How to Qualify for an Epic Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
- Essential Preparation Tips for an Epic Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
- What to Bring on a Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
- Key Takeaways
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an epic experience that very few adventure seekers in the US have the chance to enjoy. Standing at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above sea level, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain, and the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Part of the Kilimanjaro National Park, which was established in 1973, the mountain represents a unique challenge of endurance and strength — and an unparalleled view of some of the most beautiful terrain in Earth’s most remote regions. Despite the difficulty of the climb, many Americans make the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro each year and experience something truly transformational in the process. But in order to take on the challenge, you must first prepare and qualify for the journey.
Essential Preparation Tips for an Epic Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
- Be in Good Physical Condition: As with most challenging physical feats, the Mount Kilimanjaro hike is not for out of shape athletes. Be honest with yourself about your physical abilities, and take the necessary steps to train, stretch and condition your body for the effort it takes to summit Kilimanjaro. This includes having complete control over your breathing and fatigue while trekking, plus establishing a healthy diet and exercise routine ahead of time.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Climate of Kilimanjaro: Not everyone is accustomed to high altitudes, and their accompanying climates. From the barren glaciers and snowfields near the peak to the semi-arid savanna on the lower slopes, the weather changes significantly as you ascend. Make sure you understand the weather patterns and pack the necessary head- and base layers, jackets, gloves, and hats.
- Secure Required Documents, Visas, and Permits: To climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you must obtain the necessary visas, permits, and other documents required for entry into Tanzania and Kilimanjaro National Park. This includes a passport valid for six months after your departure date, as well as a tourist visa, and travel and medical insurance.
- Do Your Research: Many hidden dangers lay in wait for inexperienced trekkers, so listen and learn from the experiences of others who have gone before you and read up on all the do’s and don’ts from the experts. Make sure to check in with your doctor to go over any specific questions you have about altitude sickness, and get vaccinated if necessary.
What to Bring on a Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
To make the most of your Kilimanjaro trek, it’s important to come prepared — no matter what season and route you choose. Don’t let the seeming enormity of your Mt. Kilimanjaro checklist overwhelm you. Remember that you can always rent or buy gear at the mountain huts. To begin, it‘s always smart to carry the following items at the minimum:
- Sundries like sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm, insect repellent.
- Hiking gear such as trekking poles, reliable shoes with ankle support, a raincoat, a warm beanie, thermal socks, and hiking gloves.
- Outerwear, including a windproof, waterproof, and breathable jacket.
- Personal items such as a headlamp or torch with extra batteries, a pocket knife, a first-aid kit, and wet wipes — all of which should be kept in a small daypack.
Q: Is it safe to trek Kilimanjaro?
A: Kilimanjaro is generally a safe mountain to trek, however it is essential to be mindful of possible altitude sickness and weather changes. Be sure to research any rules and regulations associated with the route you choose, and take the necessary precautions to stay safe.
Q: How long does it normally take to climb Kilimanjaro?
A: Depending on the route you choose, trekking the hike can take anywhere from five to nine nights. However, most tours follow a six-day itinerary.
Q: Are there any age restrictions for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
A: Generally, trekkers must come between the age of 10 to 70 years. That being said, depending on the trekking company you choose, they may have age restrictions. Additionally, anyone under aged 18 will need parental consent when signing up for a Kilimanjaro tour.
Q: How long does it take to acclimatize to the altitude of Mount Kilimanjaro?
A: Most people take 4-5 days to get used to the high altitude climate, and it’s important to give yourself enough time to adapt in order to be successful.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an unforgettable experience, but comes with its own set of unique challenges. When preparing for the trek, make sure to keep in mind the essentials: Be in good physical condition, familiarize yourself with the climate of Kilimanjaro, secure required documents and permits, and do your research. Additionally, make sure to pack the necessary items for the trek, from sundries to outerwear. Ultimately, if you are well prepared and have a positive attitude, you can tackle the mountain and have a memorable journey towards the summit of Kilimanjaro!
Mount Kilimanjaro is a magnificent peak whose grandeur and beauty inspires adventurers of all levels. With a little bit of research and the right preparation, climbers can tackle the mountain and make it to the summit with confidence. By understanding the terrain and conditions on the mountain, stocking up on the right supplies, and creating a training plan ahead of time, you’ll be ready to qualify for an epic Mount Kilimanjaro trek. Start planning your next journey today — and climb your way to the summit of Kilimanjaro, and the adventure of a lifetime!