Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a challenge, and if you’re new to trekking, camping, living outdoors, or high altitude, you may find it difficult – however, the specific challenges are primarily due to altitude, your attitude, and fitness, but with proper preparation and a good guide team, the vast majority of people will summit.
Most hill walkers and trekkers are physically fit enough to climb Kilimanjaro, but it must be approached correctly, with a good guide and support team to ensure that you have the right equipment, are well rested, fed, and guided, so that by the time you reach the high camp, from which you’ll launch your summit bid, you’ll be in good health, well acclimatised to the lower levels of oxygen in the air, hydrated, and full of energy.
In general, if you can easily walk 6 – 7 hours a day across undulating terrain at home for many days in a succession, you should be in good shape to climb Kilimanjaro.
Except for the Western Breach, which needs helmets owing to dangerous boulders, climbing Kilimanjaro requires no technical expertise or equipment. There are no particular skills or equipment required for the standard routes; it is simply a trip, one foot after the other.
Some people find the Barranco Wall on the Machame and Lemosho routes a little ‘lofty,’ as you meander up a marked path that occasionally demands three points of contact and a bit of scrambling, but it’s not hazardous, and the guides are there to assure that. You may avoid it by taking the Rongai or Northern Circuit routes.
To make the climb easier on yourself, you need get familiar, prepared, and experienced with everything before you arrive, which includes everything from your gear to camping, living outdoors, and walking, and this can be accomplished in a variety of ways – see our preparation ideas below:
Kit for Mount Kilimanjaro:
Before you leave for Tanzania, familiarise yourself with your equipment, understand how it works, and test it in all situations. Put on your raincoat and go for a walk on a rainy, windy day. Jackets and pants, as well as gaiters, have a variety of tweaks, zips, adjustments, vents, poppers, toggles, and so on. These adjustments and fine-tuning may transform a terrible wet stroll into a cocooned and pleasurable one.
It’s best to get this all out before you go. The same is true for your day bag: carry exactly what you need, make it comfortable, and make sure everything is dry. The same goes with boots! Make sure they’re broken in, waterproof, and comfy — put in the time. Check out our Kilimanjaro packing list and our hiking boot recommendations.
Camping on Mount Kilimanjaro:
Many people have never slept in a tent before, or haven’t in many years, so if you can borrow one, it’s definitely worth it to give it a try before you arrive. On the mountain, our crew will erect your tent and place your luggage inside, along with a comfy mattress. You must bring your own sleeping bag or rent one from us.
In a tent, you must be organised, and although we use 3 / 4 person tents, we just put 2 people in them, so you have plenty of room and they’re really nice quality tents (we use the same tents on Mt Everest).
Keep your kit bag in the tent or outside on the porch, and just take out what you need for the night. Keeping your kit together prevents items from becoming misplaced or damp.
If you’ve never slept in a sleeping bag before, they’ll seem a little confining at first, but on a cold evening after a day of trekking, it’s heavenly to get into one and read a few chapters of a good book. Again, utilise your sleeping bag before you arrive since they have various methods to vent and wrap up warm in – get to know it well before you arrive.
Take your day bag and wander as much as you can before you arrive. This is without a doubt the finest type of training, not just for your muscles but also for your mind and your ability to handle and be comfortable with your equipment. If you can’t go out walking, mix gym, park, and pool time – check out our Kilimanjaro training guide!
There is nothing you can do to acclimate without travelling to altitude, but if you have the funds, most towns offer altitude centres that can simulate the effects and will undoubtedly help. The centres aren’t inexpensive, and they’re certainly not essential for your ascent, but some people do use them. Otherwise, cleanse, remain hydrated before the ascent and especially throughout the trip, and listen to your guide’s advise.