There's an epic amount of planning and preparation needed when you book your journey to Kilimanjaro, from the best route to take (there are many to choose from) and even vaccinations and visa's - it can seem a little overwhelming.
This is just one of the reasons why we pride ourselves in not only thoroughly looking after you whilst you’re on your trek, but beforehand as well. Preparing for your trek is all part of the build-up of excitement, and yes, buying the gear & training your legs are important parts that we can’t physically help with, but we feel that having someone there to answer all and any of your questions is an invaluable part of our service. So without further ado, here are the ten most frequently asked "Kili questions".
Q1. Which route should I choose?
We have made this decision easy for you, its The Lemosho Route! which is the only route we use for our Kilimanjaro trek. When you take on any adventure, it's not all about where you are going but how you get there. The Lemosho Route takes eight days which helps ensure proper acclimatisation - the single most important part of a successful summit. During these eight days you’ll traverse the mountain, trek through many stunning landscapes and spend the nights camping which all add to the thrill of adventure. After a successful summit you’ll descend quickly via the Mweka route for a well earned beer, or two, or three.
Q2. Can I hire equipment when I arrive?
We do have a store room at our hotel in Moshi which has a limited supply of equipment, however we do recommend using your own equipment as much as possible. This is because you will be familiar with your kit before climbing the mountain which is beneficial. Items like boots, trousers and base layers are always best when you are the only person to have worn them. However you can opt to hire things like sleeping bags, down jackets, duffel bags and poles etc.
Q3. When is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?
We run our treks during the dry seasons which happen twice a year from January to March and then June to October. Trekking during the rainy season is not much fun and heavy rain clouds means the epic views will be few and far between. January to March can be colder at the higher altitudes and there is a good chance of snow. The peak season is during June to October as this coincides with summer holidays in many countries, so you will see more people on the mountain.
Q4. Do we carry our own bags while climbing Kilimanjaro?
You will only have to carry your day pack which we recommend be around 25 to 35 litres for your camp-to-camp essentials like snacks, water, rain clothes and your camera. We have a fantastic team of porters who will be carrying your duffel bags with all your heavy gear and everything else you need to thrive on the mountain, items such as; tents, toilets, kitchen equipment, food and medical supplies.
Q5. Do we use fully qualified mountain guides on Kilimanjaro?
Yes, we are proud to say that our guides are the best in the business. All of our guides are fully qualified mountain guides who have worked their way up to their senior positions gaining all the necessary qualifications and experience. Many of our guides have summited Kilimanjaro over 400 times and guided many happy clients to the roof of Africa. Our guides are also fully-trained high altitude medics, so they know how to look after you on the hill!
Q6. How fit do you have to be to climb Kilimanjaro?
You definitely need to train before you climb Kilimanjaro, if you don’t do the training you can still get there, but doing the training makes the climb so much more enjoyable. You don’t need to be a super athlete or an elite mountaineer, but you should get out on the hills with a pack on your back and put some strength and endurance in your back and legs, we call this being “mountain fit”. You should also do some cardiovascular exercises such as cycling, running or swimming. We recommend to gradually start your training as soon as you book your trip and taper off around two weeks before you head out so that you’re in tip-top shape on arrival.
Q7. What vaccinations and medication do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?
You are strongly advised to get the following vaccinations before heading to Kilimanjaro:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever if arriving to Tanzania via a high risk country
Recommended optional vaccinations for Kilimanjaro:
- Hepatitis B
You will also need to take Malaria medication, how long you take the medication depends on which type you are prescribed, but in all cases it will be for a period before you arrive in Tanzania, during your entire trip and then for a period when you get home.
Q8. Is altitude sickness a risk while climbing Kilimanjaro?
The summit of Kilimanjaro reaches 5895m so it is likely that everyone who starts the climb will at some point experience some degree of discomfort due to the altitude. In most cases this could mean a headache, loss of appetite, mild nausea and a general feeling of tiredness however these are all completely normal and to be expected when humans go to high altitude. The risk of getting altitude sickness is a lot less if you follow the mountain rules:
Stay hydrated. Drink three to five litres of water per day
Manage your pace. Walking slowly helps your body adjust to the altitude, slow at the bottom means fast at the top so our favourite saying is “Pole, Pole” (Slowly, Slowly)
Maintain a good diet. This can be difficult at altitude, but food is energy so try to keep eating the great meals we provide.
Listen to your guide. These guys know the mountain and know how to manage the altitude better than anyone, follow their advice.
Enjoy yourself. Remember, you are on the trip of a lifetime, keep positive and enjoy the experience.
Q9. Should I take Diamox while climbing Kilimanjaro?
Diamox can be a great help while trekking at high altitude, and more people choose to take it than don’t. Our advice is if you are going to take Diamox, do so with the advice of a medical professional who knows about its use at altitude, we use Nomad Travel Clinics and EverTrekkers can benefit from certain discounts if they visit a clinic and mention they are with EverTrek. Our guides also carry Diamox should you need it and not have your own supply.
Q10. What should I tip the porters and guides?
The guides and porters are the most critical part of our team when it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, we simply could not do it without them, tipping is culturally expected and highly appreciated at the end of your climb. We recommend each person tips between $250 - $350, this is usually done by pooling the tips and then dividing them up to the head guide, assistant guides and porters with the head guide receiving the most and so on down This is a general guideline and can be altered, other such gifts are also appreciated such as warm clothes or trekking equipment. As a general rule you can use the following to help you:
Head Guide - $10 to $15 per day
Assistant Guides - $8 to $10 per day
Chef - $7 to $10 per day
Porters - $5 to $8 per day
Remember, we’re here to help with any query that pops into your mind - you can contact us by email - [email protected], message us on social media, get in touch through our website or just give us a call.