Training For Kilimanjaro

How to Train for Kilimanjaro

Altitude

There are a few elements that will determine your ability to summit on Kilimanjaro.  The first is your ability to acclimatize and hike at altitude.  Some people just do not do well at altitude and no amount of training will change this.  The best way to improve your ability to hike at altitude is to gradually acclimatize.  This can be achieved in several ways.   If you have opportunity to spend time in or hike in other areas of altitude prior to hiking Kilimanjaro this can help.  This includes planning a 4 – day pre-Kilimanjaro hike on Mt Meru, in Arusha National Park.  Choosing a route on Kilimanjaro that takes at least 7 days gives your body a better opportunity to acclimatize. An 8 – 9 day trips improve this acclimatization even further.

Many hikers take Diamox medication to help them acclimatize.  While this can significantly improve your bodies ability to uptake oxygen, it has a few side effects, such as increased urination, which often means waking at night to relive yourself.

Drinking plenty of water during your hike is imperative and helps with acclimatization and helps prevent dehydration.

Fitness

You should plan and put effort into a training plan for at least two months, incorporating some long hikes if possible.  Be sure to include both up and downhill hiking.  The trail is relatively simple, however there are some steep sections, with the hardest sections being a steep uphill on the summit day, followed by a very long downhill section, most of the way down the mountain.  You should train your body for this day.