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All You Need To Know To Climb Kilimanjaro

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Destination Information
What is Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is an inactive volcano in northern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya. At 5,895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. It is also a major destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world.

How tall is Mount Kilimanjaro?
Deciding Whether To Go
How fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

If you dislike working out at the gym, or you are not an athlete or mountaineer, then fear not. While you do have to be in reasonably good health to climb Kilimanjaro, the type of fitness you have is more important than working out. You could be walking for anywhere up to 10 kilometres for hours on end at high altitudes, so it is important that you are able to do this.

Altitude sickness can strike anyone randomly, regardless of their fitness level. The key to reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro is to give yourself more days to climb the mountain, so that you can acclimatise better.

How difficult is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Is Mount Kilimanjaro a climb or a hike or a trek?
Do I need to have special skills to climb Kilimanjaro?
Is there an age limit to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
What is the average Kilimanjaro summit success rate?
What makes Kilimanjaro difficult to climb?
Who are the 5 most outstanding Kilimanjaro climbers?
High Altitude
Comfort & Facilities
Drinks & Meals
Deciding When To Go
How many days do I need for my entire trip to climb Kilimanjaro?

Your entire trip to Kilimanjaro would typically take at least 7 to 10 days. This includes the days you spend on the mountain (6 to 8 on average) plus an additional one or two nights in the region before and after your climb.

Most climbers, however, prefer to take advantage of their trip to East Africa and combine their climb with a wildlife safari, Zanzibar beach vacation, mountain gorilla trekking or other experiences in the region. If you have more time, we'd recommend you to plan two to three weeks for your entire trip to East Africa.

Hiking Routes
What is Uhuru Peak?

Uhuru Peak is the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. With an altitude of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), Uhuru Peak is also the highest point in Africa and this makes Mount Kilimanjaro the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

What is Stella Point?
What is Gilman's Point?
What is the Barranco Wall?
What is the Dendrosenecio?
What is the Lava Tower?
What are the key differences between the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro?
What are my route options to climb Kilimanjaro?
Machame Route
Lemosho Route
Rongai Route
Grand Traverse
Marangu Route
Shira Route
Umbwe Route
Crater Camp
Western Breach Route
Choosing Your Itinerary
How do I go about choosing my best Kilimanjaro route?

To choose the best hiking route for your Kilimanjaro climb, it is important to assess your personal preferences and priorities:

  • Do you prefer the most stunning scenery or authentic wilderness away from the crowds?
  • Do you prefer a climb with the least amount of walking and easy slopes, or are you looking for a bigger physical challenge?
  • Do you have time constraints, or are you OK to take a longer route of 8 days (or more) in order to maximize your summit success chance?
  • Do you have budget constraints, or do you prefer to pay a premium for a longer climb, a private tailor-made arrangement (as opposed to an open group climb), and/or a luxurious climb off-the-beaten-track?

Once you have some clarity about your personal preferences and priorities, it becomes easier to find the right route for you:

  • If scenery is most important to you and you don't mind the crowds, then the Machame or Lemosho Route will be the clear winners.
  • If you are looking for the easiest possible route with the least amount of climbing uphill, then the Grand Traverse will be the way to go.
  • If you want the maximize your summit success chance, then the Grand Traverse, Lemosho Route and Northern Circuit will be your best choice.
  • If time or budget limits you to no more then 6 or 7 climbing days, then either the Shira or Machame Routes will be a good compromise for those prioritizing scenery over solitude, and Rongai for those in search of wilderness.
  • If you have no choice but to climb during rainy season, then the huts along the Marangu Route will provide shelter from the rain, and the Rongai Route has a lower chance of rain overall.
  • If you are confident of your physical abilities, and you either have considerable experience in high altitudes or are planning to pre-acclimatized on another mountain, then you may prefer a more challenging and direct summit approach via the shorter 5-day Marangu, Rongai or Umbwe Routes.

Please contact us for a tailor-made recommendation.

Comfort & facilities
Summit success
Finding Your Best Offer
Getting Started
How do I organize a Kilimanjaro climb?

When organising a Kilimanjaro climb, your tour operator will do most of the work for you locally. However, you'll still need to decide what kind of climbing experience you prefer, make travel arrangements and organize your gear.

Start by deciding your personal preferences: When and how long? Which route? What level of quality & safety standards? Do you prefer a private tour or to join a group? Browse through our content to find out for yourself, or book a free personal consultation with us.

Once you know what you want, it's important to find a reputable and reliable tour operator who consistently receives high ratings from past climbers. Of course, you will also want to get your best value-for-money quotation for everything that you'd like included in your package. Search climb offers online, or request your custom quote for a climb quote from us.

Once you've booked your climb, you will also need to organize your flight, insurance, vaccinations and health checks, etc, so make sure you start planning well in advance. You will also need to organize your gear, though most items you need can also be rented locally when booking with a high-quality company.

What exactly does my Kilimanjaro tour operator organize?
What Kilimanjaro climb options are available?
How long in advance should I book my Kilimanjaro climb?
Responsible Travel
Toilets & Sanitation
Open Group Tours
Private Tours
Ratings & Reviews
Why Book With Fair Voyage
Preparing Your Trip
Getting started
What steps do I need to take to prepare for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Other than booking a suitable climbing package, it is important that you also take these steps to prepare for your Kilimanjaro climb (read more here):

  1. Take out travel insurance
  2. Book your flight
  3. Book any missing hotel nights depending on your flight
  4. Inform your operator about all your personal requirements
  5. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months
  6. Get a health check & required vaccinations
  7. Prepare physically as much as you can
  8. Organize your gear
  9. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with all risks involved
  10. Carefully read all information provided by your operator
Vaccinations & Medications
Money & Insurance
Summit Success
Gear & Packing
Gear & Packing List
What gear and other items do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?

You'll need a lot of gear to stay warm, dry and safe during your Kilimanjaro climb. Here's a complete checklist of everything you'll need, including required gear, additional items that we recommend as well as optional items that you may wish to bring.

Many items can normally also be rented locally in Tanzania (except for cross-over tours starting in Kenya). If you do not see a price list with available gear for your Tour (or anything you need is missing), please check with us before booking your climb.

Kilimanjaro tour booking confirmationPrint or save electronically.
Flight ticket(s)Print or save electronically.
Additional hotel reservations (if any)Print or save electronically.
Airport transfer arrangements (if any)Carry emergency contact number in case of no-show.
Other tavel arrangements (if any, e.g. safari tour)Print or save electronically.
PassportMust be valid for 6 months.
Passport photocopyStore separately from passport and/or electronically.
Medical & travel insurance detailsPrint or save electronically.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable)Required for immigration to Tanzania if travelling from/via a country with risk of yellow fever.
Medical and first aid
Anti-malarial medicationPlease consult your medical expert. Malaria is a potentially lethal risk that requires preventative measures.
Anti-diarrhea drugsPlease consult your medical expert. Travel diarrhea is a common ailment.
Anti-nausea drugs (recommended)Please consult your medical expert. Nausea is a common AMS symptom.
Pain killers (recommended)Please consult your medical expert. Headache is a common AMS symptom.
Cold remedies (recommended)It's easy to catch a cold on the mountain.
Sore throat lozenges (recommended)It's easy to develop a sore throat on the mountain.
Electrolytes / Remineralization tablets (recommended)To replenish lost electrolytes due to strenuous physical activity and high water consumption.
Plasters for random cutsTo keep any wounds clean and prevent infections.
Plasters or Moleskin for blistersBlisters are a common pain for many Kilimanjaro climbers, especially if you are not used to your hiking boots.
DEET-containing insect repellent (optional)Not required on Kilimanjaro (no mosquitoes), but recommended before and after your climb in Tanzania.
Permethrin-containing insect spray (optional)For clothes & other materials because DEET may damage them. Not required on Kilimanjaro, but recommended before and after your climb.
Antihistamines (optional)If you are allergic to insect bites.
Prescription medication (if any)You may want to take photos of all medication leaflets and save electronically for ease of reference.
Anti-bacterial ointment (optional)Sometimes listed on other packing lists, but not required; can be sourced locally after your climb if required.
Water purification tablets (optional)Not required if you book your climb through Fair Voyage or with a good operator who provide adequately treated drinking water.
Gauze (optional)Sometimes listed on other packing lists, but not required. Good operators would have this in their first aid kid for emergencies.
Adhesive tape (optional)Sometimes listed on other packing lists, but not required. Good operators would have this in their first aid kid for emergencies.
Personal care and sanitation
Ear plugsHighly recommended to improve your sleeping quality as campsites will be noisy (snoring, talking).
Toilet paper1 roll is enough if your tour includes a private toilet tent and your operator provides paper.
Wet wipesUseful also as "storable" toilet paper (leave no trace).
Hand sanitizer
Toothbrush and small toothpaste
SunblockHigh risk of sunburn at increased altitudes.
Lip balm with sun protection
Thick cream (e.g. Vaseline)To protect your skin against dry air and wind.
One-time expanding towels (optional)Highly recommendable, especially in combination with an insulated bottle (keeping hot water overnight) for a warm wet towel in the morning.
Anti-odor/Refreshing spray (optional)Less for your body, more for your hair that may start to smell after few days.
Dry shampoo/baby powder (optional)Baby powder works wonders to remove grease and oder; commercial dry shampoo rarely is as effective for an entire week.
Other toiletries (optional)E.g. hairbrush, tweezers, nail file, nailbrush, small mirror, etc.
Paper tissues (optional)
Cloth tissue (recommended)Tie one to your glove for summit night so you can quickly wipe your nose without exposing your fingers to the cold.
Prescription glasses / contact lenses (if any)You may also need eye drops if you tend to have dry eyes.
Pee bottle for overnight (optional)
WOMEN ONLY: Panty liners (recommended)
WOMEN ONLY: Sanitary pads or tamponsThe strenuous physical activity and high altitude may interfere with your natural cycle.
WOMEN ONLY: FUD (optional)FUDs have been made known by some female bloggers. We do NOT see the need for them. Listed for completeness only.
Waterproof jacket – 1x
Insulated jacket – 1x
Mid-layer jackets – 2xFleece or merino.
Long-sleeved thermal shirts – 2-3xIf merino, 2 is enough (body-odor resistant).
Short-sleeved shirts – 2x
Waterproof pants – 1x
Hiking pants – 2-3x
Mid-layer fleece pants – 1x
Long thermal underwear pants – 2x
Underwear – 3x or moreIf merino, 3 is enough (body-odor resistant).
WOMEN ONLY: Sports bra – 2x or more
Hiking boots
Thick hiking socks – 2xYou could also use ski socks.
Thin hiking socks – 2x or moreWe recommend at least one pair for every 2 days.
Gaiters, waterproofRecommended for any season: Against dust when it's dry, against mud when it's wet.
Thermal insoles (recommended)Recommended for summit night.
Heating badges for toes (optional)Heating badges tend to be unreliable. We'd rather recommend that you invest in high-quality thermal socks and insoles.
Spare laces (optional)
Flip flops for camp (optional)
Sneakers/comfortable shoes for camp (optional)Sometimes recommended, though many climbers will find it's too cold and dusty. Handy for shower before/after.
Brimmed hat (sun protection)
Knit hat (warmth)
Balaclava / Windproof ski maskHighly recommended for summit night; make sure it is windproof which makes a big difference.
Bandana (optional)Very versatile. If you have, you may want to bring 2.
Cap (optional)You'll likely want to hide your hair after a few days. Note even your hats/caps will get dirty (dust!) so you may want to bring a spare head cover.
Warm gloves or mittensFor summit night. We recommend mittens which are more effective than finger-gloves to keep warm.
Mid-layer fleece gloves (recommended)Recommendable as third layer for summit night, as well as for other cold days and nights.
Glove linersRecommendable as third layer for summit night, as well as for other cool days and nights.
Heating badges for fingers (optional)Heating badges tend to be unreliable. We'd rather recommend to invest in high-quality gloves and mittens.
SunglassesMake sure they are 100% UV blocking and wrap-around for side protection.
Water bladder (camelbak, 2-3l)Recommendable for hiking to make sure you keep drinking frequently to stay hydrated (note: water bladder will freeze during summit night so you will want to have at least one water container alternative)
Nalgene or Alu bottle 1lOptional if you're also bringing a water bladder and thermos
Insulated bottle (Thermos) (recommended)Great for summit night to stay warm, hot drink in tent & washing with expandable towels.
Stuff sacks (recommended)Great to keep your gear tidy in your duffel bag. IMPORTANT: Avoid single-use plastics bags as they are banned in Tanzania.
Small waste bag (optional)E.g. non-woven bag; to store your waste during the day (incl. sanitary wet wipes). IMPORTANT: Avoid single-use plastics bags as they are banned in Tanzania.
Towel, light-weight (optional)
Bag lockTour operators cannot assume liability for any items lost or stolen. To prevent theft, it's best to keep your unattended bags securely locked.
Poncho (optional)You may not need it, but it's easy to carry as it does not weigh a lot.
Safety pins (optional)You may not need it, but it's easy to carry as it does not weigh a lot.
Sleeping bagIt's best to rent from a reliable operator, if you don't already have one rated for freezing temperatures.
Sleeping bag liner
Sleeping mattressOften provided by Operators as part of your package, but not always; please double-check.
Trekking polesCan also be rented locally.
Head lamp
Spare batteries for your head lampBatteries drain quickly in the cold. Make sure to keep your batteries in your sleeping bag overnight.
Duffel bag (or big backpack)Most operators state duffel bag, but will accept backpacks. Please check with your tour operator.
US dollarsFor tipping, visa, rentals, souvenirs and other purchases
Snacks / comfort food (optional)Nuts are great for high-caloric energy.
Phone (optional)You may want to add a travel package to save roaming costs, or obtain a local SIM card upon arrival.
Camera (optional)
Camera spare battery (optional)Note that batteries may break or drain quickly in cold temperatures.
Book(s)/E-reader (optional)
Small notebook/Pen and paper (optional)
Solar power charger (optional)
External battery pack (optional)Solar panels may be more reliable as batteries tend to drain quickly in cold temperatures.
Phone and camera charging cables (optional)
Power adapter (UK style) (optional)For your travels in Tanzania before/after your climb.
What is a pee bottle?
Why do climbers bring pee bottles for Mount Kilimanjaro?
Do you recommend to bring a pee bottle for Mount Kilimanjaro?
Why should I bring earplugs when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
Why should I bring sunscreen when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
Why should I bring a thick cream like Vaseline when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
Are there also pee bottles for women on Kilimanjaro?
Why should I bring a cloth tissue when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
What is the most effective insect repellent to apply on my skin?
What is the most effective insect repellent should I use for clothing and gear?
Why do you recommend a different insect repellent for skin and clothes?
Packing Your Bags
Sustainable Practices
Travel Arrangements
What accommodation do you recommend in Moshi?

Our accommodation recommendations for Moshi depends on your budget preference. Here are some hotels in Moshi that are popular amongst Kilimanjaro climbers:

Please note that there are no 4-star hotels in Moshi, and no 5-star hotels in the entire region. If you prefer something more luxurious, there are a few 4-star hotels in Arusha (see our recommendations). For a more exclusive and private experience away, their are also a few luxurious lodge options in quiet countryside near Usa River (between Arusha and Kilimanjaro airport).

What accommodation do you recommend in Arusha?
Getting Started
Altitude Acclimatization & Sickness
Altitude Acclimatization
What are the 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization?

The so-called 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization will help you acclimatize naturally in order to reduce the discomforts and risks associated with altitude sickness. The golden rules are:

  1. Take your time: Choose a route that allows you to ascend slowly over multiple days, and walk slowly during the day.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day, or more if in combination with dehydrating substances such as diamox or caffeine.
  3. Walk high, sleep low: Sleep at a lower altitude at night than you've climbed during the day. Some routes offers such a beneficial altitude profile.
Altitude Mountain Sickness