The Best Mountains to Visit in Tanzania

Tanzania is home to some of the richest mountain habitat on earth, from towering volcanoes to lush and verdant forests home to a plethora of rare animals. Trekkers will be glad to know the trip doesn’t end once you summit Mount Kilimanjaro – there is so much more to see! We’ve made a list of some of the best mountain destinations in Tanzania, whether for day trips or multi-day hikes. Please note, as many of these mountains are located in protected national parks, we always recommend checking the latest park fees before you go.

Mount Meru

Mount Meru is often considered an acclimatization hike for Mount Kilimanjaro, but it’s also a spectacular destination in its own right. Located in Arusha National Park, Mount Meru is Tanzania’s second-highest mountain and offers views of the Momela Lakes and Ngurdoto Crater, as well as plentiful wildlife including monkeys, buffalo, and elephants.

Routes here generally take around four to five days. Trekkers will travel through forests and glades before reaching the horseshoe-shaped crater of the dormant volcano with its imposing drop-offs. At 4566m above sea level, Mount Meru is quite a lot lower than Mount Kilimanjaro. Though it doesn’t have the glaciers at the top, it is more than high enough to trigger altitude sickness, so come prepared.
When to go: June to March


Ol Doinyo Lengai

Ol Doinyo Lengai (2878m) is Tanzania’s only active volcano, and the only volcano in the world that ejects carbonatite lava. This lava, which is much cooler than regular lava, starts out black but turns white almost instantly when it comes in contact with humidity, making it a highly peculiar sight.

Ol Doinyo Lengai means “Mountain of God” in the Maasai language, and this mountain has religious significance for the Maasai. Ol Doinyo Lengai is nestled in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with views of Lake Natron, the Great Rift Valley, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

This is the perfect destination for intermediate climbers looking for a short trek. The lower slopes are covered in vineyards and citrus trees. Vegetation gets scarcer the higher you go, with beech and oak trees giving way to barren ashes and lava. For the best views, aim to summit Ol Doinyo Lengai at sunrise.
When to go: June to September


Usambara Mountain Range

Part of the Eastern Arc mountains in northeast Tanzania, the Usambara mountain range is actually comprised of two mountain ranges, the West Usambara Mountains and the smaller, rainier East Usambara Mountains. The Usambara Mountains are home to a wide swathe of perfectly preserved rainforest that is home to many endemic species.

This is the perfect place to spend a few days or weeks exploring the local culture with its charming farms, villages and accessible hiking trails. In the area you’ll find the German Amani nature reserve and former colonial town of Lushoto (Wilhelmsthal), as well as the Muzumbai University forest. There’s something for everybody here, from bird watching to mountain biking.
When to go: June to November



Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Wildlife lovers need look no further than the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, where you’ll find leopards, buffalos, elephants, lions, wild dogs and six species of primates, as well as endangered birds and a plethora of insects and butterflies unique to the region. The Udzungwa Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc mountain chain that stretches from Kenya to Tanzania.

Cars are off-limits here so hikers are free to roam the forest on their own terms, where hiking trails of varying levels take you through the park. While you’re here, don’t miss the chance to take a swim in the plunge pools of the majestic 170m-high Sanje waterfall.
When to go: June to October


Mahale Mountains

The Mahale mountains are a remote mountain chain situated in the Mahale National Park, which is famous for its huge protected population of chimpanzees. Hiking here gives you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to co-exist with the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

The highest peak in the mountain chain is Mount Nkungwe, at 2462m above sea level. If you decide to tackle the 3-day mountain trek up the mountain, go with a local guide and be sure to keep an eye out for lions.

The Mahale National Park is bordered by Lake Tanganyika and accessible by plane or boat. The lake also offers opportunities for relaxing on the beach or snorkeling with the myriad colored fish.
When to go: May to October


Rungwe Mountain

Mount Rungwe Nature Forest Reserve is located in the Mbeya region in southwest Tanzania. Rungwe Mountain is a dormant volcano that stands at 2960m above sea level. Experienced hikers who start early can hike it in a day. From the peak you’ll have views of Poroto Ridge, Mbeya Peak and Loleza Peak. Local wildlife includes two of the world’s rarest primates, as well as a rare species of antelope.

In the nearby Kiwira valley you’ll find a unique natural bridge, named the Daraja la Mungu or “Bridge of God.” Also not too far away is Lake Ngosi, nestled in a volcanic crater in the Poroto Ridge Forest Reserve. This region is among the rainiest in Tanzania, so pick your dates carefully and avoid the wet season.
When to go: June to October


Mount Kilimanjaro

Last but not least is Mount Kilimanjaro, renowned for being Africa’s tallest peak and one of the seven summits. As it doesn’t require any technical skills to summit, this dormant volcano attracts thousands of trekkers every year who want to take a stab at conquering the mountain for themselves.

There are six principal routes up Mount Kilimanjaro, ranging in length from seven to ten days. The mountain is home to a variety of microclimates including rainforests, alpine meadows and glaciers. Trekking Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t a walk in the park, but with a bit of preparation it’s an achievable goal for most people – and a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

When to go: January to March or June to October

how to get to Kilimanjaro

Seven Summits

If you are a hiker or just a general lover of nature, you have certain items on your ‘bucket-list’ that you want to experience. For many people, the ‘Seven Summits’ is at the top of their list of things to do. You may be wondering what the Seven Summits are and what it takes to hike these mercurial and majestic beauties?

The Seven Summits are made up of the highest mountain peaks from each continent. Most of these excursions require a professional guide, that you have a higher skill level, and that you take special equipment to make it safely to the top. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Seven Summits and how you can experience their breath-taking beauty, continue reading this guide.

Seven Summits

The Feeling of Being at the Top

Nothing beats the rush you get when you finally reach the summit at the end of a majestic mountain top trail, and you’re standing on the snow-covered peak miles above the rest of the world. Your tired muscles are quivering with exhaustion and excitement as you quickly breathe in the thin, crisp mountain air.

You are encompassed in the feeling of being free, as though for just one moment, you are the only human on this Earth. If you have never had the pleasure of that feeling, then it is highly recommended that you begin training so you can start checking off that bucket list.

The Seven Summits of the World

As mentioned earlier, seven mountain peaks make up what is known as ‘The Seven Summits.’ They are made up of the tallest mountain peak from each continent. You may be surprised by the fact that Mount Everest is considered to be the least difficult. This list is based on the combined experiences of hikers all around the world.

The seven summits listed in order of difficulty from greatest to least are:

  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • Mount Elbrus, Russia
  • Denali, Alaska (formerly known as Mount McKinley)
  • Aconcagua, Argentina
  • Vision Massif, Antartica
  • Puncak Jaya, Oceania
  • Mount Everest, Nepal/China

7. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Continent: Africa
Elevation: 19,341 ft.
Best times to hike: Any months except April and November due to severe daily monsoons

There are seven different routes that one can take to reach the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. They all have their pros and cons and depend on:

No matter which route you choose, it is necessary that you are in your best possible physical condition.

It is recommended that you train for weeks prior to attempting any of these climbs. Hiking Kilimanjaro will take at least seven days, depending on which route you take. There will be days where you hike for up to 16 hours.

It is also imperative that you are acclimated to the higher elevations, as the higher you get, the harder it is to breathe.

6. Mt. Elbrus, Russia

Continent: Europe
Elevation: 18,510 ft.
Best times to hike: May – September

Be prepared to take some time off of work for this expedition. You can choose from two different routes. Either way, you are looking at a minimum of 11-12 days for your trek, so make sure you have everything on that checklist you will be given and check it twice.

This is a great hike for those who need to work on their alpine skills. The weather conditions unexpectedly change, so it is important to have gear to cover all types of weather.

5. Denali, Alaska

Continent: North America
Elevation: 20,322 ft.
Best times to hike: May – July


Being in top physical condition is essential, as well as you need to be current on your glacier-travel and winter camping skills because you will definitely need them for this trek. You had also better set aside plenty of vacation time for this trip. There is a reason they call this trek ‘The Great One.’ Typically, this expedition takes about three-weeks round-trip and requires pulling a sled overloaded with all of the necessary gear for survival.

It is prudent to have a GPS and/or a map and compass because there are no marked trails to the summit. You can expect to encounter extreme weather on this trip, from:

  • The baking sun
  • Gale-force winds
  • To snow

Be sure to have the proper clothing to keep you warm and dry. This is definitely an expedition that would best be taken with a guide who knows the safest and most scenic ways to get to the top.

4. Aconcagua, Argentina

Continent: South America
Elevation: 22,838 ft.
Best times to hike: December – March

Mountain Aconcagua Argentina

Aconcagua is the second highest peak of the seven. This hike is considered a ‘trekking peak’; however, that does not mean that it is easy by any means. If you plan on climbing to Aconcagua’s peak, you had better be in good physical condition. This climb can take multiple days, depending on weather conditions and skill levels. You will be expected to carry approximately 45-50 pounds of gear for around six hours per day.

This hike is known for having bad weather that can quite frequently cause people to turn back. Although this is no easy trek, it is well worth the effort when you get to the top. Beautiful scenery and breath-taking views of the Andes mountains await you at the summit.

3. Vision Massif, Antartica

Continent: Antarctica
Elevation: 16,050 ft.
Best times to hike: Summer season

Vision-Massif-Antartica-7-summitsThe only way to get to Vision Massif is by using exclusive guide services. The peak of Vison Massif is 660 nautical miles from the South Pole. There are many stipulations and requirements that you must meet before you can take this trip.

Be sure that you have everything in order and approved before you get there and are told that you have to leave. There are two campsites above the base camp along this trip; Low Camp and High Camp. This is another long trip, so be prepared to be away from home for at least 15-20 days, including travel time.

This is one of the coldest treks with temperatures dropping down to -40°ᶜ, be sure to pack those extra base-layers and down jumpsuits.

2. Puncak Jaya, Indonesia

Continent: Oceania
Elevation: 16,024 ft.
Best times to hike: Year-round

Puncak Jaya, Indonesia

This trek takes 14-20 days, depending on your skill level and the weather. This is the only trek on the list that requires actual rock climbing, so it is imperative that you are experienced in this discipline and up to date on your knowledge of rope work. If hiking the entire route, you will begin in the lower jungle and work your way up through the jungle to another base camp where there is a helicopter pad for those who don’t want to do the initial hike from the jungle and prefer to be flown in.

This trek also requires that you have all of your paperwork in order before taking off. There are many permits required in order to take this trek.

It is also required that you have a guide escort you. They will know the safest ways to go and how to handle the local terrain and weather. Once you reach the summit, you will be overcome by the view of the Carstensz Pyramid and glad you made an effort to get to the top.

1. Mount Everest, Nepal/China

Continent: Asia
Elevation: 29,029 ft.
Best times to hike: Typical expedition lasts around two months, beginning in March

Mount Everest is the mountain peak with the highest elevation and Its located on the border of Nepal and China, in the Asian continent and the highest mountain in the world. Its summit is 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) above sea level.

This expedition is best taken with an experienced Sherpa guide. In fact, it is one of the requirements of going on this hike. While it may be listed as the least difficult trek on the list, it is by no means an easy trip.

Blistering cold and ever-changing weather make this a challenging trek. It can take weeks of preparation for this excursion. Being acclimated to the high altitudes and low oxygen levels is one of the hardest things for people. This hike also requires special permits and requirements, so make sure you have checked all of the requirements boxes before you take off.

Being Prepared Prevents Possible Disaster

Having the right gear and clothing is imperative to successfully climbing these mountain peaks without having to be rescued. If you do not have the proper gear, you can freeze when you get to the higher elevations. Once you are up that high, you can’t just run back to the base camp and grab an extra layer.

Experts recommend that you have multiple pairs of footwear depending on which peaks you are climbing. Generally speaking, the higher the elevation, the more insulated you need to be.

Some of the basic items you should include in your pack are the following: 

  • 1-2 pairs of thermal long-underwear tops and bottoms
  • 3 pairs of boots
  • 1 pair of 7,000-meter double-boots
  • 1 pair of 8,000-meter double-boots
  • 1 pair of sturdy trekking boots
  • Big down jacket (800 fill)
  • Crampon ice cleats
  • Down jumpsuit
  • Figure-eight carabiner
  • For upper body clothing, use wool or synthetic materials
  • Goggles
  • Hand protection
  • Lightweight liner gloves
  • Midweight climbing gloves
  • Heavy-duty mittens

Hardware and accessories:

  • Helmet
  • Hiking backpack
  • Ice axe
  • Insulated pants
  • Jacket with a hood
  • Lightweight Gortex™ shell pants
  • Locking carabiners
  • Non-locking carabiners
  • Nylon trekking pants
  • Sattelite phone/weather radio
  • Sleeping bag rated for extreme conditions
  • Sleeping pad/air mattress
  • Soft-shell climbing pants
  • Sunglasses
  • Trekking poles

Not Just a Stroll in the Park

These hikes are not for the faint of heart or the weekend stroller. If you plan on tackling these treks, you had better be in the best shape of your life and be fully versed in survival skills because you will encounter extreme weather and physically challenging conditions. Physical strength is a must, but just as important is a positive attitude and the will to keep going when it gets tough. 

Shaping-Up for the Summit

As mentioned previously, you must be in the best physical condition possible. You can do the following things to get physically prepared for these strenuous excursions:

  • Altitude training. Get your lungs used to less oxygen. Train at a higher elevation whenever possible to increase your stamina.
  • Cardio training. Keep that heart pumping strong. This is another important key to not passing out when you reach higher elevations.
  • Core training. Work those muscles. Get a good aerobic and weight routine in place and stick to it. It will pay off when you get to the top.
  • Proper Diet. Eating healthy and heartily is important for your body to perform the best it can. Hiking and climbing will burn an extreme amount of carbs and calories, so be sure that you are prepared with foods that provide energy and strength.

Don’t Go Up Alone – Hire a Guide

Many people think that they are experienced enough to take one of these hikes on their own without a professional guide. This can sometimes be a deadly mistake. Unless you are an expert climber who has already conquered these hikes, it is not recommended that you tackle them on your own. Also a Mountain like Kilimanjaro the national park authorities requires you to use a guiding company.

There are expert hiking guides that climb these peaks for a living. An experienced guide can lead you safely to the peak and add an extra level of awesomeness to your hike by keying you in on tips and local information that you may not get if you do it on your own.

Other Hiking Tips and Advice For Tackling the Seven Summits

  • Always tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be gone. In case of an emergency, they will have a general idea of where to search. If possible, leave a map of the trail you plan on hiking.
  • Bring plenty of dehydrated/non-perishable food and water.
  • Bring sunscreen and chapstick
  • Don’t go it alone. Always bring a hiking buddy.
  • Go slowly to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Have an emergency plan in place.
  • Have some sort of emergency shelter with you, such as a tent or tarp in case of unexpected extreme weather.
  • If you take medication regularly, be sure to bring a few doses with you in case you cannot get back to your base in time.
  • Keep a basic first-aid kit on hand
  • Keep flashlights/fresh batteries
  • Keep waterproof matches
  • Pay attention to the weather as it can change rapidly at higher elevations.
  • Stay on the trail (if there is one). Don’t wander around aimlessly, as you’ll likely get lost. If you do decide to go rogue, make sure that you have the proper gear with you and that someone knows the general direction in which you have gone.
  • Stay well hydrated and eat plenty of high calorie/carb foods.
  • The following tech devices are helpful when taking any kind of trek:
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Satellite phone
  • Walkie talkies
  • Weather radio
  • Wear proper clothing/gear.

Get Your Wallet Out – Climbing is The 7 Summits is Expensive

Not only do you need to physically and mentally prepare for these strenuous hikes, but you need to financially prepare because these excursions are not easy on the pocketbook.

You can expect to shell out thousands of dollars. by the time you:

  • Get your gear
  • Get trained
  • Get the itinerary planned and paid for

You will also have to be sure that all of your identification is up-to-date:

  • Passports
  • Visa(s)
  • State IDs, etc.
  • Most of these hikes require special permits and other special requirements in order to go to the top

All of these are added expenses that you need to consider when planning your trek.

The following list is a general idea of what each trip to the summit will cost you, from the least expensive to the most expensive:  

Rank Name  Average Cost 
1 Mt. Elbrus, Russia $800.00
2 Kilimanjaro, Tanzania $3,000.00
3 Aconcagua, Argentina $3,500.00
4 Denali, Alaska $8,000.00
5 Puncak Jaya, Oceania $13,000.00
6 Vision Massif, Antartica $32,000.00
7 Mt. Everest, Nepal/China $42,000.00
Total cost for all seven trips:  $133,800.00

Nine Interesting Facts About the Seven Summits

  • Denali is the farthest north of the seven summits at 63° north latitude.
  • In 1985 Richard Bass was the first person to climb all seven summits.
  • Kilimanjaro is composed of three volcanic cones.
  • Mt. Vinson was named after a Congressman from Georgia named Carl Vinson, who served from 1935-1961
  • Some people have different definitions of what the seven summits are depending on what they consider to be the true continents.
  • The youngest person to date to climb all seven summits was a 13-year-old boy.
  • Those wishing to climb to the peak of Mount Everest must engage in a Puja ceremony, seeking permission from the Mountains Gods to climb. This is an ancient Buddist ceremony usually performed by two or three monks at the base camp before a climb.
  • To date, only around 280 people have successfully climbed all seven summits.
  • To date, the oldest person to climb the seven summits was 76 years old.

The Seven Highest Mountains in the World

The seven highest mountains in the world are all located in the Himalayan mountain range.

They are:

Rank Name Elevation
1 Mount Everest 29,029 ft.
2 K2 28,250 ft.
3 Kangchenjunga 28,169 ft.
4 Lhotse 27,940 ft.
5 Makalu 27,766 ft.
6 Cho Oyu 26,906 ft.
7 Dhaulagiri 26,795 ft.

The End Result is Well Worth the Time and Effort

After all of the time and effort you have taken to get to the top of the peak, you will be greeted with the most breath-taking views that are hard to put into words. It’s a feeling that simply cannot be described.

If you have a passion for nature and experiencing the things that make you realize how truly small we are in this world, then these seven treks may be just what you need. Get yourself in shape, start planning, and book your expedition today!

Uhuru Peak

One of the most popular “bucket list” destinations for avid hikers and climbers is Mount Kilimanjaro. A long-dormant volcano, Mt. Kilimanjaro boasts the highest peaks in Tanzania, as well as the entire African continent. Considered the easiest to climb of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each continent, Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular destination for both experienced and amateur hiking hobbyists.

Uhuru Peak, at 5,895 meters above sea level, is the highest free-standing peak in Africa. Located on the volcanic cone Kibo, as part of Mt. Kilimanjaro, reaching Uhuru Peak is the end goal of 20,000-35,000 hikers each year. With beautiful scenic views of Tanzania, Uhuru is a breathtaking hike.

Uhuru Peak Kilimanjaro

Also known as “Everyman’s Everest,” Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular hiking destination because making the climb is possible for hikers of all skill levels. While climbing a peak the size of Kilimanjaro is not a simple hike, with the right provisions and preparation, even a novice can reach Uhuru Peak and take in the beauty of Africa’s highest point and one of the most beautiful of the Seven Summits.

More about Uhuru Peak

Uhuru Peak is the final destination goal for tens of thousands of hikers each year who attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. For those that attempt the hike, an impressive 40% actually reach the summit. With five to eight different routes, all with varying levels of difficulty, hikers are offered guided trips up the peak, with experienced climbers available to help visitors reach their goal.

Uhuru peak meaning

Uhuru Peak is located on Kibo, which is the highest of the three peaks that make up Mount Kilimanjaro, along with Mawenzi at 5,149 meters high and Shira at 3,962 meters high. The name Uhuru is Swahili for ‘freedom’ and was given to the site back in 1961 when Tanganyika, now part of Tanzania, was granted independence from the United Kingdom.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and the highest free-standing peak in the world, meaning it is not part of an actual mountain range. Mount Kilimanjaro is considered a stratovolcano, made up of layers of hardened lava, volcanic ash, and tephra, forming three separate volcanic peaks. Two of the peaks are considered to be extinct – Mawenzi and Shira, and the third peak, Kibo, the highest, is considered dormant but not yet extinct, with the last volcanic activity occurring approximately 200,000 years ago.

Mount Kilimanjaro is also unique due to its climate, as from base to peak, it passes through five distinct ecosystems or climates. Hikers who make the trek up Mount Kilimanjaro will pass through each of the following climates during their journey, which typically takes five to eight days:

  • Alpine Desert Zone
  • Arctic Zone
  • Cultivation Zone
  • Heather-Moorland Zone
  • Rainforest Zone

The average temperatures at Mt. Kilimanjaro’s base are between 69º and 80º Fahrenheit (21º to 27º Celsius). In contrast, at the top, at Uhuru Peak, the temperature can range between 32º and -22º Fahrenheit (0º to -30º Celsius).

Fun Facts about Uhuru Peak

  • While it may be the highest peak in Africa, experienced athletes and climbers can make the climb from the base of Kilimanjaro to Uhuru Peak in less than a day!
  • There are seven established Kilimanjaro routes – Marangu route, Machame route, Lemosho route, Shira route, Rongai route, Northern Circuit and Umbwe.
  • The Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe routes all approach from the south of the mountain (Mweka is used only for descent). The Lemosho, Shira and Northern Circuit routes approach from the west of the mountain. The Rongai route approaches from the north. They vary in difficulty. Some are easy enough for beginners, while others are so difficult, even athletes struggle with the steep climb and quick altitude changes.
  • While not an active volcano, Uhuru Peak is situated on a volcano that could see another eruption one day.
  • For the majority of hikers who can’t complete the trek to Uhuru Peak, the hike isn’t the challenge; altitude sickness is the most common barrier.
  • There is a book located at Uhuru Peak, protected by a wooden box. The book is for visitors to record their thoughts when they reach the mountain’s peak.
  • While the base of Kilimanjaro is only 205 miles (330 km) from the equator, Uhuru Peak is still an arctic ecosystem, which cannot sustain life for extended periods.

Making the trip to Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular trip because, while offering breathtaking views, a trek through 5 distinct climates and ecosystems, and a visit to the highest point in Africa, it requires no special equipment, rigs, or ropes on the majority of pathways. Rather than climbing a mountain, it is truly a 5 to 8-day hike through gorgeous scenery, African rainforest, and dry savanna; to the final arctic peak.

There are hundreds of choices for those seeking a Kilimanjaro adventure with guided tours that include meals and sleeping tents to help make the trip educational and comfortable. Visitors select the length of the tour they prefer and can pick their tour based on various factors. Ideally, visitors should consider the following when picking a tour:

  • Amenities – porters, food, sleep accommodations
  • Equipment included – touring companies should include oxygen, first aid, sturdy tents.
  • Experience level of tour guides
  • Overall success rate
  • Safety – look for certifications in mountain rescue, CPR, etc.

With hundreds of different packages available, it can be daunting for a visitor to select the perfect tour to create an amazing Kilimanjaro experience. Still, by keeping safety, experience, and comfort in mind, visitors are bound to find a tour to suit their needs. Read more on How to choose the best Kilimanjaro operator for your climb.

Preparing for the Hike to Uhuru

While hiking up Kilimanjaro doesn’t require any serious climbing skills, there are still many things that visitors should do in preparation for their journey. For the best chance of success in reaching the breathtaking Uhuru Peak, it is important to prepare thoroughly for the trip. These are some preparation ideas from experts:

  • Select at least an 8-day tour – Climbing Kilimanjaro is an experience of a lifetime and while plenty have made the trip up and back in five days or less, eight days (or more) offers the best chance for success, especially when battling the changes in altitude, the most challenging aspect of the hike.
  • Pack sensibly – While it is important only to take what is absolutely necessary, comfort is important. Clothes should be easily layered to meet the challenge of wildly fluctuating temperatures; air mattresses and comfortable sleeping bags will help to ensure proper rest. Most importantly, don’t  forget to bring a camelbak or water bottle. You should aim to drink around 3-4 liters of water per day. We recommend bringing an electrolyte formula to add to your water, and any flavoring drops if you find plain water too boring. Do read our full packing list for Kilimanjaro and contact us if you have any questions about brands or particular models.
  • Build up endurance – Prior to the trip, hikers should consider some simple endurance and strength training. Long daily walks with weighted packs will help simulate the day-to-day treks that hikers can expect on their tour. Cardio training is also key, as building up the heart and lungs will help with altitude changes.
  • Get proper vaccinations and a check-up – It is vital for vacationers to get a full physical in preparation for tackling Kilimanjaro, as well as any needed vaccinations to avoid any surprise illness or other health catastrophe. Altitude changes can cause a variety of medical symptoms and discomfort, so being in good health before the trip is important. You can read more on training to climb Kilimanjaro and our Kilimanjaro training program page to help you prepare accordingly.
  • Research when to plan the hike – There are tours available all year long, but different times of year may suit different travelers. While weather and temperature vary widely from top to bottom. The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro are the months of January through early-March and June through October.

The Beauty of Uhuru Peak

For many, reaching the highest point in Africa provides more than just a beautiful view and a sense of accomplishment. In fact, it is often described as a spiritual experience, where travelers feel at one with nature and the universe.

With gorgeous views of snow-capped peaks, sunlight cutting through the clouds, and miles of natural beauty to be found in each direction, Uhuru Peak offers even the inexperienced hikers a remarkable opportunity to:

  • Experience the beauty of nature in a truly unique and beautiful way
  • Find strength they didn’t know they had
  • See the world from a different perspective

With many tours designed to bring travelers to the peak just as the sun rises, the views are often overwhelming, with more than a few visitors describing being moved to tears by the experience.

Mount Kilimanjaro Summit

Secrets of Mount Kilimanjaro Summit

Mostly when we see photos of Kilimanjaro’s summit, it’s of tired, but exhilarated climbers celebrating their epic achievement in front of the Uhuru Peak sign, taking photos and high-fiving each other.

But there’s a lot more to the summit of this great mountain, than just the signboard.

So what makes Kilimanjaro’s summit different from other mountains? Why is it unique? Read on to learn the secrets that lie at the top of this great mountain.

Geology of the Kilimanjaro Summit

Unlike mountains such as Everest, that are part of a mountain range, and have an actual ‘peak’ at the top – the highest point often being a small, narrow section of rock, Kilimanjaro is a volcano crater, where the summit is not, in fact, a peak, but simply the highest point on the crater rim.

Mount Kilimanjaro Summit

Mt Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano, made up of three cones: Shira, Mawenzi, and the highest: Kibo.

Kibo where the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro namely Uhuru peak is a dormant volcano, the last eruptive activity happened around 200,000 years ago, forming the crater we see today, with an almost symmetrical cone around the caldera (crater).

Inside the caldera, is the inner crater, or ash pit, known as the Reusch Ash Pit, which is the true center of the volcano, where sulfurous fumes still belch out, reminding us of the mountain’s active past.

It’s in this caldera that during the last ice age, massive glaciers formed, at one time completely covering the top of Kibo These days, the glaciers are melting, as can be seen clearly when looking at modern pictures versus pictures of Kilimanjaro from the past.

But that’s not to say that the existing glaciers are not still impressive! Huge ice structures, glistening in the sunshine, against the barren rocks and scree of this inhospitable place.

Camping in the Crater

Crater Camp – the highest camp in Africa is 18,700 feet above sea level. From the crater rim, hikers descend into the caldera, and camp, below the summit, on the dry, rocky scree, with only the glaciers for company. It’s bitterly cold, the sun is harsh, and the air is thin.

The occasional cracking sound as a giant wall of ice moves ever-so-slightly is the only sound, apart from the whistling wind. Nothing grows here – no animal life and the only plant life is ancient lichens that form very slowly on the black volcanic rocks. It’s not a place you want to spend too much time.

But it’s spectacular! For well-acclimatized climbers, the chance to spend a night in the crater is not to be missed. It’s tough here, with the glaciers for company, the thin air, and bitter cold makes sleeping difficult, and the faint smell of rotten eggs reminds you that you’re in a volcano.

If you wanted to spend a night in the crater, you’d have to arrange it in advance with your tour company, as most climbs don’t include this as standard.

The Ash Pit

Most climbers don’t make it to the ash pit. They stop at the signboard, take pictures then descend. But for those who have arranged to camp in the crater, it’s possible to hike to the very center of the volcano.

About 30-40 minutes from crater camp, up a steep slope, you’ll come across a perfectly formed volcanic cone – almost a perfect circle. Looking down, it’s seemingly never-ending, and the smell of sulfur is strong. About 400 feet wide, and comprised of shale, scree, and large boulders, with fumaroles at the base, which emit sulfur and steam.

No, you can’t go down, as it’s estimated the temperature of those fumarole vents is the same as boiling water!

Named the Reusch Crater, after the first person, apparently, to ‘find’ it, Richard Reusch, a Lutheran Missionary, living in Marangu, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro multiple times, and was notably the 7th European to sign the register at the summit, at which time he planted a Christian flag.

The Frozen Leopard

Is it a myth? Or is it real? Ernest Hemingway’s book The Snows of Kilimanjaro begins with a reference to a leopard: “Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.” Apparently, Richard Reusch, on one of his climbs, did indeed find a frozen leopard on the crater rim and cut off an ear as a souvenir, and possibly to prove to his friends that he wasn’t hallucinating!

Uhuru Peak

Uhuru peak (which isn’t a peak, as mentioned earlier) is the highest point on the crater rim that encircles the inner caldera. It stands at 19,340 feet above sea level and is the official summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Formerly known as Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze, it was named by Hans Meyer, a German geologist and the first European to summit. At independence, in 1961, the Tanzanian government renamed it Uhuru Peak, the word “uhuru” meaning “freedom” in Swahili.

Around the crater rim are other notable place names, Stella Point is the first stop on the rim for climbers coming up from Barafu camp, and it is named after Stella Latham, the wife of a member of the South African Mountain Club, Kingsley Latham. In 1925, they reached this point together. For some reason, the name has stuck. To end up in the Barafu camp you use the following routes : Machame route, Lemosho route and  Umbwer route

For climbers on the Marangu route, coming via School Hut, the first point reached on the rim is Gilman’s Point. This is named after one of the founders of the East African Mountain Club (set up in 1926, arguably the first ‘tour operator’), Clement Gilman.

On the western side of the crater rim, is where the leopard was apparently found, and it’s colloquially known as “Leopard Point”, though there isn’t a signboard.

Getting to the Kilimanjaro Summit – Uhuru peak

Depending on how long your chosen route has taken you, you’ll end up at one of three main ‘basecamps’ on Mt Kilimanjaro. School Hut and Kibo hut take you up to the rim from the east via Gilman’s Point, Arrow Glacier Camp means you’ll be scaling the Western Breach, and lastly, the most-used route is via Barafu Camp in the south east.

From Barafu, it’s mostly a night-time climb, leaving camp at around midnight, and reaching the crater rim by dawn. This allows for spectacular views of the sunrise and allows enough time to descend in time for lunch. For those planning to camp in the crater, a daytime summit attempt is possible.

The trek to the summit is tough. Bitterly cold, there’s very little oxygen in the air, and the trail is comprised mostly of volcanic scree. It’s a tough, 7-9 hour hike, the biggest challenge is the thin air. Which makes it all the more worth it when you do make it to the top!

Western Breach

On the west side of Kibo, the crater rim has collapsed, creating what is known as the Western Breach. Looking at it from below, it’s like a giant bulldozer has crashed through the crater rim, leaving boulders down a deep gash in the side of the mountain.

It’s known for being a dangerous and difficult route to the summit. Sadly, there have been deaths due to rockfall on this side of the mountain, and for a while, the route was closed.

While it’s not technical in the sense that a mountain such as Everest is, requires some scrambling and is very much a ‘straight-up’ route to the crater. Very steep, you climb via switchbacks and need a good head for heights.

It’s not possible to descend via this route, you’d have to cross the crater floor – or go up to Uhuru peak and descend via Stella point.

A Note About Kilimanjaro Summit Success Rates

Summit success rates, overall, for Kilimanjaro are very hard to come by. The National Parks Authority does not release figures. So we’re left with estimates from tour operators. No one has 100% success rate, as this simply isn’t possible.

What is true, however, is that some routes have much better success rates than others. And the longer routes tend to come out on top. Your operator’s summit success rate is only one indicator of how good they are, more important is their safety record.

Anecdotally, the official figures have been quoted as low as 40%, and as high as 67% – either way, a good number of people attempting to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro fail.

The Journey to the Summit

Climbing Kilimanjaro is an incredible journey, from the equatorial forest to the frozen tundra, and it doesn’t need to end at the Uhuru peak signpost. There’s much more to Kili’s summit than that, so if you’re wanting to plan your next adventure, and would like us to show you the secrets of Kilimanjaro, get in touch now, and we’ll arrange the trip of a lifetime on this great mountain.

Ready to get started? You’ll need these guides to walk you through your preparation for climbing the highest mountain in Africa:

Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Worth It?

Amidst the blazing heat of the Tanzanian grasslands towers the gargantuan snow-covered peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. As the tallest mountain in Africa and one of the tallest mountains globally, Mt. Kilimanjaro is an achievement many hikers, athletes, and nature lovers have set their eyes on. But towering 19,341 feet, with a nearly 50% fail rate, reaching the peak takes a hefty amount of work against significant odds.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is absolutely worth it. Of course, there are risks to conquering this peak, but these are easily overcome by knowing what to expect and taking the necessary precautions to ensure it is a safe experience. With the proper preparations, your odds of reaching the peak and earning that life-altering view improve significantly. 

Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Worth It?

There are several reasons the everyday person should set their eyes on Kilimanjaro and render it a worthwhile experience to have in their lifetime. However, you shouldn’t walk off the streets and up the mountainside. There are life-threatening risks to consider when attempting this peak and simple but vital precautions one can take to prevent serious injury or potentially life-threatening situations.

Why Climb Kilimanjaro

There are a wide array of reasons why climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro should be on your bucket list, but here are just a few of the most significant ones that are sure to sway your mind towards getting those hiking boots out.

It’s One of the Seven Summits

The Seven Summits are mountains that are classified as the highest peak in their continent, and conquering these seemingly indomitable peaks is the pinnacle of mountaineering challenges.

As the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro is not only one of the Seven Summits, but it also has the unique title of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.

Therefore, climbing this mountain is a unique and record-breaking experience that any avid hiker would love to achieve.

Seven Summits

Arguably the Most Accessible of the Seven Summits

Let’s get one thing straight, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is not easy. When it is labeled as one of the easiest of the Seven Summits, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a cakewalk to top.

What it actually means is that Mt. Kilimanjaro is quite accessible for its height because it does not require any advanced equipment or climbing techniques in order to reach the peak.

Therefore, as long as the hiker is educated on what to experience from the hike and physically fit enough to travel the nearly 40-mile route, then figuratively anyone could do it.

This has been proven by the oldest and youngest individuals that claim they conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro. In 2018, Coaltan Tanner summited Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 6, rendering him the youngest individual to achieve this impressive feat.

In 2019, 89-year-old Anne Lorimor broke the record for the oldest person to climb Kilimanjaro. So, don’t sell yourself short just yet. With the proper training and provisions, you too can reach the top.

The Natural Beauty of its Surroundings

The geography, natural diversity, and wildlife of Africa are utterly unique and the perfect setting for this incredible hike.

In Tanzania, you’ll have the chance to see bushbuck and red duiker, impressive cape buffaloes, blue monkeys, and leopards can be found throughout the forest. If you’re lucky, you’ll be gifted with the sight of elephants lining the rivers.

As you climb the mountain, be sure to gaze at the grasslands and lush forests before you disappear into the clouds.

Kilimanjaro sunset views

See the Ice Cap Before it Melts

Unfortunately, there are several unique locations that won’t be the same in five years. The colors of Morning Glory will continue to fade. The architecturally and culturally sublime city of Venice will continue to sink, and the snow-covered peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro will continue to melt.

If you want to have the true experience of hiking from the blistering brushes of the base to the icy peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, you might want to start planning your expedition sooner rather than later.

Kilimanjaro melting glaciers

What Are the Risks of Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro?

There are risks to any hiking experience, whether it is 5 miles long or 40 miles long. The first step in preparing for your hike so that these risks can be diminished is educating yourself on what they are and what to expect in the worst-case scenario.

Mt. Kilimanjaro is a Dormant Volcano

Mt. Kilimanjaro consists of three volcanic cones. The first two cones, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct and therefore have no chance of erupting. However, the highest peak, Kibo, could still potentially erupt and, therefore, renders the mountain a dormant volcano.

Is it likely that Kibo of Mt. Kilimanjaro will erupt while you are taking your victory photo at the peak? No.

There has been no significant activity from the volcano in nearly 200 years, and the last major eruption was 36,000 years ago. However, volcanoes are inherently unpredictable, so it is not impossible that activity would occur on Kilimanjaro unexpectedly.

High Rates of Failure

Of the 35,000 individuals that attempt to conquer Mt. Kilimanjaro annually, nearly 50% of these individuals will not reach the peak. About 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain, and anywhere between 10-30 deaths occur annually.

Considering this hike is supposed to be the easiest of the Seven Summits, these figures might seem shockingly high. There are two significant reasons for this. Poor packing and altitude sickness.

Altitude Sickness

By far the most impactful risk of the hiking experience, altitude sickness occurs when an individual gains elevation too quickly before their body has had enough time to acclimatize to the new conditions.

The lower levels of oxygen at higher altitudes can severely affect the body and cause headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness.

Altitude sickness affects individuals differently. Some might experience mild cases, while it might prove fatal to others.

Typically, the easiest way to alleviate symptoms is to slowly descend, effectively ending the hiking experience. Rate of accent is vital in staving off altitude sickness, which will be discussed further later on.

Do you need oxygen to climb Kilimanjaro

How Can I Reduce these Risks?

Reaching the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is a goal nearly anyone could achieve, and the last thing you want after traveling all the way out to Tanzania is to be sent back down from a preventable illness or a lack of equipment.

Here is a simple preventative measure you can take to ensure you reach the top and come back to the base safe and sound.

Choose the Best Route

There are 6 main Mount Kilimanjaro routes which lead to the summit, Uhuru Peak, one of which starts on the Northern side of the mountain and the rest on the Southern side. After making the decision to climb Kilimanjaro, you’ll need to choose your route. Some are shorter than others for the elite hiker that can race to the top and back, and some are longer for those who need the extra time to acclimatize as they gain elevation.

Unless you are a trained athlete that has been acclimatizing and is used to the elevation changes of the mountain, we recommend you take the longer route.

By embarking on a longer route, you are less likely to feel discomfort adjusting to the incremental decreases in oxygen as you gain elevation.

This will effectively reduce your risk of getting altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro, which causes most hikers to cut their life-altering journey short.

Pack Appropriately

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is like walking through the tropical weather of the rain forest, which is only found at the equator, and slowly making your way towards the frozen tundra of the Arctic.

The base of this mountain is typically 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the peak is 20 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. You need to be well-equipped for both conditions. This means multiple articles of clothes and the in addition to plenty of water and food which will be provided by the company to last the journey.

Additionally, since the hike expands nearly a week, you will need proper camping gear, survival gear ( first aid kit), and to top it all off, experts recommend all of your equipment weigh no more than 30 pounds, so the weight isn’t too cumbersome for the porters.

Without some of these essentials, it is impossible to climb Kilimanjaro safely. So, be sure to look up lists and guides of what to pack before embarking on this lengthy hike. Once you start, you don’t want to turn back.

Get the right Kilimanjaro outfitter / Guide company

Your odds of having a safe and successful climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro will increase exponentially if you are accompanied by a professional mountain guide. These individuals are trained and well-practiced in the routes of this mountain and will be sure to look after you every step of the way.

Not only will they help with navigation, but they will also ensure you have packed properly, you have enough supplies for the journey, and they will have emergency contacts if ever necessary. You will definitely be in good hands with the guides.

Climb Kilimanjaro for free

Packing is Key for a Successful Climb

Many inexperienced hikers will hear that Kilimanjaro is a massive hike that almost anyone could accomplish, and so they embark on this 40-mile journey without the proper supplies.

The hike from the base to the tip of Kilimanjaro typically takes anywhere from 5 to 9 days to complete. You might not need mountaineering tools to complete this hike safely, but you will need ample food, water which the guiding company will provide and basic hiking equipment :

  • Sunscreen
  • Sleeping bag
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Trekking poles
  • First aid kit
  • Headlamps
  • Extra clothes
  • Shelter

This is by no means an all-inclusive list of the equipment you need for Kilimanjaro. Still, simple mistakes, such as not drinking enough water, have severe enough consequences that send plenty of hikers down the peak unfinished or, unfortunately, sometimes they don’t come down at all.

Final Thoughts

Reaching the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro is unlike any experience most human beings have in their lives. The sheer height of this mountain puts you right in the clouds, and the panoramic views are purely spectacular.

Be sure to bring your camera because you’ll be bragging about this accomplishment to your friends and family your whole life. As long as you are smart about your preparations and you are fully aware of the risks this mountain poses, conquering one of the Seven Summits is absolutely a worthwhile experience.

Kilimanjaro Guides

High-altitude trekking carries some inherent risk, and even the most experienced mountaineers in the world rely on the tutelage of local guides their first time up a mountain. For this reason, the authorities at Kilimanjaro require all trekkers to hire a guide.


Among other dangers, Mount Kilimanjaro is home to quickly changing microclimates and sections of dangerous rock fall. Choosing the right guide could literally save your life.


We know you’re putting your life in our hands, and we are humbled to accept this responsibility. We equip our guides with all the tools they need to make sure each and every trip to Kilimanjaro is a success.


There’s no substitute for experience on your trek up Kilimanjaro

An experienced guide increases your chances of a successful summit, which is why Climbing Kilimanjaro only employs expert guides with hundreds of successful Kilimanjaro summits under their belts.


Most of our guides are locals who have worked their way up through the ranks, starting from porters, on to assistant guides and maybe cooks, and eventually gaining their guiding certifications.


No team is complete without the assistant guides, cooks, and porters. At Climbing Kilimanjaro, every trek is a well-oiled machine with a professional touch. Our staff have years of experience working together. We’re much more than just a trekking crew – we’re family, and we’re excited to welcome you into our family!


With the aim of being the best tour operator at Mount Kilimanjaro, we offer competitive wages that attract the best people. Furthermore, we have an excellent guide-to-client ratio, with at least one guide for every two climbers. Our success rate speaks for itself: we’ve helped thousands of climbers safely reach the top of Kilimanjaro, and we’ll help you get there too.


Training and Certifications: Safety First!

Our guides have abundant experience working at high altitudes, and it goes without saying that they are equipped with all the equipment necessary to guarantee your safety on the mountain, including oxygen, portable stretchers, and first-aid kits.


All guides on Mount Kilimanjaro require a license from the Kilimanjaro National Park, or KINAPA. In addition to this basic requirement, every one of our guides also has Wilderness First Responder training. This is a certification that equips guides with the skills to provide first aid and carry out emergency response and evacuation procedures when necessary in remote locations.


We strive to help each and every one of our clients attain their goal of summiting Kilimanjaro, but sometimes altitude sickness or other injuries make this impossible. That said, we believe that prevention is key, so we carry out daily medical checks of all clients and crew members to catch problems before they arise.


You can trust our guides to make the right decision and help you get down the mountain safely should it be necessary to turn back. When needed, they can also arrange for evacuation by helicopter in partnership with Kilimanjaro Search & Rescue.


All of our team members follow Leave No Trace principles and encourage our clients to do the same. Mount Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary gift and we hope to take care of the mountain so generations can enjoy it for many years to come.


Relax, Keep Calm, and Pole Pole

Just about anybody can learn the technical skills of summiting a mountain, but it takes a special type of person to make it fun.

Our guides live and breathe Kilimanjaro. They speak fluent English and will set your mind at ease by answering any questions during the daily briefing – how long to the next campsite, what will the weather be like tomorrow, how warmly to dress.

We know a trip up Kilimanjaro is much more than just putting one foot in front of the other, so our guides are happy to share insights about local history and culture, flora and fauna.


Passionate about getting outside, staying active and connecting with nature, our guides will accompany you up the mountain at a pace that works for you, and all of this with a flexible attitude and that signature sense of humor that can turn the most gruelling hike into a rewarding experience.

We never get tired of climbing Kilimanjaro. But what really makes it special is the chance to meet people from all around the world and share this national treasure with you. Our guides have made it their mission to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for every trekker.


You’ve trained hard to get here, and it’s time to hand over the reins to our guides. We’ll take care of organizing the logistics and keeping it safe. Let us do the worrying so you can enjoy your trip!

Kilimanjaro Rental Gear

Kilimanjaro Rental Gear– International prices

 Mt Kilimanjaro gear rental from Tanzania – Prices quoted in US Dollars
 Sleeping bag: Please rent or supply your own liner  20
 Sleeping bag liner  5
 Rucksack / Daypack  12
 Balaclava  6
 Poncho  18
 Duffel bag  10
 Hiking poles (Set)  12
 Gaiters  5
 Gloves  6
 Raincoat  12
 Rain pants  12
 Warm jacket/Down Jacket  12
 Fleece pants  12
 Socks  4
 Hiking Boots  9
 Torch/Flashlight  8
 Hat or Neck Scarf  6
 Sleeping Pad  5


Rental gear sizes available: Small, Medium,Large & X-large.

Rental equipment terms and conditions applicable in Tanzania:

  • All equipment rental is subject to demand and the availability of rental equipment or specific sizes cannot be guaranteed. To avoid disappointment it is strongly recommended that all your rental equipment is booked well in advance of your planned trip.
  • Payment for gear in cash US $ only – no credit card or travelers check payments.

Important! Please note that NO rental equipment must be washed by the clients under any circumstances.

You  can also follow this link to see the recommended Kilimanjaro packing gear list

Is Climbing Kilimanjaro safe?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not without risks and considered dangerous. Every year, about ten climbers fall to their deaths, and the number is estimated to be much higher, while another 1000 are evacuated to safety from the traps of the mountain. The primary cause of deaths is Altitude Mountain Sickness, AMS and everyone attempting a climb is seriously warned to monitor AMS symptoms.

Any aspiring climber needs to understand in advance the risks he’s anticipating and getting warned is a good idea and not a scare tactic. While dangers associated with high altitude climbing can’t be eliminated, they can be lessened when you follow the advice given by a professional climber.

What is acute mountain sickness

At sea level, the percentage of oxygen is about 21 per cent. As you climb higher, the percentage remains the same but the amount of oxygen is reduced with each breath you inhale. When you reach 12,000 feet (3,600 meters), there are only 40 percent oxygen molecules available in every breath you inhale, forcing your body to fight to adjust to the available oxygen at that level. As you continue hiking, your body is fighting a losing battle as it fails to adapt quickly enough to the reduced oxygen. This is called Acute Mountain Sickness, and it can attack the healthiest individual.

Acclimatization while Climbing Kilimanjaro

The primary cause of AMS is climbing too high too fast. Given enough time, your body can adapt to low levels of oxygen at a specific altitude. This is referred to as acclimatization and is a must for any aspiring climber. For successful acclimatization to take place, set aside two to three days at a given altitude. While acclimatization is taking place your body changes to enable it to cope with low levels of oxygen. Here is what takes place:

a.    The depth of your respiration goes up

b.    Your body produces more red blood cells to carry more oxygen

c.    The pressure in your capillaries is increased. This forces blood to penetrate areas in your lungs which are generally not used when breathing normally.

d.    The body releases more enzymes that cause oxygen to be absorbed by body tissues.

We may not exhaust the science involved, but the symptoms of AMS start at around 12 to 24 hours after arriving at altitude. These symptoms are:

o    A headache

o    Dizziness and nausea

o    Lack of appetite

o    Fatigue

o    Shortness breathing

o    Bad sleep

o    General irritation

Other dangers while climbing Kilimanjaro

Apart from Acute mountain sickness, other dangers climbers are warned against while climbing Kilimanjaro are:

  • Hypothermia (loss of heat due to cold)
  • Slipping and falling off rocks
  • Getting hit by avalanches
  • Falling off cliffs
  • Heart attacks
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cold and respiratory infections
  • Twisting your ankles
  • Tropical diseases like Malaria and Typhoid

Final word

Recently there has been many deaths and evacuations associated with climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Whether it was due to ignorance, lack of adequate preparation or irresponsible tour operators is still debatable. But climbing Mount Kilimanjaro need not be dangerous if you plan well and prepare in advance, you can reduce most risks significantly if not avoid them entirely.

Kilimanjaro Training Program

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and hiking to the peak is a challenge that should not be under estimated. With all the information you could possibly gather, added to being physically prepared, one’s chances of reaching the summit is substantially increased. Stamina and mental determination to a great extent, will determine whether or not you will be successful in you quest to conquer the Roof of Africa. Being physically prepared for the trek will also greatly contribute to the level of your perseverance, confidence and personal enjoyment!

Kilimanjaro Training program

How fit do you have to be to Climb Kilimanjaro?

The type of fitness is more important than the degree of fitness. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is a hike, therefore the best preparation one can do is to hike, preferably under simulated conditions. Although jogging could be beneficial to your fitness level, it does not fully prepare your muscles for a strenuous 6-day hike.

For the best results, plan for 8 weeks of training before your Kilimanjaro Trek. This will allow you to build your endurance and strength. In addition to regular gym workouts, make sure you also go for walks in order to stimulate relevant muscle development.

Try to do a one or two day hiking trials in your area. This will not only be an excellent way for physical preparation, but also an enjoyable means to prepare yourself mentally.

We have furthermore developed a practical (in terms of time and costs) fitness preparation guideline to assist you in getting your body ready for a Mt. Kilimanjaro summit attempt. This guide contains a gym and a hiking program that should be followed simultaneously over an 8 week period.

Important points to remember – Before you start your Kilimanjaro Trek!!

Medical Check-up

Before embarking on a fitness program, it is always wise to first seek the advice of a medical doctor. Feel free to share this program with your family doctor for input. Chances are, your doctor will be delighted to know that you undertake to exercise regularly. Learn more about Kilimanjaro Medical check up

Progressive Resistance

In essence, the gym section of our fitness program consists of regular and progressive resistance exercises with either free weights (like barbells and dumbbells) or free weight machines that are readily available in gymnasiums. The idea behind progressive resistance is that your exercise regime can be tailored to your age, physical condition and strength, steadily progressing to higher resistance level as you develop.

Kilimanjaro Training

Safety Factor

Progressive resistance movements could be customized to individual strength and fitness levels, therefore our fitness program is potentially safe. It is however essential that all of the exercises be performed correctly and that basic safety procedures are followed at all times. It is furthermore always a good idea to invest in reading material on physical fitness and to consult your local fitness instructor about performing each exercise correctly.

Sets and Repetitions

This workout consist of repetitions (reps) and sets. A rep is a single count of an exercise, for example moving downwards for one squad movement. A set is knows as a series of reps – an average set consist of 8 to 12 reps.

Warm Up

It is highly recommended that one always warms up the muscles before starting with any exercising routine. The norm is doing a variety of stretching movements to warm up, strengthen and progressively challenge the tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles. Stretching is very important, as it is the best way to prepare for an injury-free workout.

Click HERE  to download the Kilimanjaro gym training program as a PDF (size: 156 KB).

Kilimanjaro Training Gym program– eight weeks guideline
Exercise Monday Wednesday Friday
Sets Reps Sets Reps Sets Reps
Warm up and stretch 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Leg developing aerobics
Cycling 10 minutes 10 minutes 15 minutes
Leg combination
Squats 3 12 4 12
Leg presses 4 12
Thighs isolation
Leg extensions 3 10 3 10 4 10
Leg curls 3 10 3 10 4 10
Lower legs isolation
Calf raises 3 20 3 20 4 20
Toe pulls 3 20 3 20 4 20
Lower back combination
Hyper extensions 3 12 4 12
Good morning exercise 3 12
Crunches (upper) 2 20 2 20 3 20
Leg raises (lower) 2 20 2 20 3 20
Leg developing aerobics
StairMaster / climbing 10 minutes low resistance 10 minutes high resistance 10 minutes low resistance
Cool down and stretch 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Total time 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes

More gym guidelines

  1. The above represents a guideline and can be adapted to your time schedule and current fitness level, but it will give you an good idea of which muscles you should concentrate on.
  2. Unfit people should utilize light weights during the first two weeks of this program.
  3. To stimulate sufficient muscle growth and development, the weights should be increased progressively at least every two weeks.
  4. For effective muscle development every muscle or muscle group should be given a resting and recuperation period of at least 48 hours after every strenuous exercising session if weights where utilized.
  5. It is important to execute the various exercises in the same order as listed above.
  6. The above program can be adapted for home gymnasiums – we will gladly advise you on request.
  7. If time permits it always a good idea to include some upper body development exercises in your program, in order to achieve a more balanced and overall body development.

Kilimanjaro Training Walking program

It is advisable to go for frequent walks which should include some uphill and down hills sections. Take your daypack with you and carry at least three liters of water or three kilograms with you. This will simulate the conditions you will encounter. As mentioned before, doing a one or two day local hiking trial in your area is not only an excellent way of preparation but also most enjoyable. We have developed an adequate hiking program of least 8 weeks to ensure an adequate level of fitness.
If your local weather conditions do not always permit outdoor activities, you can do part of it on a treadmill and simulate the flat, uphill (inclined) and downhill (declined) sections. Terminate your hiking program at least 4 days before you’re the start of your summit attempt to ensure sufficient rest before the climb.

Click here to download the Kilimanjaro training plan /walking program as a PDF (size: 148 KB).

Kilimanjaro Training Walking program – eight weeks
Week 1
Tuesday Thursday Sunday
Warm up and stretch 8 minutes 8 minutes 8 minutes
Flat terrain at 4,5km per hour 10 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes
Walk – lower leg development
On heels, toes lifted 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes
On toes, heels lifted 4 minutes 4 minutes 4 minutes
Flat terrain at 4,5km per hour 40 minutes 40 minutes 40 minutes
Cool down and stretch 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Total time 1 hour 10 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Week 2 to 3
Tuesday Thursday Sunday
Warm up and stretch 8 minutes 8 minutes 8 minutes
Flat terrain at 4,5km per hour 10 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes
Walk – lower leg development
On heels, toes lifted 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes
On toes, heels lifted 4 minutes 4 minutes 4 minutes
Flat terrain at 4,5km per hour 40 minutes 40 minutes 30 minutes
Uphill at 2-3 km per hour N/A N/A 20 minutes
Downhill at 5-6 km per hour N/A N/A 10 minutes
Cool down and stretch 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Total time 1 hour 10 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Week 4 to 8
Tuesday Thursday Sunday
Warm up and stretch 8 minutes 8 minutes 8 minutes
Flat terrain at 4,5km per hour 10 minutes 10 minutes 10 minutes
Walk – lower leg development
On heels, toes lifted 3 minutes 3 minutes 3 minutes
On toes, heels lifted 4 minutes 4 minutes 4 minutes
Flat terrain at 4,5km per hour 40 minutes 30 minutes 50 minutes
Uphill at 2-3 km per hour N/A 20 minutes 40 minutes
Downhill at 5-6 km per hour N/A 10 minutes 20 minutes
Cool down and stretch 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Total time 1 hour 10 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes

The above training program will prepare you physically for Kilimanjaro to the extent that you are capable of hiking 100 kilometers in one week. If you are fit enough for this, rest assured that your body will still give you more when you need it. If you follow the guidelines for both the gym training as well as the walking routine, you are definitely ready for Kilimanjaro physically. You can now concentrate on being mentally ready, but chances are…


How dangerous is climbing Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, earning it a place on the famed “Seven Summits” list. In actual fact, it’s comprised of three volcanoes, two of which are extinct and one that is dormant. Despite these impressive details, however, Mount Kilimanjaro is relatively risk-free compared with other mountains of the same height.

If you prepare properly, do your research, and listen to your guide, then climbing Kilimanjaro shouldn’t be too dangerous. The death rate for tourists is very low, at an estimated 10 people a year, and most of these are due to avoidable altitude sickness.

Since you don’t need any technical mountaineering skills to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, thousands of hikers flock here every year to try their hand.

Kilimanjaro’s location on the equator means that the weather on the lower slopes doesn’t get quite as cold as other mountains of the same height, and there is no need for crampons or serious climbing gear.

However, there are still a few risks to be aware of if you’re planning to scale Mount Kilimanjaro, and underestimating these risks can be dangerous.

The main risks are altitude sickness, accidents, inclement weather, and rockfall. Let’s take a look at each of these factors.

Altitude Sickness on Kilimanjaro


For every three people who set out to conquer Kilimanjaro, approximately two make it to the summit. The number one reason for climbers having to turn back is altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness is a product of the thinner air, which delivers less oxygen with every breath. It can hit anyone at any time, no matter how young, fit, or healthy you are.

The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341ft, which is considered extreme high altitude. There’s no way to guarantee that your body will adjust well to the altitude, but you can help prepare for your trip by working on your cardiovascular fitness and doing altitude training, including an acclimatization trek in the region if possible.

Even if you think you’re perfectly healthy, you should visit your doctor and get medical clearance before booking your Kilimanjaro trip.

This is doubly important if you suffer from a pre-existing heart or respiratory condition, or if you’re over the age of 50. It might seem self-evident, but you should avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs (including sleeping pills) while trekking up Kilimanjaro.

Unlike a mountain like Everest, it’s not necessary to use bottled oxygen to reach the top of Kilimanjaro. We actually recommend against this, as it can mask symptoms of serious altitude sickness.

By contrast, you can ask your doctor about using acetazolamide (Diamox), which physically helps the body acclimatize more quickly. This medicine is quite effective but in some people it can have some unsettling side effects such as tingling fingers and toes.

When ascending a very high mountain, it’s crucial to take your time and let your body acclimatize before attempting to go further, taking rest days where appropriate.

Your body can usually adapt somewhat to the altitude, but not if you ascend too fast, get dehydrated or overexert yourself. That’s where it’s especially important to have a guide who can monitor you closely.

The safest routes on Kilimanjaro are the ones that are at least eight days long, with favorable height profiles that ascend gradually and follow the cardinal mountaineering rule of hiking high and sleeping low. While it’s tempting to sleep at the high-altitude Crater Camp, it’s also very risky, so it’s quite rarely done.

Altitude sickness is heavily dependent on prevention, which is why we put a focus on equipping our guides with the skills and equipment to ensure your safety.

Our mountain guides are certified Wilderness First Responders who are well-versed in first aid and CPR. We perform daily health checks, listening to your lungs, checking your pulse and oxygen saturation levels with a pulse oximeter, and also ask you a series of questions from the Lake Louise Scoring System for Altitude Symptoms to find out how you’re feeling.

Our guides will also pester you constantly to drink water, and remind you to go slowly – “pole pole,” (slowly-slowly) as we say in Tanzania. Communication is key, so don’t hesitate to let your guide know if you or someone else in the group isn’t feeling well.

The good thing about early stage altitude sickness is that it usually gives you warning signs before it gets serious.

Initial symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS) may be mild, such as a headache, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If these symptoms get worse, with vomiting and trouble with coordination, you should turn around.

In line with Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, we provide at least one guide per two climbers. This means that if you’re unable to continue for any reason, you can safely be led back down the mountain by a medically-qualified guide while the rest of the group continues the hike.

Some people may not heed all these warning signs, eventually getting to the point where they show severe symptoms.

People with severe altitude sickness are usually confused, disoriented, and unable to walk, with a cough and trouble breathing even at a standstill.

At this point you are in danger of a high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE), which refer to the build up of fluid in the lungs and brain. These conditions can be fatal if you don’t descend immediately to a safe altitude and seek medical treatment.

In these cases, you’ll be glad your guides have oxygen tanks and masks (and know how to use them), plus a stretcher so they can get you safely down the hill. Luckily, most routes on Kilimanjaro provide easy access off the mountain.

For extreme emergencies, Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue can provide helicopter evacuations for people with appropriate travel insurance. Not all places on the mountain are accessible for the helicopter, though, and this should definitely be used as a last resort.

Accidents on Kilimanjaro

As with any hike in a remote location, a seemingly small accident such as a twisted ankle on Kilimanjaro can rapidly turn into a big problem just because it’s that much harder to get to hospital. This is even more serious in case of an actual emergency such as a heart attack.

Most travel insurance doesn’t automatically cover you at such high altitudes, so be sure to take out trekker’s travel insurance that is valid up to 6000m above sea level. It’s also important that your insurance covers you for helicopter rescue, in case you need to be airlifted to a hospital.

Weather on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro isn’t as high as Everest, but it’s still subject to very unpredictable weather, with microclimates that bring everything from strong winds to sudden temperature changes.

As always, layers are key, keeping in mind that temperatures can drop below freezing with very little warning. Depending on what time of year you go, you’ll likely find snow and glaciers at the summit.

Make sure you pack according to the list given to you by your tour operator, and don’t hesitate to ask questions in advance.

Don’t forget gloves, warm socks, and a face covering to protect against frostbite and hypothermia – but also make sure to lather up on sunscreen and wear sunglasses, since the sun shines bright up here, and can damage your eyes.

Check out our downloadable packing list for more information.

Rockfall on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro doesn’t really have the dangerous crevasses of other tall mountains, as it consists mostly of rock, and trails don’t cross glaciers or sections covered in ice, but it does have some places with unpredictable rockfall.

This is especially prevalent on the Western Breach and it has taken a few lives, so most tour operators avoid that route. If you did want to climb via the Western Breach, be sure to get in touch with us and discuss your options.

As always when trekking at altitude, there will be drop-offs on certain sections of the trail, although nothing that some basic common sense – and help from your guide – can’t protect you from. While most routes are fairly easy from a technical point of view – it’s a trekking summit – you may get the opportunity to do some rock scrambling, for example at the Barranco Wall.


It’s a shame to religiously follow altitude procedures and pour your heart into choosing the best route, only to fall ill with a stomach bug.

To keep your digestive system in tip-top shape, always make sure your hands are clean before eating, and try to avoid risky food sources such as street vendors, tap water, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

This goes for before your trip as well, unless you want the stomach bug catching up with you when you’re halfway up the mountain.

You can rest assured that the food we prepare for you on the mountain is of the highest quality, and prepared with strict hygiene standards. You can read more about the food and menus on Kili here.

Don’t forget to check the latest information to make sure you’re up-to-date on the required vaccinations.

Malaria is another risk in Tanzania, and although you can’t contract malaria on the mountain, you may need to bring malaria prophylaxis if you are traveling before and after your trek.

So, Is It Dangerous to Climb Kilimanjaro?

If you prepare properly, do your research, and listen to your guide, then climbing Kilimanjaro shouldn’t be too dangerous. The death rate for tourists is very low, at an estimated 10 people a year, and most of these are due to avoidable altitude problems.

Of course, you never know what tricks Mother Nature might have up her sleeve, and there’s no getting around the fact that you are heading into a remote region with inherent risks. But by practicing smart mountain principles, you can minimize the risks and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure that you are climbing with a responsible, reputable tour operator who takes your health and safety on the mountain very seriously.

When you book a trek with us, you are guaranteed to have the best trained and qualified guides on the mountain to give you every opportunity to enjoy a safe summit – and more importantly – a safe return home.

Get in touch with our friendly team today who are happy to answer any of your questions and can help you plan your trip of a lifetime!