Keep your expectations low and your ambitions high when climbing this majestic mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro’s greatest appeal is that anyone can climb it; you do not need any special climbing skills. You may be a professional runner, secretary, farmer, a person living with a disability, or a pensioner. Whoever you are, you may climb the tallest peak in Africa without even a single piece of climbing gear or any prior climbing knowledge. You can reach the summit if you have sturdy hiking boots and perseverance.
However, that does not mean that scaling this incredible natural beauty will be simple. It is a strenuous climb over varied terrain exposed to the elements in frequently difficult weather.
However, we can guarantee you a sense of accomplishment and the panorama from the summit will make all the effort worthwhile. Here is what to anticipate along the route in the interim.
Day of Arrival, what to expect
Expect to be met and picked up by Tranquil Kilimanjaro staff and drivers when you land at Kilimanjaro International Airport on the day that you arrive, any time of the day and we will transport you to your hotel/lodge. Our climbing coordinator will provide a full pre-climbing briefing and the Tranquil Kilimanjaro team will inspect your gear to see whether you are adequately prepared with what you already own or if you need to borrow anything from us. It will be easier to get everything organized, have a full night’s sleep, and attend the briefing if you arrive at least a day before the climb.
What to expect while on the mountain
There aren’t any lodgings on Kilimanjaro. There are no paved walkways, running water, or cable cars to take you to the top.
Sleeping in tents, on sleeping mats, and in sleeping bags could be a novel experience for those who have never gone camping. You will only stay in permanent huts on the Marangu trail. The porters will put up your tents before you get to the next campground on the other routes, which are camping routes. In actuality, porters carry the majority of the heavy items in addition to tents.
Both flush toilets and faucets are absent. Washing your face in a pan of warm water, taking a wet wipe “bath,” and maintaining your balance at the long drop toilets can be wild and lovely.
Extreme temperature fluctuations are to be expected. Be ready for hot, muggy weather in the forests and for wind, ice showers, and below-freezing temperatures at higher altitudes. You should put on thermal underwear, hiking boots, warm gloves, and thermal socks of superior quality.
A total of five different climate zones, including lush rainforest, low moorland, an alpine desert, and the fabled frigid peak, will be encountered on the mountain. The remarkable biodiversity of Kilimanjaro is celebrated.
Although certain ways to the top are more secluded and less traveled, you will undoubtedly see other groups on the more popular routes as well as at camp. Despite this, despite the mountain’s size, it never feels overly crowded.
Your body could react differently in high altitudes. The altitude can stress all of your systems, and you might question your sanity for trying this incredible, risky workout. It can be too chilly to wash or change clothes. On summit night, your lungs may be in need of oxygen or a cigarette and your head may hurt. You must maintain a slow pace while moving extremely slowly. Slowly, slowly, or “pole pole” as they say in Tanzania. This will be your adage for the mountains.
Breathe, then continue. Slowly. In the end, it will be worth the experience. Below are the top 5 things to expect when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
1. EXPECT LESS WILDLIFE BUT MORE SCENIC VIEWS
You shouldn’t anticipate seeing a wildlife safari when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro like you would in the majority of Tanzania’s National Parks.
- This is a result of the mountain’s high elevation, chilly weather, and lack of vegetation because the climate cannot support life.
- It makes sense that there are no habitations on the peak as well.
- In the rainforest zone, you might see little rodents, and a variety of birds, or catch a glimpse of some distant monkeys.
2. EXPECT A CHALLENGING SUMMIT NIGHT
According to the travel blogs and websites you’ve read about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the summit day which begins at midnight or shortly after may seem like a nightmare, but trust us when we say it’s the most physically demanding, intimidating, and memorable day of your life. Normally, the journey to Uhuru Peak starts at around midnight on Summit Day. Put on all of your garments because it will be below negative degrees Celsius on the mountain and bitterly cold with biting winds throughout the dead of night. As a result, the majority of climbers opt for full moon ascents to summit the mountain by moonlight. Your headlamp, a crucial item on your Kilimanjaro gear list, is the only source of illumination on the otherwise black mountain.
For optimum acclimatization, we advise using the Lemosho Route or Northern Circuit Route while using our Climb Kilimanjaro Guide. Stay hydrated and move slowly.
3. YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO TIP YOUR GUIDES AND PORTERS.
We advise carrying some Tanzanian Shillings for Kilimanjaro Tipping as you ascend the peak.
Tipping is usual and has developed into a charming tradition.
Near the summit of the mountain, there is a tipping ritual.
Although your Kilimanjaro Crew receives their daily pay, it would be nice if you could give them an extra tip for the work they put in to make your walk successful. To be safe, we advise you to tip the porter $10–$15 per day, the guide $20–$30 per day, and the cook $15–$20 per day on the mountain. However, you are not required to tip every day because we are aware that it could get uncomfortable, especially if you are climbing a mountain and straining. Tipping is therefore extremely appreciated at the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
4. ANTICIPATE LEARNING SOME SWAHILI
Despite English being spoken well by the Kilimanjaro Guides who are traveling with you, Swahili is still the most common language in Tanzania.
Who knows why? Because they teach you some common Swahili words throughout the climb itself, and after just 7 days on the mountain, you might be able to speak Swahili as well as a Tanzanian child!
You might have probably heard some of these words from the popular Lion King song, Jambo, Hakuna Matata, well here is your chance to put them to practice.
Here are some greetings you might learn to use while meeting Tanzanians.
“Jambo! Mambo?” = Hey! What’s up? I’m cool. Mambo Poa. “Mzungu” is Swahili for foreigners, Europeans, or a White person in general. Slowly, slowly is “pole pole” (pronounced “pulley”). This will come up a lot during the ascent.
5. EXPECT SQUAT TOILETS ALONG THE ROUTES.
We don’t advise you to expect a high-end bathroom on the mountain. Squat toilets, which offer sufficient privacy and are remarkably clean, are accessible at numerous campgrounds. On Kilimanjaro, however, Tranquil Kilimanjaro will equip you with portable private toilet tents that are cleaner than the squat toilets. We are aware that some people from western countries may find this to be the most awkward thing in the world, but what would a Kilimanjaro Climb be without stepping outside of our comfort zones and taking in the best of nature?
Sleeping on the Mountain
Although you can rent a sleeping bag from us if necessary, we advise bringing your own. After every trip, we make sure to wash (and dry) our bags. Make sure your sleeping bag is sufficient for temperatures of -12°C or below if you’re bringing your own, or bring an inner for added warmth.
We provide sturdy three-person tents and sleeping bags as part of our rate. To ensure that you have enough room for your stuff and a comfortable night’s sleep after a long day, we only utilize the three-person tents for two people. You will arrive at your overnight destination with the tents ready because porters will have already set them up. Mostly VAUDE tents are used by Kilimanjaro-Experience.
Food and beverages
All food and catering materials are transported by porters and cooks. Bring your own snacks if you like. This is suggested as a way to battle weariness and altitude sickness symptoms. Snacks with a lot of sugar, fat, and energy, such chocolate bars, energy bars, peanuts, and biscuits, are excellent. For each day you spend on the mountain, we advise you to pack at least two snacks.
You’ll get good food. Cooks and porters who carry utensils, pots, food, and equipment prepare all meals. You’ll hydrate well. Porters will collect water from streams, which will then be purified by filtering and boiling it before being offered as hot chocolate, coffee, or tea.
To stay hydrated enough to lessen the effects of altitude sickness, you must consume at least three liters of water each day. The porters will also supply you with enough cold water to drink during the day each morning.
You will be given eggs, sausages, porridge, and bread for breakfast. Jam, peanut butter, and margarine are extras. A boiled egg, a sandwich or bun, a piece of chicken, biscuits, fresh fruit, and a carton of juice are typically included in a packed lunch. A heated meal called supper typically includes soup, meat, vegetables, starches, and fruit. The mess tent comes equipped with a table, seats, and appropriate utensils. We don’t serve alcohol, but we do offer tea, coffee, and hot chocolate with every meal.
With early notice, we can accommodate vegetarians, people with dietary allergies, and Kosher and Halaal diets. During mealtimes, a designated waiter and his helper will attend to all of your needs.
On Kilimanjaro, there are no showers, and the streams’ water is pleasantly chilly. You will be given some warm water each morning and evening to wash your face and hands with. The restrooms are pretty minimal. Each campsite has one of these “long drop” toilets, which are located in wooden buildings. Mobile restrooms are a part of the price for private departures on camping routes. Wet wipes and toilet paper are necessary for personal hygiene.