- Mountain Cuisine (Food)
- Best Route
- Equipment’s for hire
- Toilet on Kilimanjaro
- Ecosystem on Kilimanjaro
- Full Moon and Weather
- Climbing Gear and Kit List
- Kilimanjaro Guides and Porters
- Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro Tipping Policy
- Accommodation on Kilimanjaro
- Tips for a Successful Climb
- Prepare for Kilimanjaro Climb
- Kilimanjaro FAQ
- Altitude Sickness
KILIMANJARO FOOD MENU
For each trek on Mount Kilimanjaro a dedicated cook will be part of the logistical team
- Fresh, organic ingredients are resupplied throughout the entire trek.
- Nutritionist-designed meals include an optimal balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
- Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and kosher diets can be accommodated with advance notice.
- Unlimited purified drinking water provided daily.
- Chefs are trained in hygienic food preparation and allergy safety.
- Custom dining tents and comfy chairs included on every trek.
- Eco-friendly solar lighting brightens your meals.
Below are typical foods from our standard menu that you can expect to eat during your climb (sample menu)
Breakfast: Eggs, sausages, bacon, French toast/pancakes, bread/toast, cereal/porridge, fruit. Margarine, jam, honey, peanut butter. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fruit juice.
Packed Lunch: Carrot and cucumber strips, avocado slices, boiled eggs, chicken, meat cutlets, sandwiches (egg, cheese, tomato, meat, tuna, or peanut butter), and fruit. Meat sauce and bread.
Dinner: Soup of the day, bread, salad, meat/chicken/fish, rice/pasta/potatoes, vegetables, lentils, fruit. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
Snacks: Peanuts, popcorn, crisps, cookies.
Bujo Tours recommends you bring some of your own trail snacks to eat, especially for your summit night.
- Lightweight and low-calorie is good, and energy or granola bars, chocolate, candy, cookies, crackers, nuts, and dried fruit are all popular choices.
- Be sure to choose things that you really like, because you’ll need extra incentive to keep eating if you find your appetite decreasing at high altitude.
- Adding drink crystals such as Gatorade, Crystal Light, or Tang to one of your water bottles may also encourage you to consume extra fluids, and they often taste especially delicious on a hard day of hiking!
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a great adventure in a life time. So one of the most important choices to make when planning to summit Africa’s highest mountain is obviously which is the best route to take? To get a sense of what route might work best for you, read through our Kilimanjaro Routes.
Around 80% of climbers choose the Marangu route (5 or 6 days), which is commonly referred to as the “Tourist” or “Coca cola” route because it is easy to climb compared to other routes. The rest usually goes for Machame route (6 or 7 days). The Six routes (Umbwe, Rongai, Shira, Northern Circuit, Kilema and Lemosho) are far less frequented. Please note that many of the routes meet on a mid-way point and there are only three routes to the summit.
To make your trek safer, please bring the following prescription medications, which your medically qualified guide is familiar with.
The information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist
MALARON: Generic name: ATOVAQUONE 250mg, PROGUANIL HYDROCHLORIDE 100mg. This medication contains 2 medicines: atovaquone and proguanil. It is used to prevent and treat malaria caused by mosquito bites in countries where malaria is common. Malaria parasites can enter the body through these mosquito bites, and then live in body tissues such as red blood cells or the liver. This medication is used to kill the malaria parasites living inside red blood cells and other tissues. In some cases, you may need to take a different medication (such as primaquine) to complete your treatment. Both medications may be needed for a complete cure and to prevent the return of infection (relapse). Atovaquone/proguanil belongs to a class of drugs known as antimalarials.
DIAMOX(Acetozolamide) -2 x 125 mg per day. This drug is prescribed for altitude acclimatization, and should be started 2 days before your climb, and stopped after you reach the highest elevation on the trek. We advise you to start 2 days prior to climbing in order to ascertain whether you have any adverse reaction to it.
DECADRON (Dexamethasone) – 4mg x 8 tablets. Your guide may ask you to take this medication if you develop a severe headache due to Acute Mountain Sickness, and must descend urgently. You do not take this drug during the ascent. This steroid reduces inflammation of the brain, which is the cause of headaches resulting from Acute Mountain Sickness. You will only be using this medication in conjunction with your descent due to severe headache. If a climber does not acclimatize naturally and continues to suffer the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness, then it is our policy for you to descend immediately.
ZOFRAN (Ondansetron) – x 12 dissolved tablets. Or bring Phenegan. In the event you develop severe nausea due to acute Mountain Sickness, this drug reduces nausea without any side effects. We may use this once on the ascent, to gain a few hours to allow you to acclimatize. If a climber does not acclimatize naturally and continues to suffer the effects of Acute Mountain Sickness, then they will always descend.
TINDAMAX (Tinidazole) – 1 complete course for protozoan diarrhea. Tinidazole is an anti-parasitic drug used against protozoan infections. It is widely known throughout Europe and the developing world as a treatment for a variety of amoebic and parasitic infections. A derivative of 2-methylimidazole, it is a prominent member of the nitroimidazole antibiotics.
CIPRO ANTIBIOTIC – 1 complete course for traveler’s diarrhea.
AMBIEN:Generic name: zolpidem tartrate 5mg .Zolpidem is used to treat sleep problems (insomnia) in adults. If you have trouble falling asleep, it helps you fall asleep faster, so you can get a better night’s rest. Zolpidem belongs to a class of drugs called sedative-hypnotics. It acts on your brain to produce a calming effect. (As a professional medical guide not advice to use this during your climb because may slow your breathing system)
IBUPROFEN- is a medication in the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) class that is used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation
Kilimanjaro Equipments for hire
Prices are for the entire trek in US dollars, payable in cash in Moshi. It is best to come well outfitted. Rates update on January 2018.
|EQUIPMENT||PRICE IN US$|
|Mont bell sleeping bag (-25-35Temp)||40|
|Hiking Poles (one pair)||15|
|Long under wear||10|
|Rain coat-G.T, Water proof||12|
|Warm Jacket G.T||15|
|Warm Jacket/Down Jacket||10|
|Hat or Neck Scarf||6|
- We provide tents and foam sleeping pads at no charge.
- Each oxygen cylinder-available for 15$ per day @group of 4pax
- Hyperbaric Pressure Bag (Gamow Bag) 150$ per group
- Toilet tent available for $100
Toilets on Kilimanjaro
Are you thinking about how you ‘do your businesses on Kilimanjaro? Look no further, here is all the information you need about toilets on Kilimanjaro.
The long drop
While climbing Kilimanjaro, there are always going to be public toilets at each camp site. These are known as ‘long drop’ toilets. They are wooden permanent buildings that look like. Well normal public restrooms.
Long drop public toilet facilities are provided and maintained by the Kilimanjaro National Park.
Private portable toilet
The second option is a private portable toilet. This is a simple chemical toilet or in some cases a bag attached to a toilet drum and seat that sits inside a private toilet tent
Private toilets are just for you and your group. A porter is tasked with carrying the toilet and toilet tent from camp to camp, and makes sure it is clean and sanitary! This are available for the $20 per day for the whole group.
Mount Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest mountain, but it is also home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Mount Kilimanjaro is made up of five distinct climate zones. They are as follows; Cultivation, Forest, Heather-Moorland, Alpine Desert and Summit climate zones. Below we will look at each zone and what makes them unique. You will pass through all of these zones on your ascent of the tallest mountain in Africa.
Cultivated zone it is approximately 2,600 ft to almost – 6,000 ft (800m – 1800m).
This region of the mountain receives the greatest annual rainfall. It also has many rivers formed by glacier run-off from the top of Kilimanjaro. This zone is made up of farmland and small Chagga villages. These villages are where many of the porters and guides you will see on the mountain come from. You will drive through these villages on the way to your climb.
The farmland in this region is mostly used for coffee production. Some of Africa’s best coffee comes from the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Bananas, avocado, mango and other fruits are also grown on the lower mountain. You will walk through fields of them if your trek exits through Mweka Gate.
Forest or Rainforest Zone
Forest or Rainforest zone it ranges in elevation from 6,000 ft to just over 9,000 ft. (1800m – 2800m).
This rainforest circles a majority of Mount Kilimanjaro. However, most of the rain on the mountain falls on the south and the east side. The forest is much thicker here than to the north on the Kenyan side of the mountain. The flora and fauna are diverse but the animals are very elusive. Monkeys (both Blue and Colobus) are prevalent on certain routes and while olive baboons, leopards, mongooses, elephants, bush babies, black rhinoceros, giraffes and buffaloes are known to visit the mountain’s slopes they are rarely seen. If you do see some good wildlife take lots of pictures, you’ll be one of the few people who have! The best places to see wildlife are just above the thinner jungle on the Rongai Route and on the edges of the Shira Plateau.
The rainforest jungle is simply amazing. The colors seem more vibrant than any forest you have ever seen. The trail is flanked by deep gorges of emerald blankets of every shade of green imaginable. Rising majestically out of the forest floor are twisted, ancient trees draped in coats of moss. When there is a break in the foliage, you get views of the clouds weaving their way through the tree tops. The temperatures in the forest are usually mild and if it’s going to rain on your climb, it will be here.
Heather and Moorland Zone
Heather zone and ends with the Moorland zone. The elevation starts around 9,000 ft and tops out around 13,000 ft. (2800m – 4000m)
The rainforest quickly gives way to the Heather zone. The temperatures here are erratic. The daytime temperature can soar above 100° F (40oC) yet drop below freezing (32° for 0° C) at night. These temperatures combined with less rain, gusting winds, giant heathers, wild grasses and a rocky trail replaces the rainforest very quickly. Some of the heather shrubs can grow to over 30 ft. high. As you climb tall grasses replace the heather as you enter into the Moorland zone. Large fields of wild flower cover sections of the mountain and you will often see clouds floating at your eye level. Expect amazing blue skies at the upper end of this zone. There will be little cloud cover to protect you from the sun’s UV rays. Brings lots of sunscreen.
Now that you are above the cloud line the views of the rainforest below and the top of Kilimanjaro 7,000 ft above are simply breathtaking. Once the sun sets, the stars are overflowing in the night skies and create a truly peaceful environment.
Highland Desert Zone
Highland Desert zone it’s elevation begins around 13,000 ft. and continues up to 16,000 ft. (4000m – 5000m).
This region of the mountain is a strange place, truly deserving the title of Desert. The annual rainfall is less than 8 inches a year and what plant life exists at this altitude has to put up with the oppressive sun and sub-zero temperatures—all in the same day. This area also shows off its violent past with fields of volcanic rock of all shapes and sizes. You are now close enough to the cone of Kibo to see the vast glaciers that cling precariously to its steep ledges. It has deep gorges on the slopes and breaches in the crater rim where molten lava blasted through during prehistoric eruptions. The landscape is barren and stranger than anything you may have seen before.
Make sure to bundle up at night. at this altitude, the mercury dips well below freezing and you may wake up to frost on the ground in the morning.
Arctic zone the elevation begins around 16,000 ft. and continues to the top of Uhuru Peak at 19,340 ft. (5000m – 5895m)
The lower section of this zone is made up of loose dirt and gravel known as scree. Scree is quite difficult to climb. That is part of the reason the summit attempt begins at night when the evening dew has settled and frozen. This allows the scree to knit together making it a more stable path. As you climb, ice will begin to appear in patches and soon in large fields as you approach the lower reaches of the summit glaciers. The traditional summit route takes you up to the rim of the volcano at Stella Point then heads west for one last push.
You will follow the crater rim as it rises beside a massive glacier to Uhuru peak, you finally approach the sign that signifies the feat you just accomplished. You have made it to the Roof of Africa. To the east, the peak of Mawenzi is just visible behind the crater rim and to the north, Kenya spreads out on the horizon.
The Crater is a fascinating place and if you still have some energy in reserve, it’s well worth making the short trip. Inside the inner crater is the Ash Pit and at 1,1oo ft. (360m) across by 393 ft. (120m) deep, it’s one of the largest in the world.
Kilimanjaro Full Moon and Weather
It is getting big in demand to plan your climb of Kilimanjaro so that you climb to summit around the time of the full moon.
Under a full moon on a clear night you could get away without using a head-touch since it illuminates your path. It is very beautiful but certain not necessary for summiting the mountain. To summit on a full moon you will want to start a 6 day trek 4 days before the full moon or 3 days before doing a 5 day trek.
At the summit Uhuru peak, the night time temperatures range to different degrees. Due to the great height of Mountain Kilimanjaro, the mountain creates its own weather, hence it is extremely variables and hard to predict.
Climbing Gear and Kit List
Proper equipment is real extremely important to the success, comfort and safety of your trip.
Recommended clothing has four features; Manages moisture – Wicks perspiration from your skin, use for the base layers. Should be a durable – comfortable, insulating, breathable, soft fabrics are polarity wind, Gore-Tex wind stopper. Windproof – waterproof and breathable like Gore-Tex or similar (outer layers) Insulating material – should be down fill or synthetic-fill and fit cover all layers like, down, prim aloft and polar guard.
3-4 season sleeping bag and silk liner(optional), on the mountain temperature can get down to zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18° C) at night, so bring a warm bag. Sleeping pad, a closed cell form camping mattress is OK; an inflatable Thermo-Rest is more comfortable.
For the head and face:
- Pile or a wool hat-Bring one that covers ears, a balaclava
- Shade hat or cap and scarf to cover your neck
- Dark sunglasses with strong UV protection (glacier glasses)
- Sunscreen-30 SPF
- Lip salve
- Head torch(flashlight) with spare batteries
For the upper body:
- T-shirts-Synthetics are the best approx 4.
- Upper body layers-long sleeved thermal tops, a fleece/warm jumper (thick winter fleece) and a pile jacket.
- Rain gear-Bring a good of Gore-tax or waterproof clothes.
- Wind stopper (optional you can use rain gear)
- Gloves for summit night (e.g. ski gloves with silk liner or down Mittens are ideal)
- 25-35 liters day sack/rucksack with good waist strap to carry water, camera, snacks etc.
For the legs:
- Quick dry hiking short.
- Long underwear bottoms
- Warm trousers/for the evening and summit day
- Rain paints and wind paint as well.
- Undergarment (enough for duration of the trek)
For the feet:
- Thin socks-Three pair of synthetic socks.
- Thick socks-3/4 pairs of specialist trekking socks, one warm pair for summit day.
- Hiking boot (one pair medium weight)
- Gaiters-To keep dirt, scree and snow out of your boots.
- Tennis shoes (to wear in the camp after a day of hiking)
- Water bottles(minimum 2 liters) Camel back packs(with dust cup) Nalgene bottles, aluminum Sigg, Ideally one bottle should be able to contain hot liquids(optional)
- Water treatment-Bring a water treatment. We will filtrate the water before you use.
- Water flavoring (optional)
- Trekking poles
- Camera/film or memory card, extra batteries
- Casual clothes for traveling, spare day and celebration dinner.
- Isotonic drink powder or tablets (optional)
- Energy bars/chocolate/nuts or energy tablets
- Plastic bags (to protect clothes from rain, for dirty washing, etc)
- Sunglasses (spare)
- Swiss army knife (optional)
- Credit card (in case of emergencies) – let your credit card company know you are traveling to Tanzania
- Money belt to be worn inside trousers or skirt
- If you wear contact lenses it is advisable to also bring your glasses
- Playing cards, reading material etc.
Health and Hygiene
- High-factor sun cream (30SPF) and lip salve (mountain sun can be very strong)
- Wet wipes
- Antibacterial hand gel
- Biodegradable nappy sacks (optional, but useful to store rubbish)
- Personal toiletries (please only bring biodegradable products)
- Earplugs (in case of snorers!)
- Toilet paper (will be provided)
- Lightweight trekking towel
- Vaseline/talcum powder
Small Medical Kit
Although you will have a team Medically Trained Guide in your trip, it is advisable bring along a small personal medical kit.
- Dimox (Accetomalozide) for altitude adjustment
Dexemethasone (Emergence medicine)
- Antiseptic cream
- Plasters (band-aids)
- Lint wound dressing
- Knee support
- Crepe bandage
- Safety pins
- Pain killers (Paracetamol and ibuprofen)
- Insect repellent
- Deep heat ointment
- Diareze/Imodium, Cipro and Pepto-Bismol
- Oral rehydration salts
- Compeed blister plasters (Moleskin)
- Malaria tablets /Malaron
Note: Malaron, Dimox and Dexamethasone are prescription medicine we highly recommending you to discuss with your Doctor. We are not carrying this medicine in our First Aid Kit. Hiring any additional clothing upon booking we will provide equipment hiring price list, upon arrival in Moshi we will check over any clothing/equipment you have. COTTON clothing must be avoided, because its dries very slowly, choose wool or synthetic fabrics that wicks the sweat and moisture from your skin.
Mountain medication (A few drugs that help AMS)
Note: Malaron and Dimox are prescription medicine we highly recommending you to discuss with your Doctor. We are not carrying this medicine in our First Aid Kit
|Drug Type||Drug||Side Effects|
|Mild diuretic||Diamox (acetazolamide)||Dehydration, tingling in fingers & toes, change in taste, loss of Appetite, drowsiness. Diamox is a sulphur drug only available on prescription. Consult your physician before use.|
|Anti-diarrhea||Imodium Cipro Bactrim Pepto-Bismol(Pb)||None None None None|
|Pain killers||Aspirin Tylenol Paracetamol Ibuprofen||Stomach upsets None None None|
|Nausea drugs||Phenegan Zophran||Fatigue, Sleep None|
|Sun block||High factor (SPF 30+) sun block||None|
|Malaria pills||Malaron Lariam/Dox||Diarrhea Sensitive with sun|
Note: Malaron and Dimox are prescription medicine we highly recommending you to discuss with your Doctor. We are not carrying this medicine in our First Aid Kit
Mt Kilimanjaro Guides and Porters
Mt Kilimanjaro Guides and Porters
The importance of having competent, high quality guides and porters cannot be overstated when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Bujo Tours uses local guides, all of whom have received extensive training in first aid, mountain rescue, flora, fauna, and geology. All are registered with Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA). Our Kilimanjaro guides are very experienced, with most having climbed more than 100 times! They are professionals who intimately know the mountain.
You can expect the following from our Kilimanjaro guides and porters
- High Safety Standards– Your guide can identify and avoid potential hazards such as slippery trails and loose rocks. Your guide can prevent, recognize and treat altitude-related illnesses.
- Climb KnowledgeKilimanjaro trails are clearly marked, so following a trail should not pose a problem. But there are more intricate things that your guide will take into consideration when deciding when, where, and how to move the party. These things include weather conditions, trail density, rest stops, pace, etc.
- Mountain FactsYour guide is knowledgeable about general mountain facts. He can tell you about the vegetation zones, the altitudes of and distances to campsites, and information about the geology, flora and fauna. These types of facts increase the enjoyment during the trek by giving you an idea of what you are seeing and feeling.
- Our Kilimanjaro guides love working with us because we book small, private parties on the best routes.
- Our porters take care of you. So we take care of them.
Bujo Tours employ, empower, and reward local guides and porters Bujo Tours exists to uplift the people that will take you to the top. Tanzania is among the poorest nations in the world with a per capital annual income of only 700 USD. Guides and porters are some of the least paid workers in our society. Many other trekking operators take advantage of this and pay their guides and porters very minimal wages. We however exist to empower each other. Trust that we pay at least twice the average local salary from the fees you pay us without charging you more. Let us take you to the top and at the same time feel great about providing for those in need
Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro
When choosing the most suitable time for climbing Kilimanjaro you should consider several factors;
- The temperature
- The views
- The density of climbers streaming on the trek
- Difficulty level and safety
The main factor that affects all the rest on the Mount is weather. Mount Kilimanjaro lies in equatorial climatic zone, as opposed to habitual summer, winter, spring and autumn, has wet and dry seasons only. Wet seasons are in April-May and November. Similarly to other tropical countries predicting when the rain starts and stops is nearly impossible. All other months are the dry season, when most of the days are sunny, but still it does not mean a 100% guarantee of clear skies.
There are two main climbing seasons: July -September and January-February. Many travelers have their summer or Christmas holidays at the time, weather conditions for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are perfect. Rain seasons scare off the majority of climbers. In April, May and November the probability of trekking under the drizzle is very high. Rain softens the soil and makes the rocks slippery, turning your climb into a slower and more risky adventure. However, landscape photographers are particularly addictive to the rainy season. More precipitation means more snow on the peak, which makes it possible to shoot the snow-capped summit of Kilimanjaro. Moreover, it is the only time when you can avoid the rush hours on the routes, and enjoy some privacy walking virgin-snow-covered treks.
What is the Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?
April – May . The big rainy season starts at the end of March and continues until the middle of May. April marks the beginning of the coldest time of the year in Tanzania. These months are so dank and drizzle that some operators simply do not offer climbs in April and May at all.
June – July. The frequency of rain gradually decreases. The weather on Kilimanjaro is fairly dry and clear but the nights are still bitter cold. June is usually quiet, sunny, and, in our opinion, much underrated in terms of climbing. It is an excellent idea to choose June for your adventure because of great weather and almost climbers-free routes. The number of climbers will be increasing as the year progresses. Starting from July the majority of the routes will be quite busy.
August – October The peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro is on August to September. The weather is particularly good for climbing.The days are clear and somewhat warmer than in June and July. At the same time it may be cloudy in the forest/moorland zone, as well as it may be rainy on the southern routes (Machame and Umbwe). However, once you leave the rain forest behind it will be sunny. October is another unfairly ignored season, nice weather conditions last into mid-October and the number of climbers drops dramatically, giving you a good chance to enjoy Kilimanjaro treks almost alone. At the end of October, the weather becomes more changeable. As long as you are equipped to withstand the occasional shower, this should not present any major challenges.
November November is the small rainy season. The rainy weather may last into mid-December. The temperatures have dropped and the moisture mist covers the Mount, making your climb more tricky and risky, yet more challenging and exciting. November might not be the best pick in terms of weather, but gives a great opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views of misty-covered Mount with its snow-capped peak, and to make some terrific pictures.
December to January Christmas and New Year are the second peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro. The climber’s traffic is extremely high, although there is a high chance of raining and thick clouding in the lower altitudes of Kilimanjaro.
January to March Mid-January to mid-March are very popular among climbers. The weather is perfectly balanced, it is neither too cold, nor too wet. The days are generally dry, though occasional rains may happen. The possibility of rain increases in the second half of March because the big wet season advances.
The temperature on the Mount Kilimanjaro correlates with the four distinct climatic zones;
The rainforest zone (800m-3,000m) is warm and humid. Densely covered with green vegetation this zone temperatures average 12-15 °C (20-25 °C during daytime) at 2,900 m. This is where you are going to spend the first one or two days of your climb, depending on the route. The low alpine zone (3,000m-4,200m) is a semi-arid area. The higher you climb the scarcer the vegetation becomes. Depending on the route, here you will spend one or two days with average temperatures range 5-10 °C (15-20 °C during the daytime) at 3,600 m. The high alpine zone (4,200m-5,000) is desert-like. You will spend your fourth and fifth day on the Mount here, as well as the final arrangements for summiting will be at those altitudes. Here the temperatures average is around the freezing point at 5,000m, but during the daytime, when the sun is shining, it is still quite warm and comfortable. The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro lies in the glacial zone (above 5,000m) and its temperatures average around -6 °C. However, keep in mind that all summiting attempts usually start at midnight in order to reach the Uhuru peak by dawn. You will be trekking at night when the temperature can drop to – 20°C. When the harsh gusts of wind are torturing you, you will be likely to feel as if the temperature is below -40 °C. However, it’s totally worth, because on the top you will see one of the best pictures you have ever witnessed in the light of the uprising sun.
There are a few more things worth mentioning about the weather on Kilimanjaro. You may decide to climb at a less than perfect time, because you want to avoid the main rush or because that is the only suitable timing for you holidays. If you do so, consider Northern Circuit Route or the Rongai Route. The northern side of the mountain is much drier than the other Kilimanjaro routes. Moreover, if you want the best weather on Kilimanjaro but hate crowds, the same applies. Choose your route wisely. There is less traffic on Rongai, Lemosho and Northern Travers Route than on the popular and always busy Machame and Marangu routes. We at Bujo Tours believe that you can enjoy the Mount Kilimanjaro all year round and will do our best to make your Kilimanjaro climb the journey of a lifetime!
Kilimanjaro Tipping Policy
Tipping on Kilimanjaro is not a local custom in Tanzania, it is common only among Kilimanjaro tourists and expatriates who live in the country. Giving monetary gifts to friends or relatives is common, however both in the city and in the countryside. As tourism is growing in the country locals who work in the tourism industry are getting used to the notion of tipping and sometimes even expect a tip from clients. On the Kilimanjaro we highly suggest tip at your own free wheel but think about good tip regarding good services you’ve got. We recommend tipping from $20 head guide per day, $15 per assistant guide per day, $15 per cook and $10 per porter and all this is based on a daily unit. This can be shared between each Client in the climb)
Please be on your option on this unit. I mean think your budget and what tip you can offer.
This may vary depending on the length and complexity of the trip, the number of days, the number of staff on the trip and the number of clients on the trip. Generally groups like to meet together before the end of the trek to discuss how much they would like to tip each staff member based on their individual trek experience
Accommodation on the Mountain
Bujo Tours has the most comfortable Kilimanjaro camps, custom-designed to go above and beyond what other outfitters provide. And the quality of your camp is very important, keeping your body healthy and rested is absolutely essential to summit success.
- Tents come with full-tent closed-cell foam ground pads, which keep you warmer, drier, and more comfortable.
- Tailored fly sheets and attached vestibules provide space for your gear.
- Tents are large enough for three adults, but we never sleep more than two in a tent.
- Sleeping pad (non-inflatable 2-inch pad with nylon cover)
- Tents for the 3-persons but only 2 peoples sleep in (Mountain Hardware or similar)
We take our equipment very seriously and make sure everything is in good working order. Equipment is selected to provide a comfortable experience on the trek.
Mountain Hut Accommodations
Marangu route is the only route which offers sleeping huts in dormitory style accommodations. Guests are supplied with mattresses and pillows, but sleeping bags are still required. The huts have communal dining halls and basic washrooms, ranging from flushing toilets and running water at the lower huts to long drop toilets and buckets of water at Kibo Hut.
The Marangu Route is the oldest on Kilimanjaro and is also one of the most popular – mainly because it is the only route on the mountain that has huts provided for hikers. There are 60 bunk beds each at Mandara and Kibo Huts, and 120 bunk beds at Horombo Hut.
Tips for a successful Kilimanjaro climb
The first point is very important for avoiding altitude sickness and your guides will likely keep reminding you;
Keep drinking! It’s VERY easy to dehydrate at altitude without noticing. The air is very dry so you breathe off more moisture. Also, your body adjusts to the high altitude by eliminating more water. Keep replacing it.
Also make sure you eat plenty! Most people lose their appetite at altitude, but the cold weather and the long days mean your body burns through a lot of calories. Keep replacing them. You will need them. High carbohydrate foods are better than fatty foods. (Bujo Tours and Safari we consider this in our shopping and meal planning.)
And keep warm! The correct gear is a must, not just because shivering isn’t nice and hypothermia dangerous, but also because staying nice and toasty will lessen your risk of succumbing to altitude sickness.
Keep your day pack light. Only take what you really need. Every extra kilo needs extra oxygen to carry.
And last but not least, avoid alcohol, tobacco, and most definitely do not touch sleeping tablets! Or you may not wake up again…
And that’s about it. Even if you are not in a position to afford extra preparation for the altitude (e.g. a Mt. Meru climb), if you are healthy, pick a good route and operator, arrive a couple of days early and take on board all of the above tips, you have a very good chance of making it to the summit.
Prepare for Kilimanjaro Climb
Most people prepare for Kilimanjaro climb with fitness training. While getting reasonably fit makes sense, the gym work outs or sprinting up flights of stair etc. will not prepare your body for the demands of a Kilimanjaro climb.
You need to get your body used to walking for several hours in uneven country, for several days. But any fitness training beyond that will not increase your chances to reach the summit.
It’s the altitude that will get you, not your lack of fitness. So expose your body to some altitude before you tackle Kilimanjaro.
If you are living somewhere near mountains, climb them! If there is a chance to overnight at higher altitude, do it. (Note that for this to make a difference it needs to happen right before your Kilimanjaro climb.)
Some people do acclimatization treks on Mt. Meru before they climb Kilimanjaro. We have been doing and can recommend it, but only for people with some previous trekking experience. Otherwise it may backfire…
There are other options: some operators offer cultural tours in the Kilimanjaro foothills, there are walking safaris in the crater highlands…
The Ngorongoro crater rim is over 2200 metres high and even the crater floor is at 1700 metres. If you think of doing a safari while in Tanzania, why not plan it so you can spend a night or two on the crater rim before transferring to Kilimanjaro?
Look at where you will be spending the night(s) before your climb. Some agencies will put you up in Moshi, some in Marangu.
No matter where you will be staying, definitely fly in a couple of days early!
Give your body time to adjust to the different climate, the food, to recover from the strains of a long haul flight and to get over the jet lag if you came from a different time zone.
Arriving early can improve your CHANCES of reaching the summit by five percent or more.
- How much time do I need to climb Kilimanjaro? We recommend a minimum of 8-10 days from the USA, although some people may want more time for the trip. We can customize itineraries or routes to offer more days in the park. Some people may wish to climb nearby Mount Meru as well. If you have more than 10 days, you can choose any of the main routes on the mountain and still have time for a wildlife safari before or after your trip.
- What is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro? You can climb any month of the year. At lower elevations, April, May and November are quite wet while March and June are transition months. August and September are the coldest and driest months. January, February, July, August and September are all popular climbing months.
- What route should I climb? Around 80% of climbers choose the Marangu route (5 or 6 days), which is commonly referred to as the “Tourist” or “Coca cola” route because it is easy to climb compared to other routes. The rest usually goes for Machame route (6 or 7 days). The four routes (Umbwe, Rongai, Shira and Lemosho) are far less frequented. Please note that many of the routes meet on a mid-way point and there are only three routes to the summit.
- How fit do I have to be? Many texts state that Kilimanjaro is easily accessible. However, you should not underestimate this mountain. There are no technical mountaineering skills required, but general fitness is necessary. However, the biggest problem for climbers is the effects of high altitude, which seem to be unrelated to fitness, age or gender. It is a good idea to start some physical training prior to the trek, which might include aerobic cross training and hiking to familiarize your body with the rigors or the trek. The fitter you are, the easier the climb will be for you. Determination and will power are other important factors.
- How far do I hike each day? It is more reasonable to measure each day in hours walked rather than miles. Most days, other than the summit day, will begin with breakfast around 6:30 AM and departure at 7 A.M. You will walk 4-5 hours with a break for lunch followed by another hour or two of hiking in the afternoon. These days are not long or difficult and you will be advised to walk slowly (“pole pole” in Swahili) by your guide.
- Why do we make the final ascent in the pre-dawn darkness? Most groups will start for the summit on ascent day at 11 PM to 12:30AM, depending on the perceived fitness of the group, the weather and the route. The pre-dawn hours, while cold, are also the calmest and clearest. The best views from the summit are at dawn. Often clouds and high winds develop not long after sunrise making the summit much less attractive and the descent more difficult. Guides who have been to the summit scores of times report that it is very rare to find it cloudy at the summit at dawn in any season. The ascent day is a very long day of hiking. Some people may require 15 hours to reach the summit and descend to the campsite for that day.
- What if I am slower than the other trekkers? 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.
- What if I cannot make it to the top? Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit, but not at the expense of their overall experience. Even for those who never reached the top, the experience of the wonders of Kilimanjaro is rewarding. If one or more members of a group decide they cannot continue or if a guide deems it is unsafe for an individual (or group) to continue, they will be escorted to the most convenient campsite or hut. Our guides intimately know the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and they are trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstance.
- How many weights will I have to carry, and where can I leave things not needed on the climb? You will simply carry a day pack of about 5-6 pounds, though some people carry more or less. Your gear, not to exceed 33 pounds, will be placed inside a waterproof duffle at the trail head, and a porter will carry this for you. If you have things you do not need on the climb, you may leave a bag behind at Moshi in our office.
- 10. What kind of staff will accompany me on the climb? The usual ratio is three local staff for each climber, although small groups may have four staff per climber. These usually consist of an English speaking guide or guides, a professional cook and gear-carrying porters. We encourage you to interact with your staff, though some will have limited English. They are all trustworthy local people who have grown up in the shadow of the mountain. Many of them have climbed the peak 50 or more times.
- What is provided, and what do I have to bring? We provide tents, food, utensils and leadership. You should bring your own sleeping bag rated to 10 degrees F., water system, personal clothing, sleeping pad, light duffle bag and day pack. Hiking poles can be rented for $10. A packing list is provided to all climbers, along with our pre-departure packet.
- How much equipment will I carry? You are expected to carry your own day pack, which should be able to sustain you until you reach a camp at the end of the day. You do not need to carry your person backpack/duffel pack it will be carried by a porter. The weight per porter is limited to 20kgs. Your duffel bag will be brought from campsite to campsite-before you arrive it will already be there. What do you need during the day in your pack will depend on your priorities, but will generally include drinking water, basic medical kit, camera, water proof layers, a pair of gloves and hat, a warm layer, and snacks.
- What is the accommodation like at the trek? 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.
If you are planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you will sooner or later hear about altitude sickness. For those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of altitude illness, here are answers to the most common questions regarding mountain sickness.
The definition of altitude
- High Altitude: 1500 – 3500 m (5000 – 11500 ft)
- Very High Altitude: 3500 – 5500 m (11500 – 18000 ft)
- Extreme Altitude: above 5500 m (18000 ft)
What is altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness is a range of symptoms that can occur when someone ascends to a high altitude too rapidly, without sufficient acclimatization. The body can adjust to reduced air pressure at higher altitude, but only at a rate of about 300 m (1000 ft) altitude gain per day. If you ascend faster, and everybody climbing Kilimanjaro will, then you may develop altitude sickness.
There are three main forms of altitude sickness:
- AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)is very common when climbing Kilimanjaro.
- HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)is a fluid buildup in the lungs.
- HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)is fluid buildup in the brain.
Both HAPE and HACE are potentially fatal but are thankfully rare during a well-planned Kilimanjaro climb. What exactly causes the individual symptoms of altitude sickness is still not fully understood.
There is also a range of other symptoms you are likely to experience during a Kilimanjaro climb due to the altitude. They are considered normal and shouldn’t worry you:
- You breathe faster,
- You are out of breath sooner,
- You may experience periodic erratic breathing at night (where you stop breathing for up to 15 seconds, and then breathe very fast to make up for it, scary but harmless),
- You may wake up frequently at night,
- You need to urinate a lot more often.
None of those symptoms are altitude sickness.
What are the symptoms of altitude sickness?
The symptoms of AMS are headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sleeplessness, fatigue, dizziness. Everybody can expect to experience at least some of these symptoms in a mild form. The most obvious symptoms for HAPE are extreme breathlessness, even at rest; rattling breath, coughing with pink froth and blue lips or finger nails. HACE becomes apparent as a lack of coordination, inability to walk in a straight line, confusion and irrational behaviors (to the point of not acknowledging the symptoms).
How dangerous is altitude sickness?
The symptoms of acute mountain sickness as described above are self-limiting and not dangerous. In fact, your guides may tell you during the briefing not to worry, that it is totally normal to be vomiting repeatedly during that last final push top the summit. However, if you do experience symptoms, your guides should also keep monitoring you, because AMS can progress to one of the more severe forms of altitude sickness.HAPE and HACE are potentially fatal! Make sure that you always remain in contact with your guides and let them know exactly how you are feeling. Also keep an eye on your climbing partners, since people suffering from these severe conditions may not be able to correctly assess their own condition. Anybody experiencing symptoms that could indicate HAPE or HACE needs to DESCEND IMMEDIATELY or they will die. But please don’t panic now. As I said above, these conditions are rare, provided you act sensibly when on the mountain.
Who gets altitude sickness?
Anybody can get altitude sickness. There is no way to predict how your body will react if exposed to high altitude without proper acclimatization. Susceptibility to altitude sickness is random. Fitness is no protection. People who are extremely fit and exercise a lot get it just as easily as couch potatoes. There are many stories that indicate they may be even more susceptible! Men appear to be more susceptible than women, especially young, fit men. (Competitiveness and the desire to show off plays a part in this. Men will often ascend faster. Too fast.) Older people seem to be less susceptible. (Older people will ascend more slowly, and nothing protects you better from altitude sickness than ascending slowly.)
When do you get altitude sickness?
Highly susceptible people can experience symptoms from 2500 m (7000 ft) onwards, in rare cases even below that. The chance of developing AMS increases with the height but the rate of altitude gain is even more important. Mt. Kilimanjaro is 5895 m (19340 ft) high, so pretty much everybody on a Kilimanjaro climb will experience some symptoms of altitude sickness during that last push to the summit. There are other factors that increase the likelihood of altitude sickness apart from the absolute height itself:
- Rate at which a height is achieved (the faster you ascend the bigger the risk of developing symptoms, this factor is more important than the absolute height itself!)
- Time spent at height (symptoms start appearing within 6-10 hours though they can be delayed)
- Physical exertion
Symptoms of acute mountain sickness typically take one or two days to disappear. If you keep ascending, they may not go away. For most people the symptoms come and go during the day, disappear overnight, only to come back the next day as the climb continues. AMS can be very unpleasant, but with the right preparation and at a sensible pace, most people can climb to at least the last camp below the crater rim (around 4700m). It’s that last push to the summit where AMS becomes the make it or break it issue.
Climb Kilimanjaro with knowledge that every detail of your trip has been designed by a professional mountain guide and high altitude experts. Your safety is our paramount concern on your Kilimanjaro trek. You leave home with the comfort of knowing that during your trek all you have to worry about is putting one foot in front of the other.