KILIMANJARO MUST KNOW INFO

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At 5,895m (19,341 feet), Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest free-standing mountain”. It is also one of the most iconic, beautiful and challenging treks in the world.

Considered the easiest of the “7 Summits”, Kilimanjaro should not be underestimated; no matter what your fitness level, this trek will challenge you. The great news is that Kilimanjaro is achievable with 85% of people who take the time to train and acclimatise reaching the summit.

We recommend the Machame Route (7 days) or the Lemosho Route (8 days) because of their superior acclimatisation opportunities. We do not recommend you book a 4 – 6 day trek. Each year, approximately 1,000 people are evacuated because they did not allow enough time for acclimatisation. Altitude is serious!

With 5 different ecosystems ranging from rainforest to giant glaciers, we guarantee your trek will be unforgettable regardless of where you finish.

PACKING

Our packing list is a comprehensive inventory of the minimum items you will require to trek Kilimanjaro.

When packing, please keep in mind that Kilimanjaro is an extremely large mountain, with 5 different climate zones. Temperatures vary significantly, often from warm 20 – 25 degree days to – 20 degree nights. Do not underestimate how cold, wet or windy it may get. 

If you want to save money on equipment, 

  1. Only purchase items that are cheap or you will re-use (see essential items below).
  2. Borrow from friends.
  3. Hire non-essential items in Tanzania. 

Before your trek, we’ll check your gear and take you to hire more equipment if necessary.

MOST ESSENTIAL ITEMS

You must buy, borrow or bring these items from home. All other items can be hired in Tanzania.

Boots

Must be warm and waterproof.

Must be well worn to avoid blisters. 

Can hire but cannot guarantee they are waterproof. 

Should be warm and a little large to fit extra socks on summit night. 

Thermal bag liner

Must be thermal not cotton or silk. 

Recommended for additional warmth and to keep your bag clean.

Hard to buy in Tanzania.

Thermal layer

Hard to find good quality thermals to hire. 

Should buy, borrow or bring 1 pair (top, bottom & socks) of good quality thermals. May need 2-3 pairs all up. 

Can easily hire additional pairs if needed.

 

 

Gloves or mittens

Must be warm and waterproof.

Must also bring cotton inner gloves, often available from K-Mart or Target. 

Water & wind protective layer

Gortex  or equivalent jacket and pants are highly recommended.

If you want to save money, a large and thick, quality poncho will suffice. 

Need a waterproof bag cover or your poncho must cover your bag. 

 

Water bottles

Bottles are better than a bladder because they don’t freeze as easily.

Must be re-usable. Disposable bottles incur a $50 fine/bottle.

training

It is a good idea to train for at least 6 months prior to climbing Kilimanjaro. The best way to train is to replicate the trekking you will do on Kilimanjaro, up and down hills for 5 – 7 hours per day and we recommend you do long hikes on as many weekends as possible.

During the week, aim to exercise 3 times per week with a mixture of aerobic, strengthening and stretching training. 

Set yourself a goal of being able to complete 1 hour of continuous, moderate- exersion exercise (i.e. spinning, jogging) withoutdifficulty before you climb.

While fitness is beneficial, grit and determinationare essential and most people struggle withaltitude more than fitness on Kilimanjaro. Download our free fitness program here.

altitude

Altitude must be taken seriously by everyone! Above 2,500m (day 1) there is a possibility that you may begin to show symptoms of altitude sickness.

Mild symptoms are frequent and they are relatively easy to manage. For example, it is not uncommon for a climber to experience mild headaches at the end of a hike. The great news is that by the next morning he/she is usually feeling better and is able to continue. 

To help you better understand altitude sickness, we’ve developed a basic FAQ sheet (left). 

Our team is extremely experienced and we complete an altitude sickness scorecard each day for every climber. We have developed safety procedures to minimise the risk and ensure you enjoy your experience. One of which is our “safety over summit” policy.

It is advised that you transparently communicate with our team so that we can help you manage your symptoms. This way, you can safely continue to the summit or if your symptoms are severe, we can quickly get you off the mountain to avoid injury or death.

FAQs

How fit do I have to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

Whilst fitness is beneficial, grit and determination are essential.

Must be comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with a day pack on (6-10kg).

If you can do 1 hour of continuous exercise (i.e. spinning, jogging) without difficulty, you are fit enough.

Most people struggle with altitude more than fitness.

What training should I do to climb Kilimanjaro?

Start 3 months before you climb.

Walking up & down hills for as far and long as possible.

Walk up and down stairs.

Exercise 3-4 sessions per week.

Build endurance and strength in your legs.

Stretch. Most sports injuries occur due to poor stretching.

What are your key Kilimanjaro tips?

Make sure you pack enough warm clothes. It gets extremely cold at night and it is better to have too much than not enough.

Train for 3 months before your climb. See training advice above.

Make sure your boots are well worn to avoid blisters.

Make sure you cut your toe nails before summit night.

Enjoy the journey. You have no right to think about the summit until you reach Base Camp (Barafu). 

 

Why is Kilimanjaro so expensive?

The permit costs approximately US$1,000 per climber.

Your fee covers a large support team, porters, camping equipment, food, etc.

We pay our support team and porters above minimum wage for the incredible job they do.

You get what you pay for.

Why do we tip in Tanzania?

Tipping is expected in Tanzania.

Guides, porters and cooks work incredibly hard to ensure you are safe, happy and comfortable.

Our staff are professional and experienced and you’ll love their service.

To help you budget and make it easy, we collect tips at the start of the trip.

What should I expect each day?

Each day, you’ll walk between 5-12km which will take you approximately 5-8 hours.

Hardest days are: day 2 (quite steep), day 3 (long day) and summit night (extremely long day).

At the end of each day, after you’ve eaten and relaxed, you will have the option to accompany us on a short acclimatisation walk. 

Read more day-to-day notes here.

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