Prepare For Your Climb

There is no doubt reaching the highest point in Africa may be one of the most wonderful experiences you may have in a lifetime! Following are some things you’ll need to know before you go on a climb.

Some Climbing Guidlines

You can only climb Kilimanjaro as part of an organized trek with a licensed mountain operator. Africa Travel Adventure is a licensed mountain and safari operator which is proudly run by the locals who have great knowledge and more experience of the area than any other operator.

Climbing the mountain is done by one of the several pre-determined routes. The duration of the climb is a minimum of four nights, but most people do it in five, six or even seven nights. All but one of the routes involve camping at each overnight location. Marangu Route is the only route which has huts at each overnight location.

We are able to take anyhere from a single climber to groups of up to 100 climbers. Climbers are accompanied with a number of local staff, as there is a lot of equipment to be carried by porters. ATA recommends groups to remain around 12 to 16 climbers, but that does not mean that we can not arrange trips with a large group. We can arrange 20, 30 even 50 climbers and they will be as comfortable as any smaller groups. We arrange to have a climber-to-staff ratio of 1 climber to 3 staff.

You are advised to book your climb well in advance before leaving to Tanzania. Africa Travel Adventure offers pre-booked trips only. We provide all communal and camping equipment, but there is a considerable amount of personal equipment that you will be required to bring with you.

How risky is Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is probably one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. It is certainly one of the most dangerous things you can pay to do.

The main issue on the mountain is altitude sickness. Kilimanjaro is seriously high. Almost all climbers suffer some form of mild to medium altitude sickness. Approximately 15% suffer symptoms severe enough to warrant their immediate removal to lower altitudes, and up to 1 of 100 climbers requires immediate removal. Each year 3 or so people die on Kilimanjaro because of altitude sickness and bad weather – because measures weren’t taken to insure their safety in those conditions.

If you get severe altitude sickness and your climb leader/guide is not fully professional in dealing with the onset of altitude sickness, then you will die. This is the primary reason why you should choose Africa travel Adventure. We are professional and licensed Kilimanjaro guides. The founder of the company, Gilbert Minja, is one of them and has a record of over 100 successful trips to the top.

When to climb

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during dry seasons – from the middle of June through October or from mid-December through March. But the mountain can be climbed all year round. In fact, some people find that during the months of April, May and November are the best time because there are fewer people on the mountain.

Age and Health

The National park authorities have set a minimum age for trekking to Uhuru Peak, 19,340f, at 10 years old. We also recommend 10 years old as the minimum age, as most of the trips we did with people of the age of 10 and above were very successful. There is no upper limit to the age of climbers. People in their seventies and eighties regularly make it to the summit. Some of the advantageous qualities in successful climbers are that they are equipped to deal with the adversity, are able to focus mentally and are intent on achieving their goal. These factors often outweigh any physical disadvantages.

Climbers considered to be in a higher health risk category should have a full medical check-up before deciding to climb or not to climb.

Chances of Success

With Africa Travel Adventure you are guaranteed over 90% chance of success to summit. Our six and seven night routes give you a much better chance of success than the five-night routes. Read more details on the routes page.

How fit do you need to be?

Climbing Kilimanjaro is difficult. The most quoted line is that it is “more painful than childbirth” … and this is from women who have done both.

When people speak of this degree of difficulty, they are mainly referring to one single part of the climb – the six to eight hour section up to the summit. This part really is tough, mainly due to the extreme attitude.

For the most part, the days that preceed this ascent are not too physically demanding for anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness. That is not to say that even this is easy. A combination of adverse factors such as bad weather, altitude sickness and general tiredness arising from being out on the mountain can make even the easiest walking days very tough, indeed.

Any reasonable exercise you do beforehand is good, especially walking. You should be able to walk for several hours on consecutive days without too much problem. Add to this some aerobic activities such as cycling or running, and you should be getting towards the kinds of fitness levels that you’ll need for a serious attempt on the mountain.

Arriving early for acclimatization

Africa Travel Adventure has designed our itinerary to allow you to have a day or two before the climb to catch up on sleep and get yourself ready for a physical undertaking which will probably be as tough as anything you have ever taken before. Most people live a hectic lifestyle back home, working right up to the moment they get on the plane to fly to Africa. This is why we felt it was important to build this time into our trips.