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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

About Fair Voyage
Business Model
What's the difference between tour operators and agencies?

When we refer to tour operators, we mean the company in your destination that's providing your local tour arrangement services and is duly licensed as a tour operator for these activities. For most of our core destinations and travel experiences – such climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or game drives to the Serengeti National Park, or visits to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area – local law & regulations mandate that your tour must be operated by a duly licensed local company. This means that all such tours are, by default, operated by local companies, no matter whether sold to you directly by these local companies or indirectly by agents. It also means that an independent guide who's not employed by (or the owner of) such a duly licensed company is not legally allowed to operate such tours for you.

Travel agents (when duly registered) are companies who sell tours operated by other companies. They are mostly based internationally, closer to you as a traveller. However, they might also be based locally. For example, a company solely specialized in operating Kilimanjaro climbs might act as an agent for another company specialized in operating safaris, in order to be able to arrange your entire trip locally for you.

Traditionally, tour operators have specialized on operating tours locally, while agents have specialized on packaging & selling those tours to you, typically through a so-called white labelling or sub-contracting agreement. This means that agents sell tours to you in their own name, even though they don't actually operate the tours themselves.

There's nothing wrong with this agency–operator set-up; in fact, most industries operate in a similar way: Imagine you go to a boutique coffee roaster to buy coffee beans. Have you ever considered calling up a farmer in Ethiopia or elsewhere to buy the coffee directly from them? Of course not! Each company provides the function in the value chain they're best at, and you as consumer stand to benefit from such an efficient set-up. The travel industry is no different.

Recently, being an agent or international has received a bad connotation amongst the conscious travel community. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Read 5 reasons why international agents are important for conscious travellers here. 

Why should conscious travellers use international travel agencies at all?

Ever since the explosion of the internet, being an agent or international has received a bad connotation amongst the conscious travel community. After all, online platforms have made it possible for us to book directly with local guides. So why do we still need international agents? Here are five reasons why local tour guides cannot replace the role of international agents to provide responsible and safe practices for conscious travellers and local communities:

1. Limitations of individual guides

Independent guides are often not legally allowed to provide tour arrangement services for you (read about legal requirements to operate tours here). You might think that's unnecessary bureaucracy and the legacy of an outdated system. While that might be true in some cases, there's often very valid reasons for such regulations. They may exist to protect us as travellers, for example from financial scams or fraudulent activities, or when undertaking inherently more dangerous activities or travelling to remote regions. They may also exist to protect conservation areas, national parks or other places of natural or cultural significance. An independent guide, no matter how well intended, often simply doesn't have the education or resources to take care of your physical and financial safety, or the sustainability of our planet. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to provide conscious travel services.

2. Benefits of specialization

Division of labor is a commonly accepted principle in modern economics. It suggests that we're all better off if everyone does what we're best at, if each companies focuses on its core strength. That's become standard for almost any industry. Car companies don't manufacture motors, banks don't mine gold, and hospital don't produce pharmaceuticals. However, car companies, banks and hospitals all provide very important services to you, and so do travel agents: They educate and advice you, they can speak your language, and – ideally – they are duly registered and regulated to protect you as consumer. Even if a local operator could be providing all of those services to you, it simply doesn't make sense for people who are good at guiding and logistics to hire specialists for marketing, client service and sales.

3. Skill gaps take time to fill

It will take a long time until all the functions traditionally provided by international agencies can be provided locally in lower income countries. Certainly, our goal should be for local people no matter where in the world to have all the education and training they need. However, such a fundamental shift cannot happen overnight. It's taken China decades to re-position from a low-cost manufacturing hub into a high-tech power house. Similarly, we expect that it will also take many, many years to fill the skill gap for digital, marketing and other experts in lower income countries to directly serve international travellers.

4. Cultural differences

Even when the above skill gap has been filled, and assuming all countries have well-functioning legal systems that make it easy for travellers to obtain any due compensation or assistance when required directly from local companies, cultural differences remain. For a high-end advisory service, do you prefer to be served by someone like you who fully understands your needs and speaks your language, or someone who can only second-guess your requirements and doesn't communicate well in your language?

5. International sustainability leaders

Last but not least, travelling ethically and sustainably is an international trend that's predominantly driven by organizations and consumers from higher income regions, such as Europe and North America. People in lower income countries who are still struggling to catch up and provide decent education, health care and housing for their own families don't have the luxury to worry about the sustainability of our planet, or social justice. When local operators have adopted responsible tourism practices, it's more often than not due to the demand and educational efforts undertaken by international agents.

Unfortunately, online platforms have played a major role in creating confusion and promoting the exploitation of human labor. Read more about digitalization & the exploitation of human life here.

Fair Voyage is a hybrid between an agency and a platform. We hope to combine the best of both models for your benefit as traveller, and to sustainably promote responsible travel practices. Read more about our business model here.

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 climate in Tanzania?

Tanzania fits the stereotype of being hot, but the hotter/more humid temperatures are found near the coast, where a refreshing beach swim is never far away. A more temperate climate is found in the elevated north/southeast. The country has two sets of rainy seasons; the long and heavy rains fall between March and May while the shorter rains fall between November and January every year.

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
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.

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.

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 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 facilities are available at the Marangu Huts?

The Marangu Huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms. The huts at a lower altitude have flushing toilets and running water. At higher elevations, long drop toilets and buckets of water are available.

Charging stations and heating are not available. This is similar to the campsites on all other routes on Kilimanjaro.

What is different, however, is that mineral water, soft drinks and chocolates are sold at camps on the Marangu Route.

Country Information
Overview
What is Tanzania like?

Sitting south of the equator, Tanzania embodies the picturesque vision one has when it comes to East Africa. Home to Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and some of the best-known safari national parks, Tanzania has proven time and again that untouched, pristine natural wonders are those that make the best memories and experiences. While the beauty of the country will draw you in, the friendly people and fascinating culture will make you want to stay. The colorful culture, exquisite landscapes, and rich wildlife are all wrapped up in a warm and welcoming package that is Tanzania.

Weather
What is the climate in Tanzania?

Tanzania fits the stereotype of being hot, but the hotter/more humid temperatures are found near the coast, where a refreshing beach swim is never far away. A more temperate climate is found in the elevated north/southeast. The country has two sets of rainy seasons; the long and heavy rains fall between March and May while the shorter rains fall between November and January every year.

Geography
What is the geography of Tanzania?

Located in East Africa, Tanzania’s geography is varied and unique. It’s beaches embrace the Indian Ocean to the east while savannahs and mountains creep in as you move towards the north/west part of the country. The snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro is located in the northeast and is surrounded by lakes, mountains and many national parks. Towards the center of the country is a large plateau, filled with plains, grasslands, and plenty of arable land. The variety of geographic features provide for an un-paralleled level of diversity in landscapes, flora and fauna.

Things To Do
What can I do in Tanzania besides safari?

Known best for safaris, Tanzania has a multitude of exciting attractions to fill your time. The northern town of Arusha sits at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, both of which are available to hike. For those seeking a more relaxing experience, the pristine islands of Zanzibar and Pemba spoil visitors with white sandy beaches and some of Africa's best dive spots. Walking tours of the capital city Dar es Salaam and Stone Town in Zanzibar City are available, as you bustle through the lively streets with delicious food waiting for you while overlooking the Indian Ocean.

What is the Great Migration?

The spectacular Great Wildebeest Migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Annually, more than two million grazers like wildebeest, but also zebras and gazelles, travel from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya in search for green pasture.

The wildebeest migrate in a circular pattern in the Serengeti National Park year-round. The annual migration towards the Masai Mara takes place from July to October.

At this time, the wildebeest reside in the north of the Serengeti near the border with Kenya. Here, they cross the Mara River into the Masai Mara. The moment when huge herds cross the river is a dramatic and impressive sight you won't forget fast.

If you are in Tanzania during this time of the year, we recommend seeing this unique spectacle on a safari before or after your climb.

If you are interested in the Great Migration, please have a look at our safari options, book a free consultation with us or request your custom quote.

 

 

Health & Safety
Is the type of Malaria in Tanzania dangerous?

Malaria is endemic in Tanzania and the risk of contraction is high. There are numerous varieties of malaria, but Falciparum malaria is the disease's most dangerous and potentially lethal form, and this strain proliferates in Tanzania. Infection requires only to be bitten by an infected mosquito. Infection rates are at their highest during the rainy season. Contracting malaria can cause serious illness and even death, so precautions including taking preventative antimalarials is highly recommended.

What vaccinations do I need when travelling to Tanzania?

When planning a trip to Tanzania, the following vaccinations are always recommended:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles

The World Health Organization additionally recommends the following vaccinations for all travellers worldwide:

  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Polio

In addition, you may need the following:

  • Yellow fever certificate: Required for immigration if travelling via a country with increased risk of yellow fever (such as Ethiopia or Kenya); not required otherwise.
  • Typhoid: Usually only recommended for pro-longed stays.
  • Rabies: Usually only recommended for pro-longed stays in remote areas.

Medical requirements other than vaccinations:

  • Malaria: There is no vaccination to protect against malaria. However, we strongly recommend that you take preventative anti-malarials when travelling to Tanzania.
  • Other: Please refer to our packing list for more medications that we recommend for your trip.

Please note that some vaccinations are administered over prolonged time periods to become effective. Therefore, it is important that you consult your medical expert well ahead of your trip.

What diseases are a risk in Tanzania?

To decrease the risk of the most common illnesses in Tanzania, make sure to take all the recommended vaccinations, in consultation with your doctor.

Besides malaria, there are a few other mosquito-borne viral infections, f.e. dengue and chikungunya, against which you can only take preventative measures like using a mosquito repellent. Please note, unlike malaria these mosquitos are active during the day with peak activity during early morning and late afternoon. Therefore, it's important to use mosquito repellent during the day.

While chikungunya is rarely life-threatening, dengue can potentially be very dangerous.

Furthermore, the traveler's diarrhoea may happen to you.

Both Filariasis and Schistosomiasis occur throughout Tanzania, but the risk of infection is low during a short visit.

Is Dengue Fever dangerous?

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that occasionally has a break out in Tanzania, particularly in the capital city Dar Es Salaam but definitely not restricted to it.

Dengue symptoms look like Malaria, including the joint and muscle pain as well as a potentially high fever. There are four serotypes of the virus and you can get each of them only once.

However, subsequent infections with different virus serotypes increase the risk of the viral infection progressing into Dengue Hemorraghic Fever. This can be fatal if complications like a circulatory failure and a shock occur; this condition is known as the Dengue Shock Syndrome.

The mosquitos that transmit dengue are active during the day, with peak moments in the early morning and the late afternoon.  They prefer to be in the shade when it's hot, just like you.

Currently, there is no vaccination against dengue yet. Therefore, it's very important to avoid mosquito bites by using a repellent that contains DEET.

 

Visa & Entry Requirements
What are the entry requirements for Tanzania?

Generally speaking, the entry requirements for Tanzania are an international passport that is at least valid for six more months upon entry. It also needs to have at least one empty page.

Furthermore, you probably need a visa, and if you travel from a yellow fever endemic country, you need a yellow fever certificate.

When asked, you must be able to show proof of your roundtrip ticket and possess enough funds to cover all costs during your stay.

How long does my passport need to be valid for when travelling to Tanzania?

For most travellers and nationalities entering the country, the passport that you hold must be valid for an additional six months after the date of entry into Tanzania. This applies to visitors from Australia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, South and Central America, Asia and Canada. This is also the case for visitors hoping to apply for a visa. Travellers planning a visit to Tanzania whose passport expires prior to that date should have their passport updated immediately.

Do I need a visa to travel to Tanzania?

Most visitors require a visa to travel to Tanzania. This includes travellers coming from the United States and Canada, most European countries, Australia and New Zealand, and parts of Asia. There are some exceptions including nationals from Cyprus or Romania, citizens of Malaysia, Hong Kong and a number of other African nations. Be sure to double check the visa regulations for your country as they are subject to change.

What's the best way to get my Tanzania visa?

So far, the easiest way to get your visa for Tanzania is upon arrival. Visas on arrival are available at all main entry points, including at Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam International airports as well as at the Namanga border crossing with Kenya.

End 2018, Tanzania introduced an e-visa service, which means that you can now also apply for your visa online. As of launch, the online system is still prone to errors and may not always work. After a transition period, however, it is expected that Tanzania may phase out visas on arrival and require all visitors to hold an e-visa. If in doubt, it would be best that you apply for an e-visa ahead of your trip.

How much is the Tanzania visa, and how do I pay it?

The fee for single entry visas upon arrival is US$100 for US citizens and US$50 for all other nationalities that require a visa. The visa on arrival fee needs to be paid in cash (in US dollars). You can now also apply for e-visas online and pre-pay by card.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination certificate when travelling to Tanzania?

Tanzania does not require proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travellers. However, travellers entering Tanzania from a country with a risk of yellow fever do need to display a certificate of vaccination before entering the country.

The countries with yellow fever risk are currently limited to other African nations and countries in South and Central America.

Deciding Whether To Go
Difficulty
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 difference between a climb, hike and trek?

A hike is generally a short walk on charted trails. A hike’s length is variable and can be a day trip or an overnight. Minimal supplies are needed.

A climb can vary in length but is typically more demanding than a hike. A climb has steep terrain and may involve using climbing equipment to scale the face of the mountain.

A trek is the longest type of journey on foot. It involves walking through challenging terrain for multiple days. Because of the length of treks, you need to bring supplies and food.

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 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.

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).

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.
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.

It is worth noting that the route you choose to climb Kilimanjaro can determine how well you acclimatize to the high altitude. The longer the route, the more your body has a chance to adjust to it. In general, the 7-8 day routes help you to adjust much better to the altitude.

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.

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 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!

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.

It has to be said that an accident happened last year where tourists fell to death due to heavy snow near the summit. Their guides did not turn around although they didn't know where exactly they were walking. Therefore, it's important to pay attention to the weather circumstances and not insist on summiting if there's heavy snow on top.

That being said, 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 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.

How dangerous is altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Altitude sickness is a serious and potentially dangerous risk when climbing Kilimanjaro.

If ignored and left untreated, it may become severe and, in extreme cases, lethal.

It is the most common cause of 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 symptoms of altitude sickness, and – if required – insist on and assist with your descent.

Why do incidents not get reported?

Kilimanjaro is a major source of tourist revenue and income for Tanzania. The local government naturally has an incentive to keep a clean safety record in order to attract more climbers. Therefore, local tour operators are encouraged by the government to keep safety incidents confidential.

Moreover, no tour operator would voluntarily want to disclose their own records. Because even if they are much better than any competitor, it would create the perception that they don't have good safety practices if they are the only ones disclosing those incidents.

 

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 should I deal with shortness of breath?

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.

What are the symptoms of moderate altitude sickness?

Moderate altitude sickness is a little more intense than mild short-term altitude sickness. Fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath gets worse instead of improving over time.

Climbers may start to experience a loss of coordination and although the person may still be able to walk on their own, it will become more difficult for them to do so. Normal activities will also become more difficult.

This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, tightness, congestion in the chest and severe headaches that are not relieved by pain medication.

If a person is showing signs of moderate altitude sickness, immediate descent is necessary.

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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What is a stretcher?

If you have been injured while climbing Kilimanjaro or you fall ill, then it can be very difficult for rescue teams to carry you down the mountain. However, stretchers are large frames that make it possible for teams to move you from one location of the mountain to the other.

If you have found yourself in the unfortunate position of needing a stretcher, then it contains straps which help to secure you to the frame and transport you to a medical centre.

The device can be used to evacuate a person quickly off the mountain.

Is it important that my tour operator brings a custom stretcher for my climb?

The fees you pay will include the cost of rescue stretchers that are provided by the park. However, these can take a while to arrive and are not a very comfortable form of transportation.

Most climbs do not include custom stretchers that are carried during the hike, in the same way, that you would not have a stretcher with you when climbing other mountains.

However, some luxury tour operators bring stretchers with them on every climb, because in emergencies they can help to speed up an evacuation. We consider stretchers to be a luxury safety feature and not a necessity on every tour, so it depends upon your preferences.

What is a mess tent?

A mess tent simply is a tent where climbers gather to eat their meals together. After a long day of hiking, this is where your food will be served to you by your tour operator.

It’s also a place where climbers can relax and chill in the afternoon as often it may be too cold and windy to stay outdoors. Mess tents provide welcome shelter from the wind and increased warmth. They are stand-up size, big enough to fit a table and chairs, whereby the exact dimensions usually vary depending on group size.

You will always be able to sit comfortably in a mess tent, even though specific characteristics may vary. Higher-end operators will, for example, provide solar lighting and comfortable chairs with arm and backrests.

Mess tents usually don't include heating. But upon special request, a mess tent heater can be included in real luxury climbs.

Is there mobile network coverage on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Your biggest concern when climbing Kilimanjaro won't be if there is network coverage but whether your battery will last long enough to be able to make use of it.

Over the years, the mobile network coverage on Kilimanjaro has improved greatly. In fact, you will have a signal for almost your entire climb to the summit. Of course, there will be areas with a disrupted connection or no signal at all, depending on the landscape.

However, don't expect the signal to be as strong as it is back home. Usually, it's possible to send messages and make phone calls. But streaming data is a different challenge that will most likely require some patience.

On top of this, keep in mind that many cell phone companies will charge tremendous costs for roaming. You could consider buying a data bundle to avoid it. Alternatively, it's recommended to buy a sim card in Moshi or Arusha with a local bundle. Keep in mind to bring an unlocked cell phone if you plan to do this.

Drinks & Meals
What beverages does my tour operator provide?

All tour operators typically provide drinking water. In addition to this, it is common that they also bring instant coffee, chocolate powder as well as tea bags.

They mix them with hot water to be able to serve hot drinks at the campsites.

 

Can I get bottled water on Kilimanjaro?

Bottled water is only sold at the Marangu Huts.

The reason that it typically isn't offered by operators on other routes is that porters would have to carry it.

On special request, it's possible to hire additional porters to carry bottled water. However, this is usually not recommended.

Moreover, drinking water provided by high-quality operators is safe to drink.

 

 

Can I get soft drinks on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Soft drinks are only sold at the Marangu Huts. Tour operators usually don't offer it on other routes because porters would have to carry the bottles up the mountain.

On special request, it's possible to hire additional porters to carry your soft drinks. However, this is actually not recommended.

Depending on your tour operator, it is possible that fruit juices are included.

Can I get alcoholic beverages on Mount Kilimanjaro?

Alcohol is forbidden within the boundaries of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is therefore not offered inside the park. Tour operators that partner with Fair Voyage will not let porters carry alcoholic beverages for you.

Consuming alcohol at a high altitude isn't a great combination anyways.

As it is allowed at park gates, people there will sell beer to climbers. These are most often sold warm, so you will probably not like it.

Therefore, in luxury offers, we can include a champagne celebration at the park gate.

How does my tour operator treat water to make it safe for drinking?

Your tour operator will typically boil water to make it safe for drinking.

It is possible that higher-end operators use filters or chemical water treatment to make for this purpose.

 

 

 

Do I need to purify water before drinking on Mount Kilimanjaro?

It is not required to purify water yourself if you are climbing with a higher-end operator.

It is not necessary for any of the offers promoted on Fair Voyage. Regardless of the method, drinking water provided by our high-quality providers is safe to drink.

 

What will I eat on Mount Kilimanjaro?

mess Generally speaking, the food that is provided on Kilimanjaro climbing routes will roughly be the same for all tour operators on all routes.

Depending on the tour operator, they will cater to vegetarians and vegans. They might also take any dietary restrictions into account. Inquire with your tour operator to find out what the possibilities are.

The food options listed below are meant to give a general overview. As a consequence, they might slightly vary from day-to-day and from tour operator to tour operator.

Breakfast typically includes toast, French toast, pancakes, eggs and meat like sausage or bacon. Hot or cold cereals can be offered in addition to fruits like oranges, mangos or bananas. It's also possible that cooked vegetables are served.

Lunch can either be packed or served hot if you take a longer lunch break. A packed lunch typically includes sandwiches with cold meat, tuna, chicken or grilled cheese. The same fruits like breakfast could be offered again. It is also possible that eggs and French fries or chips will be available too.

A hot lunch will be similar to the dinner menu.

Your afternoon snack will consist of an array of popcorn, biscuits, nuts and a hot tea or coffee.

Dinner options include soup, pasta, rice, a variety of prepared vegetables (f.e. in a stew, a curry, boiled or steamed) as well as a variety of meat like beef or chicken (that can f.e. be roasted or in a stew or curry). Usually, potatoes will be offered alongside meat and vegetables. It's also possible that you will get to taste the local dish Ugali which is a porridge made from corn meal. Dessert will consist of fruits like oranges, watermelons, apples, pineapples, mangos or bananas.

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.

They will also 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 may 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.

What do I have to organize myself to climb Kilimanjaro?

Operators will organize most of the tour for you, but there are things you will need to arrange. You will need to decide when to climb, the route you’ll take and how long you want to spend on the mountain.

Operators will then put together the itinerary and schedule but you will need to book your flights and apply for your visa. Visas can be obtained at Kilimanjaro airport. You will need to buy travel insurance, book any extra hotel nights that are not included in your tour and buy the gear you’ll need for your climb. Getting the right gear usually takes the most time. Get your vaccinations at least 6 months before your trip.

How long does it take for me to organize my climb?

The length of time that it will take to organize your Kilimanjaro climb will mostly depend upon how long it takes you to prepare everything and get the gear you need to climb Kilimanjaro. It also depends on your climbing experience and the amount of research you do before your trip.

Tour operators are often very quick to respond to requests and may even be able to organize your climb within a few days, depending on the availability of guides. Some climbers prefer to leave at least half a year or more to organize their trip and do the necessary research. Others are more spontaneous and only need a few days to arrange their tour.

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
What is the climate in Tanzania?

Tanzania fits the stereotype of being hot, but the hotter/more humid temperatures are found near the coast, where a refreshing beach swim is never far away. A more temperate climate is found in the elevated north/southeast. The country has two sets of rainy seasons; the long and heavy rains fall between March and May while the shorter rains fall between November and January every year.

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 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 a 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 and even longer alternative to the Northern Circuit
  • Crater Camp – can be added to any route, best with Lemosho or Northern
  • Western Breach – shortcut on the southern circuit, but a risk of rockfall
What is Uhuru Peak?

Uhuru Peak is the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. With an altitude of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet), Uhuru Peak is also the highest point in Africa and makes Mount Kilimanjaro the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

What is Stella Point?

Stella Point is one of three summit points on Mount Kilimanjaro, next to Gilman's Point and the actual summit – Uhuru Peak.  Situated at the edge of the crater rim, at an altitude of 5,756 meters (18,885 feet), climbers who reach Stella Point will receive the official Kilimanjaro climbing certificate and can proudly claim that they have reached the top of the tallest mountain in Africa.

What is Gilman's Point?

Gilman's Point is one of three summit points on Mount Kilimanjaro, next to Stella Point and the actual summit – Uhuru Peak.  Situated at the edge of the crater rim, at an altitude of 5,756 meters (18,885 feet), climbers who reach Gilman's Point will receive the official Kilimanjaro climbing certificate and can proudly claim that they have reached the top of the tallest mountain in Africa.

What is the Barranco Wall?

The Barranco Wall is a steep wall near Barranco Camp, on the Southern Circuit of Mount Kilimanjaro (LemoshoMachame or Umbwe Route). Getting to the top of the wall is a scramble more than a climb as you will be using your arms to conquer some of those knee-high rocks and keep your balance. Breathtaking views of the Heim Glacier and Kibo cone reward climbers after one to two hours for their hard work.

If you suffer from serious vertigo, you might prefer to avoid the Barranco Wall and opt for another hiking route such as the Grand TraverseNorthern Circuit or Rongai Route.

What is the Dendrosenecio?

The Dendrosenecio, also known as Giant Senecio tree, is a plant endemic to high altitude mountains in East Africa.

A veritable forest of Dendrosenecio trees is found on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro – one of the mountain's distinct scenic highlights for climbers on the Lemosho, Machame or Umbwe Routes.

You will also get to see a few rare specimens of the Dendrosenecio species when following the Northern Circuit on the Shira Plateau.

What are the key differences between the routes on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The routes on 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 are what you're looking for, then the most popular routes may not be your best choice.

Machame Route
What is the Machame Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Machame Route (also known as the “Whiskey Route”) is a very scenic hiking route. It leads hikers through the montane rainforest, past the eerie forest 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.

Its 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.

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 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.

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.

Lemosho Route
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 halfway through. It leads you through a lush rainforest, past the eerie  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.

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.

Map of Lemosho Route

Rongai Route
What is the Rongai Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Rongai Route is the only route on Kilimanjaro that ascends from the north, near the border to Kenya. This makes it much less visited than other routes, providing for a true wilderness experience.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

However, 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.

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 opportunities 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.

Grand Traverse
What is the Grand Traverse like?

The Grand Traverse is the most luxurious route to climb Kilimanjaro. It is ideal if you value privacy and authentic wilderness away from the crowds. It offers stunning 360° degree views of the peak. You'll also be able to peer across into Tanzania and Kenya. Furthermore, it is one of the easiest routes with a very high summit success chance.

Starting in the west along the Shira Route, the Grand Traverse then circumvents the peak on the northern slopes. It approaches the summit from the east and descends in the south. This provides you with an authentic wilderness experience.

The biggest difference with the Northern Circuit is that climbers on the Grand Traverse get driven up to a fairly high altitude of 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) on their first day, along with the old Shira evacuation route. This makes the Grand Traverse a shorter and less challenging variation. The route is typically completed in 8 days: 8-day Grand Traverse Itinerary.

Marangu Route
What is the Marangu route like?

The Marangu Route is sometimes jokingly referred to as the ‘Coca Cola route’ and ‘tourist route’. This is because it is perceived as being easy and the fact that Coca Cola, candy and other confectionery is sometimes sold at the huts based on the route. 

This is the only route which 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.

It is the only route where climbers ascend and descend the same way.

What are the Marangu Huts on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

The Marangu route is the only route with hut accommodation. This includes 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.

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 the allocation of beds is on a first-come-first-served basis. Therefore, expect to be sharing your hut with strangers.

However, it is worth noting that the huts do not come with mattresses and pillows - tour operators provide that. You’ll need to bring your own sleeping bags. 

The first hut you will stay in will be the Mandara A-frame Huts, which include solar lighting, flush toilets and piped water.

 

How difficult is it to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on the Marangu Route?

The Marangu route allows for a steady, gradual climb until you get to the final camp.

As one of the shorter routes, it doesn't allow for proper acclimatization. Therefore, it has one of the lowest success rates of all the Kilimanjaro routes.

Shira Route
What is the Shira route like?

The Shira route is the only route that starts at a relatively high altitude and approaches Kilimanjaro from the west. Although it is a varied and beautiful route, its starting point at a high elevation means it is not as good for acclimatization.

The route starts on the Shira Ridge and covers the entire Shira Plateau, which is a relatively pleasant and flat hike. The route then continues on the Southern Circuit and approaches the summit via Barafu.

The Shira route overlaps a lot with the Lemosho Route, but the altitude profile of the Lemosho Route is much better for acclimatization.

 

 

 

Umbwe Route
What is the Umbwe route like?

The Umbwe route is a short and challenging route, which is steep and goes pretty much straight uphill. It offers the most direct path to Uhuru Peak.

However, don't mistake short for easy as the opposite is true. You need to conquer almost the same altitude difference on any route. Therefore, it leaves less time for acclimatization. Hence it has the lowest success rate.

This route is not as popular as the other routes and is really only recommended for strong hikers who are used to hiking at high altitude.

Crater Camp
What is Crater Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The Crater Camp is a unique area of Kilimanjaro. At 475 feet (144 meters) below the summit, it is the highest campsite on the mountain. 

It lies within the Kibo Crater - one of the three volcanic peaks -, this is the one you always see on aerial photos. You can also see it from the summit, but to visit it is a whole different experience.

 

Why would I want to stay at Crater Camp?

Crater Camp sits right between the Uhuru peak and the Furtwangler Glacier. While Uhuru is the highest point of Kilimanjaro, the crater actually is the center of the volcano. 

While staying at Crater Camp, you will literally sleep on the crater floor right next to one of Kilimanjaro's last remaining glaciers. The possibility to stay at the highest camp on the Kilimanjaro is something that only a few climbers get to experience. 

Crater Camp appeals to those climbers who don’t want to go where everyone else goes but to places that have that special unique edge and thrill.

Furthermore, you will have the unique opportunity to explore the thick wall of ice of the Furtwangler glacier up close. 

Another exciting opportunity is a visit to the actual Ash Pit of Kilimanjaro. The Ash Pit is a perfect circle with a width of 395 feet full of boulders and volcanic rocks. You can even still smell the sulfur; better known as the smell of rotten eggs.

 

What are the risks of staying at Crater Camp?

Due to its high altitude, staying at Crater Camp camp carries an elevated risk of altitude sickness. This occurs particularly during sleep.

Moreover, an immediate descent in the case of altitude sickness is not possible. Climbers even need to ascent before they can start to descent.

This can potentially be very dangerous and even fatal, especially if there is no other way to treat altitude sickness.

 

 

How can I mitigate those risks?

A stay at Crater Camp is usually only offered in combination with longer routes. This allows enough time for proper acclimatization and thus decreases the risk of altitude sickness.

It is also important to check with your tour operator whether hyperbaric chambers will be provided for your climb. This is not a luxury but a real necessity if you stay at Crater Camp, as immediate descent in the case of altitude sickness is not possible.

To further prepare yourself, please have a look at the Altitude Acclimatization & Sickness section on the Climb Kilimanjaro page.

 

Which is the best route to combine with Crater Camp?

Longer routes are ideal to combine with a stay at Crater Camp. These are, for example, the Lemosho Route, the Northern Circuit and the Grand Traverse.

The tours that we recommend most are the 9-day Lemosho Route with Crater Camp and the 10-day Northern Circuit with Crater Camp.

The Lemosho Route has an ideal altitude profile that lets you walk high and sleep low. It's ideal preparation for a stay at Crater Camp and it also increases your summit success rate. A potential downside of this otherwise very scenic route is that you'll share this route with many other travellers.

The Northern Circuit is the longest route on Kilimanjaro and one of the only routes that circumvents the peak on the Northern slopes. This route provides you with the most authentic wilderness experience away from the crowds. It has an excellent altitude profile and even though it's one of the longest routes, it is one of the easiest.

An alternative option is to pre-acclimitize by climbing nearby Mount Meru. This will allow you to climb Kilimanjaro on a shorter itinerary. However, this means that you will hike a lot more and is therefore only recommendable for very strong and experienced hikers.

How can I organize a climb with a stay at Crater Camp?

In general, a climb with a stay at Crater Camp is not offered very often in group tours. However, it is possible to add a stay at Crater Camp to private tours upon requests. Keep in mind that a responsible tour operator will only add it in combination with one of the longer routes.

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.

Would you recommend me to stay at the Crater Camp?

Crater Camp is special because it’s off-the-beaten-track. It allows climbers to stay overnight next to one of Kilimanjaro’s last remaining glaciers. It also gives the opportunity to explore the Ash Pit. This is something that climbers otherwise don’t get to see.

A stay at Crater Camp definitely adds that extra thrill for ultimate adventurers who are looking for a more unique experience away from the crowds.

However, combining a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with a stay at Crater Camp is physically challenging. Due to the high altitude, it's very important that you are properly pre-acclimatized for your overnight stay.

We only recommend staying at Crater Camp in combination with a longer route that allows you to properly prepare for a high altitude.

 

Is it better to stay at Crater Camp before or after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro?

You can stay at Crater Camp both before or after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro.

Most articles on this topic refer to climbers ascending Kilimanjaro via the Western Breach route. They stay overnight at Crater Camp and then ascend the summit. However, we recommend avoiding the dangerous Western Breach at all times.

Moreover, it is possible to combine Crater Camp with all other routes. In this case, you always reach Crater Camp via Stella Point at the crater rim. From an acclimatization point of view, the altitude difference between Stella Point and Uhuru Peak is not significant. Therefore, you can actually choose when you'd like to stay overnight at Crater Camp.

It's possible to descend to Crater Camp straight from Stella Point. You can then spend the afternoon exploring the crater and ascend to Uhuru Peak the next day. Alternatively, you can ascend Uhuru Peak from Stella Point and go to Crater Camp afterwards. The next morning, you can either explore the crater or ascend to Uhuru Peak a second time to see the sunrise. Both options are possible and can usually be discussed and agreed with the guide on the spot, depending on how everyone in the group is doing.

Western Breach Route
Do you recommend the Western Breach route?

We do not recommend the Western Breach route. Due to the unnecessary risks associated with the Western Breach, we highly recommend climbers to consider alternative routes. If you are not convinced yet, please make sure to read James Balog’s eyewitness account about the 2015 deadly rockfall incident on National Geographic: Tragedy on Kilimanjaro.

If after educating yourself thoroughly about the risks involved you still wish to ascend to the summit via the Western Breach, please make sure to only book with a responsible tour operator who can provide you with a well-trained and experienced guide.

Please request your custom quote from us, and we will recommend the best tour operators to you for a private climb. As it is important that all group members are of roughly equal physical abilities and mountain experience in order to minimize your risks when climbing the Western Breach, please also note that responsible tour operators will not operate open group climbs for the Western Breach, and we are unable to open such new group climb for you.

You can find out more information about some of the other, safer routes that are equally off-the-beaten-track  – even though not recommended due to the increased risk of altitude sickness – on our Climb Kilimanjaro Experience page.

 

 

 

What is the Western Breach route like?

The Western Breach is a steep slope in the west of Kibo cone on Mount Kilimanjaro. It is one of the most dangerous places on the mountain due to melting glaciers above the Western Breach. When the glaciers melt, they release rocks. The last known lethal accident occurred in September 2015. While a well-trained and experienced guide may help you minimize your exposure to the most dangerous areas, the risk of death from rockfall cannot be avoided entirely when climbing the Western Breach.

Sadly, many tour operators keep promoting the Western Breach route without educating climbers about the risk involved. On first glance, the route definitely has its appeals to everyone looking for an ultimate adventure away from the crowds as it is one of the fastest and most challenging ascents to the summit – and off-the-beaten-track for that reason. However, there are plenty of other routes that do not include the Western Breach and are equally off-the-beaten-track, and – even though not recommended due to the increased risk of altitude sickness – might also get you to the summit and back down within the same time.

The Western Breach is also often included in itineraries with an overnight stay at Crater Camp. However, you can also include the Crater Camp with any other route – ideally the Lemosho RouteNorthern Circuit or Grand Traverse. These routes allow you more time to acclimatize before staying overnight at the Crater Camp and approach the summit via a much safer ascent in the east of Kibo cone.

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.

Is the Lemosho Route more authentic than the Machame Route?

Both the Lemosho and Machame Route have spectacular scenery that gives you an authentic view of the Kilimanjaro landscape. In fact, both routes join halfway through and are identical thereafter. They both include many of Kilimanjaro's most distinctive landmarks including hiking up to Lava Tower, clambering over the Barranco Wall, and passing through the eerie Dendrosenecio forest.

While both routes are popular, there are still more climbers following the Machame Route. Therefore, one could argue that the Lemosho Route offers a slightly more authentic experience away from the crowds during the initial days of your climb.

Which is the most authentic hiking route on Mt Kilimanjaro?

The competition for the title of the most authentic Kilimanjaro route is a tough one. It is also very subjective in many ways and depends upon your definition of the word ‘authentic’.

If you are referring to unique sceneries and panoramic views, then the Lemosho route is probably your best bet.

On the other hand, if you are referring to quiet paths away from the crowds, then less popular routes might be more authentic. choice. These include the Rongai Route, the Northern Circuit or Grand Traverse, or even the difficult Umbwe Route 

Which is the most dangerous hiking route on Mt Kilimanjaro?

Umbwe is probably the most dangerous of all routes. This is because it is incredibly steep, tough and very exposed in parts. On some parts of the trail, it is so steep that you have to rely on nearby tree routes to navigate your way across. It is also a very short route, so it does not give your body as much time to cope with the high altitude.

What compounds the potential dangers is that a few operators will even take you through the Western Breach on this route, which carries the risk of falling rocks and injury. Therefore, only experienced climbers that are accustomed to high altitude trekking should consider attempting this.

Even though the Western Breach can also be included in other routes, we recommend to avoid it in any case. As a steep slope in the west of Kibo cone on Mount Kilimanjaro, it is one of the most dangerous places on the mountain due to melting glaciers above it. When the glaciers melt, they release rocks.

Even with a well-trained and experienced guide, the risk of death from rockfall cannot be avoided entirely when climbing the Western Breach.

Which is the shortest route to climb Kilimanjaro?

The 5-Day Umbwe route is the shortest hiking route in terms of distance. It has the most direct path to Uhuru Peak. Alternatively, the 5-Day Rongai Route can be completed in the same amount of time.

However, don't mistake short for easy as the opposite is true on Kilimanjaro. You still need to conquer almost the same altitude difference as on any route. The shorter the route is, the steeper is its path and the less time you have to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Therefore, only pre-acclimatized or very fit climbers who are confident of their ability to acclimatize to the high altitude should choose a short route. 

Which is the most difficult hiking route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The Umbwe Route is one of the most challenging routes on Kilimanjaro, despite being one of the shortest routes. It involves steep climbs from day one and you need a reasonable level of fitness to be able to handle this path.

This route does not allow sufficient time for acclimatization as you will be trekking at altitude for the majority of your journey. Therefore, it is best to only attempt this route if you are an experienced climber.

On the opposite end, the Northern Circuit also has a reputation for being difficult, due to its length. However, it offers more time to acclimatize, so most climbers should find it easier to reach the summit when following the Northern Circuit.

What is the difference between Northern Circuit and the Grand Traverse?

The Northern Circuit and the Grand Traverse are the longest routes on the Kilimanjaro. They both circumvent the peak on the northern slope and offer 360° degree views of the peak and afar. It offers some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery on Kilimanjaro.

The biggest difference between the two routes is that climbers on the Grand Traverse get driven up to a fairly high altitude of 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) on their first day, along with the old Shira evacuation route. This makes the Grand Traverse a shorter and less challenging variation. The route is typically completed in 8 days: 8-day Grand Traverse Itinerary.

Which is the best hiking route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The truth is there is no single best hiking route that works for every trekker. For example, if you really value the scenery, then the Lemosho, Shira, Northern Circuit, Umbwe and Machame routes probably offer the most scenic and diverse landscapes.

However, if better acclimatization is a priority for you, then a longer route like the Northern Circuit is the best choice.

If you want the shortest (i.e. steepest) route and are used to high altitudes, then Umbwe may be a good fit.

And, if you averse to crawling into a tent, consider staying in one of the huts on the Marangu routes. These come complete with beds and sleeping huts.

Which is the easiest route?

'Easy' means different things to different people. The same applies to the difficulty of the routes to climb Kilimanjaro. Therefore, we focus on two criteria:  the amount of walking per day and the and the amount of ascent.

The 8-day Machame Route is your best bet for an easy route as it has the least amount of walking per day of all routes. Add to that the benefit of  "hike high, sleep low". This really helps with continuous altitude acclimatization.

However, if you are more concerned about the ascents rather than the amount of walking, then the 8-day Grand Traverse is your best option. This route has the least amount of ascent to start with. Since it's also a longer route, it also offers plenty of time for good acclimatization.

Which is the most popular route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The Machame Route is the most popular route since awareness about the importance of proper acclimatization started increasing.

This route offers an ideal acclimatization profile "hike high, sleep low". It can also be extended over 7 days which drastically increases the summit success rate. Furthermore, this route offers some of the best sceneries on Kilimanjaro.

Historically, the Marangu Route was the most popular route due to its hut accommodation and the duration. The route can be completed in 5 days. As a consequence, it also has the lowest summit success rate as it doesn’t allow enough time to acclimatize.

 

 

Which is the safest route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

The biggest cause of fatality on Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness. Therefore, the safest route will be the one which allows for the best acclimatization.

The Northern Circuit and Grand Traverse are the longest routes on Kilimanjaro. They also offer plenty of opportunities to climb high and sleep low. This is the best way to get your body used to the high altitude and reduce the severity of altitude sickness. Therefore, they have the highest summit success rates.

However, on any route, it is most important that you don't push beyond your limits and follow an experienced guide who will assist with descent if required. If you do so, all the popular routes may be considered more or less equally safe or risky.

Besides acclimatization, the routes that avoid the dangerous Western Breach are definitely safer than the routes that don't. To go even further, some routes also avoid the Barranco Wall. Therefore, the Northern Circuit, the Grand Traverse and the Rongai route could be deemed safest.

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 the 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?

Once you have some clarity about your personal preferences and priorities, it becomes easier to find the right route for you:

  • If scenery is most important to you and you don't mind the crowds, then the Machame or Lemosho Route will be the clear winners.
  • If you are looking for the easiest possible route with the least amount of climbing uphill, then the Grand Traverse will be the way to go.
  • If you want the maximize your summit success chance, then the Grand Traverse, Lemosho Route and Northern Circuit will be your best choice.
  • If time or budget limits you to no more then 6 or 7 climbing days, then either the Shira or Machame Routes will be a good compromise for those prioritizing scenery over solitude, and Rongai for those in search of wilderness.
  • If you have no choice but to climb during rainy season, then the huts along the Marangu Route will provide shelter from the rain, and the Rongai Route has a lower chance of rain overall.
  • If you are confident of your physical abilities, and you either have considerable experience in high altitudes or are planning to pre-acclimatized on another mountain, then you may prefer a more challenging and direct summit approach via the shorter 5-day Marangu, Rongai or Umbwe Routes.

Please contact us for a tailor-made recommendation.

Comfort & facilities
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, a 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.

What facilities are available at the Marangu Huts?

The Marangu Huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms. The huts at a lower altitude have flushing toilets and running water. At higher elevations, long drop toilets and buckets of water are available.

Charging stations and heating are not available. This is similar to the campsites on all other routes on Kilimanjaro.

What is different, however, is that mineral water, soft drinks and chocolates are sold at camps on the Marangu Route.

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 the 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 leads to a higher summit success rate 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
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!

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 is a serious and potentially dangerous risk when climbing Kilimanjaro.

If ignored and left untreated, it may become severe and, in extreme cases, lethal.

It is the most common cause of 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 symptoms of altitude sickness, 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.

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
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 the 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 (similar to Lemosho, just shorter)
  • 7-day Rongai Route: Authentic wilderness away from the crowds. However, the scenery and profile are 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 to 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 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.

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 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 the 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.

They will also 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 may 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.

What's the difference between tour operators and agencies?

When we refer to tour operators, we mean the company in your destination that's providing your local tour arrangement services and is duly licensed as a tour operator for these activities. For most of our core destinations and travel experiences – such climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, or game drives to the Serengeti National Park, or visits to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area – local law & regulations mandate that your tour must be operated by a duly licensed local company. This means that all such tours are, by default, operated by local companies, no matter whether sold to you directly by these local companies or indirectly by agents. It also means that an independent guide who's not employed by (or the owner of) such a duly licensed company is not legally allowed to operate such tours for you.

Travel agents (when duly registered) are companies who sell tours operated by other companies. They are mostly based internationally, closer to you as a traveller. However, they might also be based locally. For example, a company solely specialized in operating Kilimanjaro climbs might act as an agent for another company specialized in operating safaris, in order to be able to arrange your entire trip locally for you.

Traditionally, tour operators have specialized on operating tours locally, while agents have specialized on packaging & selling those tours to you, typically through a so-called white labelling or sub-contracting agreement. This means that agents sell tours to you in their own name, even though they don't actually operate the tours themselves.

There's nothing wrong with this agency–operator set-up; in fact, most industries operate in a similar way: Imagine you go to a boutique coffee roaster to buy coffee beans. Have you ever considered calling up a farmer in Ethiopia or elsewhere to buy the coffee directly from them? Of course not! Each company provides the function in the value chain they're best at, and you as consumer stand to benefit from such an efficient set-up. The travel industry is no different.

Recently, being an agent or international has received a bad connotation amongst the conscious travel community. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Read 5 reasons why international agents are important for conscious travellers here. 

What tour type options are available?

The two most popular tour options are group tours and private tours. If you prefer to travel alone or with people you know, you may opt for a private tour. However, if you are on a budget and prefer to climb with others, then a group tour may be your best option.

Highly experienced climbers can also organize a mostly self-supported tour to save costs. You will always need to climb with a guide no matter what type of tour you take. The type of tour you book will depend upon your priorities, experience and time constraints.

Some tours may include luxury food and accommodation, while others are more suited to those on a lower budget.

 

How long in advance should I book my Kilimanjaro climb?

The best advice when booking your Kilimanjaro time is to book ahead as much as possible. If you book long in advance you will quite often be able to get cheaper flights and better deals on your tours. You will have enough time to train and prepare for the climb.

Booking in advance will furthermore provide confirmation and reassurance of the tour. It also reduces the possibility of not being able to get onto the tour you want, due to lack of spaces and some of the vaccinations you will need to take in time to become effective.

Where possible, try to book at least 6-9 months in advance.

Responsible Travel
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.

Why should conscious travellers use international travel agencies at all?

Ever since the explosion of the internet, being an agent or international has received a bad connotation amongst the conscious travel community. After all, online platforms have made it possible for us to book directly with local guides. So why do we still need international agents? Here are five reasons why local tour guides cannot replace the role of international agents to provide responsible and safe practices for conscious travellers and local communities:

1. Limitations of individual guides

Independent guides are often not legally allowed to provide tour arrangement services for you (read about legal requirements to operate tours here). You might think that's unnecessary bureaucracy and the legacy of an outdated system. While that might be true in some cases, there's often very valid reasons for such regulations. They may exist to protect us as travellers, for example from financial scams or fraudulent activities, or when undertaking inherently more dangerous activities or travelling to remote regions. They may also exist to protect conservation areas, national parks or other places of natural or cultural significance. An independent guide, no matter how well intended, often simply doesn't have the education or resources to take care of your physical and financial safety, or the sustainability of our planet. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a team to provide conscious travel services.

2. Benefits of specialization

Division of labor is a commonly accepted principle in modern economics. It suggests that we're all better off if everyone does what we're best at, if each companies focuses on its core strength. That's become standard for almost any industry. Car companies don't manufacture motors, banks don't mine gold, and hospital don't produce pharmaceuticals. However, car companies, banks and hospitals all provide very important services to you, and so do travel agents: They educate and advice you, they can speak your language, and – ideally – they are duly registered and regulated to protect you as consumer. Even if a local operator could be providing all of those services to you, it simply doesn't make sense for people who are good at guiding and logistics to hire specialists for marketing, client service and sales.

3. Skill gaps take time to fill

It will take a long time until all the functions traditionally provided by international agencies can be provided locally in lower income countries. Certainly, our goal should be for local people no matter where in the world to have all the education and training they need. However, such a fundamental shift cannot happen overnight. It's taken China decades to re-position from a low-cost manufacturing hub into a high-tech power house. Similarly, we expect that it will also take many, many years to fill the skill gap for digital, marketing and other experts in lower income countries to directly serve international travellers.

4. Cultural differences

Even when the above skill gap has been filled, and assuming all countries have well-functioning legal systems that make it easy for travellers to obtain any due compensation or assistance when required directly from local companies, cultural differences remain. For a high-end advisory service, do you prefer to be served by someone like you who fully understands your needs and speaks your language, or someone who can only second-guess your requirements and doesn't communicate well in your language?

5. International sustainability leaders

Last but not least, travelling ethically and sustainably is an international trend that's predominantly driven by organizations and consumers from higher income regions, such as Europe and North America. People in lower income countries who are still struggling to catch up and provide decent education, health care and housing for their own families don't have the luxury to worry about the sustainability of our planet, or social justice. When local operators have adopted responsible tourism practices, it's more often than not due to the demand and educational efforts undertaken by international agents.

Unfortunately, online platforms have played a major role in creating confusion and promoting the exploitation of human labor. Read more about digitalization & the exploitation of human life here.

Fair Voyage is a hybrid between an agency and a platform. We hope to combine the best of both models for your benefit as traveller, and to sustainably promote responsible travel practices. Read more about our business model here.

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.

How can I save costs to make a Kilimanjaro climb affordable?

Booking your flights and tours well in advance will help you to cut down on the costs of Kilimanjaro.

Your flights will be cheaper and it will be easier to get the best deals. You can also save by renting some of the equipment you need from your friends or tour operator, rather than buying it.

Another way to save money is to pre-acclimatize at home by climbing mountains in your local area. This means that your body may cope better with the high altitude once you get there and then you can attempt shorter climbs which will cost less. Joining a group tour or travelling with friends will also reduce the cost per climber.

Safety
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). WFR certificates 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 are no objective certifications or ratings 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 are 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 they 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 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 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 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.

Toilets & Sanitation
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.

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.

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.

How will I wash when climbing Kilimanjaro?

There are no showers on Kilimanjaro. Therefore, it's best to really scrub yourself in the last shower you take before your climb begins. Hygiene on Kilimanjaro is limited to water and any sort of wipes or cloths that you bring.

Water for washing your hands and face will be provided daily. Otherwise, baby wipes or other premoistened towelettes are recommended. You can use them to freshen up after a long climb, in the morning and before bed.

How will I wash my hair when climbing Kilimanjaro?

We recommend using dry shampoo to keep your hair and scalp clean while climbing Kilimanjaro. Baby powder also works well for this purpose.

However, we do not recommend that you wash your hair with soap and water during your climb. This is because as you gradually get to the higher elevations, it becomes much colder. Rain, wind and cold weather are not uncommon, so washing your hair in the traditional way could potentially make you unwell.

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 they 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 likeminded 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.

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.

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

Unfortunately, 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 money if you are a group of at least 5 climbers booking together. If you are a solo traveller, or you are travelling as a couple, please note it would almost always be cheaper to join a higher-quality group climb, then organize your own lower-quality budget climb.

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 solo climbers 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 some opportunity to socialize 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.

Accommodation
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.

Will I stay dry in my tent when it rains on Kilimanjaro?

Our quality tour operators are accustomed to bad weather. Therefore, they provide high-quality mountain-grade tents with waterproof covers. These will keep you and your gear dry and safe.

Your guides can help to ensure that your tent is erected correctly and zipped up properly. Additionally, experienced guides also know where to position tents to avoid flooding areas.

Make sure not to lean anything against the tent as contact between the inner and outer waterproof linings may allow rainwater to enter the tent.

How many people do I need to share my tent with on Kilimanjaro?

Unless otherwise stated, 1 or 2 people will share a 3-4 person tent, with plenty of space for you and your gear.  But please note, high-grade tents designed to cope with extreme conditions don’t allow much room to stand up and walk around.

Sleeping alone may incur at an additional cost, but this depends on the tour operator.  If you consider this option, be sure to specify this in the "Customize Your Experience" section during our signup process.

Can I book a private room on Mount Kilimanjaro?

There is no private accommodation on Mount Kilimanjaro, on any of the routes. This keeps the mountain as pristine and undeveloped as possible, for the benefit of everyone.

Whilst this lack of privacy may make some trekkers feel a little uncomfortable, there are plenty of chances to spend time alone and enjoy the gorgeous views surrounding the camps.

Shared accommodation also provides the perfect opportunity to meet fellow travellers and share stories!

Ratings & Reviews
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 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.

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.

How does Fair Voyage insure my payments?

We are insured by the Swiss Travel Security guarantee scheme for traveller deposits. This means that when you book and pay 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.

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 exercises 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.

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 of up to 10-15 repetitions each. In addition, core strengthening exercises like pilates, planks, and abdominal work will support your back.

Vaccinations & Medications
Should I take anti-malarials when travelling to Tanzania?

We recommend all travelers visiting Tanzania to take anti-malarials, even if you are only planning a short trip or a mountain climb because you will not be able to entirely avoid your exposure to malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.

Before leaving for Tanzania your doctor can recommend an anti-malarial medicine, along with instructions about dosage. Very often doctors will prescribe a course of antibiotics or anti-parasitic medicines as a preventative measure to be begun one to two weeks before departure for Tanzania. Whatever is prescribed, it is important that travelers follow dosing directions carefully.

What anti-malarials do you recommend for Tanzania?

We cannot make recommendations as to particular anti-malarial substances or brands. Most doctors and health care providers who have worked with malaria in Tanzania recommend a course of medications like Mefloquine hydrochloride, atovaquone-proguanil or antibiotics like Doxycycline prior to your departure for Tanzania.

It is important that you check with your physician for the best drug and correct dosage depending on your personal situation. Your doctor should have experience with malaria and keep up-to-date about the latest developments as drug-resistance patterns of malaria viruses are changing rapidly.

Why is it important to take anti-malarials preventatively, not just in case of contraction?

Many travellers believe that malaria is a mild illness and can always be treated successfully, and that taking antimalarials may cause more severe side effects than actually getting malaria. This is not true. Side effects depend on the drug, are not universal and can be minimised by taking the best drug for you, and taking it correctly.

The type of malaria in Tanzania may be lethal within 24 hours of developing first symptoms, and treatment after contraction may not be successful or come in time. In case of pregnancy, the risks include miscarriage or premature labour. We strongly recommend taking preventative antimalarials when travelling to Tanzania.

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.

 

What vaccinations do I need when travelling to Tanzania?

When planning a trip to Tanzania, the following vaccinations are always recommended:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles

The World Health Organization additionally recommends the following vaccinations for all travellers worldwide:

  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Polio

In addition, you may need the following:

  • Yellow fever certificate: Required for immigration if travelling via a country with increased risk of yellow fever (such as Ethiopia or Kenya); not required otherwise.
  • Typhoid: Usually only recommended for pro-longed stays.
  • Rabies: Usually only recommended for pro-longed stays in remote areas.

Medical requirements other than vaccinations:

  • Malaria: There is no vaccination to protect against malaria. However, we strongly recommend that you take preventative anti-malarials when travelling to Tanzania.
  • Other: Please refer to our packing list for more medications that we recommend for your trip.

Please note that some vaccinations are administered over prolonged time periods to become effective. Therefore, it is important that you consult your medical expert well ahead of your trip.

How do I avoid contracting malaria when travelling to Tanzania?

We strongly recommend taking anti-malarials preventatively. We suggest you consult your physician to decide which drug could work best for you. Besides medication, the single best precaution to protect yourself against contracting malaria is by preventing mosquito bites.

Mosquitos that are responsible for transmitting malaria are most active during dusk and dawn. In general, it's recommended to stay indoors at this time. If your room has no air-conditioning or isn't well-screened, it's best to sleep under a mosquito net.

Whenever you are outside at this time, you can protect yourself by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat in a very light colour. Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin, but not under your clothes, and wear clothes that are treated with permethrin. Also, burn mosquito coils when you are sitting outside.

You can choose to only use mosquito repellent at this time, but you can also use it throughout the day. This way you protect yourself against different types of mosquitos that are active during the day. Among them are mosquitos that carry yellow fever and dengue fever.

In the occasion that you feel ill with flu-like symptoms, it's important to seek professional medical help right away.

Money & Insurance
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.

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 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 maximize 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)
Gear & Packing
Gear & Packing List
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
Sleeping mattressOften provided by Operators as part of your package, but not always; please double-check.
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.
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.

What is a pee bottle?

A pee bottle is nothing more and nothing less than a plastic water bottle with a wide mouth. This way, it's easy to pee in.

It comes in the shape of the bottle displayed on the image. It looks exactly like a water bottle you could use for drinking. Therefore, it's recommended to label which one you would use for pee.

However, it's also available as a water bag with a wide mouth. In this form, it takes up much less space in your backpack.

 

 

 

Why do climbers bring pee bottles for Mount Kilimanjaro?

Some climbers insist on taking a pee bottle on their hiking trip. Others find it disgusting and refuse using it. And even though it might seem strange at first sight, there are quite a few situations in which a pee bottle will come in very handy.

For example, you don't need to leave your tent in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. On some nights it might only be cold, but there will potentially be times where the weather conditions absolutely discourage you from leaving your tent. It can even be dangerous if things get rough.

Perhaps the issue is not the weather, but your bladder. Having to pee multiple times during the night can be a real hassle for yourself but also possibly disturb your partner. With a pee bottle, you can easily dispose of your urine in the comfort of your tent.

And once you fill up your bottle, you might as well use it to keep your hand or feet warm during freezing nights.

Do you recommend to bring a pee bottle for Mount Kilimanjaro?

A pee bottle is by no means a necessity for your climb, but it can make it easier and more efficient to dispose of your urine in certain situations.

It depends mostly on your personal preferences and how your body works. Also, keep in mind that a pee bottle will take up space and weight in your luggage.

To help you decide whether a pee bottle is a must-have for you, you can ask yourself questions like how often you need to pee, or, do you mind leaving your tent when it's cold and rainy at night?

Why should I bring earplugs when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

At night, it becomes very silent at the mountain which means that you hear all sorts of sounds much better. Moreover, you're also not used to various sounds as they are probably different from the sounds you hear at home.

This can disturb your sleep, especially if you are a light sleeper.

Noise can be caused by travellers who keep you awake by snoring if they go to bed early or by sharing stories if they stay up late at night. Especially if you share dorms on the Marangu trail, earplugs come in handy to deal with all the snoring.

Not only people but also the wind can make strange and loud sounds between the tents.

Keep also in mind that porters and guides get up earlier than you do to prepare your breakfast among others.

To make sure you get as much sleep as possible during the night, it is recommended that you bring earplugs.

Why should I bring sunscreen when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

The higher the altitude, the more intense the sun is. If you ever did winter sports, you'll remember how harsh the sun and the wind could be on your skin. That means that you need sun protection with an SPF of at least 30.

It is also recommended to use a lip cream with an equally high SPF.

Since you are physically very active, we recommended that you choose a sun cream that is sweat resistant for optimal protection.

Why should I bring a thick cream like Vaseline when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

At a high altitude, the air becomes very thin and dry. On top of that, it can also become freezingly cold. As a result, your skin will quickly become very dry very.

A thick nourishing cream like Vaseline will keep the moisture in your skin and lips. You can also use it in and around your nose to soothe it when your skin hurts from wiping your running nose.

Are there also pee bottles for women?

Women can use a pee bottle if they put a special funnel-shaped urinary on top of it. This urination device literally allows them to direct their urine.

It can be used to pee in a pee bottle but women can also use it to pee in a stand-up position.

Why should I bring a cloth tissue when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?

The cold, thin air at a high altitude will most likely cause a running nose. We recommend you use a cloth tissue to wipe your nose. This is softer for your skin than paper and you can also use it much longer.

As it can get really cold - especially during the summit night - we suggest tying a cloth tissue to your glove so you can wipe your nose without having to take your gloves off.

 

What is the most effective insect repellent to apply on my skin?

Globally, DEET is recognised as the most effective broad-spectrum insect repellent. It protects against mosquitos but also against ticks, biting flies and fleas.

Tanzania is an area with a high risk of mosquito-borne infections like f.e. malaria and dengue. Therefore, using DEET is a necessity. Avoiding mosquito bites is the best protection after all.

DEET is available in different concentrations ranging from 20 % to 50 %. The duration of protection varies accordingly with a 50% concentration lasting up to 12 hours. Higher concentrations do not increase the length of the protection.

Keep in mind, however, that you have to reapply it sooner when you are sweating. And, when using it in combination with sunscreen, you have to apply it after your sunscreen. DEET may decrease the SPF so it's recommended to use it with a higher SPF than you would typically use.

What is the most effective insect repellent should I use for clothing and gear?

The most effective insect repellents for clothing, shoes, bed nets and other gear contain permethrin. It's a compelling product that kills mosquitos, but also ticks and other insects.

You can buy permethrin-treated clothes and gear, or you can apply permethrin as a spray on your clothes. In this case, protection will usually last up to 6 hours.

You can even wash permethrin-treated clothing and gear multiple times without decreasing its effectiveness.

It's possible to use permethrin on your clothes in combination with DEET on your skin.

Why do you recommend a different insect repellent for skin and clothes?

Repellents are products that prevent mosquitos from biting you. These substances consist of concentrations that are safe on bare skin.

A product like permethrin, on the other hand, effectively kills mosquitos and other insects like ticks. It's very concentrated, and you should never apply it to your skin. However, it's safe to use as long as you follow directions on the label.

You can use DEET on your skin if the concentration isn't higher than 50 %. Otherwise, it's recommended for use on clothing or gear only as it's becoming too concentrated without further increasing the duration of protection. Keep in mind, however, that DEET can cause damage to synthetic materials like clothing and glasses.

Packing Your Bags
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.

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 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.

How much do you have to carry when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Tourists usually book fully organized climbing tours. Porters carry all gear and supplies, while you only need to carry what you need during the day. Your daypack will usually not weigh more than 5 to 8kg.

It is also possible to hire an additional personal porter to carry your daypack. Climbers with back issues might want to do so.

There is also the option to climb only with a guide and carry all your own gear and supplies. Only the strongest climbers with experience trekking in high altitudes should make use of this option.

Sustainable Practices
3 items to pack as a conscious traveller

As a conscious traveller, you care about our environment. To reduce your footprint, you also want to reduce waste. Who hasn't heard of all the problems caused by plastic polluting our environment and waters!

Here are three things that you as a conscious traveller can pack to avoid completely unnecessary new plastic waste:

  1. Water container such as a Nalgene bottle – avoid wasting water bottles and plastic cups (read why and how to get a refill)
  2. Backpack or cotton bag – avoid wasting plastic bags to carry purchases or supplies
  3. Your own toiletries – avoid wasting tiny shower gel, shampoo and other plastic containers in your hotel
Why every traveller should carry a reusable water bottle

Have you ever counted the plastic cups used and thrown out during a long-haul flight? Or the number of tiny plastic water bottles consumed during your hotel stay? Multiply your own consumption by millions of travellers, and you'll reach thousands of tons of new plastics waste created every single day!

Most of the plastic waste created while travelling is completely unnecessary, yet easy to change: bring your own water container. Nalgene bottles are light-weight, durable and easy to clean. By refilling your reusable water bottle, you can save money on buying water when out and about (read how) and reduce waste at the same time.

How to get a free water refill and avoid plastic waste while travelling

There are many ways how you can refill your reusable water container and avoid plastic waste while travelling – often for free (read why):

  • During your flight: Ask for water to be filled into your bottle rather than wasting new cups.
  • On an organized tour: Responsible tour operators usually provide drinking water for you to fill your water container. For example, your transport vehicle may have a water tank.
  • When travelling independently: Buy larger water bottles to refill your container for the day. Most hotels will provide boiled water for free – just ask. Best of all, your tap water might be save to drink – make sure to check.
Electronics
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.

What is a battery pack or portable charger?

A battery pack or portable charger is a device that stores energy for use in charging devices. The battery pack is plugged into a USB port or electrical outlet until it is fully charged. Then, it can be disconnected and taken anywhere.

If you connect your devices to the battery pack with a USB cord, you can use the charged battery pack's reserved energy to power up your smartphones, tablets or other devices.

Should I bring a portable charger for Kilimanjaro?

A portable charger is reliant on a power source like an electrical main to stay charged. Power points are non-existent on Kilimanjaro. So, once it's depleted of energy it won't be possible to recharge it until the end of the trek. This also accounts for your other devices.

It's worth bringing a portable charger if it can hold enough energy to power all of your devices for the duration of your trip to Kilimanjaro. However, keep in mind that batteries get depleted much faster than usual in cold circumstances. Therefore, a solar charger may be the best and most reliable choice.

What is a solar charger?

A solar charger is a device consisting of small solar panels that convert solar energy into electricity. This can be used to power electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and other devices. You can also use it to charge a battery pack if you wish to combine the two.

A solar charger is usually portable and needs to be put in sunlight to be able to charge. Once there is sunlight, you have a limitless supply of electricity. As it is clean energy, it doesn't have a carbon footprint. 

 

Should I bring a solar charger for Mount Kilimanjaro?

As there are no power points on Mount Kilimanjaro, a solar charger is your best option if you want to be able to power up your devices during your entire climb.

A solar charger provides an endless supply of electricity as long as the sun is shining. However, the weather on Kilimanjaro can be erratic. Therefore, it is potentially interesting to combine a solar charger with a battery pack.

Also, keep in mind that the panels need direct sunlight to be able to charge your devices. While you walk, you are moving and potentially changing direction which disrupts and, as a result, slows down the charging process.

When choosing a solar charger, do not only pay attention to how many Watts of power they offer. You should also pay attention to their size and weight. These are important aspects to consider since you can only take a limited amount of weight on your climb.

 

 

 

Organization
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.

How long does it take to organize all my gear?

The time it takes to organize the necessary gear for Kilimanjaro depends on your individual experience. If you're an avid hiker you may already have much of the equipment necessary to hike Kilimanjaro.

It's also worth keeping in mind that much of the required gear is available for rent from tour providers. Renting equipment instead of buying can save you money and minimize gear-organization. In this case, preparing and organizing all of your gear may only take a week or so.

If you are a beginner it may take you several weeks to organize your gear, particularly if you like to do thorough research.

Can I rent gear from my tour operator?

Tour operators often rent out the necessary gear to climb Kilimanjaro. It's important to check with your specific tour operator to see what exactly they offer for rent. 

Some items that are typically available include synthetic jackets, sleeping bags, inflatable sleeping pads, trekking poles, duffel bags, oxygen systems, private toilet tents and raincoats.

Many of these items are very expensive to purchase, particularly if you're looking for a higher-quality model. Therefore, renting is recommended. Depending on the available equipment, you may still need to supplement it with your own equipment.

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.

What is the city of Moshi like?

The majority of tourists who visit Moshi are there to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or to relax after a climb.

However, there are plenty of other things to do in the town and tourists can go on cultural tours, explore the local markets, or visit one of the indigenous villages or animal rescue centers on Kilimanjaro’s lower slopes.

Moshi is famous for its coffee production and you can learn more about the history behind it by visiting local coffee plantations and speaking to the farmers who produce it.

Tourists can also arrange tours to the Materuni Waterfalls and the surrounding valleys, which are located just a stone’s throw away from the town.

What is the city of Arusha like?

Arusha is the safari capital of Tanzania and lies at the foot of Mount Meru, which is a popular hiking destination for tourists.

There are many museums and markets in the city, as well as bars, shopping centres and monuments.

The Cultural Heritage Centre in the city is well worth a visit. It contains many artefacts, art galleries and boutique stores that give you a glimpse into the lifestyle and traditions of the various tribes and communities that live in the country.

Arusha also provides easy transport links to popular national parks such as Arusha National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro and the Great Rift Valley.

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.

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 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.

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.

Altitude Acclimatization & Sickness
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 high, sleep low: Sleep at a lower altitude at night than you've climbed during the day. Some routes offers such a beneficial altitude profile.
Preparation
How can I pre-acclimatize for high altitudes?

Although being in good shape is a good predictor of how you will adapt to the altitude changes, the ability to easily acclimatize to high altitudes is mostly genetic.

To prepare, you can pre-acclimatize at home by hiking at altitude. If this is unavailable to you prior to your trip, you can opt to prepare with an altitude training system.

This system consists of a generator that pushes reduced oxygen into a mask or an enclosed space. You can then sleep or do low impact workouts with reduced oxygen to pre-acclimatize yourself to hiking at high altitudes.

How can I pre-acclimatize for Mount Kilimanjaro?

To pre-acclimatize for Kilimanjaro, hikers can hike at other local mountains in the Kilimanjaro region. There, they will experience altitude changes similar to Kilimanjaro.

Mount Kenya and Mount Meru are two mountains that offer a good introduction to challenging altitudes for climbers who have not done this before.

Altitude training systems are also available. Although they are not necessary, they can greatly help travelers prepare for hiking with less oxygen at high altitudes.

What is an altitude training system?

An altitude training system is designed to help travellers pre-acclimatize to the oxygen conditions at high altitudes. The system consists of a plastic dome and a generator that pushes reduced oxygen into a tent or a mask.

Travellers can then sleep in the tent to get used to the reduced oxygen levels they will experience at a high altitude. Alternatively, they can use the system with a mask to breathe during low-impact workouts.

Altitude Mountain Sickness
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!

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.

It has to be said that an accident happened last year where tourists fell to death due to heavy snow near the summit. Their guides did not turn around although they didn't know where exactly they were walking. Therefore, it's important to pay attention to the weather circumstances and not insist on summiting if there's heavy snow on top.

That being said, 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 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 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 is a serious and potentially dangerous risk when climbing Kilimanjaro.

If ignored and left untreated, it may become severe and, in extreme cases, lethal.

It is the most common cause of 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 symptoms of altitude sickness, 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.

Symptoms
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.

What are the symptoms of moderate altitude sickness?

Moderate altitude sickness is a little more intense than mild short-term altitude sickness. Fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath gets worse instead of improving over time.

Climbers may start to experience a loss of coordination and although the person may still be able to walk on their own, it will become more difficult for them to do so. Normal activities will also become more difficult.

This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, tightness, congestion in the chest and severe headaches that are not relieved by pain medication.

If a person is showing signs of moderate altitude sickness, immediate descent is necessary.

What are the symptoms of severe altitude sickness?

Although all Kilimanjaro climbers may experience mild altitude sickness to some degree, in extreme cases, it can develop into more severe forms, which include HAPE (high altitude pulmonary oedema) and HACE (high-altitude cerebral oedema).

HAPE is excess fluid on the lungs, and if altitude sickness has progressed to this stage, a person may experience shortness of breath while they are resting, coupled with fever and coughing.

Another severe form of altitude sickness is HACE, which is fluid on the brain. Symptoms of HACE include clumsiness, confusion and stumbling.

Sometimes a person with severe altitude sickness may have both HAPE and HACE.

A person suffering from severe altitude sickness may also have a bluish, grey or pale skin tone. In this case, immediate descent is imperative.

Treatment
How should I deal with shortness of breath?

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.

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.

 

What is the best course of action when experiencing symptoms of moderate altitude sickness?

If you are experiencing moderate symptoms of altitude sickness, then in the interests of your own safety, we recommend immediate descent. If symptoms do not improve with descent, then hospital treatment is necessary.

Some guides may encourage climbers to keep going even if they are suffering from altitude sickness.

This is not recommended. If you notice that your symptoms are getting worse, then you should insist on descending.

What should I do if I'm concerned about another climber becoming ill from AMS?

When you observe moderate or severe symptoms of altitude sickness in any of your group members, this is when you should force an open discussion. You should make the climber and your guide aware of what you're observing.

Understand that there are different dynamics at play and remember that the affected climber may not always be in a position to act in their own best interests and your guide may be reluctant to insist on descent.

If this is the case, then try to keep calm and have a factual discussion. Make sure the climber understands that you're concerned about their safety and you should understand that the final decision will rest with the guide.

What is a hyperbaric chamber (PAC or Gamow bag)?

A hyperbaric chamber or Gamow bag is an inflatable, sealable bag. It provides concentrated oxygen to a person suffering from altitude sickness by simulating the conditions of a lower altitude. As a result, the symptoms of altitude sickness decrease.

Originally, the bag was designed as a training aid for athletes to help them acclimatize to high altitude conditions. Over time, however, the bag also got recognized for its role in treating severe altitude sickness.

After a person is treated in the Gamow bag, the acclimatization effects can last for many hours. This gives them enough time to make a descent.

How effective are hyperbaric chambers to treat altitude sickness?

Hyperbaric chambers work by simulating a lower altitude. Its effects can last for up to 12 hours. This makes it particularly effective as a temporary treatment for altitude sickness in cases where an immediate descent is not possible.

The air pressure inside a hyperbaric chamber is increased artificially to create a contrast with the normal air pressure at a high altitude. This allows you to breathe in more oxygen than you would be able to breathe in outside of the bag.

After about two hours in the bag, the conditions mirror those of an elevation that is several thousand feet lower than the bag itself. This helps a person to temporarily acclimatize to high altitudes. It also reduces the severity of AMS so it's possible to make a descent.

What is the best treatment for altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness occurs when you climb to higher altitudes faster than your body can acclimatize. It causes breathing difficulty due to the lack of oxygen. If you are suffering from severe altitude sickness, then the single best way to treat it is to immediately descend to a lower elevation, if you are able to do so.

However, if immediate descent is not possible, then your guide may use a hyperbaric chamber to help your body to acclimatize to the high altitude. Alternatively, an emergency oxygen system may be used to treat the condition.

Is it important that my tour operator brings a hyperbaric chamber for my climb?

If you are staying overnight on Crater Camp, your operator should provide hyperbaric chambers as a necessity. Crater Camp is one of the highest camps on Kilimanjaro and it is not possible to descend to a lower elevation if you are suffering from acute mountain sickness (AMS). Moreover, you need to ascend higher before you can descend. This can be potentially fatal if there is no other way to treat AMS.

If you are not staying at Crater Camp then hyperbaric chambers are unnecessary because immediate descent is always preferable. For the majority of climbs, hyperbaric chambers are considered to be a luxury safety feature.

Is descent always possible when climbing Kilimanjaro?

If the climber is able to walk, then it is almost always possible to treat altitude sickness by descending. Sometimes a person may need to be assisted by guides and porters if they are unable to descend by themselves. In either case, descending is always the best solution.

The only exception to this rule is when climbers are staying at Crater Camp. Here, climbers need to ascend higher before they can descend, which is difficult with AMS, especially overnight. In this case, only, a hyperbaric chamber is the best way to treat AMS as immediate descent may not be possible.

What is a pulse oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a tiny clip which fits over a finger. It measures the amount of oxygen saturation (SO2) in the blood. It can subtly identify altitude sickness in the body by measuring whether there is a lack of oxygen in the body.

This is very important when you are climbing at high altitudes. It helps guides to identify whether you are safe when climbing the mountain. It can help to identify early clues to severe acute mountain sickness (AMS).

How reliable are pulse oximeters to prevent severe AMS?

Pulse oximeters may not be 100% accurate in identifying severe AMS. However, medical literature suggests that they certainly are helpful in providing vital clues as to whether a person is suffering from a lack of oxygen.

While many studies show a link between low oxygen levels and AMS, conclusive evidence has yet to be established. But pulse oximeters are recognised to playing a central role in the early identification of clues that could indicate AMS.

Is it important that my tour operator uses pulse oximeters?

A pulse oximeter is a small monitor that can help to identify altitude sickness. However, it is rather a "nice to have" than a "must have" because they are not always fully reliable. 

It's more important to have a well-trained guide who can watch out for safety symptoms and knows how to interpret results of the pulse oximeter well, rather than blindly relying on them.

In any case, without a knowledgeable guide, the device will not help much. Therefore, ask your operator about whether they provide oximeters and the level of training they give to their guides on how to use them.

Responsible Travel
Choosing A Responsible Operator
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.

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.
Why it is important for you to pay a fair price to climb Kilimanjaro?

We believe that companies operating within the regulatory framework and treating their porters well are also more likely to have your safety and best interests in mind.

Please beware that there have been many instances of tourist scams, such as tourists never receiving the services for which they had paid, or being asked to pay more half-way through their climb.

Furthermore, you will depend on your guides and porters while climbing. The most experienced and well-trained guides are more likely to find employment with responsible tour operators. And porters that are not treated well have less of an incentive to take good care of you.

What is the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP)?

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) is a legally registered Tanzanian organization that is dedicated to supporting the fair and ethical treatment of Kilimanjaro porters.

They help porters by lending them free clothing and they campaign for fairer wages on their behalf. KPAP also provides educational opportunities to staff members working on Kilimanjaro.

They strongly encourage climbers to use companies that treat their porters fairly. KPAP's porter treatment monitoring program regularly reviews company payment and tipping practices and surveys porters. KPAP also audits partner companies and provides feedback to them.

 

What is the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC)?

One of the main objectives of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) is to provide sustainable and ethical connections between tourists and people living in developing mountain regions of the world.

Since 2003, it has focussed on improving the working conditions of Kilimanjaro porters, through its local initiative KPAP.

The IMEC is a nonprofit organization that provides porter assistance programs and educates the public about the importance of choosing socially responsible tour companies that treat porters fairly.

 

What is the KPAP Partner Program for Responsible Travel?

The Kilimanjaro Partner for Responsible Travel Program (KPAP) is an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) that monitors and gives recognition to partner companies that treat their porters fairly.

Their activities include:

  • Surveying porters and asking them about their working conditions
  • Reviewing the tipping procedures of travel companies, and ensuring porters are paid correctly
  • Ensuring that there is a KPAP investigative porter present on all partner company climbs
  • Providing feedback and recommendations to companies
  • Becoming a partner company of KPAP is voluntary.

 

Can any tour operator become a KPAP Partner?

The KPAP Partner program is open to all tour operators. However, to qualify, companies must adhere to minimum fair porter treatment standards, as independently monitored by KPAP.

The criteria include paying porters a minimum wage of 20,000 TSH per day. Wages must be paid within two days of a finished climb. Tipping procedures should be fair and transparent.

Porters must be provided with three daily meals and must never be required to carry more than 20kg during a climb. Proper gear, shelter and medical attention should also be provided.

To qualify as KPAP Partners, companies must achieve an average score of 85% per season.

It is worth noting that companies enrolled with the KPAP Partner program also tend to learn a lot about their own operations through the climb audits and feedback provided by KPAP. People working at offices and selling climbs can be very detached from the realities on the mountain. Company owners and managers may have the best of intentions, but without KPAP’s independent monitoring, they most often don’t even know how their own guides treat their porters.

 

Why does Fair Voyage only promote KPAP partners for Mount Kilimanjaro?

Fair Voyage was founded by a mission to promote fair porter treatment as well as creating more transparency for the climbing public.

Therefore, Fair Voyage only promotes partners of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) because they are the only ones who are doing a fair porter treatment audit. This way, minimum fair treatment practices are ensured.

As KPAP is the only independent organization that monitors Kilimanjaro climbs, this is the best and only way to ensure that we are promoting ethical climbs.

Be a responsible traveller
How to Climb Kilimanjaro Responsibly: #1 Fair Porter Treatment

Are you about to book your trip to climb Kilimanjaro and wonder what you should look out for in your tour operator? Or are you already about to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and wonder what you could do to climb responsibly?

There are a few things to watch out for. Fair porter treatment is one of them. In this article, we'll explain the porter treatment situation, what we do to improve it, and what you can do to make a difference.

Why It Matters

The predominant problem caused by Kilimanjaro tourism is the exploitation of porters. Porters are the ones who make Kilimanjaro tours possible for the vast majority of climbers, and who do all the heavy lifting. Sadly, our summit success often comes at the cost of the very people who help us reach our mountaintop.

For example, porters may be subject to the following practices:

  • Not receive their due minimum salary and client tips intended for them
  • Carry company weight in excess of the official 20kg park limit
  • Not even receive three (3) meals per day, despite their hard labour
  • Sleep in conditions that expose them to health and safety threats
  • Not be assisted with descent and medical treatment in case of accidents but simply left behind by their guides to die (unless a responsible tour operator finds them on time to assist)

There is only one organization that monitors Kilimanjaro porter treatment practices – the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), a Tanzanian non-profit organization. Participation in their Partner for Responsible Travel Program is voluntary, but companies must adhere to minimum fair porter treatment standards. Only climbs contracted with a KPAP Partner company are verified ethical climbs.

How We Care

We partner with KPAP to only promote verified ethical climbs operated by approved Partner for Responsible Travel companies to you. Because there are differences even between the KPAP Partner companies (meeting minimum standards or going far beyond), we will also make the porter treatment score of each tour operator partner transparent to you (optional by the company).

Furthermore, as voluntary Board member of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC), KPAP's head organization, our Founder is dedicating personal time and resources to provide hands-on support and assistance.

How You Can Make a Difference

We believe that the travel community has the power to change the world through our collective actions. Each and every one of us can choose to travel consciously and make a difference.

By your actions, you can have a tangible impact for the life of your porter and contribute to upgrading industry standards overall. Here's what you can do – and avoid to do – to support fair porter treatment:

Please do:
Please don't:
  • Contract with a non-KPAP Partner company to save costs
  • Save on tips, even though you're satisfied with the service
  • Feel guilty for luxury climbs or hiring additional services such as a private toilet tent or personal porter. They provide more employment opportunities.

We hope that this article has helped you understand the porter treatment situation and how you can make a difference. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave your comments below or contact us.

To climb Kilimanjaro responsibly, you may also want to read about Safety and Leave No Trace.

How to Climb Kilimanjaro Responsibly: #2 Safety

Are you about to book your Kilimanjaro climb and wonder what you should look out for in your tour operator? Or are you already about to embark on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and wonder what you could do to climb responsibly?

There are a few things to watch out for. Safety is one of them. In this article, we’ll explain how we aim to upgrade safety standards, and what you can – or rather MUST do – to make a vital contribution to your own safety.

Why It Matters

Mount Kilimanjaro has its dangers. An estimated up to 10 tourists die on the mountain every year, mostly due to altitude sickness. With the right preparation, this is mostly avoidable. Currently, there is no objective benchmark to measure and compare the safety record and attention of Kilimanjaro tour operators.

How We Care

We only work with KPAP Partner companies. While KPAP does not measure safety criteria, we believe that companies who are committed to fair porter treatment are on average also more likely to be committed to your safety compared to the industry average (especially guides and companies who are not even duly licensed).

To help you better compare offers, we are also making fully transparent the safety standards/equipment included in each tour and rate offers accordingly. For good safety standards at an affordable price, we recommend our so-called Premium packages. If you only want the best in terms of safety standards and don't mind paying for maximum quality, then we recommend a Luxury package.

How You Can Make a Difference

Your safety should be your number one concern. Kilimanjaro has become so popular over the past decade that many climbers underestimate its dangers. It is imperative that you educate yourself thoroughly and are aware of all risks involved before booking your climb.

Here's what you can do – and avoid to do – to stay safe during your climb:

Please do:
  • Educate yourself thoroughly about the risks involved, especially altitude sickness
  • Contract your climb with a responsible tour operator
  • If possible, be willing to pay a little more for a Premium tour that includes a Wilderness First Responder certified guide and emergency oxygen; plus a hyperbaric chamber for overnight stays at Crater Cam
  • Always follow the instructions of your guide(s)
  • Take your time to ascend slowly during the day, drink lots of water, go on optional acclimatization hikes
  • Climb over more days. We recommend at least 7 days (unless you have pre-acclimatized).
  • Avoid the Western Breach route which is prone to rockfall
  • Report to us any issues you observe
  • Share this article to spread the word
Please don't:
  • Push beyond your limits. Always remember: Summiting is optional, returning back safely is mandatory.
  • Disregard your guide's instructions to descend, or allow your guide to carry you higher up if you can't walk yourself
  • Choose a shorter itinerary only to save money or time. Taking into consideration the lower summit success chance on shorter climbs, your savings may come at the price of not summiting at all, or severe consequences of altitude sickness if you push yourself too far.
  • Contract your climb with a very low budget company. The cheaper the price, the cheaper your operator's and guide's attention to your safety.

We hope that this article has provided you with a helpful introduction about safety on Mount Kilimanjaro and the important contribution you need to make to your own safety. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave your comments below or contact us.

To climb Kilimanjaro responsibly, you may also want to read about Fair Porter Treatment and Leave No Trace. To find your best offer, see our verified Responsible Kilimanjaro Tours.

How to Climb Kilimanjaro Responsibly: #3 Leave No Trace

Are you about to book your Kilimanjaro climb and wonder what you should look out for in your tour operator? Or are you already about to embark on this once-in-a-liftime adventure, and wonder what you could do to climb Kilimanjaro responsibly?

There are a few things to watch out for. Keeping the environment clean, meaning to Leave No Trace, is one of them. In this article, we'll explain Leave No Trace in the context of Mount Kilimanjaro, and what you can do to make a difference.

Why It Matters

Waste is always a problem related to tourism. To protect the Kilimanjaro National Park and its pristine state, it is imperative to leave no waste behind.

Luckily, you won’t find much plastic or other man-made waste spoiling the scenery as the Kilimanjaro stakeholders are making good efforts to keep the environment clean. However, with increasing popularity and notoriously bad or lacking toilet facilities, human waste has become an issue, especially along the most popular routes and campsites.

How We Care

All tour operators that we promote for Kilimanjaro climbs are committed to the Leave No Trace principles. We also aim to create more transparency and share best practice examples with you.

How You Can Make a Difference

We believe that the travel community has the power to change the world through our collection actions. Each and every one of us can choose to travel consciously and make a difference.

When it comes to Kilimanjaro and it’s environment, the biggest difference you can make is the way you go to the bathroom, meaning how and when you use mother nature. Here are a few examples what you can do – and avoid to do – to leave no trace:

Please do:
  • Only walk on the designated hiking paths
  • Leave no waste behind / dispose your waste only into designated bins at camp
  • Use toilets whenever available, especially for solids
  • Pay special attention to "mother nature" toilet etiquettes
  • Report to us any issues you observe
  • Share this article to spread the word
Please don't:
  • Leave any waste behind, including toilet paper
  • Use the wild for ablutions (especially solids) when toilets are nearby

We hope that this article has given you some food for thought about keeping our environment clean and how to Leave No Trace on Mount Kilimanjaro.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave your comments below or contact us.

To climb Kilimanjaro responsibly, you may also want to read about Fair Porter Treatment and Safety.

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.

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.

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.

Do I have to tip when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Tipping is not mandatory but it is highly recommended. Tanzania follows the US American tipping system which means that tips are generally not included in prices. However, they are expected by everyone who delivers a service to you.

Our partner companies pay at least the minimum wage of TSH 20,000 per porter per day. This minimum amount is recommended and monitored by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assitance Project (KPAP). But, it is not considered a fair total compensation for which KPAP recommends at least TSH 30,000 per porter per day.

Paying a tip ensures that your crew is paid fairly and shows your appreciation for the services you have received.

Do all tour operators exclude tips from their offers?

Tanzania follows the US American tipping system which means that tips are generally not included in any tour price. This also applies to Kilimanjaro tours. Therefore, you should assume that tips are not included in any Kilimanjaro price quotations.

We are only aware of one Kilimanjaro tour operator that includes tips in climb prices. This is Fair Travel Tanzania, one of our partner companies.

Wages and tipping recommendations vary greatly between tour operators. So, it's best to check the tipping recommendation with your tour operator before booking your climb. This way,  you are aware of the total costs.

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.

Who are the Kilimanjaro porters?

The Kilimanjaro porters are the dedicated men and women whose job it is to help tourists carry their gear to the summit. Most of the porters are local men between the ages of 18 and 40. They are hired alongside a team of trained professionals. These make it possible for tourists to navigate their way up the mountain.

Women are a smaller number of porters. They face the same challenges as the men, but with the added problem of sexual harassment. Unfortunately, this is still a reality for female porters.

Without the dedication and strength of these crew members, climbing Kilimanjaro would be a mere dream for many.

Wages
How are porters exploited?

At Fair Voyage, we strive to create a safer working environment for tourism workers across the globe. With Kilimanjaro being one of our most popular destinations, we have a particular focus on ending the exploitation of porters in Tanzania, who often suffer the tragic consequences of unsafe working environments and low pay.

To understand the situation that many of these Kilimanjaro porters face, it is important to be aware of the hierarchy that exists. Unfortunately, as the situation currently stands, porters are at the bottom of the pecking order.

With so many tourism companies competing to offer the lowest prices, budget operators often try to take shortcuts to save money and this impacts porters the most, who get low wages as a result.

Most porters work on a freelance basis and are often forced to walk for many miles per day to get to Kilimanjaro National Park in the search for jobs. Unfortunately, however, they may even have to bribe one of the tour guides and pay an upfront ‘fee’ to get a job in the first place.

However, even those who do get a job are only slightly better off. Budget operators take advantage of the desperation of these workers and pay them the bare minimum they can get away with.

Do Kilimanjaro porters get a minimum wage?

Although there is a minimum wage for porters, TZS 20,000 (ca. US $9), operators usually pay much less than that. Some porters do not get paid at all for their work.

As a result, porters rely on tourists to get a tip to feed their family. With budget operators, tourists may find that they are hassled to give a bigger tip than they ordinarily would. Many tourists pay these tips in the belief that it will help the porters.

However, what they may not realise is that all too often, porters may then be cheated out of any tips they earn by guides who instead of distributing the tips to the porters, will sometimes keep it for himself.

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. Furthermore, when guides and park wardens all struggle to make a better living, the temptation for bribery is high. In the most unfortunate cases, porters have even been found carrying packs weighing up to 35kg.

Also, when porters who are not adequately prepared for the harsh mountain conditions fall sick on the mountain, their guides may not arrange for a replacement porter, so other porters have to take on the extra weight.

Good tour operators will ensure porters are carrying no more than 20kg and distribute the weight fairly among their porters every morning.

 

Safety
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.

Why does inadequate equipment and preparation endanger lives?

Many budget companies do not equip their porters with adequate equipment. As a consequence, porters are forced to sleep in poor quality tents and blankets instead of sleeping bags.

They are also not given the footwear they need to navigate their way up the terrain. This becomes increasingly problematic when temperatures start to drop.

At night time, the temperatures usually drop below zero. Without adequate shelter and clothing, it is not unheard of for some porters to die as a result of being exposed to these extreme temperatures. When this happens, they are simply replaced by other porters who are subjected to the same conditions.

All of this is compounded by the fact that some porters may get just one or two meals per day, which does not sustain them adequately for the journey ahead.

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.

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All You Need To Know To Climb Kilimanjaro

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