Here’s a collection of questions and answers concerning our Follow Alice trips and destinations, mostly pertaining to climbing Kilimanjaro, as this is our longest-standing trip. Don’t see the question you have in mind? Give us a shout in the info form at the bottom of the page and we’ll make sure you have your answer ASAP!
Tanzania has three major international airports: Dar es Salaam (DAR), Zanzibar (ZNZ) and Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO). The latter is the most convenient for Kilimanjaro, standing only 42 km away from the mountain town of Moshi and 50 km from the city of Arusha. In addition to flights to Tanzania, you may consider flights to Nairobi in Kenya, which is only a five-hour shuttle bus ride to Arusha or a one-hour plane ride to Kilimanjaro Airport. Note, however, that by choosing to fly to Kenya you may need a multiple-entry Kenyan visa (if you’re flying out of Kenya, too, for example, and spend longer than a fortnight in Tanzania), which can cost as much as $122, thereby reducing or eliminating any savings you may have made in airfares.
In deciding which flights to book, you should take the full trip into consideration. For example, if you would like to spend a couple of days in Zanzibar after climbing Kilimanjaro, it might be best to book one-way tickets from your home to Kilimanjaro Airport for the climb, from Arusha to Zanzibar after the climb, and then from Zanzibar back to your home.
We recommend arriving one day early (called “arrival day”). This will give you time to relax, meet your fellow travellers, and get a proper briefing before the climb starts. We do however understand that travelling to Kilimanjaro can be a challenge and so will do our best to accommodate your arrival time as best as we can (for example, arriving late at night the day before the climb starts).
Yes, you need a Tanzanian visa to visit Tanzania. (You’ll also need a passport that’s valid for at least six more months as well as a flight card the latter of which you’ll receive on the plane.) US, Canadian, British and most European citizens can simply obtain their visas upon arrival at the airport in Tanzania. The cost is $100 for US passport holders and $50 for others. If you’re a citizen of a different country, please check with your embassy whether or not you can obtain a visa upon arrival.
There are no specific vaccine requirements needed to enter Tanzania. However, be aware that the Government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you’re travelling in from a country with risk of yellow fever. We suggest you talk to your doctor about getting the following vaccinations (which are standard in developed countries) before travelling to Tanzania: Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, polio, MMR and meningococcal meningitis.
When heading to Kilimanjaro, you need to bring at least two bags. One should be a daypack which you’ll carry during the day. This pack should be large and comfortable enough to contain your drinking water, lunch, snacks, rain gear, camera and extra layers of clothing. The second bag can be a larger duffel bag or backpack that will be carried by a porter. This will contain all of your other clothing as well as your toiletries.
It might be a good idea to bring a third, small bag in which you can leave any items like city clothes that are unnecessary for the trek. This bag can be stowed at the lodge or in our local office before you go on the climb. This way you’ll have some clean and dust-free clothes waiting for you for after the trek!
Kilimanjaro is climbable all year round. That said, the best months to climb it are July to October and December to February, as these are the warmest and driest months. July, August and September tend to be the busiest months on the mountain.
Another factor to take into consideration is the full moon: summiting Kilimanjaro on a cloudless evening is without a doubt an unforgettable experience. Imagine seeing the glaciers glitter in the moonlight of a full moon – absolutely stunning!
There are multiple routes up the mountain. We recommend the Lemosho and Machame routes. These two routes offer the best balance of high success rates, beautiful scenery and smaller crowds. We also like the Northern Circuit route, as this has an excellent acclimatisation profile.
Kilimanjaro requires no technical climbing experience and any moderately fit person can summit the mountain. However, for most people, it will be one of the most difficult things they have ever done in their lives.
Kilimanjaro is a safe climb when you take one of the routes we recommend. However, there are always deaths on big mountains. Kilimanjaro is no different. One of the most common causes of death is the high altitude; trekkers sometimes ascend the mountain too quickly and so don’t allow themselves enough acclimatisation time. Our local guides and staff are well trained in knowing how to keep you safe and have the ability to treat climbers who become ill or injured. Your health and well-being is our top priority.
We have a packing list of all the clothing and gear you’ll need for your climb.
Note that two of the most critical pieces of equipment you need to climb Kilimanjaro are a pair of warm, waterproof hiking boots and an insulated, synthetic or down jacket. Most of the other equipment required is often already part of many people’s winter or skiing wardrobe (such as long underwear and a fleece jacket). What you don’t have can be rented from Follow Alice or from a mountaineering store in Tanzania.
Given the great elevation gain involved in a Kilimanjaro climb, you will experience all kinds of weather on the trek. At the start of the trek you can expect temperatures of +30°C (+86°F). At the summit of the mountain, you could be looking at anywhere from -7 to -29°C (+20 to -20°F).
You’ll be provided by our cook and his assistant with breakfast, lunch and dinner each day spent on the mountain.
The meals, which have been specifically selected to help you with your climb, include high-energy carbohydrate foods that are easily digestible. The primary carbohydrates of the meals are rice, potatoes and pasta, as well as some meats. Fresh fruit and vegetables accompany every meal. Most meals also come with a selection of hot drinks like instant coffee, tea and hot chocolate. You may want to bring some supplementary comfort foods with you (think gum, nuts, dried fruit, health bars and powdered energy drinks).
We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. For those with other special diets, please contact us to discuss what we can or cannot do.
This is an outdoor adventure in the African wild, so there will be no showers on the mountain. Warm water will be supplied in a bowl at camp and you’ll be able to wash your face and hands. For the rest of your body – we definitely recommend that you bring along some wet wipes!
At each campsite we set up a private toilet tent which contains a plastic toilet, with a seat. There are also simple, hole-in-the-ground public toilets, but these are usually very dirty. If you need to use the bathroom on the trail, you’ll have to find a spot behind a tree or rock.
During the climb, you sleep in three-person, four-season, dome-style mountain tents, with two people per tent. These tents are modern and have an outer flysheet and large vestibules where you can store your equipment during the night.
On the day before the start of the trek (i.e. arrival day) and the day after the trek (i.e. departure day), you’ll stay in a comfortable lodge in Arusha or Moshi. Both locations offer stunning views. We understand that having spent a dusty a week on the mountain you’ll want to treat yourself with a hot shower, great food and maybe a good bottle of wine!
If all goes according to plan, you’ll be coming off the mountain knowing you’re one of relatively few to have succeeded in climbing Kilimanjaro. Well done! Now, it’s time to relax and take in some of the amazing sights and experiences East Africa has to offer.
Choosing between a safari in the wilds of Tanzanian or a relaxing vacation on the white sandy beaches of Zanzibar is tricky. The week on the mountain will be exhausting – so if you’re eager to charge the batteries before the busy everyday life starts again, go with Zanzibar! But if you feel this might be the only time you come to visit East Africa, we encourage you to go on a once-in-a-lifetime safari with us.
We aim to build groups of six to 10 trekkers, with 12 people being the limit. (This number doesn’t include the guides and porters.) Our groups are typically made up of folks between 20 to 35ish – sociable people from around the world who are looking to share an unforgettable adventure with you.
Yes, we encourage both solo and group travellers to sign up! If travelling on your own, we make sure to put you with a bigger group of like-minded fellow travellers that will soon become your new friends. There’s nothing quite like being stuck with each other for a week on a mountain in Africa to form strong bonds!
First of all, you will travel with your people’… by which we mean you travel with people similar in age and mindset. No matter if you come alone, with a significant other or in a group, you’ll meet a circle of (new) friends from all over. To help break the ice and build positive momentum amongst the group, we’ve developed a unique trip concept with many fun social activities and group celebrations on the mountain. All of this is done with the purpose of building a long-lasting story together that will bond us for life!
Your Kilimanjaro guides, cook and porters are your greatest asset on the mountain. Quality mountain crew members make for a wonderful time on the mountain, while a mediocre crew can actually put your life in danger. Each of our experienced guides is licensed by the Kilimanjaro National Park, speaks fluently English, can perform basic first aid, and is trained in dealing with acute mountain sickness (AMS).
Typically, each of our groups has one guide per two climbers, and each climber has three porters. Porters carry all of the team’s gear, tents, cooking supplies and water. You’ll have come to respect these guys by the end of Day 1 of your climb – each porter carries about 20 kg (44 lb) of kit on their back up the mountain!
You should limit your duffel bag or backpack to 15 kg (33 lb) as this will ease the burden on the drivers, vehicles and (most importantly) the porters. Baggage should be of the round, squashy type rather than hard suitcases which are often difficult to fit into jeeps and carry up the mountain.
Note that luggage restrictions on domestic flights in Tanzania are often 15-20 kg (33-44 lb) per person, so be mindful of this allowance too when packing your bags.
For your daypack, try to keep it under 9 kg (20 lb) for your own benefit.
You should follow the layering principle when you dress for Kilimanjaro. Staying warm and dry is imperative for a successful climb, and you can achieve it easily if you know how to properly layer.
Here are the layers every Kilimanjaro trekker should bring along:
– One base layer (e.g. thermo underwear, long sleeve shirt, sock liners, thin gloves): Moisture-wicking items that are worn against the skin. By moving sweat away from your body, the base layer should keep you dry and provide some insulation. Synthetics for this layer, no cotton!
– Two mid layers. These should include fleece pants, a sweater, a down jacket, and thick socks. The primary purpose of the mid layer is to provide warmth. You should therefore bring clothes with good insulating qualities like fleece, down or synthetics.
– One outer layer. This should include a waterproof jacket and pants, a knit hat, and waterproof skiing gloves or mitts. The outer layer is there to provide protection from the wind, rain and snow.
Don’t let the changing temperatures on Kilimanjaro stump you – be prepared for any weather condition.
We recommend you bring or buy your own hiking boots, thermo underwear, waterproof pants, down jacket, gloves, etc. For more unusual items like a sleeping bag and trekking poles, we provide you the option to rent these from our local mountaineering store for free. But please let us know in advance what items from the equipment list you’d like to rent so we can arrange everything before your arrival.
Kilimanjaro requires no technical climbing experience and any moderately fit person can summit the mountain. However, you should not underestimate the mountain. If you have the time, we suggest you start with some physical training at least two to four weeks prior to the climb. This could include aerobic cross training or hiking The fitter you are, the easier and more enjoyable the climb will be for you.
While physical training is very important, the biggest challenge for anyone climbing Kilimanjaro is the effects of altitude, which seem to be mostly unrelated to fitness, age or gender.
Avoiding altitude sickness is key. Do this by walking slowly, drinking lots of water, and eating enough nutritious food. Go on all optional acclimatisation hikes. Consider taking Diamox. Also prevent other illnesses by disinfecting your hands after every visit to the bathroom and before any meals.
Note too that Tanzania poses a moderate risk for catching malaria. Malaria occurs in all areas below 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and we recommend that you take precautions against malaria prior to the commencement of your trip. If you’re planning to use Diamox on your Kilimanjaro climb, please consult your doctor as some malaria prophylactics cannot be used in conjunction with Diamox.
Our guides are highly experienced in managing altitude sickness, which is the biggest obstacle on the mountain. They also have intimate knowledge of the network of shortcuts that can be used to quickly escort climbers back down the mountain to safety. They’re trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstances.
Not everyone makes it to the summit, but rest assured that the experience is still a super memorable and rewarding one.
If one or more people of the group decide they cannot continue, or if a guide deems it unsafe for a person (or group) to continue the climb, they’ll be escorted to the most convenient campsite and wait there for the others to return. Those who are able to push to the summit will never have to forego the experience just because others are unable to make it too.
All climbers pay a rescue fee to the Kilimanjaro National Park (included in our price). If you cannot continue the climb because you get injured or sick, the guides and porters will gladly assist you on the way down. There’s no extra charge for coming down early and being taken back to the lodge, but please note that we won’t be able to refund you for the days you missed on the mountain.
We ask all of our travellers to purchase a special adventure travel insurance that covers any possible medical expenses and evacuation costs that may occur on the mountain – just to be safe!
You either fill out our booking form or simply send us an email. After we’ve received your booking request, we’ll send you a trip proposal within one to two business days. The proposal includes dates, prices, accommodation, and the group we’d like to match you with.
Once we’ve agreed on all of the trip details, you’ll be asked to make a 20% deposit to confirm your booking. We’ll then go ahead and do all the necessary bookings and provide you with detailed information in time for your trip of a lifetime!
The remaining balance of 80% will be due 20 days prior to your trip’s start date.
We’re all about keeping it simple and cutting banking fees wherever possible. Thus we accept wire transfer, Paypal, Venmo, Paymit or TransferWise.
If you know of a better and cheaper way to transfer money, we’re happy to discuss other options!
We want to be as open and transparent as possible when it comes to budgeting your trip. Hence, our prices include the vast majority of the expenses you can expect during your time with us. For the Kilimanjaro climb, for instance, our fee covers all of the following:
– Pick-up and drop-off at the airport
– Hotel lodging the night before and the night after the climb (double occupancy, half board)
– Transport from the hotel to the trailhead and back to the hotel
– Rental sleeping bag and trekking poles
– Tents (double occupancy)
– Private toilet tent for group
– All national park fees
– All meals and water on the mountain
– Support staff (guides, cooks and porters)
The only additional costs you should budget for are as follows:
– Tips for guides and porters (around $200 to $300 in total)
– Tanzanian visa ($50 for Europeans and $100 for US citizens)
– Special travel insurance (around $50)
We hope you don’t have to cancel your trip last minute but if you do, we are happy to work something out together. Maybe you can join a group a couple weeks earlier or later, or you join next season.. we’ll try our best!
In general though, our cancellation policies are as follows:
The 20% confirmation deposit is non-refundable
21 days or less prior to departure, the remaining 80% balance is only refundable if we can find a replacement to take over the open spot in the group
As we work hard to mix and match groups of great, young adventure-seekers, we rely on you not to cancel last minute – or find a replacement!
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