9-day Northern Circuit Recommendation & Best Offers | 100% ethical

SUMMIT SUCCESS CHANCEHigh
ALTITUDE PROFILE (HIKE HIGH, SLEEP LOW)Excellent
DIFFICULTY (GRADIENT, DAILY DISTANCE)Doable
SCENERYVery good
WILDERNESSExcellent
360° VIEWSExcellent
ACCESSIBILITYGood
AFFORDABILITYExpensive

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

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

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

We recommend the 9-day Northern Circuit for two reasons: First, 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.

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: the Dendrosenecio forest (though you will still get to see a few Dendrosenecio trees) as well as the Barranco Wall (a blessing in disguise if you suffer from vertigo) – a small sacrifice for your authentic wilderness experience!

If you're looking for a slightly shorter or more affordable climb, please see the 8-day Northern Circuit. Alternatively, for an easier and more luxurious experience, we recommend the 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 Dendrosenecio 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
7-8h   
  • Final summit push through the night and sunrise on top of Africa
  • School Hut (4,800m)  →  Uhuru Peak (5,895m)
  • 1,095m
  • 7km

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 School Hut 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.

Your summit ascent begins, and the pre-summit goal is to reach Gilman's Point. After a relatively moderate start, the trail joins with the Marangu Route as you approach the scree-sloped Kibo. The path becomes steep in the beginning, but a series of switchbacks will make the climb easier for you.

As the oxygen becomes thinner, you’ll begin to feel the effects of the higher altitude. Take your time and focus on taking the trek step-by-step. After approximately an hour and a half slowly making your way up, you will hit rockier terrain, with some boulders to walk over. These rocks are called the Jamaican Rocks, and can be slippery at times so be mindful of your steps as you cross over them.

The night will be cold with frigid temperatures and altitude sickness may begin to hit you. Your final push to the top may seem endless, but rest assured that it will come to an end. What satisfaction as you reach Gilman's Point at the top of Kibo! From here, it is only an hour and a half or so until Uhuru Peak, and you will have the opportunity to rest and refuel a bit before the final haul. As you look across the starlit sky, you have the outline of Mawenzi glaring back at you. Take in the cosmic sights and congratulate yourself for making it thus far! The worst has been accomplished.

As you turn Southwest, you start to push through the steady but shallow trail along the crater rim and past  Stella Point towards Uhuru Peak. While it’s a very gradual ascent, 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.

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 Mount 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 9
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 9-day Northern Circuit

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. We'd rather recommend you a high-quality package on any other route if you prefer comfort and privacy.

Choosing Your Itinerary
Overview
What is the Northern Circuit route on Mount Kilimanjaro like?

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

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

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

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

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

Recommendation
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.

Which Kilimanjaro route has the the highest summit success chance?

The Kilimanjaro routes with the highest summit success chance 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%.

How do I go about choosing my best Kilimanjaro route?

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

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

Please contact us for a tailor-made recommendation.

Which Kilimanjaro route do you most recommend?

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

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

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

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

Finding Your Best Offer
Guides & Operators
How many guides will there be for my group when climbing Kilimanjaro?

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

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

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

Minimum ratio of Kilimanjaro climbers per guide for all climbs booked via Fair Voyage:
ClimbersGuides
1 climber1 guide
2 climbers2 guides
3 climbers2 guides
4 climbers2 guides
5 climbers3 guides
6 climbers3 guides
7 climbers4 guides
8 climbers4 guides
9 climbers5 guides
10 climbers5 guides
11 climbers6 guides
12 climbers6 guides
Open Group Tours
When joining a Kilimanjaro group climb, can I customize it to make it cheaper?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accommodation
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. We'd rather recommend you a high-quality package on any other route if you prefer comfort and privacy.

Preparing Your Trip
Getting started
What are the next steps once I've booked my Kilimanjaro climb?

Once you've booked your Kilimanjaro climb, if not sooner, it is important that you take these steps:

1. Take out travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory to participate in climbs booked via Fair Voyage (read more here). 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 Tour. We recommend the travel insurance by World Nomads which has good coverage at affordable prices. You can easily apply for it online within few minutes (get it now).

2. Book your flight

To maximize your chances of finding a convenient & affordable flight, it's best to book your flight as soon as you've booked your climb. Kilimanjaro International Airport is conveniently located within 20-60 minutes drive of most hotels in Moshi and Arusha that are commonly used as a base to climb Kilimanjaro. It is best to arrive at least 2 nights before the start of your climb and to depart a day after you finish your climb. If constrained by time, it is also possible – but not recommendable – to arrive on the evening prior to the start of your climb, and to depart on the evening of your last climbing day.

3. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months

Visas can be obtained upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport and must be paid for in cash (US$100 for US citizens and US$50 for most other nationals). However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the data your entry to Tanzania.

4. Get a health check & required vaccinations

It is important that you are in good physical health. If you are at increased risk due to age, level of fitness, or health condition, you must get a medical check and confirm with your doctor that strenuous exercise in high altitude is permissible for your condition. Please also check all required & recommended vaccinations and medications for travelling to Tanzania. As some vaccinations may need to be administered over longer periods of time to become effective, it is best to consult your medical expert well in advance of travelling to Tanzania.

5. Fill in the Traveller Details Form

Please fill in the Traveller Details Form for each person in your booking and send it back to us and your local Tour Operator as soon as possible prior to the start of your Tour. This allows your local Operator to prepare your Tour (including your arrival and departure arrangements; as well as any dietary, medical or other requirements they should be a aware of), and to ensure that we have all your details for emergencies.

6. Start to train

It is never too soon to start your training.

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

7. Organize all required gear, documents, medications, etc.

Organizing your gear can be a very time-consuming process. It is best to review our recommended packing list and start thinking about how to organize any missing items as soon as you've booked your climb. Most gear can be rented locally, which is a cost-effective and environmentally friendlier alternative to buying new gear. Please check with us for a full list of items available locally.

8. Be aware of all risks, notably altitude sickness and malaria

It is important that you familiarize yourself with all risks involved with your tour and travels to Tanzania. The biggest risk for Kilimanjaro climbers is altitude sickness. Another risk when travelling to Tanzania is malaria. Please familiarize yourself thoroughly with all risks involved so that you can take adequate precautions.

9. Carefully read your pre-climb briefing

Please carefully read our pre-climb briefing. Your local Tour Operator may also provide you with their own pre-climb briefing. Please carefully also read their documents. If in doubt about any information, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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.

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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 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. All our partners are furthermore top-rated by travellers on leading review platforms such as TripAdvisor.

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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