Kilimanjaro Trek – 5895 m

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Introduction

Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa which is a superb challenge for fit trekkers and walkers to have a memorable and diverse experience. It is a must for any enthusiastic hikers as it is an accessible and achievable mountain and provides a very unique experience in hiking. The flora, fauna and landscape around you changes continuously as the journey takes you higher, eventually reaching the highest point of 5895m above sea level.

We partner up with a fantastic local supplier in Tanzania who we know very well, and who has many years experience in running professional and ethical Kilimanjaro trips.

This is a 7 day Kilimanjaro hike starting at Machame gate and ascending via Stella Point. These trips include most importantly knowledgeable professional guides that go through bi annual training. The logistics team at base monitors your trip from start to finish.

Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability.

Course Details

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Location

We meet in Arusha before heading out in 4×4 to join the trail. We start at Machame gate and ascend via Stella Point.

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Further Information.

What's included
  • Trained Kilimanjaro guides (1 guide to 2 clients)
  • All relevant Kilimanjaro Park fees and rescue fees
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Supplemental oxygen and pulse oximeters
  • All accommodation and meals as described in the itinerary
  • Transfers as described in the itinerary
  • Drinks on the hike (potable water, tea, coffee and hot chocolate)
  • Portable toilet in camp, sleeping mat, guest tent, mess tent, table, and stools
What's not included
  • International flights
  • Entry visas
  • Gratuities (guideline $300 per person)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Alterations to this itinerary (i.e. if different accommodations and services are provided then the price will most likely vary up or down)
  • Airport departure taxes (unless stated)
  • Laundry
  • Beverages in hotels (except those in your personal safari vehicle)
  • Hospital bills and international evacuation in the event of an emergency
  • Sleeping bag (rental $30 per person)
Who is this for?

Anyone who has good previous hill walking/ hiking experience and a good level of fitness. You can expect rough, rocky footpaths in more remote areas. You may encounter snow or straight forward glacier crossings and you may be above 3000m for days at a time. Endurance is key to successful mountaineering several days in a row. A Typical days require 6-8 hours of climbing, and summit days can be up to 10-15 hours!

Accommodation and huts

ILBORU SAFARI LODGE is harmoniously woven into African Heritage, resting at the base of Mt Meru among banana fields and Maasai tribes. The quaint family run establishment is confortable and the staff extremely friendly. Only minutes away from Arusha centre, but far enough to be in a sanctuary of gardens, where many endemic bird species fly by. Local charm blends with International conveniences and a pool!

KILIMANJARO PRIVATE CAMP is set up every step of the way and ready for when you arrive into camp in the afternoon. A mess tent contains a table, chairs, and all cutlery. Guest tents fit 2 people comfortably. A portable toilet is set up for cleaner facilities.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1:
Upon arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport you are met and transferred to your lodge in Arusha. You are given a full briefing and equipment check with the Climbs Manager and your guide.
Overnight Ilboru Safari Lodge (Dinner)

Day 2:
After breakfast you depart by vehicle to Kilimanjaro. At the gate your crew finalize packing and after finishing with formalities you start off from Machame gate. Today’s hiking is through verdant afromontane forest to Machame camp and on route you have a picnic lunch. Look out for pretty endemic flora and a gradation of forest zones!
Overnight Machame Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
From Machame camp you hike to Shira Camp. The first section is relatively steep and altitude is gained rapidly. A picnic lunch is taken on trail today. The zone you pass through today is known as the heath zone where attractive Helichrysum and lobelia plants become apparent. Various geologic features can be seen today from lava tubes to glacial valleys.
Overnight Shira Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4:
Today is a walk high sleep low day. You ascend into alpine desert and for those that are feeling strong you can even head up to Lava Tower before descending to Barranco camp. Lunch is taken as a picnic lunch on route. This is a long day but note that the next time you head to this altitude is in two days time – great acclimatisation day!
Overnight Barranco Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5:
You now have a relatively short day to Karanga Camp, after conquering the Barranco Wall. The selection of Karanga Camp is strategic – significant time at altitude is essential for safe acclimatization and in the late afternoon you arrive in camp. Sunsets here are particularly spectacular with views of the southern glacial valleys and ice fields towering 1000 meters (over 3000 feet) above you.
Overnight Karanga Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6:
Today is another half day ascending to Barafu camp. Once again lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the evening.
Overnight Barafu Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7:
Most people depart just before midnight for the final summit bid. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach the summit and by dawn as the first rays of light start to appear, most arrive near the rim. Ascending via Stella Point affords a relatively short final section to Uhuru peak, the Roof of Africa! What goes up must come down and your goal today is to reach Mweka camp before dusk.
Overnight Mweka Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8:
After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transferred back to your hotel for a well-deserved shower and celebratory dinner!
Overnight Ilboru Safari Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9:
Today you are transferred to Kilimanjaro International Airport for departures.
(Breakfast)

Training

Good fitness will make it more fun! The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!

Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going on long days hill walking as this simulates the real thing as closely as possible and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!).

However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains, and upper body strength for climbing.
For cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time, 4 times a week. For climbing, core stability, flexibility and balance are as important as strong arms and shoulders. Don’t just lift weights!

Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.

Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals.

Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.

The Effects of Altitude

As one climbs higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath we take. The higher we go the less oxygen there is. This makes exercising much harder work than at sea level and so we have to slow down to help compensate. Because we have slowed down, we may feel colder.

Because there is less oxygen in the air as we get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which is like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.

To avoid these problems, enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of summiting we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation.

Kit List

1. Boots – these must fit and be comfortable. We feel it is best not to rent boots. Rather buy some and have them fitted professionally – this will make your week much more comfortable, fun and blister free! Try and make sure they are broken in before the week.

2. Trekking poles.

3. Rucksack – 40-50L

4. Waterbottle 1L – not platypus type – they freeze and leak.

5. Sun Protection – 2 pairs sunglasses (cat 4), sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block

6. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops

7. Lightweight goretex hooded top and bottoms

8. warm hat, thick gloves (eg ski gloves), thin gloves

9. Insulating layers. We recommend a thin ‘100’ weight fleece and a synthetic down jacket. A synthetic or down duvet jacket is perfect because you can put it over all your other layers (including goretex) when taking a break or if it is really cold you can wear it without taking anything off to stay warm. This is very quick, warm and practical. If you don’t have a down jacket/can’t afford one then make sure you have 1 or 2 thick fleece layers instead.

10. Trousers – there are many brands of fairly windproof/shower resistant trousers for hillwalking/mountaineering. ‘Schoeller’ fabric garments are great but there lots of other good ones too. Bring a pair of lightweight thermal leggings (long johns) too – it can be chilly on summit day!

11. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.

12. Head torch and gaiters

13. Book/iPod for spare time in huts and earplugs (there is always someone snoring at night!)

14. Sleeping bag liner (you don’t need a sleeping bag as duvets/blankets are provided)

Remember kit should be lightweight but functional.
Download our Clothing & Hardware kit recommendations here

Booking info

To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.

For expeditions we take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, we take a further 50% of the course price 4 months prior to departure and we ask for the balance to be paid 8 weeks before the course start date.

Entry Requirements
Tanzania Visas are issued on arrival. CASH ONLY. US Citizens pay $100 per person / Other National $50 per person and these Visas can be arranged beforehand as well. A passport valid for six months after date of entry is required. Visitors must hold return/onward tickets and all documents required for their next destination.

Vaccinations
Tanzania requires proof of a valid Yellow Fever immunization certificate. (Immigration officials might force a visitor to get immunized, which is at an extra cost). Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, and Typhoid immunizations are recommended for all travelers. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended and you should consult your local doctor or physician to advise which malaria medication is best suited for you. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel

Weather
Arusha, Tanzania
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High F 84 84 81 77 72 70 69 72 76 80 81 81
Avg Low F 50 51 53 57 52 48 49 48 47 51 51 50

Communication
Tanzania – country code +255. Most areas will have mobile access and Internet available. Some areas on safari may not have mobile access.

Electricity
Tanzania – Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz (Type D; electrical plug has three circular pins) (Type G; electrical plug has three flat prongs)

Currency
Carrying cash, an ATM or traveler’s check card and also a credit card that can be used for cash advances in case of emergency is advisable. The best places to exchange money are normally bureau de change, which are fast, have longer hours and often give slightly better rates than banks. Local currency is Tanzanian Shillings (TSH), however most places accept USD. Better hotels, lodges, and camps will accept credit cards, however it is advised to withdraw cash when visiting remote areas and villages.

Religion
Tanzania – one third of the population is Muslim, another one third are Christians, and the remaining one third follow different religions

Ethnic Groups
Tanzania – about 120 peoples have been categorized into 5 ethnic groups distinguishable by their physical characteristics and languages. Approximately 95% of Tanzanians may be roughly classified as Bantu. Tribes range in membership from only a few thousand to the Sukuma tribe, which numbers more than 2 million. Other major tribes include the Nyamwezi, Makonde, Haya, and Chagga. The Luo, east of Lake Victoria, are the only people of Nilotic origin; the Maasai of the northern highlands are Nilo-Hamites. A very small number of Bushmen-like people are scattered throughout northern Tanzania, where small tribes of Cushitic origin also live. The inhabitants of Zanzibar and Pemba are chiefly descendants of mainland Africans or are of mixed African and Arab extraction. The remaining 1% of the populace is made up of non-Africans, including Arabs, Asians, and Europeans.

Languages
Tanzania – official language is Swahili with English being the de facto language used in the government and global economy. Most tribal languages are spoken first, then Swahili, and English in education.

Economy
Tanzania’s economy is mostly agriculture based. Tanzania has vast amounts of natural resources including gold, diamonds, coal, iron ore, uranium, nickel, chrome, tin, platinum, coltan, niobium and other minerals. It is the third-largest producer of gold in Africa after South Africa and Ghana. Tanzania is also known for the Tanzanite gemstones. Tanzania has dozens of beautiful national parks that generate income with a large tourism sector that plays a vital part in the economy. Prolonged drought during the early years of the 21st century has severely reduced electricity generation capacity (some 60 percent of Tanzania’s electricity supplies are generated by hydro-electric methods) During 2006, Tanzania suffered a crippling series of “load-shedding” or power rationing episodes caused by a shortfall of generated power, largely because of insufficient hydro-electric generation. Plans to increase gas- and coal-fueled generation capacity are likely to take some years to implement, and growth is forecast to be increased to seven per cent per year.

Climate
Tanzania has a tropical climate. The hottest period extends between November and February while the coldest period occurs between May and August. The climate is cool in high mountainous regions. Tanzania has two major rainfall regions. One is unimodal (December – April) and the other is bimodal (October -December and March – May). The former is experienced in southern, south-west, central and western parts of the country, and the latter is found to the north and northern coast. In the bimodal regime the March – May rains are referred to as the long rains or Masika, whereas the October – December rains are generally known as short rains or Vuli.

Insurance

We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.

Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.

Getting to Arusha

It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure. The closest airport is Kilimanjaro International or Arusha Airport.

FAQ's

What is the accommodation like?
Accommodation pre and post trip is in a 3* equivalent lodge on a twin shared basis. 

Is drinking water provided?
On the climb safe potable drinking water is provided (At hotels bottle water is available but charged for).

Do I have to carry all my luggage?
You only carry your daypack, porters will carry our additional luggage (13kg of personal load).

Is there a risk of getting altitude sickness? 
There is a risk of altitude sickness but our guides are all trained Wilderness First Responders and we use a proprietary health monitoring / constant monitoring system that has over a decade and a half of constant use very successfully on Kilimanjaro and indeed several other high trekking peaks. 

What is the best time of year to climb kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is accessible all year round, tradionally April, May and November were the rainy seasons with June through August warmer temperatures but busier on the mountain. 

How long will I be trekking each day?
Between 5 and 7 hours most days.

What happens if I get injured?
A full evacuation protocol is in place and we have enough crew, guides, safety equipment to evacuate from anywhere on the mountain without affecting anyone else in your group, we provide medical evacuation to a local facility only. It is important to have adequate travel insurance to cover medical expenses and repatriation if necessary. 

Why Choose Adventure Base to climb Kilimanjaro?

We believe our proposed Kilimanjaro programme is the best solution for those wanting to climb the mountain in an enjoyable and safe way.

This is largely due to our choice in local supplier.

“AI, is one of the ideal Partners for Responsible Travel, meeting guidelines for proper porter treatment consistently in all areas. Their commitment to fair and ethical practices, as well as provision of education to their crew, is exemplary.”
– Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project May 2009

Here are some of the reasons we chose AI for our Kilimanjaro trips.

1. Ethics: AI works hand in hand with our crews, not in spite of them. We do not overload our porters and our payment policy is to ensure that our porters and crews are among the highest paid in the industry. Our ethical approach is the number one reason that our prices are higher than the average ‘budget’ trip.
2. Professional Guides and crews: We operate bi annual training programs for guides, assistant guides, trainees and camp crews. Our in house training also incorporates independent professionals from the Red Cross for CPR training and advanced first aid topics. Adventure International also has “Constant Monitoring” practices that include pulse oximetry and scorecard monitoring of key aspects of altitude sickness. Is Kilimanjaro a dangerous hike? Yes. Blissful ignorance tends to surround most groups that ascend the mountain and most people are fine. It is the scenarios when unavoidable instances of high altitude sickness which poses the most threat where appropriate treatment are essential. Most instances of death on Kilimanjaro have been due to ignorance and bad decision-making.
3. Clients experience: with sound ethical practices and excellent training AI has a well motivated professional team that not only guide clients safely on the mountain but also educate and inform clients about the environment they walk through. Endemic flora and the relationship of man and beast have all shaped Kilimanjaro’s ecology and the geology is as fascinating as anywhere on Earth.

We climb Kilimanjaro via the Machame route for three main reasons:

1. The Machame route has a higher success rate as the final ascent is via Stella Point which is much closer to Uhuru peak.
2. The alternative Marangu route is very crowded and porters have a history of being left out in the cold at night time, when room needs to be taken for over bookings from companies.
3. The Machame route is more scenic – if people are going to make a once in a lifetime commitment to climb the highest freestanding mountain in the world, they might as well enjoy as much as the mountain as possible. The Marangu route ascends and descends via the same route and so people miss the most stunning parts of Kilimanjaro.

Sarah Wood
“Climbing this iconic mountain should be on everyone’s bucket list – embrace the locals way of life and stunning views along the way – It’s a trip of a lifetime.”
Sarah, Sales and Administration

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