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+255 (0) 783 080 239

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Kilimanjaro FAQ

Safety

Do I need travel insurance?

It is imperative you take out appropriate insurance for your climb. Please see our ‘Why Get Travel Insurance for your Kilimanjaro Climb?’ page for more guidance.

Do you provide oxygen on your climbs?

We carry emergency oxygen on all our climbs, for use when someone is suffering with serious altitude related illness. In this event the guide would ask you to descend, since this is the only way to recover; however, oxygen can help people feel better during the descent, therefore making evacuation easier and safer.

What if I'm slow?

We have at least one guide for every three trekkers, so you can move at your own pace. Guides will remind you to walk slowly as ascending at a slow and steady pace gives your body chance to acclimatise.

What happens if someone can’t continue climbing? Does the entire party descend?

We offer excellent client to guide ratios, therefore if someone cannot continue, one of our guides will descend with them while the rest of the party continues.

Do you carry a hyperbaric chamber (Gamow bags)? 

We don't carry Gamow bags. This is because for altitude the best treatment is descent; either on foot, stretcher or by helicopter; dependent upon the severity of the situation and which means of evacuation is accessible given location and weather. A Gamow bag creates an artificial environment where the air pressure is increased, simulating descent; however, it cannot be moved once a person is inside as pressure must be maintained. This makes it practically impossible to descend. Once removed from the bag the casualty is back in the same situation as before. It is therefore only really useful if a casualty is unable to descend for some reason. In all other cases starting the descent as soon as possible is preferable. Since Kilimanjaro is a freestanding mountain, different to the Himalaya, it is relatively straight forwards to descend without having to climb higher over mountain passes. There are only a few places where any ascent would be necessary to evacuate. If you would still prefer to climb with a Gamow bag this can be arranged at an extra cost.

 

Equipment

What equipment do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?

Upon enquiry you’ll receive a detailed equipment checklist and guidance to help you prepare. Many of our guests find they already have some of the items we recommend, for example hiking boots, base layers, warm hat, fleece sweater and gloves.

Can I hire equipment?

We will send you a comprehensive equipment checklist, including items available for hire, upon enquiry. Prices are for the duration of the climb, not per day, and costs can be paid in USD$ cash at your briefing. All equipment is of good quality, however we advise bringing your own walking boots, socks and base layer clothing, as these will inevitably be a better fit than items you hire. 

What type of sleeping mattresses do you have available to hire? 

Mattresses are closed-cell foam, approximately 7cm thick with a heavy-duty cover, insulating you well from the ground. If you plan to bring your own inflatable mattress, it’s worth investing in a good quality one as cheaper versions are prone to leaks and punctures. Premium climbs include mattresses as part of the package price.

Where can I store items I don’t need on the mountain?

Additional luggage you do not need to take up the mountain can be left safely in storage at your accommodation or our offices. We recommend you ensure any valuables are signed in to the hotel safe, and where possible left at home!

What’s the maximum bag weight for the porters to carry?

The maximum weight is 15kg. Porter loads are strictly adhered to, to protect the porters as well as following Kilimanjaro National Park regulations.

What will the porter carry?
  • Toiletries, wipes & quick wick towel for washing at camp
  • Extra medication (replenish day sack at night and leave spares with your porter)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Mattress
  • Down/Ski jacket
  • All warm summit clothing e.g. thick gloves, thick summit trousers, balaclava etc.
  • Other spare clothing you're not wearing that day
  • Running shoes for the evenings at camp (optional)
  • Snacks (replenish day sack at night and leave spares with your porter)
  • Other small items not needed during the day (e.g. book, ear plugs, spare batteries, power pack etc.)
How much gear will I carry?

You will carry a day sack which contains items needed during the hiking day. You will not see your main porter bag until you arrive at camp. Your guide will tell you exactly what you need to carry in this bag. Be careful to keep the weight down where possible, whilst carrying everything necessary. Every small item adds up and water adds considerable weight. Your bag will likely weigh around 7-10kg once full.

What will I need to carry in my daysack?
  • Water (guide will indicate volume needed each day and refill locations)
  • Snacks (replenish at night from porter bag)
  • Waterproof Trousers & Jacket
  • Spare warm clothes, gloves, hat (guide will advise you what you need at evening briefings as this varies according to weather and elevation)
  • Sun cream & SPF lip protection
  • Sunhat & Sunglasses
  • Buff/bandana
  • Valuables e.g. tips money, passport, credit card
  • Small first aid kit including personal medication, blister treatment; oral rehydration; painkillers & anti-inflammatories; diarrhoea tablets; throat lozenges etc. (replenish at night as required)
  • Hygiene kit - tissue, wet-wipes, antibacterial gel, biodegradable diaper bags to put tissue in whilst on the trail (to be disposed of later at camp) (replenish at night)
  • Mosquito repellent (first and last day only)
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Mobile phone (optional)
  • Solar charger (optional)

Ensure daypack contents are waterproof, using a rain cover, dry bags/rubble sacks.

What should I wear on summit night?

Our equipment list includes everything you need for summit night and will give you flexibility to adjust layers according to the temperature. When you start climbing on summit night you may not be that cold, but the temperature drops considerably through the night, even more so if you are exposed to the wind. Once the sun rises you need to take layers off again.

Our guides recommend the following:

  • Lower Body: warm socks; thermal leggings; thick walking trousers/fleece trousers; waterproof trousers (for wind rather than rain).
  • Upper Body: short-sleeved base layer; long-sleeved thin base layer; long-sleeved mid layer; micro fleece; warmer fleece; down jacket; hat & gloves.

You don't need to wear your waterproof jacket if it's not raining, but it needs to fit over your layers if it is!

What kind of jacket would you recommend for summit night?

A down jacket or ski jacket is critical, but it doesn’t really matter which it is. You will also wear it in the mess tents at night as the temperature rapidly drops when the sun goes down, and can use it as a pillow! Ski jackets can be bulky and heavier, so down is preferable, but there's no need to buy a new down jacket if you already have an alternative that will keep you warm.

What are the benefits of using gaiters?

Gaiters stop water entering your walking boots if it rains; protect your trousers from damage, especially in scree; stop dust and scree entering your boots, especially on descent from the summit; and protect your legs from nettles in the rainforest.

What are the benefits of using walking poles?

Trekking poles have a number of benefits, especially if you have trouble with your knees or hips. There is scientific evidence they reduce the forces on your body, especially when walking down steep hills. Poles improve power and endurance when walking uphill, as energy output is distributed over more muscle groups. They help with balance on uneven trails and improve posture, which in turn can help with breathing.

My hiking shoes don't have ankle support. Will they be suitable for Kilimanjaro? 

From experience we strongly recommend walking boots with ankle support. Trail running shoes are fine for shorter walks on less rocky terrain, but due to the prolonged nature of a Kilimanjaro climb and the rough terrain, in particular the scree on summit night, there is quite a high chance of twisting an ankle if you don’t have ankle support. While some people choose to climb without boots, clients who have done this later commented that their feet felt bruised and sore underfoot after a few days, detracting from their enjoyment. Walking boots generally have stiffer soles with more support overall. It would be such a shame if you were unable to reach the summit due to an ankle sprain.

There’s a lot of information about Kilimanjaro equipment online. Can you give me guidance based on your experience?

There is a lot of information, which can be confusing. Please remember that whilst people are well meaning, many have only climbed Kilimanjaro once and may not be regular trekkers! Our equipment list has been designed through years of personal experience on the mountain in collaboration with our guides and past guests, so follow our checklist and you will be fine.

     

    Food & Water

    Do I need to bring a water filter or anything to purify water?

    No! We use either a Katydyn filter or water purification tablets to treat the water, making it safe for you to drink. You do not need to bring these yourself. Since the tablets are usually chlorine based, there can be a slight lingering taste in the water.  You can bring neutralising tablets, electrolytes or flavoured cordial/squash to cover the taste.

    What kind of food will I eat?

    Our cooks prepare three hot, nutritious meals daily, as well as snacks and afternoon tea.
    Delicious vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other specialty meals can be provided. Please let us know in advance. If you would like more details, or a sample menu, please ask.

     

    Environment

    Can we bring plastic bags to Tanzania?

    The government has given specific guidance regarding plastic bags. The ban is largely aimed at single-use carrier bags. Large refuse sacks or black bags are accepted, as are Ziplock bags, as long as you plan to take them home after you climb and not to dispose of them in Tanzania. We encourage you to use reusable or biodegradable bags wherever possible.

    Will I see wildlife?

    You are unlikely to come into contact with many animals on the mountain. As the number of trekkers has increased over the years, the animals have retreated. You may see Colobus and Blue monkeys in the rainforest along with a variety of birds. Large white necked ravens and four striped mice scavenge in camps. Malachite Sunbirds are often seen and heard in the heath and moorland zone and the national park is working hard to encourage native rodents around the Shira Plateau.

    What is the temperature on Kilimanjaro? At the base of the mountain, average temperatures are 70 to 90°F (21 to 32°C) throughout the year. On the summit, temperatures range from -10 to 23°F (-23 to -5°C) with windchill. Weather is changeable, and you should be prepared for these extremes. Your guide will help you decide on appropriate clothing in a detailed daily briefing.

     

    Route Choice

    I’m scared of heights. Will I be able to climb Barranco Wall or should I choose a route avoiding it?

    There are many videos online that make the Barranco Wall look incredibly exposed. However, while the wall is a scramble and will require you to use your hands, it is not a technical climb and no ropes are needed. Our guides are very skilled at helping people when they are nervous and most people who think they’ll be scared find they are absolutely fine. There is a footpath all the way up.

    Will I descend the same way as I go up?

    Only the Marangu Route goes up and down the same way, which we don’t recommend. Lemosho, Machame and the Northern Circuit descend via the Mweka Route, which is used only for descent and food re-supply to the camps. Rongai descends via the Marangu Route. Descent routes are more direct, whereas ascent routes pass over ridges and valleys to allow your body to better acclimatise.

     

    Logistics

    How many days ahead of the climb should I arrive?

    Our climbs have an arrival and departure day built in. We recommend arriving at least one day early to give your body time to adjust to any time difference and recuperate from the journey. It also gives you a buffer in case a flight is cancelled or delayed, or bags are lost or delayed.

    What if my flight lands late the evening before my trek starts? Is this ok?

    If you arrive late the night before the climb you will miss our pre-climb briefing. We can arrange another briefing the morning of your climb; however, we suggest you plan to arrive earlier in the day or travel the day before. This way you have time to relax and recuperate for your climb.

    Who will pick me up from the airport?

    Once you collect your bags at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you’ll exit the building and one of our drivers will be standing outside the doors with a sign for African Scenic Safaris.

    What if I have a flight delay or other problems during my journey? Can I contact you 24-hours a day?

    Our emergency numbers +255 784 413 801 or +255 783 080 239 are available 24/7.

    Why do I need a briefing and equipment check?

    Once you are settled in Moshi your head guide will come to meet you for a full mountain briefing. They will check your equipment and help hire anything additional you might need. Whilst we realise some people have a lot of hiking experience, for many of our climbers this is not the case. It’s also a chance to meet other climbers in your group. During the briefing your guide will discuss plans and logistics for the first day of your climb, amongst other important information to help you prepare.

    How many hours will I trek each day?

    On the majority of routes, you’ll trek 4-7 hours most days, aside from summit day which will likely be 10-15 hours. There are a few days where treks are longer, extending to as much as 10-11 hours for those trekkers who need to take their time! This is generally only one or two days in addition to the summit and not on the day immediately before your summit attempt.

    How far will I trek in total?

    Distances vary according to route. Total distances covered range from around 30 to 60 miles (48-97 kilometres) in total, but often feel different at altitude!

    What time do we get back from the climb on the last day?

    It depends how strong you're feeling after the summit, but most climbers are back in Moshi around lunch time.

     

    Tipping

    How does the tipping process work?

    Our crew all receive fair salaries; however, they also rely on the income they receive from tips. Our tipping guidelines are in line with KPAP and are recommended guidelines only. Below are standard tipping recommendations to be split between everyone in your group. We prefer you to distribute tips to crew members individually and directly at a ceremony held at the end of your climb. It is a good idea to bring some notes in lower denominations to assist with splitting funds. We will provide a tipping guide with specific crew numbers at your briefing, with envelopes to help you separate money into individual amounts.

    Head Guide: USD$20 per day
    Assistant Guide(s): USD$12 per day
    Cook(s): USD$12 per day
    Porters: USD$5-7 per day

    In order to help you calculate a rough total tipping amount, we work with ratios of at least one guide per two clients and approximately four porters per client. Please remember porters carry food, gas, tents etc. in addition to your personal luggage.

    Beyond your climb, you will find people helping you with various other tasks. For example, there may be a porter at the airport helping carry your bag to the vehicle. At the lodge, someone may help bring your bags to your room. Whilst tipping is not culturally expected in these situations, it is appreciated and is worth having some USD$1 notes available for this.

     

    General

    Will I have cell phone signal on the mountain?

    On the first day of your climb you are likely to lose signal before reaching the gate and will not regain it until day two. From then onwards, for most routes, you will find signal at some point, and sometimes even in camp. On the Rongai route and Northern Circuit reception can be more limited and tends to be via Kenyan networks, as the routes pass close to the border.

    Are there charging stations on Kilimanjaro?

    There are no charging stations on Kilimanjaro. You will need battery packs or solar charges to charge electrical items. Please ensure you bring the right cables and keep electrical items warm whilst on the mountain to preserve battery life. 

    How fit do I need to be?

    You don’t need to be an athlete or have experience with technical mountaineering, but you do need to be active, committed to training and ready for a challenge! The trails can be very steep at points. You will find training recommendations here.

    Can I buy snacks and other groceries easily in Moshi when I arrive?

    Moshi itself has basic grocery stores, some of which are tailored to cater for Kilimanjaro climbers. Travel size toiletries, wipes, basic snacks (not energy bars or gels), batteries etc. are readily available, but the selection will be much more limited than you are used to at home.

    What if my question has not been answered here?

    Please refer to our Booking Policies and Travel in Tanzania pages for more general questions. Climbing Kilimanjaro is an incredible adventure, but we realise all the information can feel overwhelming! If you have any questions at all, no matter how small, please feel free to email our team on info@africanscenicsafaris.com. We’re excited to be a part of your adventure!