Rainfall at the foot (cm) │Kilimanjaro
The short answer is to either go between May and October, or December and March. You also can read lots more about the Kilimanjaro weather.
Simply put, Kilimanjaro has a long monsoon season in April and May, and a shorter monsoon season in November. During these periods there is a high probability of rain every day. Outside these periods the weather is mainly dry and clear.
Of course, most people want to climb when it is dry, so if you choose one of these two periods you can expect to meet a lot of other climbers. To mitigate this, choose one of the less popular routes. The Northern Circuit is a great choice at this time of year. If you want to climb when it is quieter, or during one of the rainy seasons, then look at the Rongai route. It lies in Kilimanjaro's rain shadow and is much drier all year round.
Mount Kilimanjaro Difficulty
For experienced climbers, Mount Kilimanjaro will take around 5 to 6 days to reach the top. But it is important to understand the while the trek is shorter than others, the length of the trek doesn’t mean it is any easier. In fact, Mount Kilimanjaro is incredibly difficult because of its short trek.
You ascend rapidly up the mountain, which means your body needs to acclimate to the changing conditions very quickly. Thus, can lead to acute mountain sickness and if you aren't prepared for that, you can have to turn back to get help.
How fit do you need to be to climb kilimanjaro?
We have helped lots of novice trekkers summit Kilimanjaro safely. You need to be fit enough for "weekend walking" and able to do 5-7 hours on your feet for two days back to back. Besides being fit though you will need to look after yourself all the way and have bucket loads of determination.
The best training to climb Kilimanjaro you can do is to get your boots on and cover as many miles as your can before your climb. If you follow this advice, most days will be pretty comfortable for you. However fit you are though, summit night is a very tough experience. You will be climbing for 8-10 hours and descending for 6 - 8 hours.
What training do you recommend to prepare for my climb?
We always answer this question by saying you should try and get out and do as much hill-walking as you can. Nothing prepares your body better for climbing Kilimanjaro than some weekends doing long walks of 7-8 hours.
For a more technical answer there are four aspects of fitness you need to work on.
First is pure cardio. As you ascend there is less and less oxygen in the air and this makes your cardio system work very hard. Prepare for this with any intense cardio exercise. We are big fans of High Intensity Interval Training where you work very hard for a short period and then rest.
Second is leg strength. Consecutive days climbing puts a lot of strain on the legs and specific leg exercises like squats work really well.
Third is stamina. On summit night you need to keep going and going. Try and do some longer exercises that require real stamina like a long ride or a really long day hill-walking.
And finally don't forget your flexibility as lots of injuries are caused by lack of flexibility. So both before your climb, and on it, remember your stretches. Read more detailed advice on training to climb Kilimanjaro.
What are the toilets like on kilimanjaro?
The public toilets on Kilimanjaro are horrible. Fortunately, we now provide private toilets on Kilimanjaro as standard on all climbs. This is a chemical toilet in a small tent. This is kept clean and hygienic by our crew. Lots better than the long drop public loos.
How well do you treat your crew? are you a member of kpap?
We treat all our crew and guides really well. This is recognised by KPAP ( the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program). You can see our most recent KPAP audit report.
KPAP do great work to ensure porters are treated fairly on the mountain. This is not just about wages, but food, clothing, tents and tipping policy. Sadly far too few Kilimanjaro operators are members of KPAP. We have been a leading member of KPAP since we started on Kilimanjaro. There is a KPAP porter on all our climbs to ensure that our treatment of porters always is up to high standards.
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness (often just called AMS) is caused by climbing to altitudes where the air pressure is much reduced. There is a great little calculator here http://www.altitude.org/air_pressure.php which shows how this happens.
By the time you have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro air pressure is down to 49% of what it is at sea level. The first effect of this is that every lungful of air contains only half the amount of oxygen it would normally have. This make any physical exertion very hard work. Slowly, slowly is the key.
The second and most dangerous effects of low pressures are on the parts of the body where fluid and air meet. The two most important are in the skull and lungs. With low air pressure fluid gets into the lungs and the gap between the brain and the skull. In the lungs this causes something like pneumonia, where your lungs fill with water. In the brain it causes bad headaches. Both of these can become so bad they will kill you.
The good news is that we plan our ascents very carefully to minimise the risk of you getting AMS and have well tested emergency plans on how to prevent altitude sickness.
What is the difference between an open group climb and a private climb?
Private climbs to climb Kilimanjaro are your own personal tailor-made adventure. They give you total flexibility and the highest chance of success. Just choose your date, route and any of our tailor-made options. Perfect for a group of friends or a charity group. Or perhaps for a couple looking to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary. Upgrades to private climbs start from £100 per person depending on the size of the group.
If you want the company of others while you climb Kilimanjaro then an open group is perfect for you. Our group climbs run every week during the main climbing season from June - October and December - March. They are limited to a maximum of 12 climbers to make sure you get the best chance of summit success. Particularly popular are our open group full moon climbs which run every month.
What will the food be like?
The food our cooks prepare on Kilimanjaro is amazing. What they can create on a mountain is beyond belief and everybody raves about our food. This is really importantant as keeping yourself hydrated and ensuring you eat well is one of the most important factors in success. You can read more about our Kilimanjaro food. If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.
How will i wash during my climb?
Every morning and evening you will be provided with a bowl of hot water for washing. As well as this we strongly recommend a good supply of baby wipes for cleaning hands during the day. Also when it gets very cold higher on the mountain you can get by with what we call a "pits and bits" wash for which a baby-wipe is perfect. Remember though that whatever you take up the mountain has to come down so you will need a waste bag to carry used wet wipes.
Are there any age restrictions on climbers?
Kilimanjaro Park Authority do not allow any climbers on the mountain younger than 12 years of age. There is no maximum - our oldest client who summited was 75. You should be aware though that we do not allow children younger than 16 to join an open group. This is primarily because we feel that for children under 16 we need to provide the more personalised care that is only available on a private trip. Also, we have sometimes had negative feedback from adults about having children on a climb with them.