Kilimanjaro Climbing Preparation
Hiking to the ‘roof of Africa’ is the adventure of a lifetime, especially since everyone, from seasoned trekkers to first- time enthusiasts can scale the snowy peak. Although no previous climbing experience is necessary, it’s important to prepare yourself as much as possible, to help you achieve this amazing accomplishment.
The communal items are supplied like tents and cooking utensils however you will need to bring all personal items, clothing, sleeping bags and sleeping mats. Upon inquiring with African Scenic Safaris, you will be given a full pre-climb information kit, which includes a hiring price list. Many of these items are expensive to buy from home, therefore, we offer an inexpensive hiring service in Moshi. The day before your climb, we will give you a climb briefing, equipment check and help you hire anything additional you need.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a physical undertaking, so you should prepare yourself accordingly. Being in good shape is important in many respects. Obviously, strong legs make it easier to walk uphill and downhill for sustained periods of time whereas aerobic fitness allows the body to function efficiently with less oxygen. A fit body is more likely to withstand the stress of consecutive days of hiking. The best training for Mount Kilimanjaro climb is walking – the same as you will be doing on the mountain. Walk as often as you can and as much as you can. Wear the boots you will be wearing on the climb, especially if they are new. If you’ve never done much hiking, start a few months before your departure date and start slowly. Try it with a backpack weighing 5-8 kilos, which will give you practice in carrying your day pack.
Altitude sickness is caused because the body is not adapting fast enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air, at an increased height. There are many different symptoms of altitude sickness, but the most common are headache, lightheadedness, nausea and sometimes a decreased appetite. These mild forms are not serious and may disappear quickly or certainly when you descend at the end of your climb. The guides are trained and very experienced in accessing your symptoms and will ensure you are well looked after. If you do not feel well during the Kilimanjaro climb, or you find out that one of the other climbers is unwell, please always inform the guide(s). Often all that is needed is a little motivational talk or some medication. If it’s more serious, the guide will organize for you to descend as this is the only way to treat severe altitude sickness. There is no way to ensure you will not suffer from altitude sickness however there are 3 golden rules, which may assist.
- Walk slowly – this allows your body more time to acclimatize. Our guides are particularly slow-paced, which is why we have such a high success rate of making it to the top.
- Drinks plenty of water, 3-4 liters per day.
- Give yourself the most amount of days possible on the mountain, at least 6 days, however, 7, 8 or 9 is even better.
There is a medication called Diamox, which is an altitude prevention medication. It works by acidifying the blood, which stimulates breathing and therefore allowing a greater amount of oxygen to enter into the bloodstream. We have seen a higher success rate from clients who are taking this however you need to speak to your doctor before traveling because in most countries, this is a prescription medication and he/she will need to discuss whether it’s right for you. For many people, the most important thing once on the mountain is a positive mental attitude, which can work wonders for you when fatigue and doubts arise. Be positive, relax and enjoy this incredible experience.