Follow Alice private toilet and toilet tent on Kilimanjaro

Toilets on Kilimanjaro

Nov 22, 2022
Reading time: 5 minutes

We all have to pee and poop. But where do you go when nature calls ... and you're in the thick of nature? We discuss going to the toilet on Kilimanjaro, from toilet options in camp to ducking off the trail and doing your thing in a responsible way.


Toilets at campsites

When in camp, there are two types of toilets:

  • public toilets
  • private toilets

1. Public toilets

The public toilets at campsites are long drops that are open to anyone. They're usually used by mountain crews and climbers travelling with budget tour operators.

Public toilet in forest of Kilimanjaro

A public toilet in the forested section of Kilimanjaro

Understandably, the public toilets aren't as clean as the private toilets. And being long drops, they can get quite smelly.

We advise that you check what the toilet situation is with any Kilimanjaro tour operator before booking with them.

2. Private toilets

As we discuss in Why prices differ so much between Kilimanjaro tour operators, luxury and value-for-money (or mid-range) tour operators provide their clients with certain extras like private toilets and toilet tents on the mountain.

Follow Alice toilet tent on Mt Kilimanjaro

Many tour operators provide private toilets in little tents like this one

Unlike the public toilets, which are long drops, private toilets are chemical toilets with seats.

Follow Alice's toilet tents

If you climb Kilimanjaro with Follow Alice (a mid-range tour operator), we have a portable chemical toilet (inside of a little tent) set up for you at every campsite.

More specifically, we provide one portable toilet for every eight climbers. So if there are 10 climbers in a group, for instance, we'll carry and set up two little tents, each with its own portable loo.

Follow Alice private toilet and toilet tent, Kilimanjaro

A Follow Alice portable toilet

We also assign a porter on each climb to regularly service the toilet, so it always stays in good, clean-smelling nick for you.

If you'd like a private toilet tent for just you (or you and your partner), this can be arranged, but please note that you'll have to bankroll the additional porter needed to carry it. In other words, it's going to be expensive.

Right, let's now talk about needing the loo when not at camp ...

Peeing when hiking as a woman

For women, it's a good idea to pack a urinating device like a Shewee that allows you to wee while standing up.

Female urinating device, Shewee

A female urinating device

We also recommend taking along a pee cloth like a Kula Cloth so that you don't need to be fussing with toilet paper.

We provide more detail and some helpful links in this regard in Advice for women climbing Kilimanjaro.

Pooping when hiking

It probably goes without saying, but try to do any business in the morning before departing camp.

That said, you won't of course always be able to control when the need for a number two arises. And we should point out that a big jump in elevation actually makes you need to poop (and sometimes quite urgently). So it's possible that at times on the climb you'll feel the need for a bowel movement when you normally wouldn't.

Expect the unexpected, is what we're saying.

Toilet paper on a tree stump

What you do with your toilet paper matters

The important thing to note here is that Kilimanjaro has a leave-no-trace policy. So you can't bury toilet paper. And of course you shouldn't leave faeces exposed. This means you need to carry the following in your daypack in addition to your own toilet roll:

  • A small trowel to dig a hole for your poop and then cover it up (and perhaps a drawstring canvas bag or similar to store that trowel in).
  • Biodegradable plastic bags for storing your used toilet paper until you can dispose of it in the bin provided at camp.

We say to bring biodegradable plastic bags for carrying your used toilet paper because the Government of Tanzania doesn't allow you to bring in single-use plastic bags.

If you'd like to learn more about how to be a responsible trekker when it comes to going to the toilet while hiking, please take a look at the seven principles of our partner organisation, Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace Logo


Needing the toilet in the night

Going to the toilet in the middle of the night when camping is a nuisance, even if you're camping in a balmy seaside location. But needing to go in the middle of the night when it's freezing outside and the wind is howling ... that can be downright intimidating.

Karanga Camp with Uhuru Peak in background at night, Kilimanjaro

A lovely night-time Karanga Camp photo by our client Frederik Mann

If possible, don't drink too much liquid just before bed; have that warming hot chocolate just after dinner instead. And we encourage you to have a last-minute toilet visit just before climbing into your sleeping bag.

If you do need to visit the toilet during the night, be sure to take your torch (flashlight) with you to ensure you don't trip over rocks, guy ropes and the like.

And that's it! We think that's all you need to know, but if you do have any further questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to drop us a line. We're here to help. ๐Ÿค“