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Everything you need to know to do the Kilimanjaro Lemosho Route 8 days Climb

The Kilimanjaro Lemosho 8 day route is one of the most popular routes to climb Kilimanjaro. The Lemosho route has the best scenery on a Kilimanjaro group tour and it's easy to join a group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds. The 8 day Lemosho route has an ideal profile for altitude acclimatization and taking 8 days to climb Kilimanjaro gives you enough time to acclimatize to the altitude and reduce the chances of getting AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).
SUMMIT SUCCESS CHANCEHigh
ALTITUDE PROFILE (HIKE HIGH, SLEEP LOW)Excellent
DIFFICULTY (GRADIENT, DAILY DISTANCE)Doable
SCENERYExcellent
WILDERNESSGood
360° VIEWSWest / South / East
ACCESSIBILITYGood
AFFORDABILITYGood

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

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

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

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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
  • Descending into the picturesque Barranco valley
  • Lava Tower (4,600m)  →  Barranco Camp (3,900m)
  • -700m
  • 3km

After a break at Lava Tower to get the full benefit of your efforts and acclimatize to the thin air, you’ll being your descent into the beautiful Barranco valley. The valley was formed by a mudslide 100,000 years ago, and the climb down offers picturesque views of the Barranco Wall (which you will climb tomorrow). The descent into the valley will feel like a step backwards, after having worked hard all day to reach higher altitudes.

It is important to take it easy as you descend as parts of the journey can be a little slippery, with a lot of scree as you make your way down. For much of the journey, the alpine desert will seem to stretch into infinity until you get to the Great Barranco Valley. As you get nearer and nearer to Barranco Camp, the landscape gradually gets greener as you revisit the mystical  forest.

Barranco Camp hosts views of Kibo, the Western Breach, and the beginning of the southern glaciers – a well deserved treat after the hard work you’ve done that day.

Day 5
    4-5h
  • Scrambling atop the (in)famous Barranco Wall
  • Barranco Camp (3,900m)  →  Karanga Camp (3,995m)
  • 95m
  • 6km

Waking up, you may feel anxious about climbing the famous Barranco Wall today. However, do not fret, as it is less of a climb and more of a scramble!

You will arrive at the wall soon after breakfast, and as you follow the zig-zagged path to the top, you may need to use your hands as you steady yourself up the wall. The climb takes approximately 1 hour and a half, but don’t forget to look back and enjoy the views as you ascend the wall.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Heim Glacier and Kibo. Snap a photo, take a break, and then it’s back down again as you descend into the narrow Karanga Valley. This windy, and cold gully is also lush and green; a nice switch from the previously barren and rocky landscape.

After descending through the valley, it’s a small ascend up to the Karanga Camp. You’ll navigate through another series of zig-zags and rocky terrain, but at this point you will be well-trained from the morning.

Arriving at Karanga Camp, the afternoon is yours to relax, explore, and take in the surroundings. If lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the malachite sunbird, a dazzling sight to see!

Day 6
    2-4h
  • Into thin air and alpine desert
  • Karanga Camp (3,995m)  →  Barafu Camp (4,673m)
  • 678m
  • 4km

Today you will be climbing up to 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!

On this part of the adventure, you will make your way through the strange and mystical alpine desert as you slowly ascend upwards. Here you will be surrounded by rocks, dust and stones in a bleak and barren landscape, surrounded by glaciers. Extra care and attention as well as sturdy footwear is advisable because of the loose, flat stones and chunky rocks that you will encounter on your way up.

Barafu Camp is perched upon an exposed ridge at an altitude of 4,673 metres. From Karanga, this represents an altitude difference of 678 metres. You will pass through the desolate desert landscape with the Decken and Kersten glaciers visible after you leave Karanga and slowly make your way to the coveted Barafu Camp. After a while you will descend into a valley and get a glimpse of the Rebmann glacier – a small remnant of an enormous icecap which once enthroned the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Temperatures can be chilly in this part of the mountain, so be sure to wrap up warm and drink plenty of hot drinks where possible.

Once you reach your destination, you will need plenty of rest – because tonight is the big summit night. 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 7
    7-8h
  • Final summit push through the night and sunrise on top of Africa
  • Barafu Camp (4,673m)  →  Uhuru Peak (5,895m)
  • 1,222m
  • 5km

Today is an early start for the moment you’ve been waiting for – summit day. You’ll be woken up around 11:30 to complete your final summit push from Barafu Camp to Uhuru Peak by sunrise. After your breakfast, you will have all your gear ready for the day. Be sure to bring extra water (dehydration is painful at such high altitudes), headlamps, thick gloves, sunscreen and sunglasses for the summit (the sun is intense once up) and of course, your camera. Snacks are encouraged as well to maintain energy throughout the long day.

Once you’ve strapped on your boots, you will head out of Barafu Camp. These small cliffs will cause you to scramble around a bit, but you will soon reach the bottom of your next challenge: the climb to Stella Point. Stella Point rests at the top of Kibo, and to hike up to it will be hard work. A series of switchbacks through volcanic scree will test you. Be sure to find YOUR appropriate momentum, and focus on taking it one step at a time.

The air will become thinner, and altitude sickness may begin to hit you. Frigid temperatures and icy winds will require an iron determination to keep going. Each step will take all your focus and energy. Your final push to the top may seem endless and time seeming to work against you, but rest assured that it will come to an end. What satisfaction as you reach Stella Point at the top of Kibo! Congratulations! You’ve already conquered an impressive feat and will receive your climbing certificate for making it to this point. No matter what happens next, you can be proud that you’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

From here, you only have approximately 150 meters of altitude to go for your final trek to Uhuru Peak. You can do it. It is important to prepare yourself for what might become the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trip, so rest and eat to gain energy for the final haul. The walk is a gentle incline, but the thin air will make it difficult to predict how you feel in this last stretch. Those who react well to the altitude may find it easier than others, with adrenaline rushing through their body. Some don’t react as well as others, and will find this to be the most challenging, despite the gentle incline. However, everyone will feel the pride that you’ve come that far as you make it to the summit.

The end is near, and you push yourself to the highest point. A stunning landscape overlooking the icefields and glaciers is waiting for you. Dawn is approaching as you push yourself to the highest point of Mt. Kilimanjaro and of Africa –  Uhuru Peak. You’ve made it! 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.

    5-7h
  • Half way down into thicker air
  • Uhuru Peak (5,895m)  →  Mweka Camp (3,100m)
  • -2,795m
  • 13km

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 Mweka Camp, which sits at 3,100 metres – an an altitude drop of almost 2,800 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 3 hours to go. As you descend, you’ll notice that some of the plants and greenery starts to reappear and the surroundings are not as barren as it has been in recent days. You’ll pass by Millennium Camp which is located just above the tree line. Sometimes, you may camp here if the descent further down is just too challenging to handle – discuss this with your guide beforehand to see if it’s possible.

But Mweka Camp is only two hours further, located in the upper part of the rainforest zone, which brings with it a very welcome increase in oxygen and moisture in the air. 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 8
    3-4h
  • All the way back down through the forest
  • Mweka Camp (3,100m)  →  Mweka Gate (1,640m)
  • -1,460m
  • 10km

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 8-day Lemosho Route

Destination Information
Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

Deciding Whether To Go
Comfort & Facilities
Where do I sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

What is a mess tent?

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

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

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

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

Drinks & Meals
What beverages does my tour operator provide?

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

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

 

Can I get bottled water on Kilimanjaro?

Bottled water is only sold at the Marangu Huts.

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

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

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

 

 

Can I get soft drinks on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

Can I get alcoholic beverages on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What will I eat on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

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

A hot lunch will be similar to the dinner menu.

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

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

Organization
How do I organize a Kilimanjaro climb?

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

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

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

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

Hiking Routes
Overview
What is Stella Point?

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

What is Gilman's Point?

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

What is the Barranco Wall?

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

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

What is the Dendrosenecio?

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

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

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

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

The routes on Kilimanjaro vary by length, duration, difficulty, scenery, altitude profile, accessibility, and (lack of) facilities. The better a route scores on all these criteria, the more popular it is.

Popularity is great if you like to share your experience with many other climbers and make lots of new friends. It's also great if you're looking for an affordable climbing package. If solitude and wilderness are what you're looking for, then the most popular routes may not be your best choice.

Lemosho Route
Do you recommend the 8-day Lemosho Route?

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

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

What is the Lemosho Route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

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

How long does the Lemosho Route take?

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

Map of Lemosho Route

Crater Camp
What is Crater Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

 

Why would I want to stay at Crater Camp?

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

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

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

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

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

 

What are the risks of staying at Crater Camp?

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

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

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

 

 

How can I mitigate those risks?

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

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

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

 

Which is the best route to combine with Crater Camp?

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

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

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

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

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

Would you recommend me to stay at the Crater Camp?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Western Breach Route
Do you recommend the Western Breach route?

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Comparison
What is the difference between the Machame and Lemosho Routes?

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

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

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

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

The biggest difference between the Lemosho and Northern Circuit routes on Mount Kilimanjaro is the way they circumvent the peak. Both start in the west of the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, at Lemosho Gate, and are identical for the first two to four days (depending on the variation).

On the Shira plateau, or latest at Lava Tower, they split: The Lemosho Route continues along the popular and most scenic southern slopes to join with the Machame Route, while the Northern Circuit branches off to avoid the busy southern circuit and circumvents the peak on the rarely visited northern slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, near Kenya.

Both routes join again at Stella Point on the summit for the final path to Uhuru Peak, and follow the same descent route down to Mweka Gate.

In terms of difficulty, we consider both routes roughly equal. At 72km (44mi) of total length, Lemosho is a little shorter than the Northern Circuit, which is the longest route on Kilimanjaro.

Depending on its variation (8 or 9 days, including or excluding an acclimatization detour to Lava Tower), the Northern Circuit has a total length of 80km (49mi) to 94km (58mi).

Therefore, the Northern Circuit takes one more day to complete: While Lemosho can be completed in 7 or 8 days, the Northern Circuit takes 8 or 9 days.

The average distance covered per day, however, is 9-10km for both routes. Therefore, even though the Northern Circuit is longer overall, we do not consider it to be more difficult.

In terms of acclimatization and summit success chance, we don't see a major difference as both routes have a very high summit success chance (read the golden rules of altitude acclimatization).

To maximize your summit success chance when climbing Kilimanjaro, taking 8 or 9 days is recommendable over 7 days or less, such as for the 7-day Lemosho Route.

However, the 8-day Lemosho Route, 8-day Northern Circuit and 9-day Northern Circuit all have a summit success chance of close to 100%. So which one should you take? Read more here.

Is the Lemosho Route more authentic than the Machame Route?

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

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

Which is the shortest route to climb Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which is the best hiking route on Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

Which is the easiest route?

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

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

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

Which is the safest route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please contact us for a tailor-made recommendation.

Safety
Which is the best Kilimanjaro hiking route for altitude acclimatization?

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

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

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

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success rates are those with the best altitude profile so that you can acclimatize to the thin air before attempting your final summit push.

Climbing high during the day and sleeping low at night is ideal. Furthermore, it's important to ascend slowly over multiple days so that your body has more time to get used to the high altitude.

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

Recommendation
Should I take the Machame or Lemosho Route?

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

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

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

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

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

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

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

  • 8-day Lemosho Route: Best scenery and easy to join an open group climb, as long as you don't mind the crowds
  • 8-day Machame Route: Easiest route with 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.
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.

 

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, when joining an open group trek to climb Kilimanjaro, it is not possible to downgrade the package to make it cheaper. For example, you might not require emergency oxygen or a dining tent that are included in the climb package. However, the cost of these items is already factored into the price paid by other climbers.

It wouldn't be fair to them if they would be required to pay more, and it could lead to friction in your climbing group.

In case of emergency, of course your guide would use the emergency oxygen paid for by other climbers for your safety benefit. Other climbers may be annoyed about you getting a free ride at their cost.

However, to the extent allowed by Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, it is always possible to downgrade and fully customize a private group climb.

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

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.

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

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

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

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
Vaccinations & Medications
How do I avoid contracting malaria when travelling to Tanzania?

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

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

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

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

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

Gear & Packing
Electronics
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.

 

 

 

Fair Porter Treatment
Overview
Who are the Kilimanjaro porters?

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

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

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

Wages
How are porters exploited?

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

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

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

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

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

Do Kilimanjaro porters get a minimum wage?

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

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

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

Safety
Why does inadequate equipment and preparation endanger lives?

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

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

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

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

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 ratingProfessional, Kind, and Seamless Coordination Fair Voyage coordinated our Kilimanjaro trek and safari, and we... read more

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

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