How To Prepare For Kilimanjaro

Physical Fitness

It is no surprise that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro requires some physical fitness. It is a physically challenging climb and can be demanding on an unprepared body. To begin the journey, conditioning the body in advance should be the first step. Focus on leg and core strength, creating a strong foundation for the journey. Cardiovascular endurance is also essential. Cardio should not be neglected because a hiker will be out in the blazing sun carrying a backpack for several days, which makes walking somewhat strenuous in and of itself.

In addition to physical preparation, hikers should also be conscious of their hydration and nutrition. Lack of hydration could lead to fatigue and altitude sickness, so staying ahead of water intake is necessary. Foods high in carbohydrates and protein should be consumed to re-energize the body and give it what it needs to tackle the immense challenge of scaling Kilimanjaro.

Plenty of rest should also be taken in between intensive training. It is important for the body to have time to rest and heal as it will be put to the test up and on the mountain.

Awareness for Altitude Sickness

When training for Kilimanjaro, hikers should also consider the need for altitude awareness and practice proper acclimatization. Altitude Sickness is a real issue and can range in severity based on the individual. Taking proper ascent and rest days could reduce the chances of developing more serious symptoms like headaches, nausea, and in some cases, something more severe. Of course, if at any time a climber feels any of the symptoms of Altitude Sickness–or any other health-related issues, they should turn around, as safety should be the highest priority.

Planning is also essential when prepping for Kilimanjaro. Interested climbers should create an organized and detailed plan to ensure that all the required items for the journey, such as trekking clothing, boots and other necessary gear are obtained and brought along. Making a list of must-haves and double-checking that nothing is missed will make the journey feel more comfortable and help with the acclimatization process. Additionally, researching the route and familiarizing oneself with the terrain is also necessary, to understand the challenge that will lay ahead.

Proper Instruction and Guidance

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy task, and hikers should consider seeking professional instruction and guidance when preparing for their journey. Experienced climbers know the terrain and would be able to better prepare the hiker for their climb. Furthermore, local guides are necessary when attempting to reach the peaks. They understand the environment and the risks that come with it, so their presence is incredibly important in order to reduce the chance of any accidents happening.

The best preparation for the mountain is not only extensive physical and mental conditioning, but also obtaining the necessary guidance and instruction prior to the climb.

Rest and Relaxation

Rest and relaxation are a key aspect of any Kilimanjaro climb. A week before the trek, try to get in at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Stress levels should be kept to a minimum and the amount of caffeine or alcohol consumed should be reduced. When hikers are feeling calm and relaxed, they are more likely to make their way up the mountain at an optimal pace.

A good night’s sleep before the trek can also help prevent aches and pains, allowing the body to remain relaxed during the journey. When preparing to climb Kilimanjaro, preparation and rest should go hand in hand.

Right Clothing and Accessories

Having the right clothing and accessories is essential for a safe and enjoyable journey. It is important for climbers to invest in quality trekking clothing and boots. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, even after consulting the local weather forecast, a lightweight rain jacket or a windbreaker could prove to be very useful. Additionally, a good-quality pair of trekking shoes should be purchased to make the journey more comfortable.

Items like a Cap or Balaclava should be taken to protect the face when the sun is too intense and a beanie to protect against cold winds may be necessary. A pair of sunglasses can help protect the eyes from the intense rays of the sun. Proper clothing will come in handy especially when the unknown weather up the mountain sets in.


Having communication devices may not be the first thing that comes to mind when preparing, but they are essential to have while on the journey, to stay safe and connected in case of emergencies. Cellphone technology may not always be readily available on the mountain, and in the event of any harm or danger, alternatives like personal locaters or radios may come in handy. Therefore, it is important to remember to bring along the necessary devices or gear to ensure that availability is available in case of such emergencies.

If the hiker is travelling with a group, having radios or walkie-talkies is sure to add to the journey. Not only will this be great for communication up the mountain, but it can also be a great source of entertainment for the trek.

Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is of the utmost importance, especially in the unpredictable environment of Mount Kilimanjaro. Making sure that one is drinking enough water during their climb is essential; even if they don’t feel thirsty. Staying ahead of dehydration and drinking water at regular intervals is necessary to regulate the body’s temperature and reduce fatigue. By keeping an eye on the colour of urine, hikers will be able to better monitor hydration levels. Urine should be a pale yellow colour, indicating that the individual is hydrated and their body is functioning properly.

Proper hydration will also help with the body’s overall performance, enabling the hiker to make their way up the mountain at a steady pace. To ensure that hydration is not neglected at any point during the journey, bring a lightweight water purifier to be prepared for any situations that may arise.

Using the Right Gear

Using the right equipment when scaling Kilimanjaro could make the journey more enjoyable and efficient. An adjustable trekking pole will come in handy for tougher inclines and will help reduce strain on the knees and legs. A daypack can also help distribute the weight of the backpack and make the journey less strenuous.

Hiking gaiters may also be necessary during periods of heavy rainfall. This prevents muddy water from getting into the boots and keeps one’s feet clean and dry. Such simple things will help make the journey more enjoyable and less tiring on the body.

Personal Safety

Although traversing the slopes of Kilimanjaro has become easier over the years, it is not to be underestimated. Even with the proper guidance and instructions, the journey could still be challenging and potentially hazardous. Climbers should be well informed of the terrain, have the necessary safety gear and have some knowledge of first-aid. Additionally, keeping a communication device handy will prove to be invaluable in an emergency.

The journey to the summit should not be taken lightly and all necessary precautions should be made before attempting the venture. The physical and mental demands of the climb alone take a toll on the body, therefore, hikers should know their limits and turn back if their body or the weather conditions are not permitting. Safety should be the highest priority when scaling Mount Kilimanjaro.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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