So you have decided that you would like to climb Kilimanjaro; what next?
You will obviously have many questions that you would like answered to help you to prepare for your adventure of a lifetime; but where do you start? You will find below some of the most frequently asked questions that that will help you prepare to climb Kilimanjaro.
There are 6 routes used to climb Kilimanjaro, each has its own characteristics and offers a different perspective and challenge. The most popular route is the Marangu route; or Coca Cola route as it is also known, which attracts the majority of all visitors to Kilimanjaro. The Machame; or Whisky route as it is known is also a very popular route and as a result can also be very busy; these routes are typically completed in 5-6 days. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach Kibo from the West and offer a quieter approach as these are less populated routes. The Rongai route approaches from the North and is also a quieter route. These three routes can be completed in 6-8 days which will assist with acclimatization and increase the chances of reaching the summit. Finally there is the Umbwe route the shortest and most direct route to the summit; it is also the least popular and toughest of all the routes..
It is possible to climb Mount Kilimanjaro all year round; however the months outside of the rainy seasons are more desirable. The best months are from December to March, and July to October. The finest weather is usually at the beginning of the year from January to March, which are typically the warmest and driest months of the year.
You do not require any technical equipment on Mount Kilimanjaro; however you will experience changing weather conditions and be exposed to temperatures ranging from +30 degrees to -25 degrees, so you should be prepared for this. You should take thin layers that can be added, or taken away depending on the weather conditions. But remember there is a limit to the weight that the porters can carry and your kit bag must be a maximum of 15Kg. You will also have a rucksack that will contain your basic kit for a day’s walking.
Your rucksack should contain all of your personal kit for the day ahead; a 30L – 35L rucksack will be sufficient. On an average day you would expect to carry; waterproof clothing, hat, gloves, water, first-aid kit, spare laces, valuables, pack lunch and snacks.
On average you will walk between 3 and 6 miles per day, apart from the summit night when you will walk up to 15 miles. You will usually start your days trekking around 8am and walk for between 4 and 8 hours per day (longer on summit night).
Please see routes overview page for more details.
The trail conditions on Mount Kilimanjaro are challenging, but relatively easy compared to the other mountains in the seven summits. The rainforest zone can be wet and slippery underfoot especially if there has been heavy rain. The higher slopes are a mixture of heath covered land, alpine desert and finally the ice covered summit. The terrain changes through the climate zones but are generally comfortable to negotiate with a pair of 3 season walking boots. Some people prefer to use walking poles but do not feel that you have to have them; it is a matter of personal preference. They are however very useful on summit night, particularly on the descent from the summit when you will be tired and will have to negotiate the loose scree on the way back to camp.
For information on health and vaccinations for Tanzania, please visit our vaccinations page.
Yes you will need to obtain a visa to enter Tanzania from the USA/ EUROPE. Please see our visa page for details. You should also ensure that your passport has at least 6 months before expiry when you arrive in Tanzania.
We are Local Tanzania operator based in the base of the mountain. Our guides are among the best qualified and experienced on Kilimanjaro and unlike other operators, they are all Tanzanian. All the guides we use speak excellent English, and in addition to their knowledge and experience of Kilimanjaro they have received training in; first aid, mountain rescue, local flora and fauna, and history of the mountain and are registered with Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA). More information is available on our guides and porter page.
It has become customary to tip your guides and porters after completing your Kilimanjaro trek. However this is a tip and is not obligatory. We have provided a guide for how much you may wish to tip your staff; please view our tipping guidelines page for detailed recommendations on how much to tip each staff member.
We would advise you to purchase all your equipment prior to arrival in Kilimanjaro, as there is no guarantee of the availability or quality of the equipment for hire at your hotel in Moshi. However hiring items such as trekking poles and gaiters which you may wish to have for this trek, but wouldn’t ordinarily use may be useful. The cost of hiring these items is in the region of; $10 per week for trekking poles and $7 per week for gaiters. If you have any issues with your luggage getting lost in transport then the majority of the kit that you would need could be hired from the hotel if required. We would highly recommend wearing 1 full set of clothes and packing essential items in your rucksack and using this as hand luggage, especially your hiking boots, as hiring poor fitting boots in Kilimanjaro could cause issues on the mountain.