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Climbing Kilimanjaro

How do I workout to successfully climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania?

While climbing Mount Kilimanjaro you will basically face 4 main challenges:

  1. Many hours of hiking (6-8 hours per day)

  2. Carrying your Daypack (10kg / 20lbs)

  3. Cold temperatures (summit at -25 °C / -13 °F)

  4. High Altitude (= less oxygen)

It will be a physical and mental challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and not a walk in the park. This is what makes it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Almost 50% of all climbers fail to arrive Uhuru Peak. Tanzania Horizon Safaris is proud to have very high success rates on all routes. This is because of our safety standards, our experienced guides and our communication prior to climb Kilimanjaro. In the following steps we will explain to you how you can prepare yourself in the best possible way before arriving Tanzania and before climbing Uhuru Peak. We advise you to start your workout 2 months or at least 1 month before climbing Kilimanjaro.

The best ways to train for Kilimanjaro:

  • The easiest and best way for climbing Kilimanjaro is to go hiking!

  • Acclimatize before your hike (If you have enough time, you can climb Mt. Meru with us or go hiking at the Usambara Mountains with us)
  • Go hiking frequently at least 3 months prior to your arrival at least 1 time per week
  • Being in a good physical shape will definitely make it easier for you to climb 6-8 hours per day as your legs will get stronger and carrying the weight of your Daypack will become easier for you. You don’t have to spend endless hours in the gym or do all kind of crazy exercises. Focus on what is really important for your hike. You can use hiking poles for your comfort.

  • Your body will adapt to walking, hiking and climbing many hours and your mind will get used to it so that it becomes more natural to you. It will give you a big advantage to wear your hiking shoes frequently so that your feet won’t suffer when actually climbing Kilimanjaro. We advise you to go hiking for several hours, uphill & downhill, preferably at higher altitude above 3000 meters. The more often you hike before, the easier it will become. You will also gain more confidence in your abilities as you will develop experience and your body becomes more resistant to small aches and pain that will occur. You should consider to carry a realistic Kilimanjaro Daypack with a maximum of 10kg / 20lbs at least from time to time. If you are a beginner you can start without a Daypack and few hours and then increase the distance and carried weight step by step by using a small Daypack. Try to push your limits and go for a longer hike (6 hours or more) about 10 to 7 days before arriving Tanzania.

  • It depends on where you live if you are used to the cold climate on Kilimanjaro. This is something that you might not be able to simulate. But if you are living in a very warm area you might consider to add some extra layers to your luggage. That can be an additional long-sleeved trekking shirt, long underwear, warmer socks and other ways to protect yourself from the cold. Temperatures will drop drastically at night and the wind can be freezing. Catching a cold on the mountain or waking up at night feeling cold can be dangerous for your health and might even stop you from climbing so please be aware of that. However, our mountain equipment will keep you warm at night as we are using materials specified for temperature up to -30 °C / -22 °F.

  • A healthy lifestyle definetely helps to successfully climb Kilimanjaro. You should try to eat healthy, avoid drinking too much alcohol and stop smoking completely at least 3 weeks prior to your climb. Sleep at least 8 hours per day and get adapted to the wake up hours on the mountain. Please also consider the different time zones compared to your home country. Everyday on the mountain starts at 6:30 AM and you will go to sleep at around 8PM except summit night. You can see climbing Kilimanjaro as a motivation to change your habits and to do something good for your body by working out regularly, go hiking frequently and be more conscious about the food that you are eating.

  • By following the above steps you are increasing your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak at 5.895m. Even though, there is hardly any way to prevent your body from Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). It can happen to beginners as well as experienced climbers. It occurs when you are climbing too fast, so that your body can not adapt enough to the change of oxygen level at high altitude. If you have the chance to train at high altitude before climbing Kilimanjaro it can help you, but AMS only occurs above 2.500m / 8202ft and your body needs several days to adapt your blood cells to carry more oxygen. Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the biggest challenge on the mountain and is not a joke. It is the main reason why climbers do not make it to the top of Kilimanjaro and can even cause death! Therefore it is essential to choose enough days spend on the mountain to give your body enough time to adapt to high altitude. Your safety is our first priority, your success is our success!

    Our team will assist you 100% and our guides will make sure that you will reach your goal so please listen to your guides at all times!

You can read more about related topics:

Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS)

How to choose the best Route to climb Kilimanjaro?

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