ALL ABOUT CLIMB KILIMANJARO.
Although it is possible to climb Kilimanjaro all year round, generally months with good weather are recommended as adverse weather conditions such as excessive rain, winds, snow/ice and extreme cold can be draining on the body and significantly lower your chances of summiting and also increase safety risks.
Typically, the months of January & February and also September & October are considered to be the best months in terms of dry weather and moderate temperatures. June to August are also good months in terms of dry weather but temperatures will be much cooler. Some rain can be expected in November, December and March. April and May are the rainiest months and climbing conditions are usually considered poor. If you are considering climbing in the wetter months, the Rongai route is recommended since the northern side of the mountain receives less precipitation.
As you can expect, the months with favorable climbing conditions are also the busiest months in terms of the number of people on the trails.
How cold is it on Kilimanjaro?
Climbing Kilimanjaro will take you through four ecological zones in only a matter of days depending on your route from the rainforest, to moorland, to the alpine desert, to finally the arctic zone.
At the base of the mountain, the average temperature will range from 20 to 27 Celsius depending on the month of the year. The temperature will quickly decrease as you gain elevation and pass through the different ecological zones. At Uhuru Peak, the nighttime temperatures can drop down to – 25 Celsius or even lower depending on wind chill. The weather on Kilimanjaro can be extremely variable and change very quickly. It is advisable to be prepared for extreme weather including rain, gusty winds and cold nights.
The shortest route to the summit taken by most trekkers is the Marangu route which can be done in four nights, five days. Having said this, the Marangu route also has the highest failure rate when it comes to summiting. Why? Because reaching the summit isn’t just about a climber’s physical fitness level, but also whether the climber’s body has had enough time on the mountain to acclimatize to the high altitude.
There is a definite correlation between the number of days spent on the mountain and reaching the top – the longer the climb, the better the chances of summiting.
Our advice is whatever routes you select add an acclimatization day and have a safe and enjoyable climb. Opting on a short route and climbing based on the minimum number of days may seem like a good idea to save costs but in reality, you significantly reduce your chances of summiting and if you are traveling all the way to Tanzania for the purpose of climbing Kilimanjaro, the additional cost of an acclimatization day is well worth it and overall will make for a safer and more
First, before you start any training, get a medical checkup and ensure that you are in good physical health and also inquire whether high altitude trekking is acceptable for your age, fitness level and health condition. Determine if any pre-existing medical conditions or any medications you are taking can cause problems on the climb.
We ask that you inform us of any current or prior medical conditions that we should be aware of at the time of booking.
As for training, although Kilimanjaro can be climbed by most people with an average fitness level, the climb is a much more enjoyable experience if you have properly trained and are physically fit.
The best and only exercise that you really need to do to prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro is hiking. It’s best to start training three or four months prior to your climb. If you have never hiked before, start gradually hiking a short distance at a slow pace and gradually increase the distance, elevation gain and start carrying a day pack. Be sure to wear the hiking boots you will use for your climb. Try to get to a point where you are able to comfortably hike four to six hours with an elevation gain of 500 – 600 metres while carrying an 8 kilogram day pack on two consecutive days (over a weekend) and you will be ready.
At an elevation of 3,600 metres the barometric pressure is about 630 mb (480 mmHg) while the barometric pressure at sea level is approximately 1000mb (760 mmHg) resulting in roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath.
Lower air pressure at high altitude can also cause fluid to leak from the capillaries in the lungs and the brain which can lead to fluid buildup and result in a life-threatening condition known High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).
There are four factors related to AMS: (1) high altitude; (2) fast rate of ascent; (3) exertion of the body; and (4) dehydration. The main cause of AMS is climbing too high too quickly. Your body has the ability to adapt to decreased oxygen at higher elevations if given enough time.
At over 3,000 meters 75% of climbers will experience at least some symptoms of mild AMS which include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea & Dizziness
- Loss of appetite
- Restless sleep
Climbers suffering mild AMS may keep ascending at a moderate rate and symptoms will generally subside as the climber acclimatizes.
If you start suffering mild AMS while hiking, please communicate this to your mountain guide so that he is aware and can keep an eye on your symptoms.
Symptoms of moderate AMS include:
- Severe headache not relieved by regular headache medication
- Nausea and vomiting
- Weakness and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Ataxia or decreased coordination
Normal activity becomes difficult for a person suffering moderate AMS and the person must turn around and descend to a lower elevation. Descending even only a few hundred meters will result in improvement of symptoms. Continuing to a higher altitude while suffering moderate AMS can lead to severe AMS and death.
Symptoms of severe AMS include:
- Shortness of breath at rest
- Inability to walk
- Loss of mental acuity (HACE)
- Fluid build-up in the lungs (HAPE)
Severe AMS requires emergency descent of 600 meters and anyone suffering from HACE or HAPE requires evacuation to a hospital for Treatment
- Climb pole pole (slowly, slowly in Swahili), follow your mountain guide’s lead, stop often drink and to enjoy the views. Don’t be in a hurry to get to the next camp. Include an acclimatization day into your itinerary.
- Take deep breaths and do not overexert yourself.
- Climb high, sleep low. Climb to a higher altitude during the day, and then sleep at a lower altitude at night. By adding an acclimatization day, additional hikes can be incorporated into your itinerary to help your body adjust.
- Stay well hydrated. You should be sipping water continuously while you are climbing at least 3 litres while on the trail. Camelbacks or Platypus encourage drinking and is highly recommended. Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your strength even if your appetite starts to diminish.
If you begin to show symptoms of AMS, let your mountain guide know so he can monitor your symptoms. If you do not feel well, do not say you feel fine. You may be risking your life.
If your mountain guide determines that you are unwell and it is in your best interest to abandon the climb and he tells you to descend, it is an order. Respect the decision of your mountain guide and follow his instructions.
What is altitude sickness and will it affect me?
Kilimanjaro is a serious mountain and the dangers associated with climbing Kilimanjaro should not be taken lightly. Although not widely discussed, it is estimated that every year nearly 1,000 climbers are evacuated from the mountain and approximately 10 deaths are reported and in the vast majority of the cases, it is due to altitude sickness.
For anyone climbing Kilimanjaro, it is essential for you to know the symptoms of altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) to avoid an emergency or life-threatening situation.
Acute Mountain Sickness is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced oxygen as the climber reaches higher altitudes. Although the percentage of oxygen (about 21%) remains the same from sea level to the top of Uhuru Peak, the barometric pressure decreases with altitude and accordingly, the amount of oxygen taken in by your lungs and absorbed by your body with every breath also decreases.
Is Tanzania a safe country to visit?
Since its independence in 1961, Tanzania has been a politically stable country and one of the safest countries to travel to in Africa.
We do however recommend that you use common sense and take safety precautions as you would when traveling in any foreign country:
- Leave jeweler and expensive watches at home
- Keep all your important documents and cash in a money belt hidden under your clothes or in your day pack in your possession at all times (do not leave cash in your duffel bag to be carried by the porters)
- Keep a copy of all important documentation (passport, itinerary, insurance policy, credit cards, etc.) locked in your duffel bag
- When shopping, carry a few dollars for spending money in an easily accessible zippered pocket or shoulder bag rather than displaying your money belt
Do not walk around town after dark in Arusha, Dar Es Salaam, or Zanzibar – always take a taxi even if you are only going a block or two.
What is the best way to get to Tanzania?
If you are coming from North America or Europe, we recommend flying KLM to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). If you are coming from China, we recommend flying Ethiopian Air to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
If you are planning a visit to Zanzibar after your climb, we recommend that you either (i) arrange your flight so that you arrive at JRO and depart through Dar Es Salaam International Airport (DAR) or consider arriving into Tanzania through DAR and then take a connecting flight to JRO to start your climb.
The flight between JRO and DAR is approximately about one hour.
Please confirm all international flights and seating prior to departure.
Do you need a Tanzanian tourist visa?
Tourist visas can be obtained upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport or Dar Es Salaam International Airport by simply filling out an entry form (provided during your flight) and payment of the visa fee. Please ensure you have two blank pages in your passport and your passport does not expire within six months of your arrival date.
The tourist visa fee is US$50-$100usd with the exception of the following citizens: Pakistan (US $ 200), USA (US$100), and Ireland (US$100).
Do I need Travel Insurance?
Kilimanjaro climbs are a considerable investment and it involves risks and carrying comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of booking. Coverage should include trip cancellation, delay or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, emergency accident, illness and evacuation, 24-hour medical assistance, and traveler’s assistance. We suggest that you contact your insurance company to ensure that a Mount Kilimanjaro climb is covered under the policy. ANAPA Safaris does not include travel insurance or any protection plan in its climb price.
How do I pay for my Kilimanjaro climb?
We request that your advance deposit be needed to secure a climb and the balance of Kilimanjaro climb payment be made in US dollars by wire transfer into Global Safaris Tanzanian U.S. dollar bank account. Unfortunately, we do not accept credit card payments at this time.
All deposits and payments received into the company’s bank account will be held on your behalf and we only disburse funds to the appropriate suppliers as necessary until such time we have completed delivering our services to you.
Do I need to go safari after climbing Kilimanjaro?
Within easy reach of Meru, there are five fabulous safari parks that makeup what is called the Northern Circuit. Each is distinctly different but all are wonderful. Take your pick or why not try to visit them all while you are in Tanzania.
Best Kilimanjaro Routes.
The Lemosho and Shira routes start from the west side of the mountain, while Machame and Umbwe routes approach the mountain from the south.
The Marangu route starts from the southeast and lastly, the remote Rongai route commences from the north close to the Kenyan border.