Preparing for climbing and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro

  • February 5, 2024
  • 4 Min Read

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, attracts adventurers from all over the globe to embark on an unforgettable journey. Conquering this magnificent mountain is a challenging but fulfilling achievement that demands careful preparation. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned climber or a beginner hiker, thorough planning is essential to guarantee a safe and successful climb. This guide will provide important information on how to prepare for summiting Mount Kilimanjaro

“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finlay

Mental strength and resilience

Conquering Kilimanjaro isn’t just about the view, it’s about earning it! Think you can handle multiple days of hiking, mostly uphill, for 6-8 hours? Great! But remember, summit day starts at midnight and pushes you for 12-16 hours. Why so long? Reaching the peak (Uhuru Peak) takes roughly 6-7 hours, but then you trek back down to camp, making it an epic mountain adventure. To prepare for this, you need to have a very strong mental composure, otherwise, you are bound to call it quits midway through the hike

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Physical fitness

Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak is not reserved for elite athletes, yet its climb should not be underestimated, demanding reasonable fitness levels. Scaling the nearly 6,000-meter summit requires dedication and physical effort, regardless of experience. While advanced mountaineering skills are not necessary, physical endurance and strength are vital. Walking is a recommended exercise, offering a straightforward and effective way to prepare for the trek, making it attainable for any determined individual

“Kilimanjaro is a pretty tricky climb you know, most of it’s up until you reach the very very top, and then it tends to slope away rather sharply.” – Graham Chapman

Health: food, liquids and skin

It is essential to have the right food and drink to maintain energy levels while climbing. Make sure to drink enough water to counter the impact of high altitude, and eat a well-balanced diet that includes proteins and carbohydrates. Carry snacks that are easy to digest and can give you a quick energy boost while trekking. Poor hydration may lead to adverse effects such as headaches and fatigue. Also, don’t forget to oil your skin, especially on the summit day. If you can, carry sunscreen and lip balm to protect your skin from ‘burning’

Find a tour guide or company

Solo climbs up Kilimanjaro are prohibited, and even if allowed, they pose significant challenges. Finding a tour company is essential, as they handle logistics, equipment, and food arrangements. Renting gear from the company and having porters carry belongings simplifies the climb, letting you focus on essential items like water and snacks in your backpack. This support makes the ascent far more manageable compared to attempting it solo

a person employed to carry luggage and other loads.

The cost for a tour guide/company varies depending on factors such as your nationality, the route, and the tourism season. However, I would recommend budgeting at least $500 for Tanzanians and East Africans, and double that amount for foreigners. Additionally, it is customary to tip the porters as a way of showing appreciation for their hard work. The amount is not fixed, but any contribution is greatly appreciated

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac

Decide on the route

With seven distinct routes, Kilimanjaro provides varied experiences, including staying in huts on the Marangu route. Climbers, excluding Marangu trekkers, use campsites with tour operators supplying sleeping tents and sometimes mobile toilets. Choose a route based on fitness, preferences, and time availability. Be prepared for limited showers and the absence of proper beds on most routes. You may decide on which route to take with your selected tour guide/company. They should be able to advise on that


I believe in God and the power of prayers. A lot may happen during the summit – altitude sickness, lack of oxygen, fatigue, accidents, and several other things. Not everyone makes it to the top and, to some, the attempts end up being fatal. It’s therefore very important to commit your entire hike to God for his protection

“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” – Proverbs 21:31 NIV

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