Frequently Asked Questions
Do you accept clients from all countries?
Yes. We are based out of the USA and primarily our clients are from the USA. However, a significant number of our clients are from Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. We have led climbers from all over the world, including Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan and more.
Do you work with local Tanzanian company Zara Tours?
You may have seen older reviews linking us with them but are no longer affiliated with Zara Tours. Since the separation, we have upgraded all our services to provide our clients with the best experience possible. We certified all our lead guides as Wilderness First Responders (WFR) with extensive training to handle all altitude related illnesses. We purchased high quality equipment, including Mountain Hardwear tents and sleeping bags. Our guides perform health checks twice daily with a pulse oximeter. We carry bottled oxygen and portable stretchers on every climb in case of emergencies. We improved the meals served on the mountain with fresh ingredients, better taste and more variety. We have joined the Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project (KPAP) to show our commitment to staff welfare as a socially responsible company. We also use nicer hotel accommodations.
What is included in your prices?
Our prices include hotel accommodations before and after the climb, transportation from the hotel to the trail and back, all park fees, and meals on the mountain. Prices do not include flights, lunch, dinner or beverages at the hotel, personal gear and equipment, or tips. Our prices are listed in US Dollars.
How many people are in a group climb?
We limit our climbs to 15 people.
Can you explain the dates of your group climbs?
If you are not spending any extra days before or after the climb, you should book your flight to land on the "Arrival Date" and leave on the "Departure Date". The "Arrival Date" is the day before the climb begins. It represents the latest date you should be in Moshi. We have our trip briefings at 5PM at your hotel on this day, though we can schedule a personal trip briefing for you later in the evening or the next morning if you arrive late. The "Departure Date" is the day after you climb ends, after spending the night at the hotel.
What routes do you offer for group climbs?
We have group climbs on the 9-day Northern Circuit, 8-day Lemosho route, 7-day Rongai route, and 7-day Machame route. We specialize in Lemosho so most of our group climbs are on this route.
What routes do you offer for private climbs?
We can arrange private climbs on 10-day Northern Circuit/Crater Camp, 9-day Lemosho/Crater Camp, 9-day Northern Circuit, 7-8 day Lemosho route, 7-8 day Shira route, 6-7 day Rongai route, 6-7 day Machame route, 6- 7 day Umbwe route, 5-6 day Marangu route, and 4 day Mount Meru.
What is the difference between a group climb and private climb?
With a group climb, you will be in a party of up to 15 climbers who have booked with us separately (strangers). Group climbs are scheduled for set dates on set routes. In a private climb, you will be in a party of people you specifically booked with (friends, family, etc.). Private climbs can be scheduled on any date you choose and on any route. There is no maximum number of climbers for a private climb. The service on the mountain is the same.
If I am a single climber, do I have to share a room and tent with someone else on a group climb?
We pair same sex single climbers to share a double room before and after the climb and to share a three-person tent during the trek. You can get a single room and single tent for yourself by paying for a single supplement. Single supplements must be arranged at the time of booking.
Which routes do you recommend?
We recommend the 9-day Northern Circuit, 8-day Lemosho, and 7-day Rongai routes. These routes offer the best balance of high success rates, beautiful scenery and smaller crowds. 7-day Machame is a nice route as well but has a lot of other climbers on it.
What is the best way to increase my chance of making it to the top, before the trip?
First and foremost, choose a longer route. 7 days should be the minimum and 8 or 9 days is even better. Next, put effort into your training and do it for at least two months, incorporating some long hikes if possible. Third, assemble the right gear for your climb. Lastly, consider using a high-altitude training system to pre-acclimatize.
What is the best way to increase my chance of making it to the top, during the trip?
Avoiding altitude sickness is key. Do this by walking slowly. Drink lots of water and eat enough food. Go on all optional acclimatization hikes. Consider taking Diamox. Also prevent other illnesses by disinfecting your hands after every time you use the bathroom and before any meals.
What gear do I need for my climb?
There is a variety of technical clothing and equipment you will need for your climb. A detailed gear list is available.
How much of my gear can my porter carry for me?
The weight limit is 15 kgs (33 lbs.). The sleeping bag is included in the limit. Porters will carry your duffel bag in a waterproof bag.
How much should my day pack weigh?
Try to keep it under 20 lbs. In fact, try to keep all of your belongings to under 40 lbs.
How should I dress for Kilimanjaro?
You should follow the layering principle when you dress. Layering is a systematic, logical approach to wearing multiple layers of clothing. The layers you will have are base layer, mid layer, and outer shell.
What rental gear is available?
We have sleeping bags and trekking poles available for rent. You do not have to reserve them. You can acquire your rentals and pay for them at the trip briefing. If you need other gear, our staff can take you to independently owned shops to purchase or rent gear. However, we are not responsible for the quality of the gear you obtain at these shops. We provide foam sleeping mats for all climbers.
Do you have gear recommendations?
Please visit our blog for gear recommendations. We recommend shopping online atbackcountry, moosejaw and usoutdoor for all your gear needs.
When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is best climbed when the weather is dry. There are two rainy seasons in Tanzania. The long rainy season is from mid-March to early June. The short rainy season is from November to early December. Therefore, the best times to climb Kilimanjaro are mid-December to early-March, and mid-June to end of October.
If I climb during the dry season, do I need rain gear?
Definitely. It can rain and snow all year round. The base of the mountain is in the rainforest. A quality waterproof jacket and pants is an absolute must.
How cold does it get on the mountain?
In general, expect to sleep in temperatures as low as 20F and to hike in temperatures as low as -20F. It can be even colder. Be prepared.
What kind of food is prepared on the mountain?
We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, which consist of western style meals.
Can you cater to special diets?
We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. For more specific requirements, we will try our best but please contact us to discuss.
How do I use the bathroom on the mountain?
At each campsite, we set up a private toilet tent, which contains a plastic toilet. Each campsite also has public "long drop" toilets. If you need to use the bathroom on the trail, find a spot behind a tree or rock. We recommend bringing pee bottles so that you do not have to leave your tent multiple times during the night to urinate.
How do I shower on the mountain?
You don't. You can use wet wipes if you like to towel off. We also provide wash bins with soap for you to wash your hands and face.
What safety measures are taken by the staff?
Our guides are highly experienced to manage altitude sickness, which is the biggest obstacle on the mountain. They are certified Wilderness First Responders. They conduct twice daily health checks to measure your oxygen saturation and pulse. A rescue plan is in place in the event of an emergency. Bottled oxygen, a portable stretcher, and a first aid kit is carried on every climb.
What happens if someone in my group needs to descend? Does the entire party also have to descend?
No. We bring multiple guides on every climb so that when a climber needs to descend, it does not affect the rest of the party.
If I must descend early, are the additional nights at the hotel covered?
Additional hotel stays are not covered and must be paid in country.
What do I need to enter Tanzania?
You will need a passport that is valid for at least six more months. You will also need a flight card which you will receive on the plane. Finally, you need a Tanzanian visa.
Can I obtain my visa at the airport?
USA, Canadian, British and most European citizens can obtain their visas upon arrival at Kilimanjaro National Airport. The cost is $100 for USA passport holders and $50 for others. If you are a citizen of a different country, please check with your embassy whether you can obtain a visa upon arrival.
What vaccinations or immunizations do I need?
Nothing is required but many are recommended. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into Tanzania when arriving from countries where yellow fever is present.
Where do I fly into?
Our climbs begin and end in Moshi. Moshi is about 25 miles from Kilimanjaro National Airport (JRO). You should fly into Kilimanjaro National Airport and we can arrange for pick up.
Do you assist with flights in and out of Tanzania?
We do not book flights. We recommend flying on KLM. Flights from the USA to JRO typically range from $1,500 to $3,500, depending on the season. Vayama is a good source for domestic Tanzanian flights if you want to extend your vacation to other parts of Tanzania or East Africa.
Do you offer group safaris?
Unfortunately, we do not. With so many different safari options, it is difficult to put together groups who want to travel on the same itinerary on the same dates. Therefore, we only offer private safaris.
Can I book a safari on the spot?
No, we must prepare for your safari before your trip begins. All safaris must be pre-booked.
What gear do I need for the safari?
The only additional item you need for the safari is perhaps binoculars. Other than that, the clothing you have for your climb is enough.