How Long Does It Take to Recover From Climbing Kilimanjaro?


Since summiting Kilimanjaro is a long and strenuous hike, most people wonder how long the recovery process is. Those traveling all the way to Tanzania also plan to do other activities like safaris and Zanzibar excursions.

How long it takes you to recover from the climb often determines what other activities you can do and how enjoyable you’ll find the rest of your holiday.

The exact recovery time really depends on the individual person as not everyone’s body is the same. Some people find that it takes them only a few days to recover while others report that their body still feels in the recovery process for a few weeks.


Factors that Contribute to Recovery From Kilimanjaro


There are many factors that contribute to how quickly you will recover after the climb. If you’re already fit and prepared well for the climb, it will probably take you a week or less to fully recover.

Most people only experience mild challenges during the recovery process including headache, dizziness, being out of breath, or nausea. This is because of the altitude changes, long hours of walking, and not sleeping as much as you might normally be used to.

How fast you recover depends on several different things:


  • How fit you were before the climb
  • How well you prepared and trained for the climb
  • If you experienced any sickness or challenges on the mountain
  • How well do you stay hydrated
  • If you have any other physical activities planned for after the climb


Can I Do Other Activities During My Recovery Period?

Many people like to explore more of Tanzania besides just climbing Kilimanjaro. You might plan to book a safari or a Zanzibar beach vacation after your climb. One of the most common questions people ask is if they need to just relax at the hotel for a few days before they begin their other activities.

Most people can easily jump from one activity to the next. The good news is that safaris and Zanzibar beach vacations are very relaxing and they do not require any physical work like climbing Kilimanjaro does.

On safaris, you’ll spend most of the day relaxing in the safari car watching out for animals and in the evening you’ll be lounging at your tented camps or luxury lodges.

In Zanzibar, most people spend the days sitting on the beach or exploring Stone Town. If you want to do some more physical activities like kite surfing, you might want to choose to do them at the very end of your journey once it has been a few days since you climbed Kilimanjaro.


How to Minimize Recovery Time

One of the best things you can do is to always listen to the guides on the mountain during the climb. They will test your oxygen levels and monitor your overall health to ensure you are in good shape to climb the mountain.

If they recommend you take it slow or go for extra health checks, always take their advice. While Kilimanjaro does take some amount of pushing yourself, you don’t want to overdo it if your lungs or oxygen levels are not doing well.

If you’re concerned about recovery time, consider taking a longer route. The longer routes have fewer hours of hiking every day which means you’re not pushing your body as hard. You also get a longer time to adjust to the altitude which is easier on your body.

Sleep as much as you can while on the mountain. Make sure you have comfortable and dry clothes each night so you can sleep well.

Lastly, train and prepare for the climb. Depending on your fitness level, you will need to train anywhere from 2 months to 6 months for the climb. The more you train and the better you train, the more your body will be used to the activity and it will spend less time in the recovery period.


The Bottom Line

The exact time for recovery will depend on your body and how well it adjusts to the altitude of the mountain. Some people feel fine after a few days while others report it takes them a few weeks to begin to feel normal again.


The good news is that the recovery period is easy and short for most climbers, especially the ones who trained and prepared well.