Climb Kilimanjaro – Private Tour vs. Group Tour

There are many things to consider when you are thinking about climbing Kilimanjaro, such as which climbing company to choose, when to go, which route to take, and whether to take a private tour or a scheduled group tour, and they could all make a huge difference to the success of your climb.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – A Once in a Lifetime Experience… That I cannot wait to do again!

The company you choose to climb Kilimanjaro will ultimately be responsible for your safety and well-being on the mountain, but they are also responsible for the Mountain Guides, Cooks and Porters that assist you during your climb, and so always look out for those who are members of KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project), to ensure your mountain crew are well taken care of.

Climbing companies who support KPAP may charge you a few dollars more to climb Kilimanjaro than those who do not, but if you want to ensure your porters receive a fair wage, good food, and adequate clothing for your climb it is a small price to pay.

Then there is the choice between a Private Kilimanjaro Tour and a Scheduled Group Tour.

Private Kilimanjaro Climbs

Years ago, Private climbs were only for those with a large budget and deep pockets, but today, anyone can enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a private tour up Kilimanjaro, and they can even cost less than a scheduled group tour… You just need to know where to look.

Private Kilimanjaro Climbs can start on any day of the year and with any number of people (even singles), so if you are limited to certain travel dates, a private climb is definitely the best option.

If you climb Kilimanjaro on a private tour, your mountain guide can offer a more personalised service, this is not possible on a group climb when you guide has to cater for several different people with several different fitness levels.

With a private climb, especially if there is just a small group of close family and friends, you get to know your crew personally – and that will make a huge difference to your Kilimanjaro experience.

 Kilimanjaro Group Tours

Climbing Kilimanjaro on a scheduled Group Tour is perfect for single travellers who can travel at any time of the year, and who would rather not climb on their own.

If you want to save money, one of the easiest ways to do so is by taking a larger group tour along Kilimanjaro’s Marangu Route, also known as the Coca-Cola Route.  These tours are usually the cheapest when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, but they are also the shortest, and this can cause problems with altitude sickness.

Group tours work well if all climbers have a good level of physical fitness, and all maintain the same pace.  If certain members of the group did not prepare for the climb, the mountain guide and assistant mountain guide(s) have to work exceptionally hard to keep everyone together (and everyone happy!).

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a life-changing experience – whichever way you decide to climb, but by choosing your climb carefully, you can make your path to the Roof of Africa even more enjoyable!

Climb Kilimanjaro 2014 – On Any Day of the Year!

If you would like to climb Kilimanjaro in 2014, but can’t find any schedules that fit in with your annual leave, you will be pleased to know that you can climb Mount Kilimanjaro on ANY day of the year by simply booking a private tour.

A private climb up Kilimanjaro can work out just a $100 dollars more than your regular scheduled group tour, and whether you are climbing on your own, with a partner or friend, or have your own group together, you can book a private tour to start on any day you choose.

Private Tour Kilimanjaro 2015

When we climbed the 7-day Machame Route back in September 2012, we decided on a private tour as we had to travel on certain dates, but now we know the benefits of a private climb, we would never recommend anything else!

With a private tour on Mount Kilimanjaro you set the pace (behind your guide!), you can take as many breaks / photo stops as you like without upsetting anyone, you can take your time in the mornings to pack away your things, and the whole trip is a lot more personalised.

The National Parks of Tanzania are open 365 days per year, so you can climb Kilimanjaro on your birthday, on Christmas Day, and you can even summit on New Year’s Eve – with a private tour, the sky is your limit… literally!

Mountains & Monkeys – An African Adventure

If you dream of travelling the world, you probably have a ‘Bucket List’ as long as the Great Wall of China, but there are certain favourites that stand out on every intrepid travellers wish list, and they including Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda or Uganda.

Gorilla Tracking Rwands

They may be two completely different adventures, but they work beautifully together, and with daily flights from Kilimanjaro Airport to Kigali – Rwanda’s capital, it makes perfect sense to combine your Mount Kilimanjaro Climb with a visit to the Mountain Gorillas of Volcanoes National Park.

Planning your Kilimanjaro Climb has never been easier, and as most KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project) Registered Climbing Companies offer private tours for groups of every size (even singles), you can schedule your climb to start on any day, 365-days of the year.

With six official routes on Mount Kilimanjaro to choose from, there is something for everyone, and by choosing one of the longer itineraries with plenty of time for acclimatization, your journey to the Roof of Africa will be a successful one.

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Once you have crossed “Climb Kilimanjaro” off your bucket list, a short flight (1h 30min) to Kigali will put you in prime position for meeting the world’s largest primates – the Mountain Gorilla.

It is estimated that there are just 700-800 Mountain Gorillas left in the world due to hunting, war, disease and destruction of their natural habitat over the years, but thankfully, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme, established in 1991, has helped Mountain Gorilla numbers increase.

One of the best ways to ensure these magnificent creatures thrive is by visiting them.  Charitable organisation WWF encourages travellers to support conservation projects and local communities by visiting the Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda, in a controlled environment that protects the Mountain Gorillas while allowing us to fulfil our dreams.

With two destinations and twice the adventure, this journey throughout Africa is not for everyone, but if you have a passion for travel, a love of the great outdoors, and care about wild animals, this could be the holiday of your lifetime!

The Five Ecosystems of Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro might be Africa’s highest mountain, but it is also home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

During your Kilimanjaro Climb, you will pass through no less than five unique ecosystems, and with a knowledgeable mountain guide in tow, you will get to uncover some of ‘Kili’s’ secrets on your way to Uhuru Peak.

When taking the 7-Day Machame Route, you will start in lush verdant forests, before reaching the Heather zone on day two.  From here, the scenery changes dramatically, and you will soon find yourself walking through space-like Moorlands and Alpine Deserts, before finally reaching the ice walls of the summit.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a dream come true for many, and its five ecosystems make the journey to the Roof of Africa a whole lot prettier!

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Packing for Kilimanjaro – What you need to Take and Why you need to Take it!

If you intend to be one of the +/- 40,000 people who climb Mount Kilimanjaro this year, there are certain things you need to pack to ensure your passage to the ‘Roof of Africa’ is a smooth one.

Climb Kilimanjaro

While not a technical mountain, Kilimanjaro is not a mountain you can climb in jeans and trainers (many have tried!), and while you do not need to spend a fortune on the latest high-tech gear, there are some necessities that you really shouldn’t be without.

Having ‘Been there, done that’, we know what it takes to get to Uhuru Peak, so here are our top tips for packing for your Kilimanjaro climb:

A sleeping bag recommend for use in temperatures of minus 25

Why: No matter what time of year you climb Kilimanjaro, the temperatures plummet below zero at night. A warm, comfortable sleeping bag is essential, so invest in the best you can afford.

A good pair of comfortable hiking boots with Gore-Tex protection

Why: You are going to be hiking 5-8 hours per day for the duration of your climb, so it makes sense that you have comfortable, waterproof boots with ankle support.

 A Gore-Tex Windproof Jacket and a Fleece Jacket

Why: The temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro change constantly, you can have sunshine in the morning, wind and rain in the afternoon, and minus 15 at night, so a good set of jackets that you can ‘layer’ is much better than one big heavy down-jacket.

Gore-Tex Hiking Trousers

Why: I don’t want to sound like I’m advertising Gore-Tex here, I’m not, but the fact is, if you get wet on Mount Kilimanjaro, there is no way to get dry.  Stretch, waterproof hiking trousers are comfortable and ideal for long days on the mountain.

Dry-Fit / Sweat-Wicking T-Shirts

Why: Even when it’s cold on Mount Kilimanjaro, you will still sweat after hiking for 7 hours, so stay comfortable with 4 or 5 good quality performance t-shirts (we took a mix of long and short sleeves).

Thermal Underwear, Socks and Undies

Why: Obvious reasons!  There is nothing better to sleep in than a pair of Thermal Long Johns and a Thermal Long-sleeved T-shirt, and as you will not be showering for a week, take as many socks and pants as you can carry!

Fleece Tracksuit & Trainers

Why: You will need something to change into after a long day hiking, and this is warm, comfortable and cosy.

Hats, gloves and a scarf:

Why: Prepare for four seasons in one day, and you can’t go wrong on Mount Kilimanjaro. A baseball cap, a warm thermal hat, windproof gloves and a warm scarf will protect you from the elements – whatever the weather.

Waterproofs

Why: A cheap poncho will keep the rain at bay, should you get caught in a downpour.

Accessories:

Why: All of these items will prove invaluable when you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Sunglasses
  • A headlamp & spare batteries (its dark at night, and if you need to go to the loo, this will prove very helpful!)
  • Water Bottles (enough to carry 3-litres of water)
  • A large rucksack and a daypack (you carry the daypack, your porter carries the rest)
  • Camera and plenty of spare (back-up) batteries and memory cards
  • Hiking sticks/poles – This is an optional extra… I didn’t use them, but many people rely on them.

Toiletries and Medications

Why: Ok, silly question!

  • Baby Wipes – and more baby wipes!  The best invention to ever be discovered by mountain climbers, baby wipes will keep you feeling fresh and smelling sweet all week-long!
  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Toilet Paper & Deodorant – no description needed!
  • Moisturiser /lip balms– and this is not just for the Ladies! Your skin will soon dry out when exposed to the elements, and a good moisturiser / lip balm will stop your face, lips and hands cracking.
  • Water purifying tablets – very important, from day two, your water supplier will be sourced from local rivers, and while it is boiled and clean, it could affect those with a sensitive stomach.
  • Headache tablets / painkillers – Ibuprofen is recommended for headaches caused by altitude and it definitely worked for us.  Diamox is a prescription only drug, said to relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. This should only be considered after speaking to your doctor.
  • Plasters and antiseptic cream – just in case you get a blister!

If you do not want to carry everything with you to Tanzania, rent the heavier items from your Kilimanjaro climbing company.

Climb Kilimanjaro – Full Moon Dates 2014

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a wonderful experience at any time of the year, but if you would like to make your way to the ‘Roof of Africa’ under a full moon, you need to plan your climb to coordinate with Kilimanjaro’s Full Moon dates for 2014.

Summiting in the moonlight is a magical experience, with glittering glaciers and twinkling stars all around, and as the full moon provides enough light to see the path ahead, you can turn off your headlamp (and the uncomfortable glare that goes with it!), and appreciate the beauty of the night sky.

To climb Kilimanjaro under a full moon in 2014, you should plan your climb to start around these dates:

15th January 2014

14th February 2014

16th March 2014

15th April 2014 – Lunar Eclipse

14th May 2014

12th June 2014

12th July 2014

10th August 2014

8th September 2014

8th October 2014 – Lunar Eclipse

6th November 2014

6th December 2014

Depending on the route you choose, Machame, Marangu, Lemosho, Rongai, or Umbwe, and the length of your Kilimanjaro climb (6-9 days), you will need to start your trek 3-6 days ahead of the New Moon to ensure you summit on the evening of Africa’s newest moon.

14 Reasons to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014

With just a few days to go until we stride into 2014, it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty and make those New Year’s Resolutions that we have no intention of keeping!

Climb Kilimanjaro 2014

The most popular New Year’s resolutions may include dieting, drinking less, and exercising more, but let’s face it; they are all a bit boring! So, why not do something truly amazing in 2014, and climb Mount Kilimanjaro for your favourite charity or quite simply for yourself!

There are endless reasons why you should climb Kilimanjaro in 2014, and here are fourteen of them to get you motivated:

  1. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is demanding, but it is not a technical climb, and therefore anyone with a relatively good level of fitness can reach the summit.
  2. Thanks to its central location in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is easily accessible from most international airports, and flight tickets from Europe and the US are now cheaper than ever before.
  3. You can combine your Kilimanjaro Climb with a Serengeti Safari, a beach break in Zanzibar, or even, Gorilla tracking in Rwanda.
  4. Climbing Kilimanjaro is affordable to most, and providing you choose a registered company to climb with, the local Tanzanian economy will benefit from your visit.
  5. Climbing Kilimanjaro is like walking from the equator to the North Pole in just one week. The vegetation changes dramatically as you climb, and you can expect no less than five different eco-systems.
  6. Sadly, climate change is having a negative effect on Kilimanjaro’s glaciers, and scientists now predict they could be gone completely within the next 20-30 years – so make sure you see them before they are gone!
  7. By climbing Kilimanjaro for your favourite charity, you will not only help those who need it most, but it will make your climb even more rewarding.
  8. If your New Year’s resolution is to diet or get fit, training for Kilimanjaro will help keep you motivated long after January has passed!
  9. Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime experience, so why not be one of the plus/minus 40,000 who will climb it in 2014.
  10. Kilimanjaro Mountain Guides and Porters rely on tourism to feed their families, so by climbing Kilimanjaro in 2014 you will make your own dream come true and support those less fortunate by providing much-needed jobs.
  11. It is not only the altitude that will leave you breathless on Mount Kilimanjaro – the views from Uhuru Peak will take your breath away.
  12. Camping on Africa’s highest mountain is great fun and a great way to meet new people – and just imagine the stories you will have to tell your grandkids!
  13. On a clear night, you can see the entire Milky Way from Mount Kilimanjaro – and that was certainly a highlight for me.
  14. Climbing Kilimanjaro is an amazing achievement. The feeling you get when you stand at the top of Uhuru Peak makes every step, every breath and every penny spent worth it!

You can climb Mount Kilimanjaro throughout the year, so why not book your private climb, group climb or charity climb now, and make 2014 your year to do something unforgettable!