How to prepare to climb Mount Kilimanjaro
As your safety during the trek is of paramount importance to us we have prepared the below to ensure you are well-prepared for this adventure.
Please read this carefully and ensure that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure your personal safety and well-being during the trek. Do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions as we can assist you pre-departure to guarantee all your requirements have been met upon arrival.
How to train for a successful ascent to the summit?
The attempt to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is a physical challenging experience that should not be underestimated and prepared for as best as possible.
Please be aware that although your personal fitness is an aspect you can control that does impact on your attempt of reaching the summit being successful or not; how you adjust to the conditions of less oxygen at high altitude is mostly determined by your genetics.
Hence, there is the likelihood that regardless of how physically fit you are, your body may not react well under high altitude resulting in you not being able to reach the summit.
High altitude sickness is a subject that we treat very seriously to ensure your health and well-being.
Ignoring its symptoms can have fatal ramifications and we do not recommend using any medication that claims to help with altitude sickness as these drugs are likely to lessen the symptoms, leaving you at higher risks and the potential of death in case you cannot reach an altitude with the oxygen levels that your body requires.
You are more likely to successfully trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro if you are in a good physical condition.
We therefore recommend that in preparation for your trip you do the following:
In order to achieve the best results, we recommend that you start to prepare for your trek about 8 weeks in advance. This may seem a long time but keep in mind that the stronger your physical condition the easier the trek will be.
As outlined in the itineraries for the specific routes, we suggest that you have a look at the daily distances to be trekked and use these as guidance for the distances to be covered on the trek.
High Altitude training
The best way to prepare for high-altitude is through high-altitude training systems that will enable you to pre-acclimatize. If you are interested in such measures we recommend you look into this possibility yourself.
An alternative but less impactful compared to the high-altitude training systems are high altitude mask that you can purchase online that control the amount of air you can breathe in and are a good way to just get used to trekking at a simulated high altitude.
We strongly advise people that are interested to trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to get a medical check with their doctors.
Your doctor will be able to let you know if such an undertaking is recommended from a medical perspective considering your medical history and potential current drug treatment.
Your doctor will also be able to advise you in relation vaccinations, immunizations and medications that you may require for this trip. It is your personal responsibility to ensure that you have all needed vaccinations and immunizations for your personal safety.
As there is a health risk associated with trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro we would require that your doctor has assessed you prior and gives his consent for you to undertake this activity.
Please do inform us of any medical condition that you may have that could impact your safety and well-being during the course of the trek so we are aware of these and prepare if needed.
Once your doctor has given his consent for you to trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and you are preparing yourself to get into physical shape for a successful trek it will be time to ensure you have all the required gear for the trip.
Choosing clothing for the trip is not as straight forward as you may think as the weather varies from hot at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro to below freezing at the summit.
Therefore, layering will be key. Please remember that when layering clothes that the layers should sit close to the skin but allow for comfortable and easy movement.
Fabric choice is also important with modern wicking fabrics being recommended instead of cotton due to their superior ability to pull sweat away from the skin to the surface of the material.
The below serves as a guide to what you should bring.
- 1x waterproof duffel bag with a maximum capacity of 90 liter (please do not bring suitcases, hard shell packs or large backpacks)
- A padlock for your duffel bag (number combination rather than key recommended)
- 1x Daypack with a maximum capacity of 40 liter (waterproof cover recommended) that will be carried by you with your personal items that you require during the day on the trek (we like to remind you that it is in your personal interest to keep this day pack as light as possible)
- Water bladder for daypack (ensure that you can store up to 4 liter of water)
- Additional water bottle of at least 1litre (please note that plastic and recyclable bottles are not permitted in the park – we recommend reusable water bottles like Nalgene, or light metal bottles)
- Sleeping bag that caters to temperatures below freezing (you know best if you tend to be cold easily and if so we recommend you to buy a sleeping that is geared towards your temperature preference)
- Head lamp with spare batteries (please do not purchase re-charge head lamps as access to power during the trek is not available)
- Warm hat
- Sun hat with neck flap
- Sun cream
- Insect repellent high in DEET
- Water purification tablets (you will be drinking water from streams)
- Dry bags for clothing in the duffel bag
- Snacks (nuts, energy bars, etc.)
- 1x Towel (microfiber towels are quick dry and take up less space)
- Depending on the length of your chosen trek 5 to 7 pair of underwear (plus sports’ bras for ladies)
- 3x Base layer tops (for the evenings and daytime at higher altitude)
- 4x long sleeve tops
- 2x short sleeve tops
- 1x thick fleece
- 2x pairs of trekking trousers
- 1x wind and waterproof jacket with hood
- 1x waterproof hiking trousers
- 2x fleece lined warm over-trousers
- 4x pairs of hiking socks (wool or synthetics – ideally worn in so you are comfortable in them)
- 2x pairs of thermal socks for night time
- 1x pair of waterproof, medium weight comfortable boots broken in (we recommend if you purchase these new to break them in during your preparation to avoid issues on the trek with blisters and discomfort)
- Gaiters for wet areas in the rainforest section of the routes
- 1x pair of warm gloves for high altitude temperatures (water and windproof recommended)
As we have mentioned before, the safety and well-being of our staff is very important to us. So please keep to the above restrictions of equipment. Your duffel bag inclusive of the sleeping bag is restricted to a weight of 15 kilograms. Please ensure that you do not exceed this weigh limit as we will ask you to remove items in case you are over the limit.
Also, please be prepared for any loss of gear during your flight.
There are local shops; however, quality of gear might not be to the standards you are used to nor is the choice of gear as comprehensive as you may want it to be. We therefore recommend wearing an outfit that is suitable for the hike when you travel to Africa and having a few spare items such as socks and underwear in your day-pack.