Climbing Kilimanjaro is a trip of a lifetime and you don’t have to be an experienced explorer to embark on this unforgettable trek. However, it does require some preparation, training and planning so you will be ready for some of the trek’s most common challenges. The more you prepare, the more enjoyable your trek will be. Jeremy from TrekkingBug.com has prepared this 2-part guide for those getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro with us:
Who can climb?
As long as you are reasonably fit, you can climb Kilimanjaro. To give you an idea over 40,000 people attempt the summit challenge each year. There is no age limit and here’s an interesting and inspiring fact: the oldest climber to reach Uhuru peak (to date) was 86 years of age. Like many other treks, the Kilimanjaro climb is more about endurance than speed. You can do it!
Best time to climb
There are two main climbing seasons in Kilimanjaro: from mid June to late October and from mid December to mid March. These months offer the best weather conditions for climbers as you will be avoiding the rainy months of April and May. June and July are the coldest months but the weather is often more stable with a greater chance of clear skies and great views. August and September are generally the busiest months. Mid December, January and February are warmer but can also be wetter.
Mountain weather is unpredictable so you must be prepared.
How to climb
It is not possible to climb Kilimanjaro independently, all walkers must travel with a Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) registered guide; and only TALA (Tourist Agents Licensing Authority) licensed operators have access the park.
Dealing with altitude
Altitude sickness, known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is one of the main worries for climbers on treks such as Kilimanjaro. Altitude sickness can affect people of all ages and fitness (it is not linked to your fitness level) and generally starts affecting trekkers at 2500-3000m above sea level. In order to allow your body to adapt, the climb should be slow and our tour is adapted to this. Don’t worry, our tour guides are trained to identify symptoms of AMS and will monitor the team at all times during the ascent.
Fitness and training
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a manageable challenge for everyone with a reasonable level of fitness. It is more about endurance and less about speed. If you are able to walk for 6 hours per day on a multi-day trek, you should be fit to climb Kili.
Give yourself at least three months to get ready. We also recommend you visit your GP or doctor before the trip for a general check up and to get the relevant vaccinations.
A few tips for your training:
The best training and preparation for the trek will replicate (as much as possible) the ups and downs of the trail, so find yourself some hills you can climb up and down to build your stamina.
You should also train with a mix of cardio exercises: cycling, swimming and running for instance.
Add in a few squats and lunges to work your thigh muscles.
Make sure you stretch before and after.
It is extremely important you purchase the right travel insurance for your Kilimanjaro climb. You should make sure your travel insurance policy covers you for treks of up to 5895m of altitude. You should also bring a copy of your policy with you on the trip, including your insurers contact details, in case of emergency.
We hope you found part 1 useful, you might also want to read: getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro part 2 where we look at what to pack and gear check list.
For additional information on our Climb Kilimanjaro treks, contact the TrekkingBug.com travel specialists