A Beginner’s Guide to Climbing Kilimanjaro & Tours Packages

We’re going to talk about how to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which is the most famous mountain in Africa and one of the Seven Summits. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa (5,895m) and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. This is the most clear reason why most people choose to climb it.

For many, the story of hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro starts with Hans Meyer, who was the first person from Europe to reach the top in 1889. Fewer people know about Sheila McDonald, who was the first woman to climb Kilimanjaro and drink champagne at the top. Her story may be even more moving, though. From rainforests and alpine deserts to the Arctic, you might want to climb a mountain with a wide range of environments and weather conditions. Or it could be the hope of an exciting adventure in Africa, like the ones in John Henry Patterson’s journals.

To climb Mount Kilimanjaro, though, the real beauty is in the little things. They start in the country parts of Tanzania, before you even get to the base of the mountain. The Swahili people are introduced to you here. Their friendly nature and slow pace will make your trip more enjoyable. ‘Safari’ in Swahili means a journey, and Kilimanjaro is both a physical and figurative journey.

Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t just a rock to climb. You climb it for the fun and the people you meet. From the songs and laughs around the campfire that make you feel better to the soft sounds of “lala salama” (sleep quietly) as you curl up in your sleeping bag at night. Before you even start your climb, you will fall in love with Tanzania while watching over you from the mountain.

The process of planning a trip can be scary for people who have never been to Mount Kilimanjaro before. Our guide for people who have never climbed Kilimanjaro before will make the process easier, answer some of the most common questions, and help you plan the best hiking trip of your life.

Where is Mount Kilimanjaro located:

Kilimanjaro is in the northeast of Tanzania, not far from the border with Kenya. It is about 140 km south of Nairobi, which is the capital of Kenya, and 500 km northeast of Dodoma, which is the capital of Tanzania.

How to get to Mount Kilimanjaro:

This airport (KIA) is where you need to fly to get to Kilimanjaro. Through Amsterdam, Zurich, and Doha and Turkey in the Middle East, there are several direct trips. But it’s likely that you’ll have to fly through another African city. The best options are Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, and Nairobi.

One of two towns, Arusha, to the south-west of the mountain, or Moshi, straight south, is where most hikes to Mount Kilimanjaro begin. Moving from Moshi to Arusha takes about an hour and a half. Most people get to their destination by taxi or pre-booked shuttle, but your tour company will often meet you at the airport.

Mount Kilimanjaro Trekking Packages

Marangu Route

Marangu Route/Coca-Cola Route: 5-6 Days
The oldest trail on Mt. Kilimanjaro is the Marangu Route, which is also called the “Coca-Cola Route” or the “Tourist Route.” It is also one of the most famous, mostly because it is the only trail on the mountain with huts for hikers to stay in. This hut has 120 bunk beds, with 60 bunk beds in Mandara Hut and 60 bunk beds in Kibo Hut.

Machame Route

Machame Route/Whiskey Route: 6-7 Days
There are two versions of the Machame route: one that takes 6 days and one that takes 7. The 7-day version has a much better acclimatisation profile and a higher success rate at reaching the top. Machame 7 is a great trail with beautiful views that is good for everyone, even beginners.

Lemosho Route

Lemosho Route: 6-7-8 Days
The classic Lemosho Route has become very popular in the past few years. And rightly so—it has some of the best views, the best acclimatisation profile, and the highest success rates at the top of any route. The Lemosho Route starts on the western side of Kilimanjaro and can be done in three different ways: it takes 6, 7, or 8 days to climb the mountain.

Rongai Route

Rongai Route: 6-7 Days
There are many great things about the Rongai route, which is a less famous Kilimanjaro trail. It starts on the northern slope of the mountain in a forest of conifers and goes through a number of different climate zones. The Marangu path on the southwest side of Mount Kilimanjaro is used for the descent.

Kilimanjaro Umbwe Route Itinerary

Umbwe Route: 6-7 Days
The Umbwe path is a trail that doesn’t get as much attention as other trails. In the past, people thought it was a tough road. Even though the first two days are steeper, the path is still good for a lot of hikers. It starts on the southern side of Mount Kilimanjaro and meets up with the Lemosho route and the Machame route on the third day, just before the Barranco Wall.

Northern Circuit

Northern Circuit Route
The longer version of the Northern Circuit route gives you two extra days to properly adjust to the altitude before you spend the night at Crater Camp. At an elevation of 5790 m, this is the highest place to stay the night near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. We will do everything we can to make your Kilimanjaro climb comfortable and special.

How Do I Get To Mount Kilimanjaro

Arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) is the first step in reaching Kilimanjaro. Amsterdam, Zurich, Doha, and Turkey are just a few of the European and Middle Eastern cities with direct flights. However, it is highly probable that you will have to change planes at another African city; the ones that come to mind are Dar es Salaam, Addis Abeba, and Nairobi.

The two main towns from which hikes up Mount Kilimanjaro usually begin are Arusha (to the southwest of the peak) and Moshi (to the south). Moshi is about an hour away, and Arusha is around 80 minutes away. Taxis and prearranged shuttles are the most popular modes of transportation; nonetheless, it is very uncommon for tour operators to meet clients at the airport.

When Is the Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro National Park is where you can find Mount Kilimanjaro. Located 300 kilometres south of the equator, Tanzania is characterised by its humid, sticky atmosphere and iconically tropical rainy and dry seasons. After that, when does one should attempt to climb Kilimanjaro? Let’s check out the seasons and the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.

A brief rainy season begins in November and lasts well into December in Tanzania, followed by a lengthy rainy season that begins in March and lasts all the way into May. During certain seasons, the trails on Mount Kilimanjaro may be slippery and damp. Because there are less people on the mountain during the monsoons, this may be the best time to climb if you value solitude more than pleasant weather. Even so, brace yourself for a soaking.

The mountain is at its busiest from July to October, when many Europeans take their summer vacations. During this season, it is less humid and cooler than around Christmas, but you should still dress for the weather on occasion. From the middle of May into the beginning of June, you may experience the same pleasant weather with significantly fewer people. Peak climbing season continues right up until the holidays.

Weather conditions are ideal for visibility and warmth from December to February. Despite this, it may still be rainy in December if the brief rainy season continues. It might still get hectic during these months because they coincide with the Christmas vacations.

How Long Does It Take to Climb Kilimanjaro

It takes anywhere from five to nine days to climb Kilimanjaro via one of seven different ways. Be careful not to fall short of your goal if you try to climb too quickly. Reason being, your body needs time to adjust to being at a high altitude.

Hiking at a leisurely pace allows your body to adapt to the lower oxygen levels at higher elevations; rushing to the peak puts you at risk of experiencing altitude sickness and forcing you to descend the mountain.

Can You Climb Kilimanjaro Without a Guide

Kilimanjaro National Park and the Tanzanian government mandated the presence of a certified guide for all hikers in 1991. It is prohibited for trekkers to engage in wild camping or to use caves as a shelter. Prior to embarking on a trek, they are required to register with the Parks Authority and to sign in at each camp. The rules will be enforced by the rangers on the mountains.

To climb Kilimanjaro, you must also pay the park entrance fee. These may appear steep, but they actually cover maintenance costs, campground fees, and a rescue fee (in case). The park costs can range from £600 to £800, depending on how long your walk is. You shouldn’t do this on your own; instead, have your tour operator submit it to the park officials ahead of time.

Everything I Wish I’d Done Differently Climbing Kilimanjaro

How much Does it Cost to Climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro climbs may be quite pricey, that much is certain. The costs associated with visiting the national park and hiring a guide will add up quickly. Tour companies often use porters and other support workers to assist with the heavy lifting of camping gear.

The price of a Kilimanjaro climb can range from £1,500 to £4,500, with the exact amount depending on factors including the length of your climb and the tour operator you go with. If you’re looking for trekking guides, don’t settle with the cheapest one you find. Quality comes with experience, so make sure you invest in a good one. Any respectable guide worth their salt will provide you with the gear you need, knowledge of the local climate and hiking conditions, healthy meals, and enough of time to relax and acclimatise.

How to Prepare for Climbing Kilimanjaro

It is our deepest belief that you should be well-prepared for your excursion. Make a strategy and stick to it if you want to see improvements in your strength, endurance, and overall fitness level. Looking for some inspiration for lesser mountains to climb before the expedition? Take a look at our list of the top climbs in the UK! Your local gym probably has a stairmaster that you may use to increase your strength and endurance if you happen to reside in an urban area. And then there are the stairs in your own home; we calculated that Kilimanjaro has about 24,915 steps!

Carrying a weighted backpack makes hiking far more difficult, so practise with one if you plan on bringing most of your goods with you.

What Clothing And Equipment Do you Need

Kilimanjaro may be referred to as a “walk-up mountain,” but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you are on a tight schedule or are on a more challenging route, preparation is of the utmost importance. The food, cooking utensils, and even your bed system can be carried by porters. If you ever need replacement parts, most trekking businesses have plenty on hand, but nothing beats having your own reliable gear. Everything you would need for a lengthy, multi-day climb at a high altitude is part of your pack:

  • Wear plenty of thick socks and sturdy, breathable hiking boots.
  • No one wants to discover out two days into a walk that these are too tight or too uncomfortable, so it’s best to try them on before you start.
  • A high-quality, watertight hydration bag and backpack—one large enough to accommodate your own belongings, including a camera, a headlamp, clothing and the food provided for the day.
  • Thermals are a must-have for hikes on chilly nights (and days).
  • Even in the driest seasons, hikers should pack waterproof/windproof trousers and a shell because the weather can drop to freezing temperatures in an instant.
  • Pants and clothing that dry quickly for trekking. Pants with a zip are ideal for the initial and last days of hikes.
  • Fleece and down jackets are essential for those colder months. When you’re hot and sweaty at the mountain’s base in a tropical nation, it’s easy to lose track of these things. At the peak, temperatures might drop below -30 degrees Celsius.
    Hat, gloves, and beanie.
  • The majority of people neglect to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. On very sunny days, you definitely don’t want to risk sunburn when hiking up the mountain.
  • It is highly recommended to bring a warm change of clothing for the nights. You can stay warm and reduce the amount of time you spend in your trekking gear with their support.
  • Bring the essentials, like a toothbrush and toothpaste, on any hike, but don’t overpack to the point that you have trouble carrying everything.
  • A headlamp for use on nights when you’re near the peak.
  • Mountaineering munchies—and plenty of them! One alternative that is both light and calorie dense is energy bars.
  • Plasters and second skin, together with other medical necessities, can be kept in a compact medical kit. Avoid blisters at all costs!