Preparing for Kilimanjaro can be overwhelming. Here is some helpful information to get you started.
How do I get to Tanzania?
The easiest way to reach Moshi is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
Alternative ways of getting to Moshi are buses from Nairobi or Dar Es Salaam, taking anywhere from 7-9 hours.
Our climbs (unless otherwise requested) have lodging the night before & after built into the itinerary. Note, if your flight arrives after 7:00 pm, by the time you go through customs and immigrations, collect your luggage and take the 45 minute drive to your hotel in Moshi, it can be 9:30 pm or later.
If your travels to Tanzania involve a lengthy flight and major time change, we recommend arriving a day early to give your body time to adjust to the time change and recuperate from the flight.
It also gives you a cushion in case your flight is cancelled or your luggage is delayed.
Transportation to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
Most of our itineraries (unless otherwise requested) include airport transfers from/to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to your hotel in Moshi.
Upon exiting the customs area at JRO a Local Moshi Adventures representative will be waiting in the arrivals area holding a sign with your name.
Our local contact number is +255 782-985-005. This number is also available on WhatsApp.
We recommend you enter this number into your phone contacts before you depart to Tanzania.
Hotels and Lodges in Moshi
The town of Moshi is a gateway to Kilimanjaro National Park.
Due to its proximity most climbers (unless otherwise requested) stay in Moshi the night before and after the climb.
Our partner hotels in Moshi include backpackers, budget, mid-range and 4 -Star accommodations.
All hotels cater to Kilimanjaro climbers and are safe, clean and comfortable, with friendly and helpful staff.
Hotel accomodations are on a bed and breakfast basis, and each hotel has its own lunch and dinner menu.
If you wish to eat outside, Moshi has many restaurants and cafe bars where you can grab a bite.
Our Moshi Accommodations:
Backpackers: Climbers Corner, The Better Inn, Secret Garden Hotel, We Travel Hostel
Budget: K’s Lodge, Kilimanjaro Safaris Lodge, Kilimanjaro White House Hotel
Mid-Range: Keys Hotel, Panama Garden Resort, Parkview Inn, Stella Maris Lodge
4-Star: Ameg Lodge, Kilemakyaro Mountain Lodge, Chanya Lodge
If our partner hotels and lodges are not available at the time of your booking, we will be informing you of the alternative choice.
Note: Not all hotels and restaurants can accept credit card payments, therefore you may wish to use an ATM to obtain Tanzanian Shillings.
Passports and Visas
In order to enter Tanzania, most nationalities will need a passport and visa.
Note, your passport must be valid for 6 months AFTER the intended length of stay in Tanzania.
Visas can be obtained at the airport upon arrival (the Tanzanian Government requires a crisp $50 bill newer than 2006), at the Tanzanian Embassy in your respective country prior to departure, or online: https://visa.immigration.go.tz/
The price for a visa varies depending on citizenship, with the cost for US passports being $100, and most other passports $50. Detailed visa and passport requirements pertaining to individual countries can be found on the Tanzanian Embassy Website designated for the particular country.
Reaching Uhuru Peak requires great physical effort especially when getting to higher altitudes.
Because trekking at high altitude can exacerbate any pre-existing medical conditions, a physical check-up is recommended for every climber.
While hikers with high altitude experience most likely are already aware of their physical condition, for climbers without prior hiking experience, a physical check-up is of utmost importance and strongly recommended.
Know thyself starts with a medical check-up.
Recommended Vaccinations and Diamox
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) recommends the following vaccinations: Malaria, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies.
The Tanzanian Government requires Yellow Fever vaccination for travelers 1 year of age and older coming from - or who have been in airport transit for more than 12 hours within - a country at risk of Yellow Fever transmission and you may be asked to show your vaccination record.
Consult with your doctor about any additional vaccinations or medications concerning your personal circumstances.
Diamox is supposed to help prevent altitude sickness.
It is a prescription medicine obtained from a medical doctor and may have side effects. We suggest you try Diamox at home to find out if your body is experiencing any side effects from the medication. Otherwise, once on the mountain, you won't know if physical issues are a result of Diamox, or altitude sickness.
Medical Travel & Trip Insurance
Medical Travel insurance covering high altitude trekking is a requirement to participate in our climbs.
Although not required, you may wish to investigate acquiring repatriation insurance (covers airlift to your home country), as well as trip insurance (covers theft).
To learn about the difference between Travel Medical/Trip insurance click here
Packing for Kilimanjaro
When climbing Kilimanjaro you will need to bring at least 2 bags.
The first bag should be a small daypack which you will carry with you during the day. This daypack should weigh about 15 lbs (depending on your comfort level) and should accommodate your water, snacks, raingear, an extra layer of clothing, as well as any personal items you may need during your hike. We recommend a backpack which includes a three liter hydration pack.
If your hydration pack is new, we suggest thoroughly rinsing it many times prior to its first use as there is an inherent plastic taste that comes along with the new hydration pack. If pre- rinsing does not work, you might consider a fruit flavored electrolyte powder.
Your second bag will be carried by a porter from campsite to campsite and you will not have access to this bag during the day. It will be waiting for you upon arrival at your campsite.The bag should not weigh more than 30 lbs and contains all of your other gear, toiletries and personal items you don't need during the day. This bag can be a duffelbag or a backpack, either way it does not need to be waterproof as the porter will place it inside a larger waterproof bag.
Bags not Needed on Kilimanjaro
Hotels and lodges in Moshi are geared toward Kilimanjaro climbers and offer safe storage spaces for any items not needed on the mountain.
Lost or Delayed Luggage
If your luggage is delayed or lost, we will do everything we can to keep your climb schedule on track.
We recommend you wear and bring onboard the airplane as much of your Kilimanjaro gear as possible in the unfortunate event your luggage does not arrive with you.
If it becomes clear that your luggage will not arrive on the evening before your climb, we will help you determine which gear needed for a successful climb is missing.
In the morning, prior to the start of your climb, one of our representatives will take you to an outfitter where you can rent any missing gear.
All out-of pocket costs, including transportation to the airport to collect your luggage, as well as to outfitters to rent your gear, will incur additional costs to be paid by you. Be sure to check your travel insurance policy includes coverage for lost luggage.
Sleeping Bags and What to Wear on Kilimanjaro
Imagine you are going from a tropical jungle, which is hot & humid to the North Pole, which is freezing cold and dry. Those are the extremes of Kilimanjaro.
Our recommendation is to LAYER.
For warm areas: shorts, t-shirt and sun hat.
For the summit: Warm hat, thin inner gloves, down outter gloves, down coat, moisture wicking underlayers, as well as both thin and thick woolen socks with good waterproof hiking boots.
We have a list of recommended gear which you can check out here.
To see detailed recommendations for summit night please click here.
We recommend getting a sleeping bag with a temperature rating of at least 0F-18C or warmer (-20F/-29C).
People tend to sleep “warm” or “cold” – meaning that some get hot at night while others feel cold in the same conditions (most females tend to sleep cold).
Someone who sleeps warm can use a bag with a higher temperature rating than someone who sleeps cold.
However, we recommend the warmer bags to be on the safe side because the temperature can always be regulated by wearing less clothing while inside the bag, unzipping the bag partially or all the way, using the bag as a cover sheet, or not using the mummy hood.
For climbing Kilimanjaro, we recommend selecting a bag that will keep you warm at or below the coldest conditions that are anticipated, which is a four-season sleeping bag with a comfort rating of 0F, or -18 C, or warmer.
Training and Acclimatization
What makes Kilimanjaro so attractive is that anyone can do it!
Although being in good shape is helpful, there is no training for the prevention of altitude sickness which can affect even the fittest of all. In fact, being fit may make it difficult for some trekkers to pace themselves while trekking on the mountain, subjecting them to altitude sickness since walking slowly is crucial for acclimatization.
Nevertheless being in good shape will increase your chances of having a safe, enjoyable climb and a successful summit.
Reaching Uhuru Peak may take anywhere from six to nine days of hiking. From as little as 4 hours per day to as many as 16 hours on summit day.
Starting training which simulates the actual conditions encountered while hiking on the mountain at least three months prior is highly recommended. If outdoor training is not possible, a combination of walking, stair master and weight training for your legs and upper body is advisable.
For a more detailed Kilimanjaro training plan click here.
For information on how to avoid altitude sickness click here.
What is Altitude Sickness?
The higher the altitude the less oxygen in the atmosphere.
Altitude sickness occurs when your body is getting less and less oxygen from the air at higher altitude. It manifests itself in symptoms ranging from mild to severe and even experts do not know how to determine who will be affected.
Neither physical fitness, nor age, nor being male or female plays a role.
Common mild symptoms while climbing Kilimanjaro include headaches, loss of appetite, nausea, feeling light-headed and sleeplessness.
Severe altitude sickness can affect your lungs (pulmonary edema) and your brain (cerebral edema).
Pulmonary edema, caused by fluid build- up in the lungs, is diagnosed by crackling noises from the chest and the coughing up of pink sputum.
Cerebral edema includes symptoms such as confusion and loss of balance.
Both conditions are life threatening unless an immediate descent is made.
There are many different symptoms of altitude sickness and we suggest that everyone planning to climb Kilimanjaro familiarize themselves with the warning signs indicating the onset of altitude sickness.
Diamox is an FDA approved prescription medication used to prevent and treat altitude sickness and aids in acclimatization.
Diamox itself can produce side effects potentially making it more difficult to differentiate actual altitude sickness from the side effects of Diamox.
Please consult with your doctor to determine whether Diamox would be a good choice for you.
If you are planning to use Diamox, we suggest you test it at home to find out if you experience any side effects.
While mild altitude sickness can be treated by ample fluid intake and over the counter pain killers, serious altitude sickness can only be treated by immediate descent.
It is our recommendation to acclimatize naturally (without drugs) and to take longer to reach the summit. The longer you take to acclimatize the more likely you are to avoid the pitfalls of altitude sickness.
That said, there is no way to guarantee success and no way to know in advance how your body will react. It's all just part of the adventure!
Meals on Kilimanjaro
High altitude can cause the loss of appetite, which is a symptom of altitude sickness. However, it is imperative to continue eating to ensure you have the energy for hiking at altitude and for your summit bid.
Keeping in mind your nutritional needs while on the mountain, our head chef has developed a meal plan which is tasty, healthy, easy to digest and includes the proper ratio of liquids, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins to keep your daily energy level up.
Our chef will try to accommodate any dietary restrictions or preferences you may have. Please be sure to inform us at the time of booking.
Below you will find the varieties of food we will be serving during your climb. To learn more about our meals on Kilimanjaro click here.
Toast with honey, jam and butter
Eggs (scambled, fried, omelette)
Fresh seasonal fruits - mango, banana, watermelon, oranges, pineapples
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice
Cold meat sandwiches
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Fresh seasonal fruits
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate
Hot soups - pumpkin, carrot, vegetable
Roasted, stewed or curried beef and chicken
Corned beef and cabbage
Fresh seasonal fruits
Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice
Water Filters and Keeping Hydrated
Staying hydrated is super important to avoid altitude sickness. Drinking 3 liters of water per day is recommended when climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Our cook will be providing boiled water every morning, evening and during mealtime for you to refill your water bottles/hydration packs.
While there are many ways to purify and filter water, boiling water is the safest.
Any bacteria and other organisms in a batch of water are killed simply by bringing it to a boil.
Below are two additional common methods of purification:
Chlorine tablets are intended to kill bacteria, but spoil the taste of the water discouraging you from drinking it, which is counterproductive as you should be drinking a lot of water while on the mountain.
A water filter is intended to filter out dirt, however the water on your climb comes from clear water streams running off the glaciers on Kilimanjaro.
Toilets and Showers on Kilimanjaro
Because the public facilities at the campsites are very basic to say the least, we include a private toilet tent on our mid-range and 4-star climbs.
Private toilet tents can be added at an additional cost on our climb only, backpackers and budget climb options.
If nature calls during your hike between camps, please don't leave your disposible wipes behind. Leave no trace is the motto on the mountain. Take a small bag with you to store your wipes and dispose of it when you get to your next camp.
All water on the mountain is carried from the closest stream to the camp. Therefore there are no showers on the mountain. It is advisable to bring wet wipes to clean up. We also provide a bowl of warm water for you to wash your hands and face at every campsite.
For very detailed information concerning toilets and showers on Kilimanjaro please click here.
Cellphone Reception and Charging Stations on Kilimanjaro
Cellular networks in Tanzania are neither consistent nor reliable in general, but especially not on the mountain.
Depending on the cloud cover on Kilimanjaro, there might be a few occasions where you will be able to get a signal between hikes or at the campsites, although there is no way of predicting when and where.
Ask your guide about the best spots to receive a signal once you have started your climb. Also, if you notice your porters checking their cell phones, you can assume that they are in a good spot.
Remember to have your phone on airplane mode so that it is not constantly searching for a cell signal, which will run down your power. Only turn on the mobile network when you intend to send or receive calls or messages.
Concerning charging stations on Kilimanjaro... While there are solar powered charging stations at the ranger's office, they are not reliable as you might be competing with nature not having provided enough sun to fully charge the station, or with other climbers who got to plug in first. Therefore, we recommend bringing power banks to recharge your devices.
How Big is the Crew?
Porters are allowed to carry up to 20kg. Therefore the size of the crew depends on the amenities the climbers ask for. For example a toilet tent or personal oxygen both would require an additional porter.
Without extra amenities our crew for 2 climbers consists of:
2 guides (lead guide and assistance guide)
Local Moshi Adventures will inform all climbers as to how many crew members will be participating in their climb.
How do I Tip on Kilimanjaro?
Tipping for good service after the climb is customary.
For transparency and as required by KPAP, in order to ensure all crew members receive their fair share, you will receive a sheet including crew names on which you will indicate the amount of tip you intend to give to each crew member.
For detailed information about Kilimanjaro tipping guidelines please click here.
Can I Climb Kilimanjaro without a Guide?
The answer is no.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is a protected park and the Kilimanjaro Parks department (KINAPA) requires licensed guides to be present.
Leave no trace (LNT) is the motto on the mountain and without this rule Kilimanjaro would be littered with trash and covered in graffiti.
Additonally there would be many more injuries and deaths.
Thus these rules were established to make Uhuru Peak accessible and safe for all, while protecting the beauty and environment of the mountain.
Can I use my Drone on Kilimanjaro?
Without a license and special permit, drones are illigal to use in Tanzania.
In order to get a permit, the drone operator needs to have a drone pilots license.
After optaining a pilots license a special request needs to be send to the defense department for appoval.
Due to the cost and length of time it takes to receive the approval and permit, we recommend you leave your drone at home.
If you choose to bring and use your drone and get caught, you and your guide can end up in jail.
Tanzania uses 220/230V, 50Hz AC, and sockets take mostly Type G (3 prong large rectangular) and some Type C (2 prong narrow and round).
It is advisable to bring an adaptor/converter combination.
Tanzania Single Use Plastic Bag Restrictions
As of June 1st 2019, travelers to Tanzania will no longer be allowed to bring plastic carrier bags into the country.
Authorities will set up a check-in area at points of entry to confiscate plastic bags. The only exception are reusable ziploc bags used to carry personal items.
To learn more about Tanzania single use plastic bag restrictions click here.