Planet Lodge Arusha – Karibu to Kilimanjaro’s Friendliest Hotel

Many Kilimanjaro Climbing companies use hotels in Moshi as a base for their Kilimanjaro climbs, but if you want to see a little bit more of the ‘real’ Tanzania; it is worth heading into the city of Arusha, where you will find some great hotels and restaurants that serve traditional food to local people.

img_0115Arusha is just a 45-minute drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport and a 2-hour drive from Kilimanjaro’s Machame Gate.  A popular stopover for those climbing Kilimanjaro or heading off on a Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater Safari, Arusha has everything you could possibly need in terms of banks, shopping centres and eateries, and it’s a lot less ‘touristy’ than Moshi.

Climb Kilimanjaro and Serengeti Ngorongoro SafariWhen it comes to hotels, there are plenty of options to choose from in Arusha, but if you are looking for a clean, comfortable and friendly hotel with a good internet connection and on site restaurant, you might struggle to find anywhere better than the Planet Lodge Hotel.

While not in the centre of Arusha, the Planet Lodge Hotel is just a 5-minute ride away, and the hotel provides complementary shuttles throughout the day.  There is free (safe) parking on site, laundry service is available if you need to refresh any items before starting your Kilimanjaro climb or safari, and there is a great bar and restaurant where you will meet other travellers from across the world and, quite possibly, share your adventures into the early hours of the morning.

img_0111The Tanzanian people are known for their friendliness, and in the Planet Lodge Arusha, you are greeted with warm smiles, a cool towel, a delicious fruity beverage and the traditional welcome – Karibu!

img_0113While checking in, your luggage is whisked away to your room, so the only thing you have to do is fill in the check-in form, enjoy your drink, and explore the beautiful gardens and pool area before heading to your cosy chalet.  Planet Lodge Arusha has its own bar, pool bar and restaurant, so if you want to kick back and relax, you do not have to venture far for a refreshing G&T or a delicious snack.

img_0109We stayed in the Planet Lodge before and after our Kilimanjaro climb, and would have no hesitation in recommending it to others, and after passing through Moshi, we are glad we stayed on the other side of town!

Climbing Kilimanjaro – Hand Luggage Essentials

There is nothing worse than lost or delayed luggage, especially if you are heading off on an expedition such as Mount Kilimanjaro that requires specialist clothing and equipment, but with an estimated 2.5million suitcases going missing each year, it is something you should consider when packing for your trip.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – Hand Luggage Essentials

While any reputable Kilimanjaro Climbing company will be able to assist you with good quality hiking clothing, poles, sleeping bags, and backpacks if yours go missing, some things, like your hiking boots, are an invaluable part of your trip, so always keep them with you, either on your feet, or in your hand luggage.

Wearing your boots to travel in might not be the most fashionable or comfortable option, but if they are on your feet they will free up plenty of space in your hand luggage for other essentials such as medications, a pair of hiking trousers, a complete set of thermal underwear, spare undies and socks, sunglasses, camera’s and your head lamp.

It is also advisable to take your jacket with you as hand luggage. It might be too warm and bulky for at home, but you will be more than happy to have it at 5,000mtrs above sea level, and once you are on the plane, you can secure it in the overhead locker and have one less thing to worry about.  You can also pack your hats and gloves in your jacket pockets – so if the worse happens and your suitcase ends up in Tasmania rather than Tanzania, you will at least have the basics!

If you do arrive in Kilimanjaro to find that your luggage didn’t make it, the first thing to do is report it at the airport and let them know where you are staying, but keep the luggage tag with you as you will need this to track your case with the airline.

Most climbers arrive in Kilimanjaro 24-hours before the start of their climb, so there is a possibility that your case will arrive before you begin your expedition, but if not, your Kilimanjaro climbing company should help you buy or rent any equipment you need. A good Kilimanjaro climbing company will also follow up with the airline so that if your luggage does arrive, they can collect it from the airport and send it up to you on the mountain.

Once you are standing at Uhuru Peak overlooking all Africa, the last thing on your mind will be your luggage, so don’t let a lost suitcase spoil your Kilimanjaro expedition, just be prepared and pack as much as possible in your hand luggage!

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!