Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the largest volcanoes in the world. It has three main volcanic peaks, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. With its snow-capped peak and glaciers, it is the highest mountain in Africa.
The mountain has five main vegetation zones from the lowest to the highest point Lower slopes, montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and summit. The whole mountain including the montane forest belt is very rich in species, in particular mammals, many of them endangered species. For this combination of features but mostly its height, its physical form and snow cap and its isolation above the surrounding plains, Mount Kilimanjaro is considered an outstanding example of a superlative natural phenomenon.
The major draw on this park is attempting the climb to the roof of Africa – Kilimanjaro (5896 m) above sea level and the world’s highest, yet the easiest accessible free Standing Mountain. Standing only at 3 degrees South of the Equator, its snow peaked dome raised major controversial dialogs amongst scholars of the royal geographical society in London (1846-59) thus flooding Kilimanjaro with first ascent attempt explores, missionaries and later opportunistic colonialist.
Besides Kili’s unique flora and fauna, it’s got 3 distinct outstanding features, the volcanic Centrex of the extinct Shira plateu - 13,700ft, the dormant craggy Mawenzi -16,813ft and the dome itself, Kibo - 19,340ft. Most certain climbing this world heritage site, mountain will be a memory to be treasured for life. Children as young as 9 years old and 80+ years elders have climbed to the rooftop of Africa.
No special skills, equipment, or experience is required for the 5,6,7 or 8 day's long expedition, exceptionally for those alpinist who might want to practice there climbing techniques on the mountains glacier walls and the Western breach, can apply crampons and ropes ETC. Generally any reasonably fit person can conquer what appears like a huge gigantic massif from its 40 Km base.
.....don't like long distance hikes"
One does not necessarily have to be a mountaineer to enjoy a close up glimpse of the beautiful views of Kilimanjaro and its environs.
A 4x4 Jeep will ascend you as high as 12,000ft, just were the road narrows in, to Shira plateau - an extinct volcano which 2 million years ago towered as high as 20,000ft….higher than Kibo!. A 3 hrs drive towards the western Kilimanjaro, crossing villages of Machame, Masama, Siha, Kibong'oto and Sanya juu, plains will reward you with a landscape full of fresh countryside oxygen and the scent of coffee, bananas plantations, corn and wheat farms, there are also cattle ranches in west Kilimanjaro.
The climate at this altitude is conducive to gentle walks through flowering vegetation's and Kilimanjaro's glacier water falls that form from a multitude of tinny streams, additionally making this world a bird paradise. While in the lower slopes of the mounts, you'll be crossing in between coffee and banana plantations, passion fruit lines hanging above, shaded by avocado trees.
In the rain forest encircling the mountain you will find yourself in a world of enchantment and mystery. Birds, monkey’s, on rare occasions cape buffalo (syncerus caffer) and elephant's (loxodonta africana), antelope's like the dik dik, bushbuck, and duiker, mongoose, wart hogs,sunbirds, mountain rats, cameleon and Tree hyraxes (procavia capensis), serval cats (felis serval) range through the forests and even predators such as hyenas. Lions and Leopards are hardly seen though heard of at nights, on certain occasions animals such as the zebra is found wondering at the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and hiking to the peak is a challenge that should not be under estimated. With all the information you could possibly gather, added to being physically prepared, one’s chances of reaching the summit is substantially increased. Stamina and mental determination to a great extent, will determine whether or not you will be successful in you quest to conquer the Roof of Africa. Being physically prepared for the trek will also greatly contribute to the level of your perseverance, confidence and personal enjoyment!
The type of fitness is more important than the degree of fitness. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is a hike, therefore the best preparation one can do is to hike, preferably under simulated conditions. Although jogging could be beneficial to your fitness level, it does not fully prepare your muscles for a strenuous 6-day hike. We suggest that you spend some of your training by merely hiking.
In addition to regular gym workouts, make sure you also go for walks in order to stimulate relevant muscle development. Try to do a one or two day hiking trials in your area. This will not only be an excellent way for physical preparation, but also an enjoyable means to prepare yourself mentally.
We have furthermore developed a practical (in terms of time and costs) fitness preparation guideline to assist you in getting your body ready a Mt. Kilimanjaro summit attempt. This guide contains a gym and a hiking program that should be followed simultaneously over an 8 week period.
Before embarking on a fitness program, it is always wise to first seek the advice of a medical doctor. Feel free to share this program with your family doctor for input. Chances are, your doctor will be delighted to know that you undertake to exercise regularly.
In essence, the gym section of our fitness program consists of regular and progressive resistance exercises with either free weights (like barbells and dumbbells) or free weight machines that are readily available in gymnasiums. The idea behind progressive resistance is that your exercise regime can be tailored to your age, physical condition and strength, steadily progressing to higher resistance level as you develop.
Progressive resistance movements could be customized to individual strength and fitness levels, therefore our fitness program is potentially safe. It is however essential that all of the exercises be performed correctly and that basic safety procedures are followed at all times. It is furthermore always a good idea to invest in reading material on physical fitness and to consult your local fitness instructor about performing each exercise correctly.
This workout consist of repetitions (reps) and sets. A rep is a single count of an exercise, for example moving downwards for one squad movement. A set is knows as a series of reps – an average set consist of 8 to 12 reps.
It is highly recommended that one always warms up the muscles before starting with any exercising routine. The norm is doing a variety of stretching movements to warm up, strengthen and progressively challenge the tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles. Stretching is very important, as it is the best way to prepare for an injury-free workout.
Choosing a Kilimanjaro route, which will satisfy your personal requirements as well as contribute towards your eventual summit success, is important. Factors which should be carefully considered includes:
Below follows a brief summarised comparison of all the current Kilimanjaro routes. For more detailed information regarding each of these Mount Kilimanjaro routes, including routes distances and route success rates, please refer to our detailed and comprehensive routes descriptions under the main link bar above.
Also known as the “Coca Cola route” – the Marangu route is one of the most popular routes leading to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Many hikers believe that the Marangu route is the easiest route to Uhuru peak, since it is the only route which can be hiked in 5 days (making it the cheapest option). It is also the only route offering accommodation on the mountain, in A-frame huts.
It is unfortunately a well-known fact, that the 5 day Marangu route has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up mountain.
If you choose the Marangu route, we strongly recommend hiking the route over 6 days, to increase your chance to reach the summit successfully. This is the only route, which provides comfortable communal sleeping huts, equipped with beds and mattresses at every overnight site. Mineral water, soft drinks, beer and chocolates are also sold at most sites. The Marangu route utilises the same route for the ascend and descend.
The Machame route is our most popular and successful route leading to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Hikers sleep in tents which are carried up the mountain by porters. The Machame route is a very scenic and beautiful route, which can be completed in 6 days, however we strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days, allowing for more time to acclimatise. The key to the success of the Machame route is its topography, allowing hikers to climb high and sleep low, helping towards better acclimatisation.
The Umbwe route is known for its caves. The first night you actually sleep at the Umbwe Cave Camp with two more caves that can be visited en route the following day. The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably one of the most scenic, non-technical routes on Kilimanjaro. There are however higher risks involved when attempting to summit via the Western Breach / Arrow Glacier and overnight at the Arrow Glacier camp.
The Shira Plateau is one of the most scenic and most fascinating areas on Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicles, to within a 1/2 hours walk of Shira Hut (4000m). Even this drive is very spectacular indeed and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland. The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatisation, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.
The Shira route is only offered to hikers who are already acclimatized to 4 000m, by hiking either Mt Meru or Mt Kenya a few days before attempting Kilimanjaro. Depending on the weather conditions you can drive by 4 wheel drive vehicle, to within a ½ hours walk of Shira Hut (3 850m).
This drive is very spectacular and offers some magnificent views of Mt Meru and the Great Rift Valley in general. Game is often sighted and the road features some striking vegetation changes ranging from forest, grassland, heath to moorland.
The fast ascend by vehicle to about 4000m will require additional acclimatisation, after which it will be possible to ascend Uhuru Peak either via the Western Breach or via the Barafu hut.
The Lemosho Route is a very beautiful and unspoilt route and sightings of wild game in the forest section is possible. The Lemosho route is one of the quieter routes up Kilimanjaro, this advantage however disappears when the route combines with the Machame route on the 3rd day of the hike.
For those seeking a quiet route away from the crowds, the route is a superior option to the Rongai route. Unlike the Rongai the Lemosho route has the same excellent pro-acclimatization features of the Machame route, which it joins just before reaching Lava Tower.
We do not recommend hiking the Lemosho route during the rainy season as the start point of the Lemosho Route is particularly inaccessible during the wet season. Climbers should be prepared to walk the final 2-5 kilometers of the road following heavy rains. The journey time to reach the start point is quite long and joined to the possibility of not reaching the end of the road by vehicle head torches may well be needed to reach Forest Camp on day 1.
The route descents along the Mweka Route, a descent-only route.
The Rongai route ascents Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Tanzania and Kenya. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.
The Rongai route’s premier advantage is that it is one of the quietest routes on the mountain. A disadvantage is the long travel time to the starting point of the route.
The route also becomes busier when it connects with the Marangu route just before reaching Kibo hut.The Rongai route descends along the Marangu route as well, however you still sleep in tents, and do not use the A-frame huts of the Marangu route.
Proper equipment is real extremely important to the success, comfort and safety of your trip. If your have any question about items on the list or suitability of your own equipment please contact or a reputable mountaineering dealers.
Our recommended clothing has four classes:
Manages moisture and wicks perspiration from your skin,” for the base layers.
Should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water stopper that breather able, soft fabrics are polarity wind, Gore wind stopper.
Windproof, waterproof and breathable like Gore-tax or similar (hard layers)
Insulating material should be down fill or synthetic-fill and fit cover all layers like, down, prim aloft and polar guard.
Sleeping bag and stuff sac, on the mountain temperature can get down to zero degrees Fahrenheit at night, so bring a warm bag. Sleeping pad, a closed cell form camping mattress is OK; an inflatable Thermo-Rest is more comfortable.
For the head and face:
Pile or a wool hat-Bring one that covers ears, a balaclava
Shade hat-Are essential for protection from the equatorial sun.
Sunglasses-Bring a good quality pair
Sunscreen-Bring plenty of complete sun block.
For the upper body:
T-shirts-Synthetics are the best.
Upper body layers-long underwear, a sweater and a pile jacket or heavy a wool shirt.
Rain gear-Bring a good of Gore-tax or waterproof clothes.
Wind stopper (optional you can use rain gear)
Mittens (Wool or pile)
For the legs:
Quick dry hiking short.
Long underwear bottoms
Rain paint and wind paint as well.
Undergarment (enough for duration of the trek)
for the feet:
Thin socks-Three pair of synthetic socks.
Thick socks-Six pair of heavy wool socks.
Hiking boot (one pair medium weight)
Gaiters-To keep dirt, Cree and snow out of your boots.
Tennis shoes (to wear in the camp after a day of hiking)
For the drinking:
Water bottles-Three wide mouthed bottle with a one camel bank (optional)
Water treatment-Bring a water treatment we’ll filtrate the water before you use.
Water flavoring (optional)
COTTON clothing must be avoided, because its dries very slowly, choose wool or synthetic fabrics that wicks the sweat and moisture from your skin. Porters will carry 30 pound of your personal gear no more, you will see each entry gate they will weigh a luggage for the minimum of 40 pound of each porter. If you wish to have an extra porter we are happy to accommodate you, please email us to speak. For more information of the equipment please email us to answering your questions.
1. What is the best time of year to go?
All of our Kilimanjaro Climbs avoid the two rainy seasons in Tanzania, the "long rains" in April and May and the "short rains" from late October through November. It is important to understand however that weather on Kilimanjaro is as changeable and unpredictable as mountain weather all over the world is. Some light rain is virtually constant in the lower sections of the mountain throughout the year. But it might dry out on a given day or week. And the upper reaches of the mountain, which are quite arid, can see passing rain or snow storms at any time of year.
2. Which trip dates are during the warmer season?
Even though it is only about three degrees south of the Equator, Northern Tanzania has surprisingly variable temperatures through different times of the year. July and August are generally referred to as "winter" by the locals and it is the coolest time of the year in Nairobi and Arusha. Nighttime lows are typically about 48°F and daytime highs might only be in the high 60's or 70's. You are probably thinking these sound like very pleasant temperatures, and you are right. We tell people "if you leave the United States in the summer months and travel to East Africa you are going to a cooler climate". This is surprising to most people, but very true. Safari and the time you spend in Arusha during these months can be wonderful in terms of weather - never as hot and steamy as you probably imagine tropical Africa to be. Similarly, if you are on a trip during our winter, you will find the weather to be as much influenced by altitude as latitude. It is warmer in December or February, but it is still not extremely humid or hot.
The above description is for the lower elevations. It gets very different on the upper reaches of the mountain. Talk to anyone who has climbed Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, and they will probably comment about how cold they got on summit day. This has more to do with the mild hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and the exertion that climbers experience, than it has to do with temperatures, or even wind. When you go to 19,000, anywhere on the earth, at any time of year, you need to have very efficient insulation and be prepared to conserve you body's energy effectively. There is little difference in the degree of "warm" than can be experienced on a summit day on Kilimanjaro at any given time of year.
3. Which dates generally have the most people signed up and why?
The most popular months on Kilimanjaro are July and August, with December running a close third. Alpine Ascents trips tend to fill at any time of year they are run, but you will see fewer people from other groups in months other than August or December.
4. What is the average number of climbers?
Most trips run with between 12 and 15 people - though we will run smaller groups if a certain date has less sign ups.
5. The number of people per tent?
We currently use three-person tents on our Kilimanjaro program. Two climbers per tent.
6. Is there a community tent for eating/gathering?
Yes, we have a large dining tent and tables and chairs that are used at all camps. (OK, sometimes we forgo the table and chairs at high camp) These are especially nice if it happens to rain. But often people will go inside to get their food and then eat outdoors in beautiful evening light. We also provide toilet tents with commodes.
7. Approximately how much weight will climbers carry?
You will need a medium sized backpack (say 2500 to 3500 cubic inches) that can hold your layers of clothing for changing temperatures and activity levels through the day. One thing that many people do not expect is the porters who carry your large bags will probably move slower that you do. It is not uncommon to get to camp as the afternoon and evening temperatures cool off, ahead of the porters, but with lots of photographs to be taken and relaxing to be done. You need to be prepared to be inactive through part of each day as well as to hike. Most people carry packs that weigh about 20 pounds. You could pare this down to perhaps 15 if you were careful, but with a lot of camera equipment, or other personal preference type items, it might be more.
8. Do American guides take part in the actual climb all the way to the summit? If not at what point do they stop and why is this?
We always plan to go to Uhuru, the true summit of Kilimanjaro at 19,340'. A medical emergency that would require a lead guide's attention rather than an African guide's would be the only reason that they would not but this has not happened to date.
9. Do you have assistant guides to take someone back down should they become ill upon ascent and require descent? And what is the client to guide ratio?
We normally take 1-2 lead or "chief" African guides, plus 3 assistant African guides, for a total of five guides, including our guide, on a typical summit attempt. All of these men are well-known to us and we have done many successful summits together. Obviously this does not leave options for an unlimited number of turn - arounds during the summit attempt, but we have always been able to get people who really need to descent headed in the right direction, very quickly, and under excellent care and supervision. This is in addition to our staff of lesser assistant guides, porters, cooks, cooks' helpers - a staff of 50+ on full expeditions.
10. Could you give an example of a typical breakfast, lunch and dinner on the mountain?
Re-supply during our trip allows us to provide lots of fresh and whole grain cooked foods. We have the best chefs and food on the mountain, hands down.
All travelers should visit their personal physician 4-8 weeks before departure. Talk to your doctor about the following:
Should you require any medication whatsoever, you must provide your own and be able to administer it yourself. Medical supplies in other countries are not reliable or guaranteed.
Bring adequate supplies of all medications in their original containers, clearly labeled. Carry a signed, dated letter from the primary physician describing all medical conditions and listing all medications, including generic names.
Insect protection measures are essential in all areas where malaria is reported. The number of cases of malaria has risen sharply in recent years, due in part to internal migration and the spread of irrigation for rice and cotton farming.
Wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and shoes (rather than sandals). Apply insect repellents containing 20-35% DEET (N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) or 20% picaridin (Bayrepel) to exposed skin (but not to the eyes, mouth, or open wounds).
We recommend that you always drink bottled or treated water.
Trekking is a strenuous adventure and should not be undertaken if you have any health conditions which may put you at risk. You are strongly advised to consult your physician for a thorough medical check-up and clearance before attempting a trek in the mountain. If you are over 50 years old, talk to your doctor about doing a "stress EKG".
Altitude sickness (for High Altitude Trekking)
Many people will experience the effects of high altitude. Take precautions to avoid altitude sickness if you are prone to it. Be sure to try a hot tea or an infusion of coca leaves on arrival at altitude. During your first day move slowly and eat lightly, resting the first couple of hours.
Travel to high altitudes is generally not recommended for those with a history of heart disease, lung disease, or sickle cell disease