kilimanjaro frequency asked questions, Africa for decades has been ranked as one of world stop continent for holiday tours. Tanzania is Authentic Africa, as it contains and represents every part of Africa. Tanzania is a land of superlatives and contracts, something for everyone: From the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro to the fabled Islands of Zanzibar. You will enjoy game drives, boat safaris, beach tours, wildlife tour, chimpanzee tracking, mountain climbing and much more.
Tanzania is the land of largest and most diverse wildlife concentrations on Earth including the matchless Serengeti plains, Ngorongoro Crater, Katavi and mighty Selous Game Reserve. A lifetime holiday visit to Africa- and specifically to Tanzania for a real adventure to experience the magic of wilderness, and splendor of its wildlife poses several basic questions to most of our clients. Sote Tours & Travel is eager to respond to questions which have been frequently asked concerning Africa and Tanzania Safari.
We have put the questions under the following sub-topics for simplicity and not by order of priority or importance. It’s important if you have time to go through these questions clearly as they may provide a clear picture of what is about to happen while in Africa – Tanzania Tour or Safari.
kilimanjaro frequency asked questions
Kilimanjaro began to grow about 750,000 years ago as a result of lava spewing out of three main centres – Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi, It kept growing until their cones reached a height of about 5000 metres about half a million years ago. About this time, Shira collapsed into a Caldera and became inactive, but Kibo and Mawenzi continued to erupt until their peaks reached about 5500 metres. Mawenzi was the next to die, but Kibo continued to be active until about 360,000 years ago, during which time there were some particularly violent eruptions, including one which filled the old eroded caldera of Shira with black lava.
From an estimated final height of 5900 metres, Kibo gradually fell silent, and through intermittent eruptions continued for thousands of years, the whole mountain began to shrink and Kibo’s cone collapsed into a series of concentric terraces. Erosion in the form of glaciers which came and went, wore the peaks down even more, as did a huge landslide about 100,000 years which created the Kibo Barranco.
The cost of a tourist visa is US$50 per person for other countries except American citizens $100 to be paid in cash on arrival or you can apply visa online,which take up to 3 weeks to be approved, Citizens of some countries may have to get the visa prior to departure. Make sure you check with your country’s authorities in advance or our immigration website for more details. It is very easy to buy the visa upon arrival, and it is not necessary to arrange everything beforehand. Buying a visa upon arrival does not take much time at all. Forms can be obtained at the airplane/airport/border upon arrival. All you need to do is fill out the form and pay the fee, and you will get a visa stamped in your passport.
Please make sure you have all the necessary jabs. A Yellow Fever jab, for example, is one legal requirement for being allowed to enter the country. It is not necessary to bring any pictures to get your visa, but please be aware that your passport has to be valid for another 6 months after departing from Tanzania.
Kilimanjaro International Airport – airport code JRO is by far the most convenient. It is approximately a 45 minute drive by car to Moshi and Arusha is 1 hour, KLM airlines fly nonstop into Kilimanjaro Airport from several European cities. Other airlines connect mostly through Nairobi.
Please seek advice from your medical center or doctor’s surgery regarding vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. You may also be required to show a Yellow Fever Certificate at the airport when entering Tanzania. Please ensure that you have had this vaccination and remember to bring the certificate
Although it is possible to climb Kilimanjaro all year round, generally months with good weather is recommended as adverse weather conditions such as excessive rain, winds, snow/ice and extreme cold can be draining on the body and significantly lower your chances of summiting and also increase safety risks.
Typically, the months of January & February and also September & October are considered to be the best months in terms of dry weather and moderate temperatures. June to August are also good months in terms of dry weather but temperatures will be much cooler. Some rain can be expected in November, December and March. April and May are the rainiest months and climbing conditions are usually considered poor. If you are considering climbing in the wetter months, the Rongai route is recommended since the northern side of the mountain receives less precipitation.
As you can expect, the months with favourable climbing conditions are also the busiest months in terms of the number of people on the trails.
Cool and dry, to cold and wet.
Temperatures at night can drop to freezing at any place on the mountain. As a rule, it gets colder the higher you get.
On your climb you will experience humid and hot weather at the base in the rain forest, with daytime temperatures ranging from 60-90 F/15-32 C Days 2-3 can be dry and warm, with daytime temps around 60-70 F/15-21. At night be prepared for freezing and snow. The top is considered Arctic weather, where you will find permanent glaciers Temperatures at the summit can get as low as 0 to -15 F/-18 to -26 C, depending on the wind-chill and the weather. When it’s snowing, it usually occurs above 14,000-ft./4,267-m.
Tanzania is safe but you need to use your common sense and not get too adventurous. Don’t venture to dark alleys or deserted suburbs on your own after dark. Self-driving can be risky, especially after dark. Mugging and carjacking is a possibility. Be discreet with cash jewelry. Heed to your travel guides advice, avoid isolated areas and always use the common sense approach
You might experience symptoms of altitude sickness – headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and dizziness. Apart from obvious injuries that can occur when walking in uneven terrain and in very cold conditions, you will not be in danger of mugging, attack by animals or malarial mosquitoes.
The climb to Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb. No mountaineering equipment is require to summit Kilimanjaro. Anyone in good physical condition can reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Standards of Safety and Quality
The majority of climbing companies subcontract their climbs to the lowest bidder. They are not “on the ground’ supervising and managing the quality of the climb, such as quality of meals, maintenance of equipment and the training and hiring of guides and crew. This way they are able to price their climbs inexpensively – but with much lower standards for safety and comfort.
Very few companies, such as Sote Tours and Travel, maintain a locally registered/licensed company in Tanzania. By having our own company we are able to maintain international climbing standards with our expert guides, professionally-trained cooks, experienced crew and high-end equipment. Understandably, these high standards come at a cost.
The choice of climbing companies comes down to safety and quality.
There are no bathrooms on Kilimanjaro, warm water will be supplied in a bowl and you will be able to wash your face and hands. For the rest you will use wipes. Toilets are simple, hole-in-the-ground types which are used by guides and porters but as Sote Tours & Travel we provides portable flash toilet can be rented at extra cost or double check on the inclusion on our package.
Our mountain crews are in constant radio communication with us via ICOM radios so if anything goes wrong on your trekking we are informed. Also, the cell reception on the mountain has improved so we can effectively communicate with our teams using mobile phones.
Yes. we carry the oxygen tanks during your summit attempt.
Yes. Kids are not affected any differently by the altitude than adults. The main challenge for kids is the mental focus and toughness required as the climb gets harder.
The National Park authorities have set a minimum age of 12 and they are fairly strict. However, we have received permission in the past for a 7-year old to climb. If you plan to climb with a kid of 12 years or younger, book well in advance, as we need extra time to obtain permission from the park authorities. The authorities do not always grant permission.
Yes, we ensure the travel safety of all our trekking guests, both female and male. We have longstanding, strong relationships with the lodges we frequent, and know them to be safe and reliable. In addition our guides are consistently mindful of all guests’ whereabouts while trekking. We travel in small groups, all the better to easily maintain continual contact.
Yes, from Kilimanjaro you are within a few hours from some of the finest wildlife reserves on the planet – Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Arusha National Park
You should spend at least 2-5 days to allow yourself enough time to to appreciate the areas and the wildlife, and get the true experience of a
If you’d rather not bring a sleeping bag, you can rent a warm bag from us at a reasonable price.
We provide you with a foam mattresses which are the best to sleep on the mountain.
If you have special dietary needs just let us know ahead of time, and we will prepare your meals according to your instructions. Specialty foods are not available in East Africa, so if you are on a strict diet, such as gluten-free or if you have any food allergies, then you must bring your own specialty foods, which we will prepare for you. Be sure to plan carefully and bring enough for every meal.
Evacuation is either provided by the national park or by your climbing company. The national park does not provide evacuation from everywhere on Kilimanjaro – only on the very popular routes. The national park evacuation is also not optimal, as you are transported by non-medical porters.
Sote Tours does not rely on the park service; we perform high level evacuations by our own medically trained team, The guides are highly experienced in professional, efficient and safe evacuation techniques that have saved lives of Sote tours climbers, as well as climbers and crew from other companies, also we can arrange helicopter evacuation we work together with Kilimanjaro SAR but you should have a travel insurance that their policy cover up to 6000 meters above the sea level. Please contact us first for more details how it work.
Safaris are a considerable investment and we strongly urge you to purchase comprehensive travel insurance. Coverage should include trip cancellation, delay or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, emergency accident, illness and evacuation, 24-hour medical assistance and traveler’s assistance. Sote Tours and Travel does not include travel insurance or any protection plan in its price.
One of your medically trained guides will accompany you down to Moshi and take you to a doctor if needed.
For early descents there is no refund for the days you did not complete. However we will pick up and transfer from the gate to the hospital or hotel depends on the situation of your health, you will be responsible for the charges at the hospital and hotel for extra accommodation.
All your drinking water is treated and is safe to drink while on the mountain. We recommend you drink at least 3 quarts/liters per day, as it is very important to stay hydrated. Gatorade is a good additive for you to keep your electrolytes replenished.
All other unnecessary items should be packed and locked into your duffel bag and be ready for the porters before setting off for the day. The porters will carry the duffel bag from campsite to campsite.
If you begin to show symptoms of AMS, let your mountain guide know so he can monitor your symptoms. If you do not feel well, do not say you feel fine. You may be risking your life.
If your mountain guide determines that you are unwell and it is in your best interest to abandon the climb and he tells you to descend, it is an order. Respect the decision of your mountain guide and follow his instructions.
Electricity is available at 220/240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Primary Socket Type: British BS- 1363 (British Standard). Adaptor plugs will be available in some hotels but we advise that you bring at least one with you. Bs1363-non-earthed-plug
Please be aware that the power supply is subject to cuts and voltage fluctuations even in major cities!
Please remember to bring a solar charger or power bank, at the mountain no power we use solar to recharge camera or mobile phone
Kilimanjaro guides are trained in acute mountain sickness (AMS) and basic mountain first aid. However, they are not doctors or paramedics. Climbers are responsible for bringing their own first aid kit and medical supplies.
The typical tip is:
Porters $10-15 per day per porter
Cooks $10-15 per cook
Assistant Guides $20 per guide
Kilimanjaro Guides $20-25 per day and upper guide
*Tip amounts listed for Kilimanjaro are per group, not per individual traveler. For instance, if four people are on Kilimanjaro, they should each contribute $5/day if they want to tip the lead guide $20.
Extra luggage that are not necessary to be taken to the mountain you can leave at the hotel they have a storage room remember to register at the reception will be given a tag that will keep it until the last day you descend and show to receptionist for verification before collect your luggage . Valuables should be left in a safe deposit box at the hotel.
Donations are easier to take with you when you travel to Tanzania rather than mailing them after you get back from your trip. Porters welcome old hiking boots, warm clothing, and cash donations.
There are six initial approach routes, counter-clockwise from west to east
1. Lemosho Glades – starting from a remote trailhead and ascending through forest, and heather over two days to reach the western edge of the great Shira plateau. This route continues up either the Northern Circuit, Western Breach or the Machame/Southern Circuit route. Done via the Southern Circuit (most common), it’s the longest distance route to choose on Kilimanjaro. It’s best done 7 or more days.
2. Shira /Morum Barrier – This route starts high (over 12,000’ / 3,500m) but on longer climbs offers the chance of easy/gentle hiking from the start of the climb, as well as avoiding other tourists, especially when choosing the remote northern circuit route. Although a start from Morum Barrier Gate offers the choice to continue on the Southern Circuit, Northern Circuit or Western Breach, it’s best done via the Northern circuit in 8 days (as per our 8-day group trek option). We prefer this route over all others, for its’ wilderness character and low foot-traffic.
3. Machame (Whiskey Route) – by far the most popular route and busiest route overall, usually done in 6 or 7 days via southern circuit and finally ascending to the summit via the east facing Mweka (Barafu Camp) route to the crater rim at Stella Point. It’s also quite pretty and rugged. Best done in 7 days. Very difficult to do in 6 days.
4. Umbwe – The shortest and most direct way to Kilimanjaro’s summit, and this is the most challenging both in terms of terrain and grade. This route is best done via the Western Breach, in 6 or 7 days, but can continue on the Machame/Southern circuit route too.
5. Marangu (Coca-Cola Route) – the original hut route starting at the southeast and passing through thick forest, heather and moorland before crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, then up to Gillman’s point before skirting around the south crater rim to Uhuru Peak. Pre-booking and deposits are required on this route (to reserve the huts). From 5+ days, best done in 6 days.
6. Rongai – An approach from the dry Northeast (Kenya side), up to the flanks for Mawenzi (the most easterly of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanoes) then on into the great expanse of barren saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo, and finally up to the summit via the Marangu Route. From 5+ days, but best done in 6 or 7 days. The descent route on Rongai is the Marangu Route, which makes for a longer last day than other camping routes.
There is a circuit of routes traversing the Kibo massif in the alpine desert (ranging from about 3,500 to 4,000 m), and from this circuit on upwards there are only three summit route choices.
The Northern Circuit is by far the least used route on Kilimanjaro, and is home to the true wilderness on Kilimanjaro.
The Southern Circuit is essentially the continuation of the popular Machame Route following the east facing Mweka (Barafu Camp) route to the crater rim at Stella Point. This route to the summit receives more than 80% of all summit foot-traffic. Most of the rest of the summit-goers pass via the Marangu Route via Gillman’s point before skirting around the south crater rim to Uhuru Peak.
The Western Breach is the third and last summit route, and gets a tiny percentage of the summit foot traffic, as it’s a steep scramble from camp at 4,900 m (Arrow Glacier Camp) to the crater rim at 5,900m, and is a true alpine-adventure style scrambling route, which includes rock fall risk. We’ve imposed our own restrictions on this route, in order to ensure the group is relatively homogenous and have prior experience with this type of terrain. We provide mountaineering helmets for all participants who ascend the Western Breach.
Each porter can carry up to 20kg of luggage, As regulated by Kilimanjaro National Park, porters can no t carry more than 2okg of total weight including their own personal gears so we don’t overload our porters make sure your luggage is 15 kg
You will have 4-6 porters per person for your group. This depends on your group size and the weight of your luggage.
The porters will carry all the tents, food, and the luggage that you do not require while hiking so you will only need to carry a day pack during the day.
We would recommend that you carry no more than 10kg. The average is 7kg. You only need to carry the essentials (3 L drinking water, valuables, camera, lunch/snacks, rain layer). The rest of the items you can leave with porters to carry.
NO. The National Park Authority do not allow anyone on the mountain without qualified guides and they mandate strict minimum ratios of guides to clients which roughly work out as 1 guide for every 2 people. Porters are actually optional but unless you are super, super-fit and happy to alpine camp for 7 days living on dried food don’t begin to think about it. We provide 3 porters per client to carry everything you need to have a comfortable enjoyable climb.
This is really a matter of personal preferences. On a full moon there is lots more light and the route and path to the summit are much clearer. Some people prefer this, some prefer to get their head down and just keep plodding. Of course when there is a full moon there are almost no stars visible so if you want a great night sky give the full moon dates a miss.
Yes most of the time but don’t plan on 4G. And don’t be surprised that when you drop into a valley there will be deadspots.
We always answer this question by saying you should try and get out and do as much hill-walking as you can. Nothing prepares your body better for climbing Kilimanjaro than some weekends doing long walks of 7-8 hours.
For a more technical answer there are four aspects of fitness you need to work on.
On the Marangu Route there are simple basic huts. The first two huts sleep four people each and the last hut is dorm-style with bunk beds. On all other routes, you will sleep in 3-person dome style mountain tents, two people each. The tents are modern and have an outer flysheet and large vestibules keep equipment from the elements. They are set up, broken down and carried along with everything else by our porters. A toilet tent is set up at every campsite and hot water is provided for each person every morning if possible (no showers).There will be dining tents with chairs and tables where all meals will be served. Before the meals we will provide soap and hot water for washing your hands.
There is no need to worry because this is a common concern. It is much better for your body if you proceed slowly and the guides will continually remind you about this (“pole pole”-Swahili word which means slowly). By walking slowly, your body will much better acclimatize to the high altitude. There is plenty of time allotted each day for the trek, even for those who like to go very slowly.
Most people start with the trek and end with the safari, since they finish the hardest part of their trip and are able to relax on their safari. However, depending with the itinerary we can accommodate either way. Due to the schedule some clients starts safari and then join their counterpart arriving from their home for Kilimanjaro only and climb as a team.