Come prepared and maximise your experience!
We felt greatly taken care of by the Follow Alice crew! The guides made us feel safe at all times.
How hard is climbing Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is a non-technical mountain
It's a big climb
Some paths have sheer sections
It gets very cold!
You'll probably be camping
Kilimanjaro is a life-changing experience!
You could get altitude sickness
The inestimable value of a positive attitude!
Set yourself some goals
How fit must you be to climb Kilimanjaro?
Physical Kilimanjaro preparation
What is altitude sickness?
The majority of Kilimanjaro trekkers experience altitude sickness symptoms at some point in their climb.
When altitude sickness becomes serious
Altitude sickness can affect anyone
How to avoid altitude sickness
Why we climb high and sleep low
Is it safe to climb Kilimanjaro?
We cannot stress enough how important it is to your safety that you choose a reputable and experienced Kilimanjaro operator.
Kilimanjaro tour operators
Essentially, your operator should support you through the whole process from start to finish.
How do I choose the right Kilimanjaro tour operator?
The three kinds of tour operators
Budget tour operators. These are operators are considered to be the least expensive and usually charge between $1,500 and $1,900. This may sound great, but keep in mind that if you pay them less, they probably pay their guides and porters less. Budget tour operators will also charge you less, but increase the tipping amount for you to budget, so ultimately you end up spending around the same amount of money as you would for a value tour operator, minus the quality in service. We discussed the importance of good guides and porters in relation to your health and safety earlier in this post, so keep that in the forefront of your mind when making this decision. Their equipment and food will also be of a lower standard than your value operator. The importance of good, nutritious food is not to be overlooked as this is what will sustain you on this journey. Value-for-money tour operators. These tour operators generally offer a per-person package fee of anywhere between $1,900 and $3,200. Value operators offer treks of about six to eight days in duration, which give you more time to acclimatise and so increase your likelihood of successful summiting the mountain. They also ensure your guides and porters are properly prepared, well paid, and don’t compromise on the quality of food or equipment. Follow Alice falls into this category of tour operator. Our fee also includes one night of accommodation and transport on either side of the trek. When comparing the package prices of different tour operators, consider if they all offer the same inclusions. Luxury tour operators. Any company offering a Kilimanjaro trek package above $3,200 per person can be considered a luxury tour operator. These operators usually offer the same services and amenities as value-for-money operators, but they just offer a little more as well. What sort of extras, you ask? Usually they'll offer five-star accommodation on either side of the trek, as well as things portable showers, wine and oxygen tanks during the trek itself. A reputable luxury tour operator is a perfectly fine choice for your Kilimanjaro trip if such extras appeal to you - the cost is just generally out of the reach of most people's pockets.
Can you climb Kilimanjaro on your own?
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a team affair
The value of a trekking team
Tipping on Kilimanjaro
Tipping may not be common practice in all countries and cultures, but it plays a large part in the financial compensation of Kilimanjaro mountain crews.
Porters – they carry all of your food and gear Guides – they guide you safely and efficiently up the mountain Cook – he or she prepares all of your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?
The seven Kilimanjaro routes
Lemosho Route – We love this route. It is 70 km in length and is the most beautiful Kilimanjaro route. It has a high success rate and is medium in difficulty. The entire route takes seven or eight days to complete. We highly recommend this route. Machame Route – The Machame is 62 km long and the busiest Kilimanjaro route. It's our second favourite route. The success rate is high, difficulty is medium, and it takes between six and eight days. Marangu Route – The Marangu route offers hut accommodation. It's a relatively easy trail, which gives it a high summit success rate. The route's 72 km are covered in five or six days, though we'd always recommend opting for six days. Rongai Route – The Rongai is the only Kilimanjaro route that approaches the summit from the north. It has a gentle gradient but a medium summit success rate because its acclimatisation profile isn't that great. The route is 73 km in length and takes six or seven days to complete. Shira Route – The Shira is 56 km long and approaches the summit of the mountain from the west. This route takes seven or eight days and has a high summit success rate. Northern Circuit – The Northern Circuit is the newest and longest Kilimanjaro route. It has a high success rate and takes nine or 10 days. We really like this route as it's one of the least crowded routes, offers great scenery, and has a really good acclimatisation profile. Umbwe Route – The Umbwe is the shortest, steepest and hardest Kilimanjaro route. It therefore has a low success rate. Its 53 km can be covered in six or seven days.
Why choose the longer itinerary on any Kilimanjaro route?
Which is the best Kilimanjaro route?
How diverse is the route's vegetation, terrain and scenery? How many days are spent on the mountain? What is the acclimatisation profile and success rate of the route? How much does the climb cost? How crowded does the route get?
What should I pack for Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro packing list
A water bottle and hydration pack Warm hiking socks, gloves and a hat Warm, well-worn hiking boots A 30- or 40-litre day backpack (this will be carried by you) An 80- or 100-litre duffel bag (this will be carried by a porter) Water- and windproof jacket and trousers Inner layers (two or three base layers and one mid layer) Thermal underwear
Best time to climb Kilimanjaro
Have you considered a New Year's Eve Kilimanjaro climb?
Do I need a visa to climb Kilimanjaro?
Do I need a medical checkup before climbing Kilimanjaro?
Vaccinations for Tanzania
Kilimanjaro preparation tips
We say it all the time, but seriously, take it slowly . You'll often hear the guides and porters say “ Pole, pole ”, which is Swahili for 'slowly, slowly'. Listen to your guides when they give you advice. They know what they're talking about and have only your best interest at heart. On that note, learn a few basic Swahili phrases . Your guides and porters will love it if you throw in a local word here and there. Your guides and porters are your support system. Make friends with them and learn all you can about Tanzania. Pack biodegradable wet wipes . There are no showers on the mountain, so wet wipes are your best bet for keeping yourself (somewhat) clean. Don’t forget the sunscreen ! When you're trekking in temperatures well below freezing it may not feel like you need the extra protection, but the UV index increases rapidly the higher you climb. Sunburn is uncomfortable at best! Don’t shy away from eating all the food that's given to you. This is what will sustain you on your journey. Even if you don’t feel hungry - eat, eat, eat! Drink water. Lots of water! Hydration is essential for your body on a Kilimanjaro climb. Come equipped with yummy treats ! Everyone loves a good snack and the more calories you consume while on your summit, the better. Never underestimate the importance of comfort food when you’re not in your comfort zone.
What can I do right now to start preparing?
Write down your reasons for wanting to climb Kilimanjaro, and set any goals. Reach out to friends or family you think might like to join you on this adventure. Research which of the seven Kilimanjaro routes you wish to trek. Read our blog post How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro? to start planning your budget. When you've determined the time of year you wish to trek, plan your physical training leading up to the climb. If you have any lingering questions, contact us. We can chat via email WhatsApp, or even set up a webinar – whatever floats your boat!