Man holds up cellphone at twilight in Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro now has internet! A good or bad thing?

Sep 29, 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes

As of August 2022, Kilimanjaro climbers can connect to the internet almost all of the way to the top. And soon the summit will have connectivity too! What do you think of this move? We discuss the pros and cons of an internet-connected Kilimanjaro ...

In August 2022, the state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation installed broadband that lets Kilimanjaro climbers connect to the internet up to an altitude of 3,720 m (12,200 ft).

While this is a huge step, it's not even going to end there. The Government plans to have internet available all the way to the summit by the end of the year!

Improved safety

As reported by The Guardian, Tanzania's Information Minister, Nape Nnauyehas, has applauded the move as historic. He says that connectivity on the mountain will improve the safety of mountain crew members and visitors.

For instance, guides will have access to up-to-the-minute weather reports. And in emergencies when backup is needed, guides have another way of alerting and communicating with the relevant people.

Chris on mountain with oxygen cylinder

Your top asset in protecting you on a climb is a team of experienced and well-trained guides

Contact with loved ones

We also like that porters and other members of mountain crews will be able to stay in touch with loved ones. These men and women spend many weeks away from their families, and they'll be better able to support, and be supported, by their families back home.

Visitors might also appreciate being able to give updates to family members and friends on their health, safety and progress during the climb.

Social media access

The Government of Tanzania is eager for climbers to tweet, Instagram and otherwise share their Kilimanjaro adventure online.

The Government of Tanzania is excited to have climbers share their Kilimanjaro experiences on social media.

For some, being able to post updates of their climb on social media might make the expedition more appealing. And for certain folks engaged in activities like content creation, it might even help with funding such a trip.

We do, however, have some reservations with regards to being able to access the internet during their climb. For many climbers, the chance to disconnect from the online world and its various demands and distractions is part of the appeal of this special adventure.

Climbers sitting in Barranco Camp on Kilimanjaro

Relaxing and chatting at camp and over meals is a special part of a Kilimanjaro experience

Of course, nobody is going to be forced to connect while on the mountain. But there could be pressure to do so, since others will know that you can. And we all know that sometimes we spend more time online than we actually wish we would (dopamine-spiking apps and all that).

With this in mind, we encourage you to be mindful of your internet usage on a Kilimanjaro climb.

A special part of the adventure is relaxing and really engaging in conversation with your fellow climbers. If this person, and then that, is frequently on their phone, you might miss out on the chance to create some deeper bonds.

You're also less likely to spot and really observe special moments like a visiting bird or duiker, or a funnily shaped cloud.

Ours. S. Moorland chat or Pinarochroa sordida on rock on Kilimanjaro 4,000 m altitude

A chat on a rock in the moorland band of Kilimanjaro

We also encourage you to be considerate towards those in your group who want a climb that's disconnected from the online world. Check at the outset if they're okay to be photographed or videoed, for instance. This is, of course, standard courtesy both on and off the mountain. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What our past clients think

We canvassed some of our past Kili clients to see what they think of Kilimanjaro getting internet. Here are some of the responses ...

I understand the sentiment of unplugging, but as a Mom and a caregiver of three older relatives, it will be nice to have that assurance.

โ€“ Tammy

I was there in June and it was nice to be able to unplug from the internet and focus more on where I was and what I was doing, not checking how many likes a picture got. But I can also see where it will be helpful for groups for safety and communication.

โ€“ Michael

Surely if want to be unplugged, you will. No one's forcing you.

โ€“ Eddie

Fanfreakingtastic ... BUT it'll take away from the fun of bonding with nature and each other. Sometimes technology is of the devil and this is that one moment.

โ€“ Berny

I enjoyed being disconnected, but I know it will make sharing the experience of summitting Mt Kilimanjaro easier to sharing real time.

โ€“ Lucy

We're hopeful that if everyone on a Kilimanjaro climb is mindful of their internet usage and also considerate of others, then the pros of having internet access on the mountain should outweigh the cons.