Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa and a spiritual symbol of millions of people worldwide, beckons the climber with the challenge it offers and its unique awe-inspiring beauty. To experience its extraordinary sights and reach its summit is the goal of many worldwide. But the experience isn’t to be taken lightly – any successful Kilimanjaro climb needs to be properly prepared. The climb itself can last between 6 days and 9 days, depending on the route chosen.
The shortest Kilimanjaro climb is the Marangu route, which takes 6 days. It is the most popular choice among climbers because it offers basic accommodations in wooden huts. That said, the Marangu route has one major drawback – it has the highest failure rate. Lack of acclimatisation and too-little time to adjust to the altitude are likely the reasons why this path is not recommended by the majority of climbers.
The other 6-day route is the Rongai route. It differs from the Marangu route in that it offers very little in terms of basic accommodation – you’ll need to bring your own tent to set up camp each night. Because of the sparse offerings, the Rongai route has a much lower failure rate than its Marangu counterpart. The Rongai route is also the preferred route of many climbers because it is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north.
The Umbwe route is the next longest Kilimanjaro route, lasting 7 days, and is known for its steep climbs. It is, however, a much quieter trail than the others, ensuring you feel like you have the mountain all to yourself. Like the Rongai route, you will need to bring your own tent, which can make this route logistically difficult.
The 8-day Machame route is the most popular among experienced climbers. Its variety of terrain and beautiful scenery make it the perfect choice for those who want to experience all aspects of Kilimanjaro’s amazing landscape. It also offers a greater chance of acclimatising and thus higher success rate.
Finally, the Northern Circuit route is the longest Kilimanjaro climb, lasting a whopping 9 days. It offers most challenging climb but also the greatest reward, with spectacular views of the mountain’s northern face. As it is the least-trodden trail, it offers an immense feeling of adventure and wildness.The Northern Circuit route is recommended for those who have already climbed Kilimanjaro before and are looking for a new and more challenging experience.
Different Equipment Required
When it comes to the equipment you’ll need to complete a successful Kilimanjaro climb, the length of the route will influence what you bring. During a 6-day or 7-day route, the amount of equipment you’ll need will be minimal, including several days of food, enough water for the whole journey, a good sleeping bag, a tarp and a warm coat.
For those undertaking a 9-day route, the weight and bulk of the equipment you take will obviously increase, but you’ll also need to bring along essential items such as water-purifying tablets, a cooking stove and fuel, warm clothing, a sun hat and sun block, hiking poles, gaiters, a first-aid kit, gloves, and a blanket for the summit night.
Making sure your body is ready to climb is a critical step to a successful Kilimanjaro climb. The key to a successful acclimatisation is to ascend slowly and steadily to the summit. While most people focus on physical fitness, acclimatisation will make or break your summit bid, and so plenty of rest is just as important as physical fitness in helping your body adjust to the altitude.
It is important to set a pace that your body can handle – this means going slow and steady, taking plenty of breaks, and avoiding overexerting yourself. You should also make sure you are drinking enough water and eating a nutritious diet to help your body acclimatise more easily. Finally, listen to your body and be aware of the signs of altitude sickness such as headache, nausea, breathlessness, and overall fatigue – and act quickly if these signs arise.
In order to reach the summit, your body needs to be in good physical shape. It is recommended that you get into shape by training both your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Aerobic exercises such as running and brisk walking can help build up your endurance, while anaerobic exercises such as weight training and interval training can help build strength and power. In addition, it is a good idea to practice hiking while carrying a heavy pack a few months before you attempt the climb.
It is important to listen to your body and not to over-exert yourself during training. The aim of the training is to build up your body’s capacity for endurance, rather than trying to push it to the limit.
The cost of a Kilimanjaro climb can vary widely depending on the route you take and the support level you choose. Generally speaking, longer routes with more day on the mountain tend to be more expensive. Tour companies are the most expensive option, with prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to more than five thousand depending on the length of the route and the type of support you choose.
For the budget-savvy climber, there are plenty of DIY options available. If you choose to go the do-it-yourself route, you will need to cover the costs of all of your equipment, food, and transport to and from the mountain. You will also need to hire a guide and porters – these costs usually range from $100-$150 per day, with an additional $100 per day for the porters.
Kilimanjaro has five main climate zones, ranging from the lush rainforest at its base all the way up to the barren summit. Therefore, it is essential to be prepared for a range of conditions by bringing the appropriate clothing. Base layers should be comfortable enough for the warm and humid conditions at the start, with mid-layers and outer layers for the cold, windy and dry conditions higher up the mountain. Make sure you have enough layers to stay warm at night when temperatures can drop drastically.
It is also important to protect yourself from the sun with a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. It can be difficult to get sunburn at higher elevations due to the thin air, and it is important to take the necessary precautions to protect your skin.
Option of Guides and Porters
An experienced guide and porters will be your most valuable asset when it comes to a successful Kilimanjaro climb. Your guide will be the person responsible for your safety, as well as your source of information about the mountain and its history. The porters will carry the majority of your gear and equipment, making the climb much easier and more enjoyable.
For this reason, it is essential to find a reputable guide and porter service that can provide trustworthy and experienced personnel. Look at online reviews and ask for recommendations from previous climbers. The cost for guides and porters varies, so make sure you shop around for the best deal to suit your budget.
Health Risks and Prevention
Altitude sickness is the biggest risk on a Kilimanjaro climb. Make sure you are aware of the signs, know how to prevent it, and how best to react if it occurs. Drink plenty of water, take it slow, and give your body as much rest as needed.
In addition, make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the sun and the cold. Wear the right clothing, use sunscreen and lip balm, and keep your head and face warm with a hat or a buff. Make sure you are eating a nutritious diet, and pack the right medications and first aid kit in case of any medical emergencies.