Mount Kilimanjaro:

At 5896m Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain and one of the continent's magnificent sights, it’s slopes and glaciers shimmering above the rising clouds, located near the town of Moshi and is a protected area, carefully regulated for climbers to enjoy without leaving a trace of their presence.

The mountain’s ecosystems are as strikingly beautiful as they are varied and diverse. On the lowland slopes, much of the mountain is farmland, with coffee, banana, cassava, and maize crops grown for subsistence and cash sale. A few larger coffee farms still exist on the lower slopes, but much of the area outside the national park has been subdivided into small plots. Once inside the park, thick lowland forest covers the lower altitudes and breaks into alpine meadows once the air begins to thin. Near the peak, the landscape is harsh and barren, with rocks and ice the predominant features above a breathtaking African view.
Climbing mount Kilimanjaro is the highlight of most visitors’ experiences in Tanzania. Hiking on the ‘rooftop of Africa’,  the highest point on the continent at 5896 meters, it is the adventure of a lifetime, especially if paced well, everyone from seasoned trekkers to first-time enthusiasts can scale the snowy peak.

5,895 m.

Location: Kilimanjaro Region, North east Tanzania.

Last eruption: Between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago.

First ascenders: Yohana Lauwo, Ludwig Purtscheller, Hans Meyer.

Things to do: Mountain Climbing/Trekking, Mountain Biking, Paragliding.

Best time to visit: Clearest and warmest conditions from December to March, but also dry (and colder) from June - October.

Kilimanjaro Quick Facts:

Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes



Technical Clothing
1 - Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
1 - Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down
1 - Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
2 - Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 - Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 - Waterproof Pants, breathable (side zipper recommended)
2 - Hiking Pants
1 - Fleece Pants
1 - Shorts (optional)
1 - Long Underwear, moisture-wicking fabric
3 - Underwear, moisture-wicking fabric recommended
2 - Sport Bra (women)

1 - Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
1 - Knit Hat, for warmth
1 - Balaclava or Buff, for face coverage (optional)

1 - Gloves, warm (waterproof recommended)
1 - Gloves, thin

1 - Hiking Boots, warm, waterproof, broken-in
1 - Gym Shoes, to wear at camp (optional)
3 - Socks, wool or synthetic
1 - Gaiters, waterproof (optional)

1 - Sunglasses or Goggles
1 - Backpack Cover, waterproof (optional)
1 - Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz.)
1 - Water Bladder (Camelbak type, 3 liters)
1 - Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (optional)
1 - Pee Bottle, to avoid leaving tent at night (recommended)
Stuff Sacks, Dry Bags or Plastic Bags, various sizes, to keep gear dry and separate

1 - Sleeping Bag, warm, four seasons*
1 - Trekking Poles, collapsable (highly recommended)*
1 - Head lamp, with extra batteries
1 - Duffel bag, 50-90L capacity, for porters to carry your equipment
1 - Daypack, 30-35L capacity, for you to carry your personal gear

*may be rented on location

Lip Balm
Insect Repellent, containing DEET
First Aid Kit
Hand Sanitizer
Toilet Paper
Wet Wipes (recommended)
Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
Electrolytes, powder or tablets (optional)
Camera, with extra batteries (optional)

Trip Receipt
Visa (available at JRO)
Immunization Papers
Insurance Documents

What to know

Climbing Kilimanjaro has more than 20 years of experience in leading hikers and climbers to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Our experienced guides have a proud summit success rate averaging between 96% – 98% and have safely guided thousands of clients to the top of the mountain. This internet guide aims to provide the potential Kilimanjaro climber with valuable and accurate information on climbing Kilimanjaro, which will hopefully contribute towards increasing your chances of a successful summit attempt. We have compiled this information over years of experience as well as from feedback from previous clients. From all the information provided in this guide, the tips listed on this page is probably the most important.

Be physically prepared

It is important that your body is adequately prepared for the physical challenges of Mount Kilimanjaro. We have developed a fitness training program which will assist you in getting your body in shape for your Kilimanjaro summit expedition. Please click Fitness Program for more information in this regard.

Mental preparation

It is possible to summit Kilimanjaro successfully. Many before you have succeeded. This should be topmost in your mind when preparing for the summit attempt. You should always remain in a positive state of mind, but not overly arrogant. Try to anticipate various different scenarios, which you may possibly encounter on the mountain and try to work out the most suitable course of action, mentally by yourself or even as a group. Your mental stamina will, without a doubt, make the really difficult sections, like from Kibo to Uhuru or from Barafu to Uhuru, easier to complete. Remember if you are properly equipped, you have taken everything as indicated on the final checklist, you are physically prepared and have all the knowledge gained from this internet guide – you will be mentally confident for the physical part of Kilimanjaro.

Adequate travel insurance

Make sure that you have adequate travel and medical insurance, which will also provide you with cover for the climb up Kilimanjaro.

On The Mountain

Go slowly

Go slowly – “Pole Pole” as they say in Swahili! This is also very important during your first days of climbing. Even if you feel well, slow down and enjoy the scenery.The biggest cause of altitude sickness is ascending too high too fast! The slower you hike to more time you give your body to acclimatize.

Drink enough water

Make sure that you drink at least 3 – 4 litres of liquid a day – preferably water. For your first day it is recommended that you take along fresh water, which may be purchased at the hotel in Moshi before your climb. Try to get the bottles with the screw tops, this way you will also have containers in which to take water further up the mountain. Running water on the mountain is safe to drink from day-2 onwards, but care should still be taken. If you are not used to fresh water in nature, prevent any inconvenience by using water purification tablets. REMEMBER! A functioning “body water balance” is one of the keys to a successful climb!

Walk high – sleep low

If possible and especially on your acclimatisation day “walk high – sleep low” Try to do a short evening stroll to a higher altitude and then descend to sleep at the camp at a lower altitude. This is essential on your acclimatisation day.

Climb light

Climb as lightly as possible; this becomes even more important on your summit night. Extra weight will slow you down and will also make breathing more difficult.


Remember that you will be on the mountain for at least 5 or 6 days. You need to take enough clothing, especially socks to last for this period. Due to frequent rainfall as well as numerous streams on the routes, it is advisable to pack items individually in your bag. These individually packed items should be wrapped in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet in case of rain or of being accidentally dropped in a stream.


You will require the correct underwear, thermal hiking socks, gloves (preferably mittens), warm head protection, rain coat, sunglasses and sun protection cream. Also remember your hiking boots, hiking/running shoes (it is not necessary to walk with boots or climbers shoes until the last sections where scree and rocks are encountered), and very importantly, a walking stick / ski-pole. One of the most critical items of clothing is an outer jacket. You want it to perform the functions of keeping you warm, protect you at temperatures of as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, keep the wind out and yet still “breath”. Try to avoid tight fitting clothing or underwear. This will hamper circulation, causing either cold or discomfort on the mountain. A balaclava is a must, as it will protect your face against cold, wind, sun and snow. Other clothing like shorts, sweaters and T-shirts are strongly recommended, especially during hiking on the lower slopes, when the day temperatures are still high. The only way to ensure that you are dressed warmly is to follow the principal of wearing the correct clothing layers, starting from against the body. A common mistake made by climbers is to wear almost everything they have and to start off with cotton against the skin. Cotton absorbs moisture perfectly, and moisture trapped against the skin will result in a definite lowering of the body temperature, which could even lead to hypothermia. It is therefore very important to use proper thermal underwear with “wicking” properties (a fabric which has the ability to draw moisture away from the body) and thus enabling it to evaporate to the outside. The middle layer should provide the insulation and a product like polar fleece will be adequate in this regard. The outer layer should be windproof, waterproof and breathable. Products like Ventex, Goretex or Jeantex offer these properties. Short of altitude and physical exertion, cold is one of the most serious obstacles when attempting to summit Kilimanjaro. After securing your booking with us, you’ll receive a comprehensive document, to guide you through the steps of purchasing the correct gear.

Take a ski – pole

A ski – pole is essential. Use of ski poles reduces external and internal loads on the knee joint by up to 20%. Using 1 ski pole is a must, but 2 poles are recommended. Buy one or hire one but take one – view our Gear Rental options.

New batteries

Replace your head lamp and camera batteries with new ones on your summit night.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

AMS commonly affects people at high altitude, who are not accustomed to high altitude conditions. AMS can be lethal if not treated immediately or if its symptoms are ignored. Probably 70% of all people climbing Kilimanjaro will suffer to some extent from AMS. You should familiarise yourself with this condition and take preventative care. Click Altitude Sickness for more information on this medical condition.


Malaria occurs below 1800 meters and you should use the recommended prophylactics. Please consult your doctor about these. Currently, there are various preventative medication products available which will be effective against the malaria strains currently found in Tanzania. Women using oral contraceptives should consult their physicians before using prophylactics.

Other useful tips

Wet wipes

There is no washing water at Barafu, Kibo and Arrow Glacier camps. Wet Wipes are very useful


Take enough snacks like energy bars etc. Avoid the toffee like energy bars (as they get very hard and difficult to eat in low temperatures) but rather but the cereal type energy bars.

Adequate sun protection

Wear a good quality pair of sunglasses (with UV protection) and use adequate sun protection cream with a protection factor of at least 20+.

Thermal flask

Use a thermal flask for your water on the summit night, other water bottles might freeze solid.


Taking pictures with a fully automatic camera at the summit of Kilimanjaro is possible, and most people do this. The secret is to always have a new battery in your camera when going into cold areas at high altitude. A mechanical camera works just as well, provided you have the knowledge to operate it successfully. Cameras exposed to cold do not cease functioning, but remember that if you keep your camera inside your jacket and the lens becomes warm, chances are that it will form condensation when suddenly exposed to extreme cold. This condensation will freeze under conditions at the summit. Therefore, keep your camera dry at all times. Moisture will freeze at the summit which WILL cause your camera to stop functioning.

If using a Film camera

ASA 200 film is good for taking photographs in relatively little light. You might reach the summit just before sunrise and may not wish to wait due to the altitude and the cold. After sunrise, film with ASA 200 or 100 are fine. There are numerous classic photo opportunities, some of which are only available in low light conditions. If you can, and if you are a serious photographer, we recommend that you take a small, portable tri-pod with you. Also remember that it is sometimes so cold that you cannot hold the camera steady.

Mountain water

The stream water high on the mountain Kilimanjaro has been tested and has been found to be fit for drinking. However, we recommend that you be on the safe-side and use water purification tablets before drinking.


Other useful tips:

  • Make sure all your clothes and sleeping bag are packed in plastic bag inside the duffel bag, to ensure they stay dry in the event of rain, even if your duffel bag is waterproof. Once something gets wet on the mountain it is difficult, even impossible to dry!
  • Something good Vaseline or Vicks Vaporub are good on the summit attempt. Moist air coming from your noise or on your lips will freeze and become very uncomfortable
  • Sound travel at night and many people snore on Kilimanjaro – bring some ear plugs to sleep with.
  • The trail is very dusty and sinus congestion is a problem with many hikers. Bring a good decongestant spray or tablet.
  • Female hikers suffer more from the cold than male hikers. Hand / feet warmers are a good idea (or even a hot water bottle – hot water is available during meal times) and will help keep you warmer in the sleeping bag (minus temperatures to be encountered from the first night onwards)
  • Travel with your most important gear as hand luggage – e.g. wear your hiking boots in the plane – missing luggage is a common problem.
  • Bring some blister plasters, Vaseline and liner socks. If you start to get blisters it will help a lot.
  • There is mobile reception on most of the mountain (except the first days on the Rongai route). If you bring your mobile, make sure you activate international roaming. Because you cannot recharge the battery, only have the phone on an hour or two daily.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and hiking to the peak is a challenge that should not be under estimated. With all the information you could possibly gather, added to being physically prepared, one’s chances of reaching the summit is substantially increased. Stamina and mental determination to a great extent, will determine whether or not you will be successful in you quest to conquer the Roof of Africa. Being physically prepared for the trek will also greatly contribute to the level of your perseverance, confidence and personal enjoyment!

How fit do you have to be?

The type of fitness is more important than the degree of fitness. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is a hike, therefore the best preparation one can do is to hike, preferably under simulated conditions. Although jogging could be beneficial to your fitness level, it does not fully prepare your muscles for a strenuous 6-day hike. We suggest that you spend some of your training by merely hiking. In addition to regular gym workouts, make sure you also go for walks in order to stimulate relevant muscle development. Try to do a one or two day hiking trials in your area. This will not only be an excellent way for physical preparation, but also an enjoyable means to prepare yourself mentally.

We have furthermore developed a practical (in terms of time and costs) fitness preparation guideline to assist you in getting your body ready for a Mt. Kilimanjaro summit attempt. This guide contains a gym and a hiking program that should be followed simultaneously over an 8 week period.

Important points to remember – Before you start!!

Medical Check-up

Before embarking on a fitness program, it is always wise to first seek the advice of a medical doctor. Feel free to share this program with your family doctor for input. Chances are, your doctor will be delighted to know that you undertake to exercise regularly.

Progressive Resistance

In essence, the gym section of our fitness program consists of regular and progressive resistance exercises with either free weights (like barbells and dumbbells) or free weight machines that are readily available in gymnasiums. The idea behind progressive resistance is that your exercise regime can be tailored to your age, physical condition and strength, steadily progressing to higher resistance level as you develop.

Safety Factor

Progressive resistance movements could be customized to individual strength and fitness levels, therefore our fitness program is potentially safe. It is however essential that all of the exercises be performed correctly and that basic safety procedures are followed at all times. It is furthermore always a good idea to invest in reading material on physical fitness and to consult your local fitness instructor about performing each exercise correctly.

Sets and Repetitions

This workout consist of repetitions (reps) and sets. A rep is a single count of an exercise, for example moving downwards for one squad movement. A set is knows as a series of reps – an average set consist of 8 to 12 reps.

Warm Up

It is highly recommended that one always warms up the muscles before starting with any exercising routine. The norm is doing a variety of stretching movements to warm up, strengthen and progressively challenge the tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles. Stretching is very important, as it is the best way to prepare for an injury-free workout.

Kilimanjaro Health Issues

Please note: Each client that books with ‘Climbing Kilimanjaro‘ receives a comprehensive 22 page health guide that addresses all the health issues related to climbing Kilimanjaro.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Acute Mountain Sickness is also referred to as “Altitude Sickness”, and as the name indicates the illness is commonly encountered at exceptionally high altitudes, such as the summit area of Mount Kilimanjaro. AMS, once apparent, can be most effectively treated by immediately taking the affected person to a lower altitude. Often a drop as little as 500m will be sufficient. The symptoms of AMS include in the order normally experienced; headaches, nausea, anorexia, exhaustion, lassitude, rapid pulse, insomnia, swelling of the hands and feet and reduced urine output. Climbers can take precautions to at least minimise the severity of the illness, by maintaining a slow steady pace from day one, include an extra day of acclimatisation at a high altitude and by drinking at least 3-4 litres of water every day. Preventative medicine is also available and you should consult your physician for specialist advice. Fluid build-up may cause a condition known as edema (or oedema), which can affect the lungs (pulmonary), preventing effective oxygen exchange, or affect the brain (cerebral) which will result in the swelling of the brain tissue. The latter can be lethal if not treated immediately or if symptoms are ignored. Probably 70% of all people climbing Kilimanjaro will suffer to some extent from AMS. You should familiarise yourself with this condition and take preventative care. For more information on AMS, please click on the Action Guide to High Altitude.


Hypothermia or exposure is the lowering of the body’s core temperature. Once again prevention is the best cause of action. The correct equipment and clothing is critical in the prevention of Hypothermia. Do not allow your clothing to get wet from either rain or perspiration. View more information on properly layering your clothing to prevent hypothermia. The treatment of hypothermia is relatively simple. Get the victim into a sheltered area as quickly as possible, remove all wet clothing and place the victim inside two or three sleeping bags, preferably with another person to help heat the victim.

Sun related injuries

About 55% of the earth’s protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. Far less ultraviolet light is being filtered out, making the sun’s rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin. It is strongly recommended to use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m. It is also important to wear dark sun glasses preferably with side panels above 4000m in daytime and essential when walking through snow or ice. Snow blindness can be very painful, and will require your eyes to be bandaged for at least 24 hours.


Any climber who suffers from any cardiac or pulmonary problems should be cautious and should not attempt to climb the mountain unless they have consulted their physician. It is strongly recommended that a physical fitness program is followed to prepare yourself physically for the mountain. Please click on Physical Fitness for more information in this regard.

Foot problems

Poor fitting, new or little used boots will result in blistering feet. Even if boots are only slightly to small, your toes will get bruised, particularly on your descend. It is it therefore also important to keep your toe nails short for the climb. Developing blister should be treated immediately as soon as the “hot spot” is felt. Remove the boot and cover the area with a zinc oxide tape or something similar.

Before the first day of the event

The main aims of nutritional preparation before an endurance event are:
  • Glycogen storage: Storage of carbohydrates in the liver and muscles as glycogen. The glycogen is converted to glucose for energy utilisation during the event.
  • To provide the body with the essential nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals) as a prerequisite for optimal performance.
  • A balanced pre-event meal that ensures stable blood sugar levels for the start of the day and the event.

Glycogen Storage

Glycogen storage includes the intake of a balanced diet with slightly higher carbohydrate content than usual. The protein content of the diet is also very important, as protein strengthens the muscle cells in which the glycogen will be stored. Protein is also involved with the enzymes that facilitate glycogen storage. How much carbohydrates? 7-11g / kg body weight, i.e. ±450g for woman and ±700g for men. When? 2-3 days prior to the event. Fluid intake? 6-8 glasses per day (±2,7g water is required to store 1g carbohydrate) Carbo-loading drinks? Many athletes have difficulty consuming a large amount of carbohydrates prior to an endurance event. A glycogen storage complement is a dietary system especially designed to aid in glycogen storage, by reducing the volume of the carbohydrate food required to carbo-load effectively.

The ideal glycogen storage system has the following properties:

  • Low osmolality, i.e. low in glucose, fructose, sucrose and other mono- and disaccharides. Optimal absorption of fluids within the body happens when solutions are equal in terms of osmolality and what naturally occurs in the body. The storage system should therefore mainly contain a high molecular weight carbohydrate source that will facilitate rapid transit through the gastrointestinal tract ensuring rapid uptake with reduced risk of a ‘bad stomach’. As soon as the osmolality is too high it will attract water in the gastrointestinal tract and cause bloating and diarrhoea.
  • High available carbohydrate content. A supplement for glycogen storage (used both in carbo-loading beforehand and directly after an event) should preferably contain carbohydrates in the range of 40-65g/serving or (±90% of total energy.
  • High quality protein (5-10% of total energy). Research confirms that protein in the presence of carbohydrate enhances glycogen storage (pre- and post-exercise). As part of a refuelling product, the protein content also inhibits post-exercise muscle breakdown caused by increased cortisol secretion during exercise. Furthermore, protein nourishes the muscle and joint tissue that is crucial for endurance exercise.
  • Small quantities of fat – fat delays stomach emptying and increases satiety (fat should actually only be taken in moderate amounts through the meals taken during the glycogen storage day).

Characteristics of the Breakfast at the Start of Each Hiking Day

  • Should be eaten 2-3 hours before the start of the ride (if possible)
  • Balanced in terms of all nutrients, i.e. carbohydrate, protein and fat
  • Contain low to moderate glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates
  • Low in fibre
  • Contain moderate protein
  • Contain moderate fat
  • Should be tested on training sessions

Suggested Breakfast

Before the start of the day’s session Breakfast, as provided according to menu (preferably whole-wheat/rye bread/seed-loaf/oats as starch) OR 1 – 1½ cups PVM Mealie Meal Mix (mix with hot/cold water only) Coffee/tea (milk and 1-2 tsp. sugar) Start consuming Octane during the hour before starting the session

During The Day’s Session

During physical exertion it is crucial to replenish fluids for optimal hydration and energy essential for the brain and muscles to continue their work. Research indicates that sports drinks containing electrolytes and vitamins are significantly better absorbed than water. Water provides fluid replacement but not energy, electrolytes, vitamins and other nutrients essential for performance.

Suggested Intake

Per active hour (including training sessions > 60 min) ± 500-850ml OCTANE (50 g makes 500ml). Consume 2-3 sips at 15-20 minute intervals. OR 1 OCATANE GEL (35g) + 250ml water every ±30 minutes OR 500ml OCTANE (25 g in 500ml) + 1 OCTANE GEL (35g) per hour. Prepare 25g/50g OCTANE powder sachets prior to the event in order to minimize packing volume/weight. Please note that the first option (Octane powder sachets alone) is recommended if you want to take the most energy dense source for bag weight purposes.

The following bars/drinks can be combined with Octane (if something solid or a meal is required):

  • ZONE BAR (40:30:30)(protein bar): For slower, sustained energy release during the event. Consume 1 bar over a period of 1-2 hours, taking a bite every 15-20 minutes. Consume more or less 250ml water with each bar and cut back on Octane intake when using this. PVM Energy Bars can also be used in this way, although the Zone Bar is a better option for the hiker due to its protein content
  • If you experience difficulty eating while moving, the FUSION/ZONE DRINK (55:22:23) can be used as a meal replacement, alternative to the bars. These drinks can be used every 3-6 hours
  • TURBO BAR (68:20:12): For quicker energy release with blood sugar control during higher intensity phases e.g. when fatigue sets in during the latter stages of the event. Consume a few bites at intervals of 15-20 minutes. The intake of 1 bar should be accompanied by more or less 250ml water
  • You may experience that you want to take in something else than just bars/sweet drinks (which is actually preferable at meal times). In this case you can incorporate food like biltong, dry wors, nuts, dried fruit, salt crackers, cream crackers, Melrose cheese squares, light high-energy muesli bars, etc. – plan as much of these bites you can fit into your bag! Try not to overdo it with the dried fruit, nuts, and muesli bars, though – they assist in avoiding constipation, but you do not want them to have the opposite effect (i.e. laxative effect)! Hot water with 1 tsp Marmite/Bovril can also be taken every now and again if severely cold and you do not feel like drinking Octane (although this alternative only contains some electrolytes, which is not sufficient for long periods, of course)
  • The rest of the food intake should comprise of the meals, as provided

After The Day’s Session

The day’s session is not finished until you have replenished sufficiently. This will also be part of your preparation for the next day’s session. To prevent or minimise serious injuries and stiffness and to minimise post-event catabolism (muscle breakdown) and aid recovery, you need to nourish the body with not only carbohydrates but also a sufficient amount of protein.

Suggested Post-event Replenishment

Within 20-30 minutes after every day’s session OR early in the evening (if not planning to stop for sleep). OPTION A – RECOMMENDED! 1 portion Ignite to replenish glycogen stores OPTION B ½-1 cup Jelly Babies + ½ cup biltong + 500ml water (if not feeling up to sweet drinks at this stage) Supper, as provided, should be taken (including starch, protein and fat) 1-2 hours before bedtime OR late at night (if not planning to stop for sleep) 1 portion Protein Blast

Vitamins and minerals

  • Your preparation eating plan should include all the essential vitamins and minerals
  • Vitamins are mainly involved in the energy process and immune system maintenance
  • Minerals play an important role in overall health, muscle contraction and various reactions of metabolism

Recommendations for Additional Supplementation

  • SELENIUM 100 microgram (m g) per day
  • VITAMIN E 500 International Units (I.U.) per day
  • RECOMMENDED PRODUCT: Vita Force (the contents of the capsule should be translucent and light-coloured, otherwise it has already been oxidised)
  • VITAMIN C 500 milligram (mg) per day. May be increased to 1000mg during times of illness
  • RECOMMENDED PRODUCT: Ascorbic Acid ZINC 20mg per day. May be increased to 40mg as described for Vitamin C RECOMMENDED PRODUCT: Vital / Weetol “Zinc Plus C”

Guidelines to Consume Adequate Amounts of Vitamins and Minerals

  • Eat a yellow fruit every day (peach, mango, papaya)
  • Eat a yellow vegetable every day (carrots, pumpkin)
  • Eat a green vegetable every day (spinach, broccoli, green beans, cabbage)
  • Eat two to three fresh fruit every day
  • Eat a variety of food types, the more colourful your plate, the higher the vitamin and mineral content
  • Unrefined products have a higher vitamin and mineral content than refined foods, replace white bread for brown or whole wheat bread
  • If possible eat fruit and vegetable with the skin – the skin contains plenty of vitamins and minerals. Rather boil vegetables with the skin as the skin prevents loss of vitamins and minerals into the water
  • Rather eat raw fruit and vegetables than cooked ones

Possible Nutritional Problems and Prevention Strategies

Dehydration The ability to sustain physical activity requires replacement of fluid losses to prevent dehydration and hyperthermia. Fluid ingestion during prolonged exercise should firstly supply sufficient water to replace losses incurred by excessive sweating, and secondly provide an energy source to supplement the body’s limited stores. A number of factors determine effective water absorption, including carbohydrate content, sodium content and total osmolality of the drink. Extensive research shows that water is absorbed more efficiently from a sports drink with the correct osmolality and carbohydrate concentration than from clean water. It is therefore important to use a scientifically formulated sports drink such as OCTANE rather than plain water – not only for its effective water absorption but also for its energy contribution. Osmolality is a measure of the number of particles of solute in a solution per mass of solvent, i.e. the particles in the solution. Water absorption is achieved by osmotic gradients; the water is free to move in either direction across the intestinal wall. Solutions containing a high concentration of particles (hypertonic) stimulate water secretion into the gastro-intestinal tract, which accentuates dehydration. Hypotonic and isotonic solutions are therefore preferred as they stimulate water absorption into the blood and thus into the body cells.

Guidelines to Prevent Dehydration

  • Use an isotonic or hypotonic OCTANE solution, i.e. 50g (3 slightly heaped scoops) in 500ml water OR 600ml water for a hypotonic solution. For the 75g sachets that is 750ml water for isotonic and 900ml water for hypotonic solution.
  • Before you start hiking: try to consume at least 500ml OCTANE – take a few sips every 15-20 minutes while packing up etc.
  • During hiking and climbing: 500-900ml OCTANE per hour of hiking / climbing.
  • Drink at intervals of 20-30 minutes – STOP every 30 minutes and take 4-6 sips (± 200ml) OCTANE.
  • Drink even if you are not thirsty; the first sign of dehydration is absence of thirst.
  • Encourage your team mates to drink up.
  • Within 10 minutes after the day’s hiking / climbing: 500ml OCTANE – this intake helps to replace excessive fluid losses, restore glycogen (carbohydrate) stores and aids in recovery.
  • Be careful not to over hydrate, especially if the weather is cool. Drink according to your sweat loss. This is different in every person and should be determined before going on the expedition. Determine your sweat rate by weighing yourself before and after training (do not consume any fluid during this training session); each kilogram lost is roughly equal to a litre of fluid that must be replaced.
  • Thirst is not a good indicator of how much fluid you need; the appearance of urine is a better indicator
    • Straw coloured urine indicates good hydration.
    • Dark yellow urine indicates that you are in urgent need of more fluids (remember B vitamins also tend to colour urine very deep yellow).
  • Why not only water? Drinking plain water can result in a rapid fall in plasma sodium concentration that can reduce the feeling of thirst and stimulate urine output, both of which delay rehydration or accentuate dehydration. Adding the electrolytes sodium potassium, and chloride (as found in OCTANE) lowers the amount of urine produced and restores the thirst sensors, thus helping to restore the fluid balance – these electrolytes are actively involved in the absorption process of water into the blood stream, without them the water will eventually stay in the stomach or intestine. Secondly, sports drinks contain energy, thus it is also FUEL for the brain.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) One of the major causes of fatigue during prolonged exercise is the depletion of energy stores, especially muscle glycogen (carbohydrate store). Glucose is the main energy source for brain and muscle whereas fat is the main energy source for the heart muscle. The heart is the most important muscle during exercise as it is responsible for pumping blood to muscle and supplying the skeletal muscle with nutrients and oxygen. Symptoms of low blood sugar include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, disorientation.

Guidelines to prevent low blood sugar

  • Regular intake of balanced meals and snacks, i.e. carbohydrate, protein and fat at each meal – High carbohydrate meals stimulate insulin which may lead to a low blood sugar soon after the intake of the meal
  • The presence of protein and fat slows down the digestion process and stomach emptying thus resulting in a gradual rise and fall of blood sugar over a longer period after the meal
All meals and snacks should include a small protein portion, i.e. cheese, egg, milk, yoghurt, fish, meat, chicken etc.
One of the important prerequisites of a successful summit attempt is being properly equipped. Ensure that you are well equipped – print the Checklist below and mark it off, it will be an essential part of your preparation for the climb. Please remember to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its content, to be carried by the porters on the climb, to 15 kg (32 lbs.) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb, can be left at the hotel in Moshi. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions regarding the checklist. We also provide a complete and quality rental service on all the equipment required on the mountain, as a sensible alternative to purchasing. Please click Gear Rental for more information. Please note: This checklist is only a guideline. A comprehensive checklist will be send to you as soon as your hike is confirmed. Make sure you have everything you need to help you successfully summit the Roof of Africa. Travel Documents
  • Valid passport and visa
  • Airline ticket
  • International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
  • Travel insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • US$ cash / Travellers Checks / Credit Card
Essential Items
  • Duffel bag – large enough for all climbing gear and clothing. To be carried by the porters. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear
  • Small luggage lock – to lock zippers
  • Day backpack – between 20 – 35 litres. Large enough to carry your water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing
  • Sleeping bag
  • Ski-pole / walking stick
  • Water bottle / containers
  • Kilimanjaro map (Can be bought at Park gate)
High Altitude Gear
  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
  • Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
  • Polar fleece (middle layer)
  • Thermal underwear (under layers)
  • Mittens or warm gloves
  • Glove liners (if necessary)
  • One pair thermal (polertex) socks
  • Balaclava
  • Gaiters
  • Thermal water flask
Hiking Gear
  • Shorts
  • Hiking pants
  • Regular underwear
  • T-shirts
  • Raincoat or Poncho
  • Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots – mid weight boots work great
  • Shoes for overnight camps – i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.
  • Socks – several pairs for the climb
  • Liner socks – to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters
  • Sun hat or similar (with a brim)
  • Collapsible ski stick (optional but highly recommended)
  • Water bottles – two or three (total capacity at least 4 litres)
  • Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb
  • Water purification tablets
  • Sunglasses, good quality dark lenses for the climb, with a securing strap
  • Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries
Personal Items
  • Toilet kit (soap, tooth brush, toilet articles, wet wipes, etc.)
  • Towel
  • Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+
  • Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
  • Toilet paper
  • Money belt for passport and valuables
Medical and First Aid Supplies
  • Headache tablets
  • Altitude sickness-Diamox (if not allergic to sulpha)
  • Diarrhoea – Imodium
  • Nausea – Valoid
  • Malaria – Prophylaxis
  • Water purification tablets
  • Painkillers
  • Muscular sprains
  • Abrasions blisters and cuts – Plaster, bandages
  • Antiseptic cream – Betadine
  • Flu and colds
  • Eye drops
  • Insect repellent
Optional Items
  • Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
  • Binoculars
  • Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
  • Pocket knife
  • Notebook & pencil
  • Plastic bags to keep clothing dry (masking tape)
  • Energy snacks and sweets
  • Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod

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