What You Need To Know
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What To Know

We boast of years of experience in leading hikers and climbers to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Our experienced guides have a proud summit success rate averaging between 96% - 98% and have safely guided over 5500 clients to the top of the mountain. This internet guide aims to provide the potential Kilimanjaro climber with valuable and accurate information on climbing Kilimanjaro, which will hopefully contribute towards increasing your chances of a successful summit attempt. We have complied this information over years of experience as well as from feedback from previous clients. From all the information provided in this guide, the tips listed on this page is probably the most important.

Before The Climb:-

  • Be properly equipped

An essential part of your preparation will be to ensure that you are well equipped for your summit attempt. Print our final checklist and mark it off, to ensure that you are. Click on Final Checklist to get to this very important step in your preparation.

  • Be physically prepared

It is important that your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges of Mount Kilimanjaro. We have developed a fitness training program which will assist you in getting your body in shape for your Kilimanjaro summit expedition.

  • Mental preparation

It is possible to summit Kilimanjaro successfully. Many before you have succeeded. This should be topmost in your mind when preparing for the summit attempt. You should always remain in a positive state of mind, but not overly arrogant. Try to anticipate various different scenarios, which you may possibly encounter on the mountain and try to work out the most suitable course of action, mentally by yourself or even as a group. Your mental stamina will, with out a doubt, make the really difficult sections, like from Kibo to Uhuru or from Barafu to Uhuru, easier to complete. Remember if you are properly equipped, you have taken everything as indicated on the final checklist, you are physically prepared and have all the knowledge gained from this internet guide - you will be mentally confident for the physical part of Kilimanjaro..

  • Adequate travel insurance

Make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance, which will also provide you with cover for the climb up Kilimanjaro.

  • On The Mountain Go slowly

Go slowly - "Pole Pole" as they say in Swahili! This is also very important during your first days of climbing. Even if you feel well, slow down and enjoy the scenery.

  • Drink enough water

Make sure that you drink at least 3 - 4 liters of liquid a day - preferably water. For your first day it is recommended that you take along fresh water, which may be purchased at the hotel in Moshi before your climb. Try to get the bottles with the screw tops, this way you will also have containers in which to take water further up the mountain. Running water on the mountain is safe to drink from day-2 onwards, but care should still be taken. If you are not used to fresh water in nature, prevent any inconvenience by using water purification tablets. REMEMBER! A functioning "body water balance" is one of the keys to a successful climb!

  • Walk high - sleep low

If possible and especially on your acclimatisation day "walk high - sleep low" Try to do a short evening stroll to a higher altitude and then descend to sleep at the camp at a lower altitude. This is essential on your acclimatisation day.

  • Climb light

Climb as lightly as possible, this becomes even more important on your summit night.
Extra weight will slow you down and will also make breathing more difficult.

  • Packing

Remember that you will be on the mountain for at least 5 or 6 days. You need to take enough clothing, especially socks to last for this period. Due to frequent rainfall as well as numerous streams on the routes, it is advisable to pack items individually in your bag. These individually packed items should be wrapped in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet in case of rain or of being accidentally dropped in a stream.

  • Clothing

You will require the correct underwear, thermal hiking socks, gloves (preferably mittens), warm head protection, rain coat, sunglasses and sun protection cream. Also remember your hiking boots, hiking/running shoes (it is not necessary to walk with boots or climbers shoes until the last sections where scree and rocks are encountered), and very importantly, a walking stick / ski-pole. One of the most critical items of clothing is a an outer jacket. You want it to perform the functions of keeping you warm, protect you at temperatures of as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, keep the wind out and yet still "breath". Try to avoid tight fitting clothing or underwear. This will hamper circulation, causing either cold or discomfort on the mountain. A balaclava is a must, as it will protect your face against cold, wind, sun and snow. Other clothing like shorts, sweaters and T-shirts are strongly recommended, especially during hiking on the lower slopes, when the day temperatures are still high.

The only way to ensure that you are dressed warmly is to follow the principal of wearing the correct clothing layers, starting from against the body. A common mistake made by climbers is to wear almost everything they have and to start off with cotton against the skin. Cotton absorbs moisture perfectly, and moisture trapped against the skin will result in a definite lowering of the body temperature, which could even lead to hypothermia. It is therefore very important to use proper thermal underwear with "wicking" properties (a fabric which has the ability to draw moisture away from the body) and thus enabling it to evaporate to the outside. The middle layer should provide the insulation and a product like polar fleece will be adequate in this regard. The outer layer should be windproof, waterproof and breathable. Products like Ventex, Goretex or Jeantex offer these properties. Short of altitude and physical exertion, cold is one of the most serious obstacles when attempting to summit Kilimanjaro. After securing your booking with us, you'll receive a comprehensive document, to guide you through the steps of purchasing the correct gear.

  • Take a ski - pole

A ski - pole is essential. Use of ski poles reduces external and internal loads on the knee joint by up to 20%. Using 1 ski pole is a must, but 2 poles are recommended. Buy one or hire one but take one with you.

  • New batteries

Replace your head lamp and camera batteries with new ones on your summit night.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
AMS commonly affects people at high altitude, who are not accustomed to high altitude conditions. AMS can be lethal if not treated immediately or if its symptoms are ignored. Probably 70% of all people climbing Kilimanjaro will suffer to some extent from AMS. You should familiarise yourself with this condition and take preventative care.

  • Malaria

Malaria occurs below 1800 meters and you should use the recommended prophylactics. Please consult your doctor about these. Currently, there are various preventative medication products available which will be effective against the malaria strains currently found in Tanzania. Women using oral contraceptives should consult their physicians before using prophylactics.

'Exceeding your Expectations'

University of Nairobi