Moshi, Tanzania, 03/12/2020 / /

How to Successfully Summit Kilimanjaro in 9 Steps

MOSHI, Tanzania – Since 1986, Zara Tours has been guiding tourists on treks of Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, and more. Many people who come to hike Africa’s tallest mountain want to know just how many climbers successfully reach the summit. No guides can claim perfection in this area because there are several factors that go into one reaching a summit. Those who do find success have a few things in common though, and we wanted to share those now.

How to Successfully Summit Kilimanjaro in 9 Steps:

Prepare well. Do your homework on what to bring, and not bring on your trip and plan to arrive early to help reduce any jet lag that will be amplified once altitude is factored in.

Dress appropriately. Use your tour company’s checklist of gear to be certain to pack the right clothing for your 5-10-day hike. Waterproof boots, extra pairs of warm socks, gloves, wicking and insulating layers, topped by a windproof and waterproof coat are all critical. Bring both cold and sun protection.

Go slow. Age and fitness levels aren’t as important as proper altitude acclimation. Many hikers use one or two ski poles to reduce pressure on their joints while climbing. Take a slow pace to allow your body to adjust to the altitude and physical demands of hiking several hours a day.

Get acclimated. Only 62% of all hikers make it to the summit and that is primarily because they fail to plan for proper acclimation of altitude. 95.5% of those who do an 8-day climb reach the summit and that number drops in half for a 6-day climb, and half again for a 5-day trek if climbers fail to plan properly. Choosing a longer trek, while paying a little extra, increases your chance of reaching the summit.

A faster 5- or 6-day trek can lead to success if an overnight climb of Meru, followed by a day of rest, is completed to support acclimation.

Stay hydrated. More than 70% of climbers will suffer from some level of Acute Mountain Sickness, and one of the best ways to relieve this is to stay properly hydrated.  Carry 3 liters of water in both a water bladder and bottle as the first may freeze at higher altitudes. This allows for easy hydration.

Train ahead of time. It is recommended that you train for several months prior to your trek as you will be hiking up to 6 hours a day on average and up to 10-14 hours on summit day. Endurance training, including hiking or stair-climbing, is suggested.

Climb at the right time. December through February and Mid-May/June through October are the most popular times to hike Kilimanjaro because they offer the best weather conditions. Those looking for less populated experiences can choose another time, or a less-traveled route, and take the additional steps required to find success with those trails with more extreme conditions.

Release ego. It’s important to listen to your own body and respect its needs for calories, water, and a slower pace. Let go of the need to get anywhere first or travel on your own. Park regulations require you have a certified guide, and you will be hiking with a group of porters, chefs, and guides. These guides will offer tips before your hike, and more along the way.  They have your best interests in mind, so pay attention.

Celebrate. Whether or not you summit, be proud of your accomplishment to take on a challenge and see it as far as you could. Even training and showing up is something to be proud of. Tip the support staff well, and consider rewarding yourself with a relaxing trip to the beaches of Zanzibar or take in more of Tanzania’s beauty on a safari.


Our full-service, multi-award-winning East African travel company owns and operates local hotels, lodges, and wild camps to create a truly amazing adventure-of-a-lifetime. Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, offers a landscape for every traveler: white beaches on the coast, the Serengeti plains full of wildlife, tropical rain forests full of monkeys and brightly colored birds, and one of the world’s largest mountains, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

With over 30 years of experience, we offer the best in trained climbing guides, accommodations, and safari operators to give a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will want to relive time and again. Find us online at and if you wish to contribute to our charities, please find us at for all the information you’ll need.

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