So you have decided that you would like to climb Kilimanjaro; what next?
You will obviously have many questions that you would like answered to help you to prepare for your adventure of a lifetime; but where do you start? You will find below some of the most frequently asked questions that that will help you prepare to climb Kilimanjaro.
Which route should I choose?
There are 6 routes used to climb Kilimanjaro, each has its own characteristics and offers a different perspective and challenge. The most popular route is the Marangu route; or Coca Cola route as it is also known, which attracts the majority of all visitors to Kilimanjaro. The Machame; or Whisky route as it is known is also a very popular route and as a result can also be very busy; these routes are typically completed in 5-6 days. The Lemosho and Shira routes approach Kibo from the West and offer a quieter approach as these are less populated routes. The Rongai route approaches from the North and is also a quieter route. These three routes can be completed in 6-8 days which will assist with acclimatization and increase the chances of reaching the summit. Finally there is the Umbwe route the shortest and most direct route to the summit; it is also the least popular and toughest of all the routes.
When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?
It is possible to climb Mount Kilimanjaro all year round; however the months outside of the rainy seasons are more desirable. The best months are from December to March, and July to October. The finest weather is usually at the beginning of the year from January to March, which are typically the warmest and driest months of the year.
How many people will be in a group?
We have a maximum of 10 people per group. We believe that a small, intimate group is one of the most important factors to ensure our guests will have an amazing experience on Kilimanjaro. We can arrange trips for larger groups if required.
Will I need to purchase travel insurance?
You must arrange adequate travel insurance for your Kilimanjaro trek. You should ensure that your policy covers you for high altitude climbing as most standard policies will not include this. More information is available on our Kilimanjaro insurance page.
How fit will I need to be?
Anyone of reasonable fitness should be capable of summiting Kilimanjaro; it is more likely that altitude sickness, rather than a lack of physical fitness will prevent you from summiting. That said the more preparation and training that you can do prior to climbing Kilimanjaro the more enjoyable you will find it.
What clothing & equipment should I take?
You do not require any technical equipment on Mount Kilimanjaro; however you will experience changing weather conditions and be exposed to temperatures ranging from +30 degrees to -25 degrees, so you should be prepared for this. You should take thin layers that can be added, or taken away depending on the weather conditions. But remember there is a limit to the weight that the porters can carry and your kit bag must be a maximum of 15Kg. You will also have a rucksack that will contain your basic kit for a day’s walking.
What are the toilet conditions?
The toilets on Kilimanjaro consist of small wooden huts in the campsites with a hole in the ground for you to go to the toilet in. They are very basic, but then you are on a mountain in the middle of Africa! However, there is another option… included in your Bush Explorer trek price is your own personal toilet tent, that will be solely for the use of your group. The porters will carry this up Kilimanjaro and it will be emptied and cleaned on a daily basis. Please ensure you bring enough toilet paper and hand sanitizer for the trek.
What is the success rate of reaching the summit?
Although you can train for climbing Kilimanjaro to ensure you are in good physical condition, whether you manage to reach the summit could be decided by how well you react to being at altitude. There are drugs available that may help you with altitude sickness such as Diamox, or you could visit the Altitude Centre for an AMS susceptibility test. However the best way to increase your chances of reaching the summit is by spending as many days on the mountain as possible to allow your body time to acclimatize. You could also consider climbing Mount Meru before attempting Mt Kilimanjaro, but again this will not necessarily guarantee your chances of reaching Uhuru peak.
What food will be provided on the mountain?
Your porters will carry all of your food for the duration of the trip. Your meals will be prepared by you own cook and will consist of cooked breakfast, with tea and coffee. Either a packed lunch or cooked lunch at camp depending on the length of the days walking. Dinner is usually soup, followed by meat, or vegetables in sauce, with potatoes, pasta or rice. You will also have fresh fruit daily and more than enough food to keep you well fueled for the weeks walking.