The trekking up Kilimanjaro is probably the most popular high altitude trek in the whole world. You can simply walk up. You do not need any ropes, no special climbing gear or equipment, no previous trek experience.
There are seven main Kilimanjaro trekking routes – Machame Route, Marangu Route, Rongai Route, Lemosho route, Shira Route, The Northern Circuit and Umbwe route. There is also the Western Breach, an advanced and technically challenging route meant for experienced trekkers only.
Not all companies offer this route to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. The eighth Kilimanjaro route, Mweka, is used for decent only. There are two key things to consider when selecting a route on Kilimanjaro:
- Make sure that the route duration is long enough for adequate acclimatization. Five-day routes are too rapid. Seven or eight day climbs increase the success rate of summiting Kilimanjaro and six-day treks are an affordable alternative if you are fit and have some experience of high altitude trekking.
- Make sure the route provides a climb high, sleep low option. Again, this is a major factor in many climbers’ success on Kilimanjaro.
Join the thousands of climbers who have stood on the Mount Kilimanjaro Summit Guided by Climbing Kilimanjaro Team
The reason for Kilimanjaro’s Trekking popularity is obvious:
It is the highest free standing mountain in the world and one of the Seven summits You don’t need any technical mountaineering skills at all. But that doesn’t mean it’s just a walk in the park. Everybody says that you need no experience to trek Kilimanjaro.
That is correct as in that you need no climbing experience. There is no technical skills required at all. It really is nothing more than an uphill walk. (With possibly a bit of scrambling on the “Barranco Wall“, depending on the Kilimanjaro route you end up choosing for your tour.)
But Kilimanjaro trekking is still a very demanding adventure. Even if it takes no special mountaineering skills, I believe that previous trekking experience makes a huge difference to your chances to reach the summit.
I also think that people who have climbed mountains before will find trekking on Kilimanjaro easier than people who have never climbed a mountain in their lives.
Trekking experience does make a big difference
The main problem when trekking up Kilimanjaro is the altitude: the fact that it takes many days to get to the top and the low oxygen levels at height.
People who have climbed mountains before have the advantage that they learned to pace themselves. They learned to judge the demands of such a trek and adjust their pace so that it allows them to walk for many, many hours.
And they have learned to find a steady rhythm, slowly putting one foot in front of the other, without stopping. If the path gets steeper, your steps get smaller, the rhythm stays the same. That pace and rhythm lets you cover amazing distances and heights, without even noticing.
Trekkers have also learned that even if the path looks endless, even when you feel you have no energy left, as long as keep putting one foot in front of the other, you always get to the top. And you always have enough left to make just one more little step.
If you have never done anything like this then you will not understand how big a difference the steady pace and the right mindset makes. And you probably can not imagine that it can be difficult to just walk slowly.
Kilimanjaro Trekking Tours
Mount Kilimanjaro conquering is considered an accomplishment of a lifetime. Our team of experts and Kilimanjaro guides are there to support you every moment of your trek. The Kilimanjaro dream team is waiting to share the experience with you! Below We have our Kilimanjaro trekking tours routes and number of days you need for each trek. Climbing Kilimanjaro cost is different on each route depending on the length of the climb and the logistics involved.
Camping on a Mount Kilimanjaro Trek
The other aspect on Kilimanjaro where trekking experience comes in very handy is the camping experience.
People who are used to it, used to sleeping in tents, used to making do with minimal facilities, they won’t mind it. Most of us love it. I sleep better on hard ground in a tent on an uneven mountain slope than I do at home in my bedroom. Much better.
If you are NOT used to it, you may not sleep so well. Trekking on Kilimanjaro is physically demanding and you need to get that sleep. Not getting enough for four nights in a row is not going to help you during your summit attempt.
If you want to go trekking on Mount Kilimanjaro, and you have no previous mountain, trekking and camping experience at all, don’t despair.
Thousands of people tackle their Kilimanjaro trek with no experience at all, and many of them still reach the Mount Kilimanjaro summit Uhuru peak. But there is no doubt that you will be at a disadvantage compared to people who are used to trekking.
If you don’t like that idea, go camping :-). At least go hiking as much as possible in the time leading up to your Kilimanjaro trek.
Don’t worry about the gym workouts and acquiring some iron man fitness levels. That’s nonsense. Just get used to walking uphill, for hours at a time, at that steady pace where you don’t even notice you’re actually exercising.
As we said on the Kilimanjaro training page:
If you can walk in hilly country for 6-8 hours, and get up and do it again the next day, and return to the office on Monday feeling fine, then you are more than fit enough to go trekking on Kilimanjaro.
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