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Home > Kilimanjaro Hiking Routes > Northern Circuit > 10-day Northern Circuit With Crater Camp

10-day Northern Circuit With Crater Camp

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Day-By-Day Itinerary

Day 1
    2h
  • Transfer to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate
  • Moshi (831m)  →  Londorosi Gate (2,250m)
  • 1,419m
  • 82km

The start of your exciting Mount Kilimanjaro journey begins from your hotel pick-up in Moshi (or Arusha). You will depart early to arrive by Londorosi Gate on the western side of the Kilimanjaro National Park by mid-day.

During the drive, enjoy the green scenery of coffee and banana plantations. Nearer to Londorosi Gate, you’ll find yourself surrounded by pine plantations – sad evidence of the past destruction of the indigenous rainforest which used to engulf the gate until few decades ago.

At the gate, you will be registering with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities. Expect to linger around for approximately an hour to two while all equipment and supplies get distributed amongst your porters and weighed to ensure fair porter treatment practices.

Once formalities are taken care of, it’s time to head back into the car to drive to the start of your exciting journey at Lemosho Gate.

    0.5h
  • Short transfer to the start of the climbing track
  • Londorosi Gate (2,250m)  →  Lemosho Gate (2,100m)
  • -150m
  • 5km

Once formalities are taken care of, it’s a short drive to Lemosho Gate where your hike begins. During the wet season, the road may be too muddy for the vehicles, so there’s a chance you may walk the last remainder.

In the past, spotting wildlife in this area used to be a possibility with animals such as elephants and buffalo. However, it is no longer the case, and armed rangers are no longer needed.

As you approach Lemosho Gate, you’ll be entering into the montane rainforest zone, and the rich air along with the greenery will be a pleasant greeting!

    3-4h
  • Lush rainforest alive with monkeys and birds
  • Lemosho Gate (2,100m)  →  Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,650m)
  • 550m
  • 7km

After a long day of driving and waiting, you’ve finally arrived and the adventure begins. Today will be a short, but steep, hike to the first camp. It will take you through the lush and green rainforest that sits towards the bottom of Kilimanjaro.

The air is misty and dense, and your surroundings are nothing short of breathtaking. Be on the lookout black-and-white Colobus Monkey troops that frequent the area; you’ll want to snap some photos of the lively bunch.

The trail may begin as muddy, and despite the rainforest technically called a montane forest, it doesn’t diminish the fact that you could be rained on quite suddenly. So be sure to have your rain gear at an arm’s length!

As you arrive at your first camp on the mountain after a short hike, you may be surprised to find your camp fully set up by your porters who work hard, seemingly like invisible ferries to us, to make sure that all we need to do is enjoy our climb.

Mti Mkubwa is also known as the “Big Tree Camp” and you’ll know why immediately. Situated under a big tree, the camp is alive with the sounds of monkeys and birds; many of whom you will hear through the night, and in the early morning.

Day 2
    5h
  • First views afar from above the tree-line
  • Mti Mkubwa Camp (2,650m)  →  Shira 1 Camp (3,610m)
  • 960m
  • 7km

Today you will be climbing up the Shira ridge to reach the Shira Plateau; the trail will be very steep, so breaks are encouraged.

The trail will begin to lead you out of the rainforest and into the savannah. Before you know it, you’ll be met with tall grasses, heather, moorland and volcanic rock that is laced with lichen. As you hike up through the hills, and cross varying streams, you’ll notice the enticing views afar that come with the Lemosho Route.

After a few hours of walking uphill, you reach the top of the Shira Ridge onto the Plateau where you are treated to a panoramic view of Kibo and the Shira Cathedral. From here, it’s only a short hike down to camp, allowing for plenty of rest before the next day.

Be aware that the Shira Plateau can be below freezing at night, so make sure you have your hats, gloves and flashlights ready when the sun sets.

Day 3
    3-4h
  • Crossing the vast Shira Plateau
  • Shira 1 Camp (3,610m)  →  Shira 2 Camp (3,850m)
  • 240m
  • 10km

Today’s hike will take you across the Shira Plateau, maintaining a very manageable incline for the majority of the trek. With Kibo in your sight, you get to have breathtaking views of the free-standing mountain glistening in the distance.

After you’ve crossed the Shira Plateau, watch out for a few specimen of the curious  trees, also known as Giant Groundsels.

Your guide may leave you with the option to hike up to the Shira Cathedral, or head straight to the next camp. If you choose to see the cathedral, you won’t be let down. The cathedral is approximately an hour and a half away from the trail and was caused by an ancient eruption. To get to see it up close is a scenic treat, and some say it’s the highlight of their trek!

If you don’t choose to see the cathedral, you will arrive at your camp by mid-day. Use your afternoon to go for a walk further up the mountain. The higher you hike during the day before returning to your camp at a lower altitude, the better you will acclimatize to the thin air.

Day 4
    4h
  • Acclimatizing to the thin air at Lava Tower
  • Shira 2 Camp (3,850m)  →  Lava Tower (4,600m)
  • 750m
  • 7km

The morning climb brings you to the majestic Lava Tower, an ancient plug that was left by the active-volcanic days. Although the walk is not too steep, it is nonetheless a long and strenuous one due to the high altitude. Your body will begin to notice the decrease in oxygen.

On this part of the journey, the landscape becomes more barren and even the heather disappears, only to be replaced by rocks and lava ridges. At the peak of your journey, you will have climbed 4,600 metres to the Lava Tower, also known as the Shark’s tooth. This covers an altitude distance of approximately 750 metres from Shira 2 Camp.

Your new surroundings at Lava Tower will consist of a high altitude desert, with no vegetation and pools of rocks, scree and dust as far as the eye can see.  You’ll need a few warm layers on this part of the journey as it can be prone to cold winds, ice and mist.

Symptoms of altitude sickness are common here, but don’t worry because this is one of the reasons why you have come here: to allow for proper altitude acclimatization.

    2-3h
  • A euphoric descent after your big morning climb
  • Lava Tower (4,600m)  →  Moir Hut Camp (4,200m)
  • -400m
  • 7km

After spending time at the stunning Lava Tower, you will descend today into the Moir Hut Camp. Hiking high and sleeping low is an important tactic in acclimating your body to the higher altitudes. While it seems backwards to descend after working so hard to climb up, you are preparing your body to succeed when you finally summit.

You’ll surely feel your legs today by the time you reach Moira Hut. The camp is situated at the base of Lent Hills – a scenic and quiet camp that is only used for the Shira and Northern routes.

If you’ve skipped Lava Tower and made your way to Moir Hut Camp directly, and still have some energy left, you may want to take a short walk around the camp in the afternoon. This acclimatization opportunity is a quaint getaway from the other busier camps, and should be taken full advantage of!

Day 5
    5-6h
  • Off into authentic wilderness on the northern slopes
  • Moir Hut Camp (4,200m)  →  Buffalo Camp (4,026m)
  • -174m
  • 9km

Today you will head north onto the Northern Circuit, away from all other routes that approach the summit on the southern slopes.

The day will begin with a fairly steep climb, as you hike to the summit of Lent Hills. You will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery of the vast moon-like terrain and the snow-covered mountains. After you’ve accomplished the most challenging part of the day, and admired the views, it’s time to head east across the rock fields and back onto a trodden trail.

For the remainder of your hiking day, the path gently undulates and you cross a series of inclines and declines through the slopes of Kibo. As you approach Buffalo Camp, and weather permitting, you are met with a scenery of plains that stretch out all the way to the Kenyan/Tanzanian border.

The day will leave you with some time to rest, and an opportunity to explore the surrounding area. The infinite amount of plains and the snow-capped Kibo will be a welcoming place to relax.

Buffalo Camp has no cabins or built structures, not even toilet latrines, completely immersing yourself into the Kilimanjaro wilderness. There is good chance that you get to enjoy the campsite to yourself, a real treat on the busy mountain!

Day 6
    4-5h
  • Closeup views of Kibo and afar to Kenya
  • Buffalo Camp (4,026m)  →  Third Cave (3,800m)
  • -226m
  • 7km

Today will be a fairly short and easy day as you head up the Buffalo Ridge onto your next camp. Crossing numerous ribs and gullies, you’ll find that this part of the mountain is quieter, since the route isn’t traveled as much. The mountain wilderness surrounds you as you continue to trek east through the remote valleys on the slopes of Kibo.

Enjoy the meditative silence and be prepared that your initial excitement of being on the mountain may be fading away and you may find the scenery a little repetitive. This was precisely the reason why you have chosen this longer hiking route – to get away from civilization and allow enough time to acclimatize to the thin air. Surely, your body will be feeling these benefits by now.

The Third Cave campsite is named after a cave that sits nearby the camp, as was once used as accommodation for hikers back in the day. Once you arrive after a short hiking day, you may be met with an out of body experience as the clouds tend to hang around the camp. Weather permitting, Kibo’s majestic backdrop sits in your view as you take in the wonders of the mountain in this pristine area.

Other than your Northern Circuit route, Third Cave is only used by some variations of the Rongai Route. Therefore, you might have the campsite again to yourself. Enjoy!

Day 7
    5h
  • Into thin air and alpine desert
  • Third Cave (3,800m)  →  School Hut (4,800m)
  • 1,000m
  • 10km

Today you will be climbing from Third Cave to School Hut, your base camp for the final summit push. You may start to be feeling butterflies in anticipation of your big summit night. Within less than 24 hours, you’ll be standing on the top of Africa!

The hike will be shorter today, but significant altitude height will be gained to acclimate you for the summit. Soon after leaving Third Cave, the landscape will become barren, and you may feel like you’re on another planet with the clouds sitting below you.

You’ll notice that the altitude can be difficult. While the trek doesn’t seem very steep, the lack of oxygen will make it feel otherwise. Do not be discouraged, and take as much time as you need! The views of the towering  will motivate you as you take each step. Weather and cloud cover permitting, you have Kibo in your view the entire time.

It’s still fairly early as you approach the campsite, so that you can get as much rest as possible before the exciting night ahead. Even though you may not be feeling hungry due to the altitude, try to eat as much as possible to gain strength for your summit push. After an early dinner, it’s time to get your gear ready for your early wake up, and to catch as much sleep as you can.

Day 8
    6-7h
  • All the way the top (almost)
  • School Hut (4,800m)  →  Stella Point (5,756m)
  • 956m
  • 3km

Today is an early start for the moment you’ve been waiting for – your final push to the top of Kibo. One of the benefits of staying overnight at Crater Camp is that you can conquer the top of Kilimanjaro in daylight rather than overnight. However, it will still be an early start just after sunrise, to leave enough time to explore the crater in the afternoon.

Even though summiting in daylight will feel a lot less frigid than overnight, be sure to pack thick gloves and extra warm gear as the wind will still feel icy even during the day. And make sure to apply extra thick sunscreen and bring your sunglasses as the sun is getting ever more intense the higher you climb. Snacks are encouraged as well to maintain energy throughout the long day.

After a relatively moderate start, the trail becomes steep and challenging as it joins with the Marangu Route. The air will become so thin that you may need to pause for a second or more after each step, and altitude sickness may begin to hit you. Your final push to the top may seem endless and will test all your patience as climbers on the Marangu Route who summited overnight are making their way down while you're slowly making your way up. Knowing that you'll be able to enjoy the roof of Africa without the crowds will be your reward for all the hard work.

After approximately an hour and a half slowly making your way up via a series of switchbacks that make the steep scree slopes easier to tackle, you will hit rockier terrain. As you scramble over up to hip-high boulders, be mindful of your steps as these so-called Jamaican Rocks can be slippery at times. After a while, the rocks become more moderate and easier to manage – a sign that the end is near.

What satisfaction as you reach Gilman's Point at the top of Kibo and a vast open crater expands in front of your eyes! From here, the path becomes very manageable as you continue along the crater rim to Stella Point – your highest point today before you'll descend to Crater Camp.

Congratulations! You’ve already conquered an impressive feat and will receive your climbing certificate for making to the top of Kibo. Even though Gilman's and Stella Point are not yet the summit, and the excitement of Uhuru Peak is still waiting for you the next morning, you can already be proud that you’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

    1h
  • Lunar landscape, glacier and ash pit
  • Stella Point (5,756m)  →  Crater Camp (5,739m)
  • -17m
  • 2km

After the euphoric moments at Stella Point, the fun continues as you get to walk to Crater Camp. The morning was hard on your body, and luckily Crater Camp isn't far, situated only 150 meters (510 feet) of descent away. Set in soft sands, the camp is located near the impressive ice walls of the Furtwangler Glacier. The campsite is the highest on Kilimanjaro, located at 5,740 meters (18,800 ft). After replenishing your energy levels over a well-deserved break in the mess tent, the lunar landscape is yours to explore with the Reusch Crater and ash pit located only an hour away. After your accomplished day, what a treat to be able to experience the majestic offerings on the top of Kilimanjaro that so few climbers ever get to see!

Day 9
    1-2h
  • Sunrise at the summit
  • Crater Camp (5,739m)  →  Uhuru Peak (5,895m)
  • 156m
  • 1km

If climbing all the way to Stella Point wasn’t enough, it's time to scale the very top of Mount Kilimanjaro – Uhuru Peak. You will rise early to reach the summit by sunrise. However, while your body may be aching from the day before, it will be nowhere as challenging because the peak is only 150 meters (510 feet) of ascent away, and won't take more than one or two hours at most.

Dawn is approaching as you push yourself to the highest point of Mt. Kilimanjaro and of Africa – Uhuru Peak. The opportunity to see the new day’s climbers and the sunrise from the summit is a privilege that you won’t soon forget. Take some pictures, pat yourself on the back, hug your companions and enjoy the glistening pink and orange sunrise hues overlooking the ice fields and glaciers. The rolling clouds splash against the noble beauty of Kibo – it’s a sight you won’t soon forget.

    4-6h
  • Half way down into thicker air
  • Uhuru Peak (5,895m)  →  Millennium Camp (3,807m)
  • -2,088m
  • 8km

Make sure to take lots of photos and soak in the views as you won’t be staying up long at Uhuru Peak. Your guide will make sure to bring you back down to thicker air soon after you’ve reached the peak of your journey. While climbing thus far may have seemed to be the hardest part, you’re day has only just begun.

After making it all the way up to the summit of Uhuru Peak, you will still feel that lingering sense of euphoria that comes with such a magnificent achievement. Now the challenge is to make your way down to Millennium Camp, which sits at 3,800 metres – an an altitude drop of more than 2,000 metres. As you make your way down, you will find that the descent is tough on your knees, which will by now be feeling the impact of your climb up this formidable mountain. To ease the strain on your knees, make good use of your walking poles.

For the initial part of your journey down from Stella Point, you will encounter fields of sand and scree, which can be particularly challenging to navigate your way through. Gaiters are once again essential here, to prevent some of the glacial scree making its way into your boots! There are different ways you can tackle the scree. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can simply slide or ski down the scree slopes, which is a fun and quick way of conquering it! If you’re not comfortable with that, simply walk slowly down the scree, although this will add additional time onto your journey.

Your slope then turns into rocks before you reach Barafu Camp. Rest and eat to regain some energy. However, don’t rest too long. You still have over 2 hours to go. As you descend, you’ll notice that some of the plants starts to reappear and the surroundings are not as barren as it has been in recent days. Once the greenery reappears,  Millennium Camp isn't far, located just above the tree line.

You will be feeling tired and worn from the journey by the time you reach your camp for the night, but this is normal. Conquering Kilimanjaro is far from easy and you can take solace from the fact that you have completed a challenge that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Finally, you’ll be able to get some well earned rest and relaxation, and celebrate the completion of this important milestone of your journey.

Day 10
    4-5h
  • All the way back down through the forest
  • Millennium Camp (3,807m)  →  Mweka Gate (1,640m)
  • -2,167m
  • 15km

The euphoria from yesterday’s achievement will linger today and give you a high that will last for some time to come. Conquering Mount Kilimanjaro is not easy and the challenge associated with climbing it is legendary. Today’s walk is a pleasant one and it will take you through the beautiful greenery of the rainforest as you steadily continue your downward descent. The atmosphere will resemble prehistoric times as you make your way through the 20 foot fern trees in the rainforest. You will venture through the moorlands and the montane rainforest, which bears similarities to the first stop on Kilimanjaro and you will once again greet the different bird species and monkeys that you encountered on your way up. At this point tiredness and bruised knees may drain your enthusiasm little, but you will still feel the pride in your accomplishments. The temperature will be a little warmer and more humid by this point, in contrast to the ice caps and the glaciers experienced over the last few days.

Soon even the jungle will gradually start to fade in favour of dirt tracks and the return of civilisation, which signals your arrival at Mweka Gate – the exit of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Once you have reached this point, your journey across Kilimanjaro will have concluded and you will be satisfied in the knowledge that you have reached the summit and finally conquered this tough but beautiful mountain.

Once you arrive at Mweka Gate and you have completed your walk, it will be time to bid farewell to your crew. It is customary to tip your guides, cook and porters for their assistance during your trip before you are transported back to your hotel. Please check the tipping procedure and tipping ranges recommended by your tour company before the start of your climb.

    1h
  • Transfer to your hotel
  • Mweka Gate (1,640m)  →  Moshi (831m)
  • -809m
  • 17km

After your exciting conclusion at Mweka Gate, you surely can’t wait to get back to your hotel for a well-deserved shower. The scenic drive back to Moshi (or Arusha) takes you through coffee and banana plantations, and is serene as you reflect on your adventure.

Arriving at your hotel, you’ve finished the magical journey, and it’s time to sift through photos, brag to your friends, and reminisce fondly on those life-long memories that you’ve just made.

More info about the 10-day Northern Circuit With Crater Camp

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
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 to high-quality imported winter mountaineering tents (mid-range offers) or luxurious walk-in size tents with proper frame beds (VIP offers).

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

What are the public toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

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

Are there bathrooms and showers on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

What are the campsites on Kilimanjaro like?

All routes on Kilimanjaro use specifically designated campsites. Most campsites have a registration office and basic toilet facilities. They are safe, provide a good way to meet fellow climbers, and almost always have spectacular views. Your meals will be provided by your tour operator in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably.

Apart from the Marangu Route, there are no shops on Kilimanjaro. Furthermore, there are no charging facilities, and there is no heating (except for luxurious offers that can be upgraded to include a mess tent heater).

Few Kilimanjaro campsites have running water, and there are no water sources near the base camps at high altitudes.

What facilities are available at the Marangu Huts?

The Marangu Huts 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.

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 of malaria in Tanzania is widespread. A bite from an infected mosquito is all it takes to get infected. Infection rates are at their highest during the rainy season. Contracting malaria can cause serious illness and even death, so it is important to take precautions such as preventative medication.

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 are the common illnesses in Tanzania?

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

Besides malaria, there are also other mosquito-borne viral infections, such as dengue and chikungunya, against which you can only take preventative measures like using a mosquito repellent. Please note, unlike malaria, dengue mosquitoes 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, travelers diarrhoea is also another common ailment that people can get traveling overseas.

Both Filariasis and Schistosomiasis are common illnesses in 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 it is 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 Haemorrhagic 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 mosquitoes 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
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 Tanzania 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.

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.

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

In terms of the technical aspects of ascending the mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro is not difficult 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 upon 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 every hiker is in good health. With increasing age, especially over the age of 60, health considerations become more serious, and climbers should undergo a thorough medical check prior to attempting to climb Kilimanjaro.

The minimum age to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is 10 years.

What makes Kilimanjaro difficult to climb?

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

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

What is the average Kilimanjaro summit success rate?

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

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

Who are the 5 most outstanding Kilimanjaro climbers?

Here are 5 of the most outstanding Kilimanjaro climbers:

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

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

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

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

A common question that many new climbers ask is 'what is altitude sickness?'

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.

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.

What are the dangers of 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 big is the risk of rockfall when climbing Kilimanjaro?

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

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

Can I fall to death while climbing Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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 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!

Why do Kilimanjaro safety 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 on Kilimanjaro 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 Kilimanjaro safety practices if they are the only ones disclosing those incidents.

 

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. The 7-8 day routes help you to adjust much better to the altitude.

Educate yourself thoroughly about all the risks involved so you will know how to avoid them.

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

Due to the high altitude, hikers will typically experience shortness of breath and mild altitude sickness even at a relatively slow walking pace, when they climb Kilimanjaro.

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.

Budget
How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

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

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

Why are Kilimanjaro tours so expensive?

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

Duration
How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

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

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

Comfort & Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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.

Are there bathrooms and showers on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

What are the campsites on Kilimanjaro like?

All routes on Kilimanjaro use specifically designated campsites. Most campsites have a registration office and basic toilet facilities. They are safe, provide a good way to meet fellow climbers, and almost always have spectacular views. Your meals will be provided by your tour operator in a separate mess tent where you will be able to sit comfortably.

Apart from the Marangu Route, there are no shops on Kilimanjaro. Furthermore, there are no charging facilities, and there is no heating (except for luxurious offers that can be upgraded to include a mess tent heater).

Few Kilimanjaro campsites have running water, and there are no water sources near the base camps at high altitudes.

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. These 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.

These 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.

When you book your Kilimanjaro climb with Fair Voyage, we would be happy to help organize a local SIM card for you. Simply let us know if you'd like a local SIM card included in your package when you request your custom Kilimanjaro climbing offer.

Drinks & Meals
What beverages does my tour operator provide?

All tour operators typically provide drinking water when you climb Kilimanjaro. 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.

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?

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 (e.g in a stew, a curry, boiled or steamed) as well as a variety of meat like beef or chicken (that can 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 for your Kilimanjaro tour. 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 Kilimanjaro 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 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 this 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 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.

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 the Lava Tower?

The Lava tower on Kilimanjaro is an old plug at 4,600m that is also known as the Shark’s tooth. It's a left-over of the active-volcanic days.

The surroundings at the Lava Tower consist of a high altitude desert. There is no vegetation, only pools of rocks, scree and dust as far as the eye can see.

You’ll need a few warm layers on this part of the journey as it can be prone to cold winds, ice and mist.

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.

On the Shira plateau, or latest at Lava Tower, 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.

It approaches the summit from the east and descends in the south. As such, it offers stunning 360° degree views of the peak and afar away from the crowds.

 

 

 

 

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.

Would you recommend the Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit?

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.

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 Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit route in order to avoid the scramble atop the steep Barranco Wall.

What are the advantages of the Northern Circuit?

The Northern Circuit on Kilimanjaro is your best choice if you want to maximize your summit success chance due to its good altitude profile and the fact that it gives you plenty of time to acclimatize. With the right guide and preparation, this routes guarantees a summit success chance of close to 100%.

As the route takes longer, it's less popular than some other routes. The advantage of this is that it may feel more comfortable for you personally as you will get to experience quiet campsites, more privacy and unspoilt wilderness.

What are the disadvantages of the Northern Circuit?

The scenery is special on Kilimanjaro, no matter which route you take. However, please be aware that the Northern Circuit misses two scenic highlights of the southern slopes. These are the Dendrosenecio forest, though you will still get to see a few Dendrosenecio trees, and, the Barranco Wall. However, this is honestly a blessing in disguise if you suffer from vertigo.

Generally speaking, we'd say that these are small sacrifices for your authentic wilderness experience!

If you are looking for an open group climb, the Northern Circuit isn't your best bet either. While there still are a few options available for the 8-day Northern Circuit, there are hardly any open group climbs for the 9-day Northern Circuit.

What is the altitude profile of the Northern Circuit?

The Northern Circuit offers plenty of opportunities to acclimatize to the high altitude and therefore also has a very high summit success chance. It has a good altitude profile of hiking high and sleeping low.

Even though it is the longest route, it might as well be one of the easiest!

Is the Northern Circuit dangerous?

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 is the longest route on Kilimanjaro. It offers 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, the Northern Circuit has among 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, Northern Circuit avoids the dangerous Western Breach and the Barranco Wall. It can be considered considerably safer than routes that include one or both of these places.

How difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro via the Northern Circuit?

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). This makes it the longest route to climb Kilimanjaro.

Because of its length, the Northern Circuit has the reputation to be difficult. However, the average distance covered per day is 9-10km. Therefore, we do not consider it to be more difficult.

Furthermore, the Northern Circuit has a good altitude profile and offers plenty of opportunity for proper acclimatization as there simply is more time.

As a result, both the 8-day and 9-day itinerary have summit success chances of close to 100%.

How popular is the Mount Kilimanjaro Northern Circuit?

The Northern Circuit route is one of the less popular routes because of its length.

However, if you are looking for a unique wilderness experience away from the crowds, and you have time, the Northern Circuit is an excellent route.

Furthermore, fewer climbers also means more privacy, quieter campsites and more unspoilt wilderness. If this is important for you, then the Northern Circuit is well worth considering.

 

Do you recommend the 8-day Northern Circuit?

If you prefer to save time and energy, you will like this 8-day northern circuit itinerary which also has some great group tour offers. This makes it not only shorter but also more affordable than the 9-day route.

Alternatively, for an even easier and more luxurious experience, we recommend the 8-day Grand Traverse.

Do you recommend the 9-day Northern Circuit?

We recommend the 9-day Northern Circuit route over the 8-day itinerary for two reasons. First, the 9-day route offers better acclimatization than the 8-day route which results in a very high summit success chance. More specifically, the 9-day route includes an acclimatization climb to Lava Tower on your 4th day.

Its altitude profile and duration make the Northern Circuit one of the routes with the highest summit success chance.

And second, it provides an authentic wilderness experience away from the crowds.

Furthermore, the 9-day Northern Circuit also offers 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.

 

Do you recommend the 10-day Northern Circuit with Crater Camp?

We recommend the 10-day Northern Circuit if you have time and are looking for a totally off-the-beaten-track experience. The additional thrills of an overnight stay at Crater Camp will make this an experience you won't soon forget.

Furthermore, this climb guaranties maximum time for proper acclimatization prior to your stay at Crater Camp. This drastically decreases the risk of getting altitude sickness.

Map of Northern Circuit

Marangu Route
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 the 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.

 

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 altitude 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.

It also overlaps a lot with the Lemosho Route, but the altitude profile of the Lemosho Route is much better for acclimatization.

 

 

 

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 GlacierWhile 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 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 have a special unique edge and thrill.

Furthermore, you will have the unique opportunity to explore the thick wall of ice at 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 ascend before they can start to descend.

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 at Crater Camp?

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 a 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 on mount Kilimanjaro 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 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. These include the Rongai Route, the Northern Circuit or Grand Traverse, or even the difficult Umbwe Route 

Which is the shortest route to climb Kilimanjaro?

The 5-Day Umbwe route is the shortest route to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of distance. It is the most direct path to Uhuru Peak. Alternatively, the 5-Day Rongai Route can be completed in the same amount of time. Furthermore, it's also possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days.

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 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 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 on mount Kilimanjaro 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 are 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 on Kilimanjaro?

'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.

What is the safest hiking route on 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
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?

A common people ask is how long does it 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 and 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
Which is the best Kilimanjaro hiking route for altitude acclimatization?

The best Kilimanjaro hiking 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.

What are the dangers of 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.

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

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

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

Summit success
Which Kilimanjaro route has the 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 Kilimanjaro 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 Kilimanjaro 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. If you want to know what the best Kilimanjaro routes during rainy season are here are the back-up routes and options that we recommend:

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

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

If you don't want to miss out on the fairytale-like 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 Kilimanjaro route for ultimate adventurers?

If you are looking for a challenging Kilimanjaro route 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 Kilimanjaro climb options are available?

The two most popular Kilimanjaro climb 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 climb 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
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.

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. When you are considering the responsible travel criteria used by tour operators, there is only one independent organization that monitors porter treatment practices locally. This organization is the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). To make sure that you're booking an ethical climb and that your porters will be treated fairly, verify that your tour operator is listed on the official list of approved KPAP Partner companies on IMEC's website.

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

Prices
How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

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

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

Why are Kilimanjaro tours so expensive?

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

Why does Fair Voyage not offer cheaper Kilimanjaro climbs?

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

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

We believe that responsible tour operators 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 responsible tour operators who treat 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 which can help you to find the best 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 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 you have to customize your Kilimanjaro climb?

We can customize your Kilimanjaro climb to include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the advantages of Kilimanjaro group tours?

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

How many climbers are in a Kilimanjaro group tour?

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

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

Should I join a group tour to climb Kilimanjaro?

Group tours have their advantages and disadvantages. If you can find a Kilimanjaro group tour that runs on a date that is convenient for you, we would certainly recommend this option. This is because joining a group tour to climb Kilimanjaro helps to keep costs down. It also 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. The bonds you share with others who climb with you can be profound and life-changing.

What are the disadvantages of Kilimanjaro group tours?

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

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

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

Unfortunately, when joining an open group trek to climb Kilimanjaro, it is not possible to downgrade the package to customize your Kilimanjaro group climb 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.

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

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

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

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

Private Tours
What is a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro?

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

How many people are in a private tour?

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

What are the advantages of private tours to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are many advantages to taking a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro. 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, when you take a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro. 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 Kilimanjaro at your own pace.

What are the disadvantages of a private tour when climbing Kilimanjaro?

The main disadvantages of a private tour when climbing Kilimanjaro 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 Kilimanjaro tour 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 with a walk-in tent and sleeping cot for your Kilimanjaro climb. 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 on Kilimanjaro 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 in your Kilimanjaro tent.

Sleeping alone or getting a walk-in tent 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 private accommodation 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
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 acting as board member of IMEC and providing technical support to 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 the best Kilimanjaro offers and 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. 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. We are fully available to advise you in person and tailor your perfect climb for you. Moreover, we can also help you combine your climb easily with a wildlife safari or other exhilarating experiences in the region for a truly unique and unforgettable adventure.

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 Kilimanjaro 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 reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro is to give yourself more days to climb the mountain, so that you can acclimatise better.

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

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

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

The most important areas on your body to strengthen before your Kilimanjaro climb are your legs and your core. Strong legs are essential as they are going to be doing most of the work, but a strong core will help keep pressure off your back as you climb carrying gear.

In addition to hiking and long walks, targeted muscle exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts are great for strengthening the legs.

Try to add and increase weight as you get comfortable with a set of up to 10-15 repetitions each. In addition, core strengthening exercises like pilates, planks, and abdominal work will support your back.

How can I prepare physically for my Kilimanjaro climb?

The best training you can do to prepare for your mount 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.

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.

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.

If you are outside when mosquitos are most active, 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 dawn or dusk, 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Do I need to take out travel insurance?

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

What travel insurance do you recommend for Kilimanjaro climbs?

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

You can easily apply for your travel insurance online within a few minutes using the below form or you can visit their website to find out more about their travel insurance.

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
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 when climbing Kilimanjaro.

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, so it is a good idea to bring vaseline when climbing Kilimanjaro. 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.

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.

 

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, supplies and luggage on Kilimanjaro, 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.

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 so you will need to bring a portable charger for 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 Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

How can I get from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

Altitude Acclimatization & Sickness
Preparation
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.

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

A common question that many new climbers ask is 'what is altitude sickness?'

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.

What are the dangers of 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.

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 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!

Symptoms
What are common symptoms of altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro?

Due to the high altitude, hikers will typically experience shortness of breath and mild altitude sickness even at a relatively slow walking pace, when they climb Kilimanjaro.

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.

Treatment
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.

 

Responsible Travel
Choosing A Responsible Operator
How do I know whether my tour operator is responsible?

For all offers that we promote on Fair Voyage, we make fully transparent to you the applicable responsible and sustainable screening criteria that we use. In addition to our minimum criteria, there are also differences between tour operators – some going far beyond our minimum criteria. That's why we also make transparent the standards adopted by individual tour operator and/or for different offers.

In addition to third party certificates or programs, many tour operators run their own initiatives such as supporting local community projects in kind or by donating part of their profits. We also aim to highlight such initiatives, but are not able to independently verify them. We will therefore clearly highlight when information is provided directly by tour operators and not verified by us.

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

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

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

The predominant problem caused by Kilimanjaro tourism is the exploitation of porters. When you are considering the responsible travel criteria used by tour operators, there is only one independent organization that monitors porter treatment practices locally. This organization is 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 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. This is why it is important to pay a fair price to climb Kilimanjaro.

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 not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting the fair and ethical treatment of Kilimanjaro porters.

KPAP helps porters by lending them clothing for free, providing educational opportunities and performing the monitoring activities for the Partner for Responsible Travel Program.

They encourage all companies to participate with the Partner Program and educate the climbing public about the importance of selecting an ethical climbing company. KPAP's porter treatment monitoring program regularly reviews company payment and tipping practices and obtains surveys from 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, IMEC 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/IMEC Partner for Responsible Travel Program?

The Partner for Responsible Travel Program (KPAP) for Mount Kilimanjaro assures that porters have the proper working conditions.

The Partner Program’s activities include:

  • Surveying porters to learn more about their working conditions
  • Reviewing the tipping procedures of travel companies, and ensuring porters are paid correctly
  • Placing a KPAP investigative porter on all partner company climbs to obtain an independent evaluation of the treatment standards
  • Providing feedback and recommendations to companies to help safeguard proper treatment of porters
  • Companies cooperating with the Partner Program do so on a voluntary basis.

Every climb of the Partner companies is evaluated and a company is approved and listed as a Partner if they are able to attain a minimum of an 85% performance grade every single climbing season by adhering to KPAP’s minimum porter treatment standards.

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

Porters must be provided with three daily meals and carry no more than 20kg during a climb. Proper shelter should also be provided as well as a check of proper clothing and medical attention for any work-related illness.

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 may be unaware of the actual treatment of 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.

How can I check if my preferred company is truly a KPAP partner?

Sometimes companies misrepresent themselves as being KPAP Partners and sometimes companies think they are KPAP Partners while in fact, they are not.

Therefore it’s not always easy to distinguish which companies are really operating fairly rather than simply making bold statements about porter welfare on their website to convince conscientious travelers.

This is not only confusing for travelers, but it’s also problematic for KPAP as it distorts the truth about what they stand for and what they work on.

There is only one way to make sure that you don’t fall into this misinformation trap. That is to always verify whether your tour operator is listed as a KPAP Partner for Responsible Travel on the International Mountain Explorers Connection website and not just believe what they state on their own website.

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 collective 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
Which companies does Fair Voyage promote?

Fair Voyage is promoting exclusively verified ethically and environmentally responsible tour operators and accommodations with a proven commitment to sustainability. To independently verify the commitment to sustainability and adherence to responsible tourism standards, we mostly rely on credible third party monitoring and certification organizations, to the extent available and as applicable for each destination.

We adopt a bottom-up screening approach – first screening against applicable local qualifications specific to a destination. Regional/global standards complement local qualifications, or provide a benchmark in the absence of more destination-specific initiatives.

What are your local responsible & sustainable travel screening criteria?

We screen our tour operator partners against applicable local qualifications specific to a destination.

If there is:

  • an independent organization, that
  • offers a local monitoring program for the most relevant responsible and sustainable travel issues pertaining to a specific destination (or an activity at such destination), and
  • is open for all duly licensed tour operators to participate in without excessive costs;

Then we make it mandatory that:

  • All our tour operator partners who promote such destinations (or activity at the destination) must be participating with the available program and prove their commitment to sustainability by meeting the applicable minimum standards.
  • This requirement also applies to global or regional tour operators who wish to partner with us, even if such destinations are only an insignificant part of their global offering, and even if tour operators do not wish to promote such destinations via Fair Voyage.
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. This requirement also applies to global or regional tour operators who wish to partner with us for other destinations.

What are your regional responsible & sustainable travel criteria?

In addition to local criteria, we also screen our tour operator partners against relevant regional responsible and sustainable tourism qualifications.

At the moment, we work with Rainforest Alliance Certified tour operators in Central America as well as Fair Trade Tourism approved tour operators and accommodations in Southern Africa.

We are actively screening regions globally for relevant standards and will add more responsible and sustainable partner organizations as we continue to add more destinations worldwide to our offering.

What are your global responsible & sustainable travel criteria?

For many destinations globally, there are no credible local or regional responsible tourism initiatives in place that independently certify or monitor responsible and sustainable tourism standards. For all such cases, we rely on reputable global initiatives to independently verify our partners' commitment to sustainability. As a minimum, in the absence of more relevant local or regional certifications, we require our tour operator partners to have obtain at least Travelife Partner or TourCert Check status, depending on which scheme is available to them locally.

Why do you not make Travelife Certification mandatory for all your suppliers?

At the moment, while responsible and sustainable tourism certifications are still a relatively new (yet fast growing) niche in tourism, only few tour operators in developing regions around the world have managed to reach the Travelife Certified status; and many countries do not yet have any certified tour operators at all.

In order to not exclude such destinations completely from our offering simply due to lack of certification initiatives, we currently also promote Travelife Partner and TourCert Check verified tour operators. In the future, when certifications become more prevalent, and once tour operators globally have had a chance to meet global standards, we may require certification for all our partner companies.

Tipping
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 Assistance 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.

What motivates Kilimanjaro guides?

Although many Kilimanjaro guides choose their profession out of passion, remember that guides are human beings that have the same pressures as other people. They usually have a family that relies on their income, including children and elders.

In a country without social security and where people are still working to move up to a higher income level, pay is an important motivator.

Therefore, tipping is a major component of pay for all guides, particularly for those that are employed by operators who do not treat their staff fairly. With many of these budget operators, guides rely solely on a tip. The highest tips are usually paid by happy climbers after they've reached the summit.

Ask yourself: Would you be willing to give your guide a big tip if he forced you to descend before reaching the summit? As long as you have doubts whether that decision was really necessary and whether you could still have reached the summit, you will be unlikely to reward your guide for keeping you from reaching your dream.

Unfortunately, those hard decisions to force climbers to stop often have to be made by guides under uncertain conditions. You might have made it and stayed safe, or you might have suffered severely – perhaps even with your life – if you had continued to push.

This is why it is important for you to understand that guides have a natural incentive to get you to the summit, even if it is risky. However, this is less likely to happen with an ethical company that pays their porters and guides fairly.

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. They 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.

What are porter welfare organizations and what do they do?

Porter welfare organizations are trying to support the fair and ethical treatment of Kilimanjaro porters.

They do this by monitoring how companies treat their porters and by providing counsel to both the company and the porters about how to ensure proper treatment. They might also lend clothing and equipment to the porters to make sure they have the appropriate gear to do their job safely. It is also possible that organizations that advocate for porter welfare, campaign for better wages on the porter’s behalf.

Even though there are a few organizations in Tanzania that focus on porter welfare, there may be differences between their monitoring procedures and their methods for objectively and independently examining a company’s treatment practices.

Consequently, companies who say they adhere to fair porter treatment standards do not always have to provide evidence of their actual treatment of porters. Since ethical and sustainable tourism is on the rise, companies may claim to be ethical to be more appealing to conscious travelers. It’s confusing for travelers to know who is really implementing fair porter treatment.

Therefore, it’s important to understand the differences between the various organizations that promote porter welfare.

Which porter welfare organizations exist and how do they differ?

There are several organizations in Tanzania that claim to improve porters’ welfare. Behind the scenes, there are important differences that clearly distinguish them from each other:

Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP): KPAP supports the fair and ethical treatment of Kilimanjaro porters. They monitor every climb of the partner companies to determine if they adhere to the porter welfare standards agreed upon by the Kilimanjaro stakeholders. KPAP provides feedback to help institute procedures that safeguard fair porter treatment. These audits take place twice a year during every climbing season. The partner companies are placed on the approved Partner list if they can prove they adhere to KPAP’s minimum standards by achieving at least an 85% performance grade on their scorecard twice a year.

Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO): KIATO is an association of local tour operators. Tour operators pay a fee to be a member of the association. KIATO claims that their members adhere to ethical standards. It is not certain if KIATO actually monitors whether these standards are being met. For example, some of their members may pay lower wages to porters, less than US$7 per day.

Zara’s Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society: Zara Tours is a Tanzanian tour company and has multiple charities, one of which is their Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society. According to Zara Tours, their internal society provides its porters with health insurance, financial planning, health education and English language classes. However, this is a porters’ society associated with a climbing company who gives these porters employment. There is no independent proof that the basic treatment standards are being met. Porters may be afraid to speak up if the company is the source of their employment.

Additional Kilimanjaro Porter Societies include the Kilimanjaro Porters Association (KPA) and the Tanzania Porters Organization (TPO). Porters are required to register with one of the Porter Societies and pay an annual fee in order to climb Kilimanjaro. Comments from porters are generally not positive about the assistance provided by these societies.
Climbing companies may claim to have their own internal porter monitoring programs. However, none of these are examined by an outside and independent organization and, as such, it is not possible to ascertain whether their initiatives are legitimate or not.

To summarize, KPAP is the only organization that is fully independent of a climbing company as well as transparent in their reporting of their findings of a Partner company’s climbs. They apply strict procedures and they monitor their partner companies who must prove their commitment to fair porter treatment practices on an ongoing basis by objective measurements in order to qualify as KPAP Partner companies. The difference between KIATO and KPAP is that KPAP can demonstrate that the standards are being met through the scorecard performance every climbing season. Furthermore, KPAP differs from Zara’s Porter Society and every other internal porter monitoring program because KPAP is a completely separate organization from any climbing company.

At Fair Voyage, we believe it’s important to share with you as a traveler what those differences are because we want to be able to guarantee that all climbs we promote are ethical and adhere to the highest porter welfare standards. Therefore, we only work with companies that are officially approved and qualified KPAP partners. This is our benchmark to guarantee fair porter treatment on all our climbs.

If you, as a traveler, want to be sure that you are booking an ethical climb, the only way to do so is by contracting your climb with an approved KPAP partner company.

4 myths about KPAP that are NOT true

Some climbing companies claim to have their own internal porter monitoring programs. At Fair Voyage, we question the claims of such companies because there is no review by an independent organization separate from the company. As a result, it’s not possible to verify if they truly adhere to fair porter treatment standards.

Some companies may have arguments for why it’s not necessary to be a KPAP Partner. Unfortunately, these arguments often distort the truth of what KPAP does and stands for. That’s why we want to highlight the most used arguments and clarify what is not true about them.

  1. MYTH: KPAP porters are not being sufficiently trained/vetted

Some companies claim that they do not know the KPAP porters or their capacities. However, this statement does not match with reality. KPAP performs trainings twice a year with their investigative porters and makes sure that they assign porters with sufficient experience for each route. Many high-quality operators are using KPAP porters and are thereby proof that this is not an issue.

  1. MYTH: KPAP collects confidential personal client info

Some companies claim they don't want to release their climb schedules because of their high profile clients. No specific client details are required. The company informs KPAP of the route, start and end dates of the climb, and the number of climbers. These are kept strictly confidential and under no circumstances will KPAP receive the identity of the climbers. KPAP has never and will never ask for the identity of climbers. Several 5 * luxury operators with VIP clients are KPAP partners and thus the best proof that this is not a concern.

  1. MYTH: KPAP has its own climbing operations

This is not true. KPAP is a non-profit organization and has never sold any climbs. When KPAP receives requests from climbers or agents they refer such inquiries to their complete list of partner companies.

  1. MYTH: KPAP is not necessary to bring meaningful improvement to porter welfare standards

Some companies claim that they don’t need the help of KPAP to improve their operations and porter welfare standards. In their opinion, KPAP’s involvement is beneficial when a company has no time to monitor their own work and see whether their porters and other crew members are treated in accordance with porter welfare standards.  

However, none of those internal monitoring efforts are independent and as such, it is not possible to ascertain whether their initiatives are legitimate or not. What makes KPAP different from any type of internal monitoring is that KPAP is independent. It has no specific interest in any company whatsoever. KPAP does its work to accomplish its mission of improving the working conditions of porters. As a result, its audits and criteria for companies to become partners are completely objective and transparent.

How can I check if my preferred company is truly a KPAP partner?

Sometimes companies misrepresent themselves as being KPAP Partners and sometimes companies think they are KPAP Partners while in fact, they are not.

Therefore it’s not always easy to distinguish which companies are really operating fairly rather than simply making bold statements about porter welfare on their website to convince conscientious travelers.

This is not only confusing for travelers, but it’s also problematic for KPAP as it distorts the truth about what they stand for and what they work on.

There is only one way to make sure that you don’t fall into this misinformation trap. That is to always verify whether your tour operator is listed as a KPAP Partner for Responsible Travel on the International Mountain Explorers Connection website and not just believe what they state on their own website.

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 may get low wages and poor working conditions as a result.

Most porters work on a freelance basis and many Tanzanians relocate to the Kilimanjaro region 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.

Is there a minimum wage for Kilimanjaro porters?

Although there is a minimum wage for Kilimanjaro 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 themselves.

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

We believe that responsible tour operators 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 responsible tour operators who treat your porters fairly will be the safer choice for you.

Why does inadequate preparation and equipment for Kilimanjaro endanger lives?

Many budget companies do not equip their porters with adequate equipment for Kilimanjaro. 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.

About Fair Voyage
Business Model
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.

Why should I book my Kilimanjaro climb with Fair Voyage?

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

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

 

Best Independent Advice

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

 

Reliable Expert Guidance

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

 

Curated Best Offers

We have gone to great lengths to compare the best Kilimanjaro offers and 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. We remain open to working with all KPAP Partner companies who can give you the best offer for your requirements.

 

Fully Customizable Climbs

All our Kilimanjaro offers are fully customizable to include any equipment, itinerary variation, pre/post climb accommodation, and more. We are fully available to advise you in person and tailor your perfect climb for you. Moreover, we can also help you combine your climb easily with a wildlife safari or other exhilarating experiences in the region for a truly unique and unforgettable adventure.

 

Verified Fair Porter Treatment

We only promote approved companies under IMEC's Partner for Responsible Travel Program. This means that all our climbs are monitored locally by KPAP to ensure minimum fair porter treatment practices.

As KPAP is the only independent organization that monitors Kilimanjaro climbs, this is the best and only way to ensure that you are booking an ethical climb.

 

Traveller Funds Insurance

Safely Insured Payments

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

Why Fair Voyage - short summary with photos
Is Fair Voyage an agency or a platform?

We at Fair Voyage are building an ethical & sustainable tour booking platform that exclusively promotes verified responsible tour operators. Our aim is to help you find your single best conscious travel offer amongst all responsible operators. We do so because we believe that making it easy for travellers to book a conscious trip is the most sustainable way to promote responsible tourism practices. In that sense, we are a platform for responsible tour operators and conscious travellers.

Our services, however, go far beyond providing a technology platform. We aim to provide you as conscious traveller with our best personal & independent advice. Furthermore, we wish to give you the assurance that your funds are safely protected when you book and pay for a trip through us with a local company in a less developed country that doesn't yet have adequate insurance schemes. That's why we're fully registered as a travel agency in Switzerland – a country with a very strong legal & regulatory system to protect your personal & financial interests as a consumer – and insured with the Swiss Travel Security travel deposit guarantee scheme.

Different from traditional agencies, we don't subcontract with only one local tour operator in each destination. Our goal is to help you find your best offer amongst all responsible tour operators and put you in touch with the best company to provide your local tour operating services. We aim to create full transparency about the companies we promote and put you in touch directly with them.

By being legally registered as travel agency, yet 100% neutral on the companies with promote, we aim to combine the best of both traditional agency and platform models for your benefit.

Read more about the companies operating your tours, about the difference between such local tour operators and international agencies, and 5 reasons why Fair Voyage is able to offer tours cheaper than other agencies.

Who will be providing my tour operating services?

For all tours booked through Fair Voyage, your local tour services in your destination will be provided by a duly licensed tour operator. Fair Voyage does not operate any tours directly but acts as neutral intermediary to help you find, customize, book and pay for your best trip provided by your best-matching local tour operator (read about our hybrid business model as platform and agency here).

Our primary mission is to promote ethical & sustainable tours operated by verified responsible companies, independent of whether such tours are operated by local companies or sold through international agencies (read more about operators versus agencies here).

At the same time, however, we also strive to help you find your single best responsible travel offer, which most often means the best value-for-money quotes according to your requirements. Naturally, offers provided directly by local companies will always be more affordable than offers through their international agents. Therefore, we're almost always promoting local companies to you, even though we do not intend our platform to become exclusive only for local companies.

The only exception to this rule currently are open group tours sold by big international agencies exclusively to their own clients and not open for travellers to book through other agencies of the same local operator. For many travellers, the bonding experience and benefits of joining such group tours outweighs higher costs compared to offers provided directly by local companies.

While we have already compiled lots of group tours offered directly by local companies, we also want to give you the option of joining ethical group tours organized by well-known international brands. Therefore, we are working on opening up our platform to all responsible companies, including international agencies, so that in future, hopefully, you can find all ethical tour offers for our core destinations at Fair Voyage.

Read 5 more reasons why international agencies are important.

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.

Why is Fair Voyage able to offer tours cheaper than other agencies?

We often receive feedback from travellers that we're at least US$1,000 cheaper than the next best comparable quote in the market. Therefore, you might ask yourself: Are we too good to be true? As consumers, we often tend to assume that cheap equals poor quality. But being cheaper can also be a reflection of innovation and efficiency. We have no expensive distribution network or office space, we use cost-efficient payment gateways, we are implementing an innovative business model to deliver our travel advice and client service, and we're planning for a much bigger scale. Read more about these 5 reasons why we can offer you lower prices here.

Why book with Fair Voyage?

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

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

  • 5 star ratingAmazing Trip to Tanzania, would definetly book again! I went on a 5-day safari to northern Tanzania in... read more

    freesteph Avatar
    freesteph
    Solo Traveller, Switzerland
    2 weeks ago

    5 star ratingAmazing Staff & Service My friend and I had been planning to climb Kili... read more

    Shimul S Avatar
    Shimul S
    Small Group Traveller, US
    1 month ago

    Such a wonderful experience! Such a perfect experience. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting... read more

    Maggie G Avatar
    Maggie G
    Solo Traveller, US
    4 months ago
  • 5 star ratingProfessional, Kind, and Seamless Coordination Fair Voyage coordinated our Kilimanjaro trek and safari, and we... read more

    Sarah M Avatar
    Sarah M
    Couple Traveller, Switzerland
    5 months ago

    I know the founder personally and she brings so much... read more

    Johanna Herbst Avatar
    Johanna Herbst
    6 months ago

    5 star ratingA great company to help find responsible tour operators Choosing a Kilimanjaro tour company is no easy task. Fair... read more

    Ed A Avatar
    Ed A
    Solo Traveller, US
    7 months ago
  • 5 star ratingGreat Kili Climb with Responsible Operator Alexandra helped me plan a successful tour and summit of... read more

    Davegetsitdone Avatar
    Davegetsitdone
    Solo Traveller, US
    7 months ago

    5 star ratingGreat experience with Fair Voyage! I came across Fair Voyage in my search for an... read more

    GrandTour41009690679 Avatar
    GrandTour41009690679
    Solo Traveller, US
    8 months ago

    positive review Highly recommended for finding and booking sustainable trips with local... read more

    Justyna Karolina Avatar
    Justyna Karolina
    8 months ago
  • Highly recommended for finding and booking sustainable trips with local... read more

    Justyna Tarwid Avatar
    Justyna Tarwid
    8 months ago

    5 star ratingAmazing Staff & Service! My friend and I had been planning to climb Kili... read more

    Shimul S Avatar
    Shimul S
    Small Group Traveller, US
    8 months ago

    Tourism is a great way to learn, stay open minded... read more

    Chiara Rinaldi Avatar
    Chiara Rinaldi
    8 months ago
  • I love Africa and I know that if I were... read more

    Maria Cristina Nieddu Avatar
    Maria Cristina Nieddu
    8 months ago

    The best travel agency for Africa I came across offering... read more

    Katharina van Daele Avatar
    Katharina van Daele
    8 months ago

    positive review I would highly recommend Fair Voyage, this is because I... read more

    Kamata Ngigi Avatar
    Kamata Ngigi
    8 months ago

100% Verified Sustainable Travel Experiences

We only promote companies and offers with a proven commitment to sustainability in their own operations (not just common CSR and donations), as independently certified by credible third party monitoring and certification organizations in the field of responsible travel. Learn more about our sustainability criteria here.

Best Independent Advice

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

Fully Customizable Trips & Personal Advice

All our offers are fully customizable. Working with many locally leading tourism companies, we are not limited to one partner per destination but can offer you any itinerary variation or combination, accommodation, equipment rentals, and other services or tour inclusions that are available in each market. Even though we are building a platform with the aim to make these customization options easily available to you directly online, we will make every effort to earn your trust through our outstanding personal advice and service.

Curated 5-Star Offers

We go to great depths to compare tour operators, accommodations and packages for the destinations that we offer. Based on objective price-value comparisons, we aim to pre-select the best offers for each budget category (from no-frills to VIP) for you. Many of our partners are furthermore top-rated by travellers on leading review platforms.

Best Local Prices

Tour operators only pay us a small fee out of their own operational budget when you book via Fair Voyage, to compensate us for our marketing, customer support, payment and other administrative services – all of which they would otherwise have to take care of in-house at much higher cost. This means that we can guarantee you best prices, and at least the same price as local companies would offer you directly.

When comparing prices, please note that many platforms show outdated or incorrect prices that may not be available as advertised. However, should you indeed be offered the same tour cheaper elsewhere, please let us know and we’ll match the price.

Safely Insured Payments

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

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