If you arrive at the Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Arusha or Arusha. We recommend at least one rest day before starting your trek. If you are transferring from Nairobi, this can act as your rest day. If you have time, enjoy a guided walk through the local rice fields and rainforest, do a little shopping in the town of Arusha, relax at the swimming pool, or get a massage.
Your guide will provide a briefing the evening before your trek, and you must separate one bag for the trek from your other luggage. Rental equipment is available. Extra luggage can be stored in a locked storage room at your Arusha hotel at no charge.
The next morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast before last-minute trip preparations at the trekking office. Depending on the route you take, the drive to the trailhead can take up to one hour and can be very bumpy.
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. Your guide will be pleased to assist with any additional information.
The average hiking day begins between 8-9am and is about 5 to 6 hours, walking very, very slowly. The distances you will hike each day are very moderate so as to acclimate a little at a time. Your guides will repeat over and over, “pole pole” (po-ly, po-ly), which means “go slowly” in Swahili.
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. Your guides will then take you down as quickly as possible to minimize any altitude problems. You will continue past your last campsite to the next one for overnight.
You can add an extra day at the Horombo Huts (3,690 m/12,100 ft). You can spend a full day and a second night at Horombo. On this day, you can either rest at the huts or take a stroll up to the Mawenzi basecamp then return to the Horombo Huts. 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.
The local currency is Tanzanian shillings. U.S. dollars, Euros, and credit cards may be accepted by larger stores and hotels, but the exchange rate is better with shillings. ATM’s are only available in larger towns like Arusha and Arusha.
Mount Kilimanjaro is located three degrees south of the equator in Northeastern 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.
Groups are limited to 5-12 people. We will combine groups up to this limit 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.
A local guide is required to hike Kilimanjaro. We have guides that speak English, Spanish, French and German. 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.
Tips for guides and porters on Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru:
You will be given an envelope at the Springlands Hotel after your trek for your tip money. You can use U.S. dollars, Euros, TZ shillings, or a combination of these. It helps if you have small bills to tip everyone individually. There is no need to take money on the mountain with you.
The typical tip is $15/day for guides, $10/day for assistant guides and cooks, $7/day for porters. This is from the whole group, not per hiker.
Expect 1 guide per 8 hikers, 1 assistant guide per 3 hikers, and 1 cook per 8 hikers:
Expect porters as follows:
– 2 porters per hiker on the 5-day Marangu Route (minimum of 4 porters)
– 3 porters per hiker on a 6 or 7-day trek (minimum of 5 porters)
– 4 porters per hiker on the 8-day Lemosho Route (minimum of 8 porters)
– Sometimes extra porters are required based on the weight of your luggage.
Budget $200 per hiker for tips for a 6-day trek.
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 Springlands Hotel for drinks and/or dinner (on you) as a thank-you in addition to their tip.
With the exception of airfare, all Mkama trips include all transportation costs and arrangements within the destination country. This includes all transfers and the equipment for all activities listed.
Kilimanjaro Climber’s Packing List Notes
- The pack that the porters carry is limited to 15 kg (35 pounds)
- Overweight or extra luggage will require an extra porter at $5/day
- Store electronics in sealed water-proof bags (double sealed if possible)
- Wrap clothing in plastic bags
- In the day pack, take along water, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, rain pants, and jacket at a minimum.
Add any other items you might need during the day, since you may not see your porters until the end of the day.
- Mkama Tours is interested in purchasing second-hand gear for rentals.
- You may want to bring some older items of warm clothing as gifts for your guides and porters or donations to the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society.
- You can leave extra luggage in a locked storage room at the Springlands Hotel for no charge.
- You can leave valuables in a safe deposit box at the Springlands Hotel for $1/day.
- See the Mkama Equipment list for details on what is provided by Mkama Tours.
- Day pack, for you to carry
- Large duffel bag or backpack, for porters to carry
- Plastic bags
Clothing You want your inner layer to be wicking – no cotton
Your next layer should be insulating and warm, and your top layer should be water proof but breathable.
You will need clothes for hiking during the day, lounging in the evening, and for sleeping.
Layers are important as temperatures vary greatly.
Kilimanjaro may be near the equator, but it gets cold up there!
- Shorts, for first and last day only
- Pants, for hiking and for lounging in the evenings
- Short-sleeved or t-shirts
- Long-sleeved shirts, for hiking and for lounging in the evenings
- Long underwear
- Fleece jacket or wool sweater
- Fleece pants
- Down jacket or ski parka (for temperatures well below freezing plus wind)
- Rain jacket, needed in hot rainforest and cold snow
- Rain pants, needed in hot rainforest and cold snow
- Sport bras, for women
Cold Weather Accessories
- Mittens and/or gloves (waterproof, one thin pair, one thick pair that can be layered)
- Wool or pile hat
- Balaclava or neck gaitor
- Hand and foot warmers (chemical activated)
- Be sure to break in your shoes before the hike!
- Trekking shoes for hiking during the day, preferrably warm, waterproof, and with ankle-support – not too light and not too heavy
- Tennis shoes or sandals for lounging in the evening
- Hiking socks for warmer conditions
- Wool socks for colder conditions
- Sock liners to wick away moisture
- Sleeping bag (Rated -25 degrees C/-10 degrees F or colder is recommended)
- Sleeping pad and repair kit
- Tents are supplied by Mkama at no charge
- Foam sleeping pads are provided by Mkama at no charge (Thermarest is highly recommended, however)
- Water bottles and Camelback (2-3)
- Get 3 liters of bottled water before the trip (available at the Springlands Hotel).
Your guides will boil water for you along the route, or use steripens for water sanitization.
- To prevent water from freezing on summit day, keep your water source inside your jacket.
For Camelbacks, blow air back into the bladder after each sip and drink often.
- Gatorade or other drink mix helps with taste and minerals.
- Get 3 liters of bottled water before the trip (available at the Springlands Hotel).
- Water filter or iodine purification tablets
- Sun hat with brim
- Money ($400 or more in cash and/or travellers cheques, including some small <st1:country-region w:st=”on”>U.S.</st1:country-region>, Euro, or Tanzanian bills)
- Ski or trekking poles
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera, film, tripod
- Video camera, tapes
- Bring extra sets for headlamp/flashlight and camera as cold weather shortens their life
- Notebook, journal, pencil, and pen
- Pocket knife
- Electricity adapter
- Energy bars, hard candy, snacks, and comfort foods
- Playing cards, games, books, frisbee, football, kite
- Chocolate or pens for village children, momentos for guides, porters, and other climbers
- Umbrella, particularly useful in the rainy season, can be purchased in the market for around $2
- Plastic bags and zip-lock bags for waterproofing
- Sewing kit
- Salt, pepper, and spices for bland food
- Business cards
- Alarm clock
- Calculator (for currency conversion)
- Swim suit for hotel swimming pool
- Toilet paper (and baggie to carry used paper while on trail)
- Small towel
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Handi-wipes (moist towelettes for cleaning)
- Hand sanitizer
- Glasses, contacts, solution (take contacts out each night to prevent blurred vision)
- Comb, mirror
- Yellow fever certificate
- <st1:country-region w:st=”on”>Tanzania</st1:country-region> Visa
- Medical insurance
- Address book
- Vaccination records
- Airline tickets
- Cash, travellers cheques, credit cards
- Maps, guidebooks
- Make copies of passport, TZ visa, airline tickets/schedule, and travellers cheques numbers.
Leave a copy with someone at home and put a copy in a separate place in your luggage.
- Ibuprofin, Aceteminophen, or Aspirin
- Throat losenges
- Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
- Lip balm with sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- Disinfectant, Antiseptic cream
- Bandages and tape
- Diahrea medicine
- Ace bandage
- Melatonin (1-3mg) or other sleep aid
- Malaria pills (talk to your doctor)
- Antibiotics (talk to your doctor)
- Prescription drugs (talk to your doctor)
- Diamox (talk to your doctor)
Gifts for Guides, Porters, Locals
- Any warm clothing
- Nerf football, frisbees
Packing for your flight to Africa
- U-shaped neck pillow (blow-up)
- Walkman and music
- Eye shades, ear plugs
- Melatonin or other sleep aid
- Critical climbing gear (in case baggage is delayed)