Climb Preparation

When is the Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?

The weather on Kilimanjaro can be separated into two seasons. The wet season (rainy) and the dry season (not rainy). Because Kilimanjaro is located very near to the equator having four seasons is not possible. Generally, the further away from the equator, the cooler the winter and summer temperatures. At the equator, there are no seasons because each day the sun strikes at about the same angle. Everyday of the year the equator receives about 12 hours of sunlight.

The best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro is during either of the dry seasons. January and February and July through October are the best months generally speaking.  However, if you don’t mind a little rain and clouds you can book your trip for June, December and possibly March. We do not recommend climbing in April, May or November due to wet conditions unless you are an experienced backpacker who has endured such conditions before.

Temperature & Precipitation in Moshi

kilimanjaro temperatures

You can see the best times to book your trip on the chart below.

 MonthTemperaturePrecipitationCloudinessCrowds
bestJanuaryWarmMediumLowHigh
bestFebruaryWarmMediumLowHigh
okMarchModerateHighMediumLow
noAprilModerateHighHighLow
noMayModerateHighHighLow
yesJuneColdMediumMediumMedium
bestJulyColdMediumLowHigh
bestAugustColdLowLowHigh
bestSeptemberModerateLowLowHigh
bestOctoberModerateLowMediumMedium
noNovemberModerateHighMediumLow
yesDecemberModerateMediumMediumMedium

bestBestyesGoodokOKnoNot Recommended

There are also several climbs throughout the year that have a summits that coincide with a full moon. Climbing during the full moon gives you a great opportunity to see the landscape at night and adds an element of awe to an already exciting ascent. You can view the group climbs that have a full moon on our Dates and Prices Page. Look for the climbs marked with the full moon symbol.full-moon2

What Gear Do I Need To Bring?

gear for kilimanjaro

We will provide you with a tent, sleeping pad, food, water and tableware. You will be required to bring all other necessary gear and equipment for your climb, listed below. Note that some items may be rented from us on location.

During your Kilimanjaro climb, you will encounter a wide range of temperatures. The best way to prepare is to bring many layers of clothing. Using a layering system allows you to adjust incrementally as the temperature fluctuates, as opposed using a few thick items of clothing which have less versatility. Special attention should be made to the fabric of base and middle layers; these garments should be constructed of moisture-wicking material that effectively pulls sweat away from the body to keep you dry. Cotton is a very poor fabric for trekking and should not be worn.

Porter loads are limited by our standards of porter treatment as well as by Kilimanjaro National Park authorities. Each client should bring a maximum of 15kg (33lbs) of luggage for porters to carry onto Kilimanjaro, so please choose your gear sparingly.

You will need to bring two bags – a small daypack and a large duffel bag. You will carry the daypack during your hike, so it will contain all the things you may need while walking between campsites such as water, snacks, rain gear, camera and extra layers of clothing. The duffel bag will be carried by the porters. This bag should be larger, from 75L to 90L. You will not have access to this bag during the day. It will be waiting for you inside your tent when you arrive at your campsite. This bag will contain all your other clothing and toiletries. The duffel bag does not need to be waterproof as the porters will put it inside another larger waterproof bag. Any items that are not needed for the climb at all can be safely stored in the hotel.

Clothing

  • 1 Insulated Jacket*
  • 1 Fleece Jacket
  • 1 Rain Jacket
  • 1 Short Sleeve Shirt, moisture-wicking fabric
  • 2 Long Sleeve Shirts, moisture-wicking fabric
  • 1 Hiking Shorts^
  • 2 Hiking Pants
  • 1 Fleece Pants
  • 1 Rain Pants, side zip recommended
  • 3 Underwear, moisture-wicking fabric
  • 1 Long Underwear, moisture-wicking fabric
  • 2 Sports Bra (women)

Headwear

  • 1 Wide Brimmed Hat or Cap
  • 1 Warm Hat or Beanie
  • 1 Balaclava or Buff
  • 1 Bandana^

Handwear

  • 1 Gloves, thin^
  • 1 Gloves, warm, waterproof

Footwear

  • 1 Hiking Boots, waterproof
  • 1 Shoelaces, extra
  • 4 Hiking Socks
  • 3 Sock Liners, prevents blisters^
  • 1 Gym Shoes, to wear at camp^
  • 1 Gaiters, waterproof^

Equipment

  • 1 Sleeping Bag, 0°F or warmer*
  • 1 Sleeping Bag Liner^
  • 1 Duffel Bag, 90L, for porters to carry
  • 1 Day pack, 30-35L, for you to carry
  • 1 Backpack Cover, waterproof^
  • 1 Trekking Poles, collapsable^*
  • 1 Head lamp, with extra batteries
  • Camera, with spare batteries^

Accessories

  • 1 Sunglasses, full coverage
  • 2 Water Bottle,  1 liter
  • 1 Water Bladder, 2 liters
  • 1 Camp Towel, quick drying^
  • 1 Pee Bottle, to avoid leaving tent at night^
  • 1 She-Wee (women)^
  • Dry Bags or Plastic Bags, to keep gear dry and separate

Other

  • 1 Sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher
  • 1 Lip Balm, SPF 30 of higher
  • 1 Insect Repellent, containing DEET
  • 1 First Aid Kit, basic
  • 1 Blister Kit^
  • 1 Ear Plugs^
  • 1 Toilet Paper, full roll
  • 1 Hand Sanitizer
  • 1 Wet Wipes^
  • Toiletries
  • Medications- Diamox^, Ciprofloxacin, Ibuprofen, anti-malaria
  • Snacks, 1 per day^
  • Energy Drink Mix, powder or tablets, 2 servings per day^

Paperwork

  • Passport, valid for 6+ months after travel
  • Visa, available at JRO
  • Medical Insurance
  • Travel Insurance
  • Trip Receipt
  • Cash for tips, visa and incidentals, $700+

*Items available for rent, reservations required
^Optional items

How Do I Train to Climb Kilimanjaro?

elliptical training

How you train is a significant factor in how you will fare on your Kilimanjaro climb. Most of our clients have never hiked for so many consecutive days at such high elevations. Therefore we urge you to be in the best shape of your life. Obviously it is not easy to climb the tallest mountain in Africa. Although the trekking is at a slow pace and most hiking days end in the mid-afternoon, the combination of physical activity, poor sleep, diminished appetite, dehydration, weather and altitude are working against you. Your endurance will be tested as you make the push to the summit.

We recommend 8-12 weeks of training to attain a solid fitness level. You may require more or less depending on your current fitness and your hiking acumen. Below we have created a sample training program.  Note that hiking should be the foundation of your training and is far more important than other types of activity such as running or weight lifting.

Set a routine for training. Focus on discipline. Make a training schedule and stick to it.

  • Day 1: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 2: Light leg workout with weights, or cycling, or jogging
  • Day 3: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Open day to do any exercise you like
  • Day 6: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 7: Rest

Notes: For your hikes and StairMaster sessions, you can begin with carrying a little weight in your daypack.

Build your foundation of endurance and strength. Keep workouts challenging and fun.

  • Day 1: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 2: Moderate leg workout with weights
  • Day 3: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Open day to do any exercise you like
  • Day 6: Hike at least three hours with a weighted pack
  • Day 7: Rest

Notes: Increase the weight of your pack to about 20 lbs. Weekly, do one long hike that takes a full day of 6-8 hours of hiking. Also, plan at least one overnight backpack trip where you can test out your sleeping gear.

Your hardest workouts should be at the four-week point. Increase the weight of your pack to 25-30 lbs. Do everything at a faster pace. Really challenge yourself this month to gain mental toughness.

  • Day 1: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 2: Hard leg workout with weights
  • Day 3: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 4: Light leg workout with weights, or cycling, or jogging
  • Day 5: Open day to do any exercise you like
  • Day 6: Hike at least four hours with a weighted pack
  • Day 7: Rest

Wind down your training to prevent injury. Maintain your strength and endurance with easy to moderate workouts. Be sure to get enough sleep before embarking on your travels.

  • Day 1: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 2: Light leg workout with weights, or cycling, or jogging
  • Day 3: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Open day to do any exercise you like
  • Day 6: Hike/StairMaster for at least one hour
  • Day 7: Rest

What Travel Documents are Needed for Entry?

passport

A passport and visa are required to travel to Tanzania for most citizens, including nationals from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other European Union countries, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The passport must be valid for 6 months after the intended length of stay.

Visas can be obtained prior to departure from the Tanzanian embassy or at points of entry into Tanzania, including Kilimanjaro Airport. The visa cost for US citizens is $100 and $50 for others. The visa must be paid for in USD only. No other currency or credit card is accepted. Obtaining a Visa at Kilimanjaro Airport is a relatively simple process. When you arrive, as you enter the airport there will be two lines. The line on the right is for people purchasing a visa. The line straight ahead is for people who have a visa. To get your visa, fill out the visa application, show them your passport and pay the fee. You will stand in three lines in total in get through immigration control.

What Vaccinations are Required?

vaccination

There are various recommended vaccinations for travel into Tanzania. However, there are no required vaccinations. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends the following vaccinations and medications:

  • Malaria
  • Yellow Fever (required if entering Tanzania from an ‘infected area’)
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies

Additionally, the CDCP recommends routine vaccinations for measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) and polio, if you are not up to date.

You may also want to bring Diamox, an FDA approved prescription used to prevent and treat altitude sickness, and Cipro, a powerful anti-diarrhea medication. Consult with your health care professional or travel clinic.

It is prudent for every client to have a medical check-up to see whether he or she have any medical conditions that increases the risks of trekking at high altitude. The minimum age of participants of our climbs is 16 years old. All clients 65 years of age or older are required to bring a doctor’s certificate stating they are fit to climb Kilimanjaro.

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

insurance formTravel insurance is mandatory. Travel insurance provides you with coverage against unforeseen circumstances. Deposits are nonrefundable upon trip confirmation and balance payments are nonrefundable within 30 days of the trip start date. Therefore, having travel insurance is a smart and practical means to cover your trip even if it was not required.

Travel insurance may cover your trip costs if you have to cancel your trip due to the following situations:

  • Flight delays or cancellations
  • Injury, illness or other medical conditions
  • A death in the family
  • Loss of employment

Other items that are reimbursed by travel insurance:

  • Lost or delayed luggage
  • Traveling expenses
  • Hospital costs
  • Evacuation

You must have a valid travel insurance policy in order to participate on our climbs. Travel insurance should cover high altitude trekking (not mountaineering), medical and repatriation costs, and trip cancellation. Furthermore, having travel insurance automatically qualifies you for AMREF’s Flying Doctors evacuation insurance, which is included in your trip. Without travel insurance, helicopter evacuation and medical treatment may be denied. Therefore it is very important that you acquire travel insurance.

We will verify that you have valid travel insurance prior to the climb. No refunds are given for clients turned away due to failure to obtain the proper coverage.

We recommend Travel Guard for travel insurance.  We recommend purchasing Travel Guard’s Silver Travel Insurance Plan.  Travel Guard is only available to US residents.

World Nomad’s Explorer Policy provides travel insurance for many countries including the USA and most or Europe.

Do I Need to Exchange Money to Tanzanian Shillings?

tanzanian shillingU.S. Dollars are accepted everywhere in Tanzania. Therefore it is not necessary to exchange into Tanzanian Shillings. However, if you plan to make many small purchases, you will get a better deal by using local currency because vendors will round up if you pay in dollars.

Tipping your Kilimanjaro and safari staff is customary, though not obligatory. These tipping guidelines are intended to assist you in determining a proper tip amount for your guides and porters. The total number of staff depends on how many climbers are in the party, which route and how many days you are on the mountain. We will communicate the number of staff to you before your trip so you can prepare the tips. Note that the figures below constitute an appropriate tip for good service. It is perfectly acceptable to give less or more than these figures.

Tipping Guidelines

  • Guide: $15-$25 per day
  • Assistant Guides:  $8-$20 per day
  • Cook: $8-$12 per day
  • Porters: $3-$5 per day

Most groups will discuss their tipping amounts collectively and gather all the money together into a pool. Then the group will decide how much to give each individual. You can do it by yourself if you prefer for smaller parties. Tipping is done during a tipping ceremony on the last day of the climb. Tipping in U.S. Dollars in acceptable and smaller denomination bills are preferred as it is easier for the staff to divide.

Tipping on Safari

The general guideline for tipping during the safari is between $5-$10 per person per day for your driver. So for a 2 person 5-day safari, you tip to the driver can range from $50 to $100. If you have fewer people on the safari, you should tip at the high-end range of $10 per person per day. If you have 4 or more people on your safari, then you can tip at the lower range of $5 per person per day.

Tipping in Tanzania

You will find that there will be people helping you various times during your trip.

For example, there may be a person at the airport helping you carry your baggage, at the lodge, someone will bring your bags from the lobby to your room, someone will bring your bags from your room to the lobby, and then from the lobby to the taxi. If you have 3 bags, it is not unusual for there to be 3 people, with each one carrying only one bag. You may end up tipping each person $1 USD.

Make sure that you bring U.S. Dollars that are crisp, untorn and newer than 2009. Ripped, damaged or worn bills will be rejected.

Where Do the Trips Begin?

jet in the cloudsOur trips begin in Moshi, Tanzania. Moshi is a town located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO): The most convenient way to travel to Tanzania is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (Airport Code: JRO). We offer free pick up from the airport and will take you to your hotel. Local contact numbers and details on how to meet up with our staff will be distributed upon booking.

From North America, there are two main ways clients arrive at JRO. The first and most popular way is to fly KLM/Delta from a major US city to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to JRO Airport.  There is one flight per day that arrives in JRO at around 7:30pm.  When arriving on this flight, we estimate that it will take you one hour to get your visa and bags.  You will get to your hotel in Moshi around 9:30pm – 10:00pm.

The second most popular way is to fly to Washington D.C. and then catch an Ethiopian Air flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and them from there to JRO.  This flight will bring you into JRO at around 1:00pm.

Arusha Airport (ARK): Arusha has a small airport within the city.  Flights into and out of this airport are very limited, but if you are coming from a nearby country or Zanzibar this may be an option for you.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO): Some clients choose to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya.  From Nairobi, you can take a daily shuttle bus to Arusha for under 50 USD.  The ride is about 4-5 hours.  You will need to take the bus to Moshi which costs about 75 USD and is about 6-7 hours. We do not provide any transportation to or from Nairobi.  Clients must arrange this transportation themselves.

The map below will give you a good idea of the locations of the airports and their relation to the cities and Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Also, if you are interested in adding a safari, the locations of the parks are also shown.

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