You may find it hard to believe, but telephone and internet access is very good on Mount Kilimanjaro, and with the right phone, the right SIM card, and a powerful power bank to keep you fully charged and ready to Facebook throughout your expedition, you can document your whole trip to the Roof of Africa, and take your FB friends with you every step of the way.
While many people love the fact that they are unavailable during their holidays, others feel the need to share every moment on social media, and if you fall into the latter category, you are going to need to get your hands on a Smartphone that can accept any type of SIM card.
If your phone is on contract with a major telecommunications company, chances are, your phone will be locked and unable to accept other SIM cards, so you need to find out before you leave for Tanzania. Many international providers are unable to provide coverage in Africa, and if they can, the roaming charges will probably cost more than your Kilimanjaro expedition, so it is a good idea to buy a local SIM in Arusha, and load it with as much data as you think you will need for your climb.
We always buy an Airtel SIM Card (there’s an Airtel Shop in Arusha), which costs just a few dollars. You can then choose from a variety of different bundles ranging from 50MB to 20GB, and off you go! You can accept international calls without paying a fortune, Tweet to your hearts content, and show your friends and family exactly what they are missing by keeping your Facebook page updated with selfies and little snippets that will have them turning green with envy.
While you are on the mountain, you are going to need at least one power bank to keep your phone charged. Batteries last less than half the normal time at high altitude, and so take a backup if you can, and turn your phone off when you are not using it.
While some camps on Kilimanjaro are ‘off the radar’ the porters know exactly where to go to get a connection, so if in doubt, look for someone hanging on the edge of a cliff – you can be pretty sure that they are on the phone!