Mount Kilimanjaro Trek: Preparation, Altitude & Marangu Route

Mount Kilimanjaro Trek: A Guide to Kilimanjaro Preparation and Altitude

Mount Kilimanjaro Trek: A Guide to Kilimanjaro Preparation and Altitude

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa and a popular destination for adventure enthusiasts. Standing at an impressive altitude of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), trekking to the summit of Kilimanjaro is a challenging but rewarding experience. In this guide, we will explore the essential aspects of Kilimanjaro preparation, the effects of altitude, and the popular Marangu Route.

Kilimanjaro Preparation

Preparing for a Mount Kilimanjaro trek is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential steps to consider:

Physical Fitness

Being physically fit is vital for tackling the demanding terrain and long hours of hiking. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling, or swimming to improve your endurance. Additionally, incorporate strength training exercises to build muscle strength.


Acclimatization is key to preventing altitude sickness during your Kilimanjaro trek. Gradual ascent and spending extra days at higher altitudes allow your body to adjust to the decreasing oxygen levels. Consider choosing a route that includes sufficient acclimatization days.

Packing Essentials

Proper packing is essential for a successful Kilimanjaro trek. Some essential items to include in your packing list are:

  • Warm and waterproof clothing
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Sleeping bag suitable for cold temperatures
  • High-quality backpack
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Water purification tablets
  • Snacks and high-energy food
  • First aid kit

Kilimanjaro Altitude

As you ascend Mount Kilimanjaro, the altitude increases significantly. The effects of altitude can vary from person to person, and it’s essential to be aware of them:

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness, also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS), can occur when ascending too quickly. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. It is crucial to acclimatize properly and be aware of any signs of altitude sickness. If symptoms worsen, descending to a lower altitude is necessary.

Slow Ascent

To minimize the risk of altitude sickness, a slow and steady ascent is recommended. The Marangu Route, also known as the “Coca-Cola” route, is a popular choice for those looking for a less strenuous trek. It offers a gradual ascent, allowing for better acclimatization compared to other routes.

Marangu Route

The Marangu Route is one of the most well-known routes for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Here are some key features of this route:


The Marangu Route provides trekkers with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including lush rainforests and alpine meadows. As you ascend, the scenery transforms into a barren lunar-like landscape.


Unlike other routes that involve camping, the Marangu Route offers hut accommodation. These huts provide basic amenities such as beds and communal dining areas, making it a popular choice for trekkers seeking more comfort.


The Marangu Route typically takes around 5-6 days to complete. This duration allows for gradual acclimatization and increases the chances of a successful summit attempt.

Embarking on a Mount Kilimanjaro trek requires thorough preparation, understanding the effects of altitude, and choosing the right route. By following these guidelines and being well-prepared, you can make your Kilimanjaro adventure a memorable and fulfilling experience.