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Kilimanjaro FAQs

Kilimanjaro FAQs

Kilimanjaro FAQs


It is imperative you take out appropriate insurance for your climb. Please see our ‘Why Get Travel Insurance for your Kilimanjaro Climb?’ page for more guidance.

We carry emergency oxygen on all our climbs, for use when someone is suffering from a serious altitude-related illness. In this event the guide would ask you to descend since this is the only way to recover; however, oxygen can help people feel better during the descent, therefore making evacuation easier and safer.

We have at least one guide for every three trekkers, so you can move at your own pace. Guides will remind you to walk slowly as ascending at a slow and steady pace gives your body a chance to acclimatize.

We offer excellent client-to-guide ratios, therefore if someone cannot continue, one of our guides will descend with them while the rest of the party continues.

We don't carry Gamow bags. This is because for altitude the best treatment is descent; either on foot, stretcher or by helicopter; dependent upon the severity of the situation and which means of evacuation is accessible given location and weather. A Gamow bag creates an artificial environment where the air pressure is increased, simulating descent; however, it cannot be moved once a person is inside as pressure must be maintained. This makes it practically impossible to descend. Once removed from the bag the casualty is back in the same situation as before. It is therefore only really useful if a casualty is unable to descend for some reason. In all other cases starting the descent as soon as possible is preferable. Since Kilimanjaro is a freestanding mountain, different from the Himalayas, it is relatively straight forwards to descend without having to climb higher over mountain passes. There are only a few places where any ascent would be necessary to evacuate. If you would still prefer to climb with a Gamow bag this can be arranged at an extra cost.


Upon inquiry, you’ll receive a detailed equipment checklist and guidance to help you prepare. Many of our guests find they already have some of the items we recommend, for example, hiking boots, base layers, warm hat, fleece sweaters, and gloves.

We will send you a comprehensive equipment checklist, including items available for hire, upon inquiry. Prices are for the duration of the climb, not per day, and costs can be paid in USD$ cash at your briefing. All equipment is of good quality, however, we advise bringing your own walking boots, socks, and base layer clothing, as these will inevitably be a better fit than items you hire.

Mattresses are closed-cell foam, approximately 7cm thick with a heavy-duty cover, insulating you well from the ground. If you plan to bring your own inflatable mattress, it’s worth investing in a good quality one as cheaper versions are prone to leaks and punctures. Premium climbs include mattresses as part of the package price.

Additional luggage you do not need to take up the mountain can be left safely in storage at your accommodation or our offices. We recommend you ensure any valuables are signed in to the hotel safe, and where possible left at home!

The maximum weight is 15kg. Porter loads are strictly adhered to, to protect the porters as well as following Kilimanjaro National Park regulations.

  • Toiletries, wipes & quick wick towel for washing at camp
  • Extra medication (replenish daysack at night and leave spares with your porter)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Mattress
  • Down/Ski jacket
  • All warm summit clothing e.g. thick gloves, thick summit trousers, balaclava, etc.
  • Other spare clothing you're not wearing that day
  • Running shoes for the evenings at camp (optional)
  • Snacks (replenish daysack at night and leave spares with your porter)
  • Other small items not needed during the day (e.g. book, earplugs, spare batteries, power pack, etc.)

You will carry a daysack which contains items needed during the hiking day. You will not see your main porter bag until you arrive at camp. Your guide will tell you exactly what you need to carry in this bag. Be careful to keep the weight down where possible, whilst carrying everything necessary. Every small item adds up and water adds considerable weight. Your bag will likely weigh around 7-10kg once full.

  • Water (guide will indicate volume needed each day and refill locations)
  • Snacks (replenish at night from porter bag)
  • Waterproof Trousers & Jacket
  • Spare warm clothes, gloves, hat (guide will advise you what you need at evening briefings as this varies according to weather and elevation)
  • Sun cream & SPF lip protection
  • Sunhat & Sunglasses
  • Buff/bandana
  • Valuables e.g. tip money, passport, credit card
  • Small first aid kit including personal medication, blister treatment; oral rehydration; painkillers & anti-inflammatories; diarrhea tablets; throat lozenges, etc. (replenish at night as required)
  • Hygiene kit - tissue, wet-wipes, antibacterial gel, biodegradable diaper bags to put tissue in whilst on the trail (to be disposed of later at camp) (replenish at night)
  • Mosquito repellent (first and last day only)
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Mobile phone (optional)
  • Solar charger (optional)

Ensure daypack contents are waterproof, using a rain cover, dry bags/rubble sacks.

Our equipment list includes everything you need for summit night and will give you the flexibility to adjust layers according to the temperature. When you start climbing on summit night you may not be that cold, but the temperature drops considerably through the night, even more so if you are exposed to the wind. Once the sun rises you need to take layers off again.

Our guides recommend the following:

  • Lower Body: warm socks; thermal leggings; thick walking trousers/fleece trousers; waterproof trousers (for wind rather than rain).
  • Upper Body: a short-sleeved base layer; long-sleeved thin base layer; long-sleeved mid layer; microfleece; warmer fleece; down jacket; hat & gloves.

You don't need to wear your waterproof jacket if it's not raining, but it needs to fit over your layers if it is!

A down jacket or ski jacket is critical, but it doesn’t really matter which it is. You will also wear it in the mess tents at night as the temperature rapidly drops when the sun goes down and can use it as a pillow! Ski jackets can be bulky and heavier, so down is preferable, but there's no need to buy a new down jacket if you already have an alternative that will keep you warm.

Gaiters stop water entering your walking boots if it rains; protect your trousers from damage, especially in scree; stop dust and scree entering your boots, especially on the descent from the summit; and protect your legs from nettles in the rainforest.

Trekking poles have a number of benefits, especially if you have trouble with your knees or hips. There is scientific evidence they reduce the forces on your body, especially when walking down steep hills. Poles improve power and endurance when walking uphill, as energy output is distributed over more muscle groups. They help with balance on uneven trails and improve posture, which in turn can help with breathing.

From experience, we strongly recommend walking boots with ankle support. Trail running shoes are fine for shorter walks on less rocky terrain, but due to the prolonged nature of a Kilimanjaro climb and the rough terrain, in particular the screen on summit night, there is quite a high chance of twisting an ankle if you don’t have ankle support. While some people choose to climb without boots, clients who have done this later commented that their feet felt bruised and sore underfoot after a few days, detracting from their enjoyment. Walking boots generally have stiffer soles with more support overall. It would be such a shame if you were unable to reach the summit due to an ankle sprain.

There is a lot of information, which can be confusing. Please remember that whilst people are well-meaning, many have only climbed Kilimanjaro once and may not be regular trekkers! Our equipment list has been designed through years of personal experience on the mountain in collaboration with our guides and past guests, so follow our checklist and you will be fine.

Food & Water

No! We use either a Katydyn filter or water purification tablets to treat the water, making it safe for you to drink. You do not need to bring these yourself. Since the tablets are usually chlorine-based, there can be a slight lingering taste in the water. You can bring neutralizing tablets, electrolytes or flavored cordial/squash to cover the taste.

Our cooks prepare three hot, nutritious meals daily, as well as snacks and afternoon tea. Delicious vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other special meals can be provided. Please let us know in advance. If you would like more details or a sample menu, please ask.


The government has given specific guidance regarding plastic bags. The ban is largely aimed at single-use carrier bags. Large refuse sacks or black bags are accepted, as are Ziplock bags, as long as you plan to take them home after your climb and not to dispose of them in Tanzania. We encourage you to use reusable or biodegradable bags wherever possible.

You are unlikely to come into contact with many animals on the mountain. As the number of trekkers has increased over the years, the animals have retreated. You may see Colobus and Blue monkeys in the rainforest along with a variety of birds. Large white-necked ravens and four striped mice scavenge in camps. Malachite Sunbirds are often seen and heard in the heath and moorland zone and the national park is working hard to encourage native rodents around the Shira Plateau.

At the base of the mountain, average temperatures are 70 to 90°F (21 to 32°C) throughout the year. On the summit, temperatures range from -10 to 23°F (-23 to -5°C) with windchill. Weather is changeable, and you should be prepared for these extremes. Your guide will help you decide on appropriate clothing in a detailed daily briefing.

Route Choice

There are many videos online that make the Barranco Wall look incredibly exposed. However, while the wall is a scramble and will require you to use your hands, it is not a technical climb and no ropes are needed. Our guides are very skilled at helping people when they are nervous and most people who think they’ll be scared find they are absolutely fine. There is a footpath all the way up.

Only the Marangu Route goes up and down the same way, which we don’t recommend. Lemosho, Machame, and the Northern Circuit Route descend via the Mweka Route, which is used only for descent and food re-supply to the camps. Rongai descends via the Marangu Route. Descent routes are more direct, whereas ascent routes pass over ridges and valleys to allow your body to better acclimatize.


Our climbs have an arrival and departure day built-in. We recommend arriving at least one day early to give your body time to adjust to any time difference and recuperate from the journey. It also gives you a buffer in case a flight is canceled or delayed, or bags are lost or delayed.

If you arrive late the night before the climb you will miss our pre-climb briefing. We can arrange another briefing the morning of your climb; however, we suggest you plan to arrive earlier in the day or travel the day before. This way you have time to relax and recuperate for your climb.

Once you collect your bags at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you’ll exit the building and one of our drivers will be standing outside the doors with a sign for African Scenic Safaris.

Our emergency numbers +255 784 413 801 or +255 783 080 239 are available 24/7.

Once you are settled in Moshi your head guide will come to meet you for a full mountain briefing. They will check your equipment and help hire anything additional you might need. Whilst we realize some people have a lot of hiking experience, for many of our climbers this is not the case. It’s also a chance to meet other climbers in your group. During the briefing, your guide will discuss plans and logistics for the first day of your climb, amongst other important information to help you prepare.

On the majority of Kilimanjaro Routes, you’ll trek 4-7 hours most days, aside from summit day which will likely be 10-15 hours. There are a few days where treks are longer, extending to as much as 10-11 hours for those trekkers who need to take their time! This is generally only one or two days in addition to the summit and not on the day immediately before your summit attempt.

Distances vary according to the route. Total distances covered range from around 30 to 60 miles (48-97 kilometers) in total, but often feel different at altitude!

It depends on how strong you're feeling after the summit, but most climbers are back in Moshi around lunchtime.


Our crew all receive fair salaries; however, they also rely on the income they receive from tips. Our tipping guidelines are in line with KPAP and are recommended guidelines only. Below are standard tipping recommendations to be split between everyone in your group. We prefer you to distribute tips to crew members individually and directly at a ceremony held at the end of your climb. It is a good idea to bring some notes in lower denominations to assist with splitting funds. We will provide a tipping guide with specific crew numbers at your briefing, with envelopes to help you separate money into individual amounts.

Head Guide:

USD$20 per day

Assistant Guide(s):

USD$12 per day


USD$12 per day


USD$5-7 per day

In order to help you calculate a rough total tipping amount, we work with ratios of at least one guide per two clients and approximately four porters per client. Please remember porters carry food, gas, tents, etc. in addition to your personal luggage.

Beyond your climb, you will find people helping you with various other tasks. For example, there may be a porter at the airport to help carry your bag to the vehicle. At the lodge, someone may help bring your bags to your room. Whilst tipping is not culturally expected in these situations, it is appreciated and is worth having some USD$1 notes available for this.


On the first day of your climb, you are likely to lose signal before reaching the gate and will not regain it until day two. From then onwards, for most Kilimanjaro Routes, you will find the signal at some point, and sometimes even in camp. On the Rongai route and Northern Circuit reception can be more limited and tends to be via Kenyan networks, as the routes pass close to the border.

There are no charging stations on Kilimanjaro. You will need battery packs or solar charges to charge electrical items. Please ensure you bring the right cables and keep electrical items warm whilst on the mountain to preserve battery life.

You don’t need to be an athlete or have experience with technical mountaineering, but you do need to be active, committed to training, and ready for a challenge! The trails can be very steep at points. You will find training recommendations here.

Moshi itself has basic grocery stores, some of which are tailored to cater to Kilimanjaro climbers. Travel size toiletries, wipes, basic snacks (not energy bars or gels), batteries, etc. are readily available, but the selection will be much more limited than you are used to at home.

Please refer to our Booking Policies and Travel in Tanzania pages for more general questions. Climbing Kilimanjaro is an incredible adventure, but we realize all the information can feel overwhelming! If you have any questions at all, no matter how small, please feel free to email our team on [email protected]. We’re excited to be a part of your adventure!

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