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Fitness and training to climb Kilimanjaro

Taken over 7 days or more, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro does not require super-human levels of fitness. In fact, we regularly help climbers summit who are carrying a few extra pounds and have left their fittest years a little behind them.

What all successful climbers share though is a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination. Summiting Kilimanjaro is a long slow grind but provided you have the determination to do just one more step even when you are tired we can help you get to the top.

If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on Kilimanjaro. Similarly if you can do a full hour spinning, a vigorous aerobics class or can jog at a decent pace for 45 minutes then there is no reason why you can't summit Kilimanjaro.

The best training by far to climb Kilimanjaro is to get your walking boots on and get lots of miles under your belt. Whether this is two to three hours walking locally or full days away on your nearest hills, you just need to clock up lots of hours on your feet as more than anything else it is just walking every day for 7 days that people find tiring. And the best cure for this is to have spent lots of hours just walking. 

In addition to walking, we recommend you also start or maintain an aerobic gym routine for at least 3 months before departing for Kilimanjaro. Your aerobic fitness programme should consist of 3-4 visits to the gym each week and focus on the 3S’s. 

Required stamina 

The aim here should be to build up your cardiovascular system through a combination of weekly running, cycling and cross trainer gym activities. You should be able to do at least 30 minutes at a strenuous pace on either activity before departing for Kilimanjaro. Energetic spinning, cross-fit, aerobic or zumba classes work well. 

Building strength 

Doing some basic strength training is important. You should aim to work both upper body muscles and leg muscles. Suggested exercises include Kettle Bell rows, shoulder presses and flies for the upper body and squats and lunges for the your legs. Make these strength training exercises part of your aerobic gym routine. 

The importance of stretching

Most sports injuries occur due to poor stretching. This is particularly true on mountains where repetitive movements over tough terrain put a lot of stress on joints and muscle. To loosen your muscles and increase suppleness we recommend adopting a regular stretching regime. Spend 10 minutes every morning stretching your main muscle groups.

So get that date with destiny booked, put on your boots and get out there walking!

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Rachael Bode

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Phone: + 44 (0) 1283 499982

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Sharon King

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Phone: +44 (0) 1283 499981

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