Altitude is often a problem while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. If you know you are susceptible to this, you are advised to inform your guide. Symptoms include bad headache, nausea, vomiting and severe fatigue. It can be avoided by ascending slowly, and if at all possible, spending an extra day half way up for acclimatization. Descending to a lower altitude can cure it. The Hut Guardians or Rescue Rangers at Kibo or Shira Huts should be informed immediately.
Points to remember
* Anybody with a respiratory infection, sore throat, cold, cough or high temperature should never climb above 2 750m. (A little above Mandara Hut).
* Children under 12 years of age may not climb above 2 700m.
* Use the recommended tourist routes and hiking schedules suggested by your organizer.
* Overnight stops at huts along the route allow your body time to acclimatize to the increasing altitude.
* Do not underestimate the effect of high altitude. Rushing the climb exhausts the climber, diminishes the chance of achieving the goal and increases the chances of being struck by a serious attack of high altitude sickness. Trekking at a slow, steady pace is definitely recommended (POLE POLE, the Swahili saying goes).
* It is important to keep dry and take regular rest. When resting, use extra garments to maintain warmth.
* Carry not less than 1.5 liters of fluid with you. Drink regularly, and as much as possible. Your water intake should be between 3 - 5 liters per day, depending on altitude.
* Always listen to the advice of your guide as much as possible. He has more experience in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro than most clients.
Kilimanjaro stands just south of the equator, on the northern boundary of Tanzania, close to the Indian Ocean. It is affected by the passage of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone, which brings with it the main rainy periods. The geography of the Mount Kilimanjaro includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks.
Climbing is possible throughout the year. January, February, September and October are the best months for trekking but July, August, November and December also being good. The rainy period is from March to June. During the rainiest period of March to May, clouds tend to pile up over the summit, dropping snow on top and rain at the base. Visibility can be limited by cloud cover even when no rain falls. The temperature at this time of year is relatively warm. The dry season, beginning in late June and through July can be very cold at night, but usually is clear of clouds. August and September are also cool and can have completely clear days, but usually a dripping cloud belt girdles the mountain above the forest and moorland. The shorter rainy period of October to December often has thunderstorms that pass over Mt. Kilimanjaro, dropping rain as they go. January and February are usually dry, warm and clear with brief rain showers which make for good hiking conditions. The summit can be totally clear and the successful climber looks down on a vast sea of clouds with distant mountain peaks poking through like islands.
Different ranges of climate exist on the Mt.Kilimanjaro; the range starts with the warm, dry plains with average temperatures of 30°C, ascends through a wide belt of wet tropical forest, through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall to the summit where there is permanent ice and below freezing temperatures.
Temperatures at Mt Kilimanjaro vary considerably with height and time of the day:
* At 3 000m, frosts can be encountered at night while day time temperatures range from 5°C to 15ºC
* At 4 000m, the temperature tends to be 15°C during the day but when the sun is covered, temperatures drop. At night, temperature falls to -10°C.
* At the summit, temperatures are about 5°C during the day and drop to between -18°C and -22°C at night.
* On the plains surrounding Kilimanjaro the average temperature is about 30ºC.
* Night time temperatures on the summit can be well below freezing.
Kilimanjaro packing list for the Ladies trekking
About the porter
Your porter carries a bag/sack of a maximum of 15kg. The porter is not trekking with you, but the guide is. Therefore carry all the items that you may frequently need during the climb, such as camera, with yourself, the rest will be carried by the porter, whom you may not see until the end of the trekking day.
* Waterproof duffel bag or backpack for you to carry
* Large waterproof duffel bag or backpack for porters to carry
* The higher you go, the colder, wetter and snowier it becomes Therefore, always wrap your clothes and fragile items, such as electronics, in plastic sheets.
* When choosing clothes, bear in mind that you need 3 layers: inner layer, middle layer and outer later. Depending on the altitude, theouter layer can be a rain coat/jacket.
* Lightweight khaki cotton shorts/ trousers for the first and last day
* Cotton shirts, short-sleeved shirts for the day, long-sleeved for the evenings
* A sweater
* Wind/rain jacket
* Warm lightweight fleece/jumper
For cold days
* Short and long woolen underwear
* Long-sleeved shirts for hiking and for lounging in the evenings
* Fleece jacket or wool sweater
* Fleece pants
* Rain pants and jacket
* Waterproof mittens and/or gloves
* Woolen or pile hat
* Balaclava or neck gaiter
* Crampons (may be needed March-May and November-December)
* Sleeping bag (-10°C is recommended)
* Sleeping pad and repair kit
* Strong, comfortable waterproof trekking shoes, preferably boots with ankle support
* Comfortable shoes or sandals for the evening
* Pairs of comfortable woolen- and trekking socks
* Toilet paper
* Bag kit for human waste and used toilet paper
* Hand sanitizer
* Small towel
* Toothbrush and toothpaste
* Tanzania Visa
* Medical insurance
* Certificate of vaccination
* Pain killers
* Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
* Insect repellent
* Lip balm with sunscreen
* Antiseptic cream
* Bandages and tape
* Diarrhea medicine
* Prescription drugs if you are on medication, you have to bring a doctor’s
note with it.
* Headlamp/flashlight; bring double extra sets as cold weather shortens their life
* Camera/video with a wide angle & zoom lens/adapter, films and tapes.
* Electrical adapter
* Energy bars and snacks
* Notebook, pencil and pen
* Pocket knife
* Ski or trekking poles
* Sun hat
* Souvenirs for guides, villagers, school children etc.
NB! The list is not exhaustive; therefore, use your judgment when it comes to packing.
It is customary to tip help providers such as guides, porters, cooks and drivers. Therefore you should carry with you some money; total of 50 USD should be adequate.
Meals on the mountain
Commonly served menu during the climb:
* Tea and coffee with milk, sausages, sandwiches, eggs, toast.
* Fruits and wide varieties of vegetables.
* Beans, carrots, cabbage, spinach and salads.
* Roasted chicken/beef, cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes, fried potatoes, fried bread, biscuits.
* Soup and bread, pasta, rice with meat or beans sauces as well as vegetable.
* Late afternoon tea or coffee with biscuits.
There are rules and regulations to be observed within the National Parks in Tanzania, breach of which might lead to fines.
It is estimated that approximately 100 000 people each year trek on the slopes of Mt.Kilimanjaro. Although there are many trailhead toilets to be found, one may not be always near, when nature calls. Remember that you are in extremely delicate alpine environment with its unique flora and fauna. We, at &MOMENTS believe in universal leave-no-trace values and promote respectful attitude towards nature and each other. We ask you to read carefully about the principles and practical tips regarding wilderness etiquette and to carry necessary gear with you at all times. Read more >