As fulfilling and exciting as it is, climbing Kilimanjaro requires several contingencies that need to be planned beforehand. For a start, you need permission to access the mountain and require specialized gear for mountain climbing. Trekking Kili is an experience that will remain in your memory for a long time, so avoid mishaps that will turn it into a recurring nightmare.

01Do Your Research

Mount Kilimanjaro - the highest mountain in Africa

Before you even start planning for the actual trip, do thorough research on what trekking Kilimanjaro entails. Learn about the cost of a trip, the legal requirements for accessing the mountain, and different travel options. Altitude sickness is a major concern for climbers, so make sure to look up the symptoms of this illness and understand its remedies.

02Get Appropriate Hiking Gear

Close up view of back tourist backpack mats and tripod, wearing on blue tourism jacket with a hood and standing on mountain

The quality and type of gear you use will have a direct impact on your climbing experience. High quality of warm clothes, hiking boots, and sleeping bags will ensure you a wonderful experience. Ideally, you should look for thermal gear made from high-performance materials such as fleece. Carry sunscreen to protect yourself from sunburns and frosty wind at high altitudes.

03Train Your Body

People hiking.

You will find that physical fitness and preparation are as important as financial resources. Make sure to engage in some physical exercises, such as jogging and hill-climbing, to prepare your body for altitude changes. Other conditions to be mentally prepared before mountain climbing are altitude sickness, dust, fatigue, and frostbite.

04Practice Some Songs And Dance Moves

A happy trekker above the clouds on the route to the summit of Kilimanjaro

Endorphines are "feel-good" chemicals that can relieve pain and boost happiness. Climbing can become a difficult challenge, so it's important to keep your energy and morale up by releasing endorphins. Learning some happy songs to sing during the hike will stimulate and encourage you and your companions to keep going.

05Good Company

A group of active tourists climbing to the top of the Kilimanjaro

Seek out people you trust to accompany you during the trip. They will watch out for your well-being and be aware of any possible dangers that may affect the group. You will also need companions who have climbed Kilimanjaro and are familiar with the routes. Typically, experienced climbers have tricks for helping the body adjust to the height difference.

06Time Your Trip

Orange tents on Kilimanjaro

If you want your trek to be safe and enjoyable, plan for the months with minimal precipitation and cold. Tanzania experiences dry spells from January to March and August to October, so the ground is less prone to slippery slopes that can cause accidents. Additionally, consider scheduling outside the East African tourist season, which peaks in July and August during the wildebeest migration. You could also choose the earliest season because that is when most travel agencies are free.

07Walk At Your Own Pace

Hikers trudge weary to the summit of the tallest mountain in Africa

To avoid altitude sickness and other health conditions, walk at a pace that does not overstrain your body. Experienced climbers do not pressure novices to keep up with their pace, so make sure to travel in their company. They know the right speed for hiking and will manage the climb with timed breaks.

08Hiking Is Not a Competition

A team of trekkers gazing over the early morning clouds on the trek to Kilimanjaro summit

Hiking is more about the team than individual excellence. All hikers in the group should look out for each other. Don't feel embarrassed for lagging behind other climbers or forget to mind struggling members. Always work as a team because that’s how you will succeed.

09Take Plenty of Fluids

man in blue down jacket filtering water for drinking from a river

Dehydration is a major cause of weakness in the African savanna, so arm yourself with a hydration pack to ensure that you can sip water at any time during the hike. This container is better than a water bottle because you won't need to remove your gloves to open it or stop to take a drink.

10High Attitude Challenges

Evening view of Kibo with Uhuru Peak (5895m amsl, highest mountain in Africa) at Mount Kilimanjaro

Even if you are a top athlete and often outperform others during physical exercises, conditions at high attitudes are very different from those on the ground. At a high ground, your body is straining under the shortage of oxygen while metabolic systems struggle to perform critical functions. Make sure to heed the guides’ advice to slow down even when you feel you have much more in the tank.

11Carry Medication

First aid kit and hiking boots in the woods

Headaches and nausea are common amongst climbers, so make sure to buy all the medicine you might need to ease these symptoms. You can also consult your GP on the type of drugs to buy for your blood pressure, as it may be affected by altitude.

12Have Fun

Uhuru Peak (highest summit) on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Climbing the highest free-standing summit in the world is a grueling task that will stretch you both mentally and physically. Trekkers need preparation for this experience of a lifetime. Get all the gear you'll need and ensure your body is ready for the trip. After all the preparation, you'll only need a camera to capture the journey to the roof of Africa.