Each year, an estimated 35,000 climbers attempt to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. Due to various health problems including altitude sickness, only 2/3 of those climbers are successful. The best way to have the most successful climb is to prepare well.
How hard is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and reaching the top requires patience, knowledge, and good health. When you take the time to prepare for your Mount Kilimanjaro climb, you can expect an overall better experience.
In the guide below, you’ll find several helpful tips on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Continue reading to learn more!
1. Beginner Climbers Are Welcomed
You love to explore nature trails and get in a good hike every once in a while. However, maybe you don’t have much experience climbing mountains as large as Mount Kilimanjaro. This could be the most intense climb you’ve attempted and are not sure if you’re ready to embark.
Let us stop you right there! Beginner climbers are welcomed but must be over the age of 10. You don’t have to have extensive training to make it to the top.
There are several climbing tours with tour guides that you can choose from. When traveling to the top with a tour guide, you’ll have someone experienced and knowledgeable about the weather, terrain conditions, and other aspects of the climb to lend help when needed. When climbing with a tour guide, there will also be a team who helps carry all the heavier gear when not in use.
They can also advise you on the best time to make the climb when the mountain’s conditions are ideal for beginner climbers. You can check out the Kilimanjaro prices for different tours before making a selection.
2. Pack Quality Hiking/Camping Gear
The hiking and camping gear you choose to bring along with you should be enough to keep you comfortable throughout the entire hike. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you can experience a variety of extreme weather conditions all in one day. For example, at the beginning of your trek, you might hike through intense heat.
You can also expect heavy rain and below-freezing temperatures after nightfall. Make sure the gear you pack is able to withstand these weather conditions and made specifically for traveling in them. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of items you should take with you.
- Sleeping pad
- -20° sleeping bag
- Insulated winter jacket, pants, and trekking gloves
- Trekking poles
- Worn-in hiking boots
- 30-40 liter day pack
- 70-liter rucksack
Carrying all of this gear and equipment up the mountain alone is difficult. When you schedule a tour, a team will carry the chairs, tents, tables, and other large items so you can focus on a successful hike.
3. Fly Into Kilimanjaro International
Are you planning to visit Africa for the sole purpose of this Mount Kilimanjaro climb? If so, then you’ll want to fly into the Kilimanjaro International Airport. This airport will get you the closest to the mountain.
The airport was also created with climbers in mind, so you’ll have easy access to the mountain from there. If you plan on visiting multiple places in Tanzania before or after your climb, then you can consider flying into Julius Neyere International Airport. This is the largest airport in the country and you can begin your adventure by making several stops at various locations not far from here.
4. Choose the Right Time to Climb
Mount Kilimanjaro is open throughout the entire year. However, climbing to the summit is ideal during certain times of the year. For this reason, it’s important to know when the right time to climb is.
Climbing the mountain from January-Early March will keep you dry and there will be less trail traffic. The most stable weather conditions are found in June-September. There will be more trail traffic during this time, but it’s a great time to make the trek.
If you climb closer to the beginning of June, there won’t be as much rain, either. The off-seasons are the times not listed above. You can still climb during the off-seasons but you can expect more rain, damaged trails, and less visibility.
5. Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness
As you climb up the mountain, you’ll notice a change in altitude. The air becomes thinner the higher you trek. As your body tries to adjust to less oxygen in the air, you could feel symptoms of acute mountain sickness.
Acute mountain sickness is one of the main causes of people failing to reach the summit. Although some only experience minor symptoms, others can suffer from severe sickness. You’ll need to give your body time to adjust to the new altitude before trekking on.
When you travel with a tour guide, you’ll have someone there who can check your oxygen levels and ensure you’re healthy enough to continue.
6. The Climb Will Take 7 Days at the Least
You should keep in mind that there are several climbing routes to choose from. All routes will take you to the summit, but some routes are more difficult than others. When choosing your route, it’s best to choose one that’ll take you at least 7 days.
The longer the climb is, the slower the journey and the more time you give your body to acclimatize. The shorter routes are more difficult and are ideal for only those with experience climbing the mountain and willing to put themselves through such a challenge.
Climbing Kilimanjaro Starts Right Here
Making the hike up Kilimanjaro is a several-day climb that requires a lot of motivation, determination, and heart. With the right amount of preparation, though, you can successfully reach the top of the highest mountain in Africa! Use all the helpful information given in this guide above to ensure you know what to expect and how to prepare for a great climb.
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