Preparing for Kilimanjaro
Most people prepare for Kilimanjaro climb with
fitness training. While getting reasonably fit makes
sense, the gym work outs or sprinting up flights of
stair etc. will not prepare your body for the
demands of a Kilimanjaro climb.
You need to get your body used to walking for
several hours in uneven country, for several days.
But any fitness training beyond that will not
increase your chances to reach the summit.
It’s the altitude that will get you, not your lack
So if you can, expose your body to some altitude
before you tackle Kilimanjaro:
If you are living somewhere near mountains, climb
them! If there is a chance to overnight at higher
altitude, do it. (Note that for this to make a
difference it needs to happen right before your Kili
Some people do acclimatization treks on Mt. Meru
before they climb Kilimanjaro. We have been doing
and can recommend it, but only for people with some
previous trekking experience.
There are other options: some operators offer
cultural tours in the Kilimanjaro foothills, there
are walking safaris in the crater highlands.
The Ngorongoro crater rim is over 2200 metres high
and even the crater floor is at 1700 metres. If you
think of doing a safari while in Tanzania, why not
plan it so you can spend a night or two on the
crater rim before transferring to Kili?
Look at where you will be spending the night(s)
before your climb. Some agencies will put you up in
Moshi, some in Marangu. Moshi lies at 890 m, Marangu
at 1800 m.
No matter where you will be staying, definitely fly
in a couple of days early!
Give your body time to adjust to the different
climate, the food, to recover from the strains of a
long haul flight and to get over the jet lag if you
came from a different time zone.
Arriving early can improve your chance of reaching
the summit by five percent or more.