So you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro. That’s Awesome!
You probably have loads of questions. Things like: How do I get to Kilimanjaro? How fit do I need to be? Is it dangerous to climb Kilimanjaro? What are the main risks and how high is the probability of summiting? Which Kilimanjaro route should I take.
In this article we set out the main things you need to prepare to get ready to climb Kilimanjaro.
1. Choosing a route
There are 7 official routes on Kilimanjaro. Each offers trekkers something unique but some are better profiled for acclimatisation and summit success than others. What do I mean by that? Key to climbing Kilimanjaro safely and successfully is acclimatisation. This is the process of becoming accustomed to high altitudes where the air pressure is significantly lower than at sea level. Without proper acclimatisation you will likely experience altitude sickness, which is a potentially fatal condition. Key to acclimatisation on Kilimanjaro is choosing a route that gradually moves up the mountain in incremental stages that are spread across at least 6, ideally longer days. Equally important is not to rush or over exert yourself, and to ensure you stay well hydrated by drinking loads of waters. I recommend drinking at least three litres a day.
The three route that provide good acclimatisation options are the Lemosho route, the Machame route and the Rongai Route – each of these routes provide good climb high, sleep low profiles, which is great for acclimatisation.
You don’t need to be a super star fitness athlete to summit Kilimanjaro, but you should be in good cardiovascular shape. This means you will need to do some training before climbing Kilimanjaro. I recommend a three month training regime that builds up your stamina through cardiovascular exercises in the gym, lots of long-distance (4-5 hour) hikes during the weekend, and some strength training for your legs and upper body.
It is important that before you depart for Kilimanjaro you get all your administrative tasks in order. This means getting your passport ready and Tanzanian visa issued, get all your vaccinations (there are many nasties in Tanzania), get anti-malarial tablets and sorting our your travel insurance. Booking your flights early is also a great way to save money. Click here to find information on cheap flights to Kilimanjaro.
4. Getting to the top
Getting to the top requires loads of determination and grit. It is important to make sure you eat and drink well on the mountain as you will need the energy. Going slowly is also key to successfully summiting. Finally having a positive mindset, particularly when things get tough is a sure way to increase you chances of summiting.
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