There are a few items you’ll need to address before we can tell you if it is easy to climb Kilimanjaro.
The first item is how much hiking do you already do? If you are an avid hiker, canyoneer, or backpacker, then hiking to the summit and back on Kilimanjaro should not be that challenging.
Keep in mind it may be the longest time you have backpacked. However, the porters carry the bulk of your gear so your pack will be lighter than even ultralight backpacks.
Also, if the trails on Kilimanjaro were actually at sea level the hike would be rated a 1 out of 5. So very easy. It isn’t the hike itself that is hard but rather your ability to adapt to the extreme elevation gain.
If backpacking, hiking, etc. are not something you live and breathe. Or if you occasionally do a hike to get an Instagram photo or don’t train hard for it, then climbing Kilimanjaro will be challenging. If the latter is the case, you’ll need to get in shape before you head to Tanzania. We recommend a training regimen like this one: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/how-to-prepare/#train
Secondly, something we touched on a bit earlier, is the amount of time you will be spending on the mountain. We recommend at least eight days to have a more than 90% success rate to make the summit. That means at least 6.5 days are ascending and 1.5 are descending. Most people will not have spent that much time in one shot hiking so the mental aspect comes into play here.
In the Marines, we used to refer to it as Intestinal Fortitude, which means; courage; resoluteness; endurance; or guts. You’ll have to get mentally prepared to make this journey.
One way to do that is to exercise and backpack until it is second nature so you have the confidence to know you can do it.
The second tip is to climb Kilimanjaro with someone you love. Spending time with a loved one is rewarding. Make sure they are just as physically and mentally as strong as you are. Train together.
Keep in mind, that you cannot push a SPOT or Garmin SOS on Kilimanjaro, it won’t work. You will either continue the trek or have to turn around. There is no rescue unless you are suffering from altitude sickness or are severally injured.
Thirdly, another detail that needs to be addressed is do you have the proper equipment? We do have a pre-climb trip briefing. During that time we look through all your gear to make sure you are adequately equipped for all the different temperatures and weather variables the mountain will throw at you on the eight or so days.
If you are missing anything we do have a rental shop that we can take you to.
Here is a video to discuss the proper clothing to wear.
Finally, are you healthy enough to climb Kilimanjaro? This is something you should address with your doctor. You’ll need to receive a full medical health check to make sure you are healthy enough to climb to 19,341 ft.
Ask yourself, am I capable of climbing Kilimanjaro? The answer to this question should be yes. This, of course, relies on your conditioning and fitness level and whether or not your body can handle the extreme elevation. Give yourself enough time to get in good shape before you go. The better condition you are in the more likely you are to reach the summit. If your body isn’t struggling with the hiking, it can better adapt to the elevation.
Also, make sure to eat and drink enough while on the trek. We know it is difficult to do, especially when you’re cold and wet. That is why our guides will tell you to drink. They’ll say maji maji, which is Swahili for water, water.
Of course, you also need to be motivated to climb Kilimanjaro in the first place.
So is hiking Kilimanjaro easy? We think so as long as you prepare, have trained hard, and bring the right gear and mental attitude.
We hope you come to Kilimanjaro prepared. Making the summit is truly a life-changing event and we hope everyone that tries to summit Kilimanjaro makes it.