This post if for those who have decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but right now they are wondering on how they are going to make it to this Roof of Africa.

Take your time with us!  here are seven tips that can help you reach your goal! For the highest chance of success and the lowest risk of altitude sickness, choose a longer journey to the summit rather than a shorter one.

When climbing Kilimanjaro, your chances of success increase significantly depending on the number of days you spend on the mountain. People who opt for an 8-day climb have the highest success rate, at 85%. This success rate decreases to 64% for 7-day, 44% for 6-day, and 27% for 5-day routes.

Often, people will choose shorter journeys to save money or to provide an extra challenge for themselves. However, in the long run, if a shorter route decreases your chance of success, it is much more affordable to add an extra day out of the gate rather than travel to Tanzania a second time to try again. Furthermore, Kilimanjaro will be challenging enough as it is, you don’t need to make it harder on yourself.

The route we recommend to most climbers is the 8-day Lemosho route for its excellent scenery, lower crowds, and 8-day duration to increase chances of success. Our second most popular route is the 9-day Northern Circuit

The altitude alone increases the difficulty of the journey. The best exercise to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro is hiking because that is what you will be doing on the mountain. Other exercises such as running and weightlifting can help, but the bulk of training, if not all of your training, should be hiking.

Adding a backpack with some weight in it on your outdoor excursions will help you train as well.

If you don’t have a lot of experience hiking, start with some shorter jaunts and build up to longer ones. On Kilimanjaro, you will be hiking 4-6 hours a day and on summit day, 12-14 hours, so you want to condition yourself to handle this level of activity. Endurance is key, so train for duration rather than intensity.

If you don’t live in a region rich with day hikes nearby, a stair master can provide an adequate substitute. It is ideal to start your training regimen at least two months before your departure.

At high levels of altitude, you dehydrate much more quickly. Dehydration can increase your chances of headaches, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), overall fatigue, and even grouchiness, so drink plenty of water.

For many climbers, it is quite common to get a slight headache because of the change in altitude. Drinking sufficient amounts of water can help stave off added discomfort associated with dehydration headaches. Water is collected from the nearby mountain streams and treated with Aqua tabs water purification tablets. It is provided at campsites only, so we recommend carrying at least 3 liters of water to keep hydrated while you hike. It is also wise to drink at least a liter of water before and after you climb each day on the mountain.

You may want to consider bringing both a water bladder and a water bottle. A water bladder, like a platypus, is nice because you can sip as you climb. However, as you near the summit, water bladders may freeze, so it is wise to have a backup water source. It is also good to bring electrolyte packets to add to your water bottle (not your water bladder, as this can cause mold). They add some flavor to your water when continuously drinking fluids becomes daunting and keep your electrolytes balanced.

Pole, Pole is a phrase that you will often hear while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. In Swahili, it means slowly, gently, softly, quietly, be calm, or take it easy.

When taking on a challenge like Kilimanjaro, remember slow, and steady can mean the difference between successfully reaching the summit and turning back early.

Acclimatizing to the low levels of oxygen in the mountains takes time, and it is essential to be gentle with your body so it can get used to the lack of oxygen.

During the majority of the trek, you should be walking at a pace where you can carry on a conversation with others. On summit night, you will adopt a slow pace, taking a rest step in between each step to conserve your energy. Rest-stepping is a technique utilized by professional mountaineers to help them reach the summits of mountains. T

While climbing Kilimanjaro, it is of the utmost importance to make sure you have the right gear. One of the essential items for your climb is a pair of waterproof boots that have been broken in on your long training hikes with the same style of socks you plan on wearing.

Blisters are the enemy, as are cold feet, so an extra pair of warm socks and liners are key. Hand and neck protection is also necessary. Freezing fingers, toes, and a cold neck are no fun so make sure you bring extra warm gear to keep from getting cold.

Also, make sure you have sun protection, including a sun hat, and sunscreen. It is easier to get sunburned in high elevations, and sunburn will increase discomfort levels and your propensity towards dehydration. There are lots of other items that you will want to bring along on your trek to the summit. For a detailed gear list, see here.

Choose a good company.

Despite what seems like an endless list of recommended Kilimanjaro companies, there are only a handful of world-class operations on the mountain. While it is always good to ask people you know for their recommendations, you need to do your research. Many companies out there do not have standardized procedures which means that the service they provide can be hit or miss. Therefore, established operators with a long-standing reputation for excellence are the only guide services you should consider.

An experienced guide knows how to set the right pace for the group. He or she knows how to detect and treat altitude sickness. The guide understands how to improve your chances of reaching the summit, successfully and safely. And perhaps most importantly, good guides can coordinate a rescue in emergencies because they have been trained in safety protocols.

Expect symptoms of altitude sickness

Altitude sickness can strike from anywhere around 3,000 m. On Kilimanjaro, this is when you’re trekking through the moorland zone, usually on day two or three of your trek. On Kilimanjaro, you’re aiming to climb up to 5,895 m above sea level to reach the summit of Uhuru Peak. So it’s very likely you’ll experience at least mild altitude symptoms at some point during your trek.

Taking medication for altitude sickness

The symptoms associated with altitude sickness include sleeplessness, interrupted sleep, nausea, dizziness, and headaches. While you cannot prevent altitude sickness entirely (through medicine or otherwise), you can alleviate some of the symptoms through medication as well as proper nutrition and hydration. Diamox (acetazolamide), for instance, is a commonly used drug to help treat altitude sickness.

The best advice we can give for any medication that you may decide to take is to visit your doctor before heading to Kilimanjaro to discuss the adventure ahead. Be sure to discuss the fact that you’ll be heading into an area of extreme altitude. Your doctor can then advise you as to the best precautions and possibly medicines for you.

Don’t skimp on the warm clothing

At the start of most of the Kilimanjaro routes you trek through the rainforest, and so often all that’s needed during the day is shirts and shorts. At night, however, things can get damp and chilly. Next, when you enter the heath zone higher up the mountain, things become decidedly cold. The wind also picks up, and the low and sparse vegetation leaves you exposed to its full force. When you enter the next zone – the alpine desert zone – things are downright frosty, and the night-time temperatures often drop well below freezing. And then finally, on summit day, you enter an artic zone of snow and ice, and you’ll need to wrap yourself in some solidly warm gear to protect yourself from the elements.

Bring plenty of snacks

Your Kilimanjaro climb isn’t going to be easy. That’s a given. You’ll receive plenty of nutritious food and drinks from the cook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but any snacks are on you. We recommend high-energy snacks like power bars, nuts, beef jerky, and dried fruit. Don’t bring anything that will become a melted mess.

Nutrition is extra important in high-altitude trekking as it helps to alleviate the symptoms of altitude sickness like headaches. The same goes for water – you should drink plenty of water. This helps to prevent and alleviate symptoms of Kilimanjaro altitude sickness.

While your porters will carry all the water needed for the trek up the mountain, what you need for each day must be carried by you. So, ensure your hydration packs allows you to carry around three liters of water.

As you have decided to take on the challenge of tackling Africa’s highest peak Next, you need to think about the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, in terms of weather and trekking conditions.

Although it’s technically possible to trek Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro year-round, certain months are characterized by colder weather, more rain, and potentially lots of snow on the summit.

We generally advise that the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the warmest and driest times of the year, from December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October.