It’s a question we’re often asked – how difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro?
It depends on your age, fitness, the route, the length of the trek, and a whole range of other factors.
The youngest person to ever climb Kilimanjaro was just 6 years old, while the oldest was 89, proving that age is no barrier. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though – far from it.
You can’t just bring your gran either! There is a bit more to it than that.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an incredible challenge, and for many, it’s the ultimate bucket list challenge. But it’s for precisely that reason that it’s vital to consider how you can mitigate any potential issues.
Preparation is vital, and training physically is, without doubt, one of the most important steps you can take.
Preparation isn’t just about fitness, though. Deciding when you book your trip is worthy of plenty of consideration – if you’re after a better chance of sunny weather then look at the dry season.
Don’t forget to buy quality gear and trek with an experienced guide too – if you’re going to tick this one off your bucket list, do it properly!
Is Kilimanjaro a climb? Or a trek?
Technically speaking, it’s a trek. I know, we’ve called this ‘climbing Mount Kilimanjaro’ – but it sounds WAY cooler to say you are climbing a mountain.
It’s one of the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the world’s seven continents, so it’s no mean feat to reach the top.
Trekking suggests that you’re operating in difficult terrain in a remote location for a longer period. That means you’ll know at least a little bit about the equipment, and you’ll always be wearing appropriate footwear (that should go without saying).
It takes up to a week to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro and you’ll encounter various terrain during the adventure, which is why you MUST be led by an experienced guide. A lot of climbers/trekkers will use trekking poles or oxygen as they head to the summit of the ‘Roof of Africa’.
There’s a heavy focus on acclimatisation when heading to the summit since it’s at an incredibly high altitude.
Can I climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Most likely, yes! The good news is that if you’re in good health, undertake the requisite training, prepare accordingly, then almost anyone can do it.
There are, of course, some health conditions that it would not be advisable to climb Kilimanjaro with, plus the law in Tanzania means children under 10 can’t climb unless they’re aiming for the world record – and they have special permission…
Otherwise, you’re good to go!
It’s best to consult your doctor before you make plans to climb Africa’s highest peak.
Training regularly with a strict training schedule will ensure that you’re physically fit for the climb. BUT it might be worth considering whether your fitness level is suitable for the route you’re looking at – remember, there is more than one route.
It’s not as simple as five days being better than seven, either. I know it seems it, but…
Climbing in five days is HARDER than seven because of acclimatisation!
If you live at a low altitude, it might be worth giving yourself a little bit more time to acclimatise.
How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?
Well, the world record is 6 hours 42 minutes. But that’s not going to happen…
So maybe plan more than one day off work.
The average climber can expect it to take seven days – five and six-day climbs should generally be avoided unless you have exceptional fitness levels and significant experience.
What’s the success rate of Kilimanjaro?
It’s different depending on your unique circumstances – age, fitness, route, experience, and other factors.
The last official figures were published some time ago in 2006, so things have probably changed a bit…
- All climbers on 8-day routes – 85%
- All climbers on 7-day routes – 64%
- All climbers, all routes – 45%
Remember, the standard requirement for climbers is not on a par with levels in 2006, so that’s great news for you. Equipment has improved, guides are more highly qualified, and the success rate is most likely much higher today.
How hard is Kilimanjaro compared to the other ‘Seven Summit’ peaks?
For many people, reaching the peak of each of the world’s Seven Summits is the ideal bucket list challenge.
And many choose to start with Mount Kilimanjaro since it’s considered one of the easier mountains to climb.
It’s a great climb to test yourself before challenges such as Aconcagua and Elbrus. Plus, it’s a great way to figure out if you really want to carry on and reach all seven summits!
Guides are there to help you
Experienced guides are there for that precise reason – to guide. They’ll be there the whole way, encouraging you, keeping you motivated, and generally having a laugh. They’re all highly qualified, experienced, and brilliant people too.
They’ll even monitor your health during rest periods, and if you need it, they can help you carry your daypack – they’re there to help.
So, how difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro then?
Mount Kilimanjaro is a challenge. There’s no doubt about it.
But it’s manageable as long as you plan, train, and set aside enough time to acclimatise to the altitude during your climb.
The summit might seem a long way, but this challenge is well within your reach!
If Kilimanjaro is now on your Bucket List you can check out all of our trip information, dates and costs HERE