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Climb Kilimanjaro

Climb Africa’s highest and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. Camping underneath the brightest stars, climbing Kilimanjaro gives you a truly unique wilderness experience. As you hike along the gradually ascending slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, and marvel at its views and unique vegetation, you leave civilization behind and free yourself from the hectic and noise of daily life – taxing on the body, relaxing for the mind. Come reasonably fit and motivated, but no technical skills are required to climb Kilimanjaro.

Fair Voyage helps you find & customize your best ethical Kilimanjaro climb amongst all offers available in the market. When you book your climb with Fair Voyage, you can rest assured that your porters are being treated fairly (learn more about porter exploitation & our responsible travel mission), and that you're getting your best value-for-money offer at local prices (learn more about our unique business model). As we are fully registered as travel agency in Switzerland, you can also rest assured that your payments are safely insured according to highest international standards.

To get started, scroll down to browse our content and search ethical climb offers that we've already put online. When you need help, chat with us live or request your custom quote. We can also help you combine your ethical climb with an eco-safari or other conscious travel experience in the region. Mount Kilimanjaro is calling, East Africa is waiting, and and we're look forward to helping you organize your exciting once-in-a-lifetime trip!

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All You Need To Know To Climb Kilimanjaro

Destination Information
Overview
What is Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is an inactive volcano in northern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya. At 5,895 metres (19,340 feet) above sea level, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest free-standing mountain. It is also a major destination for mountaineers and trekkers from around the world.

How tall is Mount Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) tall. This makes Kilimanjaro the tallest mountain in Africa. It is also the tallest free-standing mountain worldwide. Free-standing means that Kilimanjaro is not part of a mountain range. Compared to the Himalayas' Mount Everest or the Alps' Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro rises like a landmark amid its surrounding lowlands.

Location
Where is Mount Kilimanjaro located?

Mount Kilimanjaro is located in Tanzania, East Africa. Situated in the northern part of the country near the border to Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro is sometimes erroneously attributed to Kenya. The Mount Kilimanjaro area, starting from its surrounding rainforest—or remainders thereof—at its base all the way up to its peak, is a protected nature reserve, the so-called Kilimanjaro National Park. The entire park bestrides a surface area of 100 kilometers long and 65 kilometers wide.

Weather
What is the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The temperature on Mount Kilimanjaro swings between the two extremes of very hot or extremely cold. Generally, the lower areas will be humid and subject to plenty of rainfall – particularly in the rainforest and during the rainy season. The higher parts of the mountain are often much colder, with bitter winds and potentially snow at the top.

There are two rainy seasons and two dry seasons in Tanzania. January to mid-March and June to October are the dry seasons – they are also the two main trekking seasons on Kilimanjaro. Late March to May, November and December are the wet seasons, which bring heavier rainfall and thunderstorms.

Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Where you sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro depends on your hiking route and climbing package. On all but the Marangu route, you will sleep in tents at designated campsites. Your tour operator will typically organize your sleeping tent and mattress, whereby the quality of tents ranges from cheap locally produced via high-quality imported winter mountaineering tents (mid-range offers) to luxurious walk-in size tents with proper frame beds (VIP offers).

The Marangu Route offers shared hut accommodation with dormitory-style bunk beds. This means you'll have a firm roof, but it also reduces your level of privacy. High-quality tents may feel more luxurious and comfortable than the Marangu Huts.

What are the public toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

Depending on your campsite and altitude, the public toilet facilities that you'll encounter on Kilimanjaro range from flush toilets at some lower campsites to very basic wooden squat ladrines. The state of cleanliness varies greatly and has caused a fair bit of disgust amongst climbers. At larger campsites, the public toilet facilities may also be a bit of a walk from your tent which is not ideal especially overnight when temperatures often drop below freezing. Therefore, private toilet tents have become popular on the mountain.

Are there bathrooms and showers on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are no permanent shower or bathing facilities available on Mount Kilimanjaro. However, all our tour operator partners will provide you with a daily hot bowl of washing water. Some also provide a hand wash station for use at camp.

If you require, it is possible to upgrade your climb with a portable hot mountain shower & tent, which all our VIP packages also include by default. Simply let us know when booking your climb if you'd like to use a mountain shower, and we'll customize your offer accordingly.

What are the campsites on Kilimanjaro like?

All routes on Kilimanjaro use specifically designated campsites. Most campsites have a registration office and basic toilet facilities. They are safe, provide a good way to meet fellow climbers, and almost always have spectacular views. Your meals will be provided by your tour operator in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably. Apart from the Marangu Route, there are no shops on Kilimanjaro. Furthermore, there are no charging facilities, and there is no heating (except for luxurious offers that can be upgraded to include a mess tent heater). Few campsites have running water, and there are no water sources near the base camps at high altitudes.

What facilities are available at the Marangu Huts?

The Marangu Huts offer dormitory-style accommodation of between 4 – 20 bunk beds per room. It is not possible to rent a private room, and allocation of beds is on a first-come-first-served basis, so expect to be sharing your hut with strangers. The Marangu Huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms. At lower altitudes, huts have flushing toilets and running water. At higher altitudes, long drop toilets and buckets of water are available. Same as for the campsites on all other routes on Kilimanjaro, there are no charging stations, and there is no heating. Different from all other routes, however, mineral water, soft drinks and chocolates are also sold at camps on the Marangu Route.

Deciding Whether To Go
Difficulty
How difficult is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

In terms of the technical aspects of ascending a summit, Mount Kilimanjaro is not a difficult mountain to climb. Its slopes are mostly gentle, and its paths are well-trodden.

Trekkers can walk up to the summit without any expertise or mountaineering skills required. Tour operators organize climbs, while porters carry the gear, supplies and personal items.

Despite the relative ease on the technical side, many people find Mount Kilimanjaro very difficult to climb due to its high altitude. The difficulty varies from person to person and will depend how a trekker acclimatizes to the thin air at high elevations.

Is Mount Kilimanjaro a climb or a hike or a trek?

Scaling Mount Kilimanjaro is generally called a climb. This may lead to the misperception that it might be technically demanding and out of reach for most people—it isn't.

As most trips are 6-8 days in length, it may be more accurately described as a trek, meaning that one needs to carry a substantial amount of supplies. Then again, however, the burden of carrying your gear is handed off to your porters so it ends up being more like a hike for the majority of tourists.

However, calling it a hike might not do justice to the fact that the climb reaches high elevations and could lead climbers to underestimate the difficulty and dangers of high altitude.

Do I need to have special skills to climb Kilimanjaro?

You do not need any special skills to climb Kilimanjaro. Even though it's commonly called a "climb", one can literally walk up to the summit – no ropes and harnesses required. Your guide will lead you up the mountain, and porters will carry most of your gear. This is not to say that the climb is easy or doesn't have its dangers. At 5,895 meters (19,340 feet), the climb provides serious risks for altitude sickness. A medical check is mandatory, and you must be in good physical and mental condition to endure long hours of hiking each day.

Is there an age limit to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

There is no maximum age limit to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but it is important that each hiker is in good health. With increasing age, especially over the age of 60, health considerations become more serious, and climbers should undergo a thorough medical check prior to attempting to climb Kilimanjaro.

The minimum age to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is 10 years.

What makes Kilimanjaro difficult to climb?

Even though Kilimanjaro is not technically difficult to climb, an average summit success rate of 60% (and historically less than 50%) suggests that it's not just a walk in a park either. What makes Kilimanjaro difficult to climb is its altitude. Its summit at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above sea level is in the so-called extreme altitude zone.

From as low as 1,500 meters (4,921 feet), climbers may start to feel the effects of high altitude. Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) becomes a serious risk at higher altitudes, typically above 3,500 meters (11,482 feet).

What is the average Kilimanjaro summit success rate?

The average Kilimanjaro summit success rate has climbed from below 50% to around 60% or more. It varies with the route taken and the length of the trek. The longer you spend on the mountain, the higher your chances of reaching the summit will be.

With increasing awareness about the importance of acclimatization, the average success rate has also increased. While in the past 5 or 6 day routes were most popular, climbers now increasingly opt for longer 7 or 8 day itineraries. If you follow a route ideal for altitude acclimatization, your summit success rate approximates 100%, assuming a reasonable level of fitness and average altitude tolerance.

Who are the 5 most outstanding Kilimanjaro climbers?

Here are 5 of the most outstanding Kilimanjaro climbers:

  1. Dr. Fred Distelhorst is the oldest man and person to reach the summit at the age of 88.
  2. Angela Vorobeva is the oldest woman to reach the summit at the age of 86 years.
  3. Karl Egloff is the fastest person to reach the summit in 4 hours and 56 minutes. He also is the fastest to ascend and descend in 6 hours and 42 minutes.
  4. Anne-Marie Flammersfeld is the fastest female to ascend and descend in 12 hours and 58 minutes.
  5. Kyle Maynard is the first quadruple amputee to reach the summit without the aid of prosthetics.
How fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

If you dislike working out at the gym, or you are not an athlete or mountaineer, then fear not. While you do have to be in reasonably good health to climb Kilimanjaro, the type of fitness you have is more important than working out. You could be walking for anywhere up to 10 kilometres for hours on end at high altitudes, so it is important that you are able to do this.

Altitude sickness can strike anyone randomly, regardless of their fitness level. The key to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro is to give yourself more days to climb the mountain, so that you can acclimatise better.

Safety
Is it dangerous to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

While any mountain can be dangerous to climb, Kilimanjaro is a lot less dangerous than most. The average fatality rate is estimated to be 0.03%, or one for every 3,000 climbers who attempt to scale the mountain.

The main cause of death is altitude sickness due to not acclimatising well, while the risk of rockfall or falling to death is mostly avoidable.

If you are in good health and ascend slowly on a safe path under the guidance of an experienced and well-trained mountain guide, you are not likely to suffer injury or death on your climb. Educate yourself thoroughly about all risks involved so you will know how to avoid them.

How many tourists die on Kilimanjaro every year?

It is estimated that about 10 tourists die on Kilimanjaro every year. An exact number is unknown because the Kilimanjaro National Park does not release official statistics.

Some report lower numbers based on actually counted and known cases (based on industry insiders and media reports). Others believe that the real numbers might be higher than 10 tourist fatalities per year because most cases end up unreported and unknown. Tour operators naturally do not have an incentive to report incidents and are encouraged by authorities to keep such records confidential.

What is altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS)?

Altitude sickness is the side effect caused by exposure to high altitudes. As a person reaches higher altitudes, the air contains less oxygen which begins to negatively affect the human body. Symptoms usually develop from around 2,500 meters of altitude. First signs of altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) include headache, nausea or shortness of breath. More severe symptoms include dry cough, fever, vomiting or retinal haemorrhage. Extreme cases can include fluid build up in the brain characterized by loss of coordination, confusion, inability to walk and even coma. If left untreated, AMS can be lethal.

What are the most common causes of death on Kilimanjaro?

The most common cause of tourist death on Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness. Other common causes of death are heart attacks and being struck by falling rocks. Rock fall, however, is only a risk on the Western Breach and can easily be avoided by taking one of many other available routes.

Guides and porters are also at risk. The most common cause of death for porters is freezing. When porters have an accident or fall sick, they may get left behind by their guide instead of being assisted down the mountain. To avoid such risks, Fair Voyage only promotes responsible tour operators with verified fair porter treatment practices.

How dangerous is altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a serious and potentially dangerous risk when climbing Kilimanjaro. If ignored and left untreated, altitude sickness may become severe and, in extreme cases, lethal. AMS is the most common cause for tourist deaths on Mount Kilimanjaro and needs to be taken seriously by the climber. It is important to climb with a well-trained and experienced guide who can monitor your individual altitude acclimatization, watch out for AMS symptoms, and – if required – insist on and assist with your descent.

How big is the risk of rockfall when climbing Kilimanjaro?

The only place you are likely to be at risk of rockfall on Kilimanjaro is on the Western Breach. The danger really only applies if you plan to climb through the Western Breach. It is by far the most challenging route variation on Kilimanjaro. The danger comes from the melting glaciers above the Western Breach. When the glaciers melt, they release rocks. However, there are plenty of other routes that do not include the Western Breach, so this problem can easily be avoided.

The best course of action to avoid the risk of rockfall when climbing Kilimanjaro is to choose a route that does not take you through the Western Breach, such as any of our most recommended routes.

Can I fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro?

While possible, it is highly unlikely that you would fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro. Most of the routes on the mountain are non-technical and well trodden. This means you don’t have to be a professional mountaineer or athlete to navigate your way up them.

However, in the same way that you could potentially take a bad step when walking up a steep set of stairs, the same is true on Kilimanjaro. There are a few areas on the mountain where it is possible to have a bad fall, but as long as you follow the instructions of your guide, the risk is very limited and far lower than on other mountains.

Most paths on Kilimanjaro are very low-risk – except for the general risk of altitude sickness and the risk of rockfall on the Western Breach.

How does the fatality rate on Kilimanjaro compare to other mountains?

The fatality rate on Mount Kilimanjaro is low compared to other mountains. Of the 30,000-50,000 people who climb Kilimanjaro each year, an estimated 10 tourists die annually from altitude sickness and other causes. This represents a death rate of 0.03% or less, which is low compared to other mountains in the world.

Mt Blanc at 4,810m in the European Alps, which is lower than Kilimanjaro by over 1,000 meters and attracts a similar number of people, claims the lives of 100 people a year – making it 10 times more deadly!

High Altitude
What are common symptoms of altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Due to the high altitude, Kilimanjaro climbers will typically experience shortness of breath even at a relatively slow walking pace. Other common symptoms of altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro include headaches, nausea and dizziness. Loss of appetite and insomnia are also common. More severe symptoms include blurred vision, disorientation and the inability to continue walking. If such symptoms arise, immediate descent assisted by your guide is imperative to avoid more serious and lasting consequences.

Will I experience shortness of breath when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Shortness of breath is the most common symptom of altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro. It happens because your body isn't able to take in as much oxygen as you're used to.

Some climbers may feel it already on their first climbing day, just as they might experience shortness of breath when climbing stairs. Others may only feel that it becomes harder to breathe above 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) of elevation. Sooner or later, however, everyone will experience shortness of breath on the climb – while climbing that is.

If you are in good health, it is unlikely that you will experience shortness of breath while resting.

How hard is it to breathe on the climb?

Everyone will feel that it becomes harder to breathe at higher altitudes while climbing Kilimanjaro. But does that mean that breathing will become a real struggle? Yes and no – it is a real struggle with an easy solution: walk slower!

Climbing Kilimanjaro is not a sprint, and during the final summit push the thin air will make you reduce your walking pace to one step at a time, quite literally! As long as you take your time, shortness of breath is a manageable struggle. When it becomes unbearable, stop and rest.

You should not find it hard to breathe while resting. If you do, you should not continue your climb.

Budget
Fair Voyage tipping guidelines for Kilimanjaro climbs

It is customary to tip your crew for their assistance and hard work during your climb. While tipping is not mandatory, we strongly advocate paying recommended tips to ensure a fair total compensation for your crew, especially your porters, who rely on gratuities as a substantial component of their income. Learn more about fair porter treatment.

The total recommended tip depends on the length of your climb, group size, amount of camping and safety equipment included in your climb, and the base wages paid by your Tour Operator. For specific tipping guidelines for your Tour by your local Operator, please see the Tour Operator Information section on the Tour page. If missing or in doubt, please check with us.

In the absence of more specific guidelines by your Operator, we recommend that you budget an additional minimum cost for tipping of between $250-500 per climber. Click here to calculate tips depending on climb length and group size. Please also make sure you bring lots of smaller US dollar notes to make it easier to tip crew members individually.

How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

A typical Kilimanjaro climbing package costs anywhere from about US $1,500 on a short 5-day low budget climb in a group to US $5,000 and more on luxurious offers with high-end services and equipment. For a reasonable mid-range offer, you'd be looking at around US $2,000 to 3,500.

In addition to your tour price, you will have significant additional costs for tipping of your mountain crew, flights, medical costs and insurance, gear rentals or purchases, and more. Altogether, your entire trip will easily cost US $3,000 even on a very low budget tour, and usually around US $5,000 and more for mid-range travellers.

Why are Kilimanjaro tours so expensive?

Kilimanjaro is an expensive mountain to climb. This is due to local park fees and taxes. For a 6-day climb, the Kilimanjaro National Park fees alone amount to over US $800 per person. When adding up all the costs incurred by a tour operator (including the salaries of your mountain crew, equipment, food, transfers, etc.), there is in fact only a small margin left for the tour operator. It is therefore not possible for them to offer you much lower prices than you find on Fair Voyage. Companies offering significantly lower prices are either not operating legally and/or do not treat your porters fairly.

Duration
How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

Depending on the route, Kilimanjaro climbs take anywhere from 5 days to more than 8 days. As it is important to ascend slowly in order to acclimatize to the high altitude, most climbers opt for 6 to 8 day routes. The longest routes take 9 to 10 days.

While speed record climbers have scaled the mountain in less than a day, the minimum permit issued by the Kilimanjaro National Park for normal tourist climbers is 5 days. Exceptional tourist climbers may complete their climb initially booked for 5 days within 4 days by descending all the way from the summit to the park gate within one day.

Comfort & Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Where you sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro depends on your hiking route and climbing package. On all but the Marangu route, you will sleep in tents at designated campsites. Your tour operator will typically organize your sleeping tent and mattress, whereby the quality of tents ranges from cheap locally produced via high-quality imported winter mountaineering tents (mid-range offers) to luxurious walk-in size tents with proper frame beds (VIP offers).

The Marangu Route offers shared hut accommodation with dormitory-style bunk beds. This means you'll have a firm roof, but it also reduces your level of privacy. High-quality tents may feel more luxurious and comfortable than the Marangu Huts.

What are the public toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

Depending on your campsite and altitude, the public toilet facilities that you'll encounter on Kilimanjaro range from flush toilets at some lower campsites to very basic wooden squat ladrines. The state of cleanliness varies greatly and has caused a fair bit of disgust amongst climbers. At larger campsites, the public toilet facilities may also be a bit of a walk from your tent which is not ideal especially overnight when temperatures often drop below freezing. Therefore, private toilet tents have become popular on the mountain.

What are private toilet tents on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

A private toilet tent is a tall stand-up size tent with a portable chemical toilet unit that has a seat and a flush. They're easy to put up and dismantle, and can be carried up the mountain with the help of an additional porter. Private toilet tents provide a more convenient, comfortable and cleaner alternative to the poor public toilet facilities on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Are there bathrooms and showers on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are no permanent shower or bathing facilities available on Mount Kilimanjaro. However, all our tour operator partners will provide you with a daily hot bowl of washing water. Some also provide a hand wash station for use at camp.

If you require, it is possible to upgrade your climb with a portable hot mountain shower & tent, which all our VIP packages also include by default. Simply let us know when booking your climb if you'd like to use a mountain shower, and we'll customize your offer accordingly.

What are the campsites on Kilimanjaro like?

All routes on Kilimanjaro use specifically designated campsites. Most campsites have a registration office and basic toilet facilities. They are safe, provide a good way to meet fellow climbers, and almost always have spectacular views. Your meals will be provided by your tour operator in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably. Apart from the Marangu Route, there are no shops on Kilimanjaro. Furthermore, there are no charging facilities, and there is no heating (except for luxurious offers that can be upgraded to include a mess tent heater). Few campsites have running water, and there are no water sources near the base camps at high altitudes.

Organization
How do I organize a Kilimanjaro climb?

When organising a Kilimanjaro climb, your tour operator will do most of the work for you locally. However, you'll still need to decide what kind of climbing experience you prefer, make travel arrangements and organize your gear.

Start by deciding your personal preferences: When and how long? Which route? What level of quality & safety standards? Do you prefer a private tour or to join a group? Browse through our content to find out for yourself, or book a free personal consultation with us.

Once you know what you want, it's important to find a reputable and reliable tour operator who consistently receives high ratings from past climbers. Of course, you will also want to get your best value-for-money quotation for everything that you'd like included in your package. Search climb offers online, or request your custom quote for a climb quote from us.

Once you've booked your climb, you will also need to organize your flight, insurance, vaccinations and health checks, etc, so make sure you start planning well in advance. You will also need to organize your gear, though most items you need can also be rented locally when booking with a high-quality company.

What exactly does my Kilimanjaro tour operator organize?

Your Kilimanjaro tour operator will organize almost everything that is required for you to climb Kilimanjaro locally. They will hire your mountain crew complete with guides, cooks and porters; provide full-board meals and drinking water; organize your mountain accommodation; arrange transfers to and from the park gates; sort out your park entry fees and regulations; and more.

Depending on your package, your tour operator will also arrange your airport transfers and book your accommodation before and after your climb. They can also help you organize gear that you may prefer to rent rather than purchase, such as sleeping bags or trekking poles.

Deciding When To Go
Duration
How many days do I need for my entire trip to climb Kilimanjaro?

Your entire trip to Kilimanjaro would typically take at least 7 to 10 days. This includes the days you spend on the mountain (6 to 8 on average) plus an additional one or two nights in the region before and after your climb.

Most climbers, however, prefer to take advantage of their trip to East Africa and combine their climb with a wildlife safari, Zanzibar beach vacation, mountain gorilla trekking or other experiences in the region. If you have more time, we'd recommend you to plan two to three weeks for your entire trip to East Africa.

Weather
When is the best season to climb Kilimanjaro?

It is possible to climb Kilimanjaro all-year-round. However, the best times to climb Kilimanjaro are from June to October and January to mid-March, which are the two dry seasons.

January to mid-March brings clearer skies and warm temperatures and is known as the short dry season. It ends in mid-March, when the onset of heavier rains and the long wet season begins and lasts until May.

The period between June to October is known as the long dry season and is also a good time to climb Kilimanjaro. This time of year brings less rainfall but bigger crowds. It gradually gives way to the short wet season in November/December.

Hiking Routes
Overview
What are the key differences between the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The hiking routes on Mount Kilimanjaro vary by length, duration, difficulty, scenery, altitude profile, accessibility, and (lack of) facilities. The better a route scores on all these criteria, the more popular it is. Popularity is great if you like to share your experience with many other climbers and make lots of new friends. It's also great if you're looking for an affordable climbing package. If solitude and wilderness is what you're looking for, then the most popular routes may not be your best choice.

What are my route options to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are many different routes you can take when climbing Kilimanjaro. The six main routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are:

  • Lemosho Route – the most recommended route
  • Machame Route – the most popular route
  • Marangu Route – the only route where you can stay in huts
  • Rongai Route – the only route that starts in the north near the Kenyan border
  • Shira Route – the only route that starts at relatively high altitude
  • Umbwe Route – the shortest and steepest, hence most difficult route

In addition to the main routes, the following variations are also possible:

  • Northern Circuit – the longest route offering almost 360° views
  • Grand Traverse – an easier & quieter alternative to the Northern Circuit
  • Crater Camp – can be added to any route, best with Lemosho or Northern
  • Wester Breach – shortcut on the southern circuit, but risk of rockfall
Lemosho Route
Do you recommend the 7-day Lemosho Route?

We recommend the 7-day Lemosho Route if you prefer to experience most of Kilimanjaro’s scenic highlights, don’t mind sharing your climb with others, and are confident of your ability to walk almost an entire day without wearing yourself out. If that’s the case, the 7-day Lemosho Route will be preferable to the shorter and easier 7-day Machame Route as you ascend over a longer distance during your first two days (hence slower altitude increase) and it’s less busy at the start. Ideally, however, we'd recommend extending your climb by another day to improve your acclimatization to the high altitude, making the 8-day Lemosho Route a more manageable alternative with an even higher summit success chance.

Do you recommend the 8-day Lemosho Route?

We recommend the 8-day Lemosho Route for its optimal altitude profile and duration leading to a fairly high summit success chance. The Lemosho Route also boasts some of Kilimanjaro’s best scenery. Please just be aware that the Lemosho Route is not as off-the-beaten-track as often portrayed. It has become more and more popular in recent years and merges with the busy Machame Route half-way to the summit, so expect to share your climb with others.

For a less busy route in authentic wilderness, you might prefer the 8-day Northern Circuit, or the even more luxurious 8-day Grand Traverse.

What is the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Lemosho Route is a very scenic hiking route, starting on the western slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro before merging with the Machame Route half way through. It leads you through a lush rainforest, past the eerie  Dendrosenecio forest and up the vertiginous Barranco Wall. The altitude profile of the Lemosho Route is ideal for acclimatization, allowing climbers to hike to higher altitudes during the day than they’ll be sleeping overnight.

How long does the Lemosho Route take?

The Lemosho Route can be completed in 7 or 8 days, or up to 9 days if you'd like to include an overnight stay at Crater Camp. We mostly recommend the 8-day Lemosho Route Itinerary over the 7-day Lemosho Route Itinerary to allow more time to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push. Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

8-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days. With the right preparation and the right guide, these routes all have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
What are my route options to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are many different routes you can take when climbing Kilimanjaro. The six main routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are:

  • Lemosho Route – the most recommended route
  • Machame Route – the most popular route
  • Marangu Route – the only route where you can stay in huts
  • Rongai Route – the only route that starts in the north near the Kenyan border
  • Shira Route – the only route that starts at relatively high altitude
  • Umbwe Route – the shortest and steepest, hence most difficult route

In addition to the main routes, the following variations are also possible:

  • Northern Circuit – the longest route offering almost 360° views
  • Grand Traverse – an easier & quieter alternative to the Northern Circuit
  • Crater Camp – can be added to any route, best with Lemosho or Northern
  • Wester Breach – shortcut on the southern circuit, but risk of rockfall
Map of Lemosho Route

Machame Route
Do you recommend the 7-day Machame Route?

We recommend the Machame Route if you prefer to experience most of Kilimanjaro’s scenic highlights and don’t mind sharing your climb with many others. The 7-day Machame Route offers you one of the best altitude acclimatization opportunities of all 7-day routes.

Alternatively, if you feel fit and confident of your ability to walk long distances, you might prefer the similar but longer 7-day Lemosho Route. To maximize your acclimatization to the high altitude and hence your summit success chance on this scenic route, we recommend either the 8-day Machame or 8-day Lemosho Routes.

To avoid the crowds, the 7-day Rongai Route will allow you to climb in authentic wilderness. However, the altitude profile of the Rongai Route is not as good as the Machame Route. To avoid the crowds and improve your summit success chance, we'd then rather recommend the longer 8 or 9-day Northern Circuit or Grand Traverse routes.

What is the Machame Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Machame Route (also known as “Whiskey Route”) is a very scenic hiking route. It leads hikers through the montane rainforest, past the eerie Dendrosenecio and up the vertiginous  Barranco Wall. The altitude profile of the Machame Route is ideal for acclimatization, allowing climbers to hike to higher altitudes during the day than they’ll be sleeping overnight. It's starting point is also easily accessible within a short drive from Moshi and Kilimanjaro airport. With all these advantages, the Machame Route is also the most popular and busiest route on Mount Kilimanjaro.

How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route?

The Machame Route takes a minimum of 6 days and can be extended into a longer version of up to 8 days. We mostly recommend the 7-day Machame Route Itinerary over the 6-day Machame Route Itinerary to allow more time to acclimatize to the high altitude. Being the most popular route, you will also find lots of open join-in group tours available for the 7-day Machame Route, which also makes the Machame Route one of the most affordable options, especially for single travellers.

If you are looking for the easiest route with the maximum summit success chance, however, then we'd recommend a tailor-made 8-day Machame Route Itinerary. Please contact us for custom offers.

Do you recommend the 6-day Machame Route?

We recommend the 6-day Machame Route if you have pre-acclimatized to the high altitude and feel confident to complete your climb in 6 days. In such case, and if you don’t mind sharing your climb with many others, then the 6-day Machame Route will be your best choice. It boasts some of Kilimanjaro’s best scenery and has the best altitude profile (hike high, sleep low) of all 6-day routes. If you are not used to high altitudes, however, we recommend the 7-day Machame Route (or even 8-day Machame) as a better alternative with a higher summit success chance.

Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push. Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

8-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days. With the right preparation and the right guide, these routes all have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Why is the Machame Route so popular?

The Machame Route is a very scenic route with an ideal altitude profile for acclimatization (high hike, sleep low). It's starting point is easily accessible within a short drive from Kilimanjaro airport and Moshi. Scenic highlights of the Southern Circuit include the Dendrosenecio forest, Lava Tower and Barranco Wall. As the Machame Route ticks all the boxes for an ideal hiking route to climb Kilimanjaro, it has naturally also become the most popular route on the mountain.

What are my route options to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are many different routes you can take when climbing Kilimanjaro. The six main routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are:

  • Lemosho Route – the most recommended route
  • Machame Route – the most popular route
  • Marangu Route – the only route where you can stay in huts
  • Rongai Route – the only route that starts in the north near the Kenyan border
  • Shira Route – the only route that starts at relatively high altitude
  • Umbwe Route – the shortest and steepest, hence most difficult route

In addition to the main routes, the following variations are also possible:

  • Northern Circuit – the longest route offering almost 360° views
  • Grand Traverse – an easier & quieter alternative to the Northern Circuit
  • Crater Camp – can be added to any route, best with Lemosho or Northern
  • Wester Breach – shortcut on the southern circuit, but risk of rockfall
Northern Circuit
What is the Northern Circuit route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro. It starts in the west along the Lemosho Route, then circumvents the peak on the northern slopes, approaches the summit from the east and descends in the south. As such, it offers 360° degree views of the peak and afar.

Together with the Grand Traverse, the Northern Circuit is the only route that circumvents the peak on the northern slopes, providing the most authentic wilderness experience away from the crowds.

The route offers plenty of opportunity to acclimatize to the high altitude and therefore also has a very high summit success chance. Even though it is the longest route, it might as well be one of the easiest!

 

How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro on the Northern Circuit?

The Northern Circuit can be completed in 8 or 9 days, or up to 10 days including an overnight stay at Crater Camp. We recommend the 9-day Northern Circuit Itinerary over the 8-day Northern Circuit Itinerary for maximum acclimatization to the high altitude.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Rongai Route
Do you recommend the 5-day Rongai Route?

We only recommend the 5-day Rongai Route if you have pre-acclimatized to the high altitude. For example, given its starting location near the border of Kenya, the Rongai Route can be combined conveniently with a pre-acclimatization climb on Mount Kenya. This would allow you to climb both of East Africa’s highest mountains over 9 days in total – not a bad accomplishment at all!

Otherwise, if you are not used to high altitudes or have not pre-acclimatized, you are running a fairly high risk on the 5-day Rongai Route (as in all 5-day Kilimanjaro routes) that you will not be able to reach the summit due to altitude sickness.

What is the Rongai Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Rongai Route is the only route on Kilimanjaro that starts in the north near the border to Kenya, the furthest away from an airport of all Kilimanjaro National Park gates. This makes it much less visited than other routes, providing for a true wilderness experience during your summit approach.

The Rongai Route descends along the Marangu Route in the south east, providing for a cross-over experience with views of the north, east and south of Mount Kilimanjaro and its surroundings.

While the Rongai Route can be completed through a short and direct approach of the summit in only 5 days, or sometimes extended over 6 days, we recommend the longer 7-day Rongai Route Itinerary with a detour to Mawenzi in the east of Kibo. This allows more time to acclimatize to the thin air and improves your summit success chance.

Do you recommend the 6-day Rongai Route?

We only recommend the 6-day Rongai Route if you have pre-acclimatized to the high altitude. For example, given its starting location near the border to Kenya, the Rongai Route can be combined conveniently with a pre-acclimatization climb on Mount Kenya. This would allow you to climb both of East Africa’s highest mountains over 9 days in total – not a bad accomplishment at all!

Otherwise, if you are not used to high altitudes or have not pre-acclimatized, you are running a fairly high risk on the 6-day Rongai Route (as in all 5 and 6-day Kilimanjaro routes) that you will not be able to reach the summit due to altitude sickness.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
What are my route options to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are many different routes you can take when climbing Kilimanjaro. The six main routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are:

  • Lemosho Route – the most recommended route
  • Machame Route – the most popular route
  • Marangu Route – the only route where you can stay in huts
  • Rongai Route – the only route that starts in the north near the Kenyan border
  • Shira Route – the only route that starts at relatively high altitude
  • Umbwe Route – the shortest and steepest, hence most difficult route

In addition to the main routes, the following variations are also possible:

  • Northern Circuit – the longest route offering almost 360° views
  • Grand Traverse – an easier & quieter alternative to the Northern Circuit
  • Crater Camp – can be added to any route, best with Lemosho or Northern
  • Wester Breach – shortcut on the southern circuit, but risk of rockfall
Comparison
What is the difference between the Machame and Lemosho Routes?

The biggest difference between the Machame and Lemosho Routes is their length: Lemosho is about 8km (5miles) longer. Therefore, the Lemosho Route takes one more day to complete: While Machame can be completed in 6 or 7 days, Lemosho takes 7 or 8 days.

Another difference is the starting location: Machame starts in the south, not far from Moshi, while Lemosho starts in the west. This makes the Lemosho Route a longer drive on your first day if you arrive from Moshi, therefore also slightly more expensive.

As both routes join mid-way, they are otherwise identical and offer the same scenic highlights further up the mountain.

What is the difference between the Lemosho Route and Northern Circuit?

The biggest difference between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes on Mount Kilimanjaro is the way they circumvent the peak. Both start in the west of the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, at Lemosho Gate, and are identical for the first two to four days (depending on the variation). On the Shira plateau, or latest at Lava Tower, they split: The Lemosho Route continues along the popular and most scenic southern slopes to join with the Machame Route, while the Northern Circuit branches off to avoid the busy southern circuit and circumvents the peak on the rarely visited northern slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, near Kenya. Both routes join again at Stella Point on the summit for the final path to Uhuru Peak, and follow the same descent route down to Mweka Gate.

In terms of difficulty, we consider both routes roughly equal. At 72km (44mi) of total length, Lemosho is a little shorter than the Northern Circuit, which is the longest route on Kilimanjaro. Depending on its variation (8 or 9 days, including or excluding an acclimatization detour to Lava Tower), the Northern Circuit has a total length of 80km (49mi) to 94km (58mi). Therefore, the Northern Circuit takes one more day to complete: While Lemosho can be completed in 7 or 8 days, the Northern Circuit takes 8 or 9 days. The average distance covered per day, however, is 9-10km for both routes. Therefore, even though the Northern Circuit is longer overall, we do not consider it to be more difficult.

In terms of acclimatization and summit success chance, we don't see a major difference as both routes have a very high summit success chance (read the golden rules of altitude acclimatization). To maximize your summit success chance when climbing Kilimanjaro, taking 8 or 9 days is recommendable over 7 days or less, such as for the 7-day Lemosho Route. However, the 8-day Lemosho Route, 8-day Northern Circuit and 9-day Northern Circuit all have a summit success chance of close to 100%. So which one should you take? Read more here.

Choosing Your Itinerary
Overview
How do I go about choosing my best Kilimanjaro route?

To choose the best hiking route for your Kilimanjaro climb, it is important to assess your personal preferences and priorities:

  • Do you prefer the most stunning scenery or authentic wilderness away from the crowds?
  • Do you prefer a climb with least amount of walking and easy slopes, or are you looking for a bigger physical challenge?
  • Do you have time constraints, or are you OK to take a longer route of 8 days (or more) in order to maximize your summit success chance?
  • Do you have budget constraints, or do you prefer to pay a premium for a longer climb, a private tailor-made arrangement (as opposed to an open group climb), and/or a luxurious climb off-the-beaten track?

Please contact us for a tailor-made recommendation.

Comfort & facilities
What facilities are available at the Marangu Huts?

The Marangu Huts offer dormitory-style accommodation of between 4 – 20 bunk beds per room. It is not possible to rent a private room, and allocation of beds is on a first-come-first-served basis, so expect to be sharing your hut with strangers. The Marangu Huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms. At lower altitudes, huts have flushing toilets and running water. At higher altitudes, long drop toilets and buckets of water are available. Same as for the campsites on all other routes on Kilimanjaro, there are no charging stations, and there is no heating. Different from all other routes, however, mineral water, soft drinks and chocolates are also sold at camps on the Marangu Route.

Which route has the highest comfort and best facilities?

All hiking routes on Mount Kilimanjaro are roughly similar in terms of facilities, or lack thereof. You will sleep in designated campsites with basic public toilet facilities. There are flush toilets and running water at lower altitudes, but only long drop toilets at higher altitude, and no toilets along the path. Only the Marangu Route offers accommodation in huts and some more facilities, but they are not necessarily more comfortable than the other routes.

For a more comfortable experience, it's best to book with a high-quality tour operator and upgrade your climbing package. Mess dining tents with tables and chairs are fairly standard for all mid-range offers, and private toilet tents have become very popular. For a true VIP experience, we can add luxuries such as a walk-in size tent with frame beds, portable mountain shower, or even a comfortable lounge tent with a heater to your climbing package.

Less popular routes such as the Northern Circuit, Grand Traverse or Rongai Route may also feel more comfortable as you'll get to enjoy more privacy, quiet campsites and unspoilt wilderness.

Duration
How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

Depending on the route, Kilimanjaro climbs take anywhere from 5 days to more than 8 days. As it is important to ascend slowly in order to acclimatize to the high altitude, most climbers opt for 6 to 8 day routes. The longest routes take 9 to 10 days.

While speed record climbers have scaled the mountain in less than a day, the minimum permit issued by the Kilimanjaro National Park for normal tourist climbers is 5 days. Exceptional tourist climbers may complete their climb initially booked for 5 days within 4 days by descending all the way from the summit to the park gate within one day.

What are benefits of shorter Kilimanjaro climbs?

Although longer Kilimanjaro climbs are better for altitude acclimatization, taking shorter climbs does have its benefits. Even though sleeping out in the wilderness away from civilization can be very relaxing and even fun, climbers unaccustomed to camping for long periods of time may want to reduce discomforts associated with the lack of basic modern facilities such as running water or heating. Nighttime temperatures frequently drop below zero at higher elevation. Combined with the effects of the altitude on your body, you may not be able to sleep well, and feel more and more tired the more time you spend on the mountain. This in addition to the obvious benefits of saving money and time on shorter climbs.

What are benefits of longer Kilimanjaro climbs?

One of the main benefits of taking longer climbs is that it gives you more time to acclimatize to the high altitude. This is important for reducing the symptoms associated with altitude sickness such as breathlessness, dizziness, and nausea; and to mitigate the risk of developing more severe forms of acute mountain sickness. If you are serious about making it all the way to the summit of Kilimanjaro, then it is worth taking the extra time to climb because better acclimatization is one of the single most important factors when it comes to increasing your chances of success. You’ll also get more time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and natural landscapes away from the rest of civilisation.

How many days should I take to climb Kilimanjaro?

Budget and time permitting, we recommend that you climb for at least 7 and ideally 8 days. Taking your time helps you to acclimatize naturally to the high altitude, therefore reduces discomforts and risks of altitude sickness. The better you acclimatize, the more likely you will reach the summit (and safely so).

There is statistical evidence that 7 days lead to a higher summit success chance than 5 or 6 days. Route permitting, you may even want to consider 8 days or more. However, please note that we do not (yet) see sufficient evidence that your summit success chance significantly further improves beyond 7 or 8 climbing days.

Is it possible to extend my climb by an additional acclimatization day?

On private Kilimanjaro climbs, it is theoretically possible to extend your climb by adding an additional acclimatization day (or more) at any of the campsites or Marangu Huts. If you wish to do so, you need to arrange this with us/your tour operator before booking your climb.

Practically, however, most climbers would rather choose a longer route if they wish to extend the duration of their climb, in order to avoid staying at the same campsite twice and enjoy more varied scenery.

When booking your climb through Fair Voyage, all itineraries are fully customizable, including the possibility to extend your climb by another day.

Should I overnight at the same location or go for a longer route?

If you wish to extend the duration of your Kilimanjaro climb, we recommend taking a longer route for more varied scenery and to avoid potential boredom when staying at the same location twice overnight. Except:

  1. If you prefer to stay overnight in huts and therefore choose the Marangu Route which only takes 5 days if you do not add an additional acclimatization day (or two).
  2. If you are seriously worried about your ability to walk every day and prefer to add rest days. However, please note that the biggest challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro is not the length of its routes, but the altitude (which is the same for all routes).
Safety
Which is the best Kilimanjaro hiking route for altitude acclimatization?

The best routes for altitude acclimatization allow you to climb high during the day and sleep low at night. Climbing high during the daytime gets your body used to the high altitude. By sleeping at a lower elevation during the night, your body has enough time to take a break from the lack of oxygen associated with higher elevations. You should also ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body can acclimatize better.

7-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days.

How dangerous is altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a serious and potentially dangerous risk when climbing Kilimanjaro. If ignored and left untreated, altitude sickness may become severe and, in extreme cases, lethal. AMS is the most common cause for tourist deaths on Mount Kilimanjaro and needs to be taken seriously by the climber. It is important to climb with a well-trained and experienced guide who can monitor your individual altitude acclimatization, watch out for AMS symptoms, and – if required – insist on and assist with your descent.

How can I avoid altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

The truth is that most climbers will be affected by altitude sickness in some way. You can however reduce the severity of it. Make sure to follow the so-called 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization. Take your time over multiple days and ascend very slowly during the day. Drink lots of water while climbing.

It also helps to sleep at lower altitudes overnight than you've climbed to during the day. You can do this upfront by choosing a route with a beneficial altitude profile. While climbing, depending on route and tour operator, you may have the option to go for altitude acclimatization hikes in the afternoon or on rest days.

How does the fatality rate on Kilimanjaro compare to other mountains?

The fatality rate on Mount Kilimanjaro is low compared to other mountains. Of the 30,000-50,000 people who climb Kilimanjaro each year, an estimated 10 tourists die annually from altitude sickness and other causes. This represents a death rate of 0.03% or less, which is low compared to other mountains in the world.

Mt Blanc at 4,810m in the European Alps, which is lower than Kilimanjaro by over 1,000 meters and attracts a similar number of people, claims the lives of 100 people a year – making it 10 times more deadly!

Summit success
Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push. Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

8-day Machame, 8-day Lemosho, 8-day Grand Traverse and 9-day Northern Circuit (including acclimatization hike to Lava Tower) are all excellent routes for altitude acclimatization that allow you to hike high, sleep low and ascend slowly over multiple days. With the right preparation and the right guide, these routes all have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

What is the average Kilimanjaro summit success rate?

The average Kilimanjaro summit success rate has climbed from below 50% to around 60% or more. It varies with the route taken and the length of the trek. The longer you spend on the mountain, the higher your chances of reaching the summit will be.

With increasing awareness about the importance of acclimatization, the average success rate has also increased. While in the past 5 or 6 day routes were most popular, climbers now increasingly opt for longer 7 or 8 day itineraries. If you follow a route ideal for altitude acclimatization, your summit success rate approximates 100%, assuming a reasonable level of fitness and average altitude tolerance.

Does a 9-day climb improve my summit success chance?

The major benefit of taking a 9-day route, or adding additional acclimatization days to extend your route to 9 days, is to acclimatize your body to the high altitude, thus improve your summit success chance. One of the biggest hazards affecting Kilimanjaro climbers is altitude sickness, but walking slowly and spending more days climbing gives your body time to get used to the altitude.

The flipside of this is that each day spent on Kilimanjaro can be stressful for some climbers, due to insomnia, feeling unwell or the stress of camping. This may weaken a climber and outweigh the benefits of improved acclimatization. It is not yet clear whether 9 days significantly boosts your success chance compared to 8 days. Both 8-day and 9-day routes have a summit success chance of close to 100%.

Recommendation
Should I take the Machame or Lemosho Route?

Choosing between the Machame and Lemosho Route depends on your preferred climb length and duration. While the Machame Route can be completed in 6 or 7 days, the Lemosho Route takes 7 or 8 days.

If you prefer a 6-day climb, go for the Machame Route. In general, however, we recommend you to climb for at least 7 days to better acclimatize to the high altitude and therefore increase your summit success chance.

If you climb for 7 days: Go for the Machame Route if you prefer shorter walking days, and for the Lemosho Route if you prefer lots of walking.

If your time permits: Go for the 8-day Lemosho Route to further improve your acclimatization to the high altitude.

If your budget permits, and you're looking for the easiest hiking route with the least amount of walking per day and the highest summit success chance, then we'd recommend a tailor-made 8-day Machame Route climb.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

For most climbers who prefer to scale the mountain when the weather is sunny and dry, and to maximize your summit success chance without having had prior high altitude experience, our most recommended routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with best scenery, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Grand Traverse: Easiest route in authentic wilderness, as long as you don't mind missing some scenic highlights
  • 9-day Northern Circuit: A somewhat more difficult alternative to the Grand Traverse (similar to Lemosho), yet with more opportunity to acclimatize and more scenic variety compared to the Grand Traverse

Arguably, 8 or 9 days on the mountain may sound just a bit too long. If you prefer a group climb, you will also be somewhat limited in your choice of affordable options for the above routes. So if either time or budget is a constraint, then we recommend:

  • 7-day Machame Route: Most popular route with great scenery and ideal profile for altitude acclimatization (similiar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile is not as good as the Machame Route.
Which is the best Kilimanjaro route during rainy season?

For the vast majority of climbers, we would highly recommend that you climb during dry season and avoid the rains as much as possible. However, if you are used to harsh climates and the outdoors, you may have your reasons why you still prefer to climb during rainy season – avoiding the crowds just being one of them.

When climbing during rainy season, you will want to try reduce your exposure to the rain as much as possible, and make sure to stay dry at least at camp. Here are the rainy season back-up routes and options that we recommend:

  • Climb on the Marangu Route, the only route offering accommodation in huts, and rest in the dry comfort of a firm roof at camp; or
  • Follow the Rongai Route on the northern slopes which tend to attract less rain than the southern slopes; or
  • Upgrade your climb on any route to a luxurious walk-in size sleeping tent. This will not only keep you dry but also offers plenty of space to keep your gear clean and tidy.
Should I take the Lemosho Route or Northern Circuit?

Choosing between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes to climb Kilimanjaro is a  tradeoff between best scenery versus serene wilderness. Which is more important to you?

If you don't want to miss out on the fairytale-like Dendrosenecio Forest or the infamous Barranco Wall on Mount Kilimanjaro, you have no choice but to take the Lemosho Route, or another route that follows the southern circuit.

On the flip side, the southern circuit is very busy which means that you'll share your path and campsites with an entire village of hikers, guides and porters. If you're looking for a more quiet and meditative experience, it would be recommendable to escape to the far less visited northern slopes. If you suffer from vertigo, you might also prefer to take the Northern Circuit in order to avoid the scramble atop the steep Barranco Wall.

Another consideration is the time you're planning to spend for your Kilimanjaro climb. If you're in a rush, then you might prefer the Lemosho Route which can be completed in 7 days, while the Northern Circuit takes a minimum of 8 days.

Finally, if you're looking to join an open group climb, you'll be spoilt for choice for both the busier 7-day Lemosho and 8-day Lemosho routes, while there's fewer options for the 8-day Northern Circuit and hardly any open group climbs for the 9-day Northern Circuit. Read more about the differences between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes here.

 

Which is the most challenging route for ultimate adventurers?

If you are looking for a real challenge and thrilling adventure away from the crowds, the following routes and itinerary variations options may offer you exactly the kind of unique experience that feels right to you:

  1. Combine your Kilimanjaro climb with an overnight stay at the Crater Camp, sleeping next to one of Kilimanjaro’s last remaining glaciers
  2. Combine your Kilimanjaro climb with a pre-acclimatization climb on Mount Kenya (or Mount Meru), scaling two of East Africa’s highest peaks in one go
  3. Attempt a 5-day speed-climb on the steep & challenging Umbwe Route or the 5-day Rongai Route

Please note we don't recommend the so-called Western Breach shortcut to the summit due to risk of rockfall and increased risk of altitude sickness.

Finding Your Best Offer
Getting Started
How do I organize a Kilimanjaro climb?

When organising a Kilimanjaro climb, your tour operator will do most of the work for you locally. However, you'll still need to decide what kind of climbing experience you prefer, make travel arrangements and organize your gear.

Start by deciding your personal preferences: When and how long? Which route? What level of quality & safety standards? Do you prefer a private tour or to join a group? Browse through our content to find out for yourself, or book a free personal consultation with us.

Once you know what you want, it's important to find a reputable and reliable tour operator who consistently receives high ratings from past climbers. Of course, you will also want to get your best value-for-money quotation for everything that you'd like included in your package. Search climb offers online, or request your custom quote for a climb quote from us.

Once you've booked your climb, you will also need to organize your flight, insurance, vaccinations and health checks, etc, so make sure you start planning well in advance. You will also need to organize your gear, though most items you need can also be rented locally when booking with a high-quality company.

What exactly does my Kilimanjaro tour operator organize?

Your Kilimanjaro tour operator will organize almost everything that is required for you to climb Kilimanjaro locally. They will hire your mountain crew complete with guides, cooks and porters; provide full-board meals and drinking water; organize your mountain accommodation; arrange transfers to and from the park gates; sort out your park entry fees and regulations; and more.

Depending on your package, your tour operator will also arrange your airport transfers and book your accommodation before and after your climb. They can also help you organize gear that you may prefer to rent rather than purchase, such as sleeping bags or trekking poles.

Responsible Travel
What is the porter treatment situation on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are more than 20,000 porters who work on Mount Kilimanjaro and most of them are not treated fairly. They risk their lives to carry heavy loads for tourists yet often do not even get their due minimum salary of less than US $10 per day. They sometimes only get one meal per day and have inappropriate gear. In extreme cases, porters have been found dead, left behind by their guides when they had accidents or fallen sick. Although KPAP and its Partner companies have been able to achieve significant improvements for their porters and the industry overall, the situation is still far from satisfactory for the majority of porters on Kilimanjaro.

What responsible travel criteria should I look out for when booking my climb?

The predominant problem caused by Kilimanjaro tourism is the exploitation of porters. There is only one independent organization that monitors porter treatment practices locally – the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). To make sure that you're booking an ethical climb and that your porters will be treated fairly, verify that your tour operator is listed on the official list of approved KPAP Partner companies on IMEC's website.

Environmental damage and pollution is not such a big problem on Mount Kilimanjaro as it is for other destinations. Most tour operators, and including all KPAP approved companies, adhere to the Kilimanjaro National Park's leave no trace guidelines to collect waste at campsites and bring it down the mountain. Therefore, it's not a major consideration when booking your climb.

Prices
How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

A typical Kilimanjaro climbing package costs anywhere from about US $1,500 on a short 5-day low budget climb in a group to US $5,000 and more on luxurious offers with high-end services and equipment. For a reasonable mid-range offer, you'd be looking at around US $2,000 to 3,500.

In addition to your tour price, you will have significant additional costs for tipping of your mountain crew, flights, medical costs and insurance, gear rentals or purchases, and more. Altogether, your entire trip will easily cost US $3,000 even on a very low budget tour, and usually around US $5,000 and more for mid-range travellers.

Why are Kilimanjaro tours so expensive?

Kilimanjaro is an expensive mountain to climb. This is due to local park fees and taxes. For a 6-day climb, the Kilimanjaro National Park fees alone amount to over US $800 per person. When adding up all the costs incurred by a tour operator (including the salaries of your mountain crew, equipment, food, transfers, etc.), there is in fact only a small margin left for the tour operator. It is therefore not possible for them to offer you much lower prices than you find on Fair Voyage. Companies offering significantly lower prices are either not operating legally and/or do not treat your porters fairly.

Why does Fair Voyage not offer cheaper Kilimanjaro climbs?

You might have seen cheaper offers elsewhere. Please beware: When adding up all the costs, it is not possible for a tour operator to operate profitably and legally when offering much cheaper prices than you'll find on Fair Voyage. Such operators are not duly licensed and operate illegally, and – most likely – they exploit the porters who carry your gear and supplies. We only promote duly licensed companies that are partners of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project and adhere to minimum fair porter treatment standards. This is the very reason for our existence – to promote responsible tourism and ethical climbs.

Why is it important for my safety that my porters are treated fairly?

We believe that responsible companies who treat your porters fairly are also more likely to offer you as a client higher quality standards, and that porters who are treated fairly by their companies are also more likely to have your best interests in mind. That means first and foremost not your summit success, but your health and safety.

Amongst others, you rely on your porters for your water and food to be treated properly. In the worst case, you might have to rely on them for a safe descent. Will your porters be able to do a good job if they are hungry, cold and get paid significantly less than their colleagues camping right next to your group?

While there is no guarantee, we believe that booking your climb with a responsible tour operator who treats your porters fairly will be the safer choice for you.

What are the differences between Kilimanjaro climbing offers?

Just like there are backpacker hostels and 5-star hotels, Kilimanjaro tours range from low budget to luxury. Prices vary due to:

  1. Airport transfers and pre/post climb accommodation (if included)
  2. Type and quality of camping equipment (tents, private toilet, etc.)
  3. Type and quality of safety equipment (oxygen, hyperbaric chamber, stretcher, etc.)
  4. Training and experience of your guide(s) (WFR, CPR)
  5. Responsible tourism practices, especially treatment of your mountain crew
  6. Distribution (traditional agencies are more expensive than local outfitters)
  7. Marketing (can be value add/helpful information, or misleading – watch out)
How much does it cost to hire a porter for Kilimanjaro?

It usually costs around US $100-250 for you to hire a personal porter, depending on the length of your climb and the porter compensation practices of your tour operator. The participants of the Kilimanjaro Partners Assistance Program have agreed a minimum fair porter compensation of TZS 30,000 (ca. US $13.50) per day, whereby the minimum wage is TZS 20,000 (ca. US $9) per day. This is only a minimum, and some tour operators pay porters well above the minimum guidelines. In addition, tour operators incur costs to organize a porter for you. The above price range reflects all these costs.

Safety
Can I fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro?

While possible, it is highly unlikely that you would fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro. Most of the routes on the mountain are non-technical and well trodden. This means you don’t have to be a professional mountaineer or athlete to navigate your way up them.

However, in the same way that you could potentially take a bad step when walking up a steep set of stairs, the same is true on Kilimanjaro. There are a few areas on the mountain where it is possible to have a bad fall, but as long as you follow the instructions of your guide, the risk is very limited and far lower than on other mountains.

Most paths on Kilimanjaro are very low-risk – except for the general risk of altitude sickness and the risk of rockfall on the Western Breach.

What is Wilderness First Responder (WFR)?

Wilderness First Responder is the industry standard for professional guides, trip leaders, search and rescue team members and anyone who works outdoors to be able to deal with medical emergencies in wilderness settings. It emphasises the prevention and identification of medical emergencies, appropriate technology, and risk management. It trains participants to administer CPR, basic life support, and the emergency treatment of conditions such as asthma. It also gives guides the tools they need to be able to treat altitude sickness, frostbite, heat illness, environmental toxins and other injuries or hazards.

Who certifies Kilimanjaro guides for Wilderness First Responder (WFR)?

Kilimanjaro guides have to undergo many hours of practical and theoretical training to obtain their Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. The cost of doing this is often paid by the tour operator. Most tour operators who employ WFR certified guides train their guides at Wilderness Medical Associates International (the only institute that conducts training in Tanzania) to obtain their WFR training and certificates, which are valid for three years. Our most luxurious tour operator partners send their guides overseas to train at the Sentinel Outdoor Institute, which is based in the US.

How can I book a WFR certified guide for my Kilimanjaro climb?

While you can request your tour operator to add a personal porter or a private toilet tent/porter for a surcharge, it is not possible to request a WFR certified guide for a surcharge. Tour operators either work with WFR certified guides, or they don’t. Typically, tour operators with WFR certified guides are higher quality and more expensive, while low budget operators typically do not have WFR certified guides. As the availability of WFR certified guides is limited, it is recommendable to book well in advance so that your tour operator can reserve a guide for you. Most curated Climb Kilimanjaro offers on Fair Voyage include at least one WFR certified guide.

Guides
How do I find the best Kilimanjaro guide?

Currently, there is no objective certification or rating for Kilimanjaro guides. We are hoping to change that eventually and create an industry standard. However, there are ways that you can increase your chances of finding a good guide.

Firstly, you should book with a responsible tour operator. They tend to have the best guides, because they are better paid, trained properly and given the resources they need to navigate the mountain. The two things you want to look for is Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training and CPR first aid training, should you fall ill on the mountain.

What is the best certification for a Kilimanjaro guide?

As there is no local training or certification scheme specific for Kilimanjaro, the best certification that a Kilimanjaro guide can have is Wilderness First Responder (WFR) as per international best practice training and certification standards for mountain guides globally. Most curated Kilimanjaro offers on Fair Voyage include at least one WFR certified mountain guide who has been trained by and received his certificate from a reputable WFR training and certification institute.

How many guides will there be for my group when climbing Kilimanjaro?

When climbing Kilimanjaro, you must have at most 2 climbers per guide, and at least 2 guides for groups of 2 climbers or more. This ensures that there will always be enough guides to assist climbers who require descent, while at the same time allowing all other climbers to continue their summit ascent safely.

The minimum guide-to-climber ratios are stipulated by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations and apply to all climbs booked via Fair Voyage. So for every group, there will always be one lead guide, and we have classified all other guides as assistant guides.

Please beware that guides and companies operating illegally on Kilimanjaro may not adhere to these minimum ratios, which can lead to dangerous life threatening situations. While it may be tempting to save costs by booking with a low-budget operator, your financial savings may come at the cost of your own safety.

Minimum ratio of Kilimanjaro climbers per guide for all climbs booked via Fair Voyage:
ClimbersGuides
1 climber1 guide
2 climbers2 guides
3 climbers2 guides
4 climbers2 guides
5 climbers3 guides
6 climbers3 guides
7 climbers4 guides
8 climbers4 guides
9 climbers5 guides
10 climbers5 guides
11 climbers6 guides
12 climbers6 guides
Inclusions
What is included in all Kilimanjaro offers?

The following items are normally included in all Kilimanjaro tour offers as per industry standards:

  • Mountain guide and porters
  • Mountain accommodation in tents (or Marangu Huts)
  • Drinking water and full-board meals on the mountain
  • All Kilimanjaro National Park fees: conservation fees, camping or hut fees, rescue fees
  • Transfers to and from the Kilimanjaro National Park gates
  • Climbing certificate (if you reach Gilman's Point, Stella Point or Uhuru Peak)

However, these are only the bare minimum, and all offers on Fair Voyage include a lot more. Please see our additional curated inclusions and customization options.

What is included in Kilimanjaro offers on Fair Voyage that's different from other agencies or platforms?

We aim to offer you the full range of climbing offers from low-budget no-frills to luxurious VIP tours. Being committed to responsible travel, however, means that we insist on and strictly vet all tours against minimum standards of quality and safety. Therefore, different from industry average, all our quotations typically also include:

  • 100% ethical climb, independently monitored and verified by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP)
  • Duly registered English-speaking mountain guide(s) with minimum level of training
  • Assistant guide(s) with a maximum ratio of 2 clients per guide
  • Mess dining tent, table(s) and chairs; eating utensils
  • Properly treated drinking water and hot meals (when possible) on the mountain; prepared by properly trained cook
  • Pre-climb briefing & gear check with your guide (usually in the afternoon before the start of your climb)
  • Secure online payment; no hidden credit card or other transaction fees
  • Swiss Travel Security (STS) traveller deposit guarantee to safeguard your payments against default or non-delivery of services
  • Fully customizable offers – any itinerary variations, upgrades, equipment rentals, etc.
What options do I have to customize my Kilimanjaro climb?

We can customize your Kilimanjaro climb to include:

  • Any route or itinerary variations, including additional acclimatization days, overnight stays at Crater Camp, and more
  • Accommodation before and after your climb, including upgrades to single rooms, premium lodges, and more
  • Catering for your dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, etc.)
  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified mountain guide (included in all our Premium and Luxury/VIP offers)
  • Private toilet tent (included in all our Premium and Luxury/VIP offers)
  • High-quality sleeping bags, trekking poles and other gear rentals
  • Luxury walk-in size sleeping tents with frame beds, soft mattresses and more
  • Hot mountain shower (for campsites with nearby water sources)
  • Transfer from and to Kilimanjaro or Nairobi international airports
  • Combination with a pre-acclimatization climb on Mount Kenya or Mount Meru
  • Combination with a wildlife safari or more experiences in the region
  • Any other customizations that are available in the market – we can arrange them for you
What is excluded from all Kilimanjaro offers?

The following items are normally excluded from your Kilimanjaro tour as per industry standards, unless specifically stated otherwise:

  • Tipping for your mountain crew including guide(s), cook and porters (tipping guidelines)
  • International and domestic flights
  • Visa fees
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Medication and other personal medical items
  • Food & beverages when not on the mountain
  • Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, snacks and other energy food & drinks
  • All personal purchases and expenses, such as for souvenirs, local SIM cards, etc.
  • Rental gear such as sleeping bags or trekking poles
  • Additional accommodation in case of early descent
What does the Rating Category mean, and how can I compare offers?

To make it easier for you to compare what's included in different Kilimanjaro offers and to find the package that best meets your personal preferences, we've created our own system to classify Tours by a minimum standard of inclusions:

1-Budget | 2-Economy | 3-Premium | 4-Luxury | 5-VIP

12345
All standard Kilimanjaro climb inclusions
All additional Fair Voyage curated inclusions
Sleeping mattress
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified guide
Emergency oxygen and/or pulse oximeter
Private toilet tent
Hyperbaric chamber, custom stretcher, emergency oxygen and pulse oximeter
Min. 2 WFR certified guides
Luxurious walk-in size tent with frame beds
Hot mountain shower
What are private toilet tents on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

A private toilet tent is a tall stand-up size tent with a portable chemical toilet unit that has a seat and a flush. They're easy to put up and dismantle, and can be carried up the mountain with the help of an additional porter. Private toilet tents provide a more convenient, comfortable and cleaner alternative to the poor public toilet facilities on Mount Kilimanjaro.

How do I book a private toilet tent for my Kilimanjaro climb?

By default, all Premium and higher-end offers on Fair Voyage include a private toilet tent in your package. For Budget and Economy offers, it can be added easily for an additional cost of around US$150. This covers the cost of equipment rental for your tent and toilet unit, cleaning materials as well as the services of a fully dedicated toilet porter. If split between a group of 3-4 people, the cost amounts to just about US$5 per day per climber – a very affordable and highly recommendable investment!

Your toilet porter will carry, put up and clean the toilet for you during your entire climb, so that you'll always have it available at camp.While some may feel awkward to pay someone to carry and clean your toilet, please don't. Your toilet porter will appreciate the employment opportunity, as well as your tip. Just let us know when booking your climb if it's something you'd like included in your offer.

Is it worthwhile to have a portable mountain shower for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Whether it's worthwhile to have a portable mountain shower for your Kilimanjaro climb depends on your personal preferences. Most climbers do not need it, while those who have it wouldn't want to miss it.

If you're new to camping in the wild for consecutive nights, imagining a week without a shower may be a scary thought. However, most climbers will find that it's not as uncomfortable as they imagine it to be. Overcoming this initial fear is all part of the unique personal growth experience that makes Kilimanjaro such a rewarding mountain to climb. In hindsight, you will likely feel proud of having managed a week without a shower. Even though operators who offer mountain showers would typically also provide warm water, you may also find it too cold to take off your clothes and shower.

Climbers who book a portable mountain shower & wash tent, on the other hand, also tend to use it. They enjoy the comfort and flexibility to take a shower on days when they don't feel too cold, and are happy about their decision to book that includes a warm mountain shower.

Is it worthwhile to have a walk-in tent and cot for my Kilimanjaro climb?

If you prefer more comfort, it may be worthwhile to upgrade your climb with a walk-in tent and sleeping cot. Crawling in and out of standard sized tents multiple times a day can become quite tedious for some people. The space may also feel very confined with not much room to spread out your gear or get changed, especially when shared between two climbers. A larger tent will feel more spacious and give you more room to move. On the flip side, larger tents will also feel colder because they don't trap the heat as well.

Whether you feel more comfortable sleeping on a cot compared to standard foam sleeping mats used on the mountain is very individual. Cots can feel more comfortable to sleep on for some people, as they're softer and give the feeling of a familiar frame bed. For others, however, the relatively narrow width of cots may feel less comfortable compared to sleeping closer to the ground, where you can simply rest your arms or legs on the floor if you need more space.

Open Group Tours
What is an open group tour to climb Kilimanjaro?

A Kilimanjaro open group tour is one in which anyone can join the climb. This means that you will join other climbers that have booked the same tour and it is not limited to the people in the group knowing each other.

Group tours tend to be cheaper when compared to private tours and have a set schedule. Some operators require a minimum of two people to join the tour before the booking can be confirmed. All climbs have a maximum number of participants, so be sure to book in advance to secure your place.

What are the advantages of Kilimanjaro group tours?

Kilimanjaro group tours can reduce the cost per climber significantly, because tour operators are able to spread some fixed costs per climb amongst the number of participants. Joining a group tour also makes it easier to meet people and form close bonds and friendships with other climbers. Indeed, some climbers describe the bonds they form with others on the tour as one of the most rewarding aspects of their Kilimanjaro experience. Other people in the group may also offer much needed mutual support and inspiration during that last summit push.

How many climbers are in a Kilimanjaro group tour?

The maximum number of people in a Kilimanjaro group tour is usually between eight and 12. This does not mean that tours will always fill up to that number. Tours that are well advertised and popular tend to fill up while others may have fewer participants but still offer an equally good service.

There are also open group tours containing just three people and bigger tour groups with more than 15 people, although these are not as common.

Should I join a group tour to climb Kilimanjaro?

Group tours have their advantages and disadvantages. If you can find a Kilimanjaro group tour that runs on a date that is convenient for you, we would certainly recommend this option. This is because joining a group tour helps to keep costs down and allows you to meet other like-minded people. This aspect of a group tour cannot be understated. Many lasting friendships have been formed while climbing. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a very unique and challenging experience and the bonds you share with others who climb with you can be profound and life-changing.

What are the disadvantages of Kilimanjaro group tours?

One of the disadvantages of joining a Kilimanjaro group tour is that you may have to adjust your walking speed to that of others. If you're a faster climber, you may have to adjust your walking pace to that of the slowest. Conversely, the slowest person may feel pressured to walk faster. Tour operators will handle this differently. Some keep the group together at all times, while others allow faster climbers to go ahead with a guide and slower hikers to stay behind with another guide.

Another disadvantage is that pre-scheduled group tours run on a fixed schedule – which may not always be convenient for you.

When joining a Kilimanjaro group climb, can I customize it to make it cheaper?

When joining an open group trek to climb Kilimanjaro, it is not possible to downgrade the package to make it cheaper. For example, you might not require emergency oxygen or a dining tent that are included in the climb package. However, the cost of these items is already factored into the price paid by other climbers. It wouldn't be fair to them if they would be required to pay more, and it could lead to friction in your climbing group. In case of emergency, of course your guide would use the emergency oxygen paid for by other climbers for your safety benefit. Other climbers may be annoyed about you getting a free ride at their cost.

However, to the extent allowed by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, it is always possible to downgrade and fully customize a private group climb. This may help you save a lot of costs if you are a group of at least 5 climbers booking together. If you are a solo or couple traveller, please note it would almost always be cheaper to join a higher-quality group climb, then organize your own lower-quality budget climb.

When joining a Kilimanjaro group climb, can I go my own pace?

When joining an open group to climb Kilimanjaro, please note that you will have to adjust your walking speed to that of others, which typically means the pace of the slowest person in your group. It is not uncommon for this to create some frustrations amongst group members. Faster climbers would prefer to go ahead and take less frequent breaks, while the slowest person may feel pressured to walk faster.

When booking a group trek, please expect that you will need to adjust to the pace and needs of the entire group. Furthermore, you will not be able to adjust your itinerary spontaneously (unless needed), such as shorten your climb by a day if you feel that you can go faster. While there will always be a sufficiently high guide to client ratio to assist with early descent if needed, groups will not split up to accommodate the preference of some climbers to walk faster than others.

If you prefer more flexibility during your climb to set your own pace and adjust your itinerary while climbing, please contact us for private climbing packages.

Private Tours
What is a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro?

A private Kilimanjaro tour is one that is arranged exclusively for a climber and whoever they are travelling with. These tours are limited to people who either know each other or are choosing to hike together. When you book a private tour, others will not be able to join unless you have booked together. These tours can be more expensive than group tours, especially for singles, depending on the number of people in your private group.

How many people are in a private tour?

The number of climbers in a private Kilimanjaro tour really depends upon your requirements and preferences. So if you are going by yourself, your private tour will consist of one person although you should be aware that you will need to pay a single person supplement. However, if you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro with a group of people, then the number of people in a private tour will depend upon the number of people in your group.

What are the advantages of private tours to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are many advantages of taking a private Kilimanjaro tour. The main advantage is that you can set your own schedule and it means that you have the full flexibility to go where you like. If there is something on the itinerary that you don’t like or you need to change the schedule for any reason, you have more freedom to do so. All the items included in the tour will be set according to your individual requirements. You can also take the tour at a time that suits you and climb the mountain at your own pace.

What are the disadvantages of private tours to climb Kilimanjaro?

The main disadvantage associated with a private tour is that it works out to be more expensive for single people or couples. For single people it is a particularly expensive option as it means they will have to pay a single person supplement. On a private tour it is also unlikely that you will get the same group bonding experience that you would on a group tour. This can be a rather lonely experience if you are by yourself. However, you will still meet other hikers along the way and at campsites, so there is still some opportunity to socialise with others.

Should I organize a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro?

The decision to organize a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro depends upon your priorities, budget and requirements. If having full flexibility over your schedule is important to you, then a private tour may be your best option. Similarly, if you prefer to go at your own pace and you are concerned about having to adjust your walking pace to match other people, you may also benefit from a private tour. However, if it is important for you to be able to save money or socialize with other climbers, then you may instead want to join a group tour. Ultimately, the decision to book a private tour will depend upon your preferences.

Ratings & Reviews
What do the Tour Operator and Accommodation ratings mean?

You will find the following rating symbols for Tour Operators and accommodations throughout our website:

5-star Tour Operator Rating

We have sourced these ratings for you from TripAdvisor and other leading platforms to validate that our partners are top-rated. Please note that many of our local partners are selling tours predominantly via international agencies rather than directly. Therefore, some of them do not yet have as many independent ratings in their own name as you will find for international brands.

In rare cases, there are no meaningful independent ratings for the above reason. When we have verified and curated such companies that we deem to deserve a 5-star rating (e.g. because their tours are 5-star rated when sold by other agencies), you will find "n.m." instead of the number of reviews next to the rating symbol.

What does the Rating Category mean, and how can I compare offers?

To make it easier for you to compare what's included in different Kilimanjaro offers and to find the package that best meets your personal preferences, we've created our own system to classify Tours by a minimum standard of inclusions:

1-Budget | 2-Economy | 3-Premium | 4-Luxury | 5-VIP

12345
All standard Kilimanjaro climb inclusions
All additional Fair Voyage curated inclusions
Sleeping mattress
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified guide
Emergency oxygen and/or pulse oximeter
Private toilet tent
Hyperbaric chamber, custom stretcher, emergency oxygen and pulse oximeter
Min. 2 WFR certified guides
Luxurious walk-in size tent with frame beds
Hot mountain shower
How do Travellers Rate & Review Fair Voyage?

Read how others review Fair Voyage and the conscious trips and Kilimanjaro tours they've booked with us. You can check out the full original reviews on TripAdvisor (click to view our page), Trustpilot and Google as well as recommendations on our Facebook page.

5 star ratingA great company to help find responsible tour operators Choosing a Kilimanjaro tour company is no easy task. Fair Voyage was my partner during the entire process. They helped... read more

Ed A Avatar

Ed A

1 month ago

5 star ratingGreat Kili Climb with Responsible Operator Alexandra helped me plan a successful tour and summit of Kilimanjaro. She was patient in walking me through all my... read more

Davegetsitdone Avatar

Davegetsitdone

1 month ago

5 star ratingGreat experience with Fair Voyage! I came across Fair Voyage in my search for an ethical Kilimanjaro climb and they were able to connect me... read more

GrandTour41009690679 Avatar

GrandTour41009690679

2 months ago

Highly recommended for finding and booking sustainable trips with local tour operators, expert on Kilimanjaro climbs! Professional, reliable and devoted... read more

Justyna Karolina Avatar

Justyna Karolina

2 months ago

5 star ratingAmazing Staff & Service! My friend and I had been planning to climb Kili for a few years and we finally did it in... read more

Shimul S Avatar

Shimul S

2 months ago

Tourism is a great way to learn, stay open minded and support local economies. It needs to be done responsibly... read more

Chiara Rinaldi Avatar

Chiara Rinaldi

2 months ago

I love Africa and I know that if I were to go there again for a trip, I would only... read more

Maria Cristina Nieddu Avatar

Maria Cristina Nieddu

2 months ago

The best travel agency for Africa I came across offering memorable and unique tours. Guides are local and you can... read more

Katharina van Daele Avatar

Katharina van Daele

2 months ago

I would highly recommend Fair Voyage, this is because I was with Alex in my home country and loved the... read more

Kamata Ngigi Avatar

Kamata Ngigi

2 months ago

I had a wonderful experience and I very much enjoyed the service provided . . . The guides, porters, cooks,... read more

S.S. Avatar

S.S.

Solo Traveller, Canada
3 months ago

The team was very professional. The daily briefings were informative and detailed. We had all the support we needed for... read more

L. Zhang Avatar

L. Zhang

Couple Traveller, US
3 months ago

Better than expected . . . experienced team . . . friendly and knowledgeable . . . felt safe the... read more

Nick C. Avatar

Nick C.

Solo Traveller, US
3 months ago

Having met Alex on a bicycle trip across Africa, I was really inspired by her passion and commitment to provide... read more

Elizabeth Ashley Durham Avatar

Elizabeth Ashley Durham

UK
3 months ago

Can highly recommend Fair Voyage!! It is one of the best sustainable travel companies out there, specialising in travel to... read more

Claire Corbett Avatar

Claire Corbett

Switzerland
4 months ago

Very well organised, great local partnership [translated from German: “Sehr gut organisiert, sehr tolle lokale Partnerschaft”]

Likang Z. Avatar

Likang Z.

Solo Traveller, Germany
6 months ago

Everything was perfect. Great patient guide

Erin C. Avatar

Erin C.

Solo Traveller, US
7 months ago

The climb was fantastic, and I made it to the top! Everything you had organized worked out well, thanks so... read more

Sophie M. Avatar

Sophie M.

Solo Traveller, Austria
1 year ago

Very reassuring service. I did not get the first confirmation email, but Alex followed up with a personal email and... read more

Sherelle P. Avatar

Sherelle P.

Solo Traveller, UK
1 year ago

Why Book With Fair Voyage
What Kilimanjaro expertise does Fair Voyage have?

Starting with our founder's Kilimanjaro climb and book Kilimanjaro Uncovered, via our dedicated Kilimanjaro platform KiliGATE, to most recently becoming a board member of IMEC to support the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) – we know Kilimanjaro better than any other platform or agency. More than just being experts, we exist because of Kilimanjaro – to promote fair porter treatment and create more transparency for the climbing public.

How does Fair Voyage select the best Kilimanjaro offers and operators?

We have gone to great lengths to compare Kilimanjaro tour operators and offers for you, including onsite meetings in Tanzania with all KPAP approved outfitters and our work though KiliGATE. Based on objective price-value comparisons, we have already pre-selected the best offers, carefully vetted all tour inclusions, and made them easily comparable for you. All partners are furthermore top-rated by travellers on leading review platforms such as TripAdvisor. We remain open to working with all KPAP Partner companies who can give you the best offer for your requirements.

How is Fair Voyage able to guarantee best prices for Kilimanjaro offers?

Kilimanjaro tour operators only pay us a small fee of ca. 3-5% (net of transactions costs that we incur for you) out of their own marketing budget when you book a climb via Fair Voyage. This means that we can offer you the same prices that local companies would offer you directly. When comparing prices, please note that many booking platforms show outdated or incorrect prices that may not be available as advertised. However, should you indeed be offered the same climb cheaper elsewhere, please let us know and we'll match the price.

How does Fair Voyage ensure fair porter treatment practices?

We only promote approved companies under IMEC's Partner for Responsible Travel Program. This means that all our climbs are monitored locally by KPAP to ensure minimum fair porter treatment practices. As KPAP is the only independent organization that monitors Kilimanjaro climbs, this is the best and only way to ensure that you are booking an ethical climb.

How can Fair Voyage help me customize my Kilimanjaro climb?

All our Kilimanjaro offers are fully customizable to include any equipment, itinerary variation, pre/post climb accommodation, and more. For your convenience, we aim to make all customization options easily available to you directly online. Moreover, we are fully available to advise you in person and tailor your perfect climb for you.

Why should I book my Kilimanjaro climb with Fair Voyage?

Fair Voyage helps you find & CUSTOMIZE your best CONSCIOUS travel experience in Africa and developing regions. Through our direct relationships with LOCAL leaders in sustainability, we can offer you highest QUALITY at best prices. In addition, we INSURE your payments – all 100% free for you. Being INDEPENDENT , we only have your best interest at mind.

Sounds too good to be true? Here’s the catch: We’re passionately driven by a NON-PROFIT MISSION bigger than us – to promote SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL.

 

Best Independent Advice

We are 100% neutral and independent. Different to typical agencies, we work with all verified responsible tour operators. Different to other platforms, we do not accept listing or promotion fees. This means that we are the only agency or platform who can give you best independent advice and help you find & customize the best value-for-money offer for your unique requirements.

 

Reliable Expert Guidance

Starting with our founder's Kilimanjaro climb and book Kilimanjaro Uncovered, via our dedicated Kilimanjaro platform KiliGATE, to most recently becoming a board member of IMEC to support the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) – we know Kilimanjaro better than any other platform or agency. More than just being experts, we exist because of Kilimanjaro – to promote fair porter treatment and create more transparency for the climbing public.

 

Curated Best Offers

We have gone to great lengths to compare Kilimanjaro tour operators and offers for you, including onsite meetings in Tanzania with all KPAP approved outfitters and our work though KiliGATE. Based on objective price-value comparisons, we have already pre-selected the best offers, carefully vetted all tour inclusions, and made them easily comparable for you. All partners are furthermore top-rated by travellers on leading review platforms such as TripAdvisor. We remain open to working with all KPAP Partner companies who can give you the best offer for your requirements.

 

Fully Customizable Climbs

All our Kilimanjaro offers are fully customizable to include any equipment, itinerary variation, pre/post climb accommodation, and more. For your convenience, we aim to make all customization options easily available to you directly online. Moreover, we are fully available to advise you in person and tailor your perfect climb for you.

 

Verified Fair Porter Treatment

We only promote approved companies under IMEC's Partner for Responsible Travel Program. This means that all our climbs are monitored locally by KPAP to ensure minimum fair porter treatment practices. As KPAP is the only independent organization that monitors Kilimanjaro climbs, this is the best and only way to ensure that you are booking an ethical climb.

 

Traveller Funds Insurance

Safely Insured Payments

We are insured by the Swiss Travel Security guarantee scheme for traveller deposits. This means that when you book and pay for your Tour with us, your funds are protected against bankruptcy and no-shows. In the unfortunate event that your Tour Operator would not deliver your Tour to you, you receive your full payments back & more – hassle-free. Please be careful if you consider booking directly with a local company as no such insurance scheme exists yet in many developing countries.

Preparing Your Trip
Getting started
What steps do I need to take to prepare for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Other than booking a suitable climbing package, it is important that you also take these steps to prepare for your Kilimanjaro climb (read more here):

  1. Take out travel insurance
  2. Book your flight
  3. Book any missing hotel nights depending on your flight
  4. Inform your operator about all your personal requirements
  5. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months
  6. Get a health check & required vaccinations
  7. Prepare physically as much as you can
  8. Organize your gear
  9. Familiarize yourself thoroughly with all risks involved
  10. Carefully read all information provided by your operator
Fitness
How fit do I need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?

If you dislike working out at the gym, or you are not an athlete or mountaineer, then fear not. While you do have to be in reasonably good health to climb Kilimanjaro, the type of fitness you have is more important than working out. You could be walking for anywhere up to 10 kilometres for hours on end at high altitudes, so it is important that you are able to do this.

Altitude sickness can strike anyone randomly, regardless of their fitness level. The key to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro is to give yourself more days to climb the mountain, so that you can acclimatise better.

What is the best cardio activity to prepare for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Hiking is the best possible preparation for your Kilimanjaro climb. If you're a beginner, you should start by going for walks and carrying no weight with you. Gradually as you get more comfortable you can increase the duration of your walks, the height of ascension, and begin to add weight to your pack. You should also wear the boots you are planning to wear on your climb. Ideally, you should hike the kind of mountainous terrain you will be faced with at Kilimanjaro, but if that terrain is unavailable to you, you can try to simulate with stairs.

What are the best muscle exercises to prepare for my climb?

The most important areas on your body to strengthen before your Kilimanjaro climb are your legs and your core. Strong legs are essential as they are going to be doing most of the work, but a strong core will help keep pressure off your back as you climb carrying gear. In addition to hiking and long walks, targeted muscle exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts are great for strengthening the legs. Try to add and increase weight as you get comfortable with a set up 10-15 repetitions each. In addition, core strengthening exercises like pilates, planks, and abdominal work will support your back.

How can I prepare physically for my Kilimanjaro climb?

The best training you can do to prepare for your Kilimanjaro climb is hiking. Running, swimming and cycling are all very good exercise but what you will be doing on Kilimanjaro is hiking. You will need to condition your body to walk in ascension, over uneven terrain for long periods. If you live in an area with hiking trails and mountains, this is a great opportunity to practice. If you live in a city or somewhere flat, taking stairs instead of elevators and targeted muscle exercises are excellent practice.

Gear & Packing
Gear & packing list

Please click here to download our gear & packing list. Many items can also be rented locally from your Tour Operator. If you do not see a price list with available gear for this Tour (or anything you need is missing), please contact us.

How much weight can I bring on my Kilimanjaro climb for my porter to carry?

The amount of weight you can bring for your porter to carry depends upon your company and package – ranging from as little as 8kg to up to 20kg. Most companies allow you to carry up to 15kg.

Please be aware that even though 20kg is the maximum weight limit per porter, the total weight that your porters carry for your group reduces over the course of your climb because your food supplies will gradually decrease. The weight of your personal bag, however, is unlikely to reduce. Therefore, even if you are allowed to bring 20kg, this is not ideal for your porter, especially at higher altitudes.

If you need to bring more gear, we can customize your offer to include the services of an additional private porter.

Where do I get all the required gear for my Kilimanjaro climb?

Once you've gone through your list and made notes of everything you need that you don't already have, you can start to decide where you'll get the additional required gear. Most gear can be rented locally from your Tour Operator. Additionally, many community hiking or adventure groups may have gear you can rent or borrow for your trip. In the interest of your budget and our environment, we only recommend to buy new gear if you are sure that you will also use it in future.

When you book your climb via Fair Voyage, you can conveniently rent your required gear as part of your fully customized climbing offer.

What do I carry in my Kilimanjaro daypack?

In your Kilimanjaro daypack, you should carry everything that you need while hiking: 2-3 liters of water, rain gear, sunblock and sunglasses, camera, lunch or snacks, extra layers, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, waste bag, spare ziplog bag to protect electronic gadgets against rain, etc.

You may also want to keep your valuables including your passport and money with you at all times. Place them inside a plastic ziplock bag to protect them from potential rain, and store them safely in a separate zip compartment within your daypack.

Please also keep a copy of your insurance and emergency phone numbers with you at all times.

What should I carry with me during my flight?

Luggage delays do happen. Facing one can seriously impact your trip and could potentially cause you to miss your climb. For that reason, it is advised that you travel with the most critical pieces of your climbing gear in your hand luggage. Wear your hiking boots on the plane and one full hiking outfit including outerwear. These are the most difficult and costliest items to replace, and the ones that will most affect your ability to participate in the climb. Any critical pieces of outerwear, raingear or footwear should also come with you in your hand luggage.

What gear and other items do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?

You'll need a lot of gear to stay warm, dry and safe during your Kilimanjaro climb. Here's a complete checklist of everything you'll need, including required gear, additional items that we recommend as well as optional items that you may wish to bring. Click here to download our gear & packing list.

Documents
ItemComments
Kilimanjaro tour booking confirmationPrint or save electronically.
Flight ticket(s)Print or save electronically.
Additional hotel reservations (if any)Print or save electronically.
Airport transfer arrangements (if any)Carry emergency contact number in case of no-show.
Other tavel arrangements (if any, e.g. safari tour)Print or save electronically.
PassportMust be valid for 6 months.
Passport photocopyStore separately from passport and/or electronically.
Medical & travel insurance detailsPrint or save electronically.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable)Required for immigration to Tanzania if travelling from/via a country with risk of yellow fever.
Medical and first aid
ItemComments
Anti-malarial medicationPlease consult your medical expert. Malaria is a potentially lethal risk that requires preventative measures.
Anti-diarrhea drugsPlease consult your medical expert. Travel diarrhea is a common ailment.
Anti-nausea drugs (recommended)Please consult your medical expert. Nausea is a common AMS symptom.
Pain killers (recommended)Please consult your medical expert. Headache is a common AMS symptom.
Cold remedies (recommended)It's easy to catch a cold on the mountain.
Sore throat lozenges (recommended)It's easy to develop a sore throat on the mountain.
Remineralization tablets (recommended)To prevent muscle cramps; flavored options may also enhance the taste of your drinking water.
Plasters for random cutsTo keep any wounds clean and prevent infections.
Plasters or Moleskin for blistersBlisters are a common pain for many Kilimanjaro climbers, especially if you are not used to your hiking boots.
DEET-containing insect repellent (optional)Not required on Kilimanjaro (no mosquitoes), but recommended before and after your climb in Tanzania.
Permethrin-containing insect spray (optional)For clothes & other materials because DEET may damage them. Not required on Kilimanjaro, but recommended before and after your climb.
Antihistamines (optional)If you are allergic to insect bites.
Prescription medication (if any)You may want to take photos of all medication leaflets and save electronically for ease of reference.
Anti-bacterial ointment (optional)Sometimes listed on other packing lists, but not required; can be sourced locally after your climb if required.
Water purification tablets (optional)Not required if you book your climb through Fair Voyage or with a good operator who provide adequately treated drinking water.
Gauze (optional)Sometimes listed on other packing lists, but not required. Good operators would have this in their first aid kid for emergencies.
Adhesive tape (optional)Sometimes listed on other packing lists, but not required. Good operators would have this in their first aid kid for emergencies.
Personal care and sanitation
ItemComments
Ear plugsHighly recommended to improve your sleeping quality as campsites will be noisy (snoring, talking).
Toilet paper1 roll is enough if your tour includes a private toilet tent and your operator provides paper.
Wet wipesUseful also as "storable" toilet paper (leave no trace).
Hand sanitizer
Toothbrush and small toothpaste
Deodorant
SunblockHigh risk of sunburn at increased altitudes.
Lip balm with sun protection
Thick cream (e.g. Vaseline)To protect your skin against dry air and wind.
One-time expanding towels (optional)Highly recommendable, especially in combination with an insulated bottle (keeping hot water overnight) for a warm wet towel in the morning.
Anti-odor/Refreshing spray (optional)Less for your body, more for your hair that may start to smell after few days.
Dry shampoo/baby powder (optional)Baby powder works wonders to remove grease and oder; commercial dry shampoo rarely is as effective for an entire week.
Other toiletries (optional)E.g. hairbrush, tweezers, nail file, nailbrush, small mirror, etc.
Paper tissues (optional)
Cloth tissue (recommended)Tie one to your glove for summit night so you can quickly wipe your nose without exposing your fingers to the cold.
Prescription glasses / contact lenses (if any)You may also need eye drops if you tend to have dry eyes.
Pee bottle for overnight (optional)
WOMEN ONLY: Panty liners (recommended)
WOMEN ONLY: Sanitary pads or tamponsThe strenuous physical activity and high altitude may interfere with your natural cycle.
WOMEN ONLY: FUD (optional)FUDs have been made known by some female bloggers. We do NOT see the need for them. Listed for completeness only.
Clothing
ItemComments
Waterproof jacket – 1x
Insulated jacket – 1x
Mid-layer jackets – 2xFleece or merino.
Long-sleeved thermal shirts – 2-3xIf merino, 2 is enough (body-odor resistant).
Short-sleeved shirts – 2x
Waterproof pants – 1x
Hiking pants – 2-3x
Mid-layer fleece pants – 1x
Long thermal underwear pants – 2x
Underwear – 3x or moreIf merino, 3 is enough (body-odor resistant).
WOMEN ONLY: Sports bra – 2x or more
Footwear
ItemComments
Hiking boots
Thick hiking socks – 2xYou could also use ski socks.
Thin hiking socks – 2x or moreWe recommend at least one pair for every 2 days.
Gaiters, waterproofRecommended for any season: Against dust when it's dry, against mud when it's wet.
Thermal insoles (recommended)Recommended for summit night.
Heating badges for toes (optional)Heating badges tend to be unreliable. We'd rather recommend that you invest in high-quality thermal socks and insoles.
Spare laces (optional)
Flip flops for camp (optional)
Sneakers/comfortable shoes for camp (optional)Sometimes recommended, though many climbers will find it's too cold and dusty. Handy for shower before/after.
Headwear
ItemComments
Brimmed hat (sun protection)
Knit hat (warmth)
Balaclava / Windproof ski maskHighly recommended for summit night; make sure it is windproof which makes a big difference.
Bandana (optional)Very versatile. If you have, you may want to bring 2.
Cap (optional)You'll likely want to hide your hair after a few days. Note even your hats/caps will get dirty (dust!) so you may want to bring a spare head cover.
Handwear
ItemComments
Warm gloves or mittensFor summit night. We recommend mittens which are more effective than finger-gloves to keep warm.
Mid-layer fleece gloves (recommended)Recommendable as third layer for summit night, as well as for other cold days and nights.
Glove linersRecommendable as third layer for summit night, as well as for other cool days and nights.
Heating badges for fingers (optional)Heating badges tend to be unreliable. We'd rather recommend to invest in high-quality gloves and mittens.
Accessories
ItemComments
SunglassesMake sure they are 100% UV blocking and wrap-around for side protection.
Water bladder (camelbak, 2-3l)
Nalgene bottle 1l
Insulated bottle (Thermos) (recommended)Great for summit night, hot drink in tent & washing with expandable towels.
Zippable plastic bags / stuff sacks (recommended)Great for extra rain protection, and to keep your gear tidy in your duffel bag.
Small waste bagTo carry your waste during the day (incl. sanitary wet wipes).
Towel, light-weight (optional)
Bag lockTour operators cannot assume liability for any items lost or stolen. To prevent theft, it's best to keep your unattended bags securely locked.
Poncho (optional)You may not need it, but it's easy to carry as it does not weigh a lot.
Safety pins (optional)You may not need it, but it's easy to carry as it does not weigh a lot.
Equipment
ItemComments
Sleeping bagIt's best to rent from a reliable operator, if you don't already have one rated for freezing temperatures.
Sleeping bag liner
Trekking polesCan also be rented locally.
Head lamp
Spare batteries for your head lampBatteries drain quickly in the cold. Make sure to keep your batteries in your sleeping bag overnight.
Daypack
Duffel bag (or big backpack)Most operators state duffel bag, but will accept backpacks. Please check with your tour operator.
Other
ItemComments
US dollarsFor tipping, visa, rentals, souvenirs and other purchases
Snacks / comfort food (optional)Nuts are great for high-caloric energy.
Phone (optional)You may want to add a travel package to save roaming costs, or obtain a local SIM card upon arrival.
Camera (optional)
Camera spare battery (optional)Note that batteries may break or drain quickly in cold temperatures.
Book(s)/E-reader (optional)
Small notebook/Pen and paper (optional)
Solar power charger (optional)
External battery pack (optional)Solar panels may be more reliable as batteries tend to drain quickly in cold temperatures.
Phone and camera charging cables (optional)
Power adapter (UK style) (optional)For your travels in Tanzania before/after your climb.
Vaccinations & Medications
Are tsetse flies and sleeping sickness a risk when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro climbers generally do not need to worry about tsetse flies and sleeping sickness. There are no tsetse flies on Mount Kilimanjaro, and you are not likely to come across them during your travels in the Kilimanjaro area, including the Kilimanjaro airport, the cities of Moshi and Arusha which are commonly used as base to climb the mountain, and the area in between. Therefore, tsetse flies and sleeping sickness are not a risk when climbing Kilimanjaro.

Shall I take Diamox when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Shall I take Diamox—yes or no? This is a big question for people who want to climb Kilimanjaro. As of today, there are no objective statistics to answer this question.

We find that medical practitioners and travellers from countries with a higher tendency to make use of prescription drugs also tend to towards advocating Diamox for Kilimanjaro climbs, whereas those from countries leaning towards natural preventions and avoiding drugs also tend to have a less favorable view of Diamox.

Diamox was developed to prevent AMS in case of rapid forced ascent. The best way to prevent AMS, however, is to take one's time and ascend slowly over multiple days and follow the golden rules of altitude acclimatization. This is also what we recommend for Kilimanjaro climbs – see best routes for altitude acclimatization.

Some of the most common side effects of Diamox are frequent urination and tingling sensations in your fingers and toes. While this is not problematic per se, it will significantly impact your sleep quality. Poor sleep for multiple days prior to attempting your final summit push is not recommendable!

As of today, there are unfortunately no objective statistics from past Kilimanjaro climbers which prove whether the benefits of Diamox sufficiently compensate for its side effects towards increasing your summit success chance. Until we have collected a big enough sample size to scientifically answer this question, we recommend that you follow the advice provided by your expert medical practitioner.

If you have already climbed Kilimanjaro, please take our 1-minute Kilimanjaro climber survey to contribute to our dataset and help us create more transparency.

 

Money & Insurance
How do I pay for things locally in Tanzania?

Even when you have booked an all-inclusive package tour, there is still a need to bring money for visas, gratuities, souvenirs, drinks, snacks, laundry, meals not covered by your itinerary, equipment rentals and any other expenses.

The US Dollar is widely excepted in Tanzania, and we strongly recommend that you bring enough cash in US dollars for all your intended purchases and payments locally. Please make sure to bring smaller notes, and that notes are not older than 2006 as notes issued before 2006 are not accepted in Tanzania.

ATMs are available in major cities (including Arusha, Moshi, and Zanzibar), though may not always be conveniently located near your hotel. Credit cards are only accepted at larger hotels, stores and restaurants, and may involve high surcharges. Even when credit card machines are available, outages may occur due to limited network connectivity.

Do I need to take out travel insurance?

YES. It is essential that you and anyone included in your booking are covered by insurance before setting out on holiday. This insurance must cover personal accidents, medical expenses, loss of effects, repatriation costs and all other expenses that might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay or inconvenience. If you are undertaking a hazardous activity, your insurance must also cover this particular activity. It is also advisable that you take out travel cancellation insurance as soon as we have confirmed your booking, to cover your non-refundable costs in case of cancellation or changes to your Tour. Please note that insurance included with credit cards is normally NOT sufficient for Tours promoted by Fair Voyage.

We normally recommend the travel insurance by World Nomads which offers comprehensive coverage at good prices. You can easily apply for it online – it only takes 3 minutes:

 

Please note that it is your responsibility to read your insurance terms and conditions carefully to  ensure that your insurance will provide adequate coverage and protection for your Tour and particular circumstances, and to provide the necessary proof of insurance to your local Tour Operator.

Do I need to take out travel insurance to climb Kilimanjaro?

Travel insurance is essential for all trips, and especially for activities with increased physical and financial risk such as Kilimanjaro climbs. In the interest of your own safety and budget, good operators and agencies typically make travel insurance mandatory for you to participate in their climbs. For the same reason travel insurance is also mandatory for all trips booked via Fair Voyage.

To protect your financial investment in case of cancellation due to illness or other unforeseen changes, it is best to take out your insurance (that should cover cancellations) as soon as you've booked your climb.

What travel insurance do you recommend for Kilimanjaro climbs?

We recommend the travel insurance by World Nomads for Kilimanjaro climbs. They offer good coverage at affordable prices for short trips worldwide, and cover high altitude trekking as applicable for standard Kilimanjaro climbs. We also like World Nomads' ethos, focused on helping conscious travellers explore the world safely and responsibly.

You can easily apply for your travel insurance online within few minutes using the below form (or click here):

Summit Success
How can I maximize my Kilimanjaro summit success chance?

To maximise your Kilimanjaro summit success rate, the right preparation will go a long way to help you reach your goal:

  1. Choose a responsible tour operator with experienced and well-trained guides
  2. Allow enough days for your climb in order to acclimatize to the high altitude
  3. Choose a route that allows you to hike high, sleep low
  4. Train as much as you can, including cardio and strength exercises
  5. Believe that you can summit; practice visualization and affirmations
  6. Pack adequately so that you will stay warm, safe and healthy while climbing
  7. Share your goal to get support and stay on track
  8. Pre-acclimatize (if possible)
Safety
Can I fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro?

While possible, it is highly unlikely that you would fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro. Most of the routes on the mountain are non-technical and well trodden. This means you don’t have to be a professional mountaineer or athlete to navigate your way up them.

However, in the same way that you could potentially take a bad step when walking up a steep set of stairs, the same is true on Kilimanjaro. There are a few areas on the mountain where it is possible to have a bad fall, but as long as you follow the instructions of your guide, the risk is very limited and far lower than on other mountains.

Most paths on Kilimanjaro are very low-risk – except for the general risk of altitude sickness and the risk of rockfall on the Western Breach.

Travel Arrangements
Accommodation
What accommodation do you recommend in Moshi?

Our accommodation recommendations for Moshi depends on your budget preference. Here are some hotels in Moshi that are popular amongst Kilimanjaro climbers:

Please note that there are no 4-star hotels in Moshi, and no 5-star hotels in the entire region. If you prefer something more luxurious, there are a few 4-star hotels in Arusha (see our recommendations). For a more exclusive and private experience away, their are also a few luxurious lodge options in quiet countryside near Usa River (between Arusha and Kilimanjaro airport).

What accommodation do you recommend in Arusha?

Arusha has many accommodation options from low-budget to 4-star, depending on your preferences. Here are some recommended hotels and lodges in and near Arusha:

If you prefer to stay close to Kilimanjaro airport:

Getting Started
Which city is used as a base to climb Kilimanjaro?

Most visitors of Kilimanjaro use the nearest town of Moshi, located within less than an hour’s drive from both the airport and the mountain, as a base to visit the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.

Alternatively, the safari capital Arusha is within a two hours' drive from the park gates. It provides more modern accommodation and amenities than Moshi. Used as a base for global attractions such as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area or Serengeti National Park, many Kilimanjaro visitors will also pass by Arusha at some stage.

How many days do I need for my entire trip to climb Kilimanjaro?

Your entire trip to Kilimanjaro would typically take at least 7 to 10 days. This includes the days you spend on the mountain (6 to 8 on average) plus an additional one or two nights in the region before and after your climb.

Most climbers, however, prefer to take advantage of their trip to East Africa and combine their climb with a wildlife safari, Zanzibar beach vacation, mountain gorilla trekking or other experiences in the region. If you have more time, we'd recommend you to plan two to three weeks for your entire trip to East Africa.

How many days before the start of my climb should I arrive?

We recommend that you arrive in Tanzania two nights before the start of your Kilimanjaro climb. This gives you enough time to acclimatize and recover from your flight. It also allows enough time for your check-in luggage to arrive – delays are unfortunately a common occurrence – and to organize any required rental gear or purchases locally.

If you are on a tight timeline and comfortable with the risk of potentially lost or delayed luggage, it is generally sufficient for you to arrive by early afternoon on the day before your climb. This will allow enough time for your pre-climb briefing and gear check which is usually conducted in the afternoon or evening prior to the start of your climb.

On special arrangement, but not recommendable, it is also possible for you to transfer to the park gate directly from the airport if you only arrive early morning on your first climbing day.

How soon can I depart after my Kilimanjaro climb?

You will usually finish your Kilimanjaro climb by noon, latest early afternoon. The drive to Kilimanjaro airport takes about two hours. On the way, you may need to pick up any luggage stored at your hotel, and you'll likely want to have a quick shower if you've pre-booked a day room to freshen up before your flight.

Taking all of the above into consideration, it's usually safe to depart on an evening flight from Kilimanjaro airport from about 6pm. Earlier departures may be possible at your own risk, but are not recommendable.

When joining an open group, your tour usually includes one more night of accommodation after your climb. This gives you the opportunity to celebrate your climb with your group and new friends – a very special occasion that you may not want to miss.

Flights
Which airport do I fly into when climbing Kilimanjaro?

The Kilimanjaro region has its own international airport—the Kilimanjaro International Airport. It is located less than an hour’s drive from the Kilimanjaro National Park, in the south west of Mount Kilimanjaro. Most Kilimanjaro climbers arrive via Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi is located within 4 to 6 hours drive from the Kilimanjaro region. Some tour operators offer complimentary transfers from Nairobi. There are also regular bus services.

Finally, Arusha airport can be used for connecting flights within Tanzania, including Dar-es-Salaam and Zanzibar.

Which international airlines fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport?

Several major international airlines fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Europe (Amsterdam), Turkish Airlines from Turkey (Istanbul) and Qatar Airways from the Middle East (Doha).

There are also flights operated by major African airlines including Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa), a member of the Start Alliance group, and Kenyan Airways (Nairobi).

As there are no direct flights from the US, and only one direct flight from Europe, most travellers will connect via one of the above cities. Most major international airlines will be able to offer such codeshare connecting flights.

What should I carry with me during my flight?

Luggage delays do happen. Facing one can seriously impact your trip and could potentially cause you to miss your climb. For that reason, it is advised that you travel with the most critical pieces of your climbing gear in your hand luggage. Wear your hiking boots on the plane and one full hiking outfit including outerwear. These are the most difficult and costliest items to replace, and the ones that will most affect your ability to participate in the climb. Any critical pieces of outerwear, raingear or footwear should also come with you in your hand luggage.

Does check-in luggage on flights to Kilimanjaro airport get lost?

As with any flight, there is always the risk that luggage will be delayed or mislaid. Generally, luggage that is delayed on its way to Kilimanjaro is reunited with its owners within 24 hours, but there are occasional delays of 3 to 4 days. This can cause serious problems for travellers who may have packed their most critical pieces of climbing equipment in their checked luggage.

Transfers
How do I get from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro?

You have two options to get from Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro:

  1. Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, or
  2. Take a bus.

Buses usually leave early morning from Dar es Salaam and arrive in Moshi late afternoon or early evening – it's a full days journey! Unfortunately, as of now, there is no system to pre-book tickets, not even for local tour operators. This means that you need to leave enough time to buy your ticket directly in Dar es Salaam at least one day before your journey. To do so, our local partners recommend a coach/bus service called Kilimanjaro Express which you can get from Dar es Salaam to Moshi.

If you are feeling less adventurous and prefer to save your time (which you could use to explore Moshi or go on a longer safari instead!), we would highly recommend flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport over taking a bus.

How can I get from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro?

Travelers hoping to reach Kilimanjaro from Nairobi by air can take a connecting flight from Nairobi airport to Kilimanjaro Airport, known locally as KIA but officially as JRO. Shuttle flights operated by Tanzanian Precision Air leave from Nairobi five times a day. Flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro on AirKenya leave once a day.

Travelers planning to reach Kilimanjaro by bus can take the shuttle buses that leave Nairobi for Arusha, some continue on to Moshi. The journey to Arusha is about 4 to 5 hours, and Moshi is about two hours further. It is advised to book a shuttle at least a day in advance.

How do I get from Kilimanjaro airport to Moshi or Arusha?

Travellers going from Kilimanjaro airport to Moshi or Arusha can usually take a taxi. Rates are negotiable whereby we recommend approximately US $40 to Moshi and US $50 to Arusha to be fair to both you and the driver. Make sure that you always agree the price upfront. Taxis are usually safe, but you may prefer to pre-arrange a transfer via your hotel or tour operator for your comfort, which will be slightly more expensive. Many tour operators also offer airport transfer services as part of their package, so check to see if that is available. There is currently no public transport service available to save costs on the transfer.

Travel Etiquettes & Best Practice
Altitude Acclimatization
What are the 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization?

The so-called 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization will help you acclimatize naturally in order to reduce the discomforts and risks associated with altitude sickness. The golden rules are:

  1. Take your time: Choose a route that allows you to ascend slowly over multiple days, and walk slowly during the day.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day, or more if in combination with dehydrating substances such as diamox or caffeine.
  3. Walk hike, sleep low: Sleep at a lower altitude at night than you've climbed to during the day. Some routes offers such a beneficial altitude profile.
How can I avoid altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

The truth is that most climbers will be affected by altitude sickness in some way. You can however reduce the severity of it. Make sure to follow the so-called 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization. Take your time over multiple days and ascend very slowly during the day. Drink lots of water while climbing.

It also helps to sleep at lower altitudes overnight than you've climbed to during the day. You can do this upfront by choosing a route with a beneficial altitude profile. While climbing, depending on route and tour operator, you may have the option to go for altitude acclimatization hikes in the afternoon or on rest days.

What are common symptoms of altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Due to the high altitude, Kilimanjaro climbers will typically experience shortness of breath even at a relatively slow walking pace. Other common symptoms of altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro include headaches, nausea and dizziness. Loss of appetite and insomnia are also common. More severe symptoms include blurred vision, disorientation and the inability to continue walking. If such symptoms arise, immediate descent assisted by your guide is imperative to avoid more serious and lasting consequences.

Charging Your Devices
How can I charge my devices when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are no power outlets to charge your devices on Kilimanjaro. However, one way to charge your gadgets is to bring portable power stations that can last for hours. Power stations can usually charge more than one device at the same time. Another option is to use a solar charger that uses the energy from daylight to generate enough electricity to charge your devices.

Some high-end tour operators offer packages that include solar chargers. When booking a climb with Fair Voyage, we can also customize your offer to include a rental solar charger.

Packing Your Bags
What do I carry in my Kilimanjaro daypack?

In your Kilimanjaro daypack, you should carry everything that you need while hiking: 2-3 liters of water, rain gear, sunblock and sunglasses, camera, lunch or snacks, extra layers, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, waste bag, spare ziplog bag to protect electronic gadgets against rain, etc.

You may also want to keep your valuables including your passport and money with you at all times. Place them inside a plastic ziplock bag to protect them from potential rain, and store them safely in a separate zip compartment within your daypack.

Please also keep a copy of your insurance and emergency phone numbers with you at all times.

What do I leave in my main bag for my porter to carry?

Every morning, you will put everything that you don't need for hiking on that particular day into your main bag for your porter to carry. Please note that porters have a strict maximum on the amount of weight they can carry, which is best taken care of at the outset by limiting the total gear you bring with you onto the mountain. Please further note that your sleeping bag and other rental items also count towards your bag weight limit, even when you rent them from your tour operator. However, while everything else should fit into one bag, your sleeping bag doesn't necessarily have to. Please check with your tour operator on their guidelines.

Tipping
Fair Voyage tipping guidelines for Kilimanjaro climbs

It is customary to tip your crew for their assistance and hard work during your climb. While tipping is not mandatory, we strongly advocate paying recommended tips to ensure a fair total compensation for your crew, especially your porters, who rely on gratuities as a substantial component of their income. Learn more about fair porter treatment.

The total recommended tip depends on the length of your climb, group size, amount of camping and safety equipment included in your climb, and the base wages paid by your Tour Operator. For specific tipping guidelines for your Tour by your local Operator, please see the Tour Operator Information section on the Tour page. If missing or in doubt, please check with us.

In the absence of more specific guidelines by your Operator, we recommend that you budget an additional minimum cost for tipping of between $250-500 per climber. Click here to calculate tips depending on climb length and group size. Please also make sure you bring lots of smaller US dollar notes to make it easier to tip crew members individually.

Tipping procedures for Kilimanjaro climbs

While it is customary to tip your crew for their assistance and hard work during your Kilimanjaro climb, the way tips are being paid and distributed to each crew member varies from company to company:

Some guide companies hold the tipping ceremony on the mountain on your last evening or morning, others ask you to pay the tips after completing your climb at the park gate. Some companies ask you to tip each crew member individually, others have a list for you to record the tip intended for each crew member, while yet others will allocate your total tip for you.

If in doubt, it's best that you bring lots of smaller US dollar notes to make it easier to tip crew members individually. This will also ensure that your tips will reach the very people whom you intended to tip. If you only hand your tips to your guide and trust that he will allocate the money fairly amongst all crew members, chances are high that your porters will not receive their fair share.

That's why all ethical climb companies have transparent tipping procedures and will ask you to either record your tip on paper, announce it in front of each crew member, or hand it directly to each crew member. If you book your climb with Fair Voyage, no matter what tipping procedure your company follows, rest assured that your local Operator is being monitored independently by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) to ensure that tips are being allocated fairly, as intended by you.

However, it is important that you check the tipping procedure and tipping ranges recommended by your Tour company before the start of your climb and follow their guidelines in order to ensure a fair total compensation for your crew.

If you notice any irregularities or deviations in the way your guide asks you to tip, please report those to us, your local Tour Operator and through the KPAP Climber Survey.

Toilets & Sanitation
Will I have access to my private toilet tent while hiking?

It is not possible to have access to a private toilet tent while hiking. If you have hired one or it is included in your package, your private toilet tent will be available as soon as you arrive at camp, as your toilet porter will transport it between the different camps and set it up for you. On longer hiking days that include a warm lunch stop, you may also have access to your toilet tent during lunch. If you need to use the toilet while you are hiking or between camps, your guide will help you find the best option. It is almost always possible to find bushes or rocks en route that will allow you to go native in privacy.

What do I do when I need a bathroom on Kilimanjaro?

Toilet facilities are generally only available at camp. When hiking, guides will coordinate breaks with spots where there are rocks or trees to hide behind so that you can go native in privacy.

At the camp, public toilets are generally available. However, they are notorious for poor cleanliness and hygiene. Therefore, private toilet tents have become popular on Kilimanjaro and can easily be included in your climbing package.

What's the etiquette when using nature for my toilet business?

The key thing to consider when using mother nature to go to the toilet is to ensure that you do not leave any trace. This helps to keep Kilimanjaro clean and free of waste and sewage. So if you need to urinate while hiking, collect any toilet paper that you use and put it in a separate bag. You can then dispose of it in the communal trash at camp. If you need to defecate, ideally you should try to wait until you can use the toilets that are available at camp. However, if you need to go urgently, then try to cover up any waste by burying it or putting rocks on top of it and place any tissues in a bag to dispose of at camp.

Responsible Travel
Choosing A Responsible Operator
What is included in Kilimanjaro offers on Fair Voyage that's different from other agencies or platforms?

We aim to offer you the full range of climbing offers from low-budget no-frills to luxurious VIP tours. Being committed to responsible travel, however, means that we insist on and strictly vet all tours against minimum standards of quality and safety. Therefore, different from industry average, all our quotations typically also include:

  • 100% ethical climb, independently monitored and verified by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP)
  • Duly registered English-speaking mountain guide(s) with minimum level of training
  • Assistant guide(s) with a maximum ratio of 2 clients per guide
  • Mess dining tent, table(s) and chairs; eating utensils
  • Properly treated drinking water and hot meals (when possible) on the mountain; prepared by properly trained cook
  • Pre-climb briefing & gear check with your guide (usually in the afternoon before the start of your climb)
  • Secure online payment; no hidden credit card or other transaction fees
  • Swiss Travel Security (STS) traveller deposit guarantee to safeguard your payments against default or non-delivery of services
  • Fully customizable offers – any itinerary variations, upgrades, equipment rentals, etc.
What responsible travel criteria should I look out for when booking my climb?

The predominant problem caused by Kilimanjaro tourism is the exploitation of porters. There is only one independent organization that monitors porter treatment practices locally – the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). To make sure that you're booking an ethical climb and that your porters will be treated fairly, verify that your tour operator is listed on the official list of approved KPAP Partner companies on IMEC's website.

Environmental damage and pollution is not such a big problem on Mount Kilimanjaro as it is for other destinations. Most tour operators, and including all KPAP approved companies, adhere to the Kilimanjaro National Park's leave no trace guidelines to collect waste at campsites and bring it down the mountain. Therefore, it's not a major consideration when booking your climb.

Fair Voyage Critiera
What are your responsible travel criteria for Kilimanjaro operators?

For Kilimanjaro climbs, we only promote verified ethical climbs that are independently monitored by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). All local outfitters (and their international agents) have to be listed amongst the approved KPAP Partner companies on IMEC's official website. Read why:

The predominant problem caused by Kilimanjaro tourism is the exploitation of porters. The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is the only independent organization that monitors porter treatment practices locally. Their Partner for Responsible Travel program is free and open for all duly licensed tour operators to join. To become an approved partner, outfitters have to prove their adherence to minimum fair porter treatment practices via KPAP's independent monitoring.

As KPAP is the only independent organization that offers such a program, we cooperate with KPAP and make participation with the KPAP Partner for Responsible Travel program mandatory for all our tour operator partners who offer Kilimanjaro climbs or other tourism activities in the Kilimanjaro National Park. This requirement also applies to global or regional tour operators who wish to partner with us for other destinations.

Fair Porter Treatment
What is the porter treatment situation on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are more than 20,000 porters who work on Mount Kilimanjaro and most of them are not treated fairly. They risk their lives to carry heavy loads for tourists yet often do not even get their due minimum salary of less than US $10 per day. They sometimes only get one meal per day and have inappropriate gear. In extreme cases, porters have been found dead, left behind by their guides when they had accidents or fallen sick. Although KPAP and its Partner companies have been able to achieve significant improvements for their porters and the industry overall, the situation is still far from satisfactory for the majority of porters on Kilimanjaro.

Why is it important for my safety that my porters are treated fairly?

We believe that responsible companies who treat your porters fairly are also more likely to offer you as a client higher quality standards, and that porters who are treated fairly by their companies are also more likely to have your best interests in mind. That means first and foremost not your summit success, but your health and safety.

Amongst others, you rely on your porters for your water and food to be treated properly. In the worst case, you might have to rely on them for a safe descent. Will your porters be able to do a good job if they are hungry, cold and get paid significantly less than their colleagues camping right next to your group?

While there is no guarantee, we believe that booking your climb with a responsible tour operator who treats your porters fairly will be the safer choice for you.

Fair Porter Treatment
Overview
What is the porter treatment situation on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are more than 20,000 porters who work on Mount Kilimanjaro and most of them are not treated fairly. They risk their lives to carry heavy loads for tourists yet often do not even get their due minimum salary of less than US $10 per day. They sometimes only get one meal per day and have inappropriate gear. In extreme cases, porters have been found dead, left behind by their guides when they had accidents or fallen sick. Although KPAP and its Partner companies have been able to achieve significant improvements for their porters and the industry overall, the situation is still far from satisfactory for the majority of porters on Kilimanjaro.

Weight
How much weight does each porter on Kilimanjaro carry?

The maximum weight that a porter should carry is 20kg. This is the official Kilimanjaro park limit. Packs should be weighed at park entrance gates to ensure that porters are not carrying too much. Some of the weight will decrease over time as food supplies get used up. As climber bag weights usually do not decrease, responsible operators limit the weight to 15kg. Unfortunately, too many unscrupulous companies force porters to carry excess weight. In the most unfortunate cases, porters have even been found carrying packs weighing up to 35kg. Good tour operators will ensure porters are carrying no more than 20kg and distribute the weight fairly among their porters every morning.

Tipping
Fair Voyage tipping guidelines for Kilimanjaro climbs

It is customary to tip your crew for their assistance and hard work during your climb. While tipping is not mandatory, we strongly advocate paying recommended tips to ensure a fair total compensation for your crew, especially your porters, who rely on gratuities as a substantial component of their income. Learn more about fair porter treatment.

The total recommended tip depends on the length of your climb, group size, amount of camping and safety equipment included in your climb, and the base wages paid by your Tour Operator. For specific tipping guidelines for your Tour by your local Operator, please see the Tour Operator Information section on the Tour page. If missing or in doubt, please check with us.

In the absence of more specific guidelines by your Operator, we recommend that you budget an additional minimum cost for tipping of between $250-500 per climber. Click here to calculate tips depending on climb length and group size. Please also make sure you bring lots of smaller US dollar notes to make it easier to tip crew members individually.

Tipping procedures for Kilimanjaro climbs

While it is customary to tip your crew for their assistance and hard work during your Kilimanjaro climb, the way tips are being paid and distributed to each crew member varies from company to company:

Some guide companies hold the tipping ceremony on the mountain on your last evening or morning, others ask you to pay the tips after completing your climb at the park gate. Some companies ask you to tip each crew member individually, others have a list for you to record the tip intended for each crew member, while yet others will allocate your total tip for you.

If in doubt, it's best that you bring lots of smaller US dollar notes to make it easier to tip crew members individually. This will also ensure that your tips will reach the very people whom you intended to tip. If you only hand your tips to your guide and trust that he will allocate the money fairly amongst all crew members, chances are high that your porters will not receive their fair share.

That's why all ethical climb companies have transparent tipping procedures and will ask you to either record your tip on paper, announce it in front of each crew member, or hand it directly to each crew member. If you book your climb with Fair Voyage, no matter what tipping procedure your company follows, rest assured that your local Operator is being monitored independently by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) to ensure that tips are being allocated fairly, as intended by you.

However, it is important that you check the tipping procedure and tipping ranges recommended by your Tour company before the start of your climb and follow their guidelines in order to ensure a fair total compensation for your crew.

If you notice any irregularities or deviations in the way your guide asks you to tip, please report those to us, your local Tour Operator and through the KPAP Climber Survey.

Safety
Altitude Sickness (AMS)
What is altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS)?

Altitude sickness is the side effect caused by exposure to high altitudes. As a person reaches higher altitudes, the air contains less oxygen which begins to negatively affect the human body. Symptoms usually develop from around 2,500 meters of altitude. First signs of altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) include headache, nausea or shortness of breath. More severe symptoms include dry cough, fever, vomiting or retinal haemorrhage. Extreme cases can include fluid build up in the brain characterized by loss of coordination, confusion, inability to walk and even coma. If left untreated, AMS can be lethal.

How dangerous is altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS) is a serious and potentially dangerous risk when climbing Kilimanjaro. If ignored and left untreated, altitude sickness may become severe and, in extreme cases, lethal. AMS is the most common cause for tourist deaths on Mount Kilimanjaro and needs to be taken seriously by the climber. It is important to climb with a well-trained and experienced guide who can monitor your individual altitude acclimatization, watch out for AMS symptoms, and – if required – insist on and assist with your descent.

How can I avoid altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

The truth is that most climbers will be affected by altitude sickness in some way. You can however reduce the severity of it. Make sure to follow the so-called 3 golden rules of altitude acclimatization. Take your time over multiple days and ascend very slowly during the day. Drink lots of water while climbing.

It also helps to sleep at lower altitudes overnight than you've climbed to during the day. You can do this upfront by choosing a route with a beneficial altitude profile. While climbing, depending on route and tour operator, you may have the option to go for altitude acclimatization hikes in the afternoon or on rest days.

Can I fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro?

While possible, it is highly unlikely that you would fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro. Most of the routes on the mountain are non-technical and well trodden. This means you don’t have to be a professional mountaineer or athlete to navigate your way up them.

However, in the same way that you could potentially take a bad step when walking up a steep set of stairs, the same is true on Kilimanjaro. There are a few areas on the mountain where it is possible to have a bad fall, but as long as you follow the instructions of your guide, the risk is very limited and far lower than on other mountains.

Most paths on Kilimanjaro are very low-risk – except for the general risk of altitude sickness and the risk of rockfall on the Western Breach.

How does the fatality rate on Kilimanjaro compare to other mountains?

The fatality rate on Mount Kilimanjaro is low compared to other mountains. Of the 30,000-50,000 people who climb Kilimanjaro each year, an estimated 10 tourists die annually from altitude sickness and other causes. This represents a death rate of 0.03% or less, which is low compared to other mountains in the world.

Mt Blanc at 4,810m in the European Alps, which is lower than Kilimanjaro by over 1,000 meters and attracts a similar number of people, claims the lives of 100 people a year – making it 10 times more deadly!

Fair Porter Treatment
What is the porter treatment situation on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There are more than 20,000 porters who work on Mount Kilimanjaro and most of them are not treated fairly. They risk their lives to carry heavy loads for tourists yet often do not even get their due minimum salary of less than US $10 per day. They sometimes only get one meal per day and have inappropriate gear. In extreme cases, porters have been found dead, left behind by their guides when they had accidents or fallen sick. Although KPAP and its Partner companies have been able to achieve significant improvements for their porters and the industry overall, the situation is still far from satisfactory for the majority of porters on Kilimanjaro.

Why is it important for my safety that my porters are treated fairly?

We believe that responsible companies who treat your porters fairly are also more likely to offer you as a client higher quality standards, and that porters who are treated fairly by their companies are also more likely to have your best interests in mind. That means first and foremost not your summit success, but your health and safety.

Amongst others, you rely on your porters for your water and food to be treated properly. In the worst case, you might have to rely on them for a safe descent. Will your porters be able to do a good job if they are hungry, cold and get paid significantly less than their colleagues camping right next to your group?

While there is no guarantee, we believe that booking your climb with a responsible tour operator who treats your porters fairly will be the safer choice for you.

Destination Information
Deciding Whether To Go
Deciding When To Go
Hiking Routes
Choosing Your Itinerary
Finding Your Best Offer
Preparing Your Trip
Travel Arrangements
Travel Etiquettes & Best Practice
Responsible Travel
Fair Porter Treatment
Safety
Find Your Best Trip
Traveller Reviews

All You Need To Know To Climb Kilimanjaro

Destination Information
Deciding Whether To Go
Deciding When To Go
Hiking Routes
Choosing Your Itinerary
Finding Your Best Offer
Preparing Your Trip
Travel Arrangements
Travel Etiquettes & Best Practice
Responsible Travel
Fair Porter Treatment
Safety
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