< Back to blog listMount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, and rises approximately 4,900 m from its base to 5,895 meters above sea level. Indeed, being on top of this towering glory is a once in a lifetime experience you shouldn’t miss.
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro RoutesThere are seven established routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro – Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, 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. The Rongai route approaches from the north.
Which one is the best?
ShiraSame as Lemosho, except Shira offers higher start point and therefore poorer acclimatisation.
UmbweShort and steep beginning profile. Poor acclimatization opportunities due to its rapid ascent and therefore success rates can be low on this Kilimanjaro route.
Which type of weather will be most suitable for climbing/trekking?The mountain can be climbed at any time of the year. In general, January to March, as well as October, tend to be favored more because of the clearer skies. That would also mean there would be more hikers but not it doesn’t get too saturated. April-May and November-mid-December is rainy season and therefore receives less visitors. Note that the rains are unpredictable and may come early or extend beyond their expected time frames. It is possible to experience mostly dry weather conditions during the rainy season, just as it is possible to have heavy rain during the dry season.
MealsAll our Mt. Kilimanjaro tours come with full-board meals. A cook comes with each group along with porters in-charge of preparing your meals in each base camp. When you book, we ask about your allergies and dietary restrictions so we can best prepare the meals suitable for you as there would be no other options in the base camps. We try to prepare well-balanced meals packed with nutrients and carbohydrates to keep your energy going. We refrain from serving junk foods and prefer healthy snacks such as fruits. Sufficient drinking water is also provided all throughout the trip. Upon the clients’ requests, we can provide supplementary snacks such as candy, gum, chocolate, energy bars or powdered energy drinks.
- Our guides use a pulse oximeter to monitor your oxygen saturation and pulse rate.
- Our guides have been trained to determine whether you have symptoms of altitude sickness so that it can be treated right away.
- Our staff carries bottled oxygen on all climbs and can administer it to quickly treat climbers showing symptoms of altitude sickness.
- We have access to a portable stretcher at all times to for clients who need to descend but are unable to walk on their own.
- We also have a first aid kit to treat injuries.
What is altitude sickness?Altitude sickness occurs when your body doesn’t get sufficient oxygen from the air at high altitudes. Symptoms vary from person to person but the most common ones are headache, loss of appetite, and trouble in sleeping. It is also called acute mountain sickness (AMS).
What causes altitude sickness?Air is “thinner” at high altitudes. When you go too high too fast, your body cannot get as much oxygen as it needs. So you need to breathe faster. This causes the headache and other symptoms of altitude sickness. As your body gets used to the altitude, the symptoms go away.
Top 4 ways to prevent altitude sickness
AcclimatizeOur itineraries have been crafted such that the body would have enough time to acclimatize and therefore, avoid the occurrence of Altitude sickness. There would be days that we ascend slowly or have shorter walks for this purpose.
Get restAnother way to combat altitude sickness is to get plenty of rest. Domestic and international travel can alter normal sleep patterns. This can cause you to become tired and dehydrated, which increases your risk for altitude sickness. Before starting your ascent, plan a day or two of rest to get used to your new environment and sleep patterns, especially if you are traveling internationally.
HydrateThis is the best way to help your body adjust to high altitude. Generally, the low humidity at altitude keeps the air dry, so you should drink twice as much water as you would at home. It would be best to refrain from consuming caffeine and alcohol as well. Sounds boring eeh? But who wants to wake up with a hang-over in this kind of trip anyway!
Eat HealthyConsume foods rich in potassium as they are great for acclimatizing. Complex carbohydrates are great for stabilizing your blood sugar and maintaining energy too. Eat plenty of whole grains, pasta, fruits, and vegetables.
How to treat
- For mild altitude sickness, the person may be able to stay at current altitude to see if his or her body adjusts. If symptoms don’t get better in 24 to 48 hours or if they get worse, the person should go down to a lower altitude and seek immediate medical care.
- Even if symptoms are mild, the person should not go any higher in altitude until symptoms are completely gone.
- Give oxygen.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Oral medication, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be taken for a headache.
- If mild symptoms persist after descent, it is best to seek medical attention.
- For severe symptoms, the person should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if symptoms go away after descent.
Equipment ListOur packages include accommodation in the base camps where most often, proper dining area are found. This may very though as there are different routes with varying facilities. We provide tents and our staff will set it out for you. The following are what we suggest you bring to aid in your climb
- Proper water container as the ranges don’t allow plastic bottles
- Walking pole
- Sleeping Bag
- Rain jacket
- Gaiters: To keep mud, rocks, and snow out of your boots.
- Hiking Boots or proper hiking shoes
- Mosquito repellent
- Allergy medications (if applicable)
- Walking pole
- A good book and a lot of determination!