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Everything about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the highest free-standing mountains in the world. A successful climb of Mount Kilimanjaro will provide you with an unforgettable experience. There are many things to consider before attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It is essential to prepare for the trek with good physical fitness and a guide who is knowledgeable about the mountain. You should be aware that it is a long journey and you must bring clothing for all weather conditions and have insurance with you. Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular tourist destination and attracts over 25,000 visitors each year. The mountain has three volcanic cones known as Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. The first two are dormant, while the third may still be active. For those who want to climb this iconic mountain, there are certain things they must know before embarking on their journey. Find in this article the 12 things to know to prepare for your Mount Kilimanjaro ascent.

climb of mount kilimanjaro - how to prepare and questions

Will the altitude affect me ?

The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro reaches over 5,800 m/19,000 feet. At this altitude, it is common for travelers to experience adverse health effects, regardless of their age, gender, or physical condition. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Each individual will adapt differently to the altitude and thinning air. That's why we always try to keep the ascent slow and steady, allowing your body to acclimatize and making your journey to the summit easier. Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to worsen significantly at high altitudes and may be difficult to adequately treat at ground level, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition(s) with your doctor.

Are there any age restrictions for trekking Mount Kilimanjaro?

The regulation for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro specifies a minimum age of 10 years, with no maximum age limit, but all Intrepid travelers must be over 15 years old. Although there is no maximum age for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it is essential to remember that the ascent is challenging and presents health risks, especially for individuals belonging to high-risk categories. Special attention should be given to anyone under the age of 18 and over the age of 60.

What will I eat ?

To reach the summit, you'll need the right fuel, which is why our chefs will provide you with delicious and nutritious meals throughout your hike. Our porters carry all the necessary equipment and supplies, and you'll get to enjoy local dishes. We can accommodate food allergies and dietary requests, but please let us know when booking. It's also a good idea to bring your own comfort snacks from home to maintain your energy level during the more challenging sections of the trail.

What will I drink ?

During the trek, your guides will boil and cool 3 liters of water for you per day. This ensures that the water is safe to drink, and you'll stay hydrated throughout the trek. We recommend bringing 3 reusable 1-liter water bottles. Please note that disposable plastic containers are not allowed on the mountain.

Where will I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Your accommodation will vary depending on the itinerary you choose. On the Machame and Rongai routes, you will camp under the stars with a full-service camping experience. You don't need to bring anything except your enthusiasm. Our two-person tents are ideal for expedition trips and feature a double nylon ripstop flysheet, mosquito netting, reflective guy ropes, and a 3000mm water head, ensuring you stay warm and dry even in challenging conditions.

If you opt for the Marangu route, you will enjoy basic yet comfortable accommodation in A-frame wooden huts with single beds and simple mattresses. Due to limited accommodation on the mountain, you may need to share a hut with non-Intrepid passengers and/or individuals of the opposite sex. These sleeping huts do not have facilities, but there are separate washroom huts with communal toilets and washing facilities.

What if I have never hiked before?

While no mountaineering experience is required, a good level of fitness is necessary. You should be comfortable walking 6 to 8 hours uphill per day. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it more challenging than your average uphill hike. We recommend increasing your aerobic exercises in the months leading up to the ascent, such as walking, running, or stair climbing. There is plenty of time available each day to move between huts or camping sites, so there's no need to rush. In fact, the slower you go, the more time your body has to acclimatize, and the more you will enjoy the experience.

What is the ideal time to visit Mount Kilimanjaro?

The location of Kilimanjaro near the equator is a significant advantage, with very little seasonal variation in climbing conditions. That being said, the rainy seasons from March to May and from November to December can make the trail a bit slippery. In general, January, February, and September are considered the best times to climb the mountain.

What will the weather be like at Mount Kilimanjaro ?

Part of what makes Kilimanjaro so unique is the diversity of ecosystems and microclimates on its slopes. This same advantage is what makes predicting conditions a challenge. You should be prepared for anything, from humid rainforests to sub-zero landscapes. The weather is likely to change without warning, and it's best to be prepared for all possibilities.

What do the toilets look like at Mount Kilimanjaro ?

In one word? Improved. Until recently, the sanitary facilities left much to be desired, but fortunately, the park authorities have started addressing the issue. State-of-the-art eco-toilets have now been constructed in the main campsites. There is also the option to arrange for a portable toilet tent for the entire trip. Please consult your booking agent to inquire about the cost of this service.

What is the average success rate for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro ?

The success of each ascent depends on a number of variable factors, such as the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro and the age and fitness level of each hiker. That being said, we have achieved a success rate of 75% to Uhuru Peak on all three climbing routes.

Do mountain guides carry first aid kits ?

Yes, we provide several comprehensive first aid kits, and our mountain guides are well-trained in their use. All of our mountain guides are qualified in first aid.

Are mountain guides trained to recognize the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) ?

Absolutely! We work with the top operators who have the highest training standards of all Kilimanjaro operators. This includes advanced high-altitude training conducted by a British doctor and altitude research specialist. One of the key elements of this is training on the Lake Louise Altitude Sickness Scoring System, which allows our mountain guides to effectively monitor clients constantly during their time on Kilimanjaro and assess if they are suffering from AMS and, if so, the severity of AMS. We also train them on how to respond in the case of moderate or severe altitude sickness – which will always mean organizing for the affected client to descend immediately. During your first-night briefing of your outing, your mountain guide will talk to you about AMS symptoms and how to recognize them.

Do you bring altitude medication ?

Yes - there are two key, potentially life-saving medications that our teams carry on the mountain. These are dexamethasone and nifedipine, and they are used to treat cerebral and pulmonary edema, which are the two potentially fatal complications of severe AMS. Our mountain guides are perfectly trained in the use of these medications for altitude-related illnesses. Please note that we do not carry Diamox on our Kilimanjaro treks. The reason for this is that while medical research suggests that Diamox can be very effective in aiding acclimatization to altitude, it has been found to be much less effective in treating severe AMS. You may want to talk to your doctor before traveling about getting a prescription for Diamox to help with acclimatization during your Kilimanjaro ascent.

How much does climbing Mount Kilimanjaro cost ?

There are many different routes that climbers can take, which means that some routes will be more expensive than others.

The price of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro varies from $3,000 to $7,000 US dollars.

The price depends on the route and the company you choose to go with.

However, it's important to note that each route has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's best to research all of them before making a decision. High park fees and logistical costs mean that there is no cheap way to climb Kilimanjaro. The best way to reduce costs is to join a group and stick to a well-known, heavily trafficked, and less logistically complicated route.


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