Once you’ve booked your Kilimanjaro climb, if not sooner, it is important that you take these steps:
1. Take out travel insurance
Travel insurance is mandatory to participate in climbs booked via Fair Voyage (read why). To protect your financial investment if you need to cancel your trip due to illness or other unforeseen changes, take out your travel cancellation insurance as soon as you’ve booked your Tour. Make sure your medical insurance covers emergency evacuations and high altitude trekking up to 6,000 meters. We recommend the travel insurance by World Nomads which has good coverage (including cancellation & medical) at affordable prices. You can easily apply for it online within few minutes (get it now).
2. Book your flight
To maximize your chances of finding a convenient & affordable flight, it’s best to book your flight as soon as you’ve booked your climb. Kilimanjaro International Airport is conveniently located within 20-60 minutes drive of most hotels in Moshi and Arusha, which are both commonly used as a base to climb Kilimanjaro. It is best to arrive 2 nights before the start of your climb and to depart a day after you finish your climb. If constrained by time, it is also possible – but not recommendable – to arrive on the evening prior to the start of your climb, and to depart on the evening of your last climbing day.
3. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months
To enter Tanzania, you will need a visa. To obtain a visa, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your entry to Tanzania. Check your passport’s expiry date. If required, make sure to apply for a new passport well ahead of your trip.
4. Obtain an electronic visa or pack enough cash
Visas can be obtained upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport and other major entry points, including the Tarakea border when crossing by road from Kenya. Visas on arrival must be paid for in cash (US$100 for US citizens and US$50 for most other nationals).
However, the Tanzanian government has changed the procedure of issuing visas on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport with immediate effect in August 2019. Therefore, we highly recommend applying online for the Tanzanian e-visa or obtain a visa before arrival at your nearest embassy. E-visa are normally issued within 2 or 3 weeks after application via the e-visa portal.
5. Get a health check as well as required vaccinations & medications
It is important that you are in good physical health. If you are at increased risk due to age, level of fitness, or health condition, you must get a medical check and confirm with your doctor that strenuous exercise in high altitude is permissible for your condition.
Please also check all required & recommended vaccinations and medications for travelling to Tanzania. In particular, note that the type of malaria in Tanzania may be lethal, so we recommend taking preventative anti-malarials. As some vaccinations may need to be administered over longer periods of time to become effective, it is best to consult your medical expert well in advance of travelling to Tanzania.
6. Fill in the Traveller Details Form
Please fill in the Traveller Details Form for each person in your booking and send it back to us and your local Tour Operator as soon as possible prior to the start of your Tour. This allows your local Operator to prepare your Tour (including your arrival and departure arrangements; as well as any dietary, medical or other requirements they should be a aware of), and to ensure that we have all your details for emergencies.
7. Start to train
It is never too soon to start your training.
The best training you can do to prepare for your mount Kilimanjaro climb is hiking. Running, swimming and cycling are all very good exercises but what you will be doing on Kilimanjaro is hiking.
You will need to condition your body to walk in ascension, over uneven terrain for long periods. Ideally, go hiking in the highest mountains in your area to experience the effect of increased altitudes.
If you live in a city or somewhere flat, taking stairs instead of elevators and targeted muscle exercises are excellent practice that can also help you prepare.
8. Organize all required gear, documents, medications, etc.
Organizing your gear can be a very time-consuming process. It is best to review our recommended packing list and start thinking about how to organize any missing items as soon as you’ve booked your climb. Most gear can be rented locally in Tanzania (except for cross-over climbs starting in Nairobi), which is a cost-effective and environmentally friendlier alternative to buying new gear. Please check with us for a full list of items available locally.
9. Understand how to minimize the risks of altitude sickness
The biggest risk for Kilimanjaro climbers is altitude sickness. Read our detailed article about the dangers of altitude sickness and how to minimize your risks. Ideally, you experience the effects of increased altitudes above 3,500 meters before climbing Kilimanjaro. However, for most climbers this is not feasible, nor is it required. Even if you have the opportunity to pre-acclimatize, benefits usually only last a few days and disappear by the time you climb Kilimanjaro. So make sure you understand the risks, but don’t worry about pre-acclimatizing.
10. Carefully read your pre-climb briefing
Please carefully read our pre-climb briefing. Your local Tour Operator may also provide you with their own pre-climb briefing. Please carefully also read their documents. If in doubt about any information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.