Get Kilitrek Fit

Scrambling up Baranco Wall on Kilimanjaro.

Climbers and crew scramble up Baranco Wall on Kilimanjaro.

Get Kilitrek fit for the challenge of your life.

Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the world’s most achievable high altitude mountains.

Preparing your mental and physical fitness increases your chance of summit success. Start preparing to get kilitrek fit as early as possible. As you increase your physical fitness your mental confidence will also increase. You will make a world of difference to the enjoyment of your climb and your sense of achievement. Finish your Kilimanjaro climb thinking it was a challenging, enjoyable and life affirming adventure.

Visit your doctor

Get advice from your medical practitioner before you start preparing for Kilimanjaro. Explain your plan to climb and what you intend to do to increase your fitness levels. Ask about the affects of altitude and what you can do to avoid or reduce the symptoms. Inform us if you have any long standing medical conditions when you book.

  • There is an ongoing debate around taking medication, acetazolamide (Diamox), to help with altitude acclimatization. Talk to your medical practitioner about the benefits, risks and side effects before making your decision.


Go hiking.

Kilimanjaro is a very long hike therefore the best preparation to get kilitrek fit is to hike. Running will help increase stamina but does not prepare muscles for a strenuous 5 to 6 day hike. Go hiking with friends. Hike with your climbing team and use the camaraderie to increase anticipation and enjoyment. Include uphill and down hill sections. Take your day pack with you and carry at least three liters of water or three kilograms in your day pack to simulate the conditions you will encounter.

Join a gym.

Get a gym instructor to work out a fitness program of progressive resistance exercises. An experienced instructor can tailor a safe exercise regime based on age, condition and strength. Follow a schedule that progresses to higher resistance or weights to develop your fitness.

  • Warm up your muscles before any exercising routine. Stretch your body to strengthen and progressively challenge the tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles as stretching is important and the best way to prepare for an injury-free workout.

  • Go to the gym and get on the treadmill when weather conditions prevent you from getting out of doors.  Good gym equipment can simulate uphill and downhill walking.

Avoid knee problems.

Knee injuries are more likely with lack of fitness and poor hiking technique. Going down is harder on the knees than going up so walking poles can be very helpful.

Tiredness makes climbers step down on to a straight leg which jolts the knee joint. A good technique is to step down onto a slightly bent knee which protects the joints. The muscles and tendons of the thigh then helps to absorb the repeated impact. It is hard to do this for a long time if you are unfit. So get kilitrek fit. Even doing 100 step-ups on to a low chair or high step will strengthen the all-important thigh muscles.

Rest before you climb.

Stop your exercise regime at least 4 days before you are due to start your climb in order to rest your body in preparation for the climb.

Altitude sickness.

Whatever your level of fitness, it is unlikely to reduce the chance of getting some degree of altitude sickness. Most climbers experience symptoms of some degree – mild headache, nausea, tiredness and loss of appetite.

The main problem climber’s experience is altitude sickness. This is an acid-alkali imbalance in the blood and body fluids that affects climbers indiscriminately. Guides are trained to recognize the symptoms. Serious altitude sickness can cause shortness of breath, feeling light-headed, insomnia, reduced mental clarity and exhaustion. The only sure way of combating altitude sickness is to descend below 3000 meters as quickly as possible. Your crew will assist you down or call the mountain rescue team. Climbers recover quickly once they descend.

Previously successful high altitude trekking may be an advantage but is no guarantee. The final 6 to 8 hours summit attempt at high altitude is the toughest part of the climb. Then you have a long trek down to the the camp on tired legs.

Add an extra day above 3000 meters on Kilimanjaro to help the body to adjust to altitude. If cash is an issue arrive a day early and rest after the flight. Take a pre-climb hike in the Kilimanjaro foothills (up to 1,800 meters) and get your body and mind prepared.

During the climb.

Guides are trained to assess your level of well-being. Tell your guide if you feel unwell at any time during the Kilimanjaro climb, or become aware of one of your companions feeling unwell or behaving out of character. Support and encouragement may be all that is needed but the guide can also summon medical assistance and/or emergency evacuation.  Get altitude sickness and you need to descend very quick. Your guide is trained by KINAPA to make this decision.

Be aware!

Do not climb at altitude against your doctor’s advice. Do not climb at altitude if you have sickle cell disease, recurrent pneumothorax (burst lung), pregnant (above 3,500 meters), have a respiratory problem, sore throat, cold, cough, increased temperature or a nose bleed. Visual changes occur in people who have had laser surgery for short sight (over 4,500  meters).

For your safety.

  • Information on mountain conditions and the days plan are given in a daily breifing.
  • Drink plenty of water (3 to 4 litres each day), eat regular energizing meals (which our mountain chef will provide) and lots of energy snacks.

  • KINAPA is responsible for stretchering injured or sick climbers to meet the ambulance/rescue car. The national park charges a mandatory rescue fee for this service.

  • The nearest Accident & Emergency facility is based in Moshi.

  • K&S guides are all KINAPA trained with considerable route experience.

  • 24 hour base support is provided.

  • Mobile phones and HF radios assist communication from guides to base.

  • Guides carry a basic first aid kit.

Obtain personal travel insurance that covers you for Kilimanjaro climbing and for repatriation.

Cover for medical evacuation by a Tanzania based scheme is recommended in case of a medical emergency. Being a wilderness destination, medical infrastructure in major centers is remote from many locations visited and this is especially relevant to those climbing Kilimanjaro. Government provision of emergency medical response in Tanzania is carried out by specialist private local medical operators. International medical insurance is essential but it should be combined with a scheme provided by a local medical evacuation operator to prevent delay in mobilizing effective local emergency response. We provide cover for 14 days, 30 days and for the over 70’s. More details on request.

We wish you a successful and enjoyable Mt Kilimanjaro climb.