10 Great Gift ideas for Kilimanjaro Mountain Crew and Porters

The unsung heroes of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro Mountain Crew and Porters do all the hard work so the only thing we have to worry about is eating enough food, drinking enough liquids and putting one foot in front of the other, but they are often under paid, and rely on our tips and donations to support themselves and their families.

Climb Kilimanajaro

If you are planning on climbing Kilimanjaro soon, the KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project) Tipping guidelines will help you decide how much you should tip your Kilimanjaro Porters, Mountain Guides and Cooks, but there are other things that they are in desperate need of, and that is quality climbing gear and shoes.

Sadly, many Kilimanjaro Porters climb the mountain with ill-fitting shoes and less than adequate clothing, so they truly appreciate any extra ‘gifts’ we can give them, and if you are heading to Tanzania anytime soon, here are 10 Great Gift Ideas that your Kilimanjaro Porters will love…

  1. Hiking Boots
  2. Hiking Poles / Sticks
  3. Jackets and Trousers
  4. Hats, Scarves and Gloves
  5. Sweets / Snacks / Chewing Gum
  6. Toiletries such as deodorant sprays and toothpaste
  7. Magazines
  8. Headlamps / Batteries
  9. Water bottles or Camelbacks
  10. Sleeping Bags or Blankets

If you have purchased new hiking gear for your Kilimanjaro Adventure, take you old stuff with you, your porters will be more than happy with last season’s winter gear!








Climb Kilimanjaro Christmas & New Year

I hate to say it, but there are only 82 days (that’s just over 11 weeks!) to go until Christmas, and if you plan to escape this winter, one of the best places to hide from Santa, sleigh bells and all things festive, is the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Climb Kilimanjaro Lunar Eclipse September 2015Climbing Kilimanjaro over Christmas and New Year is an amazing experience, and when you consider that the average Brit spends around £1000 on Christmas presents, food, and celebrations over the festive period, your trip to the Roof of Africa will not cost much more than staying at home.

Unfortunately, the flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport do increase over the Christmas and New Year period, but most recommended Kilimanjaro climbing companies offer standard rates throughout the year, and do not impose supplements simply because it’s Christmas.

Kilimanjaro is busier than usual over the Christmas and New Year period, but that is to be expected.  Intrepid travellers from across the globe flock to Tanzania for the highest New Years Eve party in the world, but if you book a private climb, you can still enjoy a more personalised experience, and make your way to Uhuru Peak at your own pace… which will be “poley-poley” believe me!

img_0196Once you have completed your mission to the top of Africa’s highest mountain, you can reward yourself with an Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti Safari experience, or like us, you can head on down to the sugar white beaches of Zanzibar for some much-needed R&R… the perfect way to head into a new year.

If you cannot manage Kilimanjaro this Christmas, worry not, there is a magnificent Kilimanjaro Lunar Eclipse Climb coming up in September 2015 – and that’s a whole different story!





Friday’s Photo Shoot: Climbing Kilimanjaro Machame Route on a Private Trek

Many people choose to climb Kilimanjaro over Christmas and New Year, and as a result, most group tours are booked up months in advance.  Fortunately, there is an alternative for those who are less organised, and if you are thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro this festive season, you can still book a private trek along the Machame Route to start on any day you choose.

Private Kilimanjaro Trek’s are, surprisingly, often cheaper than the scheduled group tours, so if you thought that a private climb was out of your budget, contact a specialised tour operator for a quote – you will be pleasantly surprised.

Due to its high success rate, we decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro along the Machame Route, and as we booked a private trek, the trip was tailor-made to suit our requirements and our journey to Uhuru Peak a whole lot easier…

Private Trek Kilimanjaro Christmas and New Year img_0111 img_0122 img_0124 img_0044 img_0135 img_0166 img_0195 img_0214 img_0257 img_0283 img_0311 img_0176 img_0335 img_0394

Climb Kilimanjaro – Total Lunar Eclipse September 28th, 2015

When you stand on top of Mount Kilimanjaro the moon feels so close that you can almost touch it, and on the 28th September 2015, you will be able to witness a very rare occurrence from Uhuru Peak, and that will be a Total Lunar Eclipse.

Ringside seats are available for those who want to combine their Kilimanjaro Climb with the Total Lunar Eclipse, and to make sure you have the best possible views; your Mountain guide will carefully plan your departure from Barafu Camp to ensure you reach Uhuru Peak in plenty of time for this special event.

group tours and private tours mount kilimanjaro machame route

What is a Total Lunar Eclipse?

A Total Lunar Eclipse occurs when the moon is located in the Umbra region of the Earth’s shadow, and completely blocked from the sun.

A Total Lunar Eclipse is very rare, it only happens once or twice per year, and you have to be in the right place at the right time to view it. Mount Kilimanjaro just happens to be that place and time on 28th September 2015 – so its the perfect day to make your ascent to the Roof of Africa.

What time do you need to be on top of Mount Kilimanjaro to view the Total Lunar Eclipse?

The Total Lunar Eclipse of 28th September 2015, is set to begin at around 03:13am Arusha time. The partial eclipse will begin an hour later at 04:12, and the total eclipse begins at 05:13 when the moon turns red.  The maximum eclipse (when the moon is closest to the centre of the Umbra shadow) will be at around 05:47am.

If you intend to watch the entire spectacle, please remember to take plenty of extra water and super-warm clothing – it’s gonna be cold up on Uhuru Peak and you’re gonna be there for a while!  See you at the top!

It’s Kilimanjaro Climbing Season – Anyone for Uhuru Peak?

It is that time of the year again, and if you intend to climb Africa’s highest mountain this autumn or winter, now is the perfect time to book your Mount Kilimanjaro Expedition!

private climbs mount kilimanjaro

While you can climb Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, it’s pretty cold during the months of June, July and August, but once you get into September, the sun begins to shine, there is less chance of rain, the routes to Uhuru Peak are usually snow-free, and your path to the Roof of Africa will be much more enjoyable.

We climbed Kilimanjaro at the end of September, and enjoyed glorious sunshine every day.  The nights are cold, but when you consider the altitude in which you are camping, that is to be expected, and providing you have warm clothes, a good quality sleeping bag, and a comfy inflatable mattress (take your own – you will thank me!), you’ll be fine.

kilimanjaro group tours

September is considered one of the best months to climb Mount Kilimanjaro due to its moderate climate and good climbing conditions, but group tours tend to be rather crowded at this time of the year, so if you are looking for a more personal service, take a private tour instead.

If you think that a Private Kilimanjaro Climb is over your budget – think again! I recently found a private Kilimanjaro tour that was considerably cheaper than all the group tours departing during the same week (I’m talking £300 cheaper!), and with your own personal crew of porters, cooks and mountain guides to take care of your every need, your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak are considerably higher.

Best time to climb Kilimanjaro

Private Kilimanjaro climbs can start on any day you choose, so you do not have to fit in with anyone else’s plans, and as they are available for single climbers, couples, families and charity groups, everyone can enjoy the ‘luxury’ of a private Kilimanjaro climb!

October and November are great months for climbing Kilimanjaro too, but by December, the Christmas and New Year crowds start to arrive – and that’s a completely new story!




Climbing Kilimanjaro – Inspirational Stories to help you reach Uhuru Peak

If you dream of climbing Africa’s highest mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro, but are worried that you are too old, too unfit, or simply too cool to dress in unfashionable mountain gear for a week – worry not!  There are people older than you, less fit than you, and more fashionable that you climbing this impressive peak every day – so pack your excuses in your old kit bag (or mountain rucksack!) and get on down to Tanzania!

group tours and private tours mount kilimanjaro machame route

Here’s a roundup of the latest Kilimanjaro stories to get you inspired…

Twelve retirees set to become the oldest group to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

A group of 60 – 78 year olds from Port Lincoln, Australia will attempt to become the oldest group to reach Kilimanjaro’s 5,895m peak this week – proving that age is nothing more than a number.   A “crazy idea” thought up by 77-year old Christine Jenner who struggled to find a suitable exercise program for people in her age group, this Kilimanjaro challenge will be the culmination of 18-months of training.  Christine said, “Some people think that once you get to a certain age you should be wrapped in cotton wool and be sitting in front of the TV or reading a book. But there are wonderful things out there, life begins at 70″!

Woman climbs Kilimanjaro in High Heels and Chanel Lipstick to celebrate her 40th Birthday

Proving that you do not have to compromise on style when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Rima Suqui carried a pair of designer stilettos all the way to summit, where she posed for photos with killer heels and bright red Chanel lipstick.

When quizzed about her ‘unique’ mountain gear, she confirmed that she was “a little bit of a shoe person”, and that she had done this to commemorate her 40th Birthday. “It’s 40,” she said. “Forty is kind of a big deal. You’ve got to do something.”

A student, who was told she would never walk again, prepares to climb Kilimanjaro.

When architecture student Katie Taylor broke her back in a skiing accident four years ago, she was told that she would likely never walk again, but four years on, she is planning to climb Africa’s highest mountain in a bid to raise funds for a charitable organisation.

Speaking of her pending challenge, which starts tomorrow – August 6th, Katie said, “It’s important not to put limits on what we think people with disabilities can or cannot do.”

Now that we have dispelled your worries and doubts, book that Kilimanjaro Climb, and take a look at the world from the Roof of Africa – the most beautiful view on planet earth!




Climbing Kilimanjaro – 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions

If you are thinking about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, you probably have a list of questions as long as your arm, I know we did, but over the years, we have found that most intrepid travellers have the same questions when it comes to climbing ‘Kili’, so here are the answers to the five most frequently asked:

1. How hard / difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro?

This is a difficult question to answer, but one that almost every climber asks, so our answer would have to be “no” and “yes”!  Kilimanjaro is not technically challenging and you do not need any ropes or technical equipment, but you will be walking up hill for approximately 6-hours per day, and up to 12-hours on summit night, so you need to be physically fit.

You also need to prepare mentally for sleeping in minus temperatures and the strains your body will face at high altitude.   Physically fit and mentally prepared = success.

2. What do I need to Pack for Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro might be in Africa, but you should expect minus temperatures from night one on the mountain. Any reputable tour operator offering Kilimanjaro Tours will provide you with a complete packing list, which will list everything you need to get to the top comfortably.  Pack for comfort, warmth and protection – rather than fashion!

3. What is the food like on Kilimanjaro?

This depends on the company you choose for your Kilimanjaro climb. If you go with a reputable company, you can expect 3 hot meals per day and plenty of snacks throughout the day to keep your energy levels up. A typical menu would be:

  • Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, sausages, toast, porridge, fresh fruits, tea, coffee, and orange juice
  • Lunch: Vegetable soup, chicken stir-fry, pasta, a vegetable dish, fresh pineapple
  • Dinner: Carrot & Ginger soup, beef with vegetables, rice, a vegetable dish, banana fritters

 4. Where can I go to the toilet on Kilimanjaro?

There are no toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro!  Your mountain crew will provide you with a ‘toilet tent’, a porta-potty and toilet paper at base camp (fondly referred to as the Internet Café!), but during the day, you will need to pick a bush!  If you intend to use toilet paper during the day, please ensure you have a bag to dispose of it correctly – and keep Kilimanjaro tidy!

5.  How much do I need to calculate for tips for my porters and mountain crew?

Different climbing companies recommend different tip amounts, some suggest you tip 10% of the cost of your climb, other suggest you tip each porter / cook / guide a certain amount.  We recommend the KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project) guidelines, which recommend you tip:

  • Porters: $10 – $15 per day
  • Cook: $12 – $17 per day
  • Asst. Guide: $15 – $20 per day
  • Guide: $25 – $30 per day

This amount is split between the number of climbers in your group, so the larger the group, the less you have to pay. After a day on Mount Kilimanjaro – you will realise just how much these guys deserve your tips!