Climb Kilimanjaro: All You Need to Know for Your Climb

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Climb Kilimanjaro: All You Need to Know for Your Climb
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So you want to climb Kilimanjaro? That's fantastic. Can we join? Over the last few years, we have helped thousands of climbers to reach the Roof of Africa. Solo, in a group, accelerated, in a properly acclimatised way - we have helped them all. Did we hike Kilimanjaro ourselves as well? Of course, we did. My colleague Rintsje and I, Sierd, made it to Uhuru Peak in August 2022. Watch our video, keep reading and let us answer your most critical questions. Twende!

Twende is Swahili for Let’s Go. You need a solid dose of determination if you want to make it to Uhuru Peak at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet). First, you need Twende, secondly, you need to apply a bit of Pole Pole, Swahili for Take It Easy. If you want to go and if you will take it easy, you will climb Kilimanjaro and, just like us, you too will make it to the summit. Believe us. Let’s watch:

Quick Facts Before Your Kilimanjaro Hike

Before we get to higher ground, let’s do a quick and dirty breakdown of the Roof of Africa.

Where is Mount Kilimanjaro?

Although some of the most famous pictures of Kilimanjaro are taken from the Kenyan side, Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, a country in East Africa. The Roof of Africa can be found near the border between the two East African countries. Kilimanjaro is about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Nairobi and about 460 kilometres (285 miles) northwest of Dar es Salaam.

Mount Kilimanjaro’s highest peak, Uhuru Peak, stands at an elevation of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Reaching the Mount Kilimanjaro summit is a challenging feat that requires proper planning and acclimatization due to the high altitude.

Quick Facts Before Your Kilimanjaro Hike

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How tall is of Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro's highest peak, Uhuru Peak, stands at an elevation of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. It is the highest point on the African continent and is thus dubbed the Roof of Africa.

What is the elevation gain on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Not to be confused with the elevation of Mount Kilimanjaro, which is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. Depending on what route you choose, the elevation gain when climbing Kilimanjaro is approximately 5,100 meters (17,732 feet) up and down.

Why is Mount Kilimanjaro so famous?

Let’s skip The Lion King, Ernest Hemingway, and all the other references made in art and literature. Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, it’s a dormant volcano with three cones, and you can climb it without climbing gear. That last fact is quite something because Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s Seven Summits. Although no walk in the park, it is considered as one of the easier ones.


How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

The time it takes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro can vary depending on the route chosen, your fitness level, and how well you acclimatize to the altitude. The number of days to climb Kilimanjaro is practically mostly determined by the route you choose. This varies between 5 and 9 days, but most people do it in 7 or 8 days.

How many climbing routes are there on Kilimanjaro?

Although there have been more routes on Kilimanjaro in the past, there are currently six routes for climbing Kilimanjaro. These are the Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Rongai, Umbwe, and the Northern Circuit route.

On we have all the Kilimanjaro climbing routes. Find our offers here.

How Hard Is It to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Let us rephrase that question: How hard is it to embark on a Mount Kilimanjaro trek? That’s right: Kilimanjaro is a trekking mountain and there is no technical climbing or mountaineering experience required. If you can walk, you can climb Kilimanjaro. You don’t need to be an Alpinist or a serious mountaineer. So, yes, you too can climb Kilimanjaro.

People have literally climbed Kilimanjaro with no limbs. In 2017, quadruple amputee Kyle Maynard successfully made it to Uhuru Peak. No hands and no legs. Then why is climbing Kilimanjaro such a big deal? What can make your Kilimanjaro climb hard?

If you’ve watched our video, you will see that I am suffering. No wonder. Rintsje and I, both with since day one, have helped thousands of aspiring Kilimanjaro climbers make the right choice for their ascent. We didn’t listen to our own advice though. We rushed our way up the mountain. Fair enough, we did it to show you that you shouldn’t but still - there was a very fair chance that Rintsje and I didn’t make it to the summit at all. We didn’t take the pole pole part seriously enough. We should have taken it easy.

How Hard Is It to Climb Kilimanjaro?

How Should I Climb Kilimanjaro?

The reason why Rintsje and I were not feeling well has got everything to do with the altitude. The main factors that make Kilimanjaro challenging are the high altitude and the associated altitude sickness risks. Altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of their fitness level or previous climbing experience. The key to a successful climb is acclimatization, which involves ascending gradually and allowing your body time to adjust to the decreasing oxygen levels. To prevent altitude sickness, we should have followed the following guidelines::

1. Gradual ascent: Pole pole, take it easy in Swahili. Follow a route which is designed with acclimatisation in mind and do it in the intended number of days. More about that later.

2. Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water, to stay well-hydrated.

3. Proper nutrition: We did that right because, with the help of our support staff on Kilimanjaro, you can eat like a king.

4. Medication: We could have taken medication to help prevent altitude sickness. This can help with the rapid change in Mount Kilimanjaro elevation. But then we should have consulted a doctor first.

5. Listen to your body:We did that right too, because they seemed well aware of how (bad) we felt.

6. Physical fitness: We were fit enough but as you can see this still doesn't guarantee success.

Last but not least: We should have listened to our guide. On Kilimanjaro, you are never alone. You have a perfect team of qualified guides, porters, and a Kilimanjaro tour operator to accompany you on your mission to the Roof of Africa. We were accompanied by guides Erick and Brighton and were well-warned about the risks of rushing the climb. Stick to the number of days, choose a route good for acclimatization, and you too will hold a Kilimanjaro climbing certificate.

How Should I Climb Kilimanjaro?

When is The Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?

The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, is during the dry seasons when the weather is relatively stable and the chances of encountering rain are lower. There are two main dry seasons:

January to March: This period is generally considered the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. The weather is relatively warm, and the skies are clear. The trail can be less crowded during these months compared to the mid-year peak season.:

June to October: This is another dry season and is also a popular time to climb Kilimanjaro. The weather is cooler than the earlier dry season, but it's still manageable. July to August can be particularly busy due to the summer vacation period in Europe and North America.

If neither of those timeframes is interesting to you, you can decide to climb Kilimanjaro in the low season. The wet months are March, April, and November. Note that during the wet season, the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro can be quite muddy. If you are looking for the perfect route for these months, consider the Rongai Route highly. This route ascends Kilimanjaro from the Kenyan side and sees less rainfall. It is also less technical.

Climb Kilimanjaro at Full Moon

A popular moment for climbing Kilimanjaro is around full moon. Climbing to the summit of Kilimanjaro is a remarkable achievement on its own, but doing it under the glow of a full moon adds an ethereal quality to the experience. The moonlight casts an otherworldly glow on the landscape, creating a sense of magic and wonder as you make your way to the top. All your climbing days are during the day but the final push to the summit starts at around midnight. It makes perfect sense to use the moon to lighten up the way and improve visibility. Apart from a practical The glaciers, snowfields, and vast expanse of the plains below are all enhanced by the silver light of the moon, creating a visual spectacle that's unlike anything you'll see during the day.

Below you can find the full moon dates for Kilimanjaro. Warning: Around full moon dates, it's definitely busier on the mountain! And, disclaimer: We are no lunar geologists.

When is The Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro Routes on The Map

At, we have every route plotted out for you, making your experience of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro unforgettable. Whether you're interested in the time required for the climb, the lack of technical skills needed, or the rich historical background of each route, you can find detailed information in our blog post about the route of your liking. Below, we hook you up with a concise Mount Kilimanjaro map, highlighting the various routes, the best time for the climb, and who can partake in this majestic expedition.
Mount Kilimanjaro Routes on The Map

Which Is the Best Kilimanjaro Route?

There are 6 different routes for hiking Kilimanjaro. Sierd and Rintsje did the Machame Route , a route that we, together with the Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit , recommend to climbers who want the best chances of making it to Uhuru Peak.

Machame Route (Whiskey Route): Known for its scenic beauty, the Machame Route offers breathtaking views, diverse landscapes and adequate acclimatization. It is a challenging route that requires good physical fitness and is ideal for adventurous trekkers. There is a 6- and a 7-day version of the Machame Route. Route. Want to know more? Read more about the Machame Route and browse our offers for the Machame Route here.

Lemosho Route: Renowned for its pristine wilderness and untouched natural beauty, the Lemosho Route provides a longer and more gradual ascent. It offers excellent acclimatization opportunities and is less crowded compared to other routes. You can hike the Lemosho Route in 7 or 8 days. Read more about the Lemosho Route and browse our offers for the Lemosho Route here.

Northern Circuit Route: The longest route for a Kilimanjaro hike, the Northern Circuit Route offers an extended and more remote expedition. It provides excellent acclimatization and panoramic views of the mountain from various angles. This route, which is for hiking enthusiasts, can be done in 8 or 9 days. Read more about the Northern Circuit and browse our offers for the Northern Circuit here.

Rongai Route: The Rongai Route approaches Kilimanjaro from the northern side and provides a unique perspective of the mountain. It is less crowded and offers a peaceful trek through diverse landscapes, including forests and alpine moorlands. The Rongai Route is the way to go in the rainy season. You can do it in either 6 or 7 days. Route. Want to know more? Read more about the Rongai Route and browse our offers for the Rongai Route here.

Marangu Route (Coca-Cola Route): This used to be the most popular and well-established route on Kilimanjaro. It is often chosen by beginners due to its gradual slope and comfortable accommodations in huts along the way. There is a 5- and a 6-day version of the Marangu Route. Want to know more? Read more about the Marangu Route and browse our offers for the Marangu Route here.

Umbwe Route: The Umbwe Route is one of the lesser-known and more challenging routes to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It is considered one of the shortest routes but also the steepest and most difficult due to its rapid ascent profile. As such, it is typically recommended for experienced hikers and those who are well-acclimatized to high altitudes. Read more about the Umbwe Route and browse our offers for the Umbwe Route here.

Can You Hike Kilimanjaro Without a Guide?

No, hiking Kilimanjaro without a guide is not possible. It’s as simple as that. Even if you are completely on your own and you have done all the major peaks in the rest of the world with ease, you can not climb Kilimanjaro on your own. By Tanzanian law, you must have at least two porters and a guide by your side. Fair enough, the guy who ran in little over 5 hours to Uhuru Peak wasn’t accompanied by porters or a guide, but by default, you can not climb Kilimanjaro without support staff.

For the last five years, at we've made use of the same qualified guides. These guys all have had the same training and regularly have to back to renew their certificates. Together they've done more than a thousand guided ascents. They're the fittest men you can find, and if they weren't so busy on Kilimanjaro, they would have easily climbed one of the other Seven Summits.

Interested in who you will be hiking with? Below you can find some of our most busy guides. If you click on this link, you can get to know them better.

Can You Hike Kilimanjaro Without a Guide?

What is the Cheapest Way to Climb Kilimanjaro?

It is possible to climb Kilimanjaro on a shoestring. By now we have discussed the best routes and the non-possibility of ascending Kilimanjaro completely solo. If you are looking for the cheapest way to climb Kilimanjaro then you have to forget about the high success rates of the Lemosho Route and the Northern Circuit and you must focus on the Machame and the Marangu Route. Especially the latter is an affordable option. You can book a 6-day version of the Marangu Route with Enosa Expeditions for less than 1500 EUR/USD. This includes everything you would normally expect on a Kilimanjaro climb : Transfers from the airport to your accommodation and the gate, guide(s), porters, cook(s), hot meals daily when on the mountain, treated and filtered water, hot water for washing, first aid kids, accommodation in huts, fees and a fair salary, food, and insurance for guide and porter(s).

Prices for the Machame Route are comparable and you will be staying in four-season mountain tents, sleepings mats will be provided and you can enjoy everything else that you would normally enjoy on a Kilimanjaro ascent.

What is the Cheapest Way to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek?


Basically all Kilimanjaro climbing packages come without accommodation before and after the ascent. Unless you want to have a full package with flights, hotels and all the other jazz, this is a good thing. It allows you to choose the accommodation that suits your needs and most importantly your budget.

Our Kilimanjaro trekking packages are without hotel before and after but this can be added on. Check all our offers here.

Kilimanjaro Visa

Whether you decide to arrange an e-Visa or do it at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be in the same queue. This is because biometrics are only taken upon arrival. We are not saying that you might as well do it on the airport but it won't be a problem. It's up to you.

Here you can apply for an e-Visa for Tanzania.


Karibu Tanzania! Your first steps in Tanzania are on the tarmac of Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Most likely, you will have already seen Kilimanjaro from the aeroplane. It was hard to miss. Your first stop is immigration services. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve done an e-Visa application or not, you’re all in the same queue. Your biometrics are taken and you’re off to the super short luggage band. Grab your bag and get moving. Arrivals are outside - this is also where our colleague is waiting for you. He has your name written on a placard.

Jambo! Your bags will be packed in the vehicle and you’re off to your hotel. Whether you’ve booked your own or you’ve added it to your Kilimanjaro package, your transfer is always included. You check into your hotel and you make yourself at home. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar, and a pool. Welcome to Africa. Take it easy.

Settle In

Many climbers decide to start their ascent on the first morning in Tanzania. We, however, recommend spending a day in Moshi to settle in. No rush. Your guide will come to see you in the course of the morning to give you a briefing about the upcoming days. Together you go through your packing list - a good opportunity to still arrange some rentals. Whether it’s a baselayer, a set of trekking poles or a sleeping bag: Anything you can think of can be arranged and, to give an example, renting a sleeping bag only costs 35 USD for the duration of the trek. Tip: If you don’t own one, rent one.

After going through the packing list, any final questions can be answered and you agree upon a pickup time for the following day. The rest of the day you can spend exploring Moshi or relaxing at the hotel. You might even enjoy a few Kilimanjaro beers.


Need to go? It is what it is. At least you are bringing back a duffel full of life-time memories. Our colleagues will come to pick you up from your hotel and will make sure you are well on time for your check-in at Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be back, that we know for sure. See you then!

Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek? Practical: What Happens Before and After my Kilimanjaro Trek?

Kilimanjaro Weather: What Can I Expect?

Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania experiences various climatic conditions due to its varying altitude. The weather on Kilimanjaro can be unpredictable and can change rapidly, so it's essential to be prepared for a range of conditions.

Kilimanjaro has five distinct climate zones as you ascend:

Cultivation Zone (800m to 1,800m): The lower slopes are characterized by warm and humid weather with temperatures typically ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F).

Rainforest Zone (1,800m to 2,800m):This zone is often rainy and misty with temperatures decreasing as you ascend. Temperatures can range from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).

Moorland Zone (2,800m to 4,000m): The weather becomes cooler and drier. Daytime temperatures usually range from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F), and at night, temperatures can drop below freezing, especially at higher elevations.

Alpine Desert Zone (4,000m to 5,000m): This zone is characterized by high-altitude desert conditions with limited vegetation. Daytime temperatures can vary between 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F), and temperatures at night can drop well below freezing.

Arctic Zone (Above 5,000m): At the summit, Uhuru Peak, temperatures can plummet to well below freezing. Nighttime temperatures can reach -10°C to -20°C (14°F to -4°F) or even lower. Additionally, strong winds and low oxygen levels can make conditions challenging.

It's crucial to dress in layers and be prepared for both cold and warm weather. Proper gear, including insulated clothing, a good sleeping bag, and a waterproof jacket, is essential.

Kilimanjaro Weather: What Can I Expect?

Packing List for Your Kilimanjaro Ascent

Tents, sleeping mats, a pillow, food, utensils, and even chairs and tables are provided. The below items you need to bring yourself. Some of these you can rent. Don't overpack. Less is more. Porters are limited to carrying 15KG (13lbs) of your gear.
  • Technical Clothing

  • Headwear

  • Accessories

  • Equipment

  • Other

  • Footwear

  • Handwear

Kilimanjaro Hiking Gear Checklist

So, above you find a guideline of what you need for your Kilimanjaro ascent, and below we've thrown in a reduced handy checklist for you. Remember, pole pole!
Kilimanjaro Hiking Gear Checklist

Kilimanjaro Tipping Ceremony

Every year thousands and thousands of people come to Tanzania to climb the Roof of Africa. Together with Zanzibar and 16 National Parks, Kilimanjaro is a cash cow for Tanzania. However, tourism is not enough to support this beautiful country. According to stats by the World Bank, almost half of 55 million Tanzanians live below EUR 1,70 (USD 1,90) a day. In rural areas, as well as on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro life can be hard. For years farmers have cultivated the volcanic soil just outside the National Park. However, because of a decline in rainfall farmers are struggling. In these communities, a lot of young men try to benefit from the tourism industry around Kilimanjaro. They become guides and porters. Tipping is an important part of the trekking culture on Kilimanjaro, as it helps support the local workforce and acknowledges their hard work and dedication in ensuring a successful climb for visitors. Tipping goes hand in hand with a ceremony, which we show you in the below video.

How Much Should I Tip Porters?

Although every staff member gets a salary, this is usually just enough to make a living. In the old days, before trekking and climbing companies became a thing, people who wanted to climb Kilimanjaro gathered a team of porters on the lower slopes of Kili and would set off. They would pay the support crew after descending. Although porters now get a salary, the ways have not really changed. Porters and tipping have become a part of the Kilimanjaro experience. In fact, without porters, there is no Kilimanjaro.

Donation of Gear and Equipment

Once you are done with your climb, you may put your gear and equipment away in the closet for a trekking expedition in Nepal. Right? Let's be honest, it may take a while before you are heading off to a new trekking destination on the other side of the world. The porters who have helped you tag Uhuru Peak, however, are definitely going trekking again. Some of them ascend Kilimanjaro more than 30 times a year. They already do not own too much gear, so you can imagine they would be very grateful to receive your unwanted trekking, climbing and hiking gear. It will be of more use than when it's rotting away in your closet.


Training for Kilimanjaro - How Do I Get Ready for My Kilimanjaro Trek?

We’ve said this before and we will say it again. Kilimanjaro is a trekking mountain, not a climbing mountain. Trekking = Hiking, so the best training for Kilimanjaro is to go hiking. Some websites will tell you that you need to cross-train, biking, swimming, weight training, or even go on a diet. No. Again, pole pole. Just become the best version of yourself and start with that process about two months in advance. You can follow a strict training plan or just keep the following things in mind.

We recommend a minimum of three hiking/walking sessions per week, each lasting at least one hour. The specifics of your sessions, such as distance, duration, and elevation gain, will largely depend on the available trails in your area. Ideally, you should look for trails that are a few miles long and include a challenging uphill section that can be completed in approximately one hour. Finding a convenient location for your training will enable you to schedule regular sessions and easily track your progress.

Additionally, try to make time for longer day hikes, as they are excellent training opportunities. A solid day hike typically lasts four to six hours and involves moderate elevation changes of around 1,000 feet (305 meters), all while carrying a 20 lb. (9 kg) pack. If you feel up to the challenge, don't hesitate to tackle harder trails; they will provide even more beneficial training for your Kilimanjaro climb. If you don't have access to outdoor trails, don't worry. Training on stairs can be an excellent alternative to simulate the climbing experience on Kilimanjaro. You can also make use of a stair master machine for productive training sessions.

To mimic the challenge of climbing the mountain, wear your backpack and maintain a slow and steady pace. We suggest dedicating 1-2 hours to climbing stairs or using the StairMaster. What goes up, must come down. Descending Kilimanjaro is harder than climbing Kilimanjaro. Train your downhill walking!

Now, are you feeling confident and do you think you have most of the hiking under the belt? Then you can change it up. Go for a run, do stretching exercises, yoga, maybe even weight. Essentially, anything that can help to improve your overall fitness is a plus. Just make sure your main focus is hiking.

Training for Kilimanjaro - How Do I Get Ready for My Kilimanjaro Trek?

Combine Kilimanjaro Climb with Mount Meru or a Safari

We see a lot of people flying into Moshi, spending the afternoon in a restaurant, going to bed, waking up the next morning, climbing Kilimanjaro for a week, coming back and flying back home. When you don't have a lot of time, this is absolutely understandable, but if you have the opportunity, you should definitely stretch your time. You've spent a lot of money on those flights to Tanzania, so you might as well see what else there is to do in the area. If you're only spending an afternoon in Moshi, you might think that it is a bit of a sleepy town. But don't be mistaken, there is plenty to do to and we wouldn't call it killing time.


While in Africa you might as well do a safari. Right? Absolutely. If you want to get the most of your experience on African soil, you can combine the two. You can do this in, for example, Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, or Lake Manyara National Park. Although we may not have the options published on our website, our trekking experts know the best places and have some affordable safari options ready for you. Get in touch with our trekking experts and combine your Kilimanjaro ascent with a safari.

Climbing Mount Meru

If you have the legs and the time, you should definitely consider climbing Mount Meru. This is the perfect warm-up (or cool-down) for climbing Kilimanjaro. Meru is considered to be the little brother of Kilimanjaro and from here you can get great views of Kilimanjaro and the valley in between the two mountains. With 4,565 meters, Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain of Africa. Mount Meru has very decent accommodation in the shape of the Miriakamba Huts and the Saddle Huts. Are you keen? Check out our Mount Meru climb blog post here

Combine Kilimanjaro Climb with Mount Meru or a Safari

Tanzania National Parks and Kilimanjaro Park Fees

Kilimanjaro park fees include several components, such as park entrance fees, camping or hut fees, rescue fees, and more. These fees contribute to the conservation of the park, maintenance of trails, and overall management of the area. Park fees can vary based on factors like the route you choose, the number of days on the mountain, and your nationality. Different routes have different fee structures, and some routes might have additional amenities that contribute to the cost. On the Marangu Route, you pay more for accommodation as your stay in huts.

Every year the park fees are set by Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) and Tanzanian National Parks. Together they make up for most of the costs covered in your trekking package. The fees you pay directly contribute to the preservation of the park's ecosystem, maintenance of trails, and employment opportunities for local communities. Your contribution supports sustainable tourism and helps protect the natural beauty of Kilimanjaro.

Here you can find the latest information on Kilimanjaro Park Fees as set by Tanzania National Parks..

Where Can I Book My Kilimanjaro Ascent?

At you can your Kilimanjaro ascent and many other treks. Our guided options come with experts on the ground, and offer you a convenient, stress-free, safe, and educational way to explore the outdoors. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is this not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our blog posts:


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