Mt Kilimanjaro - Where is it? How big & how high is it?

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, a country in East Africa. The mountain Size is 1668 sq km /641 sq miles and its one of the seven summits (the highest peaks on each of the seven continents) Mt Kilimanjaro rises 5,895 meters or 19,340 feet above sea level. It is a dormant volcano , Its last eruption was 200 – 300 years ago. Comprised of three cones – Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. The highest point is on the Kibo cone, and is named Uhuru , which means freedom in Swahili

How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is a major tourist attraction for experienced and beginning climbers. To get to the mountain, the most convenient way is to fly into Tanzania (Kilimanjaro International Airport) , and then travel to Arusha or Moshi, Kilimanjaro’s gateway towns, by vehicle. Both cities are approximately 40 minutes away from the airport and taxi services are readily available.

Best time of the year to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

The best times for climbing Kilimanjaro are the driest months of the year, especially Jan, Feb and Aug, Sep. But any time between Jan—mid March and June—October offers reasonable chances of unforgettable trip. The most important issue is safety, being able to enjoy the hike and have a great experience.  We don’t recommend trekking when its a rainy season as The effects of rain, mud, snow, ice and cold can be very strenuous on the body. Correspondingly, your chances of a successful summit also increases significantly with nice weather. Of course, the mountain gets more foot traffic during these periods as well.

How do I prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro

Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and does not require any technical climbing! All you need is walk slow but steady. For the summit to be reached, your body must sufficiently acclimatize itself. It is important to be physically, emotional and spiritual prepared for your Kilimanjaro trek.  Another important part of the preparation is having the proper clothing before you depart to Tanzania. See the Mount Kilimanjaro packing list for details.

Physical preparation:
It is very important that your body is properly prepared for the physical challenge of the Kilimanjaro. The better prepared you are, the better you plan to conquer the highest point of Africa. Good preparation will make a significant contribution to your confidence and mental strength.

Mental preparation:
Mt kilimanjaro is an amazing experience and anyone is able to reach its summit(Uhuru peak). Think about this when you prepare yourself for the expedition. You will not be alone, our guides will make you feel welcome and will be there with you all the way.  Always think positively and you WILL enjoy the climb!

How fit should I have to be?
The type of condition is more important than the degree of fitness. Kilimanjaro is a walk and the interesting part of it is you take your time, no rush , so the best preparation you can have is to walk, preferably under simulated conditions. Although to some extent it helps to go running/jogging, your muscles are still not preparing for seven days of quiet but heavy walking. I suggest that you will regularly walk long distances. Ignore the elevator and take the stairs or even take your dog for a walk,

Go   walk, for example, in addition to regular fitness to let your muscles develop more. And try to opt for regular walks with altitude, so you can practice walking up and down at different incline levels.

If you can walk 80 kilometres (50 miles)   in one week, you have done the Kilimanjaro Machame Route. Train your body for extra resistance for your muscles, because on the mountain the inclination varies.

In a period of eight weeks, using the gym and the many hikes, you can become fit enough for Mt Kilimanjaro climb.

Medical check-up
Before starting a physical training program, it’s always wise to get the approval of a doctor. Also knowing your health conditions from the doctor is avery essential key as you will be hiking at a high altitude and its very risky if by a mistake you didn’t consult a doctor and found out you have heart or lung problems and you need evacuation from Kilimanjaro.

What to know about Altitude Sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro

If you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro we highly recommend reading our altitude sickness page to be familiar with what it is, its cause and prevention.

The definition of altitude Sickness (Acute mountain sickness)
Is an illness that ranges from a mild headache and weariness to a life-threatening build-up of fluid in the lungs or brain at high altitudes. Acute altitude sickness is the mildest and most common form. Because more people are traveling to areas of high elevation like climbing kilimanjaro.

  • High Altitude: 1500 – 3500 m (5000 – 11500 ft)
  • Very High Altitude: 3500 – 5500 m (11500 – 18000 ft)

  • Extreme Altitude: above 5500 m (18000 ft)
     

What to do to Acclimatize and prevent altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro

Acclimatization is the process in which an individual organism adjusts to a gradual change in its environment . So while your climbing  Kilimanjaro your body undergoes a process of trying to  adapt the altitude transformation.

Read more about acclimatization and how to prevent altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro to get your self well informed and prepared for your trek.
 

About Diamox On Mount Kilimanjaro

Acetazolamide, or what is commonly sold under the trade name Diamox, is a drug that is used for various medical treatments – including glaucoma, sleep apnea, epilepsy and hypertension. It is also used to help mitigate the effects of altitude sickness.

Using Diamox on Kilimanjaro is a question you are going to face when you start your preparations to reach the Roof of Africa.


What is Diamox?

Diamox (aka Acetazolamide), as it is used for Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is a diuretic (i.e. it promotes the production of urine) and a prophylactic (i.e. is used as a preventative medicine – not a cure).

It is also a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor (ahem, what?). Essentially this means that it promotes the excretion, via urine, of bicarbonate – which is why it is useful for altitude sickness.


Diamox and altitude sickness

The excretion of bicarbonate increases the acidity of the blood, as bicarbonate is a conjugate base of carbonic acid. Increased acidity in the blood is equated by our bodies as increased CO2. The body responds to the imaginary excess CO2 by breathing deeper and faster to get rid of the CO2. Deeper, faster breathing increases the amount of oxygen received by the blood. This helps with the acclimatization process and helps prevent the onset of AMS symptoms.

Obviously you should first consult your doctor to check whether Diamox is a suitable drug given your particular medical history. It is not suitable for pregnant women or anyone with kidney or liver disease issues (obviously these people shouldn’t be climbing Kilimanjaro in the first place)

We recommend taking Diamox for 2-3 days 2 weeks before departure to test whether you experience any side effects.
 

Typical side effects associated with Diamox are:

  • *Frequent urination – everyone experiences this when taking Diamox. It can result in the development of kidney stones so it is important that you drink loads of fluids whilst taking the medication.

  • *Numbness and tingling in the fingers, toes and face – Many people experience this side effect when taking Diamox. The sensation is a little discomforting but not dangerous

  • *Taste alterations (some foods might taste weird)

  • *Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – this is rare. These side effects should be identified during your test before departing for Kilimanjaro. Unfortunately these side effects are common with AMS and therefore can easily be misdiagnosed as AMS
  • *Drowsiness and confusion is also possible – again these side effects can be confused with AMS

Typically Diamox comes in 250mg tablets. Most people take half a tablet in the morning and half in the evening. You should start taking tablets one day before arriving in Kilimanjaro and continue taking the same dosage for all ascent days. You can cease taking Diamox on descent.