Climbing Kilimanjaro: Your Questions Answered

If you are thinking about Climbing Kilimanjaro, chances are, you have a long list of questions.

When should you go? Which route is right for you? Should you take a private Kilimanjaro expedition or join a group tour? There’s much to decide when it comes to booking this trip of a lifetime, and if you are struggling to find the answers you need to make a more informed decision, we may just have it covered in our most popular Kilimanjaro FAQs below:

  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”!  Climbing Kilimanjaro is not technically challenging, and you do not need any ropes or special equipment to scale Africa’s highest mountain, but you will be walking up hill for approximately 6-hours per day, and up to 12-hours on summit night, and 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.

  1. What do I need to Pack for Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro might be in Africa, but you should not expect to be in shorts throughout your expedition! In fact, you could experience minus temperatures from night one on the mountain, and a variety of weather conditions such as hot sunshine, rain, and even snow along the way. Any reputable tour operator offering Kilimanjaro Expeditions will provide you with a complete packing list, which will include everything you need to get to the top.  Pack for comfort, warmth and protection, and most importantly of all, pack light!

  1. 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 to keep your energy levels high. They will also provide you with fresh drinking water, hot beverages and fruit juices.

A typical menu on Mount Kilimanjaro 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

Cheaper operators tend to provide a sandwich at lunchtimes (that you carry yourself) and simple pasta or rice dishes for dinner. Food equals energy on Kilimanjaro, and so it is not an area to cut corners.

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

There are no toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro!  Well, okay, there are some very basic facilities at each campsite, but there are none on route. If you book a Private Kilimanjaro Tour, your mountain crew will provide you with a ‘toilet tent’, a porta-potty and toilet paper at meal times (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!

  1.  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 total cost of your climb, other suggest you tip each porter / cook / guide a certain amount. To keep it fair, stick to the KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project) guidelines, which recommend you tip:

  • Porters: $10 – $15 per day
  • Cook: $12 – $17 per day
  • 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. If may seem like a lot, particularly if you are travelling solo or as part of a smaller group, but after just one day on Mount Kilimanjaro – you will realise just how much these guys deserve your tips! Beware of companies telling you that tips are included – unless you are paying well over $2,000 for your climb, they are almost certainly not, and the only ones who will suffer are your porters.

If you have any other questions regarding Kilimanjaro, please get in touch!

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