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Mount Kilimanjaro Guides information on How to plan a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

So you probably have a lot of questions, like ” When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?” “Which route should I choose?” How difficult is Kilimanjaro? ” “How long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? “What are the routes on Kilimanjaro and how do I choose one? ” Climbing Kilimanjaro is an event in your life that will live with you forever. It is a journey of the soul through some of the most beautiful scenery. It does not require any technical expertise but does require lots of determination. So if you are committed, landing on this page is a good place to start. 

  • Kilimanjaro can be climbed by any physically fit person and no climbing experience is necessary.
  • A Kilimanjaro Climb can be done at any time of the year. There are two rainy seasons – late March to mid-June and October to November – and the best months are January to March and July to October as the days are usually cloudless.
  • During the day the temperature at 4000m tends to be 15°C and at night falls to -10°C. At the summit, temperatures are about 5°C during the day and drop to between -18°C and -22°C at night.

So just how hard is Kilimanjaro? 

  • It is a 3-mile vertical climb.
  • There are 5 different climatic zones from Bushland to the Arctic.
  • The ascent to the summit: 6 – 7 hrs, a 1300m – 1400m ascent, it’s dark, it’s cold, and it will be below zero on the summit.
  • Summit day is over 12 hrs long, including the descent from the summit to the next night’s stop.
  • Altitude sickness is a real threat on summit day.

We can operate our private treks for any given departure date and any group size making this option ideal for family and friendship groups who wish to trek together. 

We are happy to edit the itinerary to suit your preferences and please let us know if you wish to extend the trip in any way. We also offer the fabulous Tanzania Safari in Arusha National Park or the Serengeti National Park and this can easily be included to extend the itinerary. 

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro Guide: Climb Africa's Highest Peak | Tips, Routes & Tours

Climbing Kilimanjaro with a local guide is a safe and enjoyable experience. It is a requirement for anyone climbing Kilimanjaro to be accompanied by a licensed guide whom Kilimanjaro National Park licenses. Most people who climb have a team of crew members consisting of a lead guide, assistant guide, cook, and porters. Our Kilimanjaro guide recommends that you plan your climb during the dry season for the most ideal conditions, this is from July to October and January to March. During this time, you can expect less rain and clearer skies. With fewer clouds, climbers will have better views of Kilimanjaro’s iconic summit. Local guides are used to climbing the mountain twice monthly, negotiating its trails with diverse groups of visitors. In contrast, visiting guides only climb a limited number of times a year – around 2-3 times on average. The Marangu route is one of the most accessible routes to climb up the mighty mountain of Kilimanjaro. The Machame route is the most popular route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It provides hikers with varying landscapes and incredible views from the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro at Uhuru Peak.

Kilimanjaro Guide Service.

Our Kilimanjaro guides Services typically include experienced guides, porters, and cooks, as well as necessary equipment and supplies. The guides are trained to ensure the safety and well-being of climbers, providing advice on acclimatization, route selection, and potential hazards. They also offer valuable insights into the mountain’s unique ecology and cultural significance. Since 1993, a guide is required to climb the Kilimanjaro. However, the qualification and training does not match the European standards. Larger groups will also be accompanied by a so-called assistant guide. These assistant guides are also required to accompany the smaller groups if the large group wants to beak up.

Before the climb, the guide will arrange the transport of the equipment as well as the number of porters required accordingly. For the most parts of the climb, the porters ascend the mountain separately and will usually have the camp prepared before the group arrives. The cook prepares the meals and with large groups, a waiter will help the cook.

For a group of six people, the mountain crew can easily consist of 24 people. By European ideas, it is usual to travel with your own baggage. However, there is a lot of material needed to climb the Kilimanjaro and soon you will realise the reason behind the large groups and the need of porters. Please also consider the situation of the indigenous people and how hard it is to profit directly from tourism. These jobs, whether as a guide or a cook, are much loved and favoured.

Mount Kilimanjaro Guide offers a three-tiered pricing system to suit all budgets. Each level is underlined by our high standards of sales, service, and support, as well as the same impeccable standards of climb and safari logistics. We offer the only reliable, Fair Trade, community tourism option that guarantees equitable remuneration for all of our guiding and mountain support crews, who as a consequence are among the best in the industry.

Booking a Kilimanjaro Guide

  1. Choose the Right Time to Visit: Consider the best time of year for your Kilimanjaro climb. The dry seasons (January to March and June to October) are generally recommended.

  2. Select Your Climb Duration: Kilimanjaro treks vary in duration, typically 5 to 9 days. Choose a duration that suits your fitness level and preferences.

  3. Pick a Kilimanjaro Route: There are several routes to the summit, each with its characteristics. Research and select a route that aligns with your goals and preferences.

  4. Group Climb or Private Climb?: Decide whether you want to join a group trek or a private climb. Group treks can be more social, while private climbs offer flexibility.

  5.  How much does the guide charge for their services?: The cost of hiring a Kilimanjaro guide can vary depending on several factors, including the route, duration of the trek, and the level of service provided

  6. Pay the Deposit and Confirm Your Booking: Once you’ve decided, pay the required 30% deposit to secure your spot.

Private Kilimanjaro trek

All our packages offer flexible hike starting dates. We can schedule a new private Kilimanjaro trek to start on any day you want. On a private hike will your group have your own private team of guides, porters and cook. Your meals will be served in a private dining tent. Please note however that the trails and campsites will still be shared. You will meet hikers from other groups along the way.

Group size – Rates per person

   

Route

1 Hiker single

2 Hikers sharing

3 to 4 hikers sharing

5 Day Marangu Route

5 day / 4 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 008 p/p

$ 1 783 p/p

$ 1 678 p/p

6 Day Marangu Route

5 day / 4 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 308 p/p

$ 2 058 p/p

$ 1 928 p/p

6 Day Machame Or Umbwe Route

6 day / 5 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 328 p/p

$ 2 078 p/p

$ 1 948 p/p

7 Day Machame Or Umbwe Route

7 day / 6 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 608 p/p

$ 2 348 p/p

$ 2 203 p/p

6 Day Shira, Lemosho Or Rongai Route

6 day / 5 nights hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 648 p/p

$ 2 243 p/p

$ 2 063 p/p

7 Day Shira, Lemosho Or Rongai Route

7 day / 6 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 938 p/p

$ 2 513 p/p

$ 2 313 p/p

8 Day Shira, Lemosho Or Rongai Route

8 day / 7 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 3 228 p/p

$ 2 773 p/p

$ 2 568 p/p

8 Day Northern Circuit Include Toilet Rental

8 day / 7 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 3 588 p/p

$ 2 938 p/p

$ 2 668 p/p

9 Day Northern Circuit Route Include Toilet Rental

9 day / 8 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 3 918 p/p

$ 3 228 p/

$2683p/p

The cost of hiking Kilimanjaro private include the following:

Before the private Kilimanjaro trek

  • 2 nights shared hotel accommodation in Moshi town (or Marangu) on bed and breakfast basis.
  • Hotel / Lodge include safe storage facilities for excess luggage during hikes.
  • Return transfer between the hotel to the start / finish point of a climb.
  • Our exclusive, printable 15 page altitude sickness survival guide
  • A comprehensive Travel Information pack
  • Transfers between JRO airport and the hotel.

During the private Kilimanjaro trek

  • All Park fees, camping / hut fees and climbing permits
  • Kilimanjaro National Park rescue team fees
  • Trained and certified English speaking mountain guides.
  • Chief guide carries a pulse Oximeter and do health check twice a daily while on the mountain.
  • 1 Emergency oxygen set per group send on all hikes (for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid).
  • 1 Medical First Aid kit per group send on all hikes (for use in emergencies only)
  • Salaries for guides, cooks, waiters and porters paid as per KPAP recommendations.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as hot drinks on the mountain.
  • 3 litres of mineral water supplied to all hikers on day 1 of the hike.
  • Boiled drinking water from night 1 onwards while on the mountain.
  • Quality camping equipment (four season tents, sleeping mats, camp chairs, camp table, mess tent & cutlery for meals) – not applicable on the Marangu route as A-frame huts are fitted with sleeping mats and meals are served in communal dining halls.
  • Porter to carry your duffel bag, with maximum weight of 15kg / 32 lbs, from one camp to the next camp.
  • Water for washing up, supplied every morning and evening while on the mountain.
  • Certificate for your successful summit attempt
  • Private hike at no additional charge, irrespective of the group size!

The cost of hiking Kilimanjaro private exclude the following:

  • Flights and airport taxes
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Compulsory tips for guides, porters and cook (average tip from US$200 to US$ 350 per hiker)
  • Entry visa for Tanzania
  • Vaccination requirements (Yellow Fever – only compulsory if you travel via a Yellow Fever infected country)
  • Compulsory travel and medical insurance.
  • Personal gear – it is possible to rent some of the gear
  • Optional, but highly recommended portable toilet (not allowed on the Marangu route) (All Northern circuit route hikes include the portable toilet rental).
  • Snacks, personal medicine and sports drink
  • Meals and drinks not specified

Mount Kilimanjaro Equipment and Clothing

Without the correct equipment a mountain tour can quickly become an ordeal, this is especially true on Kilimanjaro. At the park entrance, the weather is tropical and at the summit it is a chilly -10°C and below. The onion system is the way to go, by wearing many layers you can add or remove items depending upon personal preference and is ideal for the changing climatic conditions.

A warm sleeping bag is essential, especially on camping tours. If you are thinking about using the one that you had as a child on summer camp, please think again. You will be sleeping in temperatures in the region of -12°C and you will need a sleeping bag that will keep you warm in such conditions.

For yourself, you will only need a day pack; your porter will carry any further luggage. All your equipment must go in a travel bag, trekking rucksack or a kit bag and not exceed 12 kg (27lbs). The porters cannot carry suitcases and cases with roll systems. We recommend packing the items in plastic bags to protect them from the damp and rain. Please also check the baggage terms of your respective airline.

Due to a new regulation from KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park Authority), thin walled plastic water bottles have been banned on Kilimanjaro. Therefore, clients have to bring their own water bottles. We would also like to advise clients wanting to make use of a drinking system (camel bag or similar) to bring separate water containers for the summit night as the tubes of these drinking systems tend to freeze during the night of the summit. We recommend water bottles with a capacity of minimum 3 litres (i.e. 2 x 1.5 litre bottles). Please take note that the bottles can only be filled in the mornings and evenings! Clients not wanting to bring bottles along, are able to purchase 1 litre metal containers for 15 USD a piece on site (pre-booking recommended)

Suggested Clothing List And Useful Items For The Kilimanjaro Trek

Remember that you will be on the mountain for at least 5-6 days. You need to take enough clothing, especially socks to last this period. Due to frequent rainfalls as well as numerous streams on the routes, it is advisable to pack items individually in your bag. These items should be wrapped in plastic to prevent them from getting wet in case of the rain.

You will require thermal hiking socks, gloves, warm head protection, raincoat, sunglasses, and sun protection cream. Do not forget your hiking boots/running shoes, and very importantly a walking stick pole. One of the most essential items of clothing is an outer jacket, it should be able to keep you warm, protect you at temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees, and keep the wind out. Try to avoid tight-fitting clothes as this will hamper circulation. Due to low altitude and physical exertion, cold is a very serious obstacle when attempting to climb Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro Packing List – What to take

  • Quality 3/4 season sleeping bag
  • Walking boots plus training shoes for around camp (it is advised that your walking boots are broken in before undertaking any sort of trek)
  • A walking stick/pole (this can be hired)
  • Head torch and spare batteries – important for your summit climb
  • A pair of warm trousers
  • Light cotton trousers and shorts
  • Summer shirts; long sleeves are 
    necessary as well as short sleeves, in case you get sunburnt and have to cover up your arms
  • A fleece and Gore-Tex jacket
  • Skiing underwear or thermal ‘long johns’ and top
  • A good waterproof anorak
  • Gloves and scarf
  • Plenty of socks, cotton, thick and thin
  • Sunhat and beanie (warm hat)
  • Sun goggles or glasses
  • Lip sun cream
  • A good high factor sun block for protection against the sun
  • Camera and plenty of film
  • Binoculars
  • A good quality torch and batteries
  • Basic first aid kit (plasters; lint; cotton wool; elastic bandage; antiseptic liquid or cream; blister kit; throat lozenges)
  • Personal medicines, clearly labelled
  • Gel activated hand warmers
  • High energy bars
  • Salt tablets
  • Plastic bags
  • A towel and wash bag
  • Toilet paper
  • Large water bottle, for drinking on the
  • trek (two x 2 litres)
  • Large rucksacks are not necessary but a small shoulder bag or backpack for carrying your camera, water bottle etc, is essential 

What to pack in your day pack 

  • Waterproofs
  • Camera/video
  • Water bottles (bottled water can be provided at the trail head, but if you want to you can always fill up at the lodge)
  • Poncho/umbrella (dependant on season)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra snacks if you have them
  • First aid kit

NOTE: on all days try to keep your day sack as light as possible. Your porters have been hired to carry most of your gear and carrying extra gear will only make you more tired and stress your body out more, making it harder for your body to deal with the altitude.

Kilimanjaro Hike starting dates

All of our climb Kilimanjaro packages are very flexible! We will gladly schedule a new hike to suit your calendar preference. Opting for a private hike ensures the privacy of your climb.

Can You Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Without a Guide

No, you cannot climb Mount Kilimanjaro without a guide. The Tanzanian government requires all climbers to be accompanied by a Fully Licensed Kilimanjaro Guides. This rule is enforced to ensure the safety of climbers, as well as to protect the environment and maintain the integrity of the mountain. The climb can be challenging and potentially dangerous without proper guidance and support. 

This means that anyone attempting to climb Kilimanjaro must hire a Kilimanjaro Local Guides to accompany them on their trek. The Mount  Kilimanjaro guide will not only ensure the safety of the climbers but also provide valuable information about the mountain, its history, and its ecology.  Thus, it is mandatory to have a Kilimanjaro Local Guides when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Climbing Mt.Kilimanjaro Without Porters

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro without porters is a challenging endeavor that requires a high level of physical fitness, preparation, and self-sufficiency. Porters typically assist climbers by carrying heavy gear, setting up camps, and preparing meals, so without them, climbers must manage these tasks themselves. This means carrying all necessary equipment, food, and water, navigating the mountain’s various routes, and dealing with the altitude and weather changes. It’s a demanding task that requires careful planning and a strong understanding of mountaineering.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Beginner's Guide to Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is often taken lightly, because we no ropes, irons or other attachments need, this does not mean that you will reach the top. Every year approximately 30000 to 50000 people start the climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, only 60% gets the actual summit also (Uhuru Peak). 40% do not make it have different reasons, it may be because their condition is not good enough, or that they deal with altitude sickness get (throbbing headache, vomiting, nausea, and feeling tired and lethargic), in most cases, this time will be noticed by your guide, but unfortunately there are still too many incompetent guides, or not notice this too late.  We understand there is about 1 to 10 death each year thus it is relatively safe be sure you book with a professional and competent company. All our main guides have at least 5 years experience with climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, and have the proper training and papers.

As a beginner, you should be fully aware of the conditions and requirements for climbing Kilimanjaro. The climb to the summit typically takes between five and nine days, and climbers will need to be prepared to hike for several hours each day, often at high altitudes. Altitude sickness is a common concern, and climbers should take appropriate measures to avoid this, such as acclimatization, staying hydrated, and taking rest days.

It’s also important to consider the seasonal climate when planning your climb. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the dry season, which runs from June to October and from December to February. During this time, the weather is generally clear and dry, making for better climbing conditions.

So how much will the ascent of Kilimanjaro cost in total?

It isn’t cheap to climb Kilimanjaro, and we want you to be aware of the costings and rough budget that you should expect, before contemplating an ascent.

The Kilimanjaro cost will also depend on your trekking style, which type of trekking will you choose to climb Kilimanjaro. There are a lot of budget options where you can cut costs and also enjoy climbing. The Luxury climbing options would empty your wallets. There are mid-range operators who would like to manage both together, your budget and your comfort.

The mid-range operators will provide you with all the facilities needed to climb Kilimanjaro and the best part is their Price To Climb Kilimanjaro is affordable.

SCHEDULED KILIMANJARO GROUP CLIMB DATES

Tailor-made for solo adventurers and small groups of 2 or 3 individuals seeking the camaraderie of like-minded hikers. Our Kilimanjaro group tours redefine the trekking experience. Prioritizing high safety standards, unparalleled comfort, and superior service delivery throughout your expedition on Mount Kilimanjaro. We will provide you with a safe and enjoyable hiking experience, allowing you to enjoy the awe-inspiring landscapes.

These packages are popular among our clients due to the high safety standards and comfort they offer, making the Kilimanjaro hikes enjoyable and memorable. The package includes all necessary amenities for the hike, supported by our experienced mountain crews to ensure a smooth and successful climb. Before and after the adventure you will stay in a 3-star hotel with caring staff, hot water, reliable Wi-Fi, and a restaurant.

Number of hikers joining the Kilimanjaro group climb

 

 

 

Route option and number of days

1 hiker joining a group hike single

2 hikers joining a group hike sharing

3 hikers joining a group hike sharing

6 Day Marangu Route

6 day / 5 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 1 985 per person include single hotel room and single in A-frame huts.

$ 1 650 per person shared hotel room & A-frame huts

$ 1 650 per person shared hotel room & A-frame huts

7 Day Machame Route

7 day / 6 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 375 per person include single hotel room & tent

$ 2 210 per person shared hotel room & Tent

$ 2 210 per person shared hotel room & Tent

8 Day Lemosho Route

8 day / 7 night hike + 2 nights hotel

$ 2 760 per person include single hotel room & tent

$ 2 580 per person shared hotel room & Tent

$ 2 580 per person shared hotel room

Combine A Kilimanjaro Climb With A Safari In Tanzania 

When you come to trek Mt. Kilimanjaro, we recommend adding a Safari Extension. You’ve already traveled far to this beautiful part of the world; why not enjoy another unique African experience? In this guide to safaris near Mt. Kilimanjaro, you’ll learn Where to Safari in Tanzania and the Types of Safaris We Offer. 

There’s a variety of options for where to visit and accommodations. We recommend you tell us what you’re looking for.

TYPES OF SAFARI CAMPING AND LODGING IN TANZANIA

No matter which Tanzania safari location you choose, we offer lightweight camping safari and more luxury lodging options. For lightweight camping, your tent is assembled each evening and collapsed each morning for you. For permanent tents and lodging, the structures are more permanent and established.

The main options include:

  1. Public camps within National Parks ofthe  Tanzania
  2. Private camps, usually outside National Parks of Tanzania
  3. Special safari camps in Tanzania (Limited availability. As there’s less infrastructure, we bring more. This means a higher cost but arguably the best means of being as close to nature as possible.)
  4. Semi-Luxury Safari Accommodations. This includes a variety of options such as permanent tented camps to hotel and wildlife lodges. Each destination has their own food and drink reviews, services, and things to do. Our team is more than happy to walk you through these.

4 DAY TANZANIA SAFARI TO TARANGIRE, SERENGETI & NGORONGORO CRATER

  • $3,350 per person when 1 person travels alone
  • $2,229 per person when 2 persons travel together
  • $2,106 per person when 3 persons travel together
  • $1,880 per person when 4 persons travel together

4-Day Zanzibar Island ​

Explore the white sand beaches, crystal clear blue waters, and centuries of history of the former spice trading capital of Africa. Four days and three nights will provide the perfect amount of time to get to know this amazing island off of the coast of mainland Tanzania, just an hour’s flight away from Arusha.

PRICING
  • USD$990/Person
  • Double-occupancy in 3-star Lodging
INCLUDES
  • One-way airfare from Arusha(ARK) to Zanzibar (ZNZ)
  • Airport transfers
  • Private room(s) with breakfast
Mount Kilimanjaro Guide

mount kilimanjaro guide

Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Possible At Age 50?

Yes, climbing Kilimanjaro is possible at age 50 and beyond. Age is not a limiting factor when it comes to climbing this mountain. However, physical fitness, overall health, and proper acclimatization to altitude are crucial for a successful climb. Many people in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s have successfully reached the summit of Kilimanjaro. It’s always recommended to undergo a thorough medical check-up before undertaking such a strenuous activity.

Non-Summit Short Kilimanjaro Climbs & Day Treks

Kilimanjaro short treks | Day Hikes | look no further. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not on everyone’s wish list. Some people just wanted to get a chance to experience this majestic mountain without reaching Uhuru Peak and having to go through the hard slog of getting to the summit. 

Some don’t have the time, not the money to spend 7 days trekking and if you are one of these people, then our short treks are perfect for you. Doing a short trek on Kilimanjaro is a great option, giving you the chance to do either a 1-day, 2, or 3-day trek. While you can choose the number of days you spend on the mountain, you can’t choose your routes, as the Marangu route is the only route where short treks are allowed. 

For overnight hikes, you will stay at the park huts. All of these short Kilimanjaro treks and day hikes are offered on a private basis so you can start on any day that suits you. 

These tours can then be combined with a short Tanzania safari option to give you the best of both worlds. Note that for each of the tours, there is a day pre- and post at the hotel, so a 1-day trek e.g. is a three-day tour

From  650 USD TO 1000 USD, These prices do include 3-star hotel accommodation, airport transfers, therefore – only the transfers to the mountain and back, guide and porter wages, park fees, and food on the trek. 

AVERAGE DAILY HIKING HOURS ON KILIMANJARO 

When it comes to hiking on Kilimanjaro, the duration of trekking hours can vary depending on the day and the chosen route. However, on average, hikers typically spend around 4 to 7 hours per day trekking. It is advisable to start your climb between 8:00 and 8:30 am to ensure that you have enough daylight to complete your journey. It’s worth noting that hiking times can be affected by weather conditions, altitude sickness, and the fitness level of the individual. Therefore, it’s crucial to pace yourself and take breaks when necessary to avoid exhaustion and ensure a successful climb.

DISTANCE OF KILIMANJARO HIKE

Mount Kilimanjaro offers several routes to hike, and the distance to cover depends on the route you choose. The shortest route is Umbwe, measuring 23 miles or 37 kilometers. However, it is also the steepest route, requiring a high level of fitness and experience. On the other hand, the Northern Circuit is the longest route, measuring 56 miles or 90 kilometers. This route offers a more gradual ascent, providing hikers with ample time to acclimatize to the altitude. Therefore, the number of miles to hike Mount Kilimanjaro can range from 23 to 56 miles, depending on the route you pick.

KILIMANJARO CLIMB FITNESS REQUIRED

Kilimanjaro is a special mountain; it is one of the few mountains of this height that one can climb without previous mountaineering skills and knowledge. This, however, should not lead you into a false sense of security. You still need to be fit and healthy in order to complete the 4 to 6 hour hikes each day. Sure footedness in damp and slippery conditions is essential, especially if you choose a route other than the Marangu Route. Tolerance, fellowship and a good measure of flexibility will go a long way and is a good basis for a successful holiday.

CLIMBING KILIMANJARO AGE RESTRICTIONS

The National Park Authority (KINAPA) has set a minimum age of 10 years to climb the Kilimanjaro. We advocate a minimum of 14-16 years on the basis that children are more susceptible to altitude sickness. There is no maximum age restriction. Nevertheless, we do recommend people of a more mature standing to visit their general practitioner for a medical check up beforehand.

WHERE DO YOU SLEEP ON KILIMANJARO?

Overnight accommodation on a camping tour will be in 2 man tents in which sleeping mats are provided. Single travellers may be asked to share a tent with a member of the same sex. Dinner will be taken in a larger tent with tables and chairs. Along the Marangu Route are mountain huts similar in style to Scandinavian wooden huts. Halfway up the mountain is the largest hut with common and dinning rooms. This large hut is surrounded by smaller huts that house four to six people. The highest hut is the Kibo Hut and is made out of stone. None of the huts are heated but do have mattresses and electric lights. The huts at Mandara and Horombo also have running water.

WHAT DO YOU EAT ON KILIMANJARO?

Wherever possible, fresh water will be taken out of springs or wells and boiled before drinking. Higher up the mountain, the area gets drier and the water will be carried in canisters, which will also be boiled before use. All meals are freshly prepared on the mountain by your cook. You will be amazed what delicious meals can be prepared under such primitive conditions. Forvegetarians and those with food allergies, advanced notification should be given so that we can cater to your needs.

KILIMANJARO TOILETS

So let’s start with the worst problem of all; human waste. It is something we all need to do at some point of the day and there are purpose built toilets at each camp and at some places along the route. If you are on Marangu you will find nice flush toilets but for the rest of the mountain they are long drops. Lower down the mountain in the forest zone and at the first camps, the toilets smell due to low altitude and warm weather during the day. The effect of this is that many people elect to go outside the toilet in the surrounding area, resulting in unwanted piles of human waste and toilet paper littering the area. The situation at Crater camp at 5700m is even more dire, where there are no custom toilets meaning that the only places to go are in and around crater camp itself. Due to the sub zero temperatures, nothing freezes. Between camps, there are few, if any toilet facilities. 

For the reasons mentioned above, regardless of how dire the conditions are in the toilet we ask that climbers make use of them.  They are there for good reason. Take vicks and rub it under your nose if you must.  If not, hire a toilet tent where the waste can be properly disposed of. And if you really do need to go between camps, find yourself a “loo with a view” a good 20m off the trail and away from any streams, dig and hole and bury your deposit.

LITTER ON KILIMANJARO

Everything that is carried up the mountain that is not consumed must be brought back down again. At every camp, the gear that the porters carry must be weighed on leaving each camp and again on arriving at the next one.  KINAPA enforces strict regulations to keep Kilimanjaro clean. Licenses are easily revoked or heavy fines imposed if it is found that a guide is leaving litter on the mountain. So in theory, all you have to do is give your little paper bag to the kitchen team to be carried off the mountain or better still, leave it in a bag in your duffel and dispose of it when home. Why a paper bag? Simple, plastic is a global curse and as of 1 June, Tanzania has banned the use of plastic bags. Anyone arriving into Tanzania will have to “surrender” plastic bags in their possession before entering the country. En route to the summit, sucking on glucose sweet helps with thirst and a dry mouth but sadly, most of those sweet wrappers find their way to the scree paths. If you have the energy to dig out a sweet and open it, then you have the energy to put the wrapper back in your pocket. The same applies to hand warmers and dead camera batteries.

CLIMBING KILIMANJARO: DO YOU NEED OXYGEN?

Climbers do not need supplemental oxygen to climb Kilimanjaro or reach the summit. Kilimanjaro’s altitude of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) is a significant challenge, but the acclimatization method of walking slowly “pole pole” climb high, sleep low is used to help the body adjust to the lower levels of oxygen in the air. This means that climbers take their time ascending the mountain, allowing their bodies to gradually adapt to the altitude. Additionally, climbers are advised to stay hydrated, eat well, and get enough rest to help their bodies cope with the physical demands of the climb. While supplemental oxygen is not typically required on Kilimanjaro, climbers should always consult with their doctor before attempting the climb to ensure they are physically fit enough to do so.

CAN YOU BREATHE AT THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO?

You can breathe at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, but the air is much thinner and contains much less oxygen than at sea level, which can make it difficult to breathe. At nearly 6000 meters above sea level, the air pressure is less than half that at sea level, which means that each breath you take contains much less oxygen. This can make it feel like you are working with only one lung and can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and headaches. However, with proper acclimatization and the use of supplemental oxygen, most people can make it to the summit and breathe comfortably. It’s important to take the necessary precautions and listen to your body to avoid altitude sickness and other potentially dangerous side effects of high-altitude trekking.

FAILURE RATE OF CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO 

It is estimated that the overall summit success rate for Kilimanjaro falls between 45% and 65%, meaning that a significant portion of climbers do not make it to the top. However, it is important to note that success rates can vary greatly depending on the specific route taken, the duration of the climb, and the preparation and fitness level of the climbers. It is generally recommended to choose a longer itinerary, typically lasting at least a week, to give yourself the best chance of reaching the summit. Additionally, working with a reputable guide and ensuring proper acclimatization can also increase the likelihood of a successful climb. While climbing Kilimanjaro is a challenging and demanding endeavor, with proper preparation and support, many climbers can achieve their goal of reaching the summit.

THE DIFFICULTY OF CLIMBING MT.KILIMANJARO 

Mount Kilimanjaro is considered a difficult mountain to climb. With an altitude of 19,341 feet or 5,895 meters, Kilimanjaro is an extreme altitude trek that requires careful preparation and training. More than 50% of climbers suffer from mountain sickness, which is a condition caused by the lack of oxygen at high altitudes. Therefore, it is essential to acclimatize properly to the altitude before attempting to climb Kilimanjaro. Additionally, climbing Kilimanjaro involves hiking through various terrains, including rocky paths, steep inclines, and challenging weather conditions. Therefore, climbers must have adequate physical fitness and endurance. climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a challenging but rewarding experience for those who are prepared well and have the necessary skills and determination.

THE CHALLENGES OF CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO 

The hardest part of climbing Kilimanjaro varies from person to person, as everyone has different physical abilities and mental strengths. However, most climbers would agree that the summit night is the most challenging part of the climb. This is because it involves a steep ascent to the peak in very cold and high-altitude conditions. Climbers need to exert themselves physically while also battling altitude sickness and fatigue. The summit night typically involves waking up in the middle of the night and trekking for several hours in the dark, often using headlamps. Additionally, the weather conditions can be unpredictable and harsh, with strong winds and snowfall. It’s crucial to be mentally prepared for the physical and emotional challenges of summit night, as it can be an incredibly demanding experience.

THE KILIMANJARO SUMMIT ATTEMPT

For most routes the final summit bid is a little different. Here are the key stages and what to expect: At the evening briefing your head guide will go over the day’s events and also how the summit section will be tackled. Your guides will have assessed your performance over the previous days and if necessary, may want to start some members of your group slightly earlier – this is especially relevant in large groups. The starting time for all routes will always be at night. Hence, you may start as early as 23H00 or possibly as late as 01H00 but your guide will decide this. The target is to try to reach the summit by sunrise as you have a long downhill afterwards as well.

Getting to the rim: (usually takes approx. six hours) it can sometimes be shorter or even significantly longer. This is one place where different abilities can often show, but not to worry. If the group needs to split up then the time to do so will be determined by the head guide and guides will be assigned to each group. This is the hardest part of your entire trek. It is often mental stamina that counts for a huge amount here, and motivating your colleagues is essential. Your guides will also be motivating you and checking you every so often. Follow the methodical steps of your guide to maximise grip and maintain a slow steady momentum.

RIM TO THE SUMMIT

On the ascents via Stella point it is still a further hour or so to the summit (Uhuru peak). Some people are happy to turn back here, after all you are at the top of Kilimanjaro, but most likely you will persevere to the summit. From Gilman’s, it is around 2 hours to Uhuru Peak.

EFFECTS OF ALTITUDE ON KILIMANJARO

Almost all hikers climbing Kilimanjaro will notice the altitude and the thinner air. Therefore, all hikers should be prepared for the altitude sickness. The primary symptoms are headache, which is often combined with fatigue, loss of appetite, and nausea. Everyone reacts differently to an increase in altitude and a change in air pressure. Fitness fanatics are just as likely to succumb as couch potatoes. In the majority of cases, the symptoms are mild and it is possible to continue the hike. Occasionally, the symptoms are more severe and a return to a lower elevation is required. In most cases, the symptoms disappear quite rapidly. Please remember that in certain circumstances altitude sickness can be life threatening and ignoring the symptoms can and may cause death.

We do not recommend the use of drugs in suppressing the symptoms of altitude sickness. To prevent harming oneself, time to acclimatise (an extra day) and the “pole pole” method (Swahili for slowly slowly) are the preferred recommendations. One should also drink more water to replace the fluids lost from the physical activity and breathing heavier in the thinner and drier air. Three to four liters a day is recommended and supplementary mineral tablets (magnesium) help to replace lost minerals and prevent muscle cramps.

NOTABLE POINTS ON KILIMANJARO TREK

 UHURU PEAK

Standing on Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kibo, and the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro at 5895m amsl, The highest point in the whole continent of Africa and the goal of every trekker on Mt Kilimanjaro. At a height of 5895m above sea level,  Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Mt Kilimanjaro’s crater rim. First reached by Hans Meyer in 1889, the peak was named by Tanzania’s first president Julius Nyerere as Uhuru Peak, which translates to ‘Freedom Peak’, when Tanzania gained its independence in 1964. Till then it was known as Kaiser Wilhelm Spitze or Kaiser Wilhelm Peak as was named by Hans Meyer. The topic of its height is also a hotly debated one, with official figures (since the British Ordnance Survey in 1952) putting it at 5895, but contested by several independent sources. GPS data from a 1999 study puts it at a lower height of 5892.55m.Source

FURTWANGLER GLACIER

This glacier, on the crater floor, is named after Herr Furtwangler, the first person to ski down the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. It has sadly, been greatly reduced, but remains an important landmark

GILLMANS POINT

The Gillman point lies on the crater rim and has a steep ascent, especially when climbing from the Kibo huts. Gillman’s point lies at 5719m, and it usually takes about an hour and a half to reach Uhuru from here.  

STELLA POINT

Climbing the Mount Kilimanjaro, Machame route – Stella Point (5756m) – the last milestone before the top. An important waypoint, especially on the Barafu Route, is what is called, a false summit as it towers above in your line of sight. Once you reach Stella Point, Uhuru is not far away! Stella Point also lies on the crater rim and is named after Stella Latham

REUSCH CRATER

The Reusch crater is a majestic sight. The crater contains a 360m wide and 120m deep Ash Pit, which drives home the point that Mt Kilimanjaro is a volcano. Named after Pastor Richard Reusch, the crater honors him and marks his 25th climb of Mt Kilimanjaro. He went on to further climb the mountain, a total of 65 times! He is also known to have taken an ear off the Frozen Leopard, which was featured in Ernest Hemingway’s book, The Snows of Kilimanjaro.

THE WESTERN BREACH

Though it sounds like something out of a war movie, the Western Breach is an area of the Kibo Crater, through which at some point in the past, lava has broken through and breached the crater wall – hence the name. This is an interesting, quite stunning breach and allows an access route to the summit.

WHAT IS AN EVACUATION ON KILIMANJRO?

On Mt. Kilimanjaro, there are three ways of evacuation: helicopter, ambulance, and stretcher. Each one depends on several factors. As  part of your Kilimanjaro Park Fee, emergency evacuation services are included. This means that you will be carried down to the base of the mountain as quickly as possible, on a mountain stretcher.  In many cases, a foot evacuation is quicker than waiting for insurance cover to arrange the logistics for a helicopter. There are helicopter evacuation points on all of the major routes at specific locations, namely Horombo, Barranco, Barafu, Kosovo, Stella, Millennium and Shira. All points are within less than five hours from the crater by stretcher and SAR emergency medical service can be deployed within 5 minutes from Kilimanjaro or Meru, regardless of the season. Of course, nothing is free and deployment of this service is contingent on you already having insurance covers for evacuations to 6,000 meters above sea level.

Stretcher

At any point, if you are too exhausted or ill to trek down the mountain, we can carry you down via stretcher. Depending on where you are on the mountain, you might also have the option of getting an ambulance or a helicopter. 

Ambulance

Ambulance rescue is possible from all routes, but the highest it can reach is Shira point for (Lemosho and Machame Routes), or Horombo Hut on the Marangu Route (and Rongai Route on the descent). On other routes, you would have to come further down the mountain to be picked up by ambulance.  The ambulance fee is included in the park fee so you will not have to pay for this service. 

Helicopter

Your safety is guaranteed by a Moshi-based helicopter rescue team. Some hut stations and camping areas have a helicopter landing space for an efficient and secure evacuation. In Moshi, patients are taken to nearby hospitals (Kilimanjaro region). Depending on the day’s weather, a helicopter can land in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. 

EVACUATION ON KILIMANJARO? COST CONSIDERATIONS:

– Walking evacuations – No cost beyond crew tips
– Helicopter evacuations – Can cost $ 2500 to $5000+ per incident & Medical treatment – Evacuees must cover all medical costs

MOUNT KILIMANJARO TRAVEL INSURANCE

The cost of a medical evacuation from the mountain is expensive, which is why adequate travel insurance  is required on all climbs booked through us. Adequate, means you must be covered for 1) Trekking or hiking – this may sound strange, but many insurance companies list that as an exclusion. 

2) Altitude up to 6,000 meters. Most travel insurance providers do not include this under their standard cover and often limit it to 3500m or less. 
3) Sprains strains and physiotherapy – yes, many insurers exclude this; though ironically, this is what you will most likely need cover for. 
4) Personal accidents – this is the horrible part of insurance. Yes, you need to be covered in the case of death. We are often told by clients – “if anything happens to me, just leave me there.” It is not that simple. 

PRICING

Mount Kilimanjaro Guide and Porter Services

Free guide to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: selecting a date, a route, helpful advice from an official Mount Kilimanjaro guide, and how to prepare for high altitudes. From the best routes to take, about health and fitness, preparation checklists, packing list. On average, Climb Kilimanjaro local guides can cost between $2,000 to $4,000, excluding flights. This typically includes park fees, guides, porters, food, and accommodation. Additional costs may include gear, tips for guides and porters, travel insurance, vaccinations, and visa fees.

Category

Cost Range

Group Size

Lower cost per person w/ more people

Days on the Mountain

Higher cost for longer duration

Level of Service

Varies depending on tour operator

Kilimanjaro Route Choice

$2,000 to $4,000

Kilimanjaro National Park Fees

$70 to $100 per day for park fees, $50 to $60 per day for camping fees

Staff Wages

$20 to $30 per day for guides, $10 to $20 per day for porters

Food, Water, and Transportation Cost

$20 to $50 per day for food, $5 to $10 per liter for water, $100 to $300 for transportation

Equipment

$200 to $600 for renting equipment

Guide to Climber & Porter to Climber Ratio

1 guide to every 2-3 climbers and 1 porter to every climber

Tipping guides and porters

$200 to $500 per climber

12 Interesting Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro

1. It is one of the seven summits.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, making it one of the seven summits. Here are the seven summits in order from highest to lowest.

  • Asia: Everest (29,035’/8850m)
  • South America: Aconcagua (22,834’/6960m)
  • North America: Denali (20,310’/6,190m)
  • Africa: Kilimanjaro (19,340’/5895m)
  • Europe: Elbrus (18,513’/5642m)
  • Oceania: Carstensz Pyramid (16,023’/4884m)

Kilimanjaro is very popular with both experienced hikers and first-time adventurers because it is considered harnesses the easiest of the seven summits. Scaling the mountain requires no technical skills or equipment, such as rope, harnesses, crampons, or ice axes. Therefore, it is a hiking or “free-standingwalk-upice couldn’t free-standing” peak, not a mountaineering or climbing peak.

2. Kilimanjaro stands on its own.

Kilimanjaro is not only Africa’s tallest peak but also the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Point, is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level.

Most high mountains are part of ranges, such as Mount Everest’s Himalayan Mountain Range. These are formed in a process called plate tectonics. Below the ground, Earth’s crust is made up of multiple tectonic plates. These plates have been moving since the beginning of time due to geologic activity.

When plates push against each other, the edges crumple, forcing slabs of rock into the air. These are known as fold mountains and are the most common type of mountain. A fault-block mountain range is caused when a fault (crack) in the Earth’s crust pushes blocks of rock up between two tectonic plates. The uplifted blocks become block mountains. 

Free-standing mountains like Kilimanjaro are usually a result of volcanic activity. Volcanic mountains are formed when molten rock erupts, and piles upon the surface.

3. The mountain is on the equator.

The equator is an imaginary line that divides the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. It passes through the exact center of the Earth and divides it in half. 

The equator is distinct from the rest of the globe due to the high amount of solar radiation it receives. The equatorial climate stays nearly the same year-round. The dominant patterns here are either warm and wet or warm and dry.

Mount Kilimanjaro lies just 205 miles from the equator, in the country of Tanzania. When early explorers reported seeing glaciers on the top of Kilimanjaro, people did not believe them as they thought ice couldn’t form so close to the hot, equatorial sun. Scientists now believe that the glaciers shrink and then regrow during the planet’s ice ages.

4. Three volcanic cones created it.

As mentioned above, Kilimanjaro was formed from volcanic activity. However, the mountain once had three volcanic cones – Kibo, Shira, and Mawenzi.

  • Kibo (19,340’/5,895m)
  • Mawenzi (16,893’/5,149m)
  • Shira (13,000’/3,962m)

Kibo is the tallest cone and also the central cone. This is where Kilimanjaro’s summit lies. It was formed 460,000 years ago.

Mawenzi is a craggy peak that ranks as the third highest peak in Africa, after Kibo and Mount Kenya (12,549’/3825m). You will have good views of Mawenzi on the Rongai and Northern Circuit routes.

Shira is no longer a peak. It is estimated to have been about 16,000 feet high before it collapsed, creating the Shira Plateau on the western side of the mountain. The Machame, Lemosho and Shira routes trek across this feature.

5. Kilimanjaro isn’t dead; it’s dormant.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano – a term for a very large volcano made of ash, lava, and rock. Shira and Mawenzi are extinct volcanoes, meaning that there is no activity underneath these cones. In short, they are cut off from their supply of lava.

However, Kibo is considered a dormant volcano; it can erupt again! If a volcano hasn’t erupted in the last 10,000 years, but scientists think it will erupt again, it’s considered dormant.

The last major eruption was 360,000 years ago. The most recent activity was 200,000 years ago. The ash pit is a two-hour round trip hike from the highest campsite, Crater Camp. Those who visit the ash pit will be greeted by the smell of sulfur from the volcano’s lava.

6. No one knows the real meaning of ‘Kilimanjaro.’

The origin of the name Kilimanjaro is not certain.

European explorers had adopted the name by 1860 and reported that “Kilimanjaro” was the mountain’s Swahili name. But according to the 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia, the name of the mountain was “Kilima-Njaro,” comprised of the Swahili word “Kilima” meaning “mountain” and the Chagga word “Njaro” meaning “whiteness.” 

German missionary Johann Ludwig Krapf wrote in his Missionary Labours (1860), “The Swahili of the coast call the snow-mountain Kilimanjaro, “mountain of greatness.” It may also mean “mountain of caravans” (kilima – mountain; Jaro caravans), a landmark for caravans seen everywhere from afar, but the inhabitants of Jagga call it Kibo, `snow.”

Another possibility is that Kilimanjaro is the European pronunciation of a KiChagga phrase meaning “we failed to climb it.”

7. The first ascent was more than a century ago.

Mount Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889 by German geologist Hans Meyer, an Austrian climber Ludwig Purtscheller, and a local guide Yohani Kinyala Lauwo.

On Meyer’s first attempt in 1887, he made it to the base of Kibo but had to turn around there. He encountered thick snow and ice walls and did not have equipment for heavy snow and ice.

He made a second attempt in 1888 that was also unsuccessful. But it was not due to the mountain itself, but because Meyer was captured and held as a prisoner by locals as part of the Abushiri Revolt when the Arab and Swahili population rebelled against German traders. He was freed after a ransom was paid.

Meyer finally succeeded in 1889. His support team included a guide, two local tribe leaders, nine porters, and a cook. They reached the summit on the southern rim of the crater. The Marangu route closely follows Meyer’s groundbreaking path up and down Kilimanjaro.

8. Half of the people who attempt Kilimanjaro fail.

Now approximately 30,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year. Though not substantiated, it is often reported that 50% of climbers fail. This comes as a surprise as Kilimanjaro is not regarded as a particularly difficult peak when compared to other mountains. After all, it is not a technical peak and does not require superhuman abilities to scale it.

Why do so many people fail? Mostly due to altitude sickness. People make the mistake of selecting the wrong route. Many who fail choose to climb on the Marangu Route, which is the shortest path (five days round trip) to the peak. However, the best way to climb is to use a longer route to aid in acclimatization.

Additionally, many people climbing Kilimanjaro are first-time backpackers. They do not adequately prepare for their climb in terms of having the right gear, doing enough training, and hiring a reputable guide service.

9. Elite athletes have climbed the Kilimanjaro elevation fast.

Kilimanjaro has been tackled at a pace that will amaze you. The fastest ascent and descent of Kilimanjaro was completed by Swiss Karl Egloff in just 6 hours and 42 minutes in 2014.

How is this possible? Athletes who do perform speed climbs of the elevations mountains have already well acclimatized to the altitude prior to their attempt. They’ve spent many days or weeks at high elevation to prepare. Therefore the risk of acute mountain sickness is eliminated.

Some other notable accomplishments include Spanish mountain runner Killian Jornet’s ascent to Uhuru Peak in just 5 hours 23 minutes and 50 seconds in 2010.

German Anne-Marie Flammersfeld holds the record for the fastest ascent and descent by a woman on Kilimanjaro, climbing to the summit in 8 hours 32 minutes and reaching the bottom in a total time on the mountain of 12 hours 58 minutes in 2015.

The record for fastest unaided ascent (meaning that the climber carried his own food, water and clothing) is held by Tanzanian Simon Mtuy, who climbed to the summit and back in 9 hours 19 minutes in 2006.

10. The young and the old have conquered Kilimanjaro.

Anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness can climb Kilimanjaro. Here is the proof.

The oldest person to successfully climb Kilimanjaro is 89 year old American woman Anne Lorimor, led by Ultimate Kilimanjaro®. She took the world record in 2019 from Dr. Fred Distelhorst, who was 88 when he summited. 

The youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro is American Coaltan Tanner, who summited at age six in 2018. The youngest girl to summit is Ashleen Mandrick, who was also six years old when she accomplished the feat, wrestling that title away from Montannah Kenney, who was seven.

The minimum age for climbing Kilimanjaro is 10 years old, but the park authority grants exceptions to children who have significant experience trekking.

11. The journey to the summit is like going from the equator to Antarctica.

While climbing Kilimanjaro, trekkers will experience five distinct ecological zones on their way to the top. These include:

  • Bushland/Cultivated Zone: 2,600′-6,000’/800m-1,800m
  • Rainforest Zone: 6,000′-9,200’/1,800m-2,800m
  • Heath/Moorland Zone: 9,200′-13,200’/2,800m-4,000m
  • Alpine Desert Zone: 13,200′-16,500’/4,000m-5,000m
  • Arctic Zone:16,500’+/5,000m+

Weather conditions near the base of the mountain tend to be tropical to semi-temperate and are relatively stable all year round. The lower plains are hot and dry. As one heads away from the bushland towards the rainforest, conditions become increasingly warm and humid.

Each zone gets colder and drier as the elevation increases. Plant and animal life also disappear with the rise in altitude through the heath and alpine desert zones.

The summit is in the arctic zone, characterized by ice and rock. At this altitude, categorized as “extreme”, there can be no permanent human habitation as the body is deteriorating necessarily (short exposures are OK).

12. Kilimanjaro’s ice cap is destined to disappear.

Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are the poster child of global climate change. It’s icecap has shrunk 82% since 1912. Scientists estimate the glaciers may be completely gone in 50 years. The cause of this is thought to be due to deforestation, and not necessary global warming.

Melting and sublimation (the transition from solid phase directly to vapor) both contribute to the ice loss, says study author Doug Hardy, a glaciologist from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The glaciers have been in retreat for more than a century, Hardy says, with a drying climate in East Africa one main culprit.

Nearly 5 million indigenous trees were planted around the base of the mountain in 2008 to combat the issue. If you are thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro, the time to do it is soon.

Mount Kilimanjaro Guides

How To Climbing Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Kilimanjaro requires careful planning and preparation. It is recommended to choose a reputable tour operator who can guide you through the process, including obtaining necessary permits and arranging for porters and cooks. Physical fitness is crucial, so a regular exercise regimen should be started months in advance, focusing on cardiovascular endurance, strength training, and hiking. Acclimatization to high altitudes is key to avoiding altitude sickness, so choose a route that allows gradual ascent. Pack appropriate gear for varying weather conditions, including thermal clothing, rain gear, hiking boots, and sun protection. Hydration and proper nutrition are also vital throughout the climb.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the most rewarding experiences you might ever have the chance to do. It’s quite a bit different from climbing Everest or any other mountaineering experience. There is typically no mountaineering equipment involved, and most anyone in good physical shape can reach the summit if they plan carefully, even with no real previous climbing experience. It’s basically like a long hike. Of course, that’s not to make it sound easy. It’s not. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a very challenging thing and a not insignificant number of people are unable to make it to the summit. The most common problem is altitude sickness and no one is immune from that possibility.

The climb almost always takes between 5 and 8 days, and always with a fixed and preset itinerary. The climb up Kilimanjaro is mostly a walk. Some places – particularly summit day – are steep and grueling, but at other times you’ll be walking through flat meadows or even descending for periods along the fixed routes. Here are the basics of the things you’ll need to consider before you find yourself standing on the top of Africa:

CHOOSE AN  KILIMANJARO OPERATOR

Organizers of Kilimanjaro climbs and associated safaris are known as operators or outfitters. Their function is to retain experienced guiding and support crews and to arrange and conduct the expedition, supplying all kit, food, and other climb logistics. They will also usually arrange for your transfers to and from Kilimanjaro International Airport, basic hotel accommodation before and after the climb itself, and a general flow of information and advice before, during, and after the sales/climb process. The best packages are all-inclusive except for drinks, tips, and a few occasional meals at the hotel.

CHOOSE A KILIMANJARO ROUTE 

The most common routes will take between 5 and 8 days, depending on which you choose and what you pay for in advance. In other words, you’ll decide in advance how many days your climb will be and you’ll stick to that plan unless something goes wrong and you have to descend.

BOOK YOURSELF A FLIGHT TO TANZANIA 

The best option would be to pick one of the direct flights into Kilimanjaro airport, located approximately 45 kilometers from the towns of Moshi, Marangu, or Arusha as this is, where most climbs will start or where your small group tour will meet.

Flights are easily arranged into Kilimanjaro, from European gateways like Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt, and Zurich, or via Nairobi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, or Addis Ababa. Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA): CODE (IATA: JRO, ICAO: HTKJ), which is serviced daily by several airlines, is where you must fly to reach Kilimanjaro. 

When you book a flight to Kilimanjaro, there are four major airports that you can fly into in Tanzania and one into Kenya (Nairobi). There is a detailed article where I talk about how to get to Kilimanjaro. This not only includes flights but also how to travel to Kilimanjaro overland. The airports catering to international flights in Tanzania are:

There is also the small Arusha airport (ARK – flight schedule ) which caters to private chartered flights, although most flights here come through from JRO.

The most convenient Airport for your Kilimanjaro climb is, as the name suggests, Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Most people climbing Mt Kilimanjaro fly into JRO these days. That said, Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam are the regional hubs and flights to these airports are much more frequent and cheaper. That said, they are still about seven to ten hours away from Arusha or Moshi by road, and the money saved by traveling here and then to Arusha is not significant. Do make sure that you check prices for all these airports as sometimes you can get a really good deal and save over a hundred dollars per person. This is of course, only valuable if you have more time than money. Also note that, when planning your trip, July and early August comprise the high seasons for these routes. If you are planning your trip during this time, book everything as early as you can! If you want to travel overland and save on costs, check the Riverside shuttle, which conducts daily bus service from Nairobi to Moshi and Arusha from US$ 35 onwards.

As of 2017, you will find the following Airlines operating flights to Kilimanjaro from Europe:

  • KLM – Most KLM flights to Kilimanjaro usually pass via Amsterdam.  KLM was one of the earliest airlines operating flights to Kilimanjaro. A ticket via KLM can cost between €700 to €900, though prices may increase to €1200 as well. Prices mentioned are one-way.
  • Ethiopian Airlines – Another early operator running flights to Kilimanjaro. 
  • Kenya Airways 
  • Turkish Airlines 
  • Qatar Airways 

Many flights that you see (like Emirates, Air France, British Airways, Qantas) may also have connecting flights with one of the local operators:

If you’re flying in from the USA, it is extremely rare to find direct flights to JRO, and as of the current moment, no flights are flying directly here. However, most of the major airlines will fly you to a local hub, from where another airline will complete the final leg of the journey. Airlines departing from the US are listed here – Delta, Alaska, KLM, Condor, Etihad, and Turkish Airlines.

If you are traveling from SouthEast Asia, Etihad, Qatar, and Ethiopian Airlines are the most popular airlines that usually tie up with either Kenya Airways or one of the local operators mentioned above for the last stretch.

Most of us, book flights via the marketplace services that allow instant comparison amongst different airlines and dates. A few of the ones I recommend are listed below:

but a typical flight to Kilimanjaro will cost about USD 700 to 1500. This depends on your starting location, your ending location, your travel dates, and when you book. The following should give an approximate idea:

  • From the UK – £600 to £1200 
  • From the USA – $400 to $1200
  • From Australia / NZ – AUD 800 to $1500
  • From Germany – €400 to €1900 

These figures are only indicative. The airline industry is quite variable in terms of price and depends not only on the distance and fuel costs but also on expected traffic on the routes (demand), competition (supply), local and global events, personal information about you, and even the time of the day that you book. 

ARRIVE IN TANZANIA 

You’ll likely spend a night or two in Arusha, Marangu, or Moshi, whichever Kilimanjaro’s basis is normally included in your package.

TRANSPORT 

Though the cost of transport is usually included in your booking price, it is important to know how much it amounts to, as you are the one who is paying for it. Usually, this includes the pickup from and the drop back to the Airport unless you are going for an extended vacation in East Africa. Many people combine it with an African Safari, as it makes economic sense.

You will mostly be based in Arusha or Moshi. Besides the journey to Arusha from the Airport (about an hour and a half from JRO), the next step is to drive to the beginning of your trekking point. Now this is dependent on the route you have chosen, but here are some indicative figures:

  • Arusha to Marangu – Almost a 3-hour drive – ~120 km – costs about US $150
  • Arusha to Machame – a 2-hour drive – 80 km or more – costs about US $100 to $120
  • Arusha to Lemosho – a 3-hour drive – 130 km – costs about US $200
  • Arusha to Rongai – a 4-and-a-half hour drive – 260 km – about US $300
  • Arusha to Umbwe – a 2-hour drive – 90 km – costs about US $120

A liter of petrol(gasoline) costs approximately 1 USD in Tanzania at the time of writing, and you can verify the current rates here.

INSURANCE

When getting Insurance for your trip, do make sure to include that you will be climbing Kilimanjaro – a mountain that is over 5000m tall. Doing so will raise your premium, but make sure that it covers everything and it will be well worth it. Reading the small print is essential and I cannot stress the importance of it. In case something happens and you make a claim for it, you need to be sure that your evacuation, medical, hospitalization, and repatriation expenses are covered.

Things to look out for in your travel insurance:

  • Insurance covers Trekking / Hiking up to 6000 m – High Altitude Trekking. Most Insurance packages do not cover this and this usually needs to be selected/added separately
  • Insurance covers accidents that can occur on Kilimanjaro – AMS, rock slides, falls, health complications (e.g. heart conditions, ear problems, snow blindness)
  • Insurance cover includes the costs of hospitalization, evacuation, and repatriation
  • An additional benefit would be if your insurance could also cover equipment, damage, theft, and flights 
  • Insurance covers trip interruption, cancellation, delays, damaged baggage and equipment. Also, look out for any policies that include the tour operator’s default.

This insurance package may cost something around the US$ 100 figure. It will be deeply linked to your origin country and state and your trip duration. Do not skimp on this as this will be the best hedge for your vacation!

Note that helicopter evacuation is available on Kilimanjaro only at certain points, which I will refer to later in this article. The AMREF Flying Doctors of Africa conducts helicopter evacuation service, and tourists looking to climb Kilimanjaro or go on a Tanzania safari or Kenya safari can buy the Maisha Tourist Cover scheme, costing US$16 and up for a 30-day evacuation coverage in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar.

Some medical insurance companies I recommend are:

ACCOMMODATION

Any Kilimanjaro accommodation you book before and after your trek must be booked separately. The easiest way to go about it is to go through your booking agency if you trust them. Be aware that, as with everything, they will charge a commission for this. 

Basic accommodation for tourists starts at US $50 to $100 per night and may vary based on the particular time of the year that you are looking to book. Anything cheaper than this is suspect and We would not recommend it. Tanzania is still a developing country and as such faces acute infrastructural shortages especially regarding cleanliness, hygiene, and public health. Do be careful when booking your accommodations in Tanzania – be it Arusha, Moshi, Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar. That said, the most expensive accommodations can range up to US $4000 a night! You can be assured of the best services money can buy in these places.

EQUIPMENT

Equipment is divided into two parts. One that you will need to buy (even better if you already own them), and the second that will be provided by your agency, whether already included in the price or rented separately. Renting is a great way of ensuring that you do not end up paying for equipment that you won’t use much as well as save space and weight on your flight. Details about the Kilimanjaro gear list are further.

CLIMBING KILIMANJARO 

The morning of the climb you’ll be driven to the starting point for your route and a large crew of local helpers will organize all the gear they’ll be bringing up the mountain for your group. A lead guide will be in charge of everything, but there will also be assistant guides, porters, and cooks making the trip with you. If four of you are climbing you’ll be bringing a support crew of between 10 and 16 people with you.

You’ll carry just your rain gear, camera, and water, and the porters will carry the rest of your gear along with all the tents, chairs, cooking equipment, food, water, and everything else your group will need.

You’ll set off for around 5 to 8 hours each day, except for summit day, which is much, much longer. The lead guide will coordinate everything and all the support staff and will lead your group personally, but climbers in your group can go at their own pace so assistant guides will space themselves out through the group, with one at the back of the pack.

By the time you arrive at the specified camp for that night, the porters will have set up tents and cooking gear. After dinner, you’ll get as much sleep as you can manage and the next morning the cooks will prepare breakfast. After eating you’ll begin climbing again and the porters will pack up all the gear, pass you at some point during the day, and will be all set up again with water boiling at the next camp when you arrive.

Descending From Kilimanjaro’s Summit 

Descending from Kilimanjaro’s summit is a challenging yet rewarding experience. After reaching the peak, climbers must carefully navigate their way down the steep, rocky terrain, often battling fatigue, altitude sickness, and harsh weather conditions. Despite the difficulties, the descent offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and a sense of accomplishment. The descent typically takes two days, with climbers spending one more night on the mountain before reaching the base. Those on the Machame, Umbwe, Lemosho, or Shira routes must take as their descent trail the Mweka Route. Those who ascended on the Marangu or Rongai/Loitokitok trails must descend by the Marangu Route. The descent typically begins 20-30 minutes after reaching the summit, allowing time to soak in the breathtaking views and capture unforgettable memories. 

How Long Does It Take To Come Down Kilimanjaro?

Descending Mount Kilimanjaro typically takes about two days. After reaching the summit, climbers usually descend to a lower camp on the same day, which can take 5-7 hours. The following day, climbers continue their descent to the park gate, which can take 5-7 hours as well. The exact time can vary based on the route, the individual’s fitness level, and weather conditions.

Descending From Kilimanjaro’s Summit Is A Bit Like Skiing

While the climb upwards requires immense physical exertion, the descent offers a different kind of challenge. The path is mostly downhill, providing a welcome break from the strenuous climb. The terrain can be quite steep, requiring caution and mindful navigation. However, the stunning scenery makes the journey worthwhile.

Getting Off The Mountain Kilimanjaro – From High Altitude To Lower Depths:

Descending from Kilimanjaro’s summit is often compared to skiing due to the steep, loose gravel slopes that allow climbers to take large, sliding steps, almost as if they were skiing down the mountain. This method, known as scree sliding, is not only a faster way to descend but also reduces the impact on the knees and legs. However, it requires careful balance and control to prevent falls or injuries.

Reaching the Gate:

After a day of trekking downhill, the body and mind can feel both exhausted and exhilarated. The physical exertion of navigating steep, uneven terrain tests the body’s strength and endurance, while the mental challenge of maintaining focus and balance sharpens the mind. Despite the fatigue, there’s a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from completing the trek. The surrounding natural beauty and the tranquility of the outdoors can also provide a sense of peace and rejuvenation.

Kilimanjaro Local Guides

KILIMANJARO SUMMIT DAY

Kilimanjaro Summit Day is the most challenging and rewarding part of the trek to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. On this day, climbers start their ascent in the early hours of the morning, often around midnight, in order to reach the summit by sunrise. The trek is physically demanding due to the high altitude, steep slopes, and extreme cold. Upon reaching the summit, climbers are rewarded with breathtaking views and the satisfaction of having conquered one of the world’s highest peaks.

You’ll reach the summit on the second to last day of your total climbing package. The night before summit day you’ll try to get to sleep around 7 p.m. and you’ll wake up shortly before midnight with four good hours of sleep if things go well. You’ll begin climbing around midnight and will spend the next 5 or 6 hours ascending the most challenging section of the mountain, mostly due to the extreme altitude. You’ll be near the summit around sunrise, and the final two hours are usually spent walking in the snow as you approach the peak.

You reach the summit, celebrate, snap a few photos, maybe make a call or two on your mobile phone from the top of Africa (no joke, holly work up there) and before you know it you’ll begin descending. After about 6 hours you’ll reach camp for your last night on the mountain, making the total journey of this day around 16 hours. The following day you’ll descend for another 4 or 5 hours, and then be driven back to Moshi for at least one more night.

Here’s a look at what to expect on your Kilimanjaro summit Day.

 

STELLA OR GILMANS?

No matter what route you take through the foothills of Kilimanjaro you will make your approach to Uhuru Peak through either Stella Point or Gillman’s Point, the two connecting paths along the crater rim. Both routes are steep and challenging, however, the success rates on summit night are influenced more by the days leading up to the summit rather than the final approach. The majority of people take the Lemosho, Machame, or Umbwe routes and approach through Stella Point.  The alternative is to take the Rongai, Marangu, or Northern Circuit to approach Gilman’s Point.   The toughest mentally and the most demanding physically. From waking in the early hours in pitch black and sub-freezing temperatures to collapsing exhausted at camp at the end of the day, there is no respite.

KILIMANJARO SUMMIT NIGHT SCHEDULE 

Nighttime vs. Daytime Summits on Kilimanjaro

Depending on the route you take up the mountain, your summit bid may be a 10-15 hour night bid, or you may have the opportunity to summit during the day. Shorter routes, like Umbwe, include nighttime summits with immediate descents since limited acclimatization time on these treks makes it uncomfortable for climbers to stay at the summit elevations for long. Both daytime and nighttime summiteers will start at Barafu camp or Kibo hut but their experiences will unfold a bit differently…

Nighttime Summit Bid (all times approximate)

12 AM: Midnight After dinner, rest for a few hours; at midnight, you’ll be woken up by your guide. Put on your headlamp and head outside for a hot beverage and a snack; you have a long night ahead of you!

3 AM: Your slow, steady pace has brought you far enough up the mountain to get a special view of the line of glowing headlamps snaking up the trail, a human highway to the top.

4 AM: Take as deep a breath as you can; you’re facing the most difficult section of your summit bid: the steep, scree-covered switchbacks that wind their way up to Stella Point.

5:30 AM: You’re starting to get bone-tired from the steep slopes and the altitude, but the sight of the sun rising behind the crags and spires of nearby Mawenzi gives you new energy to keep pushing to the top!

6 AM: Finally, you’ve reached Stella Point: the steepest part of your climb is over! Take a break for a drink and a light snack, enjoy the morning sunshine on your face, and summon your last reserves of energy for the final push to Uhuru Peak!

7-7:30 AM: You’ve Reached the Summit!  It will be crowded with other hikers, and the air here is very thin, so take a few quick photos and begin your descent back to Stella Point.

8 AM: It’s so much easier going down! After you reach Stella Point, you’ll get your adrenaline pumping by taking the “direct” route down the mountain… “scree-skiing!”

10 AM: As the elevation drops, your body starts to feel better. Enjoy an early lunch to fuel up for the remaining hours of hiking into camp.

3-4 PM: Arrive into your camp in time for afternoon tea. It was a long, difficult day, but you did it!

Daytime Summit Bid (all times approximate)

5 AM: Wake up with some hot coffee or tea and enjoy breakfast at camp. You’ll set out just as dawn is breaking!

11 AM: Take a rest along the scree switchbacks that lead to Stella Point for a hot beverage and a picnic lunch. The fuel will help you push through to the top!

12:30 PM: Phew! You’ve finally reached Stella Point, so the steepest part of the trail is behind you; from here to Uhuru Peak, the trekking will be much easier.

2 PM: You’ve reached the Summit! Not many people are here, and your body has had plenty of time to acclimatize, so you can take your time at the top, snapping photos and celebrating with your fellow trekkers!

3 PM: Descend into Crater Camp via the quickest route possible: scree-skiing!

3:30 PM: You’ve reached Crater Camp. Refuel with tea and popcorn.

4 PM: Explore the sparkling glaciers, the ash pit, and the surrounding crater. Few trekkers have the chance to see these stunning sights up close!

6 PM: Enjoy a hot dinner with your fellow trekkers and some hot tea to keep you warm and hydrated in the dry, cold air of crater camp. Tomorrow morning, you’ll have the chance to summit again if you want, joining the trail of night-summiteers near the end of their journey, or you can enjoy a more leisurely descent day.

COMPARING THE DIFFICULTY OF CLIMBING EVEREST BASE CAMP AND KILIMANJARO 

When itcomess to comparing the difficulty level of Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. While both treks are challenging and require a certain level of fitness and preparation, the general consensus among most people is that Kilimanjaro is the harder of the two.

One of the main reasons for this is the summit night climb, which is considered one of the toughest parts of the Kilimanjaro trek. During this final push to the summit, climbers must navigate steep and rocky terrain, deal with extreme cold and altitude sickness, and overcome the mental challenge of pushing themselves to their limits. In contrast, the trek to Everest Base Camp doesn’t involve a summit push, and while it still requires a high level of physical fitness, it’s generally less strenuous than the Kilimanjaro trek.

Another factor to consider is the altitude. While both treks involve high altitudes, Kilimanjaro is shorter in terms of overall elevation, with a peak altitude of 19,341 feet. Everest Base Camp, on the other hand, is situated at an altitude of 17,600 feet, but the trek involves a longer period of acclimatization to help climbers adjust to the thin air.

It’s worth noting that the terrain and climate on each trek are different. Kilimanjaro involves hiking through lush rainforests, alpine deserts, and icy glaciers, while the Everest Base Camp trek takes you through rugged mountain terrain and harsh, cold climates. Both treks are physically demanding and require a high level of fitness and preparation, but it’s generally agreed that Kilimanjaro is the harder of the two.

WHY IS CLIMBING MOUNT KILIMANJARO FAMOUS?

Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in the Northern part of Tanzania, in the Kilimanjaro National Park. It covers an area of 100 kilometers long and 65 kilometers wide. The mountain is a dormant volcano that is comprised of three volcanic cones, Shira, Kibo (on which Uhuru summit stands), and Mawenzi. Kibo is classified as dormant but not extinct. The last major eruption from Kibo occurred 350,000 years ago. The last volcanic activity happened 200 years ago and resulted in today’s ash pit (visible from Uhuru Peak).

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. By free-standing, or non-massif, we mean it is not part of a mountain range. The height of Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895m or 19,341 feet, and its main summit is called Uhuru Peak. To put Mt Kilimanjaro’s height into perspective, Mount Everest stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) – just over 2,950 meters higher.

But here’s an interesting Kilimanjaro Fact: Both Everest Base Camps (EBC) – South and North – are below the summit of Kilimanjaro; however, most hikers take upwards of 8-10 days to reach EBC. On Kilimanjaro trekkers on fast routes reach the summit within 4-5 days. The rapid ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro makes it a difficult and rather dangerous mountain to hike due to the risks of altitude sickness. As the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits

Mount Kilimanjaro

Where is Mount Kilimanjaro? 

Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano located in Tanzania, East Africa. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, with its summit about 4,900 meters from its base and 5,895 meters above sea level. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Despite its location near the equator, the mountain is known for its snow-capped peak, offering a unique and stunning landscape. It is a popular destination for climbers and trekkers from around the globe. 

Where Is Mount Kilimanjaro? | Geographical Region

Geographical Region: East Africa

Country: Tanzania

Province: Kilimanjaro

Location: Near the Kenyan border inner part of Tanzania

Height: 5,895 meters (19,340 feet)

Prominence: 5,885 meters (19,303 feet)

Cities Nearby: Moshi, Arusha

Type: Stratovolcano

Geographic Coordinates: 03°04′33″S 37°21′12″E / -3.07583, 37.35333

History Of Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, has a rich history of climbing that dates back to the late 19th century. The first recorded attempt to reach the summit was made by German geologist Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. Despite the challenges posed by the high altitude, freezing temperatures, and lack of proper climbing equipment, they successfully reached the highest point, Uhuru Peak, on October 6, 1889. Since then, Mount Kilimanjaro has become a popular destination for climbers from around the world, with thousands of people attempting the climb each year. And, the first woman to successfully conquer the summit of the mountain was Scottish mountaineer Sheila MacDonald in 1927.

Mt. Kilimanjaro and its six surrounding forest areas collectively came to be known as the Kilimanjaro National Park. This fascinating national which park has its own unique vegetation, and climate including the rare flora and fauna (home to the blue monkey Cercopithecus mitis)was established in 1973 to protect the unique environment surrounding the freestanding mountain. The Kilimanjaro National Park also got listed in a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Kilimanjaro, is the region which is home to the Chagga people who settled at the base civilization of the tallest mountain in Africa 400 years ago. Now, has become modern bustling cities and are the major tourist hubs in the country.

First Ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro

The first recorded ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro was accomplished by Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. Meyer, a German geographer, had made two previous attempts to reach the summit but was hindered by severe weather, insufficient equipment, and health issues. On his third attempt, accompanied by Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller and a local guide named Yohani Kinyala Lauwo, they successfully reached the highest point, Uhuru Peak, on October 6, 1889.

THE PEOPLE OF KILIMANJARO

The people of Kilimanjaro are primarily the Chagga tribe, one of the largest ethnic groups in Tanzania. They are known for their agricultural skills, particularly in cultivating bananas and coffee on the fertile slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. The Chagga people have a rich cultural history with traditional customs and beliefs, including the practice of age-old rituals and ceremonies. They are also known for their advanced system of irrigation and terracing, which has allowed them to thrive in the region for centuries.

THE NAME KILIMANJARO

Kilimanjaro is the name of the highest mountain in Africa, located in Tanzania. The name is believed to come from the Swahili word “Kilima,” meaning “mountain,” and the Kichagga word “Njaro,” loosely translated as “whiteness,” giving it the name “Mountain of Whiteness.” The mountain is famous for its three volcanic cones and is a popular destination for climbers from around the world.

HOW HAS CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTED MOUNT KILIMANJARO GLACIERS?

Climate change has significantly impacted the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the most iconic landmarks in Africa. Rising global temperatures have caused a rapid melting and retreat of these glaciers. According to scientific studies, more than 80% of the ice cover on Mount Kilimanjaro has disappeared since the early 20th century. If the current rate of glacial retreat continues, it is predicted that the glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro could disappear entirely within a few decades.

mount Kilimanjaro

HOW HIGH IS MOUNT KILIMANJARO?

There has been quite a lot of debate about the actual  height of Kilimanjaro. The altitude measurement and therefore the official elevation that the Tanzanian authorities quote is that  concluded by the 1952 survey that used Wild T2 theodolites and  calculated a height for Kilimanjaro’s summit of 5895 metres above mean  sea level. However, using more high-precision Leica Geosystems survey  equipment, the 1999 survey team calculated Kilimanjaro’s altitudes as  follows:

  • ITRF Ellipsoidal Height of Kilimanjaro = 5875.50 meters (correct to within 5cm)
  • Orthometric Height of Kilimanjaro = 5891.77 metres

THE EXACT HEIGHT OF KILIMANJARO IS 5893m. Or 5895m

Orthometric Height of Kilimanjaro (using Tanzanian geoidal datum) = 5892.55 metres

All this being said, when using a modern GPS that  approximates the geoid globally, you can likely expect your GPS to tell  you that the elevation of Kilimanjaro is 5895 metres. This was tested very thoroughly, when a Swiss team of map makers produced what is believed to still be the best available topographical map of Kilimanjaro, the data was observed carefully over a period of 17 minutes and fluctuated only between 5894 and 5895 metres.

THREE PEAKS OF KILIMANJARO HIKE 

Climb three of the volcanic cones (or peaks) of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – Kibo, Mawenzi, Shira and Reach elevations as high as 16,000+ feet for Total trek time around 7-10 days roundtrip

KIBO PEAK

Kibo, the highest peak (5,895m) on Mount Kilimanjaro, is covered by snow throughout the year despite being close to the equator. Conquering this peak is an adventure of a lifetime.

MAWENZI PEAK

Is the second highest peak which forms mount Kilimanjaro 5,149m. It is rugged and maintains the features of glaciation

SHIRA PEAK

With an altitude of 3,962m, is the oldest peak that collapsed and forms a Shira plateau with outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain with several kinds of migratory large mammals such as buffaloes, elephants, and especially elands.

MONTANE FOREST

Montane Forest – A wide band of exceptionally beautiful montane forest encircles the whole of Kilimanjaro from about 1800 –2800m. The forest zone is worth a visit even if you are not climbing to the peaks. Marangu nature trails is particular taking you through this forest  belt which supports several plant species, including endemic plants like Impatiens kilimanjari.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK 

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is located in Tanzania, East Africa, and is home to the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. The park covers an area of 1,688 square kilometers and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is renowned for its diverse ecosystems, including savannah, rainforest, alpine desert, and an arctic summit. The park is a popular destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world, offering various routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The Park Headquarters is at Marangu, about 44 Km from Moshi town and 80km from Kilimanjaro International Airport

CLIMATE OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO PARK 

Mount Kilimanjaro Park experiences a wide range of climatic conditions due to its varying altitudes. The base of the mountain has a tropical climate with warm temperatures and high humidity. As you ascend, the climate transitions through a temperate zone with cooler temperatures and frequent rainfall, followed by a cold desert climate with freezing temperatures at night. The summit is characterized by an arctic climate with extremely low temperatures, strong winds, and almost no precipitation. The park’s weather can be unpredictable, with the possibility of snowfall at any time of the year.

HOW TO GET TO KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK 

Kilimanjaro National Park is located in Tanzania, East Africa. The most common way to get there is by flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), which is serviced by several international airlines. From the airport, it’s about a one-hour drive to the park. Alternatively, you can fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, and then take a domestic flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport.

BEST TIME TO VISIT KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK SAFARI 

The best time to visit Kilimanjaro National Park Safari is during the dry seasons, which are from late June to October and from late December to early March. During these periods, the weather is generally clear and sunny, providing excellent conditions for wildlife viewing and hiking. The lack of rainfall also means the roads and trails are more accessible. However, it’s important to note that temperatures can drop below freezing at night, especially at higher altitudes, so appropriate clothing is necessary.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, located in Tanzania, is easily accessible by road, with all main entrances to the various climbing routes reachable by vehicle. The park entrances are closest to the town of Moshi, making it a convenient base for those planning to climb the mountain. The park is renowned for its breathtaking views and diverse ecosystems, and is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

Kilimanjaro National Park Attractions

Kilimanjaro National Park, located in Tanzania, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife. The park’s main attraction is Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, which attracts climbers from around the world. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife species, including elephants, leopards, and buffalo. Visitors can explore the park’s lush rainforests, alpine meadows, and moorlands, and enjoy breathtaking views of the African plains.

UHURU POINT 

This is first highest point reached by climbers trying to conquer Kibo peak, 6km from Kibo hut (5895m). Visitors reached at this point are provided with the gold certificates and recorded as a successful climber.

STELLA POINT 

This is a second highest point reached by climbers trying to conquer Kibo peak, 5.3km from Kibo hut (5739m). Visitors reached at this point are provided with the silver certificates and recorded as a successful climber

ASH PIT

This is a recent volcanic landmark on the highest point of Africa (100,000yrs). Visitors after reaching the summit may have a visit to this unique area

MAWENZI PEAK

Mawenzi, the rugged peak (5,149m), can only be attempted by technical climb. Only people with specialized knowledge, skills and equipment are allowed

SHIRA PEAK

Shira with the height of 3962m, is the oldest peak that collapsed some 750 years ago while before collapsing was the highest of the three.

CATHEDRAL POINT – SHIRAPEAK

Cathedral is the point found on Shira Peak and can be climbed easily during day hike or summit

SHIRA PLATEAU 

After collapsing, the Shira peak formed a plateau of outstanding scenic beauty on the mountain. This plateau has an open grassland, heath and moorland with a large concentration of endemic plants including Senecio and lobelias. While on the plateau, one can visit the Shira central cone, the Cathedral and the Needle. Several kinds of migratory mammals such as buffaloes, elephants and elands use this plateau for feeding or salt licking

ZEBRA ROCK

This stripped rocks are allocated along the Horombo -Kibo alternative trail 3Kms from Horombo huts. Visitors can have a short walk to this rocks as a part of the slogan “Go higher slip low”

VEGETATION ZONES 

Mount Kilimanjaro supports a unique combination of eco-climatic zones that takes you to the equivalent of a trip from the equator to the arctic in a brief tour.

As one climbs Kilimanjaro, vegetation and weather changes in response to the changing elevation. Between 1800-2800m, one goes through a montane forest. From 2800-4000m, vegetation is mainly heath and moorland composed of Helichrysum [Everlastings], Lobellia and Senecio. From 4000-5000m, vegetation is alpine desert with sparse plants adapted to harsh conditions. The summit zone has temperatures below the freezing point throughout the year. The mountain peak is covered by snow all year-round

MONTANE FOREST 

A wide band of exceptionally beautiful montane forest encircles the whole of Kilimanjaro from about 1800 –2800m. About 96% of water on Kilimanjaro originates from within this zone. The forest zone is worth a visit even if you are not climbing to the peaks. Marangu nature trails in particular take you through this forest belt. This belt supports several plant species, including endemic plants like Impatiens Kilimanjaro 

MAUNDI CRATER 

This crater is about 15 minutes walk past Mandara huts on the Marangu route. On clear days, the crater provides a panoramic view of Lakes Chala, Jipe and Nyumba ya Mungu, all of which derive their waters from the Majestic Kilimanjaro 

LAUWO WATERFALL 

Located along Marangu route 2.8Kms provides a spectacular experience while enjoying walking inside the thick montane forest

MARANGU WATERFALL 

Located along Marangu route 1Km provides a spectacular experience while enjoying walking inside the thick Montane forest.

LAKE CHALA

Lake Chala is located about 30 minutes’ drive from Himo town. Although situated outside the Park, the lake is an important geological link to the park. It draws its water via underground streams that originate from Kilimanjaro. This deep fresh water lake can be visited prior to, or after climbing the mountain

ANIMALS

Mount Kilimanjaro inhabits 140 species of mammals; 7 primates, 25 carnivores, 25 antelopes, 179 bird species and 24 species of bat. Hikes may view various animals including The Black and White Colobus Monkey, Blue monkey, Forest Duikers and small mammals like Myosorex zinkii which is endemic to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Buffaloes, Elands and Elephants are the large mammals often seen on Shira plateau and Rongai

local Mount Kilimanjaro guide

KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK TOURISM ACTIVITIES 

Kilimanjaro National Park, located in Tanzania, offers a variety of tourism activities centered around its main attraction, Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. The park provides opportunities for mountain climbing and trekking, with several routes leading to the summit. Wildlife viewing is also popular, with animals such as elephants, buffalos, and monkeys inhabiting the lower slopes. Bird watching is another activity, with the park being home to numerous bird species. Additionally, visitors can explore the Chala Crater Lake, visit the Marangu village to experience local culture or enjoy scenic views and photography.

The park is endowed with various tourism activities that visitors can do during their visit. The activities include; Mountain Climbing to the Summit (MC), Paragliding, Nature Walking Safaris (Short Walking Safaris (SWS), Long Walking Safaris (LWS), Mawenzi Technical Climbing (MTC), Picnicking, Filming, Non-Summit Bound Climbers, Crater Camping and Mountain Cycling (MB).

MOUNTAIN CLIMBING 

Climbing to Kibo peak takes 5 to 8 days depending on the route. The more days, the higher the possibility to conquer the summit. An extra day in any station above 3000m above sea level during the climb is highly recommended for adequate acclimatization. Six mountain trails can take a climber to the highest point in Africa, each route offering different attractions and challenges

MAWENZI TECHNICAL CLIMBING 

Mawenzi is the second highest peak on Mount Kilimanjaro. The rugged peak of Mawenzi (5,149 m) lies to the East. The top of its Western face is fairly steep with many crags, pinnacles and dyke swarms. Its Eastern side falls in cliffs over 1,000m high in a complex of gullies and rock faces, rising above two deep gorges. The terrain of Mawenzi peak makes it unreachable but by technical roped ascents (supplied by an individual client). Technical climbers can hike the present seven sub-peaks namely Nordecke 5136 m, Hans Meyer 5149 m, highest point, Purtscheller 5120 m, Borchers 5115 m, Klute 5096 m, Latham 5087 m and Londt point 4945 m depending on the time and season of the year.

CRATER CAMPING 

Camping in the crater provides unique visitors’ night experience. While inside the crater tourist can visit the unique bench-shaped glaciers, the formation that can only be found at Mount Kilimanjaro.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO PARAGLIDING 

Paragliders should feel home at Mount Kilimanjaro as freeflying the Worlds biggest free standing mountain is now under operation.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO CYCLING (KILEMA ROUTE)

Tourists have a chance to cycle inside the park. There are two routes, one for summit bound visitors (Kilema route) and second one for non summit visitors (Shira plateau). These routes are equipped with picnic sites and resting points. It takes 5 to 7 days to reach the summit. Mount Kilimanjaro cycling is named the “World’s most challenging mountain cycling” and also “Worlds’ longest mountain downhill ride” with a difference of 4000m within a strip of 34Kms

KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK PICNICKING 

There are total of 13 picnic sites along the hiking routes (Rongai starting, Kisambioni, Lauwo, wona, last water, Jiwe la Ukoyo, Machame half way, Jiwe la Mbula, Baranco junction, Morum, Uwanja wa ndege, Mgongo wa Tembo, Daraja Refu, Kilimamchele) that offer a spectacular view of the attractions found in and outside the park. They are the best places for taking packed meals on your way to the roof of Africa.

Marangu Via Lauwo To Mandara Route (SWS) :

The Route starts from Marangu via Lauwo Waterfall to Mandara Hut then back to Marangu. The route covers a distance of 12Km.

Machame Gate To Machame Hut Route (SWS)

The Route starts from Machame Gate to Macham Hut then back to Machame Gate. The route covers a distance of 11Km

Morum Barrier To Shira I Route (SWS)

The Route starts from Morum Barrier to Shira I then back to Morum Barrier Gate. The route covers a distance of 6Km.

Rongai Gate To Simba Camp

The Route starts from Rongai Gate to Simba Camp then back to Rongai Gate. The route covers a distance of 5Km.

NON – SUMMIT BOUND KILIMANJARO CLIMBERS

Activities for non-summit-bound Kilimanjaro climbers include:

Visit the waterfalls (Lauwo)

Visiting the Shira Plateau

 Watching wildlife including high-altitude birds

Walking through the Mountain Forest

Day walk to Maundi crater in the park, Lake Chala and cultural sites such as Kifunika and cultural camps in the Kilimanjaro villages around.

Lemosho Route (LWS)

This route is also for ascending located on the western side of the mountain and it comprised of six stations of Mti Mkubwa then join Londorosi route at Shira I.

Londorosi Route (LWS)

This is ascending route located on the western side of the mountain and it comprised of five stations namely Shira I, Shira II, Baranco, Karanga and Barafu. It also offers the chance of using the Northern circuit and Western breach.

Machame Route (LWS)

This is ascending route located on the South-West of the mountain and it has five stations namely Machame hut, Shira cave, Baranco, Karanga and Barafu.

Mweka Route (LWS)

This is a descending route located on the southern side of the mountain. It comprised of three stations namely Mweka hut, High camp (Millenium) and Barafu. Visitors form Londorosi, Lemosho, Machame and Umbwe descent using this route.

Umbwe Route (LWS)

It is ascending route located on the South-West of the mountain and it has four stations, the Umbwe cave inside the forest belt and the other three after join Machame route at Baranco camp.

Kilema Route (LWS)

This route is for cycling. It has three stations namely Kilemamchele, Maua and Kibo; it is two way traffic.

Marangu Route (LWS)

This is ascending-descending route with provision of huts along the trail. It has three stations namely Mandara, Horombo and Kibo. On the mountain stations, there are toilets, kitchens, dinning and rooms for clients. Advance booking through a licensed mountain tour operator is mandatory.

Rongai Route (LWS)

It is ascending route with an option of using four or five stations depending on the choice of the climber. Visitors who ascend through this route will descend through Marangu route. Option of four stations includes Simba camp, second cave, third cave and school hut and the second option for five stations is Simba camp, second cave, Kikelelwa, Mawenzi tarn hut and School hut.

kilimanjaro accomodation

KILIMANJARO ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES 

The Park provides a variety of accommodations ranging from Mountain huts, hostel and 32 public Campsites. Booking for huts and hostel is done through licensed local tour operators

MANDARA HUT

It a first station located along the Marangu ascending/descending trail 8kms from Marangu gate. The word Mandara originate from the name of the former Chief of Marangu whose name was Mandara. The reason is to keep the good memory of the chief Mandara who was in charge during the time when the hut was opened in 1942. The hut has a capacity of 100beds for tourists and 200beds for guides and porters; therefore total number of people being 300 at a time

HOROMBO HUT

This is a second station allocated 19kms from Marangu gate, at an altitude of 3720m amsl. The word Horombo originate from the name of the former Chief of Rombo district (Keni) whose name was Horombo Urio. The reason is to keep the good memory of the chief Horombo. The hut has a capacity of 170 beds for tourists and 900beds for guides and porters; therefore total number of people being 1,070at a time

KIBO HUT

This is the third and base station located 28kms from Marangu gate at an altitude of 4720m amsl. It originates its name from the peak “Kibo”

MACHAME CAMP

This is the first camp along Machame route located 11kms and at an altitude of 2835M amsl

SHIRA CAVE CAMP

This is the second camp along Machame route located 16kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 3750M amsl

LAVA TOWER CAMP

This is a camp (used mostly for acclimatization) along Machame route located 23kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 4600M a.m.s.l

BARANCO HUT CAMP

This is the fourth/third camp along Machame route located 26kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 3900M a.m.s.l

ARROW GLACIER CAMP 

This is the third camp along Machame route located 24kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 4903M a.m.s.l. It is used by visitors who attemps their summit using the Western breach to uhuru

KARANGA HUT CAMP

This is the fifth camp along Machame route located 32kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 3995M a.m.s.

BARAFU HUT CAMP

This is the sixth camp along Machame route located 36kms from Machame gate and at an altitude of 4673M a.m.s.l

HIGH CAMP

This is the second camp along Mweka route located 13.5kms from Mweka gate and at an altitude of 3950M a.m.s.l

MWEKA CAMP

This is the last camp along Mweka route located 10kms from Mweka gate and at an altitude of 3100M a.m.s.l. This camp is used by visitors after summit

MTI MKUMBWA CAMP

This is the first camp along Lemosho route located 3.5kms from lemosho gate and at an altitude of 2650M a.m.s.l.

SHIRA 1 CAMP 

This is the second camp along Lemosho route located 10.5kms from lemosho gate and at an altitude of 3610M a.m.s.l.

SHIA 11 CAMP

This is the third camp along Lemosho route located 20.5kms from lemosho gate and at an altitude of 3850M a.m.s.l.

MOIR HUT CAMP 

This is a first camp located 10Kms from Shira I camp and it is used for overnight for visitors using the western circuit.

POFU CAMP

This is a second camp after Moir hut were visitors overnight before joining the Rongai route at Third cave or School hut.

SIMBA CAMP

This is the first camp along Rongai route located 5kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 2671M a.m.s.l

SECOND CAVE CAMP 

This is the second camp along Rongai route located 13kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 3450M a.m.s.l.

THIRD CAVE CAMP 

This is the third camp along Rongai route located 16kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 3800M a.m.s.l.

KIKELElWA CAMP

This is the third camp via Mawenzi hut along Rongai route located 1kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 3600M a.m.s.l.

 MAMWENZI TARN HUT CAMP 

This is the fourth camp along Rongai route located 21kms from Rongai gate and at an altitude of 4315M a.m.s.l.

SCHOOL HUT CAMP

This is the fifth and a base camp along Rongai route located 31kms from Rongai gate (via Mawenzi tarn hut) and at an altitude of 400M a.m.s.l.

MAUA CAMP

This camp is under development and it will be used by visitors from Rongai route. It is located adjacent to Horombo huts

UMBWE CAVE CAMP

This is the first camp along the Umbwe route “the whisky route”

KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK FEES 

Kilimanjaro National Park fees are mandatory costs for visitors wishing to explore the park and climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The fees include park entry, camping, rescue fees, and guide and porter services. The cost varies depending on the length of the climb and the route chosen, but generally, it ranges from $2000 to $6000 per person. These fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of the park.

Rescue Fees

First up are the rescue fees for Kilimanjaro. Should anything happen, then the KINAPA, Kilimanjaro National Park, will arrange a rescue.The fees for this are 20 USD. Not a bad price considering the fact that this mountain is almost 6,000 meters high.

Conservation Fees

The conservation fee is basically the entry fee for Kilimanjaro, your ticket to the party. This is a daily fee of 70 USD. If you are choosing a 7-day Lemosho or Machame route, then you can do the math: 7 x 70 USD = 490 USD.
The conservation fees are charged by the park department and go towards, you’ve guessed it, conservation of Kilimanjaro National Park. Apart from the fact that this is the highest fee, it is also the most important one. These fees make sure that Kilimanjaro is looked after.

Camping Fees

On all Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes other l than the Marangu Route, you will be staying on campsites. Just like the conservation fees, this fee is calculated per person per day/night. The fees are USD 50 / 44 EUR / 40 GBP. 

Hut Fees

On the Marangu route, you will be staying in huts. These huts need a coat of paint every now and then as well. Although the Marangu Route is a relatively affordable trek, you must know that still, 60 USD / 53 EUR / 48 GBP per night goes towards the huts.

Crater Fees

It is an interesting experience that comes at an extra cost. For 100 USD / 88 EUR / 80 GBP a night you can stay at Crater Camp.

Guide & Porter Fees

What is also included in the costs of your Kilimanjaro climb is the daily fees for guides and porters. You pay 2 USD / 1,80 EUR / 1,60 GBP per staff member a day. There are a few exceptions for the above-mentioned park fees. For children, there are some discounts and if you are a citizen (and resident) of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda or South Sudan you can also enjoy some benefits. There is also some discount applicable to expatriates. 

kilimanjaro porters

WHAT IS THE COST OF CLIMB KILIMANJARO INCLUDING FLIGHTS, TIPS, YOUR HEALTH, PARK FEES

The cost of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can vary greatly depending on several factors such as the route chosen, the length of the climb, the tour operator, and the level of comfort or luxury you desire. On average, the climb itself can cost between $2,000 to $4,000. Flights to Tanzania, where Kilimanjaro is located, can range from $800 to $2,500 depending on the time of year and where you are flying from. Therefore, a rough estimate for the total cost, including flights, could be between $2,800 to $6,500. However, this does not include additional costs such as gear, tips for guides and porters, travel insurance, and potential visa fees.

Value Added Tax [Tax]

A value-added tax (VAT) of 18% of services is a type of general consumption tax that is placed on goods and services whenever a value is added at a stage of production or distribution. The Tanzanian government charges an 18% VAT to Kilimanjaro operators.

Common things that are included are accommodation, both one day before your trek starts and the day it ends in a hotel, camping or hut accommodation on the mountain, food and water during the trek. Your agency will also provide you with basic utilities like a dining and a sleeping tent, utensils for your meals and hot water. A major component of this price is the national park fees. You will also have to cater for vehicle entry fees, camping fees / Hut fees, Rescue fees, Crew fees and taxes etc. and these are included in this price. The fee is usually based on a daily limit, but the minimum fee fixed by the Tanzanian government is for a five day trek. We strongly recommend a minimum six day trek and ideally 7 or 8 day trek. Despite the higher price tag for longer routes, the success rates due to better acclimatization are unarguable.

The National Park or Conservation Fees is different for Tanzanian residents (and other EAC members ) and, as is usual, is much higher for non-residents. Do remember to carry your own first aid kit and snacks (energy bars) as well, because vendors are no longer allowed to sell these things on the route

mount Kilimanjaro

FLORA & FAUNA OF KILIMANJARO

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The mountain’s varying altitudes and climates contribute to its biodiversity, with each altitude level hosting different ecosystems. The lower slopes are covered in dense tropical rainforest, home to elephants, leopards, and various monkey species. As the altitude increases, the vegetation changes to moorland, populated by unique high-altitude plants like the giant groundsels and lobelias. The alpine desert zone, above the moorland, is largely devoid of large wildlife but hosts a few hardy bird and rodent species. The summit zone is inhospitable to most life forms due to its extreme conditions.

There are those who have devoted a lifetime study to the flora of Kilimanjaro, and even then have only scratched the surface. Diversity is the key word, and in certain species, such as the cloud forest orchids, these can experience relatively rapid evolution causing some merging of species and some confusion as to what is a species, a sub-species or merely a localised variation on an established theme.

The main floral features of Kilimanjaro are the Giant Lobelia, or Lobelia deckenii, a curious plant with an otherworldly structure and occasional gigantism thanks to high rainfall and intense tropical solar radiation. Another is the Tree Grounsel, or Senico Kilimanjari, a local variation of a common mountain plant seen on both Mount Kenya and Rwenzori. Another feature of the ecology is a selection of Protea varieties that again are a standard African highland floral species. These most commonly form part of the Cape Fynbos family. It is in fact a commercial species in many parts of Africa. The crisp, dry textured daisies that proliferate in many forms beyond the forest belt are the ubiquitous everlasting daisies, a perennial favourite in and pot pourri, and again a species common to most tropical highland regions of Africa.

A type of diminutive wild cedar of the Widdringtonia variety grows in what is known as heather fields of Kilimanjaro, and although not a heather in strict terms it certainly does give the slopes a temperate highland feel.

Animal and birdlife in the lower forests compete in every respect with the flora for sheer diversity. What can mostly be seen and heard are the larger primates consisting of the piebald Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys and of course the ubiquitous baboons. Forest elephants, giraffe and buffalo are all rare and secretive forest dwellers, but a chance encounter now and again is distinctly possible along certain routes.

Known disparagingly as a sky rat the white-collared raven is a very common sight. Sometimes a single pair will track a climbing party for an entire trip in the hope of bounty, and they have on occasions been known to advance their fortunes by raiding unattended camps. They are the safe-crackers of the local animal kingdom, and can unzip a backpack and locate a bag of noodles or candy with uncanny skill. They also mate for life and a single specimen will either be a juvenile or an adult that has lost its mate.

Look out for hornbills, a variety of raptors and a staggering diversity of smaller forest species. On higher ground the presence of life grows increasingly sparse, until eventually even the ravens peel of and leave you to your own devices as you ascend the kill-zone.

The snow on Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro Glaciers: The 4 Famous Glaciers

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is renowned for its four famous glaciers: the Northern Ice Field, the Eastern Ice Field, the Southern Ice Field, and the Furtwängler Glacier. These glaciers, despite being near the equator, exist due to the mountain’s high altitude. However, they have been rapidly receding due to climate change. The Furtwängler Glacier, in particular, has lost more than 80% of its mass since the early 20th century. These glaciers contribute to the unique beauty and biodiversity of Mount Kilimanjaro, attracting climbers and tourists from around the world.

What Are The 4 Famous Kilimanjaro Glacier?

Besides the Furtwangler Glacier, the Kilimanjaro Glacier also consists of the Rebmann Glacier, Credner Glacier, and Arrow Glacier.

Furtwängler Glacier

Furtwängler Glacier is located at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. It gets its name from mountaineer Walter Furtwängler. He, alongside Siegfried König started a fourth party and summited the mountain in 1912. The Kilimanjaro climb was quite legendary!

Unfortunately, from 1912 to 2023, about 85 percent of the ice cap melted and disappeared due to the changing weather conditions. The glacier was formed out of a small ice cap of Kilimanjaro and had been there for the longest time known. It has been estimated that the glacier is at least eleven thousand years old, dating back to 1650 CE.

One of the saddest realities, as per the statistics and patterns from the past to this date, is that the glacier is close to completely disappearing by the year 2060, which is not very far from the current time. All the ice had been estimated to have disappeared by 2040 at this pace.

The history of a drastic change in the glacier dates back to 1976 when the glacier started disappearing and making its complete half disappearance by the year 2000. Furtwangler went from 113,000 square meters (1,220,000 sq ft) to 60,000 m2 (650,000 sq ft). The decline was constant after the year. In 2018, the glacier had been cut to 11,000 m2 (120,000 sq ft). Though there is still a much smaller remnant of the glacier to this day, it had been forecasted from the declining patterns of the glaciers that it would be churned down to nothing by 2023. Thankfully, so has not been the case yet!

A mysterious thing happened in the Furtwangler glacier in 2006. A big hole was discovered by scientists during fieldwork in the center of the glacier. The hole runs deep to 6 meters (20 feet). This led to the glacier being cut into two halves the following year, in 2007.

Credner Glacier

Credner Glacier is located on the northwest slope at an elevation between 5,800 and 5,500 meters (19,000 and 18,000 ft) of Mount Kilimanjaro. This glacier is located in the top half of the glacier as well. The glacier goes down from the Northern Ice Field. This is possibly one of the largest glaciers in Tanzania, if not the largest. The Credner glacier, sadly, has been the target of the growing climate change and has been decreasing in size for a while now. In 2013, it was estimated that the glacier would perish in a decade. So is not the case, but the glacier’s end may be very close, considering how badly the climate is changing. Credner has always been the likelihood of retreating since it is in the most exposed area of Mount Kili.

Rebmann Glacier

In 1848, German explorer and mountaineer Johann Rebmann reported the observations of the glaciers in Kilimanjaro. This gave the name Rebmann Glacier as a tribute to Johann. Rebmann is located on the opposite side of Credner Glacier. Furthermore, it is a small remnant of the glacier in Kilimanjaro. The glacier has been retreating for many decades now, dating back to 1912, which makes it more than 100 years ago. And 82 percent of ice has perished from the glacier as of 2023.

Arrow Glacier

The Arrow Glacier is a small remnant of ice glacier in Mount Kilimanjaro located at an elevation between 5,470 and 5,300 meters (17,950 and 17,390 ft). The glacier is on the west side of the mountain. This glacier is adjacent to the Lemosho route of Mount Kilimanjaro. In the past, it had been forecasted that arrow glaciers may not even exist by 2011. Furthermore, Arrow Glacier did not possess the name since the very beginning of time. It was only called so after it lost big parts of itself and only remained as a very small piece of ice. The Arrow Glacier was once part of the Little Barranco Glacier, which has already perished.

What Type Of Glacier Has Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro has a tropical glacier alongside other peaks like Mount Kenya and the Rwenzori range across the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in Africa. All these mountains are very tall and cross an altitude of 5000 meters above sea level. This makes the mountain extremely cold and freezy throughout the year.

How Many Glaciers Are On Kilimanjaro?

In total, Kilimanjaro has 16 glaciers that have yet to be discovered and explored. Among all these, the four most famous are Arrow Glacier, Rebmann Glacier, Credner Glacier, and Furdwangler Glacier. All these glaciers have been dispersed in almost every direction of the mountain. Kilimanjaro glaciers are located all at the summit of the peak.

One of the most heartbreaking realities about the Kilimanjaro glacier is that there have been at least four glaciers that have already disappeared to this date and numerous others which have retreated or kept retreating. This is the result of excessive humidity and harsh climatic changes. The glaciers are melting or breaking down from their original forms even today. It has been forecasted by many explorers and intellectuals that the glaciers will no longer remain in existence and have the probability of disappearing completely with time.

Does Kilimanjaro Still Have A Glacier?

The activities in nature are unstoppable. Though there still are glaciers in Kilimanjaro, they are not in the same form as they used to be even a few years ago. The glaciers are retreating and perishing with time. It is also said that the glaciers have been existing in Mount Kilimanjaro for 11,700 years.

 MOUNT KILIMANJARO

Mount Kilimanjaro Climate – Five Main Mount Ecological Zones

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is unique for its five distinct ecological zones. The first zone, the bushland or lower slopes, is characterized by coffee and banana plantations. The second zone, the rainforest, is home to a variety of wildlife and receives high rainfall. The third zone, the heath and moorland, is a semi-alpine area with lower temperatures and less precipitation. The fourth zone, the alpine desert, is a harsh environment with extreme temperature fluctuations and very little life. The fifth and final zone, the arctic zone, is a barren landscape covered in ice and snow. Each zone has its unique climate, flora, and fauna.

LOWER SLOPES 

Altitude: 800m to 1800m
Rainfall: 500mm to 1800mm

The southern lower slopes of Kilimanjaro contain ample evidence of human activity. The original scrub and lowland forest have been replaced by grazing land, cultivation and densely populated settlements fed by water permeating from the forest zone. The slopes were originally earmarked by the British and Germans as potential settlement areas due to the ‘European’ weather. These lush and fertile lands are in stark contrast to the northern slopes where low rainfall coupled with the porosity of the lava soils prohibits cultivation. There are none of the larger mammals in this zone but some of the smaller tree-dwelling mammals are numerous such as bushbabies, tree hyrax, and genet.

 FOREST

Altitude: 1800 to 2800m
Rainfall: 2000mm to the south and west and under 1000mm to north and east

The forest belt completely encircles Kilimanjaro and provides the best conditions for plant life. It serves as the water provider for all the lower slopes with up to 96% of all the water on the mountain originating from this zone and then percolating down through the porous lava rock to emerge as springs. The forest supports a variety of wildlife including several large mammals such as elephants and buffalo and in certain areas, it is compulsory to have an armed guide. Occasionally eland inhabits the upper fringes of the forest. Colobus and blue monkeys are common, along with bushbuck, duikers, leopard, and bush-pig. The forest is often cloaked with a band of clouds, particularly between 2500m and 3000m. This cloud promotes high humidity and dampness year-round. Whilst clear nights can get pretty cold, during the day temperatures rarely leave the range 15C to 20C.

HEATH & MOORLAND

Altitude: 2800m to 4000m
Rainfall: 1300mm at the edge of the forest and 530mm at the upper limit.

This semi-alpine zone is characterized by a heathland type of vegetation and abundant wildflowers. Lobelia deckenii, a species of flowering plant, and Senecio Kilimanjaro, a giant groundsel, are endemic to the area and particularly striking. This zone does not support abundant wildlife due to its altitude but there have been sightings of hunting dogs, buffalo, elephants, and most commonly eland. The Shira plateau is even occasionally visited by lions. Smaller mammals are more common and support a few predators such as civets, servals, and leopards.

HIGHLAND DESERT

Altitude: 4000m to 5000m
Rainfall: 250mm

The temperature of the Kilimanjaro semi-desert zone ranges from sub-zero at night to 30C during the day. Water is scarce and there is little soil to retain any moisture. There are only 55 recorded plant species that survive at this altitude. Lichens and tussock grasses are present in reasonable numbers, as are some mosses. But as the soil is subject to movement overnight as the ground water freezes, most root plants find life extremely hard. There are no resident larger animals in the desert, although eland, leopard, serval and hunting dog all pass through on occasion. Only a few birds can survive in this rarefied air and once again none are resident. Ravens and some large birds of prey will hunt during the day but head downhill with the sunset.

THE SUMMIT OF KILIMANJARO

Altitude: 5000m – 5985m
Rainfall: under 100mm

An arctic zone characterized by freezing cold nights and a burning daytime sun. Oxygen levels are half that of sea level. There is minimal liquid surface water because of a combination of low rainfall and porous rock, and the bleak terrain supports minimal life forms. A few lichens grow, but only at a rate of about 1mm per year, so even the most unimpressive-looking spread is probably of venerable age. The highest recorded flowering plant was a Helichrysum newii at 5670m within the Kibo Crater but these are few and far between, as are sightings of mammals at this altitude

mount Kilimanjaro

Wildlife on Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is home to a diverse range of wildlife species, largely due to its varying climates and habitats. The lower slopes of the mountain are inhabited by elephants, leopards, buffalos, and monkeys, while the higher altitudes are home to smaller mammals like bushbabies and duikers. The mountain also hosts a variety of bird species, including sunbirds, warblers, and the endangered Abbott’s Starling. However, due to the harsh conditions at the highest altitudes, wildlife is sparse near the summit.

If you are ever around Mount Kilimanjaro, you will be going around on a safari ride. Kilimanjaro National Park will provide you with a view of different animals in the area. However, you will get to see a wide variety of animals as you go higher for mount climbing. Not only the daytime but nighttime also serves to be the best to find some nocturnal animals in the Kilimanjaro area. Animals and birds are easily spotted on the slopes on the lower sides of the mountain.

District Zones In Mount Kilimanjaro To Find Wildlife

There are five district zones in Kilimanjaro where you can find wildlife, namely; cultivated zone, rainforest zone, Afro-alpine moorland zone, alpine desert zone, arctic zone at 800 m to 1,800 m, 1,800 m to 2,800 m, 2,800 m to 4,000 m, 4,000 m to 5,000 m, and above 5,000 m respectively.

Mammals On Mount Kilimanjaro

When you are in the lower ranges of Kilimanjaro, you will get to see several mammals like, elephants, bush babies (galagos), cape buffaloes, black rhinos, giraffes, leopards, servals, hyenas, baboons, monkeys, antelopes, aardvarks, mongooses, porcupines, honey badgers, and tree hyraxes.

The larger animals like cape buffaloes, black rhinos, and elephants roam around the lower range. While you may spot them around the lower range of the national park, it is least likely for them to go to higher ranges which lowers the chances of you seeing them anywhere around the base camp. The dangers of being attacked by such animals around the night while ascending Mount Kilimanjaro, hence, aren’t probable. But, in exceptional cases, you might want to watch for such animals even when you are in the higher ranges, as you always have to remain safe regardless of the low chances of them being there.

Monkeys On Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is famous for the widest range of the rarest monkeys in the world. Old-world monkeys in the area are very common. These monkeys are often found in the rainforest belt of the wildlife reserve. The ever enthusiastic breed of monkeys called blue monkeys or diademed monkeys are always around. They are not very afraid of humans. Hence you can encounter them up close around the national park. Another common breed of monkey is the black-and-white colobus monkey. They are, however, more timid in comparison to the blue monkeys. Regardless, finding them around the Kilimanjaro area will not be as hard.

Antelopes on Kilimanjaro

You will find many types of antelopes on Kilimanjaro, including red and grey duikers, Abbot’s duikers, mountain reedbucks, common elands, klipspringers, and bushbuck. Common elands (or oryxes) are the bigger antelopes in the area. These species are 1.6m tall and can weigh up to 940 kg ranging from 400 kg. Likewise, there are extremely small species like klipspringers who only weigh a maximum of 18 kg. Klipspringers are monogamous to their mates and are nocturnal. Another amazing fact about this species is that they walk on the tip of their hooves. Similarly, the most endangered species on Kilimanjaro is Abbot’s duikers. They can only be found in Tanzania. These animals are likely to hide in their thick vegetation. They are, again, nocturnal by nature.

Chameleons On Kilimanjaro

Chameleons can be found widely on Kilimanjaro. One of the rarest types of chameleon, three-horned chameleons, are in big numbers on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro. The female of this species does not have any horns. These chameleons are the natives only in East Africa. Kilimanjaro two-horned chameleon or Dwarf Fischer’s chameleon are found in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. These are just as rare to find in general. However, it can be found in good numbers in Kilimanjaro.

Nocturnal Wildlife On Kilimanjaro

Nocturnal animals are the ones that are wide awake during the night time in contrast to the daytime. Some of the most common nocturnal animals on Kilimanjaro are klipspringers, bush babies, and tree hyraxes. Bush babies have the appearance of innocence because of their big and round eyes. However, they are harder to spot because of their timid nature. Tree hyraxes or tree dassies are Kilimanjaro’s most common and noisy nocturnal animals. Their screeches can be heard not just in the lower ranges but also in the upper ranges. Likewise, while they look similar to a rabbit, they are far relatives of elephants and manatees. They tend to way up to only 2 kg.

Birds On Kilimanjaro

There are about 179 different species of birds in Kilimanjaro which includes; vultures, buzzards, ravens, hornbills, turacos (Laurie), shrikes, hornbills, cuckoos, flycatchers, barbets, chats, woodpeckers, bee-eaters, and sunbirds. In the moorland area of the base camp, you will spot White-necked ravens. Another beautiful species of bird in Kilimanjaro is the African pygmy kingfisher. Abbot’s starling can be found only in some areas of Kenya and Tanzania. Therefore, if you are around the Kilimanjaro wildlife area, you will surely get a rare sighting of this bird species. Emerald malachite sunbird is terrific-looking birds that are rare but can be spotted in the Kilimanjaro area. And you will not want to miss out on the unique African pitta in Kilimanjaro.

Which Routes Should I Take To Find Wildlife On Kilimanjaro?

While there are quite many routes that you can take on your way up to the top of Kilimanjaro, there are some routes that are better than others. The most commonly taken route will be The Northern Circuit or Grand Traverse if you want to find sightings of birds and animals. A large number of animals roam around the northern part of Kilimanjaro. This gives you the option of exploring more animals and birds in this circuit. The nine-day route of the Northern circuit allows one to spot and explore various animals and birds in Kilimanjaro.

The Rongai route in the northeast also provides you with an impressive range of wildlife. The Lemosho and Machame routes are other great routes to find wildlife on Kilimanjaro. You will be ascending through the rainforests. Whatsoever, the trekking and walk-up will be gentler than you may think. The Shira route and the Marangu route are also an option for you. But, these routes have a comparatively difficult ascend and descent which makes the former routes more convenient and better options.

Do Lions Live On Kilimanjaro?

You will not encounter animals as large and dangerous as lions in Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro has a wider range of mammals and giant animals; however, predators like lions are not present in the mountain area or the base camp either. Besides, you are safe from lion attacks even around the national park area. Whatever, you must be aware enough to find animals like elephants, monkeys, antelope, and Abbott’s Duiker in the lower ranges of Kilimanjaro.

Do Gorillas Live On Mount Kilimanjaro?

No, you will not find any gorillas on Mount Kilimanjaro. However, if you take a 1-and-a-half-hour flight to Kigali, you will find mountain gorillas there. In Kilimanjaro, there are no such primates as gorillas, though.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO

MOUNT KILIMANJARO TEMPERATURE

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, experiences a wide range of temperatures due to its elevation. At its base, the average temperature is around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius). As you ascend, the temperature drops approximately 1 degree Celsius for every 200 meters in altitude gained. The summit, at 5,895 meters above sea level, can experience temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius. The temperature can also vary greatly between day and night, with nights being significantly colder.

RAIN FOREST ZONE  (~800 Meters – 3,000 Meters)

From the earliest part of your trek you are going to be confronted with tropical rain forest. Humidity is high and light mist or sometimes drizzle is common. Various flora such as orchids, ferns, fig and olive trees cover this area of Kilimanjaro. You will likely see Blue and Colobus monkeys, and if you are trekking from the North-East Rongai route or Western Lemosho, Shira or Northern Circuit you may even see elephant, buffalo and large antelope.

LOW ALPINE ZONE (~3,000 Meters – 4,200 Meters)

At approximately.3,000 metres the rainforest rapidly gives way to semi-arid grasslands and moorlands, this area is known as the low alpine zone. Heather and small shrubs cover the landscape, the weather is significantly less humid and temperatures can get to sub-zero in the evening. The most prominent flora features in this zone are the Senecios and Giant Lobelias, which look like deformed palm trees. Fauna is sparse; however you will likely see crows overhead foraging for food.

HIGH ALPINE ZONE (~4,200 Meters – 5,000 Meters)

This zone is characterised by an arid desert environment that is rather inhospitable. During the day temperatures are hot and solar radiation is high (make sure to apply lots of sun-cream). At night temperatures plummet to below freezing. From this zone the slopes of Kibo and Kilimanjaro’s summit come into perfect view.

GLACIAL ZONE (5000 To 5,895 Meters)

The final zone houses the upper reaches of Kibo and Mawenzi and consists of high altitude artic conditions. Life is very scarce in this zone as oxygen levels are near half what they were on the lower reaches of the mountain. Fine glacial silt covers the slopes that reach up to Kilimanjaro’s summit and large glaciers are visible from Kilimanjaro’s crater rim. Due to the high solar radiation during the day, freezing temperatures at night, gale force winds and low oxygen levels, this zone is not one where you want to stay too long!

SNOW ON KILIMANJARO

Snow on Kilimanjaro can occur all year round, but the most common months are November through March. Here is a chart showing average snowfall by month.

WHAT IS THE TEMPERATURE AT TOP OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO?

The temperature at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro can range from 0 to -20 degrees Celsius (32 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit). A big factor that drives the temperature at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro is the wind. The wind chill factor can make a relatively cold night, like -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit), feel like -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s worth noting that temperatures at the summit are colder at night, which is the time that most trekkers push for the summit. By late morning it can actually feel quite hot at the summit, especially on a windless clear day.

WHICH ARE THE WETTEST MONTHS ON KILIMANJARO?

The wettest months on Kilimanjaro are April and May. These are not good months to hike the mountain. Later March can also see quite a lot of rain. There is a short rainy season in November as well. The Northern side of Kilimanjaro is in a rain shadow, so if you’re limited to these months, then try the Rongai route.

mount kilimanjaro

KILIMANJARO ROUTES

Kilimanjaro Routes are the designated paths that climbers use to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. There are seven main routes: Marangu, Machame, Lemosho, Shira, Rongai, Northern Circuit, and Umbwe. Each route varies in terms of difficulty, scenery, traffic, and the number of days required for the climb. The Marangu route is the most popular, often referred to as the “Coca-Cola” route, while the Machame route, known as the “Whiskey” route, is considered the most scenic. The choice of route depends on the climber’s experience, fitness level, and personal preference.

MARANGU ROUTE

The Marangu Route, often referred to as the “Coca Cola” route, is one of the most popular routes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Known for its relative ease compared to other routes, it offers sleeping huts along the way for climbers, and is the only route that can be hiked in five days, although six days are recommended for better acclimatization. Despite its reputation for being easier, the success rate is not as high as other routes due to the faster ascent.

MACHAME ROUTE

The Machame Route, also known as the “Whiskey” route, is one of the most popular routes to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Known for its scenic beauty, the route approaches the summit from the southwest and descends using the Mweka route, offering climbers varied and stunning landscapes. Despite its popularity, the Machame Route is considered a difficult route due to its steep trails and is recommended for more experienced climbers.

LEMOSHO ROUTE

The Lemosho Route is a popular trekking path for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, known for its beautiful scenery and high success rate. It starts on the western side of the mountain and crosses over the Shira Plateau, before joining the Machame Route. The trek typically takes 7 to 8 days, allowing climbers to acclimatize to the altitude. The Lemosho Route is considered one of the most scenic routes on Mount Kilimanjaro, offering panoramic views of various sides of the mountain.

NORTHERN CIRCUITS ROUTE

The Northern Circuits Route is a popular trekking path in Tanzania, known for being the longest route to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro. It offers a complete traverse of the mountain, allowing trekkers to see every aspect of Kilimanjaro’s diverse environments. The route takes approximately nine days to complete, providing a high success rate due to its longer acclimatization period. The Northern Circuits Route is less crowded compared to other routes, offering a more solitary and serene experience.

RONGAI ROUTE

The Rongai Route is one of the less crowded paths to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Starting from the northeastern side of the mountain near the Kenyan border, the route offers a unique wilderness experience with the possibility of spotting wildlife. It is considered one of the easier routes, with a gradual ascent that allows for better acclimatization, although it is less scenic compared to other routes. The descent is made through the Marangu Route.

UMBWE ROUTE

The Umbwe Route is one of the shortest but also the most challenging and demanding routes to reach Uhuru Peak, the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Known for its steep and rapid ascent, it is often chosen by experienced climbers who are well-prepared for the physical and mental challenges it presents. The route offers stunning and diverse landscapes, from rainforests to moorlands, but has a low success rate due to the difficulty of acclimatization.

SHIRA ROUTE

The Shira Route is one of the six main routes used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. It is considered one of the more difficult paths due to its high altitude and steep climbs. The route starts at Shira Gate on the western side of the mountain and traverses across Shira Plateau, one of the highest plateaus in the world. Despite its difficulty, the Shira Route is known for its stunning panoramic views and diverse landscapes.

WESTERN BREACH ROUTE

The Western Breach Route is one of the most challenging and less-traveled paths to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. It involves a steep climb and potential rockfall danger, making it suitable for experienced climbers. The route approaches the summit from the west and includes an overnight stay at the Arrow Glacier camp. Despite its challenges, the Western Breach Route offers stunning views and a unique climbing experience.

CRATER CAMP KILIMANJARO: AFRICA HIGHEST CAMP

Crater Camp is a campsite located near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Situated at an altitude of approximately 18,800 feet, it is nestled in the mountain’s crater, next to the Furtwangler Glacier. The camp is not frequently used due to its high altitude and the associated health risks, but it offers climbers a unique opportunity to explore the glaciers and ash pit of Kilimanjaro. It is typically used by climbers on longer routes who want to spend an extra day acclimatizing or exploring the summit area.

KILIMANJARO ASH PIT : THE CENTER OF THE VOLCANO

The Kilimanjaro Ash Pit is a volcanic crater located at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. It is part of the dormant Kibo volcano, one of the three volcanic cones of Mount Kilimanjaro. The ash pit is approximately 140 meters deep and 360 meters wide, and it is considered one of the most perfectly formed volcanic craters in the world. Despite the harsh conditions at the summit, the ash pit is a popular destination for climbers and adventurers.

Mount Kilimanjaro

MOUNT KILIMANJARO DIFFICULTY LEVELS

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest mountain in Africa and is a popular destination for climbers. However, the difficulty of climbing Kilimanjaro should not be underestimated. Despite not requiring technical climbing skills, the trek is physically demanding due to the high altitude, low temperature, and occasional high winds. The main challenge for most climbers is altitude sickness, which can be life-threatening if not managed properly. Proper acclimatization, physical preparation, and a slow ascent can increase the chances of a successful climb. 

The trek involves daily hiking for 5 to 8 hours, with significant elevation gains of 1,000 to 2,000+ feet (305 to 610+ meters) per day. This demanding level of trekking will be experienced throughout the trip, and you should be in excellent physical shape to undertake the climb. Before attempting the trek, it is recommended to engage in regular workouts, including at least 4 one-hour sessions per week. Ideally, some of these workouts should involve hiking with a small backpack, gradually increasing the duration and altitude gain if possible.

The distance covered on the Kilimanjaro trek is not the main challenge; a seven-night trek can add up to as little as 150 kilometers or 100 miles, and about half of it is optional. The focus lies on the elevation gain and acclimatization process. Each day on the trail usually starts with a 2-4 hour morning walk, covering most, if not all, of the distance between camps. In the afternoons, trekkers are encouraged to participate in additional acclimatization treks, which take them higher in altitude before returning to camp to sleep at a lower altitude. This acclimatization process helps the body adjust to the altitude and reduces the risk of altitude sickness. These treks typically last for 2-5 hours.

The summit day of Mount Kilimanjaro is particularly challenging, involving around 12-15 hours of continuous walking to reach the top. It’s a long and grueling day, often with cold temperatures and difficult terrain.

For a seven-night trek, you can expect a total of around 56 hours of walking. However, the average walking speed tends to be quite slow due to the high altitude and challenging conditions.

Mount Kilimanjaro Elevation Gain

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest single free-standing mountain in the world, with an elevation gain of approximately 4,900 meters (16,100 feet) from its base to the summit. The mountain’s peak, known as Uhuru Peak, stands at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. The elevation gain is significant and challenging, making acclimatization crucial for climbers to avoid altitude sickness.

1. Northern Circuit: 2,100 M (6,890 Ft) At Lemosho Gate

This is the longest route in Kilimanjaro. Yet, it is also the most common route taken by travelers. The Northern circuit route will take up to 9 days of trekking, extending towards the Lemosho route to the Shira plateau. The Lemosho route is west, while the travelers must cross the Lava Tower and head north to the Rongai route. When you take the Northern route, you should climb from the eastern side and descend from the southern side of the Mweka route.

The Northern Circuit may be one of the most commonly chosen and longest routes, but it is not for those with bad health and fitness. This route might lead to difficulty and a lot of tiredness which is not always the best experience for all. If you want to take a route where you can go slow in case any respiration problem arises in the higher route, however, then this route might be it for you.

2. Lemosho Route: 2,100 M (6,890 Ft) At Lemosho Gate

The Lemosho route at 2100m at Lemosho Gate is probably one of the best routes anyone can take when they are looking to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. This is one of the most scenic yet convenient routes of all time. And it has been highly preferred by travelers as well. Moreover, the chances of altitude sickness lessen when traveling from the Lemosho route because it will take you eight days which is good enough to familiarize yourself with the altitude sickness probable as the altitude increases.

The Lemosho route is also famous for the forests you will go through before you summit the peak of Kilimanjaro. The route is around 70 km or 42 miles. It joins with the Machame route. And, it is not likely for you to take more than 7 to 8 days at maximum if you trek continually, given the fact that you are not suffering from any respiratory diseases or accidents along the way, which is a lot less likely in this route.

How hard is the Lemosho route, though? Well, the answer to this is quite simple. The Lemosho route is probably the easiest route to Kilimanjaro. The longer route serves for better acclimatization. One of the downsides for many travelers, whatsoever, might be that they have to go up to the Barranco Wall, and the mountain only gets steeper and steeper until summited.

3. Shira Route: 3,414 M (11,200 Ft) At Morum Barrier

The Shira route has always been compared to the Lemosho route. But a major difference between these two is that the Shira route is a far less advanced version of the Lemosho route. While the Lemosho route makes it easier for travelers to get proper acclimatization, the Shira route makes it impossible to get better acclimatization, with the summit ending at six days. Most travelers tend to suffer the most on this route. Moreover, the Shira route starts higher from the west at Morum Barrier. In comparison to other easier routes, including the Lemosho route, the Shira route requires you to get used to the changing altitudes much quicker due to the high altitude it begins its route with. It would not be wrong to call the Lemosho route a more developed version of the Shira route, though.

4. Machame Route: 1,640 M (5,380 Ft) At Machame Gate

After the Lemosho route, the Machame route is the easiest route a traveler can take. One of the pros of the Machame route is that it does not take long to climb the mountain and be able to summit it, even for beginners. Though inexperienced backpackers might not have the easiest time climbing the mountain, the Machame route at Machame Gate is probably one of the best for proper acclimatization. The length of this route is 62 km or 37 miles. And since the route is short, it will take around six days to trek through this route. Beginners are recommended to start from the Machame route.

5. Marangu Route: 1,843 M (6,047 Ft) At Marangu Gate

Marangu route approaches the peak of Kilimanjaro from the southeast. This route is probably the easiest as it is also the shortest taking only 5-6 days. The time taken to summit through this route is just around five days. Whatsoever, the benefit might also become a back draw for many as this route will lessen the chances of acclimatization for people. Speaking of the length, the route is 72 kilometers (45 miles) long. Sadly, this route has only a 50% success rate which is quite low considering the success rates of routes like Lemosho. This is mostly due to the lack of time travelers get to adjust their respiration as the altitude changes quickly and fast.

6. Rongai Route: 1,950 M (6,398 Ft) At Rongai Gate

When you take the Rongai route, you climb the mountain from the northeastern side. The success rate of climbing from the Rongai route is 80% which is quite impressive. And it will take travelers about 6 to 7 days at most to climb the mountain through this route. You also get to experience the wilderness of Kilimanjaro through the Rongai route.

7. Umbwe Route: 1,800 M (5,906 Ft) At Umbwe Gate

The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. But, this does not play any significance in the summit’s success. Travelers will likely suffer from oxygen problems and hardships on the Umbwe route. The Umbwe route is probably one of the riskiest, mostly because it takes only five days. The shortness contributes to bad acclimatization and hence higher risks of suffering from health mishaps. Among all the other elevation gains of Mount Kilimanjaro, this is the most dangerous.

KILIMANJARO WEATHER FORECAST

Mount Kilimanjaro’s weather is highly variable due to its elevation and location near the equator. The mountain experiences a range of climates, from tropical at the base to arctic conditions at the summit. The lower slopes are warm and humid, while the higher altitudes are cold and dry. Rainfall is most common during the two rainy seasons, from March to May and November to December. The best times to climb are during the dry seasons, from June to October and January to February. Temperatures at the summit can drop below freezing, especially at night.

At the base of the mountain, the weather is typically warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). As climbers ascend, the temperature decreases and the weather becomes colder and more challenging.

On the lower slopes, climbers might experience a temperate climate with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). As they climb higher, they enter the alpine zone where temperatures drop even further. In the alpine zone, temperatures can range from -10°C to 10°C (14°F to 50°F).

As climbers reach the summit, the weather conditions become extremely harsh. The summit area is characterized by freezing temperatures, strong winds, and low oxygen levels. Temperatures at the summit can drop as low as -20°C (-4°F) or even lower, especially during the night.

Mt Kilimanjaro is Big. If fact, it is so big, that it changes the climate around itself and has it’s own weather  system. Mt Kilimanjaro, in terms of weather, is a huge huge obstruction to the trade winds that bring along with it, precipitation. When moisture laden winds encounter an obstruction, there are two ways they can go – around the obstruction or over it. It is usually a combination of both. Mt Kilimanjaro, however, is so big that it forces these winds to go higher, which results in them cooling. These form the basis of rain or snow on and around the mountain. These patterns are studied in detail by scientists and, interestingly, paragliders.

Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro

The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is during its two dry seasons, January to mid-March and June to October. During these periods, the weather is generally more predictable and the risk of rainfall is lower, making the climb less challenging. However, it’s important to note that the mountain can be climbed at any time of the year, and weather can be unpredictable at high altitudes.

Mount Kilimanjaro Sunrise

HOW FIT DO YOU NEED TO BE TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO?

Climbing Kilimanjaro is graded strenuous and you should be in good physical fitness and have experience of multi-day trekking or walking trips prior to undertaking a Kilimanjaro climb. Most days involve 4 – 7 hours of walking at altitude and the summit day is very strenuous with most people walking for between 14 – 18 hours. Even for fit people, the effects of altitude can make the climb very tough.

The most challenging day of your Kilimanjaro Climb, regardless of which Kilimanjaro route you choose, will be the summit day. Because the time for acclimatisation is limited most people will suffer from mild Acute Mountain Sickness and this combined with a very long day of walking will make it one of the toughest days of your life.The trails on Kilimanjaro are generally clear and well maintained, although they can be slippery lower down and, you will be walking over shale closer to the summit.

The Barranco Wall on the Machame and Lemosho routes involves an easy scramble for 1.5 hours and the final climb to the summit is on loose scree and rock and can be snowy/icy. The climb is a hike so no specialist climbing skills are necessary. You must have done extensive hill-walking or aerobic exercise in the run-up to your Kilimanjaro Climb. If you do not currently enjoy a good level of fitness it may take many months of training to reach a suitable level of fitness to enjoy the walk. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase your fitness. Try to exercise for between 30 and 45 minutes three times per week (walking, running, cycling or swimming) and go for long walks on the weekends which should include some hills. A good local gym will be able to draw up a fitness program for you on request.

You must consult your doctor prior to embarking on a fitness program or this trip if your answer is YES to any of the following questions:

Has your doctor ever told you that you have a heart condition?

Have you had any pains in your chest or heart?

Do you frequently lose your balance, feel faint or have spells of severe dizziness?

Has your doctor has ever said that your blood pressure is too high?

Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?

Are you taking any prescription medications, such as those for heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes?

Do you know of any other reason why you should not engage in physical activity?

Are you pregnant?

What’s The Best Training For The Kilimanjaro Plan?

You should do at least 6-8 weeks of training before embarking on your Kilimanjaro trek. The best type of training is long-distance mountain trail walking. If you can’t get out into the mountains though, then aerobic gym workouts (running, cross-training, swimming, etc.), that combine some strength work (especially leg workouts) are a good bet. See our detailed Kilimanjaro training guide.

What Is The Minimum Age To Climb Kilimanjaro?

The minimum age to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is 10 years old, as set by the Kilimanjaro National Park. However, many tour operators recommend that climbers be at least 12 to 14 years old due to the physical demands and potential health risks associated with high-altitude trekking. Ultimately, the decision is dependent on the child’s physical fitness, mental maturity, and previous hiking experience.

How Long Does It Take To Climb Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro typically takes between five to nine days, depending on the route chosen. The journey involves trekking through five different climatic zones, with the final ascent often starting around midnight to reach the summit by dawn. Adequate time is needed for acclimatization to prevent altitude sickness. The quick descent usually takes one to two days.

Available Routes

Route Distance

Number of Days

Marangu Route

64 km (40 miles)

5

Umbwe Route

37 km (23 miles)

6

Rongai Route

65 km (23 miles)

6 or 7

Machame Route

49 km (30 miles)

6 or 7

Lemosho route

66 km (35 miles)

7,8 or 9

Northern Circuit

66 km (35 miles)

8 or 9

Shira Route

56 km (33 miles)

6,7 or 8

If you are looking for a short-lasting adventure in the mountain the Marangu and Umbe routes are the best options, with an average expedition of 5 days, Your conquest of the Kilimanjaro mountain will be complete within the 5 days. However, if you are not an experienced mountaineer or you haven’t done high-altitude trekking, both of these routes can be a bit too much for you.

Only for mountaineers enthusiasts who have recently climbed a high-altitude mountain and are with the element of the pre-acclimatization process. These short routes with relatively quicker ascend and descend won’t put much toll on their body as it used to acclimatization process.

Both Marangu and Umbwe are quick-paced routes with short periods to get accustomed to the acclimatization process. Thus, if you are relatively new to climbing and don’t share many experiences with similar high-altitude adventures, it will be better if you stick with the longer routes with enough period to adapt to the significant elevation of the mountain.

On the other hand, the Rongai, Machame, Lemosho, Northern Circuit, and Shira routes are the longer alternative routes lasting from 6 to 9 days. These five routes give enough time for the climbers to get accustomed to the acclimatization process. So if you are new to trekking and climbing adventures, taking these longer alternatives will increase the chances for successful scaling of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Is It Hard To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is considered a challenging feat, but it does not require any technical climbing skills or special equipment, making it accessible to non-professional climbers. The main difficulties come from the high altitude, which can cause altitude sickness, and the physical endurance required for the long trek. The success rate varies depending on the route and the climber’s physical condition, but proper preparation, acclimatization, and a good guide can significantly increase the chances of reaching the summit.

Kilimanjaro Guide

ALTITUDE SICKNESS PREVENTION ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO

Altitude sickness prevention on Mount Kilimanjaro involves a combination of proper acclimatization, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. Climbers are advised to ascend slowly, allowing their bodies to adjust to the decreasing oxygen levels. Medications like Acetazolamide can also be used to prevent and reduce the symptoms of altitude sickness. It’s crucial to listen to your body and not push beyond your limits. If symptoms of altitude sickness occur, it’s important to descend immediately to a lower altitude.

ALTITUDE ZONES

High altitude: 2400m to 4200m

This zone covers the majority of all treks, except the first half day on some of the lower starting routes. Here you can expect to be seriously impacted by the effects of altitude in terms of workload and stamina and you may start to feel mild symptoms of sickness such as headaches and nausea.

Very high altitude: 4200m to 5400m

This zone covers the night before the summit attempt on all routes and, on better routes, one or two acclimatization hikes on earlier days. Here the effects of altitude are starting to become more acute, walking at anything other than a snail’s pace is quickly tiring. Most people will now be experiencing adverse symptoms unless they are taking supplementary oxygen. Some people cannot handle this altitude at all and need to be removed from the mountain.

Extreme altitude: above 5400m

The levels commonly known as “the death zone” cover much of the summit attempt, with Uhuru Peak at 5895m. At these altitudes your body is operating below its respiratory equilibrium and is unavoidably deteriorating, if you stayed up here too long without additional oxygen you would die. You are making a run for the summit to get down before you succumb to the adverse effects. If you have supplementary oxygen then you can take your time and will be more likely to appreciate what’s going on around you.

TYPES OF ALTITUDE SICKNESS

There are three different types of altitude sickness. The first is the most common and can often be managed without recourse to evacuation from the mountain. The other two are much more serious and tend to lead to immediate removal to lower altitudes

ALTOXIA

During a trek on Kilimanjaro, it is likely that more than 75% of trekkers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness caused by a failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at increased altitudes.

This type of altitude sickness is known as altoxia. This term is used almost exclusively on Kilimanjaro since this is the only commonly trekked mountain where these extreme altitudes are encountered so quickly.

Altoxia is most commonly experienced on the summit approach, but can also occur earlier in a trek, especially during day hikes to higher altitudes, in which case it should recede as the trek overnights at a lower altitude.

Altoxia can have many different symptoms, the most common being headaches, light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and mild swelling of the face, ankles, and fingers. These symptoms can be rather unpleasant, add a new dimension to the adversity faced by trekkers, and can take the shine off the experience. However, in this mild form, altoxia does not generally have serious consequences and normally disappears within 48 hours.

Aspirin is recommended for headaches because it also thins the blood, improving circulation and oxygen delivery to the body. Strong painkillers are not recommended as they can suppress respiration.

The symptoms of altoxia are commonly relieved or even eliminated by the use of an ALTOX Personal Oxygen System or by taking Diamox, more on these methods below.

One unusual but not usually so serious a problem is Cheynes Stokes Breathing, which involves waking up at night gasping for breath. Trekkers should not panic about this, it is simply because the slow breathing at rest is not able to pull in enough oxygen from the thin air. A period of panting should restore you to normality.

ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS

If the symptoms of altoxia become persistent or severe, then there is a danger of acute mountain sickness developing. This is much more severe and must be treated by immediate removal to lower altitudes. There are two distinct forms of this sickness …

HAPE: High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema: “Water On The Lungs”

High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema is characterized, by breathlessness at rest, a very high pulse, a crackling sound in the chest, and the coughing of pink fluid (sputum). This condition is rapidly fatal unless the patient experiences immediate descent. There are no drugs to cure the condition and no possibility of re-ascent following an episode.

HACE: High Altitude Cerebral Oedema: “Swelling Of The Brain”

High Altitude Cerebral Oedema is a combination of two or more of the following: Very severe headache, severe loss of balance, mental confusion, and repeated vomiting. This condition is rapidly fatal unless the casualty experiences immediate descent. There are no drugs to cure the condition and no possibility of re-ascent following an episode.

Treatment Of HAPE And HAPE

Trekkers should not be too scared by all this talk, but it is essential to understand that if you push on up the mountain or remain at the same altitude with HAPE or HACE then you will probably die. People do. The only correct resolution is immediate descent.

Our guides are all very experienced in dealing with the problems of altitude. They will be constantly monitoring you for symptoms.

It may be necessary for you to descend to a lower altitude until you recover or even to abandon the trek in the interests of safety. The decision of the guide in such situations is final.

AVOIDING ALTITUDE SICKNESS

Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), can be avoided by taking several precautions. Gradual ascent is key, allowing your body time to acclimatize to the decreased oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Staying hydrated, avoiding alcohol, and eating a high-carbohydrate diet can also help. It’s also recommended to take rest days during your ascent, and medication like Acetazolamide can be used for prevention. If symptoms of altitude sickness such as headache, dizziness, or shortness of breath occur, it’s crucial to descend to a lower altitude immediately.

High water intake

A fluid intake of 4 to 5 effects per day is recommended. Fluid intake improves circulation and most other bodily functions, but does not increase fluid leakage from the body. Thirst should not be an indicator of proper fluid intake, if your urine is clear then you are drinking enough.

Walk slow

The pace at which you walk is a critical factor on all routes. Unless there is a very steep uphill section your breathing rate should be the same as if you were walking down a street. If you cannot hold a conversation you are walking too fast. Breathing through the nose for the first 2 days of the trek will limit the pace. Walk softly, allowing your knees to gently cushion each pace. “Pole pole” (slowly slowly) is the phrase that will echo around your head as it is repeated to you by the yourliter guides.

Walk high sleep low

If you have enough energy and are not feeling the acclimatization of altitude, then you might take an afternoon stroll further up the mountain before descending to sleep. All our routes already include these recommended acclimatization walks whenever possible.

Personal Oxygen Systems

An ALTOX Personal Oxygen System is a set of equipment that provides a low-dosage, oxygen supply to a trekker on the mountain. Whereas drugs such as Diamox allow you to push your body harder in a high altitude environment, an ALTOX Personal Oxygen System serves to lower the effective altitude, causing your body to have to work less hard. It is therefore much safer and more predictable. All trekkers using an ALTOX Personal Oxygen System should experience considerable relief from the symptoms of extreme altitude, have greater energy, and experience less of the mental haziness that can impair the summit experience, massively increasing the overall levels of enjoyment of the trek. Trekkers using these systems increase their chances of reaching the Crater Rim by 4% and going on to the summit by a remarkable 7%.

Around 37% of all our trekkers now use ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems, the number rising to 63% on the shorter 5 and 6-night routes. Of course, the additional cost is a considerable factor for some trekkers, so if you choose not to take oxygen then we are more than happy to support you in that decision. Whilst there can indeed be an initial feeling on the part of trekkers that using an oxygen system might be a little over the top, once on the mountain and starting to suffer the first mild symptoms of altoxia, these concerns quickly fade and the vast majority of trekkers are delighted that they have decided to go with oxygen.

On the summit attempt itself, we had anticipated that trekkers from other groups may view those using oxygen rather disparagingly, but in reality, the dynamic seems to be rather different. Everyone without oxygen suffers to such an extent on those nighttime summit pitches that they all want to know why on earth no one told them that they should be using oxygen. As one of our head guides put it: “If we had a little stall renting oxygen kits out at the high camps everyone would have one, no matter what the price!

It is very important to note that we cannot guarantee the availability of ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems. In peak season we sometimes do not have enough systems to meet demand; the economics make it impossible for us to stock in sufficient numbers. It is therefore essential that you book as far in advance as possible to maximize your chances.

The ALTOX equipment

An ALTOX Personal Oxygen System works by supplying oxygen directly into the nostrils through a small plastic tube, or nasal cannula, connected to a small oxygen cylinder carried in a backpack. The clever part of the system is the controller, or pulse dose meter, which detects when the user is commencing an inward breath and delivers a small and precise dose of oxygen during the first part of the intake, ensuring that the valuable oxygen reaches the deepest parts of the lungs. This method of dosing makes it possible for each oxygen cylinder to last for 7 to 10 hours, rather than the usual 40 to 50 minutes.

ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems are serious bits of kit, with a proven track record in extreme environments. They have been used since 2007 by American, British, and other armed services, on successful ascents of Mount Everest, by Chinook helicopter pilots and crews during high-altitude special forces deployments, by extreme altitude skydivers and para-gliders, by pilots of unpressurized light aircraft and by pilots of military aircraft in the event of pressurization systems failure.

Each ALTOX Personal Oxygen System comprises …

2 x lightweight oxygen cylinders
1 x regulator
1 x pulse dose meter
1 x inline flow indicator
1 x tubing with nasal cannula

The kit that we provide contains two oxygen cylinders, each weighing 3kg or 6.6lbs. The first cylinder is usually used partly during a practice session during the middle part of a trek and on the evening of the summit attempt. The second cylinder is usually then used for the summit attempt itself. If you are not acclimatising well on the first few days of the trek you can also use some of the oxygen whilst resting at the lower camps to ease your acclimatisation. The kits are carried by the porters on all days when they are being used.

ALTITUDE DRUGS

Altitude drugs, also known as altitude sickness medications, are used to prevent or treat the symptoms of altitude sickness. This condition can occur when someone ascends to high altitudes too quickly. The most common altitude drug is Acetazolamide (Diamox), which works by increasing the amount of bicarbonate excreted in the urine, thus making the blood more acidic and stimulating breathing, improving oxygenation. Other drugs like Dexamethasone and Nifedipine are also used to treat severe cases of altitude sickness. These medications should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Kilimanjaro guideWe only provide Emergency Oxygen Systems for treks at our two higher specification levels, Superior and Premium. For the two lower specifications, Basic and Standard, we do not include systems as we do not want to burden treks with unnecessary costs, as outlined below.

What are Emergency Oxygen Systems?

Emergency Oxygen Systems are simply cylinders of compressed oxygen that can be used by trekkers who are starting to show symptoms of altitude sickness and need to be removed from the mountain. They are not used to keep trekkers on the mountain, but only in the event of evacuation.

Emergency Oxygen Systems should not be confused with ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems. An ALTOX Personal Oxygen System is designed to provide oxygen at low dosages to assist a trekker in continuing their Kilimanjaro climb. An Emergency Oxygen System provides full-flow oxygen to a trekker suffering from acute symptoms as part of their evacuation from the mountain. ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems can easily be converted for use as Emergency Oxygen Systems by bypassing the pulse dose meter. Still, Emergency Oxygen Systems cannot be converted into ALTOX Personal Oxygen Systems.

Are Emergency Oxygen Systems needed?

For many years we did not carry Emergency Oxygen Systems as part of our standard kit on the mountain, although we have always been able to provide them as an optional paid extra. The main pressure to carry these systems comes from the fact that some of the large charity outfits have started to take them as standard, largely because they have much more mixed clients, some of whom are not particularly well suited to the rigors of the mountain. Some of our competitors have followed suit and now offer emergency oxygen systems as standard. But we continue to advocate that Emergency Oxygen Systems are not essential. Since starting our Kilimanjaro operations in 1999 we have never encountered a situation where one was needed. In all cases, the best and most expedient solution to altitude sickness is early detection and removal to lower altitudes.

Deaths On Mt.Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is the highest peak in Africa and a popular destination for climbers around the world. Despite its popularity, it can be a dangerous endeavor, with an estimated 3-7 climbers dying each year. The primary causes of death are altitude sickness, falls, and hypothermia. The exact number of deaths is difficult to determine due to the lack of a centralized reporting system. Despite the risks, thousands of climbers attempt the trek each year, drawn by the mountain’s beauty and the challenge it presents.

Have People Died On Mt. Kilimanjaro?

Yes, people have died on Mount Kilimanjaro. Despite being considered a “walk-up” mountain, Kilimanjaro is not without its dangers. Altitude sickness is the most common cause of death, but other risks include hypothermia, falls, and other medical conditions. The exact number of deaths is not known, but estimates suggest an average of 3-7 deaths per year among climbers.

Causes Of Death On Mt. Kilimanjaro

Deaths on Mt. Kilimanjaro are relatively rare, but when they do occur, they are most commonly caused by altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This condition can lead to potentially fatal complications such as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) or High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE). Other causes of death include hypothermia, falls, and underlying health conditions that can be exacerbated by the extreme conditions on the mountain.

Kilimanjaro Death Zone

The Kilimanjaro Death Zone refers to the area above 8,000 feet on Mount Kilimanjaro where the oxygen levels are significantly lower, making it difficult for humans to survive for extended periods. The reduced oxygen and pressure can lead to altitude sickness, hypothermia, and other life-threatening conditions. Despite the risks, many climbers attempt to reach the summit each year, with some unfortunately succumbing to the harsh conditions of the Death Zone.

How Safe Is It To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is generally considered safe, especially when compared to other high-altitude climbs. However, it is not without risks. The most common danger is altitude sickness, which can be life-threatening if not managed properly. Other risks include hypothermia, falls, and injuries from rock slides. It is highly recommended to climb with a reputable guide service, stay properly hydrated, and acclimatize to the altitude gradually to mitigate these risks. Despite these precautions, the climb should only be undertaken by individuals who are physically fit and well-prepared.

How To Avoid Death In Mount Kilimanjaro?

To avoid death on Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s crucial to prepare adequately before the climb. This includes physical training, proper acclimatization to high altitudes, and ensuring you’re in good health before the trip. It’s also important to have the right gear, stay hydrated, eat well, and follow the guidance of experienced guides. Recognizing and promptly addressing symptoms of altitude sickness can be life-saving. Lastly, always inform someone about your climbing plans and expected return date.

Mount Kilianjaro barranco wall

BOOK YOUR KILIMANJARO CLIMB AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE

  1. Lead Time and Peak Seasons: The usual lead time for booking a trek on Mount Kilimanjaro is 2-4 months. However, for peak season treks (Dec, Jan, Feb, Jul, Aug, and Sep), it’s recommended to book even further ahead, as popular months tend to fill up quickly.

  2. Getting Started: Initiate the booking process by having a conversation with the trek organizers through LiveChat or phone. This discussion will help you decide if the trek is right for you. After this initial chat, you’ll receive a detailed quotation via email.

  3. Securing Your Spot: To confirm your participation, a 30% deposit of the total tour price (around 600-700 USD) is required. Payment can be made via wire transfer or cash.

  4. Timing: It’s advisable to book your trip 3-6 months in advance, especially if you plan to travel during high seasons (June to the end of October, December to February).

  5. Pro-Tips:

    • Flexible Flight Tickets: Given the unpredictability of international treks, consider booking flexible flight tickets that can be rescheduled if needed.
    • Alternative Flying Options: If flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport are costly, you can explore alternative routes, like flying to Nairobi and taking a bus to Moshi. Ensure to factor in visa costs for both Kenya and Tanzania.
    • Applying for a Visa: Obtaining a Tanzanian visa is straightforward through the E-Visa Immigration Online portal. You can also obtain a visa upon arrival.
  6. Private Expeditions: The treks are organized as private expeditions for you and your travel partner(s). If you wish, you can create your group with friends.

  7. Flexibility in Itinerary: Private treks allow for itinerary customization. The itinerary can be adjusted to suit your preferences and stamina, making the experience more tailored to your needs.

  8. Cultural Differences: Traveling to a different part of the world comes with cultural differences. It’s important to be prepared for varying standards and embrace the contrasts in culture, driving, accommodations, and more. Local guides are well-trained but may have different standards from Western leaders.

KILIMANJARO CLIMB AND TANZANIA SAFARIS

The Kilimanjaro climb and safari package is a popular tourist package that offers a thrilling adventure in Tanzania. It typically includes a guided climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, followed by a wildlife safari in the Serengeti National Park or other nearby reserves. The package often includes accommodation, meals, park fees, and transportation, providing a comprehensive experience of both the stunning natural landscapes and diverse wildlife of East Africa.

What Are The Best Kilimanjaro Guidebooks?

There are all very interesting and useful books and guidebooks that have been written on Mount Kilimanjaro. The following books should give you a feel for what the trip will be like. Your local library is also a good resource.

  • Stedman, Henry, Kilimanjaro: The Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain, 4th edition. Trailblazer Publications.
  • Ridgeway, Rick, The Shadow of Kilimanjaro, On Foot Across East Africa. Henry Holt Publishers.
  • Salkeld, Audrey and David Breashears, Kilimanjaro: Mountain at the Crossroads. National Geographic Society.
  • Withers, Martin B., and David Hosking, Wildlife of East Africa. Princeton University Press.
  • Stevenson, Terry, and John Fanshawe, The Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Princeton Field Guides, 2002.

As for the other resources :

  • Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Website: This is likely the official website of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, where you can find detailed information about the park, its history, geography, various routes, permits, regulations, and more. It’s a valuable resource for anyone planning a visit to the park.

  • Kilimanjaro National Park – UNESCO World Heritage Centre: This indicates that Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This recognition signifies its outstanding cultural or natural value to humanity.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness – MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a condition that can affect individuals at high altitudes, including those climbing Kilimanjaro. This medical encyclopedia provides information about the symptoms, prevention, and treatment of AMS, which is important for climbers to be aware of.

  • KPAP – Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project[ KPAP ]is a nonprofit organization, that assists porters of the climbing companies that voluntarily collaborate with their Partner for Responsible Travel Program. To understand the reason why they exist or what they are trying to achieve, it is essential to know about the Porters of Kilimanjaro and their lives.

TANZANIA VACCINATIONS

Tanzania is still a developing nation and as such there is still a lot to be done for Public Health. What this means for you, dear traveler, is a pre-emptive strike against pathogens and germs that threaten to mess with your health and your holiday.

The best way by far is to visit your doctor about six weeks before your trip and ask them about the inoculations and vaccinations required for Tanzania. This ensures that you will get the latest information about the health conditions there and be prepared for it! Briefly, these are the vaccinations you should worry about:

  • Yellow Fever: especially important if you are coming from an area where the disease is endemic or commonly found. These include large swathes of Africa and South America. Plan because even if your flight is transiting such a country, you will have to show your yellow fever certificate, without which you will not be able to enter the country. The yellow fever vaccination and certificate cost about  $100 in the USA. This varies widely from place to place and is dependent on whether you have insurance. If you have insurance, the same shot can cost between $10 to $40 and may range from $120 to $300 if you do not have insurance.
    The same vaccine costs about  £50 in the UK to about €40 in Germany.
    It is important to note that Yellow fever is the only disease that requires proof of vaccination from travelers as a condition for entry to certain countries. But the silver lining is that, as of 2016, the immunization lasts for your lifetime and you do not require a booster dose at any time.
  • Typhoid: Usually occurs when you consume contaminated food or water. If you get typhoid, you will feel drained of energy and have headaches and diarrhea. The vaccination for Typhoid provides immunity for up to three years.
  • Hepatitis A: Spread by contaminated water. The vaccine is usually combined with the one for Typhoid. Immunity lasts for a year unless a booster dose is taken, which extends it for up to twenty years.
  • Tetanus: Highly recommended for Tanzania! This vaccine is usually given as a part of the DPT vaccine, which also covers Diphtheria and Whooping Cough. Most children are vaccinated against this. Do check with your doctor if you need a booster dose.
  • Polio: One of the most commonly administered vaccines in childhood, there is a high probability that you have already been vaccinated against this. Immunization lasts for life.
  • Meningitis: A vaccination lasts about 5 years, so if you haven’t had a shot in the last 5 years, get one before your trip.
  • Rabies: Highly recommended if you plan to take a safari, or interact with animals in general. 

Local Kilimanjaro Guide Companies

Local Kilimanjaro guide companies specialize in organizing and leading treks up Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. These Kilimanjaro guide companies typically offer a range of services including experienced guides, porters, cooks, and necessary equipment to ensure a safe and successful climb. They are well-versed in various routes to the summit and provide valuable insights into the mountain’s terrain, weather conditions, and acclimatization processes. Many of these companies are committed to sustainable tourism practices and support local communities by employing local staff and promoting environmental conservation.

Getting Kilimanjaro International Airport

The trip begins with pick-up at Kilimanjaro International Airport, located between Arusha and Moshi. The most convenient flight is KLM direct from Amsterdam, but other connections may be made through Nairobi, with a short flight to Kilimanjaro. The leader will guide travel plans once you are approved for the trip. Please do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements until notified to do so by the trip leader.

You must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into Tanzania. A Tanzania visa is also required, and details on how you apply for that will be provided once you are approved for the trip.

Booking

Climb Kilimanjaro with the Experts | Local Guides Provided | Low Deposits - Book Now.

Tour Dates :

This tour is available to start on any day throughout the year.

This tour is 100% private and we can customize any aspect of it

Our tour includes a private English speaking guide for all transfers as well as for all activities, this way you will make the most out of your time and enjoy each site and each ride without missing out on important stops and/or important information along the tour.

Deposits & Payments

Deposits: A deposit of USD 700 per person is required at the time of booking to guarantee your reservation and confirm space. Full payment is due 60 days prior to the tour’s start date Or opt for making the complete payment (100%) at the time of booking. The tour price is per person based on double occupancy and includes those items mentioned in the itinerary plus any prepaid optional items. Single-room requests are subject to supplemental charges and must be requested at the time of booking.  Group sizes are limited to a maximum and a minimum, which varies by tour.

Cancellation And Changes

  • More than 60 days prior to first land day 20% of total price
  • More than 30 days and less than 60 days prior to first land day 30% of total price
  • More than 7 days and less than 30 days prior to first land day 50% of total price
  • 7 days or less prior to first land day 100% of total price
 
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Josephat Mashehe is a seasoned Kilimanjaro guide who offers his expertise to those looking to conquer Africa's highest peak. With years of experience under his belt, Josephat provides comprehensive guidance, ensuring a safe and memorable journey for adventurers. His services include detailed planning, safety measures, and on-site assistance, making him an invaluable asset for anyone aiming to tackle the challenging climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
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