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KILIMANJARO CLIMB



Mount Kilimanjaro towers at the far end of the Tanzanian and Kenyan border, virtuously standing as a monument signifying freedom, determination and the spirit of conquering the odds. While it has earned global fame and holds records like the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, there is so much more fascination when one actually climbs it. Standing tall at 19,341ft, Mt Kilimanjaro has a lot of diverse vegetation and landscape. From thick rainforests at the foothills that transition into cold,snowy and arid regions at the top, climbing Kilimanjaro is a truly wonderful experience. A successful Kilimanjaro climb puts you in the elite club of less than 1percentage of the world's population who have summited Mt.Kilimanjaro. Imagine yourself being on the highest point of the gigantic continent of Africa. Get ready, pack your bags and light up the adventurer in you. You are just one step away from a climb that can change your life exclamation


Description
The huts are communal, and the bunks have a sponge mattress and pillow. There are 60 beds at both Mandara and Kibo Huts and 120 beds at Horombo Hut. Bathrooms and running water are available at the...
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✔ Camping
$1148

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Description
The route starts on the north side of the mountain just south of the Kenyan border, and is one of the least traveled routes. The descent is down the Marangu Route on the south side of the mountain, so...
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✔ Camping
$1391

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Description
On an overall comparison of the routes to scale Kilimanjaro, this is one of the best routes to take, both in terms of acclimatization and cost. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, an...
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✔ Camping
$1376

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Description
The Marangu route takes you at a gentle pace through forests, moorlands and then across The Saddle, a high-altitude desert separating the main summit, Kibo, 5895m, from craggy Mawenzi, 5149m, to Kibo ...
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✔ Camping
$1490

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Description
On an overall comparison of the routes to scale Kilimanjaro, this is one of the best routes to take, both in terms of acclimatization and cost. The Machame route is considered a difficult route, an...
Stay Options
✔ Camping
$1538

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Description
The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are inhabited by buffalo, elephant and other wildlife. The ...
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✔ Camping
$1810

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Introduction

A perfect blend of beauty and beast, Mount Kilimanjaro is a nature’s marvel that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to alluring trekkers to its summit. For all those planning to reach the apex of Mount Kilimanjaro, we have gathered all the information that you may need in this extensive guide to help you get ready for the challenge ahead. This article is written from our direct experience of organizing 1000s of Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions over the years and feedback from our clients and guides. By the end of this article, you will have a very good idea of what to expect, how to prepare, conditions on the mountain, costs involved, packing list, Tanzania VISA info and other tips. It is basically everything you need to know before climbing Kilimanjaro.

Wondering how to get to Tanzania for your Kilimanjaro climb? Kilimanjaro International airport and Julius Nyerere International airport are the prime airports of the country. For your Kilimanjaro climb, we would recommend you choose to arrive at Kilimanjaro International airport, as this is closer to where you will meet the operators and start your climb.

Julius Nyerere airport is located towards the south eastern part of the country and is a 12 hr drive away from the Kilimanjaro International airport.

Top spots of Uganda - Map

Tanzania offers VISA on arrival for citizens of most countries. You could also contact the embassy in your place of origin and get it in advance. The Tanzanian VISAs are easily available on arrival at a cost of USD 50 for all countries except citizens of USA. The cost for the same for people from USA is USD 100.

It is essential that you have a clean and recent US dollar bills to pay for the Visa. Bills that are damaged with tears and holes, or bills dated prior to 2006, may be rejected by customs. Have all your travel documents and confirmations at hand, this will keep the process smooth and quick.

Vaccinations - All travellers visiting Tanzania must have a valid Yellow Fever Immunization card before their arrival. In case you have skipped getting this immunization, you will have to take it at the airport.
Apart from yellow fever, there are a number of precautionary vaccinations one can take. Please check in the link below for more information on the same -


Visa and Vaccinations


https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/tanzania

The official local currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling. However, US dollars are accepted almost everywhere and are even the preferred currency for transactions over 100USD. Just as in the case of obtaining your visa, currency bills that are dated post 2006 in an undamaged condition are recommended.

Visa and Mastercard facilities are in their infancy and will only be available at high-end stores and hotels. Expect for the commission to be added to your bill. You can also use Visa and Mastercard in many ATMs. However, In Tanzania only a few ATMs dispense US Dollars.It’s also possible to purchase US dollars with a credit card, but expect a fee of 4 to 5 percent.

Choosing the wrong route can be the difference between a life-changing and life-threatening experience. Hence it is crucial for you to understand the pros and cons every route has to offer.

Marangu Route - Also known as the Coca Cola Route, this is the only route on the list that uses the same path while ascending and descending. It is also the only route that attracts a lot of tourists who cannot be graded as serious trekkers but are rather there to check out the beauty the mountain has to offer. Its popularity comes from the degree of its trek which is mostly a comfortable walking path with a steady and gradual slope. Shared hut accommodations are a common sight and you can even get your hands on amenities such as water bottles and candy bars.

Machame Route - Also known as the Whiskey Route, Machame is considered to be the most promising route when it comes to scenic beauty. The Shira Plateau, the Lava Tower, and the Barranco Wall are a treat to the eyes. But as the saying goes, “danger lies in beauty and beauty in danger”. Machame often turns out to be a steep climb with a lot of ups and downs along with a succession of valleys and ridges. This can easily prove to be a monumental challenge for first timers and low experienced trekkers. Moreover, Machame is the most popular route on the list with an annual crowd of more than 22,000 climbers. This can either be a turn-off or a motivating factor, depending on your cognitive inclination.

Rongai Route - Rongai is one route of Kilimanjaro which offers the possibility of encountering wildlife. It is the third most popular route on the list, mainly due to its easy climb which rises gradually with no steep ups and downs, thus being a great alternative to the Marangu Route. Another great advantage of Rongai is the success rate that it offers. As many as 90% of the climbers with some past experience of trekking reach the summit. What’s more? The route lies in a relatively drier section of the mountain, which makes it fitting for a climb during the rainy season. Even the acclimatization profile of Rongai is very good as it offers ample time to climbers to get used to the higher altitudes.

Umbwe Route - Although this is not such a technical climb, the Umbwe Route is quite different from the ones above. You would have probably noticed the low ascent and descent distances, and these make Umbwe a rather steep climb. This is quite a tough one and thus, recommended only for experienced trekkers. People often use trees on the slopes to pull themselves up and maintain balance.

Shira Route - Since this route joins the Machame Route eventually, the characteristics are quite similar to that of Machame. What makes the route different is that it is possible to cover the initial part of the climb in a four-wheeler. This is a great way if you’re looking to save time and directly push your body into acclimatization mode.

Lemosho Route - Lemosho is a less frequented trail that approaches from the west and joins the Machame Route. The pros of choosing this way to the top are that it offers a scenic beauty as well as an excellent way to acclimatize to the altitudes due to its smooth elevation gain. The first two days of the climb are particularly notable since it takes trekkers through a remote rainforest. This often makes wildlife spotting possible, hence dubbing Lemosho as the best routes to the top. Although it can be covered in 6 days, a minimum of 8 days is advised for a better altitude adjustment process and a higher success rate of reaching the top.

Northern Circuit Route - This is the latest addition to the list of Kilimanjaro routes and is quite unique due to the fact that it traverses around the whole mountain (nearly 360-degree traverse) and is also the only route that treks through the northern slopes. The Northern Circuit is the longest climb to the top. Though this can be alluring for serial trekkers, a longer route translates to a higher trekking time and hence, a higher cost.

Kilimanjaro Routes

Now that you know the ‘how’ of reaching the top, it is also crucial to answer the ‘when’ of the equation. The right weather will not only increase your chances of reaching the summit but will also make sure that the experience is forever etched in your memory.

Here are the major periods and the trekking prospects that Kilimanjaro offers-

Jan - March - This period is a good time to climb the mountain since the weather is comfortable (dry and warm temperatures), with occasional mild showers or snowfalls. The dry season also makes the visibility good. Though this attracts a lot of climbers and the mountain can be particularly crowded at this time. The crowd starts receding from March as the rainy season knocks.

April - June - The end of March marks the onset of the rainy season which continues through June. The irony is that this is the warmest time of the year in Tanzania. Due to the mud, the mountain slopes can get slippery which makes this period dangerous to trek. The Rongai route is usually preferred during these months. May also marks the end of the snowfall period.

June - July - June signifies the restart of the climbing period when the weather starts transitioning from rainy to cold. The air becomes dry but the nights turn out to be particularly cold.

July - October - This is the busiest time of the year when Mountain climbing is at its peak. The air is very dry but temperatures drop even further. Along with this, clouds can also be encountered in forest areas along with mild showers in the southern routes. Overall, good visibility and summer vacations across Europe and America add to the swarm of climbers in this season.

October - December - Mid-October marks the onset of the second rainy season in Kilimanjaro. The weather is quite unstable throughout November, accompanied by afternoon clouds, sudden thunderstorms, and snowfalls. Thus, this is not a recommended period to trek. Although, some people do trek during December due to the short holidays.

The verdict - Your choice of the best month may defer due to various personal choices, but when it comes to natural conditions, July, August, and September proved to be best seasons to climb followed by October, January and February.

Best season for climbing Kilimanjaro

The climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro will take between 5 – 9 days of strenuous walking, depending on the route chosen. Being a long hike, Mt. Kilimanjaro doesn’t require you to train like a professional mountaineer. However, its rapid ascent makes it much harder than it seems at first glance. It is a well-known fact that your biggest challenges will be altitude-related issues like Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), Pulmonary and Cardiovascular issues. If you would like some detailed insight on such preparation, you can have a look here. (hyper link it to the blog)

Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb and hence, one will not require any serious trekking gear. However, one must be equipped to handle the unpredictable and harsh climate of Kilimanjaro. Below is a list of essentials we ask all our trekkers to be ready with. Please note that most of these items are easily available in Moshi for purchase or rent. The cost of renting would be anywhere from 100 USD to 200 USD (depending on the items being rented).

Basics -

  • Towel
  • Soap
  • Camera
  • Toothbrush
  • Spare batteries for camera, headlamp
  • Face cloth
  • Toilet paper

Summit Gear -

  • Leather or thermal boots
  • Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech Trilaminate jacket
  • Gore-Tex, Microtex or K-Tech pants
  • Fleece jacket
  • Fleece gloves (use as inner for Gore-Tex mittens
  • Thermal gloves liners (use as inner for Gore-Tex gloves
  • Gaiters
  • Fleece balaclava
  • Thermal balaclava
  • Thermal top
  • Thermal long johns
  • Thermal socks
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
  • Day packs
  • Head torch
  • Thermal flask

Trekking Gear -

  • Rain suit or poncho (mainly used in the rainforest)
  • Hiking boots or cross trainers
  • Day pack
  • Short pants
  • Tracksuit pants
  • T-shirt
  • Sun hat (peak caps do not offer enough protection)
  • Woolen sacks
  • Fleece beanie
  • Water bottle

General equipment -

  • Duffel bag
  • Walking stick (adjustable)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat

Apart from these, you can also carry any medication that you are on. We would recommend you carry medication for Malaria, Altitude sickness, Muscle pain and Water purification tablets.

Packing Gear for Kilimanjaro

We know how heartbreaking it can be to fail to reach the summit of a mountain such as Kilimanjaro after you’ve put your whole heart and soul into the training.
Having said that, Kilimanjaro is bound to check both your mental and physical fitnesses. Hence, you need to be ready and highly motivated to face the challenge ahead.

Here are some useful tips to help you cope up with the challenge before and during the trek -

Research Extensively About Routes - As we have covered this in one of the sections above, there are 7 routes to choose from, each offering something unique in terms of topography, length, required trekking time and even the cost. Learn about each route to understand which one would be the best for you.

Keep Medication Handy - Medication for common illnesses like AMS should be in your backpack at all times. This is especially recommended for trekkers who have rushed their training regimes. However, you must consult your doctor and get a full body check-up done before going down this road.

Always RememberPole Pole’ - You will be hearing this often from your guide and porters from the moment you start climbing. ‘Pole Pole’, which is Swahili for ‘slowly slowly’, is the key mantra to conquer Kilimanjaro. This will give your body sufficient time to relax and optimally respond to the altitude.

Pack Light - Regardless of whether you are hiring porters or not, packing light will always be easier to manage. Even porters carry a load of up to 15 Kgs that mainly includes your gear and accommodation. Hence, make sure that you carry only essential amenities like clothes, water, snacks, sunscreen, and bathroom supplies.

Invest in the Right Gear - Never underestimate the power of the right gear. These include a good pair of waterproof trekking boots, a down jacket/coat with long pockets and the ability to last a night’s cold, water carrier and bottle, ankle/knee support like a ski-pole, headlamps, etc. Such proper gear will make your trek much easier to traverse.

Hydration is Key - Hydration is pivotal for your success. Your metabolism will increase at higher altitudes and this will speed up dehydration. At an optimum state, as much as 5 liters of water per day should be consumed.

Pay Close Attention to Your Body - Ignoring the signs of altitude sickness is the worst thing that you can probably do on your trek. You need to understand that if symptoms are mild, they will only get worse as you climb higher. Take proper measures to subside them, including medication and efficient acclimatization.

Keep Packed Food - You will, most probably, be traveling with a reputable travel company who will arrange timely and lavish meals for you 3 times a day. But there is usually no arrangement if you feel hungry between the meals. You can thus pack some light snacks to keep your energy level high. These should be sweet, salty and high in proteins and calories.

Be Mentally Prepared - Accept the fact that this is going to be one hell of a ride. You won’t be able to shower during the trek, suffering in the form of pain, headache, and mild nausea will be inevitable, and self-doubt can creep in anytime during the trek. You need to constantly tell yourself that all this is temporary but the glory of making to the top will stay with you forever.

Record your Experience - Make sure to have a means to record the memories you make while trekking. If you don’t, you will surely end up regretting it later! Carry a camera or at least a journal with you so as to capture the beauty around as well as your struggle to make it to the top.

And lastly, do not forget to have fun! We know that Kilimanjaro can be a testing trek, but it is also important to stay positive at all times so that it keeps you motivated and driven. Look around and savor the beauty of the moment! Don’t forget to appreciate the efforts that you have taken to come this far.

Aside from the package, one of the major expenses would be tipping for the entire crew. In case of group treks, the tips would be divided amongst the entire group. Below is the tipping guideline -

Senior guide : $20 – 25 / day

Assistant guide : $15 – 20 / day

Cook : $12 – 15 / day

Waiter : $10 – 12 /day

Porter : $8 – 10 / day

Summit Porter : $12 – 15 / day

Toilet crew : $10 – 12 / day

Approximately, The tipping amount per person would be around 300 USD. Another thing we must remember is that tipping on Kilimanjaro is not an optional payment, but rather a compulsive one.

We are a marketplace for adventure activities around the world. We work with only good local companies because we believe local companies need a platform to connect with international trekkers such as yourself.

We have a comprehensive screening process that every company has to pass before they can list on our site. After the initial screening, there are rigorous and continuous checks and feedback taken from our customers.

Below is our screening process:

  1. We check if the company is legal and has all the required government and legal compliances met

  2. We verify if the guides are qualified and certified. We have a team of expert mountaineers and trekkers who scrutinize the details of the guides.

  3. Has the company been operating for long?

  4. TripAdvisor reviews and other review sources are taken into consideration.

  5. Feedback from past customers and references are shared. We call and talk to at least 30-40 past customers to get their feedback.

  6. Continuous feedback from new customers is collected.

  7. The threat of blacklisting. Companies who don't adhere to our quality standards are blacklisted. This fear ensures companies strive to provide good service.

Customer Reviews for Mojhi's Service

4.9/5.0 based on 569 Reviews.

Customer Reviews

"Quick & Professional"

"There were lots of choices out there, but Mojhi.com won my confidence initially with their quick and professional responses to me and their willingness to adjust our plans to match my expectations. Al..."
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- Carol from VA, United States

"Prompt in responses"

"A friend referred us to mojhi.com for Kilimanjaro climbing and we were glad we choose them for our adventure. We paid about less than 30% of what we initially budgeted for the climb and..."
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- Laurent from NY, United States

"Straightforward"

"For the Kilimanjaro trip Mojhi provided excellent service in fielding questions and details about the trip itself and differences in operators. Always timely in answering queri..."
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- Steve from London, United Kingdom

"Will Book again!"

"Mohji did a great job providing me with all the details and answered all the questions I had that led me to pick Popote Africa Adventures for my Kilimanjaro trip. I will definitely be booking my next ..."
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- Brooks from ON, Canada

"Outstanding Experience"

"We went ahead with Mojhi for a 5 day safari in Tanzania, but wanted a few specific accommodation options. Thanks to Ashutosh everything was arranged as requested for. It was a lovely experience at the best price possible. Will definitely use Mojhi for our next African holiday too!..."
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- Clea J from United States

"Turned out the best"

"This time we planned on Safari in Kruger National park one of the biggest parks in South Africa. We randomly chose Mojhi to our plan tour and it turned it to be the best. They catered to all our requirements including gluten free food. Very impressed by their..."
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- Douglas from United States

"Thankful to Mojhi"

"Recently planned to visit South Africa for a week and wished to tour some exciting places n also do the Kruger park Safari tour.I got referred to Mojhi by quite a few friends who traveled to Africa in the last 1 year. Gave them a try and was..."
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- Rahul from United Kingdom

"Very knowledgeable"

"Had a fantastic Uganda experience. Mojhi linked me up with a very knowledgeable operator/guide.They make sure everything is in place and my family.I believe that they suggested me the best itinerary for me and my family...."
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- Cynthia from United States

"Prompt in responses"

"A friend referred us to mojhi.com for Kilimanjaro climbing and we were glad we choose them for our adventure. We paid about less than 30% of what we initially budgeted for the climb and..."
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- Laurent from NY, United States

"Straightforward"

"For the Kilimanjaro trip Mojhi provided excellent service in fielding questions and details about the trip itself and differences in operators. Always timely in answering queri..."
Read full review

- Steve from London, United Kingdom

"Will Book again!"

"Mohji did a great job providing me with all the details and answered all the questions I had that led me to pick Popote Africa Adventures for my Kilimanjaro trip. I will definitely be booking my next ..."
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- Brooks from ON, Canada

"Respectable and reliable company"

"Mojhi is a very respectable and reliable company. We had a wonderful memory of Kenya! The tailor made safari was very well organized by Mojhi. I recomand this company, you get for the value of ur money. Well done !!!"
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- Nada S from US