The best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro’s trekking seasons. The mountain can be climbed all year round, there are, however, a couple of rainy seasons – April-May and November-mid-December – that are best avoided. We think January-March and October are the best months as the skies tend to be clear and the mountain quieter.
What to take up Kilimanjaro. With most of your luggage carried by porters on the mountain, it’s important that you remember to carry the essential items that you will need with you during the day while walking, such as water bottles etc. Your back pack will help you carry such items with you up the mountain, and leave the rest of your items to your porters for the trekking. Most
A Kilimanjaro kit list.
- Boots for Kilimanjaro Proper mountaineering boots are unnecessary for Kilimanjaro unless you’re taking an unusual route that demands them. If you’re not, a decent pair of trekking boots are fine for Kilimanjaro. The important thing about boots is comfort, with enough toe room, remembering that on the ascent up Kibo you might be wearing an extra pair or two of socks, and that on the descent the toes will be shoved into the front of the boots with every step. Remember these points when trying on trekking boots for Kilimanjaro in the shop. Make sure they are also sturdy, waterproof, durable and high enough to provide support for your ankles.
- Socks. A couple of thick thermal pairs and some regular ones should be fine for trekking up Kilimanjaro.
- Down jacket Not necessary for Kilimanjaro if you have enough fleeces, but nevertheless wonderfully warm, light and compact – and usually expensive. Make sure it is large enough to go over all your clothes.
- Fleeces Fleeces are light, pack down small, dry quickly and can be very, very warm. Take at least two fleeces for your Kilimanjaro expedition: one thick ‘polar’ one and one of medium thickness and warmth. Make sure that you can wear the thinner one over all of the T-shirts and shirts you’ll be taking and that you can wear your thick one over all of these – you’ll need to wear both fleeces on the night-walk up Kibo.
- Thermals The value of thermal underwear lies in the way it draws moisture (ie sweat) away from your body. A thermal vest and long johns are sufficient for Kilimanjaro.
- Trousers Don’t take jeans, which are heavy and difficult to dry. Instead, take a couple of pairs of trekking trousers for Kilimanjaro, such as those made by Rohan, preferably one light and one heavy.
- Sun-hat One reader wrote in to say that, because he is a glasses wearer, a baseball cap or similar was much more useful than a regular sunhat as it kept the rain off his spectacles. This is a good idea but do make sure that you have something to cover the back of your neck too. Whatever you choose, headgear is essential as it can be hot and dazzling on the mountain
- Woolly/fleecy hat … but it can also be very cold. Brightly-coloured bobble hats can be bought very cheaply in Moshi; or, better still, invest in one of those knitted balaclavas which you can usually find on sale in Moshi. Wearing a balaclava on Kilimanjaro will protect your face from the biting summit wind.
- Gloves Preferably fleecy; many trekkers on Kilimanjaro wear a thin thermal under-glove too.
- Rainwear While you are more likely to experience rain on Kilimanjaro during the walk in the forest, where it’s still warm, once you’ve got your clothes wet there will be little opportunity to dry them on the trek – and you will not want to attempt to climb freezing Kibo in wet clothes. A waterproof jacket is ideal for Kilimanjaro, preferably made from Gore-tex or similar breathable material, hopefully with a warm or fleecy lining too, and big enough to go over all your clothes so you can wear it for the night-walk on Kibo.
- Summer clothes T-shirts and shorts are the most comfortable things to wear under Kilimanjaro’s humid forest canopy. You are strongly recommended to take a shirt with a collar too, to stop the African sun from burning the back of your neck.
- Sleeping bag On Kilimanjaro, the warmer the sleeping bag the better. A three-season bag is probably the most practical, offering a compromise between warmth and cost. A two-season plus thermal fleecy liner, the latter available in camping shops back at home for about £20-30/US$30-45, is another solution.
- Sleeping mat On Kilimanjaro a sleeping mat is essential if camping but unnecessary if you’re following the Marangu Route, when you’ll be sleeping in huts. Trekking agencies usually supply sleeping mats – ask them before you buy one yourself.
- Water bottles/Platypus Hoser system We recommend you carry at least three litres of water per day. Make sure your bottles are thermally protected or they will freeze on the summit. Regular army-style water bottles are fine, though these days many trekkers prefer the new Platypus Hoser-style systems, or CamelBaks, a kind of soft, plastic bladder with a long tube from which you can drink as you walk along.
- Torch On Kilimanjaro a head-torch, if you have one and don’t find it uncomfortable, is far more practical than a handheld one, allowing you to keep both hands free; on the last night up the slopes of Kibo to the summit.
- Sunscreen A high-factor sunscreen (35-40) is essential on Kilimanjaro.
- Sunglasses Sunglasses on Kilimanjaro are very, very necessary for the morning after you’ve reached the summit, when the early morning light on Kibo can be really painful and damaging. If you’re climbing via the Glacier Route or are going to spend some time on the summit, they could be essential on Kilimanjaro for preventing snow-blindness.
- Glasses/contact lenses For those who need them, of course. Contact lenses are fine but super-expensive ones should be avoided on the final assault to the summit as there’s a risk that when the strong cold wind blows across the saddle on assault night the lenses can dry and go brittle very quickly and fall out of the eye
- Money for tipping For a rough guide as to how much you should take, see the guidebook and the Tipping your Kilimanjaro crew webpage — then add a few dollars, just in case.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Toilet paper
- Tampons/sanitary towels
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us by mail of phone and whether you shall require us to assist you with any of these items.