Do you have an active child who loves the outdoors who you hike with on a regular basis? I bet they would love to accompany you on vacation? Well then climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can make a great family vacation.
This does come with a few restrictions. Children ages ten and older can climb Kilimanjaro. The Tanzanian park authority does not allow children under the age of ten to climb over 12,000 ft (3,700 meters). Talk with your child or children. If they are up for the adventure, you will want to prepare them before you go.
First, discuss the trip with your pediatrician. Improper exposure to altitude can be very dangerous for a developing brain, and if your child has any health concerns then tackling Mt. Kilimanjaro is probably not a good idea at this time. A few years in the development of a child can make a big difference, depending on your child’s age and stage of development it may be best to wait.
Second, prepare your child physically and mentally well in advance. Purchase name brand equipment that is equal to yours and have your child use it frequently so it becomes second nature to them. Hike frequently to get them used to it and to break in their boots. Have detailed conversations with them regarding any issues that may arise while on the trek. Items may include; bad weather, difficult days of hiking, diarrhea, stomach aches, fatigue, blisters and the symptoms of altitude sickness. Encourage one another as you train and continue this practice while on the mountain. Be realistic about what your child can expect, but make an effort to discuss it with them in a positive nature with the emphasis being on their ability to make it to the summit! If possible, try to take your child on a few short high altitude hikes to get a sense of how their body will feel.
Choose a Route
Finally, be extra selective in choosing your route. We strongly recommend that children use the Lemosho or Northern Circuit routes due to the extra time it allows for acclimatization. Acclimatization is one of the biggest factors in whether or not you summit safely. It is much better to allow your body extra days to acclimatize naturally. But in cases of emergency, we do carry oxygen and ALTOX can be rented as well. We also offer private toilets. This way children do not have to use the dirty, public “long drop” bathrooms. Our porters can also carry your child’s day pack and help them along the trek. We will let the staff know in advance that there will be children on the climb so they can prepare for it.
Listen to Your Intuition
So now you know that children can climb Kilimanjaro, but should your child climb? Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life, and the families that have climbed with us have felt it especially meaningful to Summit with their children. That being said, safety first! Trust your intuition, Mt. Kilimanjaro isn’t going anywhere so choose safety over convenience and wait until your child is a bit older.
If you have any further questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org