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Home>itineraries>Trekking>Kilimanjaro

 

Mount Kilimanjaro is the crown of Tanzania. With an altitude of 5895m (19.340ft), it is the highest peak in Africa, the highest freestanding mountain in the world, and one of the largest volcanoes. The base of the immense mountain has a diameter of about 70 km. On a clear day his impressive formation can be seen from more than 160 km away, and although it is only three degrees below the Equator, his peak is permanently covered with snow and ice. Elephants, leopards, lions and colobus monkeys are among the residents of the park. The encircling rain forests ensure the fertility of the lush, lower lying countryside, where the Chagga cultivate their coffee, maize and bananas.

Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed most of the year, although it is inadvisable during the rainy season, which is April and May, and during the short rains in November. The summit of Kilimanjaro is definitely a challenge, and there are risks involved, but it can be reached by any reasonably fit person who enjoys hiking, and reaching the summit will be an experience of a lifetime! The youngest person to make it was seven years old - the oldest seventy-eight!

camping on Kilimanjaro Marangu trailview of Mount Meru from Kilimanjaro

While thousands of people scramble to the top of Kilimanjaro each year, there are also trails off the beaten track and some technical climbs for the experienced mountaineer.

There are five principal trails up the mountain: Marangu, Mweka, Umbwe, Shira and Machame. These are all hiking routes. The most popular route is the Marangu route. It takes about five days and involves walking about 85 kilometres.

trails on Kilimanjaro Mountain Tanzania

 

climbing Kilimanjaro - equipment and FAQs

Best months for trek Mount Kilimanjaro

The best months for climbing are January, February, and September as they are the warmest months and almost clear of clouds, though one could easily succeed throughout the year.
April and beginning of May could get heavy rain or snow, but it could be worth it if you want a quiet clear mountain, as views are very good.
Also great are June to August (though colder), and November/December (could be wetter).
Through September and October it gets steadily warmer. October is particularly good if you want little or no rain, mild weather and few people on the mountain.
January to March are the warmest months, almost clear of clouds except of occasional brief rain showers, followed by the main rainy season during April & May. The temperatures will still be up, but massive clouds will block visibility, on top it might snow and heavy rains occur on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro.

Checklist

    important equipment to bring

  • waterproof rucksack & day pack (optional waterproof cover)
  • Sleeping Bag (comfort temperature down to -10 degrees Celsius)
  • inflatable sleeping pad/mat
  • Hiking Boots: This is the most important item on the list. You'll need a comfortable/waterproof pair of hiking boots which offer plenty of support. Make sure they are broken in before you get to Kilimanjaro! Light trainers might also be useful
  • warm heavy weight gloves/mittens
  • wide brimmed hat
  • warm scarf
  • snow-goggles/sunglasses
  • sweaters/jumpers
  • trekking pants and jacket (wind- and waterproof)
  • long sleeved shirts
  • 2 to 3 pairs of shorts
  • several pairs of socks
  • set of thermal underwear (top & bottom)
  • sun protection cream
  • 2 x 2 litres water bottles (camel bags preferably)
  • headlamp(plus spare batteries & bulb)
  • first aid kit and insect repellant's
  • toiletry requirements

    additional equipment as required

  • walking poles
  • waterproof anorak or raincoat
  • pair of gaiters
  • balaclava (woolen sock that fits over the head with slits for only the eyes and mouth)
  • pair of light loose fitting cotton trousers
  • warm jersey/sweater (wool)
  • 2 - 3 packets of moist towelettes.
  • whistle
  • some plastic bags
  • roll mats and insulation pads
  • travel pillow
  • Swiss army knife, stuff to fix the sleeping mat, journal and pen, duck tape

note that you should bring enough clothes with you, as it is not possible to wash clothes while you are on the mountain (they do not dry)

FAQ's for Kilimanjaro climbs

Does an extra day help acclimatization?
Most guidebooks recommend that climbers spend an extra day during the Marangu route climb especially. This is much a personal decision, but our statistics do not indicate any greater success rate amongst 6 day Marangu route climbers over 5 day climbers. More important for success is the overall approach to the climb, right from the start. That said, many people like an extra day spent on the ascent because it makes the whole climb more relaxed and gives an opportunity to go on some pleasant walks.

If there is a problem on the mountain what are the rescue procedures?
The national park operates a rescue service, and the huts on the Marangu route are linked to each other and to the park headquarters by radio. In the vast majority of emergency cases, the problem is altitude related and the solution is immediate descent to a lower altitude. Our mountain crew are all experienced at dealing with such cases and can bring climbers down to safe altitudes very quickly and without park assistance if it is not immediately available.

Is it possible to rent mountain equipment from us?
We have a large stock of equipment. This is primarily for the free use of our fully equipped climbers but we also make equipment available for hire to climbers where necessary. Anyway, we encourage climbers to bring as much of their own warm clothing as possible. In particular, climbers should avoid having to hire or borrow
boots.

I heard that the success rate on Kilimanjaro is less than thirty percent. Is this true?
Some people climb Kilimanjaro without knowing what they are letting themselves in for. Consequently they may be inadequately equipped and fed, and they then have a miserable and unsuccessful time. We make sure that you are properly informed and equipped, our success rate to the crater rim is 90%. Our success rate to Uhuru peak is 85%. However, we always stress that the main reason to climb Kilimanjaro is to have a safe and enjoyable time. Reaching the summit is a bonus, but should never be seen as the sole aim of the climb.

How cold does it get on Kilimanjaro?
The temperature at the top of the mountain can vary widely. Sometimes it is only a degree or two below freezing, but visitors should be prepared for possible temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, especially in conjunction with wind.

What should I know about altitude sickness?
There are different types of altitude sickness. "Acute mountain sickness" is very common, and is not as frightening as its name suggests. The symptoms are headaches, nausea and vomiting, though not everyone suffers from all the symptoms. Normally, symptoms fade after a few hours, but if they do not a climber may need to turn back, especially if vomiting is leading to dehydration. Any enjoyment to be had from the climb will have disappeared by now anyway.

A much more serious type of altitude sickness is called oedema. This is a build-up of fluid in the body, and when the fluid collects in the lungs or the brain a serious condition develops which requires immediate action in the form of descent to a lower altitude, where recovery is usually miraculously fast.

In most cases AMS can be avoided by following guidelines: drink lots of water, walk slowly, stay warm, eat well. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the various affects that altitude can cause.

During your pre-climb briefing, we describe altitude sickness to you in detail, and advise you how to cope with it. The most important thing is not to fear it, but to respect it and to know how to deal with it. Our guides have seen every condition that the mountain produces, and they will always know how to deal with problems.

 

How is cooking done on the mountain?
We use modern Kerosene stoves. These are very efficient (about 90% of the efficiency of gas, which is not always available here) and reliable. You can also feel satisfied that no firewood is being used which might damage the ecology of the mountain.

Do you pay wages to your guides and porters?
Yes, we do pay them wages, and we pay well above the levels recommended by Kilimanjaro National Park. Our staff all know that tips from climbers are discretionary. If you do want to give a tip, we always ask you not to do it on the mountain but back at the hotel after the climb. There everything is relaxed and open.

Medicines

Mosquito sprays and creams
Not very useful on the mountain itself. But when you get back down again it is useful to have some “protection” against the Anopheles mosquito. We recommend Autan.

Malaria prevention
Please consult your doctor regarding malaria prophylaxis.

Headache pills
paracet pills will help you in case of headaches.

Cold & Flu

Diamox
Diamox can be used to prevent
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Please try them first to see if you don't get too many side effects.

Sun cream
we recommend creams with SPF 30, as the sun near the equator is very strong. Don’t forget to have something to protect your lips as well.

Personal medical supplies (optional):
As your tour leaders, we will carry a group medical kit.

Personal Items & Toiletries
toothpaste & tooth brush, body lotion, toilet paper and other personal hygiene items.

Tipping
The tips below are purely given as a guideline, to your
discretionary. We recommend the following amounts are not exceeded except in special circumstances:

Kilimanjaro Machame Route and Umbwe Route

  • guide 50-70 US$
  • cook 30 US$
  • assistant guide 40 US$
  • porters 20-30 US$

Kilimanjaro Marangu Route

  • guide 50 US$
  • porters 15-20 US$
  • cook 20 US$
  • assistant guide 30 US$

For two people climbing Kilimanjaro we send the following staff

  • 1 guide
  • 1 cook
  • 4 porters

find here a list of equipment that we can rent:

climbing equipment for Kilimanjaro treks
 
those items we can rent to you:

ITEM PRICE PER TRIP
Sleeping bags US $ 15
Sleeping pads US $ 10
Warm Jackets US $ 15
Rain Jackets US $ 15
Rain Trousers US $ 15
Warm Trousers US $ 15
T-shirt US $ 5
Pair of Socks US $ 5
Pair of warm gloves US $ 10
Climbing boots US $ 20
Barclava US $ 5
Pair of walking sticks US $ 15
Sunglasses US $ 5
Hat US $ 5
Sweater US $ 5
Rucksack US $ 20
Day pack US $ 10
Pair of Gators US $ 10
Trousers US $ 15
Shirts US $ 10

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