How to train to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro : Mount kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa is found in Northern Tanzania near the border of  Kenya to the south. It is not only the tallest peak in Africa but also the highest free standing mountain in the world. To have a  successful climb ,anyone planning to attempt to climb the tallest mountain in Africa ,must prepare mentally and physically with a good exercise regime and enough understanding of altitude.

It is estimated that over 35,000 climbers take the challenge of attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. However,  statistics show a failure rate of between 30% and 50% of all the climbers. This means that a third   to half of all climbers turn back on the way. Mount Kilimanjaro is a walkable mountain which means there is no need for a specialised equipment to reach the top but this doesn’t mean that it is a easy climb. Hikers should be physically fit to reach its maximum peak of 5895 Meters ,one must have a top physical shape and enough training for a safe and successful summit.

How to prepare for High Altitude?

Climbing mount Kilimanjaro is not just about cardiovascular endurance.  There is lower oxygen saturation at the higher altitudes, which has physical effects on all bodies even to the most athletic. The Cardio exercise will help one prepare the body for the physical activity every hiker will engage in during the climb.  An aerobic exercise alone cannot fully prepare for the conditions at 5790 Meters / 19,000 feet.

Mount Kilimanjaro highest peak is at an altitude of 5895 Meters /19,341 feet which means every breath accumulates less than half the amount of oxygen that one breathes at sea level. Climbing is an advantage to those who already reside at higher altitudes because their bodies have adapted over time to the less saturated oxygen. This advantage is not something to count on so much as no one lives at the altitude similar to the one at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. There is a certain level of acclimatisation required for all hikers.

Though it is possible to climb the mountain ,quickly more time is recommended for Adequate acclimatisation for a successful climb; meaning  don’t rush up the mountain. Plan your climb with enough days to ensure the body is appropriately adjusting to the increased altitude.

Begin by training regularly for at least 8 weeks before climbing mount Kilimanjaro. A routine exercise is important at least 4 times a week and include aerobic exercises strength training and hiking. There is also the use of altitude stimulators to give you even more an advantage and help you reach Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak.

The Aerobic training for Kilimanjaro

It is advisable that every climber should engage in aerobic training to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro. Cardiovascular exercises include running, jogging, cycling and the aerobic dances. This is best because it increases heart rate and breathing. Practise more on the aerobic that stimulates the leg muscles to get your legs toned for climbing mount Kilimanjaro. This can be achieved by training in cycling or trail running.

It is suggested 3-4 days a week ,40 minutes or more aerobic exercise to keep the heart and lungs in good shape for the upcoming trek.

How to build the strength for Hiking

A successful climb cannot only achieved through aerobics only ,climbers use their legs to get them to the top, so it is important to ensure that they are strong.

Two season a week are important for strength training, especially for legs. In exercising it is should also include the other parts of the body such as the Chest, Back and arms as well. This will also help when carrying the backpack during your trek.

Kilimanjaro Hikes takes 6- 8 hour days of ascending hikes of 5days or more days and a very long descent. The legs must be properly atoned for this tough climb. The ascending climb will be a challenge on the calves and hamstrings ,while the descending trek will put the quad muscles to test.

The main aim of these training I’d to build strong muscles that are able to endure hours of hiking at a steep incline.

Stretching and warming up is a Must.

It is a must to warm up the muscles with light exercises before beginning strength training or targeted aerobic activity. This helps to avoid muscle strains ,pills or even the worse a muscle tear. There is no point of missing out on your daily routine activities and sit out for a week or more recovering from a muscle injury just because of skipping a five-minute warm -up.

How to train to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
How to train to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Five minutes of brisk walking or a light jog ,followed by stretching is not to be missed.  Push yourself, but also respect your body boundaries and always warm up before a workout and take time stretching your muscles after a training session.

Practice Hiking at Altitude.

This is recommended to hike at the highest points within your area. Book a weekend to climb a Mountain in your area or simply drive to the highest elevation as possible and spend the afternoon walking, jogging around in the oxygen reduced places, How to train to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Some mountain climbers  prefer to climb Mount Meru 4564 Meters in Arusha National Park as a preparation for Mount Kilimanjaro. If there are no highest point within your vicinity ,you can chose altitude stimulators from masks to wear while exercising to transparent tents that cover your bed and operate while asleep.


There are  available oxygen deprivation masks or altitude stimulators masks which can be worn while exercising or just while watching TV. This helps in reducing the amount of oxygen reaching the lungs as a way of preparing for less saturated oxygen at higher elevations


There are altitude stimulator tents sold as transparent fitting that cover your own bed at home or just a separate tent set up on flat surface at home. It has a generator that pumps I’m less saturated oxygen mimicking a higher altitude. This items should be used during rest or sleep not while exercising and used for many hours as possible to enable the body to adapt to the simulated elevation.

This require an investment but it is worth it if they help you achieve proper acclimatization in the intense elevation of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mental strength  and knowing your limits

Your Head

Climbing mount Kilimanjaro is not a day thing , it may take some days sometimes close to a week and it requires a mental attitude.  It is requires mental strength the same way as it requires a physical strength. As much as hiking is a group activity, it sometimes doesn’t seem so and it requires a lot of internal thoughts and determination.

Climbing to the peak requires that inner voice cheering you on and the positive mental outlook. This can be achieved by training well in advance.

Although one requires that strong positive attitude to cheer on especially on the early morning hours when pushing the final stretch. It is during this moments that the climbers are feeling every bit of the highest mountain in Africa.  It is also very important to have your safety as your first priority and not push yourself beyond your limits.

While feeling winded or out of breath can be normal in high altitude ,nausea , vomiting   and sudden and extreme headache are symptoms of altitude sickness and should be seriously taken care of, How to train to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

How hard is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

It is hard no doubt to climb to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro and the challenge it brings is what it makes it so awesome.

The time of the year and the weather conditions can greatly impact a climb. The rainy season I’m Tanzania is usually from April to early June. This is the more difficult time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the best time to climb is January and February, August through to October although rain can pour anytime.

There are seven routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and reach the summit: Rongai, Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Shira,  Northern Circuit and Umbwe.

Can a beginner climb Kilimanjaro without training?

Yes, many trekkers can reach the summit without prior training. They’re also thousand of climbers who turn back every year without reaching the top.

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