How hard is it to Climb Mountain Kilimanjaro

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By William on December 30

Climbing Kilimanjaro can be quite challenging, as it is the highest mountain in Africa and reaches an elevation of about 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level. The climb to the summit is not technical, but the high altitude and challenging weather conditions can make it difficult for some people. It is important to be in the good physical condition and to properly acclimatize to the altitude before attempting the climb. It is also recommended to hire a reputable guide and to carefully plan your route and supplies. Overall, while it is certainly not impossible, Climbing Kilimanjaro should not be taken lightly and requires a significant amount of physical and mental preparation.

Let’s dig into some of the specific factors that affect whether Kilimanjaro is hard – or not – and what you can do about it…

Dealing with Altitude on Kilimanjaro

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), is a common concern for people who are planning to Climb Kilimanjaro. The mountain has an altitude of more than 19,000 feet (5,895 meters), which means that it is high enough to cause altitude sickness in some people.

Symptoms of altitude sickness can include headache, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. In severe cases, it can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs or brain, which can be life-threatening.

To prevent altitude sickness, it is important to acclimatize properly. This means allowing your body to adjust to the higher altitude gradually. One way to do this is to climb the mountain slowly, giving your body time to adjust to the change in altitude. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol.

If you do start to experience symptoms of altitude sickness, it is important to descend to a lower altitude as soon as possible. This will help to alleviate your symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.

In general, it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor before attempting to climb Kilimanjaro. They can provide you with advice and guidance on how to prepare for the climb and how to prevent altitude sickness.

Fitness

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a physically demanding and challenging activity that requires a good level of fitness. In order to successfully climb Kilimanjaro, it is important to maintain a healthy level of fitness through regular physical activity, a balanced and nutritious diet, and adequate rest and recovery. It is also important to consult with a healthcare professional and to properly train and prepare for the physical challenges of the climb, such as altitude sickness and extreme weather conditions. This may include exercises to improve strength, endurance, and flexibility, as well as practicing techniques for climbing and safety measures. It is also important to acclimatize to the altitude and to be prepared for the potential challenges and risks that come with climbing Kilimanjaro.

Accommodation during the Kilimanjaro climb

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro typically involves staying in a series of huts or tents as you ascend the mountain. There are several different routes up Kilimanjaro, and the type of accommodation available can vary depending on the route you choose.

On the most popular route, the Marangu Route, there are huts at every campsite that provide basic accommodation. These huts typically have bunk beds with mattresses and blankets, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag. There are also shared toilets and washing facilities at each hut.

Other routes, such as  Machame Route and Lemosho Route, involve camping rather than staying in huts. On these routes, you will be provided with a tent, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and other camping gear. The campsites on these routes usually have shared toilets and washing facilities.

It’s worth noting that the accommodation in Kilimanjaro is quite basic and may not be to the same standard as you would find in a hotel. However, the experience of climbing Kilimanjaro and the sense of accomplishment you will feel when you reach the summit make it all worth it.

Temperature & Weather

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, near the equator, and the weather on the mountain can vary significantly depending on the altitude.

At the base of the mountain, the temperature is typically warm or hot year-round, with daytime temperatures ranging from around 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). At night, the temperature can drop to around 15°C (59°F).

As you ascend the mountain, the temperature will become cooler. At the highest campsites, the temperature can drop to below freezing at night. During the day, the temperature may reach around 10°C (50°F) at the highest campsites.

It’s worth noting that the temperature can also vary significantly depending on the time of year you climb. The dry seasons, which run from June to October and December to March, tend to be the best times to climb due to the clearer weather. The wet seasons, which run from March to June and November to December, can be more challenging due to the increased chance of rain and fog.

It’s important to come prepared for a wide range of temperatures and to bring appropriate clothing and gear. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before you climb to get an idea of what to expect.

Your health

Climbing Kilimanjaro can be a physically challenging and demanding experience. It is important to be in good physical condition and to take steps to ensure that you are prepared for the demands of the climb.

Here are some tips to help you stay healthy on Kilimanjaro:

  1. Get in shape before the climb: Engage in physical activity such as hiking, running, or cycling to increase your endurance and strength in the months leading up to the climb. This will help you better prepare for the demands of the ascent. You can read more about get in shape before the climb on our  Training for Kilimanjaro article
  2. Stay hydrated: It is important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially at high altitude. Make sure to bring a water bottle and refill it regularly.
  3. Wear the right clothing and gear: Dress in layers to stay warm and dry. Wear moisture-wicking clothing and bring a rain jacket in case of inclement weather. Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with good traction.
  4. Use sunscreen and protect your skin: The sun is much stronger at high altitude, so it is important to wear sunscreen and protect your skin from the sun’s rays. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.
  5. Be careful with your diet: Eat a healthy and balanced diet to fuel your body and help you stay energized during the climb. Avoid eating heavy or spicy meals, as they can cause gastrointestinal issues at altitudes.
  6. Take altitude sickness seriously: Altitude sickness is a common condition that can occur when you ascend to high altitudes too quickly. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, tell your guide and descend to a lower altitude immediately.

By following these tips and listening to your body, you can help ensure that you have a healthy and enjoyable climb on Kilimanjaro.

Your Mountain Guide

If you are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, it is strongly recommended that you hire a guide. A guide can help you plan your trip, provide important information about the route you will be taking, and assist you with any challenges you may face along the way.

There are many companies that offer guided tours of Kilimanjaro, and it’s important to choose one that is reputable and experienced. Look for a company that has a good safety record and is staffed by knowledgeable and experienced guides. It’s also a good idea to read reviews and ask for references before booking a tour.

In addition to a guide, you will also need a team of porters to carry your gear and supplies. Porters are an essential part of any Kilimanjaro expedition, and they play a vital role in helping you reach the summit. Choose a company that treats its porters well and provides them with adequate supplies and equipment.

Overall, a guide and a team of porters can make a big difference in your Kilimanjaro experience, so it’s worth taking the time to find a reputable and experienced company to work with.

Mental fitness

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can be a physically and mentally challenging experience, and it’s important to be mentally fit in order to successfully reach the summit. Here are a few tips to help you prepare mentally for your Kilimanjaro climb:

  1. Set realistic goals: It’s important to have a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish on your Kilimanjaro climb, but it’s also important to be realistic about what you can achieve. Set achievable goals for yourself and be prepared for the challenges you may face along the way.
  2. Practice positive thinking: The mental aspect of climbing Kilimanjaro can be just as important as the physical aspect. Practice positive thinking and try to stay focused on your goals. Remember that setbacks are a normal part of the process, and it’s important to stay motivated and keep a positive attitude.
  1. Stay focused: The climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro can be long and demanding, and it’s important to stay focused on your goals. Try to stay in the present moment and avoid getting too far ahead of yourself.
  2. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can have a negative impact on your mental clarity and focus, so it’s important to stay well hydrated during your climb.
  3. Get plenty of rest: Getting enough sleep and rest can help you stay mentally sharp and focused during your climb.

By preparing mentally and staying focused on your goals, you can increase your chances of successfully reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Gears Kilimanjaro

If you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro, it is important to have the appropriate gear, including clothing and equipment for high-altitude conditions, such as a warm sleeping bag, warm layers of clothing, and a good pair of hiking boots. You should also have supplies for basic first aid and emergencies, such as a first aid kit, a flashlight, and a map. It is always a good idea to be well-prepared and to research the gear and supplies that you will need before embarking on any outdoor adventure. You may read about the Kilimanjaro Packing list in our special article here.

Food and drinks

If you are planning to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, it is important to be properly nourished and hydrated in order to maintain your energy and stamina. The type and amount of food and drink you will need will depend on the length and difficulty of your climb, as well as your personal preferences and dietary needs.

During the climb, you will be provided with meals and snacks by your guide and support staff. These meals will typically consist of a variety of foods such as grains, meats, vegetables, and fruits. It is important to eat a balanced diet that includes a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to fuel your body and support your physical activity.

It is also important to stay hydrated during the climb. You should aim to drink at least 2-3 liters of water per day, depending on the temperature and humidity. You can also bring sports drinks or electrolyte tablets to help replenish your body’s electrolytes, which can be lost through sweat during physical activity. Avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate your body.

It is a good idea to bring some of your own snacks and energy bars with you on the climb, in case you need a boost of energy during the day. Be sure to pack non-perishable, lightweight, and easy-to-carry items such as nuts, dried fruit, energy bars, and jerky

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About the Author

William is a Tanzanian Safari and Kilimanjaro expert motivated to write about his Safari and Kilimanjaro Trekking experience because of his passion for adventures. Through his stories and articles, William sought to inspire others to experience the thrill of adventure and to appreciate the beauty of  Africa around them.

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2023-08-30
7-Day Migration Safari with Williamson: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience! My friend and I had a 7-day migration safari (River Crossing) with Williamson Adventures exceeded our expectations. The captivating sights of wildebeest herds were absolutely breathtaking, a true testament to the wonders of nature. Our knowledgeable guide Raymond made the experience even more remarkable with his deep understanding of the wildlife and their behaviors. The seamless combination of the safari with a day trip to Materuni Waterfall and Coffee Tour added a perfect touch of cultural immersion. The lush greenery and the thundering waterfall were a sight to behold, and the coffee tour was enlightening. Williamson's team orchestrated a flawless journey, ensuring comfort and safety throughout. This safari was a life-changing experience, and I'm incredibly grateful to William and his team for making it so exceptional.
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2023-08-30
Unforgettable experience in Tanzania The Ultimate Tanzanian Safari and Cultural Experience! I can't thank Williamson enough for the incredible 7-day migration safari adventure. Witnessing the Great Migration in person was an awe-inspiring spectacle, and Raymond Our Guide added an educational layer that deepened our appreciation. His passion for wildlife is contagious! The highlight was coupling this safari with a day trip to Materuni Waterfall and Coffee Tour. The waterfall's beauty left us speechless, and the coffee tour was a delightful insight into the local culture. The Accommodation during our safari experience was top notch, thank you William for organizing our trip and his team was amazing! I am going to miss Tanzania ❤️ # one of my best trip ever # amazing travel experiences # lots laughs & fun during the trip # unforgettable moments
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2023-07-23
Incredible Safari in Tanzania We did a 5 day Incredible honeymoon safari with Williamson Adventures , we were researching good company for our safari It is our luck to go with them the communication was smooth, we exchanged so many texts until we reached the conclusion . The guide Allan was knowledgeable who knows alot about animals and plants his driving skill was exceptional on the rough road on the way to Serengeti national park , The accommodations were good during our safari we will recommend Williamson Adventures to our family and friends .
Juliane P
Juliane P
2023-07-21
Kilimanjaro 6 days Machame route My dad and I booked the Kilimanjaro 6 days Machame route and since the first contact with William I received all the information and help that we need and our conversation was easy. Our team at the Kilimanjaro hike was really friendly and helpful and our guides were perfect with us! Cannot recommend more I and have no words to thank enough all the team.
Ellen Karin R
Ellen Karin R
2023-03-19
Er du interessert i fugleliv såvel som dyreliv prøver du Williamssons adventures med Ian som guide Er du interessert i fugleliv i tillegg til dyreliv bør du be om å få Ian som guide. Han var kunnskapsrik om både fugler, dyr, fauna og stoppa opp på alle henstillinger og svarte tålmodig på alle spørsmål. Ian var også ein flink sjåfør. Vi var i alle nasjonalparkene, Tarangire, Serengeti, Manyara og Ngorogoro conservation area. Vi var på en fire dagers safari, og lunsjboksene, frokostene og middagene var fantastiske. Likeså med overnattingsstedene. Vi ble tatt vel i mot og tatt vare på. Denne safari er ett minne for livet, og kan anbefales på det sterkeste. I tillegg til kjempemange fugler og dyr fikk vi også sett alle fem store????
Jessica D
Jessica D
2023-02-06
Perfect Kilimanjaro trek, perfect safari, perfect Guide From the first day of emailing Williamson Adventures for a safari and Kilimanjaro quote we were answered in professional way with full of information about the tour in Tanzania.The Director William was helpful and well organized our Kilimanjaro trek and 5 days safari , we started hiking for 6 days machame , the team was very helpful and the porter were strong and friends they really supported us to carry our luggages and guide was very professional especially during the summit day we really appreciate them . After safari we went to safari where we saw many animals excluding rhino because the guide explained that they're now endangered sometimes it's hard to spot them although it was good experience, the food good and accommodation was superb with high comfortability. Thanks Williamson Adventures for making our trip unforgettable
Norbet h
Norbet h
2023-02-02
Kilimanjaro Climb Experience! My husband and I booked 7 days Machame route Kilimanjaro mountain climb with Williamson adventures, we liked the experience from the day we started hiking up to last day at mweka camp. The tour was very organized and the team was extremely friendly . During the summit Day it's was really challenging for me but the guide and porter was really helpful and fun to be around , the food was delicious and plentiful so we really appreciate our chef , the tent were top quality and brand new so we slept in comfortable tents . I really recommend Mr William to arrange your Kilimanjaro mountain trekking if you wish to make it to the top of Kilimanjaro mountain. Best wishes from USA
Christensen H
Christensen H
2023-01-31
Unforgettable safari in Tanzania My Safari experience in Tanzania with Williamson adventures was really good since from the day we emailed them they were very cooperative , we had 8 days safari in Tanzania with them the guide was very detailed about Flora and fauna of Tanzania national park, I really liked Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater the most because of its scenic views and abundant of Animals, we managed to see all the big 5 during safari, the accommodations was nice and clean, we really thanks this company for making our journey in Tanzania unforgettable
Hannah P
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2023-01-29
Best Wildlife Safari I did a 7-day safari in Tanzania and it was an unforgettable experience. The tour guide was knowledgeable about the wildlife, making each game drive a learning adventure. From the endless plain Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater, every stop was awe-inspiring. The accommodations and food were good and provided the perfect balance of comfort and immersion in nature. I would highly recommend to Williamson to plan your safari in tanzania . Thanks Williamson Adventurures for the nice hospitality
willegamba94
willegamba94
2023-01-25
7 day Kilimanjaro Climb Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 7 days Lemosho was an experience of a lifetime. The trek to the summit was challenging, but the breathtaking views and sense of accomplishment made it all worth it. The scenery was absolutely stunning, from the lush rainforest at the base to the barren, lunar-like landscape at the summit. The guides were knowledgeable and supportive, and the porters were incredibly helpful in carrying our gear. The final summit push was grueling, but the sunrise from the top was truly unforgettable. Despite the physical demands, I would highly recommend Williamson Adventures for Kilimanjaro climb to anyone looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The sense of camaraderie among the climbers, the challenge of reaching the summit and the stunning beauty of the mountain made it an experience I will never forget.

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