6 Days Kilimanjaro climb-Marangu route
During your research you may have heard that the Marangu route is the cheapest, easiest and most popular route up Kilimanjaro. This is, in fact, an outdated view, and we feel quite the opposite. The Marangu route is probably one of our least favourite Kilimanjaro climb routes. Whilst offering rewarding views from the Saddle (a high-altitude desert), it’s less scenic than other Kilimanjaro routes because you ascend and descend via the same trail.
The Marangu route is the only Kilimanjaro route to offer hut accommodation. On all other routes you must camp. On the Marangu route you sleep in dormitory-like huts that provide mattresses and other basic amenities. This makes the route a popular choice for budget operators that don’t have camping equipment. We only recommend choosing this route if you really don’t want to camp.
✓ Hut accommodation
✓ Enjoy panoramic views
✓ Varied terrain
– Shorter acclimatisation period
– Low summit success rate
– Less scenic than other routes
Day by day Activities
We depart Moshi for Marangu Gate for the necessary formalities before beginning our trek. The hiking trail begins by ascending a beautiful, tropical rain forest. At the upper edge of the forest line, we have the opportunity to see blue monkeys. The trail then widens to expose beautiful hillsides until we reach to Mandara Hut.
Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut
Elevation (ft): 6,046 ft to 8,858 ft
Altitudes (m):1890m to 2720m
Distance: 8 km/5 miles
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
We start the day continuing through the forest until the trail opens into high moorland. We may get our first views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks – two of the three volcanic peaks that make up the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
Elevation (ft): 8,858 ft to 12,205 ft
Altitudes (m): 2720m to 3720m
Distance: 12 km/7 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
This is an extra day meant for acclimatization and can be spent day hiking on Mawenzi Ridge. The unique landscape offers motivating views of Kibo and Mawenzi. After spending a few moments exploring the area we head back to Horombo Hut.
Horombo Hut to Mawenzi Ridge
Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 14,400 ft
Altitudes (m): 3720m to 4390m
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Mawenzi Ridge to Horombo Hut
Elevation (ft): 14,400 ft to 12,205
Altitudes (m): 4390m to 3720m
Distance: 5 km/3 miles
Hiking Time: 1-2 hours
We climb gradually then cross the lunar desert of the “Saddle” between Mawenzi and Kibo. Our camp, Kibo Hut, sits at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. Once here we rest, enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day.
Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 15,430 ft
Altitudes (m): 3720m to 4720m
Distance: 10 km/6 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
You will wake up at 11pm for tea, snacks and dress warm, Very early in the morning at 12am, we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. At Gilman’s point (18,600 ft/5685m), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. You will hike for I hour to Stella point (18800ft/5756m), Finally you will arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
After spending a few moments taking in the plains of Africa and your accomplishment, we descend to Horombo Hut for nap and brunch, Later in the evening; we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned long sleep.
Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak
Elevation (ft): 15,430 ft to 19,341 ft
Altitudes (m): 4720m to 5895m
Distance: 6 km/4 miles
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Uhuru Peak to Horombo Hut
Elevation (ft): 19,341 ft to 12,250 ft
Altitudes (m): 5895m to 3720m
Distance: 16 km/10 miles
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours Habitat: Heath
On our last day, we have a long trek mostly downhill through the tropical rainforest. Once at the park headquarters at Marangu gate, we collect our summit certificates. A vehicle will meet us here and drive us back to the hotel in Moshi.
Destination: Marangu gate
Horombo Hut to Marangu Gate
Elevation (ft): 12,205 ft to 6,046 ft
Altitudes (m): 3720m to 1890m
Distance: 20 km/12 miles
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
The Marangu route is for climbers who don’t want to camp and require a shorter trek.
The northern safari circuit is bookended by Lake Victoria and Rubondo Island in the west and Mount Kilimanjaro in the east. To the north lies the Kenyan border with the Masai Mara and Amboseli reserves located just across the frontier. Tarangire National Park is regarded as the most southerly tourist attraction in this diverse and breathtaking safari region. Within a relatively compact geographical area, safari goers will have access to a multitude of other iconic parks and major tourist attractions, including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Oldupai Gorge, Lake Natron, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Mount Meru, Arusha National Park and Lake Manyara.
First-and-foremost amongst a profusion of highlights on the northern safari circuit is the Serengeti National Park, encompassing 14,750 square kilometres and making up 50% of the wider Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, this is an iconic wildlife area. Sensational scenery dominated by expansive savannah grasslands and peppered with distinctive flattop acacias and balanites trees make this one of the most picturesque landscapes in all of Africa. Throw in 1.7 million wildebeest, 300,000 zebra and 400,000 gazelles and you have a wildlife spectacle second to none. Whether your budget stretches to incorporate a visit to the luxurious lodges within the exclusive Singita Grumeti concessions of the western corridor, or is limited to the budget offerings of Ikona Wildlife Management Area, the Serengeti and its surrounding reserves offer safari accommodations and experiences to suit most budgets.
Adjoining the south-east of the Serengeti National Park lies the exclusive Legendary Lodges concessions of Mwiba and southern Maswa that wrap around into the extensive Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Most visitors only ever see the Ngorongoro Crater, but if you have your own vehicle you have a unique opportunity to leave the safari hordes behind and explore the wider conservation area that is a mixed-use area for wildlife and Maasai pastoralists. Within this protected area, the vast Oldupai Gorge (originally misnamed Olduvai) is an archaeological site made famous by the Leakey family for being home to some of the continent’s most important hominid fossils. The Ngorongoro scenery is sensational and provided you visit outside of the peak safari season months (June – September) you will fall in love with this attractive crater packed full of habituated wildlife and mesmerizing scenery.
Mount Kilimanjaro is an anomaly. Located virtually on the equator, this 5,885 metre high conical, free-standing volcano seems so out of place with its snow-capped peak dwarfing the rift valley below. Whether you come to Tanzania to climb its legendary slopes to stand atop Uhuru Peak, or simply to gaze and photograph its majesty, as it presides over the plains and parks below, it would be wrong to come to Tanzania and not spend some time appreciating this grand old mountain that forms the roof of Africa.
The plentiful wildlife and giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire National Park, along with the seasonal appearance of upwards of a million flamingos that descend upon shallow Lake Manyara, round out the top five highlights for any safari to the northern circuit.
Tourist infrastructure is considerably better developed across the northern region with a wide variety of accommodation options from rustic campsites and budget lodgings to boutique camps and exclusive safari lodges that are amongst the very finest in Africa. While many visitors opt to fly between camps to save time, there is an extensive and well-maintained road network that enables relatively easy movement overland, although during the heavy rains from March to May, you should expect bridges and river crossings on the minor roads to periodically become submerged and even collapse after heavy rainfall. Unpaved secondary roads also take a real beating over this period.
Safety is not a major concern in northern Tanzania. The biggest non-weather related challenges you are likely to encounter while travelling through northern Tanzania will be with roadblocks, petty police harassment and traffic fines. Diesel and petrol are both widely available outside of the protected areas, but it is worth stocking up on fuel and supplies in the bigger towns and cities of the region, such as Mwanza, Arusha and Moshi, whenever you are passing through.
When planning your safari to Kenya or Tanzania one of the very first things you will need to decide is how to move around the region. We’re taking a closer look at both fly-in and drive-in options and will consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Simply means being flown to each destination by light aircraft. There are several small airstrips within each national park that service different camps and lodges in that area. Often a flight will stop at many airstrips on route in order to take guests to where they need to be. Kenya and Tanzania have numerous aviation companies to choose from with excellent scheduled routes linking almost all the national parks you may want to visit. If you choose this option, you will be on a game package basis at the camp, meaning activities are included within the rate and the camp will organise their activities and use their own guides and vehicles. These activities will be shared with other guests, unless they pre-book and pay for a private vehicle.
Many of the best wildlife areas in Kenya and Tanzania happen to be relatively close to each other, making it possible to drive from one park to another in just a few hours. Driving allows you to see and experience more of the country, while offering time to develop a deeper connection with your guide, often resulting in a more tailored safari. If you choose to travel overland, you will arrive at each destination with your own private vehicle and guide and will be on full board basis at the camps, as all game drives will be done with your driver guide. Additional activities such as game walks, fly-camping, night drives, community visits and boating will be at an extra cost and usually need to be pre-booked.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING BETWEEN A FLYING OR DRIVING SAFARI:
Is there a cost differential between the two options?
This will depend on the number of people travelling. The cost of the vehicle and guide is the same for one person as it is for seven people. Therefore, the more people you have in the car, the better value for money it becomes. Here at Asilia, we have both five-seater and seven-seater vehicles available and generally find that for groups of four to seven people it is more cost effective to drive rather than fly. Conversely, for smaller groups of one to three people it is usually cheaper to fly, even if the distances that need to be traveled are relatively short.
How many days do you have on safari?
If time is limited, then it is often best to fly to maximise your time on safari. On the other hand, if you have a couple of weeks to spend on safari, then you may choose to go at a slower pace by driving, making stops along the way and seeing more of the country outside the parks.
How much luggage can you bring?
Light aircrafts have a maximum baggage allowance of 15kgs (33lbs) per person – including hand luggage. Solid sided cases are also not permitted as bags need to be soft sided to fit into the hold. With your own vehicle you do not have the same strict limitations, of course depending on how many people are travelling with you.
Are you scared of flying?
If you are travelling to Africa, there is no escaping the fact that you are going to have to catch a plane to get there, however some people are more comfortable on international aircrafts than light aircrafts. The small aircrafts used in East Africa usually only sit between six to 12 passengers. Their size means that the slightest movement or bump can be felt, and the pilot and cockpit can easily be seen. All this, coupled with the remote — and often bumpy — bush airstrips can be enough to dissuade someone with a fear of flying, so it’s always worth letting your agent or safari consultant know if you’re afraid of flying before you book. For most people though, the experience of flying in a tiny plane is exhilarating and can really add to their overall experience.
Open- vs close-sided vehicles – do you have a strong preference?
If you choose a drive-in safari, all of your game viewing will be done from a closed vehicle. If your clients choose a fly-in safari, it is likely their game viewing will be done from an open vehicle based at your accommodation (the exception is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where all vehicles must be closed). The safari experience does differ slightly between open- and close-sided vehicles.
Consider a combination
As with many aspects for a safari, it’s worth mixing it up and offering a combination of flying and driving so you can experience the best of both. For example, in northern Tanzania, a great compromise is to drive between Arusha, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater with a private guide and vehicle, before flying into the Serengeti to continue your safari. This is essential if guests are travelling to the northern Serengeti because it is too far to drive from the Crater in a single day. You can also choose to drive one way and then fly back to save time, but please bear in mind that it’s not always the most cost-effective option because there is the cost of an ‘empty leg’, as the driver and vehicle will still need to return to Arusha, even if you don’t join them.
If this sounds confusing, don’t worry, our experienced team of sales consultants are always on hand to advise you about logistics. Enquire today!
Can you go on safari from Zanzibar? The answer is; Absolutely! You can do a short or long safari starting from Zanzibar to all the famous national parks in mainland Tanzania! We include short flights or 30 minutes to Dar es Salaam for southern Tanzania safaris, including a visit to Mikumi National Park, Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous), Udzungwa National Park or even the far flung Ruaha National Park. For Nyerere National Park ( Selous safari) and Ruaha National Park, we can arrange direct flights from Zanzibar to the airstrips located in the parks, using domestic bush flight companies.
For the more famous national parks in Northern Tanzania, we normally arrange a one hour flight to Arusha from where you will do Tanzania safari tours in the Tarangire National park, Lake Manyara National Park and the incredible Ngorongoro Crater. For the Serengeti fly in safari from Zanzibar, we normally arrange return flights from Zanzibar to Seronera Airstrip or Kogatende Airstrip for purposes of visiting Central Serengeti and Northern Serengeti respectively.
Is there safari in Zanzibar? This is one of the most frequently asked question by many of tourists who are planning to spend some time enjoying beach holidays in the Spice Island of Zanzibar.
The answer is simple; No, there is no safari in Zanzibar! All the wildlife safaris tours that you can take from Zanzibar are in Mainland Tanzania. Zanzibar safari packages start from Zanzibar with a flight to either Dar es Salaam (for tours in Southern Tanzania) or flights to Arusha, for tours in the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit that involves visiting the most famous parks like Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater among other parks.
In short; the Zanzibar wildlife safaris are tours that emanate from Zanzibar island but by incorporating a ferry transfer in the case of tours that will start by road from Dar es Salaam or flights to Dar es Salaam or Arusha in the mainland Tanzania.
How many days can a Zanzibar safari tour last?
We recommend at least 2 days / 1 night as the minimum number of days for a Zanzibar safari trips. Our 02 Days Mikumi Safari from Zanzibar for example is a great package for anyone who wishes to take a quick safari starting and ending at Zanzibar. It is also a great option for those seeking to try a wildlife safari in Tanzania from their beach hotels in Zanzibar but they have a small budget to do it.
The recommended number of days that you should spare for Zanzibar safari excursion is at least 3 days and above. Some of our best-selling safari tours from Zanzibar include the below.
To get to the Innternatioal Airport near Arusha you need to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA): CODE (IATA: JRO, ICAO: HTKJ) which is served daily by many airlines. The closest major cities to Kilimanjaro National Park are the city of Arusha and the town of Moshi. Depending on where you are traveling from, you can usually fly direct to Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) via the Gulf (Qatar airlines, Emirates) or via Europe (KLM). Follow this link for flight option: Kilimanjaro Flight Options
Alternatively, you can fly into Tanzania’s capital, Dar-Es-Salaam (DAR), for a short internal flight to (JRO), or to Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International (NBO) airport for a connection to JRO (Kenya Airways, Precision Air).
One of the best way to find cheap flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport is by flying into Nairobi Kenya. It’s also possible to travel by road from Kenya after flying in there. There are numerous bus and shuttle options to take you to Moshi town or the city of Arusha , though the roads can be quite rough at times; you might consider this if you’re feeling adventurous, trying to save money and have sufficient time.
International Flights to Tanzania
If you want To get to Kilimanjaro you need to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). The airport is situated south-west of Mount Kilimanjaro National Park. Below we have listed airlines that fly directly to Kilimanjaro airport (JRO).
- KLM: Direct flights from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro airport
- Condor Air : Direct flights from Frankfurt to Kilimanjaro airport
- Turkish Airlines: Direct flights from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro airport
- Kenya Airways: Direct flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro airport
- Precision Air: Direct flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro airport
- Qatar Airlines: Direct flights from Doha to Kilimanjaro airport
- Ethiopian Airlines: Direct flights from Addis Ababa to Kilimanjaro airport
- RwandAir: Direct flights from Kigali to Kilimanjaro airport
If you are unable find direct flights to Kilimanjaro airport, you can fly to Kilimanjaro airport via Dar Es Salaam or Nairobi (Kenya). Mount Kilimanjaro is much closer to Nairobi than it is from Dar Es Salaam. Nairobi receives a lot more air traffic than Kilimanjaro Airport, making it have competitive prices.
Best way to fly to Tanzania from us, Europe and UK
For Travellers in US, Europe and the UK, the easiest thing to do is to fly from a major local airport hub near your location to Amsterdam (most major airports in US, Europe and the UK have flights to Amsterdam), and then catch the KLM Airlines to JRO connecting flight.
Domestic flights within Tanzania and Kilimanjaro airport ( JRO )
The following airlines offer domestic flights within Tanzania region:
- Precision Air
- Regional Air
- Fast jet
- Zan Air
- Coastal Aviation
- Air Excel
Bus transfers from Nairobi
For a supplementary charge we can help you arrange private transportation or shuttle bus transfers to Moshi or Arusha from Nairobi, and vice versa.
Although the bus departs from Nairobi’s Park side Hotel, we arrange to fetch our clients from certain hotels in the Nairobi city center, at the Nairobi airport, and we do not charge extra for this service. In Arusha or Moshi town, pick up or drop off can be arranged to most hotels in the city center area.
|Nairobi to Arusha
|Nairobi to Arusha
|Nairobi to Moshi
|Moshi to Nairobi
|Arusha to Nairobi
|Moshi to Nairobi
|Arusha to Nairobi
It is possible to arrange private transfers to Arusha or Moshi from Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam or Mombasa and vice versa, at extra cost.
Yes, many safari operators offer customized itineraries based on your interests and preferences. You can work with your tour operator to create a unique itinerary that includes the national parks and game reserves you want to visit, as well as any specific activities or accommodations you prefer. Overall, a Tanzania safari is an unforgettable experience that offers the opportunity to see some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife in their natural habitats. With careful planning and preparation, visitors can have a safe and enjoyable safari adventure.
The daily schedule on a Tanzania safari can vary depending on the itinerary and specific activities planned, but generally, safaris involve early morning and late afternoon game drives to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities, with breaks during the day for meals and relaxation.
The best time to go on a Tanzania safari depends on the specific national parks and game reserves you want to visit. Generally, the dry season, from June to October, is the best time to see wildlife in many of Tanzania’s parks, including the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. However, the wet season, from November to May, can also offer unique wildlife viewing opportunities, such as the wildebeest migration.
Marangu route which is also known as the coca cola route is the least expensive route to the summit. This is also the only route with the comforts of sleeping huts at every camp site with solar lights and comfortable beds.
The huts are communal, and the bunks have a sponge mattress and pillow.
There are 60 beds at both Mandara and Kibo Huts and 120 beds at Horombo Hut. Bathrooms and running water are available at the two lower huts. Mens’ and ladies’ latrines are available at the last camp but are very basic.
All climbing groups, often from several countries around the world, share meals in dining huts providing a jovial and energetic atmosphere.
This route is usually done in 5 days (shortest route to the summit) but can be done in 6 days for better acclimatization. The extra day can be spent resting at Horombo or climbing the small peak of Mawenzi.
Kilimanjaro 6 Days Marangu route
We have put together a short documentary to show you what it’s really like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Find out what it’s really like to summit the roof of Africa at 5,895 m (19,341 ft) above sea level. No matter where you are in the planning stages, it’s an extremely useful watch as you:
- Meet the mountain crew who make this magnificent once-in-a-lifetime experience possible.
- Watch the team trek through five unique ecosystems.
- And find out what it really takes to conquer one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
Tanzania has three major international airports:
- Dar es Salaam (DAR)
- Zanzibar (ZNZ)
- Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO)
The latter is the most convenient for Kilimanjaro, sitting only 42 km away from the mountain town of Moshi and 50 km from Arusha.
In addition to flights to Tanzania, you may consider flights to Nairobi in Kenya, which is only a five-hour shuttle bus ride to Arusha or a one-hour plane ride to JRO. Note, however, that by choosing to fly to Kenya you may need a multiple-entry Kenya visa (if you’re flying out of Kenya, too, for example, and spend longer than a fortnight in Tanzania), which can cost as much as $122. This would reduce or even eliminate any saving you may have made in airfares.
In deciding which flights to book, you should take the full trip into consideration. For example, if you’d like to spend a couple of days in Zanzibar after the climb, it might be best to book one-way tickets from your home to Kilimanjaro Airport for the climb, from there to Zanzibar after the climb, and then from Zanzibar back home.
We recommend arriving one day early (what we refer to as “arrival day”). This will give you time to relax, meet your fellow trekkers, and get a proper briefing before the climb starts. More importantly, if there’s any delay to your flight or your luggage goes AWOL, there’s enough wiggle room so that this delay doesn’t derail your climb. Seriously – this extra day really is a good idea, especially with post-pandemic airlines being in a little bit of a pickle right now.
All that said, we understand that travelling to Kilimanjaro can be a challenge. So we’ll accommodate your arrival time as best we can (for example, if you only arrive late at night the day before the climb starts, we’ll still be there to collect you!).
Yes, most foreigners need a Tanzanian visa to visit the country. US, Canadian, British and most European citizens can simply obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport. The cost is $100 for US passport holders and $50 for others. US citizens do get a longer visa, however.
If you’re a citizen of a different country, please check with your embassy if you can obtain a visa upon arrival – of if you even need one. Certain African nationals, for instance, can enter Tanzania without a visa.
Please also note that you need a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your departure date.
There are no specific vaccine requirements for entry into Tanzania. However, be aware that the Government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever.
While it’s not mandatory by any means, we suggest you talk to your doctor about getting the following vaccinations (which are standard in developed countries): Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and meningococcal meningitis (Africa and Asia).
There are seven different Kilimanjaro routes up the mountain. We recommend the eight-day Lemosho, seven-day Machame and nine-day Northern Circuit routes. These routes offer the best balance of a high success rate and beautiful scenery.
Kilimanjaro requires no technical climbing experience nor climbing equipment. This makes it the most accessible of the Seven Summits in many ways.
Any decently fit person can summit the mountain. That said, for most people, it will be one of the most difficult things they ever do in their lives!
You’ll be provided with locally sourced, healthy and nutritious meals cooked fresh every day by your cook and his assistant.
Our menus have been carefully designed to ensure the food is delicious, easy to digest, and provides plenty of energy. Expect fresh veg, fruits, meat, nuts and snacks along the way, as well as clean water throughout.
The primary carbohydrates of the meals are rice, potatoes and pasta, as well as some meat. Fresh fruit and vegetables accompany every meal. Most meals will also have a selection of hot drinks like instant coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
You may want to bring some supplementary comfort foods, such as candy, gum, chocolate, health bars and powdered energy drinks.
Can you cater for special diets?
Any special requests regarding your menu? No worries. We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets as well as gluten-free diets. For those with special diets, please contact us to discuss what we can or cannot do.
This is an outdoor adventure trip in the African wild. There are no showers on the mountain. Warm water will be supplied in a bowl and you will be able to wash your face and hands. For the rest you can bring wet wipes.
At each campsite, we set up a private toilet tent which contains a plastic toilet. There are also simple, hole-in-the-ground public toilets (usually very dirty and not recommended).
If you need to use the bathroom on the trail, you’ll find a spot behind a tree or rock. But you’ll need to have a little baggie for putting used toilet paper in that you then carry to camp and dispose of in a bin.
On the day before the trek (arrival day) and the day after the trek (departure day), we stay in a comfortable lodge in Moshi. It has lovely views as well as lovely rooms and facilities to match.
During the climb, you sleep in three-person, four-season dome-style mountain tents, two people per tent. If you’d like a tent of your own, you’ll need to pay a single-person supplement.
Our tents are modern and have an outer flysheet and large vestibules where you can store your equipment during the night.
On our Kilimanjaro climbs, we aim to build groups of 6 to 10 fellow travellers, with 12 people usually being the limit. Follow Alice groups are typically made up of sociable people from around the world looking to share an unforgettable adventure with you.
Yes, we love it when solo travellers to sign up for a trip with us! We’ll put you in a group and your fellow travellers will soon become your new friends. There’s little that’s more bonding than being ‘stuck’ with each other for a week on a mountain in Africa!
If you’d like your own tent, you’ll need to pay a single supplement of US$200. Or we’ll try to put you with another person in a tent if you wish and there’s someone available to share with you in your climb group.
Don’t underestimate how tough Kilimanjaro is. Too many people do, and don’t make it to the top!
Depending on your current fitness, we suggest that you start your physical training at least two or three months prior to the climb. Please read How should I train for Kilimanjaro? to learn more.
Remember, the fitter you are, the more enjoyable the whole experience will be for you.
In our detailed Kilimanjaro packing list we identify a variety of mountaineering clothing and gear you need for your climb.
The two most critical pieces of equipment that you might need to buy are:
- hiking boots
- a winter jacket
You might like to learn about bringing the right sort of boots in The best hiking boots for Kilimanjaro.
Most of the other clothing that you need is part of many people’s winter or skiing wardrobe already (like long underwear and a fleece jacket).
When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to bring at least two bags:
- One is the backpack that you carry yourself each.
- The second bag is your duffel bag which a porter carries for you.
The backpack, which you can think of as your carry-on luggage, will contain your water and lunch for each day, as well as other items like snacks, rain gear and camera. This backpack should have a capacity of around 30 to 50 litres. You can learn all you need to know on this topic in How to choose a backpack for high-altitude trekking.
Your duffel bag will contain all your other clothing, equipment and toiletries.
It might be a good idea to bring a third, small bag that you can use to store anything you don’t want to take on the mountain. This can be left securely at your hotel.
You should limit your duffel bag to 14 kg (31 lb) when full, as this will ease the burden on the porters.
Baggage should be of the round, squashy type rather than a hard suitcase.
Note that luggage restrictions on domestic flights are often 15 to 20 kg (33 to 44 lb) per person, so be mindful when packing your bags.
For your own backpack that you carry each day, try to keep it under 9 kg (20 lb) for your own benefit.
If you’d like advice on choosing the backpack itself, please read How to choose a backpack for high-altitude trekking.
Your Kilimanjaro guides and porters are your greatest asset on the mountain. Quality guides and porters make for a wonderful time on the mountain, while a mediocre staff can put your life in danger.
Each of our experienced guides is licensed by the Kilimanjaro National Park, trained as a wilderness first responder (WFR), and speaks fluent English.
Typically, each of our groups has one guide per two climbers, and each climber has three porters. Porters carry all gear, tents, cooking supplies and water. You will come to respect these guys greatly by the end of Day 1 of your climb – each porter carries about 20 kg (44 lb) of kit on their back up the mountain!
Our guides are highly experienced to manage altitude sickness, which is the biggest obstacle on the mountain. They also have an intimate knowledge of the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and they’re trained to react quickly and calmly under any circumstances.
We cover each of the things to consider about Kilimanjaro safety in-depth in How we keep you safe on Kilimanjaro.
Please remember that the purpose of this article is not to scare you, but to keep you well informed. At Follow Alice, our top priority is your safety. We want you to know how to climb Kilimanjaro and how to do it in the safest way possible.
It is safe to climb Kilimanjaro, but only when you are educated on the risks. It’s a challenge, but that’s what it’s all about, right!?
Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit. But even for those who never reach the top, the climb is almost always still an incredible and rewarding experience.
When one or more people in the group decide (in conjunction with their guide’s advice) they cannot continue on the ascent, they’re escorted to the most convenient campsite and wait for the others to return.
Note that nobody fit and healthy enough to make a go for the summit will be denied the chance because of the condition of another climber! We always have enough guides on every climb to ensure all climbers are accompanied, even if the group must temporarily split up.
There are always deaths on these big mountains. And Kilimanjaro is no different.
The most common cause of death on Kilimanjaro is altitude sickness. This comes about when you to ascend the mountain too quickly, not giving your body enough time to acclimatise. (But more on that just in a just moment …)
That said, Kilimanjaro is a safe climb if you travel with a good tour operator and you follow one of the routes we recommend.
Our local guides and staff are trained to keep you safe and have the ability to treat climbers who become ill or injured. Your health and well-being really are our top priority on every Kilimanjaro climb. If you’d like to know more on this score, please read How we keep you safe on Kilimanjaro.
Altitude sickness arises when your body struggles to adapt quickly enough to the lower intake of oxygen per breath caused by the reduced air pressure of a higher altitude. Often climbers make the mistake of ascending Kilimanjaro too high too quickly.
But don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal to get mild altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro. It’s therefore more than likely that you’ll experience some form of altitude sickness when climbing Kilimanjaro. It’s only when someone develops moderate to severe altitude sickness that you have a real issue on your hands.
Note that age, sex or physical fitness have no effect on your likelihood of getting altitude sickness. And just because you haven’t had it before, doesn’t mean you won’t develop it on another trip.
This is why we always advise clients to take as many precautions against developing altitude sickness as possible.
Tanzania has a moderate risk for malaria. Malaria occurs in all areas below 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and we recommend that you take precautions against malaria prior to the commencement of your trip.
Avoiding altitude sickness is also key. Here are our top tips for avoiding the dreaded altitude sickness on Kilimanjaro:
- Go on all optional acclimatisation hikes before your Kili climb.
- Choose a longer route that gives you more time to acclimatise.
- Walk slowly. Pole, pole, as Tanzanians always say. Slowly, slowly.
- Drink lots of water, as this mitigates the effects of altitude sickness.
- Consider taking a preventative altitude sickness medicine like Diamox. Your doctor will prescribe this.
- Read our blog post The best acclimatisation for climbing Kilimanjaro.
Prevent other possible illnesses by disinfecting your hands every time after you use the bathroom as well as before any meals.
All climbers pay a rescue fee to the Kilimanjaro National Park (included in our package price). If you cannot continue the climb because you get injured or sick, the guides and porters will gladly assist you on the way down.
There is no extra charge for coming down and being taken back to the lodge early, but we will not be able to refund you for the days you missed on the mountain. Moreover, we ask all of our travellers to purchase a special adventure travel insurance that covers any possible medical expenses and evacuation costs – just to be safe!
You can learn more on this topic in How we keep you safe on Kilimanjaro.
As of June 2023, you can connect to the internet up until almost 4,000 m above sea level! And the Government of Tanzania says there will be connectivity all the way to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) by the end of the year.
Whether or not you wish to WhatsApp, Instagram your trip and so on is up to you. For many, the chance to disconnect from the world while on a Kilimanjaro climb is part of the adventure’s appeal.
That said, the new high-speed internet available on the mountain offers certain safety benefits, and we like that those who wish – mountain crew included – can stay in touch with their families when on their climbs if they wish.