Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro For Beginners, Non-Athletes & Re-entrants

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro Featured Image

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as a beginner is easy if you hike routes that have great acclimatization landscapes and short hiking intervals. That’s because many first time hikers suffer from altitude sickness, fatigue and a lack of sleep. This is often due to poor acclimatization opportunities and a lack of physical recovery after hikes. The trick here is to simulate your overall Kilimanjaro experience back home, so by the time you get to Mount Kilimanjaro, you’re able to effectively adjust to Kilimanjaro’s distances and elevation gains. This post will highlight the 5 simple steps required in order to successfully summit Mount Kilimanjaro as well as the general help needed to accomplish this goal with absolute safety.

How Can A Beginner Climb Kilimanjaro?

  • Registered Company — You can only climb Kilimanjaro with a registered and licensed travel company in Tanzania. These are the only entities that can obtain a hiking permit from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority (KINAPA).
  • Licensed Guide — You’re also required to hike Mount Kilimanjaro accompanied by a licensed Kilimanjaro guide who has undergone emergency safety training. This policy toward unsupported treks was introduced in 1991 by Tanzania’s tourism governing body, Tanzania National Park Authority (TANAPA).
  • Support Crew — Lastly, there’s no reliable source of water past 4,000m (13,123ft), so in addition to general hiking equipment, you’ll need a crew to carry enough water to use at higher altitudes. This work is usually done by porters and cooks who are in charge of transporting tents, food, and hiking equipment up the mountain.

6 people hiking the lemosho route
Compare Summit Difficulty Rates According To 6 Kilimanjaro Hiking Routes

Step 1. Select Routes That Perform Well With Beginners

Lemosho, Machame and the Northern Circuit are the longest and best performing routes for beginners. Where these routes stand out is the duration spent acclimatizing at 4,630m (15,190ft) before approaching the summit at Uhuru Peak. That’s because it becomes so much easier for your body to adjust up to 5,895m (19,341ft), when you’ve already acclimatized at 4,630m (15,190ft) during your hike. This is the reason these three routes perform exceptionally well across the board. Especially among first time hikers above 3,000m (10,000ft).

Elevation Gains Of Lemosho, Machame and the Northern Circuit Routes
Elevation Gains Of Lemosho, Machame and the Northern Circuit Routes

Kilimanjaro Hiking Equipment
Access A Complete Equipment List Recommended For Kilimanjaro Treks

Step 2. Pick A Date That Is Dry & Less Crowded

February, August and September have the best weather conditions out of the year, however expect some of these months to invite heavy traffic along Kilimanjaro’s popular trails. If you’d like to avoid crowds, schedule your hike either in June, early-July, October, December, or February. Months that border the rainy seasons are usually less crowded and are less likely ruin your momentum during the expedition. It’s also worth mentioning that nights on Kilimanjaro tend to get pretty cold and windy, so try and bring extra hand and toe warmers to the mountain, in addition to proper hiking gear.


Get Easy Training Tips For Kilimanjaro
Get A Full 4-Step Training Guide For Kilimanjaro

Step 3. Train & Condition Your Body For The Climb

For the most part, you don’t need any fancy training since Kilimanjaro isn’t really a technical climb. Extensive cardio exercises and adjusting above 3,000m will do the trick. If you do not have easy access to small peaks around your area, what you can do to condition yourself before Kilimanajro is hike Mount Meru, which sits at 4,566m and is easily accessible from Arusha town. Hikers that attempt Mount Meru beforehand are often well conditioned and perform incredibly well when they hike Kilimanjaro.

Otherwise you could also engage in pressure breathing exercises and breath-holding drills, about 4 times a week. These breathing exercises will help your body better anticipate and adjust to lower atmospheric oxygen levels during your hike up Kilimanjaro.


Things I Wish I Knew Before Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Avoid 8 Common Mistakes That Lead To Failed Summit Attempts On Mount Kilimanjaro

Step 4. Travel To Mount Kilimanjaro

The most common and convenient way to get to Kilimanjaro National Park is by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). The airport is located approximately 51km away from the mountain and is easily accessible from either Moshi town or Arusha town. If you’re located in a neighboring African country, in addition to a long and strenuous bus ride to the region, you can catch a flight to the airport through a connecting International flight or a domestic airlines at affordable rates. Since these flights are usually in low demand, they often tend to be extremely cheap. Speaking of which, domestic transportation modes aren’t expensive either. You can also get to Kilimanjaro’s region by either train, bus or car.


Man standing on rocks during happy with his Kilimanjaro hike
Save Up To $5,000 On Your Overall Cost Of Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Step 5. Start Your Kilimanjaro Hike

Hiking Kilimanjaro requires lots of hydration, acclimatization and, possibly, adjustment pills. That’s because many hikers attempting Mount Kilimanjaro, for the very first time, find themselves experiencing altitude sickness once they get to 3,500m (11,500ft) in elevation. To combat this, you’ll need to establish preventative measures before you start your hike in order to help your body quickly anticipate and cope with low atmospheric oxygen levels.

High altitude and exposure to cold can also lead to significant levels of dehydration. This is due to excessive urine output and high energy expenditures. By drinking up to 6L a day, you can increase your blood oxygen saturation to help you recover or prevent altitude sickness during your hike.


Woman standing on a rock during the best time to hike Kilimanjaro
Access 4 Months To Avoid Crowds During Your Kilimanjaro Hike

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Compare Summit Difficulty Rates According To 6 Kilimanjaro Hiking Routes
Access A Complete Equipment List Recommended For Kilimanjaro Treks
Get A Full 4-Step Training Guide For Kilimanjaro
Avoid 8 Common Mistakes That Lead To Failed Summit Attempts On Mount Kilimanjaro
Save Up To $5,000 On Your Overall Cost Of Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
Access 4 Months To Avoid Crowds During Your Kilimanjaro Hike