How To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Successfully

Africa Information – Learning how to climb mountain Kilimanjaro is physically and mentally demanding. Many tourists would agree that reaching the “Roof of Africa” is every person’s Mount Everest according to information gathered by InformAfricaKilimanjaro Education Foundation has provided top ten tips on how to climb mountain Kilimanjaro successfully.

How to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and fourth highest of the Seven Summits, is considered the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, rising 15,100 feet (4,600 meters) from base to summit.

Mount Kilimanjaro, standing at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters) above sea level is not a technical climb and can be walked, but many people underestimate the altitude factor. The Kilimanjaro National Park shows that only 41 percent actually reach Uhuru Peak and about 10 each year die from the attempt. Some of the world’s fittest athletes have failed to reach the summit while others who have never climbed a mountain are successful. Some say a lot of it has to do with genetics while others say preparation is key for having a successful climb. One thing for sure is that the mountain is physically and mentally demanding.

Here are the top 10 tips to help increase your odds in reaching the summit and seeing one of the greatest views on earth.

Top Ten Tips For Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

1) Decide On A Good Date And Route

The best time of the year to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro is during the mountain’s two dry seasons: January to mid-March and June to October. Also plan your summit climb on the night of a full moon and you may not need your headlamp. Check out the moon phase calendar at There are six official trekking routes from Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai, Umbwe and Machame. The favorite, by far, is Machame because it is the most scenic, although a bit steeper, and can be completed in six or seven days. Attempting to summit in five days or fewer is not a good option and far from being fun. Increase your odds by attempting to summit on six days or longer. Give your body a chance to acclimate and no longer be jet lagged.

2) Choose An Experienced Tour Operator Or Private Guide

When researching your tour operator or private guide, always ask to speak to referrals. Do a Google search to see what has been said about them. Don’t necessarily go with the cheapest option or you may get what you pay for. Ask if they have insurance for getting you off the mountain in case of an emergency. Also ask if they carry oxygen and a finger pulse oximeter to check your oxygen twice each day. To buy your own pulse oximeter, visit

3) Climb for Charity

Voluntourism is travel which includes volunteering for a charitable cause. Climbing for a cause other than yourself is not only great for the charity, but can serve as an additional motivator. Align yourself with a cause that you are passionate about, whether it’s a local, national or global initiative. Fundraising doesn’t have to be about raising money. If you work in eye care, collect glasses and give free eye exams to local students. Ask your operator about opportunities to visit an orphanage or school and teach English or paint a classroom.

4) Consult With A Physician

Visit your doctor and discuss your trip and get a full exam so you are cleared to go. This includes getting your teeth and ears checked out. If possible, visit a doctor who is experienced in visiting developing countries and can educate you on what precautions to take as well as getting the proper prescriptions, such as Diamox for altitude and shots to prevent Yellow Fever. Check out for more information.

5) Break In Your Hiking Boots

Be sure to wear them often with two layers of socks. If you live or work in a building, use the stairs as part of your training regimen.

6) Eat, Drink and Sleep Often

In high altitude, it is not uncommon to lose one’s appetite and have a difficult time sleeping. Eat whenever you feel hungry and bring some of your favorite comfort snack foods and sweets. On summit day, unwrap your sweets ahead of time so you don’t have to take off your gloves. Bring earplugs in case it’s noisy at night. Silicone earplugs are very comfortable. Water as we know has oxygen and drinking plenty of H2O is one way of giving the body more of it in high altitude. Drink as much as you can while on the mountain and make sure your water is boiled. It takes twice as long to boil water in high altitude. Try to also purify your water with a steripen. Buy a nalgene bottle that can also be used to hold hot water at night to put in your sleeping back. An insulated camel back for water is also a good purchase.

7) Walk Slowly 

It’s not a race up the mountain, so walk very slow even if others are passing you. The slower the better and do not exert yourself. Take in the entire experience. Buy a pair of trekking poles, more for descending on the last two days.

8) Bring An Extra Water Bottle Not For Drinking

Have a little water bottle that you can use to go to the bathroom at night in your tent so you don’t have to get dressed and go outside. For ladies, look into purchasing a Lady J or Sani Fresh Freshette.

9) Take Wipes and a Nail Clipper

Purchase some bathing wipes to feel clean after each day’s trek. A nail clipper comes in handy for cleaning your nails and cuticles from all the dirt you’ll be exposed to.

10) Learn A Few Swahili Words 

Your porters and guides will appreciate the few words of Swahili that you say to them. It will also make you feel good.

Mount Kilimanjaro Facts

Below are interesting facts about Mountain Kilimanjaro you should know:

  • Approximately 25,000 people attempt to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro annually. Approximately two-thirds are successful. Altitude-related problems is the most common reason climbers turn back.
  • The fasted verified ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro occurred in 2001 when Italian Bruno Brunod summitted Uhuru Peak in 5 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds. The fastest roundtrip was accomplished in 2004, when local guide Simon Mtuy went up and down the mountain in 8:27.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
  • The mountain’s snow caps are diminishing, having lost more than 80 percent of their mass since 1912. In fact, they may be completely ice free within the next 20 years, according to scientists.
  • South African Bernard Goosen twice scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair. His first summit, in 2003, took nine days; his second, four years later, took only six. Born with cerebral palsy, Goosen used a modified wheelchair, mostly without assistance, to climb the mountain.


Credit: Kilimanjaro Education Foundation 

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