Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year round, with each month providing different spectacular views of the surrounding region. Generally, the low season tends to be from March to June due to poor weather conditions, with things picking up again from July to September for the peak season.
Below is an overview of what to expect throughout the year.
There are several routes to choose from, taking anything from 5 to 10 days depending on your abilities, budget, and time. These are:
We usually recommend both the 7 Day Machame and 8 Day Lemosho routes as good options for climbers of all abilities. Not only are these routes known for being incredibly scenic, they also both have very high success rates as they allow your body to adjust to the altitude over several days.
People of all fitness abilities can climb Mount Kilimanjaro. However, we would always suggest that the more you train and exercise before the climb, the more you are likely to enjoy it. A good level of fitness is definitely recommended due to the high altitude, basic facilities, and rough terrain.
Don’t forget that you will be trekking for a number of days in succession and will experience various climate zones along the way that will greatly impact the body. The healthier and physically fit you are, the easier it will be to deal with these extremes.
The best training you can do for a Mount Kilimanjaro climb is walking as often as you can and as much as you can. This is also a good opportunity to wear in the boots you plan to use for the climb and to also practice walking with a daypack weighing approximately 5 to 8 kilos. If you have not done much hiking, start a few months before your climb and build up the kilometers slowly.
The more physically fit you are, the easier the climb will be. Despite all of the preparation, the effects of altitude, which appear to be unrelated to fitness, age, or gender, are the most difficult challenge for anyone climbing Kilimanjaro.
When it comes to dressing for Kilimanjaro, the layering principle should be followed. Staying warm and dry is critical for a successful climb, and it’s simple to do if you know how to layer properly:
When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to bring at least two bags. One should be a daypack which you will carry yourself. The second bag can be a larger duffle bag or backpack. The daypack, which you can think of as your carry-on luggage, will contain your water, lunch, snacks, rain gear, camera and maybe an extra layer of clothing. The second, larger bag will be carried by your porter and will contain all your other clothing and toiletries. It might be a good idea to bring a third small bag so that you can leave any unnecessary items like city clothes at the lodge or in our local office before you go on the climb. This way you also keep them clean and free from dust for your return.
You should limit your larger duffle bag or backpack to 15 kg (33 lb) as this will ease the burden on the drivers, vehicles and, most importantly, the porters. Baggage should be of the round, squashy type rather than hard suitcases which are often difficult to fit into jeeps and carry up the mountain. Note that luggage restrictions on domestic flights are often also 15 to 20 kg (33 to 44 lb) per person, so be mindful when packing your bags. For your daypack, try to keep it under 9 kg (20 lb) for your own benefit when climbing up the mountain.
Your Kilimanjaro guides and porters are your greatest asset on the mountain. Quality guides and porters make for a wonderful time on the mountain, while a mediocre staff can put your life in danger. Each of our experienced guides is licensed by the Kilimanjaro National Park, trained in acute mountain sickness (AMS) as well as basic mountain first aid, and speaks fluent English.
Typically, each of our groups has one guide per two climbers, and each climber has three porters. Porters carry all gear, tents, cooking supplies and water. You will come to respect these guys greatly by the end of Day 1 of your climb – each porter carries about 20 kg (44 lb) of kit on their back up the mountain!
If you are thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro you would have probably already heard of the term altitude sickness, which is caused by the body not adapting fast enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air, at an increased height.
There is no guessing whether or not you will suffer from altitude sickness. Even the fittest and healthiest of trekkers can still experience it. However, there are some things you can do which may reduce your chances of getting it:
Taking Diamox can also assist in altitude acclimatization. This drug will vastly decrease your problems with altitude by speeding up the acclimatization process. We recommend taking a dose of 125 mg twice a day, however, please check this with your doctor before leaving home. You should start two days before your climb to see if you have any adverse effects to the drug. Alternatively, you can try taking some before you leave home to test them out. If you have any adverse effects (diarrhea is one of them), you should discontinue using it.
We have seen a significant decrease in altitude problems and a greater summit success rate amongst those taking Diamox. This is a prescription drug in the USA, Canada, Europe, and most western countries. We do not carry this in our medical kits, therefore, you need to bring your own.
Foreign nationals require a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. For this, you must have at least six months of validity remaining on your passport. This can be purchased easily at the airport on entry at a cost of $100 USD cash for American citizens and $50 USD for all others. You can apply for this in your home country; however, this is sometimes more expensive.
Please seek advice from your medical center or doctor’s surgery regarding vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. You may be required to show a Yellow Fever Certificate at the airport when entering Tanzania. Please ensure that you have had this vaccination and remember to bring the certificate with you.
As with any overseas travel, it is recommended that you take out travel insurance. Please check the fine print of your policy to make sure it covers your Kilimanjaro climb. Your climb price includes an evacuation service via stretcher and vehicle from the mountain. If you wish for helicopter rescue cover, we can organise that on your behalf from our partner company in Moshi.
We identify a variety of mountaineering clothing and gear you’ll need for your climb in our detailed Kilimanjaro packing list.
Warm, waterproof hiking boots and an insulated, synthetic or down jacket for the cold summit day are the two most important pieces of gear to purchase. The majority of other items are already in many people’s winter or skiing wardrobes (like long underwear and a fleece jacket). We provide free items such as sleeping bags and trekking poles.
When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, you will pass through several climate zones, from equatorial rainforests surrounded by banana and coffee plantations, to near arctic conditions. This makes packing the right layers vital.
Your equipment will be checked by the guides before departure. If needed, you can also hire some of your equipment from the Nyange Adventures store.
Yes, we even encourage you to sign up! We make sure to match you in a bigger group of like-minded fellow travellers that will soon be your new friends. There is nothing greater than being ‘stuck’ with each other for a week on a mountain in Africa!
Our guides are highly experienced to manage altitude sickness, which is the biggest obstacle on the mountain. They have an intimate knowledge of the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and they are trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstances. We cover each of the things to consider about Kilimanjaro safety in-depth in How we keep you safe on Kilimanjaro.
Please remember that the purpose of this article is not to scare you, but to keep you well informed. At Follow Alice our top priority is your safety. We want you to know how to climb Kilimanjaro and how to do it in the safest way possible. It is safe to climb Kilimanjaro, but only when you are educated on the risks. It’s a challenge, but that’s what it’s all about, right!?
Don’t Hesitate to Contact us with any Questions, Our Team Of Expert Mountaineers is always around to give you proper Guidance and Ensure your Kilimanjaro Trek is a SUCCESS