A lack of camping and climbing expertise shouldn’t stop you from taking on this mountain. A little bit of physical exercise will go a long way.
At 19,341 feet / 5895 meters, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the third highest in the world. It’s an approximation of five to eight days at gruelling altitudes to make it to the summit and back.
The following are Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Tips.
#1 | Pre-Climb Medical Check-Up
All aspiring Mount Kilimanjaro climbers should know this climbing tip, have a medical check prior to your climb. Specifically ask your doctor about high altitude climbing for your age, fitness level, and overall health.
Ask if any of your pre-existing medical conditions are likely to cause problems while you’re on the mountain and if any of your medications might interfere with your acclimatization. Ask if it is possible to take Diamox with any of your current medications.
It is best to find all of this out before booking your climbing trek!
Medical conditions such as spinal issues, circulation problems, diabetes, hypoglycemia, intestinal or kidney problems, asthma, high or low blood pressure, head trauma, heart conditions, cancer, seizure disorders, blood disease, dislocations, hernias, and sprains may make climbing Mount Kilimanjaro dangerous or even impossible. It is crucial that you consult your doctor about any pre-existing conditions.
The minimum age for climbing Kilimanjaro is 10. While there is no maximum age, it is important to remember that it is a physically demanding trek. Climbers under 18 and over 60 should consult with their doctor to see whether climbing Kilimanjaro is for them.
Your resting heart rate should be lower than 100 beats per minute to attempt the climb. If it is higher than this, you’ll need to receive a doctor’s approval prior to attempting the climb.
#2 | Train to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
While it is often said that Mount Kilimanjaro is an ‘easy’ mountain to climb, you should not underestimate just how physically demanding the climb can be. While Mount Kilimanjaro offers better climbing conditions than many mountains around the world, this does not mean that the climb itself is not intensely demanding.
It is important that you not only be physically and aerobically fit for your climb but also mentally prepared for the strain as well.
There is no ideal body shape or level of fitness for climbing Kilimanjaro. We’ve seen marathon runners succumb to altitude sickness while less physically fit individuals have made it all the way to the top. Our advice is to get into the best hiking shape you can.
While it is impossible to predict exactly how your body will react to conditions on the mountain, you can certainly prepare to minimize your chances of being defeated by the cold, the physical demands, or the altitude.
The best way to prepare to hike up Mount Kilimanjaro is to hike. While many tour operators will recommend needlessly complicated training regimens for you to adhere to, you can prepare adequately for climbing Kilimanjaro by simply practicing the skills you’ll need on the mountain. If possible, spend as much time as possible hiking on hills or mountains to train your cardiovascular system and your legs.
Day hikes are a great exercise.
If you don’t have access to outdoor trails and such, stair masters in the gym can be used to simulate the physical demands of climbing the mountain. If you don’t have access to trails or a gym, just start walking as much and as often as possible.
Your training should start at least two months before your climb
If you’ve not hiked before, it’s best to start your training at a slow pace, shorter time intervals, and no weight in your day pack. As your fitness improves, you can increase all of the above gradually. It is important to remember that while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you will be walking for long amounts of time at a slow space and will rarely be carrying more than 10 kilograms. It isn’t a race, and your training should reflect this.
Gradually increase the length of your hikes and the weight in your pack rather than worrying about pace. You should aim to train three days a week for a minimum of one hour. If you’re able to do day hikes of 4 to 6 hours with moderate elevation changes and 10kgs in your day pack, then you’re probably ready to go.
You should save your longest and hardest workouts for the four weeks prior to your departure and should taper things off in the two weeks immediately before your climb. Your body needs time to rest and restore energy before you begin your climb. You may also wish to supplement your hiking training with swimming, cycling, or jogging to increase your aerobic fitness.
It is important that you wear the boots you intend to climb in during your training and carry the pack you intend to use. You will need time to break in your boots and get used to the weight and points of contact of your pack, and the best way to do this is to train with both! While physical training is an important part of getting into climbing shape, it is not the only part.
You should see your Mount Kilimanjaro climb as an opportunity to make positive changes in your own life. Eat more fruits and vegetables, quit smoking, reduce your alcohol intake, get eight hours of sleep a night, reduce your stress levels, and reduce your red meat consumption. You’ll feel better for it!
# 3 | Toiletries
While this is considered personal expense, talking to your guide to pass by a supermarket and get a couple of these would save you a lot of trouble. Also keep one to two rolls of toilet paper in a plastic bag to keep it dry and keep it in your day pack it will be good for nothing if packed away in your tent during your time of hike!
We also recommend to get a toilet tent which sits a few feet / meters from your sleeping tent at every campsite you reach. The toilet is basic, but will save you from long lines or from walking hundreds of feet / meters in the middle of the night to relieve yourself.
# 4 | A Need for Hydration
You’re going to need to hydrate your body, A lot!
After the first day, your water will come from nearby streams and rivers which trickled down from the Mount Kilimanjaro and can be purified with iodine pills. If you aren’t fan of the iodine flavour then try a few brands and flavours before you go to see what you like.
# 5 | Listen
As much as you get prepared and hear stories after stories, the most fundamental thing is to listen carefully. Acclimation effect is not identical, so listen to your guides, most importantly your body, and pay attention to the mountain.
If you’re tired, don’t hesitate, stop!
If you’re dizzy, drink water!
If a 80-year-old woman passes you, let it go!
It’s not a race to the top but a journey and adventure for yourself, so you might as well take your time.
# 6 | Treat yourself
Enjoy your long shower, wash your hair dozen times, and take a nap of glory. You have accomplished something phenomenal, so reward your aching body with an astonishing safari or a beach weekend in Zanzibar.