Be Properly Equipped:
An essential part of your preparation will be to ensure that you are well equipped for your summit attempt.
Be Physically Prepared:
It is important that your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges of Mount Kilimanjaro.
It is possible to summit Kilimanjaro successfully. Many before you have succeeded. This should be topmost in your mind when preparing for the summit attempt. You should always remain in a positive state of mind.
Adequate Travel Insurance:
Make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance, which will also provide you with cover for the climb up Kilimanjaro.
This will enable you to go in high season, which is January-March and September-October. High Season is a good time to go simply because the weather conditions are safest for climbing.
Pack light but make sure you have everything you need to deal with altitude and variation in temperatures.
Choose Your Route:
Make sure your hike is at least 6-7 days for maximum success. Any shorter and you will not be properly acclimatized. Routes vary in degree of difficulty, traffic and scenic beauty. The least difficult routes are Marangu and Rongai; the more difficult routes are Machame. The longer routes may have more difficult hiking but you’ll be more acclimatized and your chances of reaching the summit are therefore higher. The longer western routes also allow you to start your summit day at a more reasonable hour.
Go slowly – “Pole Pole” as they say in Swahili! This is also very important during your first days of climbing. Even if you feel well, slow down and enjoy the scenery. The biggest cause of altitude sickness is ascending too high too fast! The slower you hike to more time you give your body to acclimatize.
Drink Enough Water:
Make sure that you drink at least 3 – 4 litres of liquid a day – preferably water. For your first day it is recommended that you take along fresh water. Try to get the bottles with the screw tops, this way you will also have containers in which to take water further up the mountain. Running water on the mountain is safe to drink from day-2 onwards, but care should still be taken. If you are not used to fresh water in nature, prevent any inconvenience by using water purification tablets.
Walk High – Sleep Low:
If possible and especially on your acclimatization day “walk high – sleep low” Try to do a short evening stroll to a higher altitude and then descend to sleep at the camp at a lower altitude. This is essential on your acclimatization day.