of days spent climbing increases. People who go for the 8 days option have an 85 percent success rate. This rate falls to 64 percent for 7 days, 44 percent for 6 days and 27 percent for 5 days.  Some people chose the shorter routes to challenge themselves. However, these routes decrease your chance of success. Climbing Kilimanjaro will be challenging enough as it is; there is no need for making it harder for yourself.

Mental and Physical Preparations for Climbing Kilimanjaro

Although Kilimanjaro is not a technical mountain, it is still physically demanding and a strenuous climb. The altitude of the mountain even makes it even more difficult t climb. It is essential to be prepared both mentally and physically for the climb. Several ways can help you to be physically prepared. It is advisable to hit the gym a few months before your scheduled climb to build your endurance. You can also try walking and running on a treadmill. The best way to prepare for the climb is by hiking. Hiking will simulate what you will be doing during the climb, and this will help you to be physically prepared. To prepare mentally for the hike try camping in your country. This will help you be ready for the more ten days camping during the summit.

Time your Trip Correctly

While you can hike Mount Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, it is not recommendable to go for the challenge during the wet months of April, May, and November. The best months for a climb are between January and March. During this period, the weather is cooler, and the routes are not crowded. The June to October climbing season is also ideal for a good climb. This season tends to coincide with the summer holidays for people living in the Northern Hemisphere. The climate during this season is warm and pleasant. Therefore the mountain is usually busier during this period. Nevertheless, you still need to carry warm, thermal clothing for the evening and the summit of the mountain which remains arctic-cold year round. In case you are planning to hike during the peak season between June and October- you should make your bookings early in advance.

Get the Right Gear for Your Trek

Having the wrong gear during mountain climbing can easily spell disaster. The kind of gear you chose can determine whether you will enjoy your trek or hate it. Be sure to buy high-quality trekking gear. It will stand you in good stead on a freezing wind with strong glacial winds. One of the most important gears that you should invest in is a high quality all weatherproof jacket which is fully lined. Besides, it is important to invest in good quality hiking boots with proper grip and ankle support.

Be sure also to purchase a few thermal layers, made of fleece materials, thermal socks, head protection, a four-season sleeping bag, and thermal gloves. You will likely face potential dehydration so you should carry a 30-liter daypack and a 3-liter water bladder.   You will also need to buy a headlamp and sufficient replaceable batteries as well as collapsible trekking poles.

 Bring Mountain Treats

High altitude typically makes people lose their appetite. Despite the exertion associated with mountain climbing, getting the calories in to boost your energy levels can be a challenging task. The only way to keep your calories high is to take your favorite, high energy snacks to munch on your climb. Whereas we will we will feed you well, you may find a desire to eat some comfort snacks from home. The idea is to bring on something you can eat even when your appetite is low. And yes, Junk food and snacks are okay. You will burn off the extra calories during your trek. These snacks will provide you with the much-needed energy to make it to the top. Be sure to pack things that do not freeze or melt. For instance, you can pack some chocolate, nuts protein bars and hard candy.

Get an Adequate Medical Checkup

You need to have your health on your side to be able to make it to the top. That’s why it is essential to have a comprehensive medical checkup before you leave for your trip. Confirm if your health is good enough to make it through the hike. In case you are under any chronic medications, have the prescriptions refilled and remember to pack them during the hike. Also, check whether these medications can affect your acclimatization.

In case you have chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, respiratory diseases, or heart disease, the doctor may advise against climbing. You will be required to meet specific minimum fitness requirements before climbing. This includes a resting heart rate of at least 100 beats per minute. Besides, the mandatory medical checkup, you may also be required to have several vaccinations to access Tanzania. Check out the various vaccinations that are essential for an African safari.

Shrike safaris offer unforgettable packages for those considering climbing Kilimanjaro. You can also enjoy post-Kilimanjaro trek classic African tours where you can unwind and take in the beauty of African regions such as the Serengeti and the tropical islands of Zanzibar.


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