Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa with a height of about 4,900 meters from its base and 5,895 meters above the sea level. It is within the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination attracting celebrities and adventure sportspersons. Even if it’s situated near the equator, it is famous for its snow-capped mountain tops offering alluring landscapes.
Even though there are no special skills or technical gears needed for Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing, the climbers are required to be physically fit and trained. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to relish.
WEATHER, SEASONS & TIMING
The best times to climb regarding to the weather (avoiding rain) is from January to early March, and June to mid-October. There’s a long, dry winter and a green season with two rainy periods at each end. December, January, February and March are the warmest months, with clear mornings and evenings, and clouds during the day that occlude the summit in the early afternoon hours.
The predictable patterns of weather make it a good time to climb. The main rain season lasts from beginning of April to early June. At this time, dense cloud formations are massed over the mountain reducing visibility, and you can expect frequent snowstorms on the summit and heavy rains on the lower slopes. The longest and driest season runs from mid-June to mid-October. During this time it can be very cold at night.
During Kilimanjaro’s “winter,” there is a persistent dripping belt of clouds girdling the whole mountain above the forests and the moorland contour. Leaving the summit a few other distant peaks poking through. Above the clouds it is usually clear and dry, and thus is one of the best times to plan the trek. In late October, it finally rains, and until the middle of December, the mountain is shrouded in heavy clouds, with persistent showers from the base to the summit.
The best months to ascend the mountain are January, February, March, June, July, August, September and early October. Avoid climbing during the heavy rain season between April and May, and November (the short rains) if you can.
If you arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be met by Habari Adventure representative and transferred to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha. We recommend at least one day rest before starting your trek. If you are transferring from Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, this can act as your rest day. If you have time, a bit walk and shopping in Moshi town.
In the evening your guide will provide a briefing before your trek and do an equipment check, those which are missing they can be rented. Extra luggage can be stored in a locked storage room at your hotel in Moshi at no charge.
The next morning, after breakfast you will be pick up with our driver and your guide and drive to the park gate. Depending on the route you take, the drive to the trailhead can take up to one hour to the park gate.
Once you reach the park gate, climbers are requested to make their final preparations for the climb and sign the national park registration book. Porters will be seen arranging their packs containing the food, water, and other equipment. Make sure that you have all your day pack items with you as the porters travel very quickly.
The average hiking day begins between 8-9am and is about 4 to 6 hours, walking very slowly (polepole). The distances you will hike each day are very moderate so as to acclimatize a little at a time.
The terrain lower down is absolutely gorgeous and fascinating. Higher up, the views are vast. There is little to do at the camps themselves, so take advantage of the slow pace to absorb the scenery and take every photo opportunity.
The hike to the summit starts around midnight depending on your route and speed of your group. You will go as high as you feel fit. Some people stop at the crater rim, and others continue to the very highest point on the mountain. At the summit you will have a chance of taking nice photos while enjoying great views with sunrise. Afterwards your guide will take you down to the campsite for hot lunch and short rest before descend to the last camp for dinner and overnight.
You can add an extra day at the Horombo Huts (3720m). You can spend a full day and a second night at Horombo. On this day, you can either rest at the huts or walk up to zebra rock for acclimatization and taking nice photos on a beautiful view before return to your hut for lunch and overnight. This extra day will help your acclimatization, and further your understanding of the mountain’s weather and altitude. After your pause, you will continue up to the Kibo Huts on your fourth day for your midnight start to the summit.
Mount Kilimanjaro is located three degrees south of the equator in North-eastern Tanzania. It is the tallest mountain in Africa and is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Of the famous highest seven peaks in the world, this is the easiest to get to and the easiest to climb. It requires no technical climbing experience, and any moderately fit person can summit the mountain.
We can combine groups if they are starting the same route on the same day. However, we can also arrange for private groups at no extra cost. We will try to add single travelers to a group if at all possible, but we cannot guarantee it. We can accommodate large groups of any size.
Guides & porters
A local guide is required to hike Kilimanjaro. Porters will also go on the trip to carry your luggage, food, and other equipment. You will only have to carry a day pack with your daily essentials.
Our tipping policy on Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru
As a part to say goodbye to our mountain crew we usually recommend to tip our mountain crew at the end of tour;
- Usual:$20/day for guides, $15/day for cooks and $10/day for porters. This is from the whole group, not per hiker.
- Expect 1 guide per 10 clients and 1 assistant guide per 2 clients, and 1 cook per 10 hikers:
Expect porters as follows:
- 2 porter per hiker on the 5 days Marangu route.
- 3 porters per hiker on 6 and 7 days Machame route.
- 3 porters per hiker on 8 and 9 days Lemosho route.
- 4 porters per hiker on 8 and 9 days Northern circuit route.
Sometimes extra porters are required based on the weight of your luggage.
- Gifts: Guides and porters also appreciate your warm clothing, shoes, and packs. You may want to bring some older clothing items for this purpose.
Celebration: You are also welcome to invite your guides back to the Hotel in Moshi for drinks and/or dinner (on you) as a thank-you in addition to their tip.
There are a few route choices to climb Kilimanjaro. The standard itineraries range from 5 days to 9 days. Of the routes, Marangu route is different from the others. There the overnights are spent in dormitory style huts with solar power. All other routes are camping routes. It is the least expensive and shortest route. It is not as scenic as the other routes though and does not offer very good acclimatization since it is a short climb. It is the only route where the ascent and descent follow the same path. The most popular routes are Machame route and Lemosho route. Few years ago Lemosho was known as a little used route, now it is our most requested route. Both these routes offer great acclimatization and are scenic. Umbwe route is the most difficult route and does not offer very good acclimatization but is sought after by some experienced climbers as the biggest challenge. It is not recommended for the average climber. Rongai route is a lesser used route but quite scenic. Many people think of it as the easiest route on the mountain. It is a good route choice during wet months (March, April, May, November) since the north side of the mountain does not receive as much precipitation. Northern Circuit route is not yet an official route but an excellent choice for a climb, it offers very good acclimatization. The Mweka route is used for descent only. It is used by Machame, Lemosho, Umbwe and Northern Circuit for the descent. Rongai and Marangu routes descend along the Marangu route (note that although huts are present on the Marangu route, those descending from the Rongai route will still have overnights in tents.)
You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.
When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed anytime throughout the year. Most travelers prefer climbing during the dry seasons: December to March, June to October. Many consider the best months to climb Kilimanjaro to be January, February, August and September.
Does climbing Kilimanjaro involve technicalities?
The trek up Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb. You do not require any mountaineering equipment to reach the summit. In fact, anyone in good physical condition can reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. You should be able to run for at least half an hour without feeling shortness of breath. You should also be able to walk for at least 2 hours in hilly terrains without feeling overly exhausted. No one with a sore throat, cold of breathing problems should go beyond 3000m. Anyone with heart or lung problems should consult his/her physician before attempting to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.
Are park fees included in your price?
Yes, all Tanzania National Park (TANAPA) fees are included in our Kilimanjaro price. Currently, the conservation fees at Kilimanjaro National Park are: US$70 per person per day and US$50 per person per night for camping. Crew entry fees and Tanzanian Forest Services Agency (TFS) fees (applicable for Rongai, Shira and Lemosho routes) are also included in our Kilimanjaro price.
Can children climb Kilimanjaro?
The minimum age limit set by Kilimanjaro National Park for children trekking to Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro is 10 years old.
What is the weather like on Mt Kilimanjaro?
You can expect equatorial to arctic conditions on Mt Kilimanjaro. Depending on the route chosen, you will begin your trek in dry plains or tropical forests with average temperatures between 25⁰C and 30⁰C. You will then ascend through various terrains and weather zones to arrive at the permanently snow-capped summit. Expect rainfalls and sub-zero temperatures on your trek.
How long does it take to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro?
Depending on the route chosen, most trekkers take 4-6 days to reach the summit. The longer you spend on the mountain, the more time your body gets to acclimatize, the higher the chance you will succeed in reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.
What kind of mountain climbing gears do I need for Kilimanjaro?
Soft kit bag (for porters to carry), small daypack (for you to carry), rain cover for backpack/bags, dry sacs for packing inside, sun hat/cap, woolly hat/toque, scarf, balaclava, sunglasses, waterproof jacket and trousers, four-season duvet jacket, warm upper body layers, thermal under layers, trekking trousers, shorts (optional), underwear/sports bra, waterproof gloves, thin gloves, gaiters, thick socks, thin socks, waterproof hiking boots, spare laces, jogging shoes or flip flops for around camp, walking poles, sleeping bag, water bottles or hydration bladder, water purification tablets (optional), water flavoring or rehydration salts, favorite snacks, knee support (optional), eye protection goggles (for wind/dust/glare on summit), head torch, spare bulb, camera, memory cards, spare batteries, towel, toiletries, lip balm, sunscreen, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, personal first aid kit, medication (Diamox optional), insect repellent, pen/paper/playing cards.
Can we leave excess luggage behind whilst trekking Kilimanjaro?
Yes, any excess luggage you do not need to carry with you on Mount Kilimanjaro can be left at our office. You should keep valuable items with you at all times.
Can you accommodate people with special diet requirements?
Most certainly! We can cater for vegetarian, gluten-free, or any other special diets. Kindly advise at the time of booking.
Is my departure guaranteed if I sign up with your company for Kilimanjaro climb?
Yes, absolutely! Because we do not join groups together, you can choose to start your climb on any day you choose.
What are some of your hygiene practises on the mountain?
We always boil and filter drinking water for our clients. Cooks always make sure the food is well cooked and utensils are sterilized with clean hot water before they are used. The mess tent is cleaned on a daily basis. Mess tents are solely reserved for clients’ use only.
Can we rent a portable toilet for our climb?
Yes, portable toilet is available for rental at US$150/group (up to 4 climbers).
· What safety equipment do you carry on the trek?
All of our lead guides are trained and certified in the following areas: altitude sickness and recognizing symptoms in the early stages, emergency use of oxygen, wilderness first responder and performing CPR. Each guide carries a first aid kit which includes: paracetamol, Imodium, ibuprofen, rehydration salts, paraffin gauze, sterile swabs, bandages, plasters, cotton wools, latex gloves & tongs, antiseptic disinfectant, antimicrobial cream, antihistamine, Diamox, etc. We check in with the clients and crew daily at camp as they are equipped with mobile phones.
What if one member of the group gets sick while trying to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro?
Because you will have many guides and assistant guides, an assistant will take the ill person down while the rest of the group goes on. If the person is very very sick then we call for a dispatch for stretcher – the rescue fee is included in your quoted price. But before reaching that point, our guides are very careful and they will monitor the health of everyone everyday on the mountain to make sure that the sickness does not get to that point.
What is the recommended weight for our day pack?
We would recommend that you carry no more than 10kg. The average is 7kg. You only need to carry the essentials (3 L drinking water, valuables, camera, lunch/snacks, rain layer…). The rest of the items you can leave with porters to carry.
Are you supporting the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project?
Yes. In addition to paying a proper wage above minimum rate and supplying proper food and tents on the mountain, we also cover for any medical expenses in case of injury or illness arising from work.
· Are you able to provide us with references?
Most certainly! Please ask.