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Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts KANDOO | Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts
Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts KANDOO | Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts
Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts KANDOO | Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts
Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts KANDOO | Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts
Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts KANDOO | Climb Kilimanjaro with the high altitude experts
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Climb Kilimanjaro with Kandoo Adventures

Thank you for considering Kandoo for your Kilimanjaro climb. If you climb with us you are in safe hands: we have now helped over 10,000 climbers summit succcessfully and are rated as the Number One Tour Operator on Trustpilot. The key to our success operating climbs  on Kilimanjaro is simple: we actually do everything ourselves.  

That might not sound very special but if you google "climb Kilimanjaro" we would be the only company in the top 10 that does not sub-contract. Running every aspect of our own climbs takes a lot of hard work but if  you check out our reviews you will see a lot of happy customers think it was worthwhile. We hope to be able to help you summit this great mountain

On this page we have summarised all the information you need to start planning your Kilimanjaro, including choosing the best route,  when is the best time to climb and our top tips for summiting successfully. We have also answered all the most frequently asked questions. Of course if there is something we haven't covered that you would like to know please do contact us or jump on a chat to one of our experts.

Highlights of climbing Kilimanjaro


Summit Africa's highest peak, one of the 7 summits which are the highest on each continent
Conquer the most accessible high altitude challenge available
Experience the changes of scenery as you climb through 5 climate zones
Enjoy the most spectacular sunrise and see for the first time the clear curvature of the earth

Why climb Kilimanjaro with Kandoo Adventures?

 
Safety: our top priority
Safety: our top priority

We do everything possible to ensure your safety on the mountain...

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Climbers have more fun with Kandoo
Climbers have more fun with Kandoo

Safety and summiting are top priorities but we also make the adventure fun...

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Uniquely operate our own climbs
Uniquely operate our own climbs

It might seem surprising but we are the only major operator who actually runs their own climbs.

 
Exceptional guides
Exceptional guides

We employ and train all our own guides and have become the employer of choice for all the best guides on Kilimanjaro. ...

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World class kit
World class kit

All our tents on Kilimanjaro are Mountain Hardwear Trango 3s...

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Fantastic tasty food
Fantastic tasty food

We make sure all our meals are really tasty and that there is plenty for even the biggest appetites.

 
Highest standards of ethics
Highest standards of ethics

Excellence in porter welfare, Leave No Trace and care for the local community ...

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You book direct to get great value
You book direct to get great value

Because we sell direct to you we offer exceptional quality and great prices too. ...

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Which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are eight official routes to climb Kilimanjaro:MachameLemoshoRongaiNorthern CircuitMarangu, Shira,Umbwe and Western Breach. On the first four of these  routes we operate a regular schedule of  open groups and depending on your personal circumstances all can be good choices.  We also operate private treks on the Marangu route. This is not a route we particularly like, but it is the only route where you do not have to camp and some climbers have a strong preference for this. 

Our recommended routes

A 3d map and brief summaries of the four routes we recommend are below. There is more advice on which is the best route here and you can follow the links to find all the detail on each route.

Climb Kiliamanjaro routes

Machame routethis is our favourite route for a 7 day climb as it offers a high chance of success and an interesting approach through all of Kilimanjaro's diverse climate zones. Its downside is that everybody likes it so in peak periods it can be very busy.

Lemosho routestepping up in cost, and adding an extra day, this is the best 8 day route on the mountain with fantastic views and a really interesting approach from the West of the mountain.

Northern Circuit : if money and time are not a constraint then it is worth checking out the Northern Circuit. It has the same attractive approach as the Lemosho but where the latter heads South and joins up with the busier Machame route, the Northern Circuit heads north where you will find yourselves nearly alone. 

Rongai route :  this route approaches Kilimanjaro from the north of the mountain close to the Kenyan border. A very quiet route, it is not normally our first choice as there is very little vegetation as it lies in the rain shadow of the mountain and has much less rainfall. Of course this means it is a good route to choose in the rainy season and it is always generally quiet.

We do not offer treks on any of the Shira ,  Umbwe route or Western Breach routes. The Shira route starts with a drive to nearly 3000m and this can be sufficient to cause climbers to get altitude sickness on day one. This route has now been almost entirely replaced by the Lemosho route which approaches the mountain from the same direction.

The Umbwe route is very short, very steep and has a very poor success rate. All the speed ascents climb Kilimanjaro by this route and go up and down in about 12 hours. If you want a more leisurely pace, it is best avoided. And finally on routes we don't run, we consider the Western Breach too dangerous. There is a large section of this trail where unstable rocks overhang the route and there have been a significant number of deaths from rockfalls.

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro lies just south of the equator and, if it were not for the altitude, the whole area around the mountain would be extremely hot and humid. Fortunately, the base of Kilimanjaro is at nearly 2000m and this provides a significant cooling effect. The net result is that year round temperatures at the base of the mountain are very stable, varying only a little during the year between averages of 25 and 20 degrees c.

Kilimanjaro's climate though is dominated by trade winds that bring in monsoon conditions, so it has two very distinct rainy seasons: the long rains in April/May and the short rains in November and December.  The charts below show the average temperature and rainfall in Moshi at the base of the mountain.

Moshi temperatureMoshi Rainfall Small

 So, if you want the very best chance of avoiding rain,  May to October and Mid-December to early March are the best times to climb Kilimanjaro. Unsurprisingly, this is when everyone else wants to go and so these are by far the busiest months. This can be offset by choosing a quieter route like the Northern Circuit or the Lemosho route but even then you could find yourself with lots of other trekkers, particularly during the main European summer vacation. If your schedule allows it, our favourite times are the shoulder months of May and October and the period before the long rains early in the year.

Of course, the weather at the foot of Kilimanjaro is nothing like that higher up and temperatures fall dramatically particularly overnight. On the summit of Kilimanjaro, average daily temperatures do not rise above zero but this is a combination of minus 25 at night and plus 10 during the day.  You can see the change in average temperature as you climb on the chart below and also the amount of snowfall you might expect on the summit.

Kilimanjaro temperature SmallKilimanjaro snowfall Small

 

The key point about these charts is that your clothing choices have to be able to cope with huge ranges in temperature and sometimes very heavy rainfall. For all the information about the kit we recommend see here.

Climbing Kilimanjaro on a full moon

Whenever there is a discussion about the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, the issue of whether it is better to climb under a full moon comes up. Opinion is very much divided on this. On the one hand, when there is a full-moon you can see the path and the route to the Crater Rim more clearly. On the other,  a full moon means you spend a long, long time looking up at a rim that never seems to get any closer!  On this, the choice is very personal. 

One thing you should not forget though is that when there is a full moon there are virtually no stars whereas at other times of the month you will have the most spectacular night sky that you will have ever seen. Whichever option you choose the dates for all the full moons are below so you can choose.

Full moon dates on Kilimanjaro

Flight prices

One last thing you should consider when deciding when to climb Kilimanjaro is what are the cost of flights. These vary a lot during the year and if you choose your dates carefully and book early you can often save  £300-400. For advice on the best way to fly to Kilimanjaro see here.

Kandoo's top tips for climbing Kilimanjaro successfully

Training

Hike before you climb KilimanjaroAlthough most days climbing Kilimanjaro are no worse than an average day hiking at home there are a number of factors that make this a really tough challenge. First, you will be hiking for at least 7 days continuously and this puts a big strain on all your muscles and joints.

Second, as you climb, the oxygen content in the air drops rapidly so with every breath you are getting less and less power. At the summit each breath has about half the amount of oxygen that you would normally have.

Third, although most days are not overly difficult, summit night is extremely hard with an ascent of over 1500m, a descent of nearly 3000m and between 14-16 hours walking on average.

In order to meet these challenges successfully you need to be in the best physical condition of your life. We have detailed advice on training here but the key factors are to work on are cardiovascular strength, muscle strength in the legs and flexibility. If at all possible try to get out and do some long days hiking at least twice in the weeks before your climb. And don't forget that the biggest difference between those who summit successfully and those who turn back is often just mental tenacity.

Staying well hydrated and eating plenty

Food on KilimajaroEach day as you climb Kilimanjaro you will burn about 4000 calories, which is almost double your normal intake. On summit night you will burn well over 6000 calories. And as mountaineers say, you need to fuel the climb! So even if you have lost your appetite because of the effects of altitude you have to keep eating. Our menus are designed to be varied and really tasty but even if you don't feel hungry you must eat.  Before you travel to Tanzania find a number of snacks that you really enjoy and bring a good  and varied supply- even if you love Mars Bars you can find that when you are faced with your third in a night they are not quite so appetising.

And drinking plenty is even more important than eating, as in the cold, dry air it is very easy to become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration are very similar to altitude sickness and it is not uncommon for someone to descend and then find that all they needed was lots of water. As well as 2 litres of water that you will be provided with daily, there will be unlimited amounts of hot drinks at breakfast and dinner and you must ensure that you keep drinking. As a good guide if your pee is yellow you are under-hydrated and need to drink more.  For more on looking after yourself on the mountain read here.

Good equipment

Walking bootsGood equipment starts with your  feet. Do not turn up for your climb in a shiny new pair of boots that have only done a few tours round the garden. Make sure your boots are well worn in and are comfortable. After think about your feet make sure you are looking after your head. On the lower slopes you will need something that provides good sun protection but for summit night you need a really warm beanie or even balaclava: these can double up as a nightcap on really cold nights.

Finally,  think about clothing layers. The daily temperature variation can be as much as 35c and the best way of coping with this is  with layering rather than relying on one single jacket. Also, please note we strongly recommend gaiters and mittens. Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano and is very dusty: a boot full of dust is very uncomfortable. And we have not found a pair of gloves that are really warm enough for summit night so make sure to pack mittens or over-mittens.

Other critical items are a 4 season sleeping bag, trekking poles for the descent, a head torch for the night climb, a comfortable day pack and lots and lots of high factor sunscreen.  A full checklist of the equipment we recommend is here

Careful acclimatisation

Hydrating on KilimanjaroThe single  biggest reason why people fail to summit Kilimanjaro is because they have not acclimatised well. We have lots of information on acclimatisation here but there are three key points to remember. First is go slowly: no matter how fit you are, if you go too quickly the risk of getting altitude sickness goes up exponentially. You will always hear our guides advising "Pole Pole" , swahili for slowly, slowly. As a good measure of your speed, if you cannot manage a conversation comfortably you are going fast.

Second is hydration, the really serious problems caused by altitude are due to changes in pressure across membranes where external air meets fluid in your body. This is primarily in the lungs where fluid from your blood leaks into your lungs giving pneumonia like symptoms and in your skull where fluid moves from your brain into the gap between the brain and the skull causing pressure headached.  If you are poorly hydrated you will increase the risk that this becomes a problem.

And third is consider taking Diamox- this is a drug that is well proven to help the body acclimatise to altitude faster. It is not a panacea and you can still get ill taking it but for most people it is a safe way to reduce the risk of getting ill. You will need to see your doctor to obtain a prescription for Diamox and he can assess you personally for suitability. For more advice on acclimatisation and altitude sickness see here.

Other things to do while you are in Tanzania

Sunset over the SerengetiYou will have travelled a long way to reach Kilimanjaro for your climb and while you are in Tanzania there are lot of other great things you might want to try.  The most popular choice is to add on a short safari. Arusha town, about an hour's drive from Kilimanjaro is the start point for all safaris to the group of National Parks called the Northern Circuit. This includes Tarangire, Lake Manyara, the Serengeti and the world heritage site Ngorongoro Crater.  

All our safaris are private, tailor made trips and we can arrange safaris from as little as two days. For more informationa bout safaris read here.

Gorilla trekking in RwandaOn a similar vein, but requiring a little more effort is to take a short flight from Tanzania to trek with gorillas in Rwanda. This is a really special experience and as Rwanda offers little else as a tourist destination adding this onto your Kilimanjaro trip can work very well.

The gorilla trekking in Rwanda is brilliantly organised with the health and well-being of the gorillas the highest concern so you can enjoy your encounter with these fantastic animals knowing they are well protected. For more information about trekking with gorillas see here.

 

And a third great option, particularly if you have tired legs after your climb, is to take a few days to relax on Relaxing on Zanzibar after KilimamanjaroZanzibar. Just over an hour's flight from Kilimanjaro airport and you could be lying on a perfect white sand beach dipping those legs in the warm Indian Ocean.

And Zanzibar really lives up to its reputation as a tropical paradise, so if relaxing is your aim then head here for a few days. For more information on visiting Zanzibar read here.

All about Mt Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is what is known as a strato-volcano, which basically means it is one very big ash pile built up over the course of many eruptions. Fortunately it is now dormant and the last major eruption was about 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago. Kilimanjaro has 2.2 square kilometres (0.85 sq mi) of glacial ice but  is losing it quickly. The glaciers have shrunk 82% since 1912 and declined 33% since 1989. It might be ice free within 20 years, dramatically affecting local drinking water and crop irrigation.

Vegetation 

As you climb Kilimanjaro you pass through 5 distinct climate and vegetation zones

giant lobeliaThe Lower Slopes/Cultivation - Between 2,600 feet and 5,900 feet the climate is tropical with an average of 45 inches of rainfall each year. The lowlands are now densely cultivated with coffee and banana plantations and the deforestation is a factor in the shrinking glaciers on Kilimanjaro.

  • Rain Forest - The zone between 5,900 and 9,200 feet receives the highest amount of rainfall, up to 78 inches per year. The moisture results in a belt of dense tropical rain forest.
  • Moorland - The moorland zone is between 9,200 feet and 13,100 feet and is covered with heather and bright flowers. Above the heath is a black moorland where plants such as lobelias and groundels grow. 
  • High Desert - Between 13,100 and 16,400 feet there is a semi-desert region that receives less than 10 inches of rain annually. Temperatures range from the mid 80s to below freezing at night. Only plants such as moss or lichens can survive here.
  • Arctic Zone/Summit - The summit zone above 16,400 feet is an icy wasteland, baked by fierce sunshine during the day and frozen at night. The thin air here contains half as much oxygen as at sea level.

 

Wildlife

As you climb Kilimanjaro make sure you ask your guide to try and spot animals for you. There are plenty to look out for, as in spite of the tough climate there are over 140 species of mammals living on Kilimanjaro. At least seven larger mammal species have been recorded above the tree line including tree hyrax, grey duiker, red duiker, eland, bushbuck, buffalo and elephants. Three primate species also live in the montane forests: blue monkey, black and white colombus monkeys and bushbabies.

kilimanjaro monkeys 

Over 180 species of birds have been recorded as living on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro including Hartlaub’s Turaco,  Hornbills and Speckled Mousebirds or the Malachite Sunbird. See if you can spot some of these spectacular birds on your climb.kilimanjaro birds

Climb Kilimanjaro - Frequently Asked Questions

Q1WHERE IS MOUNT KILIMANJARO?

Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and sits right on the Northern border with Kenya. The nearest airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and the nearest town is Moshi.

Q2WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET TO KILIMANJARO?

Kilimanjaro has its own international airport (JRO) which is about an hour's drive from the mountain itself. For flights to JRO there are an increasing number of good options although unless you live in the Netherlands, the Middle East or Turkey there are no direct flights. From Europe the best options are with KLM via Amsterdam or Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. Be careful though about flight and connections times on Turkish- you can seem to get a good deal only to find you have a 10 hour layover. From North America or the Far East the best options are to fly via the Middle East and Qatar has direct flights from its hub in Doha into JRO. For more on flight information see here

Q3WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE CLIMBING KILIMANJARO?

The success rate varies hugely by route and by operator. On average success rates reported by the Park vary from below 50% on the shorter routes like Marangu up to 85-90% on 7 day and longer climbs. Over the last 5 years we have averaged 97% on all climbs reflecting the fact that we are careful about which routes we operate and our team are very experienced at helping anyone with the determination needed to summit successfully.

Q4CAN I CLIMB WITHOUT PORTERS AND GUIDES?

In a word 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 3 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 being to think about it. We provide 3 porters per client to carry everything you need to have a comfortable enjoyable climb.

Q5IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO ON THE FULL MOON?

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. We have all the dates of full moons here.

Q6WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OPEN GROUP CLIMB AND A PRIVATE CLIMB?

Private climbs  to climb Kilimanjaro are your own personal tailor-made adventure, giving you total flexibility and the highest chance of success. Just choose your date, route and any of our tailor-made options. Perfect for a group of friends or a charity group or a couple looking to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary. Upgrades to private climbs start from £100 per person depending on the size of the group.

If you want the company of others while you climb Kilimanjaro then an open group is perfect for you. Our group climbs run every week during the main climbing season from June - October and December - March. They are limited to a maximum of 12 climbers to make sure you get the best chance of summit success. Particularly popular are our open group full moon climbs which run every month.

Q7DO YOU ORGANISE TRIPS TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO FOR CHARITY?

We arrange lots of Kilimanjaro climbs for charity fundraisers and if you are looking to climb to raise money for your favourite charity we can provide lots of resources like an editable brochure and poster which are in our charity climb resources.  We do not however organise climbs where the cost of the trip is funded by donations as we personally only believe in self-funded charity challenges.

Q8ARE THERE ANY AGE RESTRICTIONS ON CLIMBERS?

Kilimanjaro Park Authority do not allow any climbers on the mountain younger than 12 years of age. There is no maximum-our oldest client who summited was 75. You should be aware though that we do not allow children younger than 16 to join an open group. This is primarily because we feel that for children less than 16 we need to be able to provide the more personalised care available on a private trip. Also we have sometimes had negative feedback from adults about having children on a climb with them.

Q9HOW MANY DAYS DOES IT TAKE TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO?

The shortest route Kandoo runs as standard is 6 days. It is possible to climb over 5 days but the shorter climbs have a much lower success rate and it is a long way to travel and a lot of money to spend to not reach the summit. We recommend that you take at least 7 days to give yourself a really good chance of reaching the summit safely.

Q10WHAT IS ALTITUDE SICKNESS?

Altitude sickness (often just called AMS) is a result of the physical changes in your body caused by climbing to altitudes where the air pressure is much reduced. There is a great little calculator here http://www.altitude.org/air_pressure.php. By the time you have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro air pressure is down to 49% of what it is at sea level. The most immediate effect of this is that every lungful of air contains only half the amount of oxygen it would normally have and this make any physical exertion very hard work. Slowly, slowly is the key. The second and most dangerous effects of low pressures are on the membranes in the body where there is fluid on one side and air on the other. Most critically these are in the skull and lungs. In both cases the reduced air-pressure on one side of a membrane can cause fluid to leak through the membrane. In the lungs this results in a condition called Pulmonary Oedema, not unlike pneumonia, where your lungs fill with water. In the brain you can get Cerebral Odema where there is a build up of fluid in the cavity between the skull and the brain causing headaches. Both these conditions can be fatal. The good news is that we plan our ascents very carefully to minimise the risk of you getting AMS and have well tested emergency plant to evacuate you should you have any problems. You can read lots more about Altitude sickness here.

Q11HOW FIT DO YOU NEED TO BE TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO?

Kandoo excels in helping novice trekkers summit Kilimanjaro safely. You need to be fit enough for "weekend walking" and able to do 5-7 hours on your feet for two days back to back. The best training you can do for this is to get your boots on and cover as many miles as your can before your climb. If you follow this advice, most days will be pretty comfortable for you. However fit you are though, summit night is a very tough experience as you will be climbing for 8-10 hours and descending for 6 - 8 hours. Beyond fitness and good preparation, to cope with this you will need to look after yourself all the way and have bucket loads of determination.

Q12HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO?

We have a fantastic record of getting climbers to the summit successfully and safely but that does not mean that this is not an incredibly tough challenge. The difficulties arise from a number of different factors. First you are walking every day for at least 6 days for an average of 7-8 hours a day with one mega long day of perhaps 18 hours. You need to be really determined to handle this. Second you are climbing to nearly 20,000 feet at which altitude air pressure and oxygen availability is about 60% of sea level. This means with every breath you are only getting just over half as much oxygen. To compensate for this you have to do everything slowly. Also fast ascent to altitude can cause altitude sickness which can be very serious. We manage our ascent profiles to minimise this risk. And finally you will be camping for up to 8 nights, sleeping on the floor and washing and cleaning in tough conditions. Nothing though that a positive attitude can't deal with.

Q13WHAT TRAINING DO YOU RECOMMEND TO PREPARE FOR MY CLIMB?

We always answer this question by saying that first and foremost you should try and get out and do as much hill-walking as you can. Nothing prepares your body better for climbing Kilimanjaro that 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. First is pure cardio: as you ascend there is less and less oxygen in the air and this makes your cardio system work very hard. Prepare for this by any intense cardio exercise- we are big fans of High Intensity Interval Training where you work very hard for a short period and then rest, repeating this 5 times. Second is leg strength. Consecutive days climbing puts a lot of strain on the legs and specific leg exercises like squats, wall braces (like for skiing) or with a weights machine work really well. Third is stamina: on summit night you need to keep going and going and pushing yourself do to some longer exercises that require real stamina like a long ride or a really long day hill-walking will help toughen you up mentally. And finally don't forget your flexibility, lots of injuries are caused by lack of flexibility so both before your climb and on it remember your stretches.

Q14WHAT ARE THE TOILETS LIKE ON KILIMANJARO?

The public toilets on Kilimanjaro are to put it mildly less than pleasant. For a really amusing description of the toilets you must watch this video on youtube . Fortunately, we now provide private toilets as standard on all climbs. This is a chemical toilet in a small tent that is kept clean and hygienic by our crew.

Q15WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE ON THE ROUTES YOU OPERATE?

Our success rate on climbs of 7 days or longer is more than 95%. What contributes to this very high success rate is great preparation, great guides and carefully managed itineraries. And of course clients with grit!

Q16HOW WELL DO YOU TREAT YOUR CREW? ARE YOU A MEMBER OF KPAP?

We treat all our crew and guides exceptionally well and this is recognised by KPAP ( the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program). KPAP do amazing work to ensure porters are treated fairly on the mountain-this is not just about wages, but food, clothing, tents and tipping policy. Sadly far too few Kilimanjaro operators are members of KPAP. We have been a leading member of KPAP since we started on Kilimanjaro and have a KPAP porter on all our climbs to ensure that our treatment of porters always is up to the high standards we demand. On our most recent annual assessment by KPAP we scored a 97% rating and we are still working on sorting out the other 3% to get a perfect score. If you ever want a reference you can always contact Karen Valenti at [email protected]

Q17WHAT DO YOU DO TO SUPPORT THE LOCAL COMMUNITY?

As one of the very few non-Tanzanian companies that actually operate its own climbs we are closely involved in many aspects of supporting the local community. This extends from promoting porter welfare, supporting a local children's charity to being active members of the Leave No Trace and Travellers Against Plastic organisations. Our own charity, the Kandoo Foundation has also funded a number of projects in Tanzania to benefit the community.  In recent years we have paid for a water pipeline to be installed in the village where a lot of our porters live saving the children a daily walk of 2-3 hours to fetch water. in 2016 we bought all our porters and their families high quality mosquito nets and in 2017 we are spending $3000 upgrading the IT facilities in the school in Moshi so that every child will have good access to a PC.

Q18HOW WILL I WASH DURING MY CLIMB?

Every morning and evening you will be provided with a bowl of hot water for washing. As well as this we strongly recommend a good supply of baby wipes for cleaning hands during the day. Also when it gets very cold higher on the mountain you can get by with what we call a "pits and bits " wash for which a baby-wipe is perfect.

Q19WHAT ARE YOUR TENTS LIKE?

We use two types of tent on Mt Kilimanjaro. For sleeping we use top of the range Mountain Hardwear Trango 3 man tents which are the same tents used by most expedition teams on Everest. They are very strong, very spacious for 2 people and remarkably warm. Our mess tents are made for us by a supplier in Nepal who again provides these as standard for Himalayan expeditions. Good head-height, warm and extremely durable. Along with comfy camp chairs they make for a relaxing meal time.

Q20WHAT WILL THE FOOD BE LIKE?

Keeping yourself hydrated and ensuring you eat enough to hvae the energy to complete the climb is one of the most important factors in success. And because we know that you can easily lose your appetite because of the effects of altitude we work doubly hard to make sure we provide great tasting food and plenty of it. All our menus are carefully planned by our head chef and what the cooks serve up on a mountain is almost miraculous. You can read more about our Kilimanjaro food here. If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.

Q21WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO DESCEND?

As a condition of our public liability insurance we run a fully integrated Safety Management Systems with protocols for identifying the need for descent through all aspects of arranging an evacuation. Depending where you are on the mountain this may involve being physically carried by porters, being transported on a mobile stretcher with a giant car wheel mounted in the middle to using a 4x4. Helicopter evacuation is available in principle but not in practise as there all emergency helicopters have to be requested from Kenya and by the time they will arrive you need to be down the mountain.

Q22WHAT KIT WILL I NEED?

For most parts a well-equipped weekend hiker will have most of the essential kit you need. We provide a full list of what you need on Kilimanjaro kit as well as a printable checklist. Most important on this list are mittens: we haven't found a ski or mountain glove that is warm enough for the coldest night on Kilimanjaro.

Q23WHAT TRAVEL INSURANCE DO YOU RECOMMEND?

There a number of specialists who provide insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro. We particularly like Dogtag and World Nomad. Whoever you arrange insurance with, you must be sure it covers you to an altitude of 6000m

Q24WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE KILIMANJARO ROUTES?

The differences between the routes can be looked at in different ways. First and most critical is duration. The shorter routes are Marangu and Umbwe and both of these suffer from low success rates. The Machame and Rongai routes both take 6- 7 days and offer much better chance of summiting. The longer routes are the Lemosho and Northern Circuit which take between 8 or 9 days. Besides duration, the start point is very different. Marangu and Umbwe both start from the south and take fairly direct routes to the summit. Rongai comes in from the North following a fairly direct path but one which is relatively flatter at the begining. All the other routes start on the west of the mountain which is considered the most scenic. From their start in the west, the Machame and Lemosho routes both circle south-east around the mountain providing great scenery and good acclimatisation before turning North to summit. The Northern circuit starts from the West and heads North finally merging with the Rongai route for the summit push. There is more information about all the Kilimanjaro routes here.

Q25What vaccinations will I need?

You will need to have a number of up to date vaccinations to visit Tanzania. Full details of the current advice is here. You should always though visit your GP and check with him exactly what you require as recommendations do change regularly. Also please note you will need to take an anti-malarial drug as although there are no moquitoes on the mountain itself there is malaria in Moshi.

Q26What tips do you recommend?

We are leading members of KPAP, the Kilimanjaro Porters protection group and comply fully with their recommendations about tips. You can see our detailed advice here. Depending on the group size recommended tips are between $2-300 per person. These though are as they say recommendations: if for any reason you are not happy with the service provided you are not required to pay.

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