Tips For Planning & Success
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream for every climber. Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 meters, is the world’s highest free-standing mountain, and it is also the world’s most walkable and climbable mountain, hence making it popular.
No matter how physically prepared you are for a Kilimanjaro hike, many circumstances might impact your adventure. Being prepared is the only way to achieve success.
So, if you’re planning on climbing Kilimanjaro, here are tips for future Kilimanjaro climbers with useful and factual information about climbing Kilimanjaro. These tips will hopefully increase your chances of a successful summit attempt.
Budget for your Trek
If you have been thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro for a while, you must know that it is not a cheap venture. In general, the total cost of your trip might range from $5,000 to $7,000 or more per person, and this sum includes your flights, camping, lodging, meals, mountain guides, porters, park fees, and transportation.
The quality of your tour operator and the services they provide is something you should not scrimp on.
Visa and Insurance
You would need a Visa to enter Tanzania for the duration of your visit. In most situations, a Visa may be obtained upon arrival at the airport.
Travel insurance is required to join a hiking tour. Most travel insurance packages limit the amount of time you may trek. Travel insurance is essential since it protects you in case something unexpected occurs during your trip.
Time Your Trip Correctly
Climbing Kilimanjaro during April, May, and November is generally not advised.
January to March is ideal for a Kilimanjaro hike since the temperature is milder and the routes are less busy. The second climbing season runs from June to October and features warm and beautiful weather. However, the mountain was significantly crowded during this period.
Whatever time of year you choose to climb Kilimanjaro, you will almost certainly experience snow and cold temperatures towards the top.
Hiring a Tour Company
You need to hire a company to supply you with everything you need: gear, guides, porters, paperwork, and everything in between.
Here are a few tips on how to decide which tour company to go with:
- Look for a company that has positive reviews. Keep a look out for information on the equipment and food offered.
- Ask about the number of porters, guides, and travelers that you will be going with. You don’t want to be stuck in a huge group where you don’t get attention if you have any concerns.
- Look for the success rate of the company you are traveling with. A successful company can do everything in its power to get its clients to the top.
- Book a company that ensures friendly and responsible treatment
- Make sure you choose a company that offers accommodation so that you can get a proper sleep before your hike.
Choose the Best Route
Climbers are truly blessed for choice when it comes to the number of routes for ascending Kilimanjaro. There are six different routes to choose from, each extra length, with varying degrees of difficulty and differing success rates. The route you choose will depend on your budget, time for your journey, and the company you book with.
Here are the routes that you can pick:
Marangu: On this route, there are huts where you can sleep and buy things. It has a low success rate. It takes five days to rush to the top of Kilimanjaro, and it has a low success rate.
Machame: This is the most popular and challenging route with a success rate of over 60%. It takes seven days to reach the top of the peak.
Rongai: This is the easiest, less scenic, more expensive, and less busy route.
Shira: This route is challenging and more expensive.
Lemosho: This is the most beautiful route, which offers lots of variety and plenty of challenges. It is also one of the more expensive routes.
Umbwe: This route is truly suited for experienced climbers seeking a tough challenge. In comparison to typical hiking, there is a lot of scrambling and climbing.
Gear and Equipment
Make sure that you are well equipped for your summit attempt. Treks on Kilimanjaro are organized tours where you will have porters to carry most of your equipment. But this also means that you need to focus on the essentials as there are restrictions on the weight each porter can carry.
Travel Documents: Passport, visa, airline ticket, travel insurance, medical insurance, international health card, and credit card.
Essential Items: Duffel bag, small luggage lock, day backpack, dry bag, neck pouch, sleeping bag, ski-pole, water bottle, and Kilimanjaro map.
High Altitude Gear: Waterproof, breathable, windproof, light jacket and light pants, polar fleece, thermal underwear, mittens or warm gloves, one pair of thermal socks, balaclava, gaiters.
Hiking Gear: Hiking pants, shorts, regular underwear, T-shirts, raincoat, or Poncho.
Footwear: Water-resistant semi-stiff hiking boots, socks, liner socks.
Equipment: Sun hat, collapsible ski stick, headlamp, sunglasses, flashlight (torch) with spare batteries, camera, extra lenses, and film, binoculars.
Food Items: Snacks, energy bars, nuts, sandwiches, powdered sports drinks.
Medical and First Aid Supplies: Acetazolamide, headache tablets, Imodium, water purification tablets, painkillers, muscular sprains, plaster, bandages, antiseptic cream, eye drops, insect repellent, space blanket.
Personal Items: Toilet kit, towel, sunscreen and lip protection, SPF 30+, toilet paper.
Optional Items: Pocket knife, notebook & pencil, plastic bags.
Packing and Clothing
Remember that you will be on the mountain for at least 5 or 6 days. You need to take enough clothing, especially socks, gloves, raincoat, warm head protection, thermal hiking, socks, hiking boots, running shoes, and sun protection cream to last for this period.
These items should be packed individually in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet in case of frequent rainfall.
Prepare for a mental and physical battle.
Kilimanjaro is just as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one. Without a doubt, your mental stamina will make the difficult stages, such as Kibo to Uhuru or Barafu to Uhuru, simpler to accomplish. Remember, you always remain in a positive state of mind.
Your body must be sufficiently equipped for Mount Kilimanjaro’s physical demands. A fitness training program will assist you in getting your body in shape for your Kilimanjaro summit expedition.
Training and Diet
Working on your fitness and health is one of the essential Kilimanjaro tips. Change to a healthier diet, including nutrition mainly based on vegetables, fruits mixed with carbs to strengthen your immune system and have a healthier lifestyle. Quit alcohol for some months and make your trek possible to climb Kilimanjaro.
- Aerobic fitness will help you improve heart rate, healthy muscles, and incredible lung capacity.
- Do power walking, running, hiking, trekking, cycling, and swimming 3 to 4 times a week.
- Walk long distances, at least once a week.
Go slowly as it is super important during your first days of climbing. Even if you feel well, slow down so you can acclimatize and enjoy the scenery. The most significant cause of altitude sickness is ascending too fast. The slower you hike, the more likely it is that you will succeed.
Drink Enough Water
Throughout your journey, your porter crew will ensure that you have access to water. It is recommended to drink at least 3 – 4 liters of water a day. It’s collected from different areas on the mountain, and to make sure the water is bacteria-free, it is boiled and then served to you. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things to increase your chances of making it to the top.
Snacks are super important for mental well-being. So you have to pick several bags of cookies and candies to boost your sugar level.
Take a ski – pole
A ski – pole is essential for reducing external and internal loads on the knee joint by up to 20%. Using ski poles is recommended.
Camera and Batteries
Remember to buy a new battery for your camera when going into cold areas at high altitudes. The chances are that your phone and camera will be dead after seven days of hiking. Bring an external charger and extra batteries for your camera because you don’t want to get to the top and not be able to snap some photos!
When climbing Kilimanjaro, AMS affects people at high altitudes who are not accustomed to high altitude conditions. Almost everyone has to deal with syndromes of Altitude Sickness to some extent, which makes trekking up that mountain a challenge.
Therefore the only way to prevent it is to let your body adjust slowly to the altitude and drink loads of water every day.
Learn a few Swahili phrases
Swahili is a centuries-old East African language that emerged between 500 and 1,000 AD along the East African coast.
Swahili arose through the blending of Arabic with the region’s Bantu languages. Swahili now incorporates vocabulary from English, German, and Portuguese.
A terrific approach to immerse yourself in your Kilimanjaro adventure is to come prepared with a few Swahili words. Everyone appreciates it when someone else tries to speak their language, even if it’s only a few greetings and pleasantries.
Here are a few Swahili words and phrases you can learn:
- Jambo – Hello
- Nafurahi kukuona – Nice to meet you
- Habari yako? – How are you?
- Tafadhali – Please
- Asante – Thank you
- Choo – Toilet
- Lala Salama – Goodnight
- Kwa heri – Goodbye
How much should you tip a porter or guide?
Tipping is a significant part of the salary for the local guides, porters, cooks, and drivers who make your trip possible. You will need to tip the crew in the local currency at the end of your journey, generally while you’re still on the mountain.
You’ll tip a certain amount every day to each porter, cook, and guide somewhat like this:
Leading guide: $20 USD per day
Assistant guide: $15 USD per day
Cook: $12 USD per day
Toilet engineer: $5-10 USD per day
Waiter: $5-10 USD per day
Porters: $5-10 USD per day
Other Useful Tips for a Lifetime Experience:
- Pack all of your clothes and sleeping bag in a plastic bag inside your duffel bag to keep them dry in the case of rain.
- Bring some blister plasters and liner socks. It helps if you get blisters.
- Bring some earplugs to avoid noise and sleep well.
- Sinus congestion is a problem with many hikers. Do not forget to bring a good decongestant spray or tablet.
- Use Vaseline or Vicks Vaporub to protect moist air from your nose or on your lips. Humid air can freeze your nose and lips that can be extremely painful.
- Wear a good quality pair of sunglasses and use adequate sun protection cream with a protection factor of at least 20+.
- Use a thermal flask for your water on the summit night to avoid freezing water.
- Make sure you activate international roaming on your mobile.
About The mountain
At 5,895 meters Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on the earth; it is one of the Seven Summits. The snow-capped peak of Africa is a dormant volcano. This majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m above mean sea level.
Exceptional climb success
Since 1994, ClimbingKilimanjaro has been fore runner in operating Kilimanjaro tours. We have a proud and unbeatable track record of more than 15,000 safe and successful summit attempts.
The specialised experience of ClimbingKilimanjaro puts us, as a tour operator, in a unique position to offer the most professional support, guidance, information and motivation to realise this proverbial “bucket-list” dream.
ClimbingKilimanjaro can provide references from previous successful and satisfied clients – on request. Visitors are also welcome to visit our Testimonials & Summit Gallery pages
Real-Time Tracking Service
ClimbingKilimanjaro is the only operator that offers real-time tracking to hikers on Mount Kilimanjaro. This unique service will allow family and friends to track the live progress of their loved ones, as they hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro, subject to availability, pre-booking and at a small supplementary fee.
Guides and porters
ClimbingKilimanjaro only utilises highly trained and registered guides, with several years of experience, to lead a mountain support team that are properly equipped to look after climbers on the mountain.
All of the Climbing Kilimanjaro package options includes the services of one porter per hiker, who will carry the client’s duffel bag (max. 15kg) from one camp to the next.
The above average staff ratio of the Climbing Kilimanjaro Mountain Support Team to climber is: 2 Porters per climber and 2 guides for a maximum of 4 hikers – a very favourable ratio to directly enhance safety and enjoyment on the mountain.