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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

If climbing mountains is your passion, then the Kilimanjaro challenge will take your breath away. Rising to 19,340 ft., it is the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Most of the area Kilimanjaro is defined by the Kilimanjaro National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Unlike climbing the mountains in the Himalays, this mountain requires no expensive mountaineering equipment, nor do you need mountaineering experience. What you do need though, is to be in excellent physical shape. Don't underestimate the climb.  Summit day is the most demanding portion of the climb, typically involving 8 hours for the ascent and 6-7 hours for the descent. You will require strength & endurance. Being in top physical condition is the single most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential. The better your physical condition, the more likely you are to perform well and have an enjoyable experience. Start training early if you have plans to climb this mountain. The most common problem is altitude sickness and no one is immune from that possibility.

Mt. Kilimanjaro comprises three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 19,340 feet (5,895 meters) Mawenzi 16,896 feet (5,149 meters) Shira 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) There are five common routes used to climb Kilimanjaro: Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai and Umbwe. Uhuru peak is the highest summit of Kilimanjaro. The highest peak on Mawenzi is Hans Meyer Point, which can only be reached by mountaineers. Kilimanjaro contains a wide array of ecosystems on earth - glacier, snowfields, deserts, alpine moorland, savannah, and tropical jungle. The Town of Moshi which is not too far from the summit is the most common base for climbers.

When to go
Clearest and warmest conditions from December to February, but also dry (and colder) from July-September.

Plan on spending at least 6 days (5 nights) on the mountain. The Kilimanjaro Park Guide is followed. (-1) indidates the trip could be shortened by a day.

THE ROUTES:

Route

Description

Days

Length

Lemosho

Long access drive, remote, less frequented, beautiful forests, scenic traverse to Barafu, camping. Excellent for acclimatization.

8 (-1)

56 km

Machame

Second most popular route. Beautiful forest, very good for acclimatization, scenic traverse to Barafu.

7 (-1)

49 km

Marangu

Very popular. Gentle gradients and long sections up to 4700m. Beautiful forests and moorlands, comfortable but basic huts. The 6 day variant provides good time for acclimatization.

6 (-1)

64 km

Rongai

Long access drive, remote, less frequented, some fine, wild, high-altitude mountain scenery, camping. Good for acclimatization.

6

65 km

Umbwe

Shortest and steepest route, tough. Beautiful forest, spectacular ridge, good for acclimatization, scenic traverse to Barafu, camping

6

37 km

The main tourist route and by far the most popular route and some claim the easiest route to Uhuru Peak. The 5-day option, which is available on this route, makes it the least expensive route on the mountain. A 6-day option with an extra day of acclimatization is however also available. This is the only route, which provides comfortable sleeping huts, equipped with beds and mattresses at every campsite. Mineral water, soft drinks, beer and chocolates are also sold at every camp. All the camps on this route have radio contact with the Park Headquarters.

Marangu Route Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrival to Kilimanjaro International Airport, meet and greet and transfer to Moshi town. Dinner and overnight at Lodge in 1 double room on Bed and breakfast basis.

Day 2: Pick up from hotel and drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Gate at Marangu for the first section of the climb through the montane forest to Mandara Hut at 9000ft/ 2750m. Takes 3 to 4 hours. Overnight Mandara hut

Day 3:  Leaving the forest, you trek along a good path through open grassy moorland to reach Horombo Hut at 12000ft/3700m. Takes 5 to 7 hours. Overnight Horombo hut

Day 4: Continue ascending past the last water point, traversing the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi to Kibo Hut at 15000ft/4700m. Takes 5 to 7 hours. Overnight Kibo hut

Day 5: An early start for the summit on steep and heavy screen up to Gilman's Point at 18640ft/5681m. On the crater rim to arrive in time for sunrise. Continue on to Uhuru Peak the highest point in Africa at 19340ft/5896m. Descend to Horombo Hut for overnight taking 7 to 8 hours ascent and 4 to 7 hours descent. Overnight Horombo hut

Day 6: Descend the mountain to the Park Gate (5 to 7 hours_ to be met and transferred to lodge for overnight stay. Dinner and overnight at lodge in 1 double room on Bed and Breakfast basis.

Day 7: After breakfast check out from lodge, transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your is onward flight home.

The quote inclusive of:

  • Marangu route trekking for 6 days/5 nights.
  • All park fee for client.
  • 3 meals a day plus a cup of hot drink.
  • Entry fee for crew.
  • Payments of the crew.
  • Meals for the crew.

Quote Exclusive of:

  • Tips for guides, Cooks and Porters.
  • Hire of any Equipment or gear besides those arranged and provide by the office.
  • Medical Treatment or check up.
  • Laundry service, telephone calls, Bear/ Soft drink, Gift and souvenirs.
  • Personal Life Insurance.
  • Any rescue fee apart from the Kilimanjaro national park authority.
  • All other Items of a personal nature.
  • Any return transfer from boarder.

This is probably the most scenic and most beautiful route to the summit. The 6-day route is however physically more challenging than the Marangu route. The day walks are longer and steepe and the summit night is one hour shorter. The scenic traverse of the Western Breach offers some stunning views! Only tented accommodation available, which can be less comfortable and will require a good sleeping bag and hiking mattress.

Machame Route Itinerary

Day 1: Pick up from hotel in Moshi town.  Proceed to Kilimanjaro National Park Gate at Machame for the first section of the climb through the montane forest to Machame Campsite at 10000ft/3000m. Overnight at Machame camp - approximately 5 to 7 hours.

Day 2:  Following the steep ridge and across heath and moorland to "picnic rock" and the Shira plateau, to Shira Campsite at 12500ft/3800m Overnight Shira camp - approximately 5 to 7 hours.  

Day 3:  Heading towards Kibo, crossing a broad valley and climbing to a ridge crest, crossing scree slopes and a river valley to reach Barranco Campsite 13000ft/3900m.  Overnight at Barranco camp - approximately 5 to 7 hours.

Day 4:  Cross the floor of the Great Barranco Valley, up the Barranco Wall to the Karanga River - the last water point on this route. A steep climb over rocky slabs to Barafu Campsite at 15500ft/4600m. Overnight Barafu camp - approximately 8 to 9 hours.

Day 5:  An early start for the summit - Uhuru Peak the highest point in Africa at 19340ft/5896m taking 6 to 7 hours. Descend via Barafu Campsite through the forest to Mweka Campsite at 10000ft/3000m. for overnight camp.- taking 5 to 7 hours. Overnight Mweka Camp

Day 6: Descend through the forest to the park gate at Mweka Wildlife College - approximately 3 to 4 hours - meet and transferred to Arusha town for overnight stay.

End of climb.

The quote inclusive of:

  • Machame route trekking for 6 days/5 nights.
  • All park fee for client.
  • 3 meals a day plus a cup of hot drink.
  • Entry fee for crew.
  • Payments of the crew.
  • Meals for the crew.

Quote Exclusive of:

  • Tips for guides, Cooks and Porters.
  • Hire of any Equipment or gear besides those arranged and provide by the office.
  • Medical Treatment or check up.
  • Laundry service, telephone calls, Bear/ Soft drink, Gift and souvenirs.
  • Personal Life Insurance.
  • Any rescue fee apart from the Kilimanjaro national park authority.
  • All other Items of a personal nature.
  • Any return transfer from boarder.

 

Rongai Route

You can start this route from both the Tanzanian side of the border or from Rongai in Kenya, but all park fees and arrangements must be made at the Marangu gate. The route may only be used for ascend and the Marangu route must be used for descend. There are several big caves along the route, which are used by the porters during the overnight stay for the first two nights.

Rongai Route Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer from Arusha to Moshi Town.Overnight at hotel in 2 double rooms on bed and breakfast basis. Your lead guide will come to hotel for checking your mountaineering equipments and briefings.

Day 2: The climb begins at the village of Nale Moru. Long walk through cultivated land before entering the pine forest. Watch out for Kilimanjaro Colobus monkeys in the tree tops with their white fringed 'capes' and tail. Taking 3 - 4 hours to the first camp which is on the edge of the moorland zone, where the forest begins to thin out -  First Cave at 8500ft/2600m. Overnight 1st Cave Camp

Day 3: The morning walk is a steady ascent up to Second Cave at 11300ft/3450m with superb views of Kibo and the eastern ice fields on the crater rim. Pushing on to reach Third Cave taking 3 to 4 hours at 12800ft/3800m for overnight camp. Overnight 3rd Cave Camp

Day 4: Continue ascending on the east side of Kibo crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut at 15000ft/4700m. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent which begins around midnight. Overnight Kibo Camp

Day 5: An early start for the summit on steep heavy screen to arrive at Gilman's Point at 18640ft/5681m in time to see the sun rise. Those who want to reach the highest point in Africa can take the approximately three hour excursion to Uhuru Peak 19340/5896m passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo is surprisingly fast and after some refreshment, continue the descent to reach the final campsite at Horombo at 12000ft/3700m taking 11 to 15 hours. Overnight Horombo Camp

Day 6: A steady descent down through the moor land to Mandara Hut and then downward through the lush forest on a good path to the National Park gate at Marangu ( 1830m) taking 5 to 7 hours to be met and transferred to hotel for dinner and overnight stay. accommodation will be in 2double room on half board basis.

The quote inclusive of:

  • Rongai route trekking for 6 days/5 nights.
  • All park fee for client.
  • 3 meals a day plus a cup of hot drink.
  • Return transfer from Arusha to Moshi town to entrance gate.
  • Entry fee for crew.
  • Payments of the crew.
  • Meals for the crew.

 

Quote Exclusive of:

  • Pre and post accommodation.
  • Tips for guides, Cooks and Porters.
  • Hire of any Equipment or gear besides those arranged and provide by the office.
  • Medical Treatment or check up.
  • Laundry service, telephone calls, Bear/ Soft drink, Gift and souvenirs.
  • Personal Life Insurance.
  • Any rescue fee apart from the Kilimanjaro national park authority.
  • All other Items of a personal nature.

The Lemosho route is one of the newer routes on the mountain, and a superb choice for your climb.

It is a preferred route due to its ideal balance of low traffic, beautiful scenery and a high summit success rate.

The route approaches Mount Kilimanjaro from the west, beginning with a long drive from Moshi to Londorossi Gate. From there, the first two days are spent trekking through the rainforest to Shira Ridge.

Unlike the popular Machame route, which simply intersects the Shira Plateau, the Lemosho route crosses the entirety of the plain from west to east in a pleasant, relatively flat hike.  An added bonus is that climbers will encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit. Descent is made via the Mweka route.

The minimum number of days required for this route is six days, although eight days is best.

Lemosho is considered the most scenic route on Kilimanjaro, and grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. Thus, Lemosho is highly recommended.


FINAL CHECKLIST FOR KILIMANJARO

Be properly equipped

One of the important prerequisites of a successful summit attempt is being properly equipped. Ensure that you are well equipped - print the Checklist below and mark it off, it will be an essential part of your preparation for the climb. Please remember to limit the weight of your duffel bag and its content, to be carried by the porters on the climb to 15 kg (30 lbs.) or less. Extra luggage, including clean clothes to wear after your climb, can be left at the hotel in Moshi. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions regarding the checklist. We also provide a complete and quality rental service on all the equipment required on the mountain, as a sensible alternative to purchasing.

 Travel Documents

- Valid passport and visa
- Airline ticket
- International health card with immunizations (Yellow fever)
- Travel insurance
- Medical insurance
- US$ cash / Travelers Checks / Credit Card

Essential Items
- Duffel bag - large enough for all climbing gear and clothing. To be carried by the porters. An extra bag to be left at the hotel with extra gear
- Small luggage lock - to lock zippers.
- Day backpack - between 20 - 35 litres.  Large enough to carry your water, camera, raincoat, lunch pack, snacks & warm clothing
- Sleeping bag (good quality which can be use below -20 degrees). 
- Ski-pole / walking stick.
- Water bottle / containers.
- Kilimanjaro map (Can be bought at Park gate)

High Altitude Gear
- Waterproof, breathable & windproof jacket (outer wear e.g., like Ventex, Gore-Tex or Jeantex)
- Waterproof, breathable & windproof pants (outer wear)
- Polar fleece (middle layer)
- Thermal underwear (under layers)
- Mittens or warm gloves (hand warmers)
- Glove liners (if necessary)
- One pair thermal (polertex) socks.
- Balaclava
- Gaiters
- Thermal water flask

Hiking Gear
- Shorts
- Hiking pants.
- Regular underwear
- T-shirts
- Raincoat or Poncho

Footwear

 - Water resistant semi-stiff hiking boots - mid weight boots work great

- Shoes for overnight camps - i.e. sneakers, running shoes, etc.

- Socks - several pairs for the climb.

- Liner socks - to keep your feet dry and limit the risk of blisters

Equipment
- Sun hat or similar (with a brim)
- Collapsible ski stick (optional but highly recommended)
- Water bottles - two or three (total capacity at least 6 litres)
- Head lamp, good strong one with spare batteries and an extra light bulb
- Water purification tablets
- Sunglasses, good quality dark lenses for the climb, with a securing strap
- Flashlight (torch) with spare batteries

Personal Items
- Toilet kit (soap, tooth brush, toilet articles, wet wipes, etc.).
- Towel
- Sun screen and lip protection, SPF 30+
- Ziploc bags, to protect camera, binoculars, etc. from dust
- Toilet paper
- Money belt for passport and valuables

Medical and First Aid Supplies

(Please check with your doctor before taking below medicine with you)
- Headaches--Syndols
- Altitude sickness-Diamox (if not allergic to sulpha)
- Diarrhoea - Imodium
- Nausea - Valiod
- Malaria - Prophylaxis
- Water purification tablets
- Painkillers
- Muscular sprains
- Abrasions blisters and cuts - Plaster, bandages
- Antiseptic cream - Betadine
- Flu and colds
- Eyes - drops
- Insect repellent

Optional  Items

- Camera, extra lenses and film (ASA 200 film recommended)
- Binoculars
- Powdered sports drinks for the climb (ex. Game or Isotonic drinks)
- Pocket knife
- Notebook & pencil
- Plastic bags to keep clothing dry (masking tape)
- Energy snacks and sweets
- Video camera, tapes, battery packs and tri-pod

For trekkers who are not fully kitted out, the following used equipment is available for hire from the Mountain Inn Hotel.

Please inquire.

Equipment

Anorak

Balaclava

Battery

Duffel bag

Gaiters

Gloves

Mountain Boots Bag

Pouch

Rain Coat

Rain Trousers

RuckSack

Sleeping Bag (not four season)

Socks

Walking Stick

Sunglasses

Torch

Thick Sweater

Underwear Trousers

Water bottle

Tent

Mattress

Kindly note that the Huts on the Marangu routes are very basic and you have to share it with other climbers; the toilets are not en-suite and are of a very basic quality. The rescue at mountain is manually by one wheeled gurney, the rescue vehicle can only come up to the first hut.

Contacts:

Deepak: 24 hours: Rickshaw Arusha: +255 685 082 508

Climbing Kilimanjaro is probably one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. Every year, approximately 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain, and approximately 10 deaths are reported. The main cause of death is altitude sickness. Everyone climbing Mount Kilimanjaro should be familiar with the symptoms of altitude sickness.