Things To Know Before Climbing Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, rises dramatically from the Great Rift Valley and stand 5985m above sea level. The mountain is sacred to the local Maasai people, as the snowmelt from the peak has been nourishing the valley below for millions of years.

Known as  ‘Kilema Kyaro’ meaning ‘that which cannot be conquered’ in the local language, it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world

Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano comprised of three cones – Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. The summit is on the Kibo cone and is named Uhuru, which means freedom in Swahili. The mountain is 750,000 years old. The last major eruption was 350,000 years ago.

The journey to the top of the mountain is a trek through five distinct climate zones

Cultivated zone – 800m – 1800m.

Rainforest zone – 1800m – 2800m.

Heather Moorland zone-   2800m – 4000m

Highland Desert zone -4000m – 5000m.

Arctic zone- 5000m – 5895m

Mount Kilimanjaro has three altitude zones.

High altitude (2,500 – 3,500 metres)

Very high altitude (3,500 – 5,500 metres)

Extreme altitude (above 5,500 metres)

The onset of acute mountain sickness is at 2400m but increases as you breach the 3,000-meter mark.

Kilimanjaro can be climbed year round.  But the dry months of January-February and July-October are the best time to climb

It takes  anywhere between 5-9 days to climb the Kilimanjaro We recommend a longer duration route, minimum 7 days provides better acclimatization and increases chances of summiting

Tanzanian government stipulates that you must hire a local guide outfitter to climb Kilimanjaro. All trekkers are to be accompanied by a registered and licensed guide. Straying off the official routes  as well as staying in bivouacs or caves is  strictly prohibited

Tipping the guides is important and tip them generously irrespective of whether you make it to the top as they carry your load. Set aside $500 for tips. They are poor and  use the income to support their family

There are seven official routes. Marangu, Machame and Lemosho are popular picks.

Kili is chilly year-round. As you gain altitude, the temperature plummets and touches freezing points.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is an expensive proposition so budget plenty of money from $1000-$4000

Natures call is attended in the lap of nature in the scant bushes. You will have to shell out  extra for portable toilet

Ensure that your gear is in order and you have all that you need or might need. You can also get the gear and equipment on rent

Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb but does require a high level of fitness and endurance e levels

Respect the mountain, opt for the long trek, give yourself the best chance of acclimatizing observe the principles of climb high/sleep low, hydrate generously, heed your guide, make friends, pole pole you way up the mountain.