Welcome to Kilimanjaro Guide on Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro

Our aim is to provide free and inspiring advice to help you prepare for an amazing Kilimanjaro trekking experience. On this page, We cover everything you need to know about Mount Kilimanjaro and how to prepare for your summit attempt.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is often taken lightly, because we no ropes, irons or other attachments need, this does not mean that you will reach the top. Every year approximately 22 000 people start the climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, only 60% gets the actual summit also (Uhuru Peak). 40% do not make it have different reasons, it may be because their condition is not good enough, or that they deal with altitude sickness get (throbbing headache, vomiting, nausea, and feeling tired and lethargic), in most cases, this time will be noticed by your guide, but unfortunately there are still too many incompetent guides, or not notice this too late. Every year people die by incompetent guides, be sure you book with a professional and competent company. All our main guides have at least 5 years experience with climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, and have the proper training and papers.

I climbed myself Kilimanjaro, and it is a fantastic ascent you the rest of your life with will continue, but beginning well organized the climb, these are a few tips which I definitely would recommend, also improve these tips your chances of reaching the summit considerably:

  • Train at least two months before your departure two to three times a week, you can go jogging or take long walks.
  • Train with a backpack of at least four kilograms, you carry on Mt. Kili itself a backpack that weighs about four kilograms (packed lunch, camera, binoculars, water, etc.), if you’ve never trained with this you get great muscle soreness in your shoulders.
  • Walk in your shoes, so do not go with brand new shoes on the mountain.
  • Get enough socks dry, this helps prevent blisters.
  • Take a high factor sunscreen, factor 25 or 30, at 3000-4000 meters altitude you naturally burn faster.
  • Take muesli bars and glucose along (dextro energy).
  • Enough warm clothes (flees).
  • Sufficient water purification tablets.
  • Norit tablets.
  • Good sunglasses (with UV filter).
  • Any tablets that help prevent altitude sickness, such as Diamox.
  • Headlamp or flashlight.
  • Rainwear.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Reading book and / or music.
  • Drink plenty of water during each trip.
  • Walk slowly and enjoy the surroundings. (too quickly climb up increases the risk of altitude sickness).
  • Mount Kilimanjaro Hike: Reaching Uhuru peak is achievable for people of all ages – from 12 to 70+ years old. Yes, you read that right.
  • There are kids and seniors that conquer Kilimanjaro, so you can too!

Kilimanjaro FAQs

How difficult is Kilimanjaro?

Hiking Kilimanjaro has its difficulties. Although it doesn’t require any technical climbing or mountaineering skills, due to the high altitude, it is a tough challenge. Anyone with the right level of fitness and mental determination can climb Kilimanjaro though.

Mount Kilimanjaro Overview: Why is Kilimanjaro famous?

Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in the Northern part of Tanzania, in the Kilimanjaro National Park. It covers an area of 100 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide.

The mountain is a dormant volcano that is comprised of three volcanic cones, Shira, Kibo (on which Uhuru summit stands) and Mawenzi.

Kibo is classified as dormant but not extinct. The last major eruption from Kibo occurred 350,000 years ago. The last volcanic activity happened 200 years ago and resulted in today’s ash pit (visible from Uhuru Peak).

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. By free-standing, or non-massif, we mean it is not part of a mountain range.

The height of Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895m or 19,341 feet, and its main summit is called Uhuru Peak. To put Mt Kilimanjaro’s height into perspective, Mount Everest stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) – just over 2,950 meters higher.

But here’s an interesting Kilimanjaro Fact: Both Everest Base Camp’s (EBC) – South and North – are below the summit of Kilimanjaro; however, most hikers take upwards of 8-10 days to reach EBC.

On Kilimanjaro trekkers on fast routes reach the summit within 4-5 days. The rapid ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro makes it a difficult and rather dangerous mountain to hike due to the risks of altitude sickness.

As the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits

What are Kilimanjaro Hike Routes?

There are 7 official routes on Kilimanjaro. Check out our Kilimanjaro route overview article where we provide a summary of the pros and cons of each trail to the peak.

What are Kilimanjaro Hike Routes?

There are 7 official routes on Kilimanjaro. Check out our Kilimanjaro route overview article where we provide a summary of the pros and cons of each trail to the peak.

Popular Southern Circuit Routes

Lemosho Route
The Lemosho starts on the far Western side of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is best trekked on a 7 or 8-day itinerary and offers great acclimatisation. High summit success rates and awesome scenery make the Lemosho one of our favourite routes on Kilimanjaro. Discover the lemosho Route.

Machame Route
The Machame starts from the South-west at a slightly lower altitude than the Lemosho. It is typically completed on a 6 or 7-day itinerary, with the latter offering better acclimatisation and higher summit success rates. Like the Lemosho it is scenic and a great route to choose. Discover the Machame route.

Other Unique Kilimanjaro Route

Options

Marangu Route
The Marangu is the only route with hut accommodation. It tends to be the most popular route as it is shorter and cheaper than others. Success rates are relatively low though. If you are considering the Marangu make sure you choose the 6-day itinerary (not the 5-day). Learn more about the Marangu Route.

Northern Circuit
The Northern Circuit is the longest and quietest route on Kilimanjaro. The route starts on the Lemosho but then traverses the Northside of the mountain and approaches the Uhuru Peak via Gilman’s Point. It’s a great trail if you have the time and money, and want to avoid the busier trails. Learn more about the Northern circuit

Rongai Route
The Rongai is the only route that starts in the north, from the Kenyan border. The trail offers some of the best low lying images of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is also a great option if you are restricted to climbing during the rainy season, as the north tends to be in a rain shadow. Learn more about the Rongai Route .

Kilimanjaro Routes (Not Recommended)

Shira Route The Shira is the old starting point from the Western side of Kilimanjaro. Since the Lemosho gate opened, the Shira has become much less popular as its start point is relatively high, and therefore not good for acclimatisation. Learn more about the Shira Route.

Western Breach The Western Breach is a somewhat technical approach to Kilimanjaro. The route bypasses the Southern Circuit and heads north past Lava Tower. The trail is rocky and unstable. Rockfalls are common and we do not recommend this route. Learn more about the western Breach.

Umbwe Route
The Umbwe starts in the south and follows a relatively direct path up to Lava Tower, where it joins the Southern Circuit routes to Barranco. Due to its fast and direct approach, acclimatisation opportunities are poor and we don’t recommend it. Learn more about the Umbwe route.

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

The best time to hike Kilimanjaro is January–March and June–October. The former season is generally colder than the latter but is also often quieter.

January-March : January through March is a good time to climb Kilimanjaro. The weather is pretty stable and there isn’t much rain. It is however colder during this period. Snowfall at or near the sum

April-May : April and May are the rainy season months. It is not a great time to hike Kilimanjaro. Heavy rainfall on the lower reaches of the mountain is common. Cloud cover and poor visibility are also significant during this period.

June-October : June through October is the busiest season on the mountain as it coincides with the summer holiday period in Europe and N. America. The weather is also very good. Generally dry and warm during the day.

November-December : November is a light rainy season. The Rongai makes for a good choice during this month as the North tends to stay dry. December is fast becoming a popular season, despite being very cold on the summit.

How many people hike Kilimanjaro each year?

Approx. 35,000 people attempt to hike Kilimanjaro every year.

What is Kilimanjaro summit success rate?

Kilimanjaro’s summit success rate varies from 45% to over 85%, depending on the route chosen. The chances of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro are highly dependent on the number of days taken to trek the mountain. The more days the higher the probability of success as your body has more time to adapt and acclimatize.
Insight from the tour operators we work with shows that success rates are over 85% for all the trekkers who take up Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru.

What’s the best training for Kilimanjaro plan?

You should do at least 6-8 weeks of training before embarking on your Kilimanjaro trek. The best type of training is in fact long-distance mountain trail walking. If you can’t get out into the mountains though, then aerobic gym workouts (running, cross-training, swimming etc.), that combine some strength work (especially leg workouts) are a good bet. See our detailed kilimanjaro training guide.

What is the minimum age to climb Kilimanjaro?

The minimum age to climb Kilimanjaro is 10 years or older, however, it is possible to get special permission from the Tanzanian government to take children younger than 10 years old on a Kilimanjaro expedition.

Do you recommend going on safari before or after hiking Kilimanjaro?

I recommend arranging a safari after your Kilimanjaro hike. This removes any stress associated with thinking about the climb whilst on safari, and you can relax and enjoy the wildlife. Here’s our complete guide on Tanzania safari.

How many people die annually climbing Kilimanjaro?

We estimate between 3-10 die hiking Kilimanjaro each year. Deaths on the mountain occur due to various reasons including AMS (such as HACE and HAPE), falls, and hypothermia. Sometimes porters die due to the onset of malaria whilst on the trek. Unfortunately, KINAPA doesn’t provide official statistics on deaths so you may see many conflicting figures on the internet.

Is climate change affecting Kilimanjaro glaciers?

Yes, climate change is affecting Kilimanjaro glaciers, unfortunately. There is scientific consensus that Mount Kilimanjaro’s glaciers have been rapidly receding for the past century, and that human-induced climate is largely to blame. The whole mountain summit was covered by an ice cap at one stage, probably more than 100 meters deep. However, since 1912 Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its ice cap and since 1962 it has lost 55% of its remaining glaciers. If the present rate of receding continues the majority of the glaciers on Kilimanjaro could vanish altogether.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONING TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO

Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 ft. is an extreme, high-altitude climb and is perhaps the most underestimated of the seven summits. You should be comfortable walking four to eight hours per day. Summit day is the most demanding portion of the climb, typically involving eight hours for the ascent, and six to seven hours for the descent. Our expeditions require strength and endurance. Being in sound physical condition is the single most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential. The better your physical condition, the more likely you are to perform well and have an enjoyable experience. The most frequent comment we have received over the years is that climbers have underestimated the fitness level needed to fully enjoy their trip. Additionally, inadequate fitness will affect the atmosphere, pace, and overall enjoyment of the climb for all participants. We highly recommend checking with your physician before undertaking any strenuous activity.

Client Success

Any operator claiming to have 100% success rate with all their clients is most probably lying. There will inevitably be situations where a climber is unable to make the summit, perhaps from asthma, fatigue, mountain sickness or injury. If any operator claims 100% success rate, they are either very new on the mountain or being economical with the truth. Notably, the routes with the highest success rates are the longer ones, Lemosho, Machame and Northern Circuits. Many of the higher-end operators will not use the shortest, Marangu route, as it is not particularly scenic, it’s very busy with budget operators and has a very poor acclimatization protocol.

How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

It costs between $2000-$3000 to hike Kilimanjaro.
Trekking Kilimanjaro is unfortunately not a very cheap activity. Prior to 1991 you could literally rock up in Moshi with a backpack, some dry food and a spirit for adventure, and be on a trail up to Kilimanjaro’s summit unsupported. Since the early 90s, though, trekkers have had to be accompanied by a registered guide and pay entrance park fees. The latter has got relatively expensive and can cost up to $1,000 depending on the length of a trek . Today, the standard setup for a climb involves a full support team of a guide, cook and porters, who are instrumental in getting most trekkers to the summit successfully and safely. The combination of high park fees and full support teams mean that an average Kilimanjaro hike (excl. travel expenses like flights and off-mountain expenses) costs between $2,000-$3,000. It is possible to find climbs for as little as $1,500 but these tend to be with operators who have questionable practices, particularly with regard to how much they pay their porters.

Can you give me more detail on Kilimanjaro weather?

Kilimanjaro’s weather is heavily influenced by the interaction of trade winds.
The Southeast trade winds travelling over the Indian Ocean carry loads of moisture. When they hit Kilimanjaro, around March, they are forced upwards where they condense, form clouds and precipitation. This means March through to May is the wettest season on Kilimanjaro.
Anti-trade winds from the northeast carry very little moisture but blow strongly. The strength of these winds which last from April through to October keeps the Southeast trade winds below them, hence these months are usually dry and cloud cover and precipitation is generally restricted to the lower slopes.
The Northeast monsoon arrives in November and brings some light rains to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro.
March, April and November are the wettest months on Mt Kilimanjaro. January-March and June-October are the best months for trekking. Snowfall and cold temperatures are common during December-May.