Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, holidays & tours
A steep ascent, an endurance-testing adventure and a beautiful locationClimbing Mount Kilimanjaro, holidays & tours available in Tanzania
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A steep ascent, an endurance-testing adventure and a beautiful location
If you’re looking for an exhilarating challenge, Mount Kilimanjaro is waiting for you. With your trust placed firmly in your guide’s hands, you’ll have to push through the highs and lows of an intense journey during which temperatures can drop to -20°C. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro offers Africa's ultimate challenge to test your gear, your guide and your mental and physical fitness. Your mission? To reach the summit at Uhuru Peak. Are you prepared to take on the continent's tallest mountain?
More on Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Climbing Africa’s highest mountain is an epic adventure for those who are prepared to take on a physical and mental challenge. It's a undertaking luring thousands of people every year. But before you sign up for one of Africa’s ultimate adventures, we’d like to prepare you for what to expect on the trek to Uhuru Peak.
Firstly, there are four vital points to be addressed:
- Choosing a reputable tour operator
- Preparing your body and mind
- The right gear
- On the climb
Choosing a reputable tour operator
In choosing a tour operator, you have to put your trust in their choice of guides and the support they have at their disposal while leading your journey. Most companies use either sub-contracted or permanently employed guides.
Most operators employ guides, porters and mountain staff on a subcontract basis, so you’ll only know who your guide is a few days before you arrive. The reason for this is that the hiring depends on which guides are available at the time.
A few companies employ permanent staff and look after them through both the low and peak seasons, but these tour operators are few and far between.
What happens if there's an emergency?
Altitude affects climbers in different ways. Statistically, three out of 10 people will not reach the summit due to some form of altitude-related problem. When booking, it is vital to make sure that the company you choose has the necessary medical, logistical and evacuation support needed should trouble strike. There are only a few tour operators that equip each climbing party with oxygen, oximeters, first-aid kits, a neck brace, stethoscope, mobile phone, satellite phone, portable stretcher and other equipment on every climb – you want to make sure you’re embarking on your adventure with one of them.
Discover Africa can advise you about reliable tour operators.
Preparing your body and mind
Getting ready to climb Kilimanjaro is as important as choosing the right tour operator. As exhilarating as the experience is, the journey is a tough one. This ascent is not for couch potatoes.
Altitude training for a Kilimanjaro climb
There's not much you can do to prepare for how you'll respond to lack of oxygen at high altitude, unless, that is, you're able to spend some time in high places, in a dive chamber, increasing your circulation or doing breath-hold training. Breath-hold training is useful for those who don’t have access to a dive chamber or an area of high altitude. The easiest way to condition your body to deal with the lack of oxygen is literally to take oxygen away, making underwater breath-hold exercises extremely effective for altitude training. Free-diving or regulated free-diving in a swimming pool will drastically increase your body’s oxygen distribution efficiency and help condition your brain not to react so dramatically when you reach the low-oxygen zone.
WARNING! Never practise breath-hold exercises on your own. Always work in pairs, or at least have someone watching you.
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, summit day, and quite possibly the hardest one you’ll have to face on your trek. Summit day is a 16- to 20-hour experience you'll have to tackle after what has probably been a sleepless night and an empty stomach (because of your loss of appetite). You'll set off at midnight, ascend more than 1,000 vertical metres and descend approximately a further 2,000 metres before returning to your overnight camp late in the afternoon. Preparing yourself mentally for this day is crucial if you are to cope with the amount of time needed to get to the top and the slowness of the pace.
The only way to prepare yourself mentally is to simulate the time it takes to summit. If you are up for the challenge, we’ll ensure that you are prepared to climb Kilimanjaro long before you even get to Tanzania.
The right gear
Even if you’ve chosen your tour operator and have successfully trained to climb Kilimanjaro, you'll experience an extremely uncomfortable journey if you're lacking the right gear. It is essential to be prepared for the worst weather conditions. In the main the climb up Kilimanjaro is cold, with temperatures on rare occasions dropping to -20°C (-4°F).
So, when getting dressed each day, you’ll need a minimum of three layers covering your entire body, although your feet, hands and face are obviously the most exposed. Your first layer needs to be tight, your second should provide thermal insulation and your outer layer should be a wind- and waterproof shell. If you’re lucky enough to encounter warmer weather, then you can simply shed a layer.
Talk to us about the gear you require. You don’t want to pack too much as someone else has to carry your bags.
On the climb
If you’ve carried out our suggestions successfully your chances reaching that distant Uhuru Peak have increased dramatically. Our final advice is to respect the altitude by following these tips:
- Maintain a slow, steady ascent
- For acclimatisation purposes, walk high and sleep low
- Drink as much water as possible throughout the climb
- Eat even though you have no appetite
- Manage your oxygen intake vs. consumption
Now that you have an idea of what you can expect from the journey, can we help you make your wish to climb Kilimanjaro a reality?
Frequently Asked Questions about Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
A Grumeti safari is rewarding throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Grumeti Game Reserve is during the migration months of June and July - when massive herds of wildebeest arrive to cross the crocodile-infested Grumeti River… go there.
The best time to visit Arusha National Park is from June to October, during the dry season. It is easier to spot the wildlife - since they normally gather around the waterholes, rainfall is minimal, vegetation is not too thick and mosquitos… go there.
June to October is the best time to visit Mkomazi National Park. During the dry season - when the wildlife viewing is at its prime. go there.
July to October, during the dry months - is the best time to track the chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park. Chimpanzees can be found easily on the low mountains slopes. go there.
June to October is the best time to visit Mikumi National Park. During the dry season, the wildlife concentrate around waterholes and rivers - making it easier to spot them. go there.
There is no need to go overboard with fitness preparation for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. However, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a physical undertaking, so you should prepare yourself accordingly with a Kilimanjaro training program. Being in… go there.
June to September, during the dry season. The wildlife is easier to spot - since they congregate around the water sources. However, migratory birds can be found. go there.
January and February and from June to August after the rains. The wildlife stay within the park since there is still plenty of water - making it easier to spot the animals as well as the migratory birds are present. go there.
Reviews on our Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Discover Africa and Carel has put in such an effort for us to experience the annual wildebeest migration, meticulous planning and accurate predictions with logical and the best accommodation options both sides of the Mara River guaranteed us…
Jates and Hil Oettle
from South Africa
After initially contacting Discover Africa, Karl Svendsen contacted me and we started the process of getting a quote and defining an itinerary for a safari to Tanzania. Karl was extremely professional and timely in his responses and in short…
Fantastic safari and excellent logistics!
from United States
I just wanted to thank Discover Africa and Karl Svendsen - the safari was great - we saw many more animals than expected including cheetah, leopard, many lions and even a three-day old elephant calf. Additionally, we had our own hippo…
We had the most wonderful time in Tanzania. We left yesterday and miss it already. We saw the big 5 and felt super lucky to see the lions and leopard with their kill. Our guide was also wonderful. Thank YOU for planning our trip of a…
We had a wonderful experience with the Discover Africa team on our trip to Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we needed to head down early and their team were most helpful in arranging exciting new options for us…
History was made in supporting Chaeli Mycroft to become the 1st quadriplegic female to summit Kilimanjaro. What amazing partners Discover Africa are! Great communications from the home team ensured that getting to Tanzania happened without a…