Q: What time is check in?
The earliest check in time would be at 8:00 am, the latest for Sunrise 9:00am.All of our Day trips the starting time is 8:30am check in Except Longer Adventures (3+ days) will be 6:30am
Q: Can you take us from the Airport?
Yes! After arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport you are welcomed by your tour guide. Transfer to your first accommodation.
Q: When is it usually climbed?
Being near the equator, it can be climbed most anytime of the year however the biggest consideration is the rainy season in the winter so summer is most popular with September being the prime month.
Q: I read that Kilimanjaro is an easy climb, really just a high-altitude hike. How hard is it?
If you are in great aerobic shape, it can be “easy” on a perfect weather day and on the normal routes. But as with most of the extreme altitude climbs, Kilimanjaro can have brutal summit weather with temperatures at 0F and if the winds are blowing, the wind chills can be very dangerous. Climbers die on KIlimanjaro. Also, remember this is almost 6,000 meters, 20,000 feet so AMS is always a risk as is HAPE or HACE.
Q: What is the maximum number of people in each group climbing Kilimanjaro?
There is no maximum number of people in a group.
Are there any weight restrictions?
No, we do not have any weight restrictions.
Q: Could we start to climb the day after arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport or do you recommend that we spend a day locally before setting off on the trek?
In most cases, clients arriving in Tanzania on an overnight flight on day one, spend the afternoon getting to know their Kilimanjaro guides and crew, and receive a full briefing. This gives them enough time to settle in, get over the long flight, and get ready for the climb. They spend the night in Moshi, and then proceed to the mountain the following morning. It may sound like a waste of time at this stage, but preparation and familiarisation is crucially important to maximise your safety and chances of success. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a big task even with plenty of time, and it is simply not wise or worthwhile to rush it. We have seen several people who were fit, young and determined fail because they tried to rush the mountain.
Q: What extra costs can we expect to incur before, during or after the climb e.g. tipping of porters; mountain tax; and additional transport?
Tipping is discretionary but very much appreciated by the crew. The recommended amount would be around $100 per person for your group. Transfers to and from Kilimanjaro Airport and one night in a hotel before and after the climb are included in the cost of luxury climbs. The only additional costs you should expect to incur would be tipping, unless you wish to purchase any curios or drinks before and after your climb
Q: What is the food like during a climb?
All meals on Kilimanjaro are prepared with as many fresh ingredients as possible. Breakfast during the climb would consist of a selection of fresh fruits, cereal, porridge, and something cooked such as eggs, sausage, tomato, along with tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Lunch during the climb is often eaten en-route in the form of a picnic. Your cook sets this up in advance and it would usually include: fresh vegetables, fruit juice, hot soup, sandwiches with cheese or ham, a chocolate bar, and tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Dinner on Kilimanjaro is always three courses, and usually follows these lines; starter of soup with bread, main course of a carbohydrate like rice or pasta with a meat dish such as bolognaise, a pudding which will be banana fritters or something like it, tea, coffee or hot chocolate. On the mountain it is essential to try and eat as much as possible and to keep very well hydrated on the climb. Your body uses up to three times as much water compared to normal whilst at altitude, so keeping hydrated is essential. Take in as much liquid as you can during meals – hot drinks, cold drinks and soups are all there to keep you well hydrated. Keep drinking during the day – you should be drinking at every opportunity and at no point on Kilimanjaro should you be in need of a drink.Special diets can be accommodated with prior notice.
Q: What level of comfort we can expect in the tents and mess tent ie mattresses, sleeping bags, towels, mess tent facilities, lavatories etc.
We operate two main climb specifications on Kilimanjaro, lightweight and luxury. The luxury climb offers large dome tents designed for three people but used for two, a walk in mess tent, tables and chairs, and a loo tent. The lightweight climb uses smaller tents and thinner foam mattresses, uses a smaller tent for the mess, and has stools instead of chairs, and no loo tent. On this climb you would use the public loos at the camp site. Please see the climbing kit list page for greater detail. In addition to these frequently asked questions, we occasionally get more detailed questions, or questions relating to people’s particular wishes for a climb. We’ve added some of these below as we feel they show how well our teams on the mountain in Tanzania work to get everyone to the summit:
Q: How does the normal routes on Kilimanjaro compare with Denali since it is at a similar altitude or Rainier?
Kili is a straightforward climb via the normal routes with no real objective danger except for cold summit weather. Porters carry everything for you, as required by the park regulations, so all you carry is a simple day pack with the bare essentials. On Kilimanjaro, it is very dry and there is rarely snow down low but some snow on the summit. There is no crevasse danger like on Denali or Rainier on the normal routes. It more similar to a tough Colorado 14er than Rainier or Denali.
Q: Is the Kilimanjaro climb dangerous?
Kilimanjaro is a relatively safe climb by the standard routes. However, there are always deaths on these big mountains. Kilimanjaro is no different. The most common cause of death is probably altitude related and that is from going too fast and not taking the time to acclimatize. This is why selecting the proper guide service is critical.
Q: How many people had summited and how many people had died trying?
It is estimated that 25,000 climb Kilimanjaro using the various routes each year. The summit rate is around 66% with cold summit days and altitude issues being the major reasons for not summiting. I understand there is about 1 death each year thus it is relatively safe, however one climber was killed by lightning in early 2013
Training, Gear & Communication
Q: How do you train for this climb?
I suggest the usual training regime of running, light weight and aerobic conditioning.
Q: Was altitude a problem on this climb?
Yes! Anytime you are above 8,000′ you can experience problems. Kilimanjaro is a serious high altitude mountain. Even though the normal routes are not technically difficult, the altitude takes it toll on climbers each year thus the 66% success rate. We had several members of our team struggle (including vomiting) with the altitude on the summit push but everyone pushed through and we had 100% success.
Q: Can you prepare for the altitude?
Not really. The common approach is to move slowly up the mountain (1000′ a day maximum) spending your days at a higher altitude than where you sleep up until your summit bid. The human body simply does not function well at high altitudes and especially above 8000m (26,300′). As you go higher, the barometric pressure decreases, although the air still contains 21% oxygen, every breath contains less molecules of oxygen.
Everest legend Tom Hornbein explained it to the American Lung Association this way:
The lower oxygen stimulates chemoreceptors that initiate an increase in breathing, resulting in a lowering of the partial pressure of CO2 and hence more alkaline blood pH. The kidneys begin to unload bicarbonate to compensate. Though this adaptation can take many days, up to 80% occurs just in the first 48 to 72 hours. There are many other physiologic changes going on, among them the stimulus of low oxygen to release the hormone, erythropoietin to stimulate more red blood cell production, a physiological and still acceptable form of blood doping that enhances endurance performance at low altitudes. Adaptive changes are not always good for one’s health. Some South American high altitude residents can have what’s called chronic mountain sickness, resulting from too many red blood cells; their blood can be up to 84-85% red blood cells. The increased blood viscosity and sometimes associated pulmonary hypertension can result in right heart failure.
You cannot do much to acclimatize while at a low altitude but there are companies that claim to help the acclimatization process through specially designed tents that simulate the reduced oxygen levels at higher elevations. I have no personal experience with these systems but you can find more details at the Hypoxico website. They cost about $7,000 or can be rented for about $170 a week. Outside Magazine posted an article in 2013 questioning their effectiveness.
Q: What can I expect on a typical day?
This is your safari trip, your adventure! You decide how you want to spend your time on this vacation. If you would like to spend a full day on safari, you are definitely welcomed to do so. Spotted Tour Safaris do not restrict your mileage, fuel or how much time you want to be on safari. While some days you may decide set out by sunrise, other days you can have a slower paced breakfast before start your daily exploration. Simply sit down with your guide to plan your day and meals the night before. Your guide will have plenty of suggestions, but of course the decision is yours
Q: Can I go swimming?
Yes! The Waterfalls and Hot springs provide the perfect day trip.These natural wonders are a welcome retreat from the city,where you can swim, take photos and relax.
Q: Should I go for Self-guided or guided tours?
Many of our bike rides are self-guided and have been for 2 years. This allows bikers to come down at their own comfortable rate and pace. Whether it be fast or slow, with many stops or with minimal stops. You have the freedom to make the bike ride down what you want it to be.
Q: What if we end up not wanting to bike or something happens along the route down?
Our bike rides are mainly self-guided but that does not mean that you are all alone. We are always available if you need assistance with anything. We advise you to bring a cell phone with you on your trip, and if you do need help of any kind please just give us a call and we will be to your location promptly. We are never more than a half hour
Q: When is best to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year round. Generally, the main tourist seasons are from July to October, then from December to February. These months coincide with the dry season in Tanzania. Many people visit in December.
There are two wet periods – the long rainy season and the short rainy season. The long rainy season begins in March and ends in May. The short rainy season is during the month of November. Note that weather is unpredictable so these time periods will vary from year to year. Sometimes the rains come early, come late, are mild, or are torrential.
The shoulder seasons, marking the transition from wet to dry season and vice versa, can be the best times to visit, though climbers are taking a gamble. Because most people avoid the rains, it’s the only time climbers can experience both low crowds on the mountain and good weather.
Q:What if I’m not faster than the other trekkers?
Worry not, this is much concern. Your Guides will remind you about a swahili phrase “pole pole”,which means “slowly slowly” We’ll go at your pace