Training for Kilimanjaro

The ascent of Kilimanjaro should only be attempted by reasonably fit people, and inexperienced hikers might consider embarking on a training schedule to improve the chances of a successful climb. This needn’t be too arduous. Running and cycling will improve your aerobic fitness, and weightlifting might help build core strength, but the best like-for-like training for a Kili climb is hiking, ideally in hilly terrain and/or at altitude. Aim to build up to the point where you can comfortably hike for four to five hours with a light pack on your back. And do use these training hikes as an opportunity to break in the hiking boots you intend to wear on Kilimanjaro, and to get used to the day pack you plan to carry.

trekking kilimanjaro tour

The main health risks on Kilimanjaro are related to altitude and to a lesser extent exposure, exacerbated by exhaustion. Uhuru Peak stands at a higher altitude than the base camps on Mount Everest, but the ascent involves a very rapid transition from below 1,000m to above 5,000m, and some people - particularly those who normally reside close to sea level - will have difficulty acclimatising in the space of a few days. Indeed, almost everybody who attempts the climb experiences some altitude-related symptoms, which range from shortness of breath, headaches and sleeplessness to nausea and swollen the hands or feet. If these symptoms become severe, or the sufferer starts coughing up saliva or blood, or displaying loss of a coordination, or experiences disorientation or hallucinations, the potentially fatal conditions called pulmonary or cerebral oedemas are indicated. Experienced guides will recognise these conditions, the only (and usually highly effective) remedy for which is immediate descent.

The risk of altitude-related illness is greatly reduced by extra acclimatisation - that is, allowing an additional day or two for the ascent - and by walking at a relaxed, steady pace. Many people feel a loss of appetite at high altitude but it is vital to eat properly, concentrating on easily digested foodstuffs, especially carbohydrates and fruit. Drink at least three litres of water daily. A drug called Acetazolamide can be prescribed to help prevent or reduce symptoms of altitude-sickness.

rongai route mount kilimanjaro

Prolonged exposure to the cold and wet conditions often experienced on Kilimanjaro can result in hypothermia, which occurs when the body temperature drops below 35°C (95°F) and usually results in uncontrollable shivering before progressing to more severe symptoms if neglected. Hypothermia can be avoided by carrying plenty of warm, waterproof clothing designed for sub-zero conditions, and by dressing in layers so you can regulate your body temperature and sweat by removing or adding clothes as required. Severe hypothermia can be fatal, so if you experience heavy shivering, you should change into warm dry clothes and huddle up in a sleeping bag until the symptoms dissipate.

A rescue fee is paid by all climbers upon entering the national park, but the rescue team only focuses on the Marangu Route. Its services must be arranged in advance for other routes.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro

day 1

day 2

Momella Gate (1500 m) – Miriakamba Hut (2500 m)

day 3

Miriakamba Hut (2 500 m) – Saddle Hut (3 550 m)

day 4

Saddle Hut (3 550 m) – Socialist Peak (4 562 m) –

day 5

Miriakamba Hut (2 500 m) – Momella Gate (1 500 m)

day 6

day 7

Arusha – Machame Gate (1 790 m) – Machame Camp (3

day 8

Machame Camp (3 010 m) – New Shira Camp (3 845 m)

day 9

New Shira Camp (3 845 m) – Lava Tower (4 640 m) –

day 10

Barranco Camp (3 960 m) – Barafu Camp (4 640 m)

day 11

Barafu Camp (4 640 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Mwe

day 12

Mweka Camp (3 080 m) – Mweka Gate (1 630 m) – Arus

day 13

Departure

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Climbing Kilimanjaro in August

As is the case at all times of year, it will be freezing cold at night in the alpine and arctic zones, but assuming climatic conditions are your main consideration, August is probably the driest and warmest month, and ideal for climbing Kilimanjaro. However, as summer holidays in the northern hemisphere are in full flow, it is also usually one of the two busiest months. The Shira,…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in December

Credit: Nuvo Magazine December tends to be wet and very cold. Expect slippery trails at lower altitudes and, as you approach the summit, subzero temperatures and howling winds at night. Towards the end of the month, the mountain experiences a secondary high season associated with the Christmas and New Year holidays. Best avoided. ...

Climbing Kilimanjaro in September

Credit: Bookmundi Dry and relatively warm weather can be expected, making September ideal for climbing Kilimanjaro in climatic terms, though extreme cold and possibly high winds are normal in the alpine and arctic zones. September coincides with summer holidays in Europe and North America, so the mountain tends to be very busy. Avoid the Marangu or Machame Routes in preference for the…

Training for Kilimanjaro

The ascent of Kilimanjaro should only be attempted by reasonably fit people, and inexperienced hikers might consider embarking on a training schedule to improve the chances of a successful climb. This needn’t be too arduous. Running and cycling will improve your aerobic fitness, and weightlifting might help build core strength, but the best like-for-like training for a Kili climb is…

Mount Kilimanjaro facts

The world’s tallest individual mountain and literal highpoint of the African continent, 5,895m-high Mount Kilimanjaro straddles the border of Kenya and Tanzania. For those who just want to admire the view of its snow-capped summit, this can be done from either country, with Kenya’s Amboseli National Park being perhaps the most popular option thanks to its prolific plains wildlife. For…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in January

Extreme weather conditions are a likelihood at all times of year, especially at higher altitudes, where subzero nocturnal temperatures are often exacerbated by wind. But January is usually a good month to climb Kilimanjaro in climatic terms. It is quite dry and relatively cool, which reduces the impact of humidity on the lower slope and improves the likelihood of extensive snow on the…

Popular Kilimanjaro National Park Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Landscape | Kilimanjaro climb, Machame route - 7 days on the mountain (EA 9 days)

Kilimanjaro climb, Machame route - 7 days on the mountain

For the average climber, Machame is probably the most reliable route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the roof of Africa...

Mountain View | Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro

Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro

Summit two of Tanzania's iconic mountain ranges in under two weeks...

Ready to start your adventure?

Your tailor-made African holiday starts here...

How can we get hold of you?

How many people will be travelling?

Details

Please tell us more about your travel plans?


Discover Africa Group needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy.

Submitting your inquiry

Oops something went wrong.

We couldn't save your enquiry, sorry for that.

Please sent us an email on: info@discoverafrica.com

Apologies for the inconvenience.

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Reference:

 +27 21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2