kilimanjaro summit tips by thomson safaris staffThomson Safaris staffers at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.


You asked, and we delivered! The first round of staffers’ unconventional tips for climbing Kili received so much praise that we decided to give you more – and fortunately, our Kili consultants have a seemingly endless supply of helpful trekking advice. Here’s what our staff recommends based on their firsthand experience on the mountain.

1. Duct Tape is Essential.

“I come from a long line of German engineers, so I’m genetically programmed to think about the practical things! That’s why I love duct tape. It fixes pretty much everything: the tear in your jacket, the broken frame of your sunglasses, the gear loop on your backpack and a million other things that come up along the way.  No need to pack a whole, heavy roll – just spool a few feet of tape around your water bottle!”
Ina Steinhilber, General Manager

2. … As Are M&Ms.

“Keep a small bag of sugary treats by your sleeping bag at night. If you get chilly, have a few M&Ms. It’s amazing how quickly it warms you up!”
Ina Steinhilber, General Manager

ina ice climbingDon’t be fooled! This isn’t Kili. It is, however, where Ina trained for her trek!


3. Bring a Multi-Purpose Tool.

“I always travel with a small Swiss Army knife – just remember to put it in your checked bag on flights. My favorite has tweezers, scissors, a tiny pen, blade, multi-purpose hook, mini Phillips screwdriver and bottle opener.”
Ina Steinhilber, General Manager

4. Bon Appetit!

“Eat, even if you don’t feel like it. Your body gets its energy from the food you eat, and you need as much energy as humanly possible. So eat large.”
Rick Thomson, Co-Founder

rick trekking past glaciers on KilimanjaroRick and his fellow trekkers passing by the shrinking glaciers of Kili.


5. Go Slow, Stay Positive, and Repeat.

“I spontaneously made up a mantra for myself on the morning of summit day. I wasn’t feeling too hot and knew if I focused on the discomfort too much, I’d be done. Since you have to walk very slowly (pole, pole), I found rhythm in my gait and used the beat to repeat two key phrases with each step: ‘You can do this’ and ‘You will do this.’ I mantra-ed the entire morning to the summit. That, and my guide, helped me reach my goal.”
Ali Riley, Art Director

ali laughing on KilimanjaroAli keeping a smile on her face during her trek.


6. Take Your Doctor’s Advice.

“Talk to a doctor about getting a prescription to help with altitude sickness. Together, you can go over potential side effects and weigh the pros and cons of medications. Why not do everything you possibly can to set yourself up for success?”
Samantha Amerault, Kilimanjaro and Tanzania Safari Consultant

7. Get Serious about Training.

“If you take several months to amp up your fitness routine, you’ll feel more confident – not to mention, it’s also just a great thing to do for your physical health! And definitely go out and do long day hikes when you can, because you may think you’re in good shape at the gym, but getting out in the real world and seeing how you do on a long hike is going to be a better indicator of your fitness level than walking on a treadmill.”
Samantha Amerault, Kilimanjaro and Tanzania Safari Consultant

kilimanjaro viewsSam on the Shira Plateau, excited to continue her trek.