Seven to Know: Mount Kilimanjaro

The planet's tallest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro lures adventurers, thrill-seekers and climbers to Tanzania to summit its peak. Last summer, Indagare's Jessie Trizano made the journey determined to take on the six-day trek up the mountain. A physically and mentally challenging excursion, the trip is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences, where each step leads to a new discovery, and the journey is as inspiring as the destination. The adventure, she recounts, is however best suited to thrill-seeking travelers who are prepared to endure a lengthy, arduous journey. Here are seven things to consider when planning your trip.

Kilimanjaro is a bucket-list destination for climbers. With a summit of 19,340 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro draws climbers who are attempting the Seven Summits Challenge, which involves climbing the tallest mountain on each continent. Although Kilimanjaro is considered the easiest of the seven, as it does not require technical skills or mountaineering equipment, Kilimanjaro is not for the faint of heart—climbing it involves up to six days of trekking (10 hours per day), sleeping in tents and going without plumbing.

Plan for it to take at least two weeks. Most flights to Kilimanjaro arrive in the late evening and we recommend spending two nights in Arusha prior to your climb. Depending on the route you choose, the climb will take between 6 and 10 days to complete. The shorter routes are steeper and more challenging, while the longer routes allow for maximum acclimatization time.

Avoid the rainy season. The months of April, May and November are considered rainy seasons and cause muddy, wet and snowy conditions. The driest time of year is from June through October, when there are relatively low temperatures and great visibility. The months from December through March are slightly warmer, but a bit wetter, resulting in lush landscapes.

Plan ahead. Like with safaris, planning a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro should be done at least nine months in advance. It is important to be physically prepared for the exertion as well as the added stress of exercising with limited oxygen. In the months leading up to your trip, I recommend building stamina by walking or hiking with a weighted pack, because the better shape you are in, the more you will be able to enjoy the experience. While it’s not a treacherous hike, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is far from easy, and the best way to prevent altitude sickness is to be as fit as possible.

Pack a camera. From start to finish, the untouched views will take your breath away. As you journey through several climate zones, you will watch the landscape change accordingly. Finally, the summit offers an exhilarating view that stretches across the horizon. We recommend ascending to the summit overnight in order to experience sunrise at the peak. (It will also be less crowded at this hour).

Your guide is your lifeline. Not only is trekking with a guide the safest way to summit the peak, but it’s also illegal to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without one. Local expertise enhances your experience, and heightens your probability of summiting. Indagare partners with the best on-the-ground operators and guides to ensure our members have the best possible trip.

Consider extending your trip for a safari. Mount Kilimanjaro is located in the northeastern region of Tanzania near the Kenyan border. Many travelers will take advantage of already being in East Africa and extend their stay to include other iconic sights in northern Tanzania, such as the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.

Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team with any questions and to learn more about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

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