Mount Kilimanjaro Hike- An info-graphic guide for beginners
More than 30,000 personnel hike mount Kilimanjaro every year and for countless it’s an adventure of a
lifetime. So, if you’re up for the challenge of climbing the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, we’ve
compiled everything you need to know in this beginner’s guide to Kilimanjaro trekking.
Kilimanjaro is unquestionably a challenge, so it’s important that you are completely prepared for your
mountain hike: which route is best to you, the best time to hike, fitness training, how to acclimatize to
high altitude and prevent altitude sickness, gear required, plus the logistics.
Where is Mount Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano located in Tanzania, formed by three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi
Located in the north-eastern part of the country, close to the Kenya-Tanzania border, the nearest city to
the mountain is Arusha and the nearest airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO).
How high is Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above sea level. Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding
mountain in the world (not part of a mountain range), Africa’s highest peak and one of the seven
summits (the highest mountains on each continent).
Our tailor-made Kilimanjaro trekking holidays start from £2,950 per person (Machame route, seven
nights), including all camping, trekking, porter service, plus accommodation and transfers either side of
your mountain climb.
Though, the rate of your Kilimanjaro trekking adventure rest on on a lot of different variables, including
which route you select to take, the time of year you hike, the level of professional service and other
Choosing a Kilimanjaro trekking route
If you’re extremely thoughtful in climbing Africa’s highest peak, it is significant to understand which
routes provides the highest summit success rates and weigh up the advantage and disadvantage of each
There are eight established Kilimanjaro routes: Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern
Circuit, Umbwe and The Western Breach. For the analysis of each, go through our blog.
We acclaim the Machame and Lemosho routes, and our first choice is the Lemosho, which is a beautiful
and remote trek that approaches the mountain from the southwest and links the busier Machame route
on day four.
The Lemosho is our chosen route because it provides equilibrium of low traffic, spectacular views and
high summit success rate.
It’s likely to hike the Lemosho route in six days, though we recommend a longer schedule of eight days,
including the summit day and descent. The longer ascent allows additional time to get accustomed to
high altitudes, increasing your chance of reaching the summit.
When to climb Kilimanjaro
While it is likely to hike Mount Kilimanjaro year round, there are certain months which are branded by
colder weather, more rain and actually lots of snow on the summit.
The best times to climb Kilimanjaro are considered to be throughout the warmest and driest times of
the year this is from December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October. Read our month-by month guide to the best time to climb Kilimanjaro to help you more
Deprived of doubt, climbing Kilimanjaro is a massive challenge that needs strength, stamina, thoughtful
determination and a very good level of fitness. You’ll have long days trekking at high elevation and a
great deal of physical effort is necessary.
It is important that you organize your circulatory system, muscles and joints for your Kilimanjaro hiking
Kilimanjaro training recommendations
We recommend that you get on on a training Programme at least two months earlier before your hike.
Tough, conditioned legs will make it easier to walk uphill and downhill for continuous duration of time
and general circulatory fitness will help your body function competently with less oxygen.
Running, swimming and cardio workouts will surely help your fitness levels, though the best workout
that you can do to prepare for your trek is regular climbing.
Acclimatizing to Kilimanjaro’s high altitude
The most common factor that prevents many climbers from reaching the summit at Uhuru Peak is not
the trekking, but altitude sickness (the inability to acclimatize to the high altitude).
Altitude sickness is normally triggered by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at high
elevations. The faster you climb, the more likely you will get acute mountain sickness
It is not only the height that causes acute mountain sickness but also the rate of ascent. Therefore, the
best safety precaution you can take for your Kilimanjaro climb is to allow plenty of time to become
properly acclimatized to high altitude.
One of the factors why we choose the eight-day hike through the Lemosho route is that it takes account
of planned acclimatization days, which will help your body to acclimatize to the high elevation.
“Pole-pole” is the motto on Kilimanjaro – it means “slowly, slowly” in Kiswahili – and throughout the trek,
your guides will keep saying “pole-pole” to you. They will make sure that you walk at a slow and stable
pace, and frequently remind you of the importance of adequate hydration.
Notwithstanding of your fitness levels and how slowly you ascend, it is possible that you will still feel
some of the special effects of elevation.
Most people experience mild altitude sickness and recover quickly. However, if you’re affected by a
serious altitude problem, you will need to descend to a lower altitude with a member of our local team
and it may be necessary to abandon the trek in the interest of your safety.
Symptoms of altitude sickness
The signs of altitude illness are the same to those of a hangover. Firstly, it starts with a headache, lack of
appetite, tiredness and feeling off stability.
More severe acute mountain sickness includes blue skin and lips (cyanosis), grey or pale complexion,
tight chest, cough and coughing up blood, confusion, decreased consciousness or withdrawal from social
interaction and not being able to walk well.
If you’re feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness, please tell your guide immediately and follow their
advice. It is irresponsible to continue if you’re suffering from any symptoms which need expert
Please note that the risk of altitude sickness will be increased if you’re already suffering from a
respiratory tract infection, such as a cold. If you have a cold or the flu, do not attempt to climb
Kilimanjaro until you are fully recovered.
Luggage and camping equipment
Entirely communal gears (tents, food, cooking items, etc.) are provided. Porters transport all the
communal equipment from one campsites to another also they will transport your duffel bag or a large
backpack. which have your personal belongings with your sleeping bag up to a maximum of 15 kilograms.
Any additional luggage that you may require after your trek can be safely stored at our office in Arusha.
You will hike with a small backpack carrying your personal things.
Personal trekking gear
We can send you a comprehensive list with details of all the personal gear (clothing, footwear and other
items) that you’ll need for the trek and we’ll let you know what items are available to rent locally,
including the prices.
In your hand luggage, you should bring your waterproof jacket and trousers, insulated jacket, toiletries,
medications, camera and all paperwork.
It is important that you wear your hiking boots on the flight, as if these are delayed or lost in your
luggage, you will need to buy a new pair and wearing a different pair of boots on your climb will be
uncomfortable and may cause blistering.
Planning, logistics & other information
In addition to your Kilimanjaro trek planning, there are other things to consider on the ground in
Tanzania. For more information, read our Wayfarer Travel Guide to Tanzania.
British nationals oblige a passport with at least one blank page and six months’ validity, plus a visa to
enter Tanzania. Single entry visas are available upon arrival at Tanzanian airports (around US$50) or you can obtain one in advance.
Visitors to Tanzania should ensure that they have Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Tetanus vaccinations. There
is a high risk of malaria in most areas of Tanzania, therefore anti-malaria medication is recommended
and you should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset, using insect
repellents on exposed skin and sleeping under a mosquito net.
With the exception of the rainforest section, there are almost no mosquitoes on Kilimanjaro, due to the
height above sea level. However, you might want to consider taking anti-malaria medication, especially
if you’re going on a safari in Tanzania either before or after your climb.
Please be aware that some anti-malarial medicine may have side effects. We recommend that you
consult your doctor for advice on whether or not to take malaria prophylaxis and about the effect of
altitude on the effects of your malarial medicine.
It is important that you acquire travel insurance that shields you for trekking at high altitude (up to 6,000
meters). If you’re unsure, please ask us for a quote.