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!




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