- Private or group?
- When to climb?
- Getting to Kilimanjaro / Tanzania
- Visas and documents
- Choosing a route
- Training for your climb
- Health, Vaccines & malaria
- Kilimanjaro Packing check-list
- Hiking boots
- Rental equipment
PRIVATE OR GROUP?
A private trek on Kilimanjaro means the tour you have booked has your own flexibility of dates and private services for those in your group including sleeping, dining tents, equipment (camping routes), transfers as well as a dedicated team of guides, porters, cook, waiter all there just for you / your group. There will of course be other people trekking and using public facilities at the same time.
This option is perfect for groups of 3 or more, couples wanting privacy, friends, families, solo trekkers with special requirements and large groups.
A scheduled group departure usually has fixed dates that cannot be changed. You also share common services with those in your group including camping equipment (camping routes), transfers and your support team however can still book your own room, tent and even your own guide. Groups are usually a great way of saving on the package price and meeting other like minded people from around the world and spreading your costs.
A scheduled group is usually for solo travellers or couples looking for a group rate. Our own groups are limited to a maximum of 12 people but most actually have 3-5 people who join.
Open or external group:
An open group is if none of our existing tours or dates match your travel plans, with at least 6 months notice, we can open your private departure for others to join onto if you want others to join your custom tour. If anyone joins, you can benefit from sharing common services such as support staff, transfers and experiences but still have the guarantee of the dates you have planned.
External groups are groups added by other trusted suppliers onto our departure list. We act as an agent for these groups and help you match to the tour of your preference.
Kilimanjaro National Park regulations do not permit any climbers to trek without a support team of guides, porters and cooks.
When to visit
These recommendations are based on weather predictions and trends.
January, February, July to October, December
March, June, November
WHEN TO CLIMB
You usually would consider weather when deciding the best time to climb as this really defines the trekking conditions and experience. Wet weather makes the walk difficult and muddy and dry weather means your long hikes are easier and your gear stays clear of water.
That being said it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the weather patterns on Kilimanjaro and you can have rain every day in a dry season or not even get one drop in the middle of the wet season. Dry seasons also experience huge volume of trekkers and have large crowds on all routes / circuits.
An excellent time to climb is where we predict good weather and dry conditons on trails. The following months usually are an excellent time to climb:
January, February, July, August, September, October, December (mid-December onwards).
Although a great time to trek, these are usually the busiest times on the mountain, especially July and August which cross over with holiday seasons in Europe and America.
A good time to climb is where we predict average weather with limited rain and relatively dry trekking conditions on trails. The following are usually good months to climb in:
March, June, November to Mid-december.
There are still chances of heavy rains during the above periods however at the same time, you usually will have less people on the mountain making the experience a little more intimate.
The months of April and May are defined as a mixed time for climbing as this is in the 'long rain' season where heavy downpours can be expected every day and very wet and muddy trekking conditions on trails.
Most avoid these months as the trek is very difficult however you may end up being the only ones on the mountain making an extremly private trek.
Lunar movements or astronomical sightings
You may want to reach Africa's highest peak when there is something special in the sky. There are still many factors that will determine if you can actually see anything (especially astronomical sightings that may not be visible from East Africa) however many do plan to summit on full moons, special moons, apogees and more.
You can ask our sales team if you want help planning around these movements or let us know when you need to be at the top and plan the tour dates accordingly.
From birthdays and anniversaries or special days, planning around a special occassion is usually straight forward. You can let us know your special dates and our sales team will package a tour around these dates. We may be able to add some special extras such as cake, sparking juice or wine and special meals on request.
GETTING TO KILIMANJARO / TANZANIA
There are three main international airports in Tanzania as described below. Most usualy fly to / from Kilimanjaro International Airport but you should consider your tour and where the most convenient location will be and the available options from your origin country.
We don't offer International flights ourselves but would recommend using an online comparison site (such as Skyscanner) to get the best deals!
Kilimanjaro International Airport (IATA CODE: JRO / ICAO CODE: HTKJ)
The closest international airport for Kilimanjro or any Northern Tanzania safari, Kilimanjaro International Airport is approximately 1-2 hours from Moshi (Kilimanjaro) and Arusha (Safari). There are daily international flights from KLM, Turkish Airlines, Quatar and Ethiopian Airlines.
There are a few airport hotels nearby however most sleep in Arusha or Moshi depending on their adventure ahead.
Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (IATA CODE: DAR / ICAO CODE: HTDA)
Located in Dar Es Salaam, we usually don't recommend this airport as you will likely spend more flying to the North of Tanzania or spend a full day in a coach (10-12 hours) travelling by road.
Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (IATA CODE: ZNZ / ICAO CODE: HTZA)
Located in Zanzibar, we usually don't recommend this aiport as you will likely spend more flying to the North of Tanzania. You may however be able to book a multi-city journey if you are planning on ending your trip on the beach. You can fly in to Kilimanjaro International Airport and fly out from Zanzibar International Airport.
There are easy and cheap connections between Zanzibar International Airport and Dar Es Salaam Airport for those who can only get flights into DAR.
Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA CODE: NBO / ICAO CODE: HKNA)
Located in Kenya's capital Nairobi this airport used to be a cost effective location to land and travel by road to Tanzania. With flight prices more reasonable to fly directly to Tanzania (not to mention the long road transfer of 6-8 hours and extra visa requirements), we don't recommend this option anymore.
For those who still wish to land in Kenya (or have a Kenyan safari planned after a trek in Tanzania), you can still book private or coach road transfer options with our sales team.
VISA AND DOCUMENTS
Some important documents you need with you and should keep with you at all times you are travelling (in your hand luggage not your main luggage). This may be too much for some or not enough for others and you can speak to our sales consultants if you need any advice.
- Passport and passport copy (see visa section below)
- Visa (see visa section below)
- Airline travel docuements
- Insurance (see insurance section below)
- Booking confirmation
- Yellow fever certificate (see vacines and malaria section below)
Internet connections and printers can easily be out of service or hard to access in remote locations in Tanzania. You should have hard copies of important documents and a digital copy on your mobile device.
Please note that this information was correct at the time of writing however rules can change and the latest information is available at the dedicated government immigration website: https://www.immigration.go.tz.
All foreigners (non Tanzanian citizens or residents) are required to have a valid visa for entry into the country unless your nationality or passport allows for special exclusions. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the end of your tour. Although this visa can be obtained on arrival from an entry point (airport / border for most nationalities) we recommend obtaining this via the new E-visa system launched in 2019 or from your local consultate / embassy if available in your country.
You can access the online portal here to apply: https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/
Please note: A visa on arrival is not possible for all nationalities. The following nationalities require a 'referral visa' that should be applied for before you purchase flight tickets, book your tour. You can still apply for this via the online portal or your local embassy / consulate.
We can assist with provisional bookings and cover letters if required.
Nationals of the folowing countries require a referral visa and cannot obtain a visa on arrival:
Stateless persons or persons with refugee status.
If you nationality is not listed above, you should be able to obtain a visa easily online or on arrival however there is still no guarantee you will get the visa and it's always best to do this beforehand.
Remember it is your own responsibility to obtain the necessary visa to enter the country and delays caused from visa issues could incur costs and cause delays on your tour.
CHOOSING A ROUTE
Choosing a route on Kilimanjaro some times gets difficult. There is so much information on and offline that makes this confusing. Everyones ability and requirements are different and what works for one person may not work for someone else.
The main factors when deciding on a route should be your ability as a hiker, you previous experience at a high altitude and your maximum budget.
Whats the best route? We get asked this question many times. There is no real answer for this as in reality, the whole mountain is beautiful and whichever direction you approach from, you will experience forest, moorland, alpine desert and a icy summit and your individual trekking profile will really determine what's best for you .
Theoretically the 'Northern Circuit' route is what we call the best route on the mountain. It ticks all the boxes for acclimatisation, length, scenery, traffic and nearly covers the whole mountain in a 360o direction. That being said, the Northern circuit needs a minimum of 8 days and the largest budget. .
We define all our routes into three simple categories:
Beginner - Where the route allows for longer treks (reducing the walks between camps) and has better acclimatisation profiles. These routes generally have no (or only a few) scrambling or moderately technical sections but require no advanced equipment or previous experience.
Intermediate - Where the route offers flexibility on duration based on your previous experience and has a good acclimatisation profile. These routes generally have a few scrambling or moderately technical sections but dont require previous mountaineering experience or advanced equipment.
Advanced - Advanced routes are designed for those hardended mountaineers who are alooking for a strong challenge. This can be a short / quick ascent on a normal route or include technical climbing via the western breach and high altitude camping up to sleeping inside of the Kibo crater at 5730m or 18,700ft. Most do not opt for these routes however we have an experienced team of guides who are capable of guiding you on these trails.
You can check our handy table above for a quick comparison between routes.
TRAINING FOR YOUR CLIMB
To ensure that you are physically and mentally fit and capable of attempting your Kilimanjaro challenge, we would highly advise you to start training at least 3-4 months before your tour date.
The most effective training for a high altitude climb would be to include other high altitude treks (at a similar or near height), if available near you. Alternatively you may wish to opt for trekking Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania, which is known to be great for acclimatisation prior to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
It may not be possible for everyone to do other high altitude trekking; therefore we would recommend you to include long hikes in your training of 6-8 hours as this could typically simulate a day en-route on Kilimanjaro. Try to find natural land with various gradients to train your leg muscles.
Remember to train in the hiking boots you intend to wear for your Kilimanjaro climb (check out the hiking boots section).
Don’t forget to carry your rucksack whilst training so that you get used to 3.5-4.5kgs on your back. Bear in mind your Kilimanjaro trek could be between 5-9 days, therefore any experience in hiking for a number of days would help your preparation.
A long with the hiking we would advise the following forms of exercise that will help, remember your training should be progressive so you should be able to do more or move on to harder practices.
- Walking, jogging / running, aerobics, and a gym work-out for the fitness of the physical body
- Swimming and yoga which are especially great for the breathing.
- High fitness activities you already enjoy.
Please note that there are other forms of exercises that may have not been mentioned but could also help and there is no real formula of having success on Kilimanjaro.
HEALTH, VACCINES AND MALARIA
Trekking the highest mountain in Africa should not be underestimated when taking your health and fitness into consideration. If you are physically and mentally fit, your chances of reaching to the roof top of Africa are increased. We would consider hiking up Kilimanjaro to be a high risk adventure, due to the high altitudes and physical exertion required.
Consult your family doctor / local GP / physician at least 3 to 4 months before your travel to Tanzania or before you book. Be clear with the acitivites you are doing during your tour, including the high altitude trek and any vaccinations and medication you may require. Your medical check-up may give you an indication of whether you are fit for the adventure.
Medication & first aid:
Ensure that you carry all your medication (in your hand luggage) and a first aid kit for your travel (we include our own first aid kit on treks but it's always good to have yours handy).
Below is a general guideline on common vaccinations that are recommended before entering Tanzania. Please consult your doctor for necessary vaccinations that you require before your travel and any other recommended ones:
Polio - One time booster recommended for any adult travelling to any country that completed the childhood series, but never had the polio vaccine as an adult
Yellow Fever - Recommended for all travellers exposed to mosquitoes. A certificate or proof of vaccination is required for travellers arriving (or transiting for more than 12 hours) from a yellow fever endemic country. You can find a helpful guide here: https://www.iamat.org/country/tanzania/risk/yellow-fever
Hepatitis A - Recommended for all travellers in case of intake of contaminated food or drink in Tanzania
Hepatitis B - Not generally recommend for travel to Tanzania however recommended if you are going to be exposed to contaminated needles, blood products e.g. medical procedures, piercings or tattoos or sexual contact.
Typhoid - Recommended for all travellers in case of intake of contaminated food or drink in Tanzania
Rabies - For travellers spending a lot of time outdoors e.g. hikings, camping, adventure, or in areas with high risk of animal bites, or in activities that will involve direct contact with dogs, bats and other mammals in Tanzania.
Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR) - Two doses recommended for all travellers born after 1995, if not previously vaccinated.
Tetanus – Diphtheria - Vaccination recommended every 10 years
Malaria & Insect Protection
Please consult with your doctor the ways in which you should prevent Malaria, you may be required to take prescribed medication before, during and after your trip. You are likely to be exposed to malaria carrying Mosquitoes in Tanzania:
- in altitudes below 1800m
- during the evening and nights
- throughout the year
- in areas where there is dirty water
We would highly recommend you to protect yourself from Mosquitoes and other insects by:
- taking anti-malarial medication
- applying insect repellent
- wearing clothing that covers majority of your body e.g. long sleeves, long pants, hats, shoes etc.
- closing all room windows (by late afternoon) unless there is a net / screen to prevent insects and mosquitoes entering
- using mosquito nets preferably impregnated with insect repellent, over your bed during overnights
- a mosquito coil only as a last resort which will fill the room with insecticide throughout the night, although this method is not pleasant.
This is the most common travel-related ailment which is acquired by the intake of contaminated food and / or water. It is characterised by an increased frequency of unformed bowel movements, i.e. three or more loose stools in an 8 hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24 hour period which could be accompanied with urgency, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating, fever or blood in the stool. In most cases traveller’s diarrhoea are mild where fluid intake and oral rehydration solution may be enough, and medication may not be necessary. Oral rehydration solution comes in sachets of powder which have to be mixed with treated or boiled water. They are generally available in pharmacies worldwide and it aims to restore the fluids and salts lost in diarrhoeal stool. In worst cases an anti-diarrhoeal drug such as Loperamide (Imodium) or Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken as needed to reduce the frequency of stools, however please seek advice from your doctor before travelling.
KILIMANJARO PACKING CHECK-LIST
A guide designed to help you pack for your Kilimanjaro trek and know what to purchase or hire. This list is a guideline and may be too much for some people and limited for others.
Any items marked with * are easily available from our or other local rental stores. Remember to reserve your items beforehand (especially during the peak season).
Buying equipment working out to be expensive? Why not rent some of the items for your trek, we can arrange for some essential equipment for you. Any items marked with a * on the above list can be hired in Moshi.
Remember your hiking boots will be one of your most important companions up the mountain.
It is the only item we would strongly recommend you to bring along with you (other than your underwear!) and we would not advise you to rent these in Moshi. It is essential to have good quality ones that allow you to comfortably hike long distances and a great way to test them is to utilise them during your training sessions and long treks.
If you are planning on buying new ones especially for your Kilimanjaro climb, they should be well worn in at least for a couple of months regularly – wear them as much as you can. Besides comfort they should keep you dry, warm and free from blisters, frost bites and sprained ankles. Bad trekking boots can prevent your progress up the mountain!
So what kind of hiking footwear is suitable for Kilimanjaro?
- Fitting: should not be tight, you should be able to wear thermal socks or two-three pairs of socks comfortably. To get a great fitting, wear the pair of hiking boots (without socks) and slide your finger in at the back of the shoe. If your finger does not slide in this means that they are too tight for you. There should be a gap of the width of your finger between the back of your foot and the shoe.
- Waterproof: ensure that your boots are water proof
- Support: your hiking boots should support the whole foot including the ankle and heel, therefore a recommended hiking boot for Kilimanjaro would have the mouth of the shoe higher up, covering more of your foot than normal sports shoes i.e. trainers / sneakers.
Wear your boots on board your flight
Have your hiking boots with you at all times while you fly or travel to Tanzania, best to wear them in case your checked-in main luggage gets delayed or in the worst cases lost! You can hire most things, however comfortable, well-worn in boots for your feet may be hard to find!
RENTAL EQUIPMENT LIST
The below is an approximate guide to prices for various rental equipment available from us or from our local partners. Prices are just indications and subject to change. You can reserve most items with your sales consultant.
Anorak / JacketsUSD $20.00, per tripMixed brands
BalaclavaUSD $8.00, per tripMixed brands
Boots - walking / trekkingUSD $20.00, per tripMixed brands
Duffel bagUSD $20.00, per tripMixed brands
HatUSD $5.00, per tripMixed brands
Head TorchUSD $10.00, per tripMixed brands, excluding batteries
GaitersUSD $10.00, per tripMixed brands
Gloves / warm mitsUSD $8.00, per tripMixed brands
Glove linersUSD $5.00, per tripMixed brands
Mattres (self-inflatable)USD $10.00, per dayMixed brands
Neck warmerUSD $7.00, per tripMixed brands
Raincoat / ponchoUSD $10.00, per tripMixed brands
Rain / wind / waterproof trousersUSD $20.00, per tripMixed brands
Ruck sack / day packUSD $20.00, per tripMixed brands
ScarfUSD $5.00, per tripMixed brands
4 season sleeping bag (Synthetic filled)USD $30.00, per tripSnugpak Softie 15 Discovery (-4F or -20C low rating)
4 season sleeping bag (Down filled)USD $50.00, per tripMarmot Wind River (-14.4F or -25.8C low rating)
SocksUSD $5.00, per tripMixed brands
SunglassesUSD $10.00, per tripMixed brands
Sweater / fleece / jumperUSD $10.00, per tripMixed brands
Travel pillowUSD $10.00, per tripMixed brands
Walking poles (pair)USD $10.00, per tripMixed brands
Water bladder / Water hydration systemUSD $15.00, per tripMixed brands
We realize that tipping may not be a common practice in your country or culture so this guide is designed to help this process be easy, transparent and fair for all involved as there is a tipping culture for your Kilimanjaro or Meru trek.
A tip (of course) is never compulsory and we recommend tipping only if you have received an exceptional service from your crew.
You may notice that our tipping guidelines are much lower than the other local companies. That's because as a KPAP partner company, we pay a much higher salary so the crew are not relying on or demanding a huge tip from you.
As a KPAP partner company, we are already committed to paying a fair basic wage for our support teams and market data shows KPAP companies pay above the market average. Some companies operating on the mountain make their support team solely depend on the tip as their salary and offer no salary. We are not one of these companies!
A tip is designed to add to the support teams financial compensation with a goal of providing a fair living wage for all involved in your trek with the combination of your generous tip and basic wage.
The current fair living wage defined by KPAP is at 33,000 Tanzanian Shillings (approx $15 USD) per day and the below tables outline some recommended tip amounts for your support team to achieve this.
Please note all amounts above are recommended per staff member from the whole group combined.
When and how to tip
- Clear any questions you may have regarding tips during your initial email / phone correspondence or during the pre-climb briefing latest.
- Never feel pressured to give a certain amount of tip. Only give what you can afford.
- DO NOT discuss the subject of tipping with your crew.
- The distribution of tips is BEST DONE AT THE PARK GATES after your climb / before heading back to the base hotel as this is the end of the trek for some support team members. You can either:
- Put the amount of tip money for each crew member in an envelope with their name on the top and personally hand it to them individually at the exit gate or to the head guide to distribute in your presence (RECOMMENDED METHOD).
- Pre-pay the tip as part of your climb package + a 30% processing fee (including bank charges). The tip will be paid in a local currency with the staff salary at an exchange rate of $1 = TSH 2300
INSURANCE FOR KILIMANJARO
Are you covered for your trek?
A host of unforeseen circumstances can always come up on any holiday. In addition to covering for your clients flight, tour, baggage delays etc. as you would for any holiday, we highly recommend all clients to have high altitude trekking insurance or ‘climbing insurance’ (you are not actually ‘climbing’ however this may be the common definition by your insurers for a trek on Kilimanjaro).
There is currently no test in the world to predict how you will react to a high altitude and even the most experienced trekkers can experience altitude sickness on Africa’s highest mountain and even descend unexpectedly.
A few key points to consider when purchasing insurance
- This should cover at least 5895m (most policies will usually state up to 6000m)
- Your policy should be on a ‘non-reimbursement’ basis, i.e. the insurer will pay for hospital bills etc. immediately (while you are in Tanzania) as opposed to claiming back when you get home.
- Your policy should cover the activity of trekking to a high altitude, mountain rescue services, helicopter call out etc.
- It is always best to purchase this insurance from your local insurer as you can handle this much easier in the event of a claim.
- What supporting documents are required in the event of a claim (e.g. receipts, booking summary, etc.).
- How much is the excess / deductible in the event of a claim.
- Have you submitted your insurance details to your tour consultant for our records?
Can’t find any insurer willing to cover this activity?
If you can’t find a local insurance policy to cover yourself, we can recommend ‘Ripcord’ who can cover almost anyone on Kilimanjaro, regardless of your country of origin:
Most of our trekkers will never use insurance however the costs associated with those that do need to can be in the thousands of dollars and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Your primary evacuation options
The following are the primary evacuation methods available for your trek, in descending order for how our guides would consider during an emergency or evacuation with medical reasons.
- If safe to do so and you are physically able, you will walk down with a guide
- If safe to do so and you cannot physically walk, you will be carried by a stretcher to the nearest rescue vehicle point.
- Is a helipad nearby for a Helicopter Evacuation (Note: as of January 2021, no dedicated helicopter evacuation service is available on Kilimanjaro and this is no longer a primary evacuation method)
The best way to recover from high altitude symptoms is descending to a lower altitude where the oxygen is rich, and your body can recover better. Our primary goal is always (and will always be) for you to descend by walking down yourself for the safest and best experience!
- Stretchers are provided by the national park and only available from specific ranger posts at campsites, subject to availability.
- Rescue vehicles are provided by the national park and are subject to their availability.
- Stretchers and rescue vehicles are covered by the compulsory rescue fees already included in all climb packages and no insurance is required for these services.
- A dedicated helicopter service is no longer available on Kilimanjaro. Our guides are trained (and experienced) with dealing with various high-altitude emergencies and we do not rely on helicopter services as they may not be available at any time, for any reason.
Tanzanian Shillings: the official national currency. Tanzanian Shillings are only available in Tanzania. Most of your prices and costs however (park fees, accommodation etc.) are paid in USD ($).
US Dollars: considered to be the unofficial secondary currency accepted in most tourist places.
Only US dollar bank notes printed after 2006 are accepted in Tanzania, notes printed before this year are not accepted by banks in Tanzania and not a valid currency.
Other currency: Common currencies such as pounds, euro's and more may be accepted at local beureus however we advise on converting these to USD in your country of origin to avoid delays and inconvenience.
Credit / Debit cards: advised in case of emergency. Surcharges to withdraw or make payments using a card may be up to 5% on the transaction value. Reliability of card machines and ATM's is up and down so we recommend keeping some cash on you for emergencies.
We accept: We accept the following payment methods with a 4-5% surcharge.