10 things to know before climbing Kilimanjaro
Do you know which seasons are best for a Kilimanjaro climb? Or that tipping your mountain crew is customary? In order to have a safe, smooth and enjoyable experience, here are 10 important things you must know before climbing Kilimanjaro.
1. Some seasons are better than others
Knowing what to expect of the mountain environment at different times of the year can help you to choose a month that’s best for you.
Different seasons on Kilimanjaro
For the best chance of avoiding the rains and having clear skies, you should consider climbing Kilimanjaro between mid December and mid March, or between late June and October.
Expect the unexpected
Anyone who says they can tell you exactly what weather to expect when, is pulling the wool over your eyes!
Peak seasons on Kilimanjaro
The drier seasons are the busiest – that’s January to March, and mid June to October.
2. Some routes have higher success rates
The quicker you ascend the mountain, the more likely you are to develop altitude sickness and not be able to make it to the summit.
Don’t start at a too-high altitude, placing your body at strain right out of the gate (for this reason we don’t recommend the Shira route ) Provide enough days for your body to acclimatise (we recommend a trek no shorter than seven days) Offer one or more opportunities to ‘climb high and then sleep low’, a great acclimatisation strategy
The seven Kilimanjaro routes
9 days of trekking Very high summit success rate 7 or 8 days of trekking High summit success rate 6 or 7 days of trekking High summit success rate 7 or 8 days of trekking Medium summit success rate 5 or 6 days of trekking Medium summit success rate 5 or 6 days of trekking Low summit success rate 5 or 6 days of trekking Low summit success rate
3. Choosing a good tour operator is key
Three different types of tour operators
Budget operators Value-for-money operators Luxury operators
How to choose a tour operator
1. Get recommendations
2. Look at the website
3. Read client reviews
4. Look on social media
5. Speak with the operator
We highly recommend arriving at least one day before the start of your climb so you're not rushed and any travel delays can be accommodated within your timeline.
You don’t want to be one face among the many with your mountain crew, as that can compromise your safety and wellbeing, not to mention your enjoyment of the trip.
4. Preparation is essential
You’re probably only going to climb Kilimanjaro once in your life, so if you decide to take the adventure on, be sure to give it your all – not just on the mountain, but also in preparing for it.
5. You need to pack the right equipment
A quality winter jacket is absolutely vital to your warmth and safety on Kilimanjaro.
The importance of your hiking boots
You’ll have a miserable trek if you’re cold at night, so please prioritise your sleeping gear.
6. You can't climb without travel insurance
Delayed, cancelled or interrupted travel Medical insurance Lost or damaged luggage
At Follow Alice, we require all of our climbers to take out travel insurance.
7. Be open about your health with your guide
Your trek guide wants to know about any and all health concerns you experience during the climb!
8. Leave no trace on the mountain
Kilimanjaro National Park has a 'leave no waste' policy.
Carry your waste to camp
9. Tipping your crew is important
The tipping ceremony at the end of each Kilimanjaro climb is a fun and memorable group experience!
10. Take your time and enjoy the adventure!
Kilimanjaro isn’t a race
Don't waste any time fearing the mountain – rather, prepare for it, and then just soak up all aspects of the experience!