I successfully summited Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak in June 2023. I have been asked multiple times about my training routine and for any tips. So why not make a blog post!
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an incredible experience, and It’s a feeling like no other reaching the summit. If you are thinking of doing this, stop thinking and do it!! You won’t regret it.
In this post I won’t only give you information on my training, but also some insight to some questions on the track and information on what company I went with, cost and more.
Table of Contents
Where is Mount Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, Africa. It is the highest peak in Africa, the tallest free standing mountain in the world and one of the 7 peaks challenge. It is massive 5895m above sea level.
To get to Moshi, which is most likely where you will start your tour. You will need to fly into Kilimanjaro airport then catch a taxi to Moshi, which will take 1.5-2hrs.
What Company did I choose?
I choose this company for a few reasons, price, their experience and they are partners with IMEC, IPPG and KPAP. These are not for profit organisations that focus on improving porters working conditions. Porters are a massive part of completing a summit, so this is very important.
How Much did it Cost?
I booked the Machame route with a Safari, which cost me $4255 USD. This doesn’t include tips to your porters and guides.
In terms of costs, this was very reasonable. You have all your accommodation, transport, food, guides etc included in these costs.
What Route would I Recommend?
The Machame or Lemosho route. These have the highest success rates as they allow much better time to adjust to the altitude. You nee to ascend at a slower pace to help limit the chances of altitude sickness.
Sleeping on the Mountain
You will most likely be camping while you are completing the summit. For Kandoo Adventures, we had 3-man tents which they use on their Nepal expeditions. This means they are excellent quality. The 3-man tents were shared between 2 people, but you have the option for a solo package.
I was fortunate and got a tent all to myself as I was the only solo female traveller (without paying). This was dumb luck. If you are travelling solo, I do recommend booking a solo package. It’s a small price to pay and will make a massive difference to your hiking experience.
With Kandoo Adventures, you are supplied with a thick sleeping mat – which is very comfortable. You will need to bring your own pillow and sleeping bag. OR you can rent a sleeping bag from your tour company.
There are drop loo toilets along the track to the summit of Kilimanjaro. However, these are questionable. If you are not used to drop loo toilets, you may be in for a bit of a shock. Kandoo Adventures also have their own private toilet just for our group at camp, which was bloody excellent.
If you need to do your business on the track, you will have to go in the bushes. The group will wait for you while you do this. For this reason, I recommend taking toilet paper that will break down, cause unfortunately the mountain is littered with toilet paper.
Is it worth taking Diamox?
I am not sure whether it was worth it or not, as I was taking it and have never tried ascending that high without it. I do think it made a difference at the higher levels, but I can’t say for certain. If you do take Diamox, just keep in mind you will need empty your bladder a lot!
I am not a medical professional, so make sure you talk to your doctor before taking any medication.
My Training Routine
I started training 6 months prior to my climb, this is excessive as they only recommend 3 months prior. Hiking through New Zealand for 2 months, was my way of getting my body back up to its hiking standards.
When I got back from New Zealand, I continued to go on 1-2 walks a day. These averaged 30-45mins. I would also go on the Stairmaster at level 7 for about 20mins, 3 times a week. Towards the end of my training, and closer to my departure date, I would run for about 20mins (or 5km).
I have always known I can handle walking for long distances/times as I am a seasonal hiker. If you are new to hiking, I would try go on as many long distance day hikes as possible (10-20km).
My best advice for having a successful climb, is to keep your cardio fitness up. Make sure you can stay on your feet for long hours of the day and have no troubles carrying a small backpack. You don’t need to train as excessively as I did, but having good cardio fitness is a must. When you think you have trained enough, train a little more.
How far do you walk each day?
We walked an average of 7-10km a day. This was about 6-8hrs of walking. It is a very slow pace, with plenty of rests. How far you walk each day will depend on what route you decide to take.
TIPS for a SUCCESSFUL SUMMIT
- DRINK plenty of water – staying hydrate is very important (“Sippy sippy”)
- Go SLOW – “Pole Pole” is the main motto of the mountain; it makes a difference hiking slow. That’s coming from someone who is a quick hiker.
- EAT – Your appetite will most likely decrease in higher altitude, so eat as much as you can at the lower altitudes. You also burn a lot of energy off while walking.
- Bring electrolytes – I had caffeine ones, and they made a massive difference on days where my energy was a little low.
- Bring plenty of layers for summit night. It is freezing at the summit, and being cold can really cause a mental battle.
- Bring ear plugs and a black out eye mask – It will help you sleep every night and summit night.
- LISTEN to your guides – they are full of knowledge and know the mountain better then you.
- Take Diamox if your doctor allows it.
- Bring or rent hiking poles – this will make the descent much easier on the legs.
- Take breaks when you need and tell your guides if you don’t feel well!
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