5 Tips On How To Prepare For A Successful Mount Kilimanjaro Climb

Who can resist the charm of Africa’s iconic highest mountain? Sitting in northern Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and a place that is on many adventurists’ to-do lists. Mount Kilimanjaro offers unbeatable views, incredible landscapes and some of this earth’s most beautiful wildlife throughout this region. This trek should be at the top of anyone’s bucket list if you are seeking an unforgettable journey which offers countless awe inspiring moments throughout.

Trekking the 5,895 meter high mountain does not have to be strenuous, but one that takes planning and preparing for. Here are 5 useful tips to help you prepare for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

1. Choosing your route

There are 7 main routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and choosing the best route is often one of the hardest parts about trekking the inactive volcano. Expect to spend a minimum of 5 days trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, though some routes can take a minimum of 9 days to complete. Choosing what route to take can be determined upon many factors, including the level of difficulty, the sights and scenery along the way and the amount of traffic along the route. Some of the most popular and well trodden paths are the following; Lemosho, Machame, Marangu and Umbwe.

2. Mental and Physical Preparation

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no small task and ensuring that you are mentally and physically prepared prior to hiking is instrumental in the success of this. We recommend that you train in the gym 3-4 months before you start the endurance. Try walking or running on a treadmill for an hour each time, make sure this has a decent inclination so this simulates the walking you will be doing up the mountain. If you could do this for 4 times per week in the lead up that would be great.
To Mentally prepare for this hike, there is limited shower facilities on Mount Kilimanjaro and you will be camping more than likely for at least 10 days, try your hand at camping in the country that you live in and research as much as you can about the hike so that you can mentally be ready for this.

3. Gearing up for Kilimanjaro

This is one of the most important things to do before you even begin anything else, as the wrong gear will leave you uncomfortable and miserable. First, it is important to remember that you will be hitting a number of different climates on your trek, so bringing the right clothing is a must. Most trekkers find that layering up is best, wearing light clothes to start and bringing along thermals and a fleece jumper for the trek up the summit.

The right hiking boots are also critical, and no one should even attempt to do this trek before working their boots in. Blistered feet will be a major disappointment. Insoles are a good idea, as are the proper socks. Most hikers also bring along a trekking pole, which is especially great during the descent. Gaiters and hats are also recommended and will make the trek a much more comfortable one. A sleeping bag, pillow and torch are also a musts when gearing up for trekking Mount Kilimanjaro.

4. Dealing with acclimatization

Altitude sickness is quite common, and preparing for it is a must. The first thing to remember is to always keep yourself hydrated, as water is a trekker’s best friend. Many people find that this alone is enough to steer away altitude sickness, though for others, pills in addition to fluids are the way to go. Altitude sickness often appears on day 3, regardless of the route chosen, so be sure to take your Diamox that morning before heading out.

5. Enjoy yourself

Trekking is never easy and really takes a beating on some, both physically and mentally. Pace yourself to avoid any unnecessary anxiety about not being able to make it or getting ill. Stop a few times to breath in the fresh air and enjoy the stunning scenery around you. As well, when trekking Mount Kilimanjaro with a group you will find that it is much easier to enjoy yourself, especially in the evening when you stop to rest and sleep. At Ashford Tours, we offer a variety of guided treks up Mount Kilimanjaro and doing the trek with a group of other fun loving adventurists will truly add to the experience

The Top 5 Kilimanjaro Equipment You Better Pack

1. Poncho

The poncho and the gaiters always result in a lively discussion at our Ashford Tours office. It causes us quite some energy to convince climbers that a poncho is a very useful item to have. Trust us if you want to leave something at home, because your backpack has no more space – leave that 5th pair of hiking socks behind. The weather on the mountain is unpredictable. A poncho is a light item to pack with big effect.

2. Head torch including spare batteries

We are blessed in Tanzania as our days and nights are equally 12 hours long. But this also means it gets pitch dark between 6-7pm no matter what time of the year. A head torch for the evenings is important, but it’s main purpose is on your last ascending day to Uhuru Peak. To experience the sun rise at the summit, we have to leave the campsite at midnight. For the next 5 hours we hike by the light of our head torches. That’s why a pack of spare batteries shouldn’t be missing in your luggage either.

3. Camel back water bag

Our guides and porters will provide you with drinking water on your trek. The easiest and most comfortable way of consuming the refreshing liquid is a camel bag. Lashed to your back, with the tube always in reach, you can walk and drink at the same time.

4. Day Pack

Your big rucksack will be carried by our porters. After every day’s climb they return it to you in the evening. So whatever you need during the day should be packed in your day pack, e.g. camera, sunscreen, poncho, drinking water, snacks etc.

5. Gaiters

The peak of Kilimanjaro receives quite some snow depending on the time of year. With gaiters to put over your shoes you will ensure that your feet stay dry and increase the chances of reaching the summit.