Preparations

The advantages of training for your climb:

  • Your body will deal with the rigours of adapting to high altitude much better
  • You will enjoy the experience more
  • You will be aware of and appreciative of your surroundings
  • You will be more likely to reach the summit

The disadvantages of not training for your climb:

  • You will need to focus much more on your breathing and miss out on the awareness and appreciation of your surroundings
  • Your first climb might not be as pleasurable as you expected
  • You may experience more suffering than necessary
  • You might be disappointed that you did not prepare more thoroughly

Recommended fitness preparation for your climb:

  • Training should be at the forefront of your mind
  • Make sure you are relatively fit
  • Give yourself a couple of months to prepare
  • Start your Kilimanjaro training by running, cycling or swimming three times a week for a minimum of 30 continuous minutes per session
  • Walk in the hills for 5-6 hours at a time on a monthly basis (once a month)
  • Begin light and add weight as your fitness improves
  • Increase time spent on this endurance element of your training by extending the walks to 7-8 hours once a fortnight (twice a month)
  • You should do this at least 2 months before you head off to Tanzania

Example of an exercise program:

Month Cardio Hikes
Month 1 Swim / Cycle / Run,3 times a week 1 hike in the hills of 5-6 hours
Month 2 Swim / Cycle / Run,3 times a week 1 hike in the hills of 5-6 hours
Month 3 Swim / Cycle / Run,3 times a week 1 hike in the hills of 5-6 hours - (add weight)
Month 4 Swim / Cycle / Run,3 times a week 1 hike in the hills of 5-6 hours - (add weight)
Month 5 Swim / Cycle / Run,3 times a week 2 hikes in the hills of 7-8 hours
Month 6 Swim / Cycle / Run,3 times a week 2 hikes in the hills of 7-8 hours

 

Kit List

Clothing
The number of items below are only suggestions.

  • 6 or 7 x Sweat-wicking T-shirts / vests
  • 1 x thin and 1 thick Fleece top.
  • 1 x Insulated down jacket or similar (normally worn on summit or at camp on cool evenings)
  • 1 x Down mittens or similar.
  • 1 x Lightweight gloves for lower slopes
  • 1 x (or 2 if used for sleeping) Thermal long-johns for summit night.
  • 2 x (of which can be converted into shorts for wearing on the first and last days) Lightweight walking trousers (avoid jeans or heavy cotton as they chafe and dry slowly)
  • 7 x (personal preference) Underwear
  • 3 x (personal preference) Very good quality hiking socks and thin liner socks. (We advise that socks should be at least a size too small otherwise they stretch and bunch causing blisters)
  • 1 x Breathable lightweight waterproofs (jacket and trousers).
  • 1 x Waterproof walking boots, sturdy and worn-in. A Gore-Tex membrane or similar is advised. While Alpine or C3 boots are not required for Kilimanjaro it is important that your boots have good ankle and arch support and good deep thread patterns.
  • 1 x Calf gaiters
  • 1 x Balaclava
  • 1 x Gore-Tex Mountain Cap or Woollen Hat
  • 1 x Wide brimmed sun hat to protect face, ears and neck

Baggage & Sleeping

  • Large backpack or Duffel bag, approx. 70-90 litres capacity (Your porter will be carrying your large back pack)
  • Daypack - approx. 25-30 litres capacity (For personal items to be carried by you as you will probably not see your large day pack from the moment you break camp in the morning to the time you arrive at camp in the evening)
  • Sleeping bag (Minus 10º C or colder) – sleeping mattresses supplied by us
  • Waterproof backpack liner or heavy duty plastic bag
  • Elasticised waterproof backpack cover

Personal Hygiene

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Wet wipes or other flat pack wipes for personal hygiene on mountain
  • Toilet paper or tissues in waterproof pouch
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Sanitary products
  • UV protection lip balm
  • Vaseline – helps against chafing and blisters

Health/ Personal First Aid Kit
(Your guide will be carrying a comprehensive medical kit containing the below and several other items)

  • Malaria Tablets – if you choose to use these
  • Diamox (if you choose to use this preventatively)
  • Factor 30+ sun cream
  • Pain killers (Ibuprofen)
  • Paracetamol
  • Zinc oxide tape and small scissors
  • Compeed blister pads (not corn pads)
  • Loperamide / Imodium diarrhoea tablets
  • Any medication you normally use
  • Dioralyte sachets or similar rehydration packs

Documents

  • Passport
  • Tanzanian entry visa – see VISAS
  • Air Travel Documents
  • US Dollar cash – for tipping
  • Credit Card – for emergencies
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Vaccination Certificates – see VACCINATIONS

Other

  • Camera – spare film/memory cards
  • UV Filter sunglasses
  • High Energy snacks
  • Watch
  • Head lamp/torch with extra batteries
  • Water bottles & Camelbak (3L capacity)
  • Ear plugs/Blindfold – Aid sleeping afternoon before summit night
  • Plastic bags
  • Telescopic walking poles – optional but advised
  • Mobile phone – During the trek, there are pockets of good reception on the mountain, so if you take your mobile telephone with you, your guides will point you in the direction of these reception areas. Either unlock your phone before or use local sim card.

 

Understanding the visa application form

Some of the answers to the questions on the forms are not obvious
Below are suggested responses:

  • i. Type of visa applied: ‘Tourist’
  • ii. Port of entry: ‘JRO’ (if arriving to Kilimanjaro International Airport) or ‘Namanga’ (if arriving by Shuttle Bus from Nairobi)
  • iii. Means of financial support: ‘Cash and credit cards’
  • iv. Reference in Tanzania: Please contact your expedition or safari coordinator to provide details of your hotel accommodation for visa purposes.

The entry route you decide on will determine which VISA you should apply for and when.

En route through Nairobi, Kenya

  • If you are flying to Nairobi you will need to take the Riverside Shuttle Bus from Nairobi to Arusha
  • To pass through Kenya you will need a Kenyan tourist visa
  • This visa can be purchased at the airport when you arrive
  • If you entered Tanzania from Kenya on your way to Kilimanjaro, your original Kenyan visa will probably still be valid
  • Kenyan tourist visas are nowadays issued on a multiple-entry basis

Direct flight to JRO, Tanzania

  • It is possible to purchase your visa on arrival
  • This can be done at the kiosk on the right hand side of the arrivals foyer at Kilimanjaro International Airport
  • It is however recommended that visitors apply for their visas in advance
  • It is stated by the Tanzanian High Commission that airport officials reserve the right to deny you a visa on arrival

If you leave Tanzania via Kenya

  • If you decide to fly out from Nairobi you will need to purchase a Kenyan visa, if travelling to Kenya overland.
  • This can be done at the Namanga border which you are required to cross
  • As mentioned before, if you entered through Kenya, your visa should still be valid

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

There is no requirement to have any vaccinations unless the climber has recently visited a Yellow Fever risk zone prior to entry. The list of recommended vaccinations for East African travel is updated regularly by the WHO (World Health Organization). Your local healthcare practice will usually have an updated list. Please consult them.

A GP would recommend vaccinations take place as follows:

Yellow fever – 10 days before travel
Typhoid – 10 days before travel
Hepatitis A – 2 weeks before travel
Diphtheria – 3 months before travel

Yellow Fever shot or not?

We are unable to offer you definite comment on whether or not to get Yellow Fever vaccinations, since the enforcing of this is quite uncertain. Take note of the Tanzanian Embassy’s statement on their official website regarding recommended vaccinations:

  • Immunization- vaccination against cholera and malaria is recommended.
  • Yellow fever vaccination is required for ALL persons from yellow fever endemic countries/regions.
  • All individuals in transit for 12 hours or more and/or who leave the immediate airport vicinity in a yellow fever endemic area are required to get vaccinated.
  • All individuals from yellow fever endemic regions traveling by way of air, marine and land are required to get vaccinated.

We have heard of many cases where officials have insisted on Yellow Fever vaccination certificates even though the traveller has not been to a yellow fever region.

Should you be concerned about Malaria?

The risk of contracting malaria while on Kilimanjaro itself is virtually nil. Ascent of Kilimanjaro requires at least an overnight stay in Arusha both before and after a climb. This might raise concern. It is believed that the incidence of malaria is higher at the tail-end of each wet season (in and around June and December), we however could not identify any such patterns.