Preparing For Your Climb on Mount Kilimanjaro
A trek to Kilimanjaro’s summit, Uhuru Peak 5,895m, will possibly be the most incredible experience in your life time.
With that in mind you will want to ensure that your body is in the right physical condition before you make the attempt, you have packed the necessary items, you have the proper documents and travel insurance and you have consulted with your doctor regarding vaccinations.
The following information will help you be well prepared for your climb:
Make sure you understand Altitude Sickness
Get advice from a Travel Doctor
- We believe you should be aware of altitude sickness (and symptoms) as a danger to your health and in certain circumstances can cause death. Altitude sickness can be common and your guides are trained to recognize and observe for these symptoms.
- We would strongly recommend you discuss the cause and prevention of Altitude Sickness with your Travel Doctor prior to departing your country.
- Most people can ascend to 2,500 metres with little or no effect. Some people commence to display symptoms of altitude sickness after this height.
WHAT IS A HIGH ALTITUDE SICKNESS
|High altitude||2500 to 4000m(8,000 to 13,000feets)|
|Very High||4000m to 5500m(13,000 to 18,000feets)|
|Extremely High||5500m (18,000feets) and above|
The summit of Kilimanjaro(Uhuru peak) is 5895m so it is in extremely high categories. This bring the possibility of altitude sickness therefore it needs attention for your safety.
Please see your travel doctor for advice on vaccinations.
You may be require to have proof of yellow fever to land in Tanzania. Please check this site for more info http://www.taa.go.tz/index.php/traveller-guides/health-requirements
Some other Vaccinations that should be considered with your Doctor are as follows:
- Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
Malaria is an ongoing concern in Tanzania.
- You need to be aware of this concern and take the appropriate preventative measures.
- We recommend seeing your Health Professional/Travel Doctor regarding prevention well before you leave home. Some malaria medications need to be taken days before the trek commences.
- A good insect repellant containing DEET is also recommended to prevent bites.
- As you commence your trek, there are no mosquitoes on the mountain. It is still possible to get malaria before or after the trek or whilst on safari.
- Please be careful. Malaria can be treated, but prevention is the better alternative.
Stay well hydrated on your trek
It is important to keep well hydrated, particularly whilst trekking Kilimanjaro. If you develop diarrhea it is important to rehydrate with solutions such as Dioralyte or Hydrolyte. Hydrolyte added to your boiled water (supplied each day of your trek by Majestic Kilimanjaro) is actually very useful for staying hydrated even if you do not suffer from diarrhea.
You may wish to discuss with your Health Professional taking an antibiotic such as Ciproxin with you in case you get bad diarrhea. This is a prescription only medicine but may greatly assist in your recovery with diarrhea.
Some preventative measures are very important. Suffering from diarrhoea may jeopardise your chances of summiting.
Below are some tips to prevent this potential problem when in Tanzania:
- Unless you are sure of the water supplies’ purity, don’t drink it. Remember water can also be contained in ice added to drinks, the washing of salad products and even when cleaning your teeth.
- On your trek with Majestic Kilimanjaro you will be given three (3) litres of boiled water per per person per day.
- If you are uncertain about your water supply, use bottled water which is freely available and inexpensive in Tanzania. Hot tea and coffee, bottled drinks are usually safe. If in doubt, don’t drink it.
- Take precautions with local foods. Eat cooked vegetables and avoid salads that have been prepared with local water supplies.
- Boil un-pasteurised milk before use.
- Cook meats well and eat whilst hot. Take care with local cheeses and ice cream.
- Be careful of shellfish and fish. They can be harmful even if cooked well.
- Peel all fruits including tomatoes.
- Wash all dishes in clean hot water.
- Wash hands regularly, thoroughly and always before eating. Sanitising gels are recommended and keep some upon you always.
Training for your climb
Good preparation and training for your Kilimanjaro trek will allow you to enjoy the experience and journey, rather than it just being a hard slog. For most people, the summit of Uhuru Peak is well within reach.
Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro on a regular trekking route requires no climbing with ropes. Your trek involves walking slowly up and down hills for extended periods of time EVERY day. You need to condition yourself for this type of extended walking.
Being physically fit and prepared will give you the best chance at acclimatisation and achieving your goal of standing on top the highest mountain in Africa.
Commence training at least 8 Weeks before
- Try to commence your training programme at least 8 weeks prior to your trek.
- While running, cycling and swimming are all good for your aerobic fitness, the best training for your trek is simply to walk or hike, particularly up and down hills in the bush, woods or trails (not just paved roads).
- Stairs (or the Stair Master at the gym) are also particularly good training for Kilimanjaro. Bush or trail hikes and stairs will simulate your Kilimanjaro trek and allow your leg muscles to gain strength and prepare for these extended trek days.
- If you’ve never hiked before, you should start with shorter time intervals, a slower pace, and no weight (in your day pack) and then gradually increase all of the above as your fitness level improves.
- Given at least 8 weeks of preparation, your body will have a good chance to gain stamina, strength and fitness.
- Generally, you are conditioning your body to walk for between 4 to 6 hours EVERY day carrying a personal day pack weighing between 7 and 10kg.
Fitness allows your body to function efficiently with less oxygen. General aerobic fitness allows the body to function efficiently with less oxygen and a fit body is more likely to withstand the stress of consecutive days on the mountain.
Fitness will also help your mental attitude. A fit and prepared body will also give you the best defence of mental fatigue when the going gets tough on the mountain. A positive mental attitude is very important for your successful summit. If you have any queries regarding your Kilimanjaro training, don’t hesitate to ask.
What Do You Need to Bring?
It is difficult to give trekkers an all encompassing list of clothing and equipment required, however, we think we have pretty much covered it below. The days on Kilimanjaro will usually warm up where you may be able to wear just a shirt. Other days you will need considerably more warm clothing. As the altitude increases, the nights become cold to very cold. A good quality sleeping bag and warm clothing are essential.
Below is a list of equipment and clothing you are required to bring. Most items are recommended. Some items will be marked as optional and some will be marked as essential.
Please ask for Assistance from us
If you have any questions about what is required, please ask for assistance.
As part of our service, you will be met by your guide the day before your departure for Kilimanjaro. He will do a complete gear and clothing check with you as well as brief you on the full details of your trek. This will allow for any last minute changes if you happen to have left something behind.
No Showers on Kilimanjaro
Please remember there are no showers or washing facilities on Kilimanjaro. You only have what you pack until your return to Arusha.
Personal Items & Personal Equipment
A trek on Kilimanjaro requires you to bring items of a personal nature. Tents, food, sleeping mattress, cooking utensils and private toilet (if applicable) will be provided.
- 1 Waterproof Jacket – breathable with hood (essential).
- 1 Waterproof pants – breathable (essential) – recommend you have side zippers for your legs.
- 1 Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down (essential).
- 1 Jacket – soft shell or fleece.
- 1 Light weight short sleeve shirt, moisture-wicking type fabric.
- 2 Long Sleeve Shirts, light-weight, moisture-wicking type fabric.
- 2 Pairs of hiking pants – zippers to convert to short if desired.
- 1 Pair fleece Pants – mid weight to heavy weight.
- 1 Pair hiking shorts for the first or last day (optional).
- 1 Pair long underwear (top and bottom) – thermals (recommended) with moisture-wicking fabric recommended.
- 3 Pairs underwear briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended).
- 1 Pair skins (recommended – particularly if prone to chaffing).
- 1 Hat – wide brimmed hat for sun protection (recommended).
- 1 Scarf or neck gaiter – also known as a neck warmer (recommended).
- 1 Knit wool hat for warmth – beanie (essential).
- 1 Balaclava – for face coverage (optional).
- 1 Pair down mittens or gloves – warm (waterproof recommended). Ski gloves work well if you have them.
- 1 Pair light weight waterproof gloves that allow you to use your fingers more than ski gloves would (optional)
- 1 Glove Liners, thin, synthetic, worn under gloves for added warmth (optional).
- Hand warmers – optional but worth considering.
- 1 Pair hiking boots. Waterproof (Goretex). Well worn in, good ankle support with spare pair of laces (essential).
- 1 Pair running type shoes or sandals for changing into at camp sites (optional).
- 3 Pair socks. Thick, wool, synthetic or combination of both.
- 3 Pair sock liners. Synthetic and light. Prevents blisters (optional).
- 1 Pair gaiters ankle length. Goretex/waterproof. Tracks can be muddy and will prevent scree entering boots (highly recommended).
If you are someone who finds going downhill difficult after a while, we highly recommend you bring knee supports with you. They may help you as there is quite a bit of downhill walking you will need to do especially after your summit.
- 1 Sleeping bag. Three or four seasons bag. Rated to minimum -15 degrees centigrade (essential). Conversion: -10 degrees Celsius = 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 1 Sleeping bag liner for extra warmth (optional)
- 1 Pair trekking poles. Extendable (highly recommended).
- 1 Quality head lamp with extra batteries (essential)
- 1 Back pack or duffel bag – 70 to 90 litres in size (essential). Waterproof essential. To be carried by Porter.
- 1 Back pack – day pack. 25 to 35 litres in size. For personal gear during the day (essential).
- 1 Day pack cover. Waterproof with elastic outside edge for good fit.
- Stuff sacks for contents of back pack. Having several of these allows for items to be kept separated and easy to locate. All items in main back pack need to be water proofed. Use plastic bags if nothing else available.
- 1 Pair sunglasses (recommended)
- 1 Poncho for rainy season (optional)
- 2 Water bottles ( 1 litre each – Nalgene – recommended)
- 1 Water bladder 2 or 3 litre – Camelbak type (optional)
- 1 Towel (micro fibre type – lightweight and quick-dry (optional)
- 1 Pee bottle for night time (optional)
Other personal items
- Sunscreen (30+ essential)
- Lip Balm
- Insect Repellent, containing DEET
- First Aid Kit for personal use (Your head guide will carry a comprehensive kit)
- Hand Sanitizer
- Toilet Paper (optional, toilet paper will be provided with your private toilet facility)
- Wet Wipes – flat pack type (recommended)
- Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
- Pencil and Notebook, miniature, for trip log (optional)
- Camera, with extra batteries (optional)
- Trip Receipt
- Passport – essential
- Visa (available at any Tanzanian international airport and at the border if coming into the country by bus)
- Possibly a Yellow Fever Certificate – check if required at http://www.taa.go.tz/index.php/traveller-guides/health-requirements
- Travel Insurance Documents – essential
Service is usually available even at Uhuru Peak, depending on weather and your phone provider.
You are limited to bringing 15kg of your personal gear (excluding the items that you will carry in your personal day pack) in a waterproof 70 to 90 litre back pack or duffel bag. This will be carried by a Porter for you. You must stay within this guideline as these porter weights will be checked and enforced. All porters work under strict rules and for their safety cannot carry more than permissible. If you wish to carry more weight in addition to the above, extra Porters can hired. Please let us know if you have extra gear you wish to have carried.
Equipment that you may not readily own, such as gaiters, can be rented. We have an extensive list of items and their cost. You will need to give us notice in advance of what items you wish to rent.
Like many people who trek Kilimanjaro, you may also be taking safari or going to Zanzibar as a well earned rest after your climb. If you are/you may have a lot more luggage with you than you will need for your trek. Other luggage and items brought to Tanzania that you do not require for your trek can be stored at the hotel.
Take your Hiking Boots on the Plane
We always recommend that you carry or wear your hiking boots on the plane just in case your luggage is delayed or lost. Items of clothing can be replaced, but it is hard to replace your hiking boots. There are quality clothing outfitters in Arusha if the need arises or you have left something at home that cannot be rented.
PASSPORT & VISA
Minimum 6 month validity on passport required
You will need a passport with a minimum 6 months remaining validity at the completion of your stay in Tanzania. Please check the expiry date. Allow plenty of time to apply for a passport if you don’t have one. The process for obtaining a passport can be lengthy.
You will need a visa for entering Tanzania
For most travellers this is $50 U.S. currency. American citizens pay $100. It is advised you have the exact amount when paying this visa fee. If you are flying direct to Tanzania you can obtain your visa on arrival at any Tanzanian international airport. The line for obtaining this visa usually takes some time. Your other alternative would be to apply for your visa with Tanzanian authorities in your home country. You should also note the Tanzanian High Commission does advise visitors to apply for visas in advance as they reserve the right to deny you a visa on arrival. If unsure of your eligibility to enter Tanzania, apply for your visa prior to arrival.
Each traveller has the responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport and can meet the visa entry requirements. The above are guidelines only. Please make your enquires with the Tanzanian High Commission in your home country. If you enter Tanzania by road via another country, the above requirements still apply. A Visa can be obtained at border crossings.
For more information please check http://immigration.go.tz
Yellow Fever Certificate
Tanzanian Authorities may require that you have an up to date Yellow Fever Certificate, check this site
On Your Arrival
On your arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) our Majestic staff will meet you with your name posted on a sign, then transfer you to your hotel in Arusha (45 minutes, 55 kilometres).
Similarly if you arrive at Arusha Airport our staff will be there to with your name posted on a sign. The trip from Arusha Airport to your hotel will only be about 10 to 15 minutes.
We strongly recommend all our clients purchase Travel Insurance valid for entire duration of the trip when they book for their climb or safaris. There are many factors that could cause you to cancel or amend your trip and so insure you also have cover for trip cancellation, air fare cancellation penalties, baggage loss and medical expenses.