What to Expect on Kilimanjaro
To give you the best chance of standing on the Roof of Africa, we have partnered with only the top operators and mountain guides. The various routes up the mountain offer different amenities, ranging from huts with cooking facilities, bathrooms and electricity to more sparse offerings with just the most basic camping facilities.
Guides and Porters
A trek up Kilimanjaro is undertaken as a group and trekkers are supported in their effort to reach the summit by guides and porters. All activity on Kilimanjaro is regulated by the Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA), which also oversees the conduct of tour operators and the management of porters. According to KINAPA regulations, a climbing group of two trekkers will have one guide, one assistant guide, six porters (three for each climber) and one cook.
Porters are responsible for carrying the trekker’s gear as well as items such as cooking supplies, tents and water. It is customary to tip guides and porters and the amount is generally determined by the number of days on the mountain and number of climbers in the group.
Generally, summit attempts start at midnight to allow trekkers to reach the rim of the crater in time to see the sunrise. An added advantage of setting out at night is that the ground tends to be frozen, ensuring an easier walk over the usually loose gravel. Depending on your route, the push to the summit can take anything from one to two hours. It is generally a straightforward walk, though your route may require some scrambling (using your hands for balance and support) for short sections of fragmented rock.
It is also possible to sleep overnight in the crater on most routes, meaning travellers can summit during the day and avoid the midnight rush. You will have time to explore the crater and the glaciers and can get back to the rim early the next day to see the sunrise.
The greatest challenge travellers face when climbing Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness, which causes a third of climbers to turn back. While Kilimanjaro is a non-technical climb, the extreme altitude, low temperatures and occasional fierce winds mean all hikers must be physically fit, properly equipped and well acclimatised. The single biggest success factor on any Kilimanjaro trek is allowing yourself ample time to adjust to the elevation. All routes have rangers and rescue facilities to assist those affected by altitude sickness.
Your Kilimanjaro adventure will include the following:
- Guided group trek up Mount Kilimanjaro’s Rongai Route or Lemosho Route with certified local guides, cooks and porters
- All permits and fees
- All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
- Accommodation: Simple hotels (two nights), full-service alpine camping (five nights)
- Meals: Seven breakfasts, six lunches, five dinners Allow USD70-95 for meals not included
Planning Your Trip
Although Kilimanjaro is vast and spreads over the border to Kenya, the climb can only be done from the Tanzanian side. We run our trips out of Arusha, which has the best accommodation options. In order to acclimatise, we usually recommend you spend two nights in Arusha before starting your climb. Travellers can arrive via international flight into Kilimanjaro International Airport itself, or fly to somewhere such as Dar es Salaam and then connect onward to Arusha.
If you are interested in combining your Kilimanjaro hike with other local experiences, we recommend Kilimajaro to start the holiday, followed by a safari or a laidback beach stay in Zanzibar.