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Practical information about Mount Kilimanjaro

On this page you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Kilimanjaro. You can read more, for example, about the weather conditions, visas and what to pack. See also our options to climb Kilimanjaro.

Practical information about Mount Kilimanjaro
Practical information about Mount Kilimanjaro

Practical information about Mount Kilimanjaro

On this page you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Kilimanjaro. You can read more, for example, about the weather conditions, visas and what to pack. See also our options to climb Kilimanjaro.

CLIMATE

Best time to travel

The weather on Kilimanjaro is generally reliable, which also means that the mountain can be climbed all year round.

January to March
These are really good months with mild temperatures and almost no clouds in the sky in the morning and into the afternoon. However, there may be some rain showers or snow on the summit during the day.

Late March to the middle of May
This is the actual rainy season. For climbers on Kilimanjaro, this means that heavy clouds may block visibility, and that there may be heavy rain at low altitudes, and snow at the summit.

June, July and August
It may be cold during these months, but visibility is usually very good.

September and October
The temperature rises during these months, but this means that there is often a belt of mist at low altitudes, which you leave behind you when you move higher up towards the top.

November and December
These months usually offer perfect visibility at night and in the morning, but short showers during the day. Thunderstorms are also normal during this period.

Weather statistics for the town of Moshi, at the foot of Kilimanjaro. Moshi sits at 915 m above sea level.

Month Low. temp. (C) High. temp. (C) Average temp. (C) Humidity % Rain mm
JAN 18 33 25,5 58 36
FEB 18 33 25,5 57 51
MAR 19 32 25,5 63 119
APR 19 29 24 73 350
MAY 18 26 22 77 236
JUN 16 25 20,5 72 38
JUL 15 25 20 69 25
AUG 15 26 20,5 66 18
SEP 15 28 21,5 61 15
OCT 16 31 23,5 57 25
NOV 18 31 24,5 57 63
DEC 18 32 25 60 53

For guests considering climbing Kilimanjaro, it’s a good idea to take the full moon into account. Climbing to the top of Africa in the moonlight, without the use of a head torch, is a unique and fantastic experience. LINK TO FULLMOON CALENDAR.

Vegetation zones
When you climb Kilimanjaro, you experience all four seasons of the year and come through 5 different vegetation zones. The temperature during the ascent varies according to which growth zone you are in.

The first growth zone, which consists of cultivated agricultural land, inhabited areas and open grasslands, has an average temperature of 21-27 degrees, and the higher up you go, the lower the temperature, and the vegetation changes with the altitude. At the top, Uhuru Peak, temperatures will typically vary from -18 to -26 degrees.

Overview of the different vegetation zones you pass through:
Zone 1 
(800m – 1800m)
This is the  cultivated agricultural area which is also the area of the mountain which has the most annual precipitation. Most of the agricultural land here is used for coffee plantations and some of the best coffee in Africa can be found in this area.
Zone 2
(1800m – 2800m)
This is the forest area of Kilimanjaro. An amazing jungle that is certain to make an impression on you. Here you will see some of the tallest trees you’ve ever seen.
Zone 3
(2800m – 4000m)
This area is full of heather and wild grass. Here you can stand at the same level as the clouds in the sky. The temperature can reach up over 40 degrees Celsius during the day and then drop to 0 degrees Celsius at night.
Zone 4
(4000m – 5000m)
This is the Kilimanjaro highland desert. A very challenging and spectacular terrain filled with volcanic rocks of different sizes. It is obvious looking across this area, that there has in fact been volcanic activity on more than one occasion. Here the temperature can also reach +40 degrees Celsius and freezing on the same day.
Zone 5
(5000m – 5895m)
This is the top of the mountain. Snow, ice, freezing temperatures and huge glaciers make up this part of the mountain as a truly amazing experience – it is difficult to imagine at this time, that you are in fact in the beautiful country of Africa.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TOUR

Passport & visa

It goes without saying that you need to bring your passport with you.

British citizens need a valid visa to travel to Tanzania. The visa application should be completed online here

Before you proceed with the visa application itself, we recommend that you read the step-by-step application guide carefully. You will find the guide here.

When you start your visa application, you should have the following to hand:

  • Your passport
  • A digital passport photo in JPEG or PNG format, not exceeding 300 KB
  • A copy of your passport in JPEG or PNG format, not exceeding 300 KB
  • A copy of your itinerary (you’ll need the name and address of your hotel. If you’re staying at several different hotels, simply write the name and address of your first hotel)

You should apply for an “ordinary visa (single entry visa)”.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure from Tanzania, and there must be two blank pages in the passport for entry and exit stamps.

You should expect it to take 14 days for your visa to be approved. We recommend that you regularly check the status on the website above, as you will not always receive an email to inform you of your visa approval. Once your visa is approved, you should print it out and bring it with you to Tanzania.

It is also possible to apply for a visa upon your arrival in Tanzania, but we recommend you apply for it from home to save time at the airport.

The visa fee is USD 50, regardless of whether you apply online or on arrival in Tanzania.

Children travelling alone or with an adult other than their parents must bring the written consent of their parents in the form of a letter of attorney as well as the child’s birth certificate (in English).

The visa regulations can be checked on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.

We also recommend that you double check the above visa rules, as they may change at short notice. Please contact the Tanzania High Commission in London.

If you are a British citizen and you have booked a combination tour including both Tanzania and Kenya, you are required to have a visa for Tanzania and eTA for Kenya. We refer to our Practical Information on Kenya for information on how to apply for a eTA to Kenya.

Travel documents

Prior to your departure, you can download our App here to find your travel documents and the contact details for TourCompass and our local partners.

We recommend that you download the WhatsApp app to your smartphone and add the phone numbers of our business partners. You can send messages and call them for free using the app when you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Vaccinations

We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for information about vaccinations. You can also read more about the rules regarding travel vaccinations here.

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another country where yellow fever is present. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Your vaccination certificate should therefore always be carried with you in your hand luggage when you travel.

NB: You are required to present a printed version of your vaccination certificate when entering Tanzania.

Travel terms and conditions

Please read our general travel terms and conditions carefully, as these are part of the agreement terms for tours purchased at TourCompass. Tours purchased from us are covered under the “Package Travel Act”.

Click here to read our travel terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here.

Travel insurance

We always advise you to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when heading off on your dream holiday. It is also highly recommended to acquire cancellation insurance for extra protection. 

Click here to proceed to our page on insurance, where you can read more about our recommendations.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

Currency, price level & tipping

The Tanzanian currency is called the Tanzanian shilling (TZS).

Tanzanian currency may not be imported or taken out of the country. We therefore recommend that you exchange to shilling at the airport or withdraw some cash on your arrival in Tanzania.

Payment can also be made in USD in Tanzania. We recommend that you carry a small amount with you (1–5-dollar bills), as this is most commonly used at markets, or for payment of tips and the like. You can also withdraw cash using Visa and MasterCard and pay by card in some places.

 

Tips:

In Tanzania, it is customary to tip guides, waiters and other service personnel.
Tips are therefore expected, but it is, of course, up to you how much you wish to pay.
Give your tips personally and always have a little change in your pocket for tipping.

As a rule of thumb, you can reckon on the following:

  • 10-15 USD per person per day to the guide
  • 2 USD for luggage which the porter carries for you
  • 10% in bars and restaurants
  • 2 USD a day for maids

On our Kilimanjaro tour, we have an agreement that our guests pay a fixed amount per person in tips. This is the normal practice on a Kilimanjaro tour – it is counted as part of the guides’ and bearers’ wages, which they receive directly after the end of the trek. The fixed amount has been agreed to ensure an equal distribution of the tips.

The amount depends on the number of days you are on the mountain:

  • 6 days: USD 250 per person
  • 7 days: USD 275 per person
  • 8 days: USD 300 per person

Put the amount in an envelope and hand it in at the reception at Springlands Hotel to Nur, Joram, Linda or Frank. They will see to it that the tips are distributed equally between your guides and bearers.

Food & allergies

At the vast majority of our destinations, we are able to take allergies, as well as allergens or preferences into account when it comes to food, however it is important that you inform us of this when you book the tour.

Telephones, Wi-Fi & electricity

There is no electricity on Kilimanjaro, so remember extra batteries and/or a power bank to charge your camera.

You may be lucky to catch some Wi-Fi every once in a while, but you shouldn’t count on it.

What to pack

Make sure you pack all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, vaccination cards, travel documents, insurance documents, credit cards, money, computers, mobile phones and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

Please note that all use, import and production of plastic bags, such as those we know from supermarkets, etc., is prohibited in Tanzania. We therefore recommend that you avoid using plastic bags when packing your luggage. Use fabric bags instead, or bags made of a waterproof material other than plastic.

You are expected to carry your own day bag/backpack. This is to carry what you will need until you reach the camp in the evening. What you will need during the day is individual. However, we recommend that you bring a bottle of water, snacks, a small first aid kit, sunscreen, a camera, rainwear, gloves, a woolly hat, a sun hat and some extra warm clothes as a minimum.

Your remaining personal luggage will be carried to the accommodation by a porter. However, you should pack this luggage in your own bag so that the porters can carry it on their head, for example, in a backpack, soft bag or the like. You will not have access to this luggage during the day.

The bag for the porters to carry should not exceed 15 kg. If it weighs more than this, you will be charged 10 US dollars extra per bag per day.

To make it easier to pack your personal luggage while on the climb and to protect your luggage from dirt, moisture and possible rain, we recommend that you buy the slightly thicker plastic bag that they offer at Springlands Hotel before departure.

Make sure that both your luggage and sleeping bag are in the bag that you give to the porters. Alternatively, you can pack your bag and sleeping bag in the plastic bag from Springlands Hotel.

You can store extra equipment in a locked room at Springlands Hotel free of charge. You can also deposit money, etc., in a safety deposit box at Springlands Hotel for US 1 per day.

In addition to what you would normally bring with you on your holiday, we recommend that you bring the following if you are going to climb Kilimanjaro:

  • Trousers, T-shirts/short-sleeved shirts
  • Long-sleeved shirts or blouses for walking and relaxing in the evening
  • Long-sleeved and long-legged underwear
  • Fleece sweater or Icelandic sweater
  • Fleece trousers
  • Long jacket or ski jacket
  • Rainwear (both trousers and jacket) for the rainforest and cold snow
  • Mittens (waterproof)
  • Warm hat that covers as much of the head, cheeks and neck as possible – preferably a balaclava
  • Hand and foot warmers (chemically activated)
  • Hiking boots
  • Trainers or sandals for relaxing in the evening
  • Leg warmers for the lower leg. We recommend that they can be fastened to the hiking boots
  • Water bottles (e.g. CamelBak water bottle). These will be filled with clean, boiled water every morning. If you wish to further purify the drinking water, you can bring your own water filter or purification tablets
  • Energy bars and drinks, snacks, chocolate and the like
  • Hiking poles
  • Head lamp or torch
  • Batteries. Remember to bring at least one extra set for anything that uses batteries, as the cold weather shortens battery life
  • Adaptor
  • Powerbank
  • Toilet paper and a bag in which you can store used toilet paper – you must take all your waste home with you
  • Small towel + soap
  • First aid equipment

Download a packing list for Kilimanjaro as a PDF here.

Some equipment can be hired at Springlands Hotel, which has a large selection of used items for hire.

Prices for renting equipment (indicative)

Equipment Price per week pp
Rucksack 12 USD – approximately £7
Mont Bell sleeping bag
(-25-35C Temp.)
40 USD – approximately £24
Poncho 18 USD – approximately £11
Duffel Bag 10 USD – approximately £7
Plastic Bag   4 USD – approximately £2
Trek poles 12 USD – approximately £7
Leggings   8 USD – approximately £5
Gloves   8 USD – approximately £5
Sweater   5 USD – approximately £4
Long underwear   5 USD – approximately £4
Raincoat 12 USD – approximately £7
Rain Pants 12 USD – approximately £7
Hiking boots   9 USD – approximately £6
Fleece pants   6 USD – approximately £4
Winter jacket 12 USD – approximately £7
Balaclava   6 USD – approximately £4
Hat or Neck Scarf   6 USD – approximately £4

Bringing plant products into the UK

Visitors are not permitted to bring plants, seeds, fruit and other plant products into the UK from their travels outside the UK, unless they are accompanied by a plant health (phytosanitary) certificate. These rules also apply to smaller quantities of plants and plant products.

Read more about the rules here.

Travellers with impaired mobility

Please note that this tour is not generally suitable for people with impaired mobility. Please contact us for information about your options in relation to your specific needs.

THE FLIGHT

Airline tickets

Most airlines have electronic tickets (e-tickets).

It is important that you check your name for spelling errors, as the name on the reservation must be exactly as it appears on your passport. If your name needs to be corrected, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that this may incur a fee from the airline.

Seat reservation

The airline will assign you a seat on the plane at check-in. If you have specific wishes regarding where you sit on the plane, you can make a seat reservation yourself on the airline’s website or in their app. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation.

It varies when airlines open for seat reservations, but as a general rule, you can book seats from the time of booking and up to 48 hours before departure.

We also point out that the airline has complete control over all seats on the plane and that they are therefore entitled to make changes to the reservation at any time.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will assign you a seat at check-in.

Check-in

Your passport and your booking reference, which appears on your itinerary, are required to check in.

We recommend that you download the airline’s app on your phone. In the app, there is an option for online check-in, which typically opens 24 to 48 hours before departure. The app also allows you to stay informed of any flight changes and other important information about your flight.

Please note that the flight times may have changed in relation to those listed on the travel itinerary you received when you booked your holiday. It is always the flight times in the airline’s app or on the airline’s website that apply.

At the airport

We recommend that you arrive at the airport to check in at least two hours before departure. It is a good idea to check the airport’s website for the latest updates.

Baggage

We use many different airlines for our destinations. You can check the exact rules for hand luggage and checked baggage on the airline’s website or in their app.

If you are taking a domestic flight in Tanzania, you should be aware that the maximum baggage allowance in the checked-in suitcase is 15-20 kg and the maximum hand luggage allowance is 5 kg. Please note that you are not usually permitted to bring a trolley bag as carry-on, as the planes do not have space for them in the overhead compartments above the seats.

If, for example, you are visibly carrying hand luggage in plastic bags upon your arrival in Tanzania, you will be asked to hand them in. This also includes plastic bags from “Duty Free”.

Delayed baggage

If your baggage is delayed, please contact the staff in the baggage reclaim area to report your missing baggage.

It is important that you have your baggage receipt when completing your PIR (Property Irregularity Report).

Please note that you must not leave the baggage area at the airport until you have completed the report.

In the event of delayed baggage, we ask you to contact our partner, who will ensure that your guide/driver waits for you.

 

Flight delays or cancellations

Should any changes occur in connection with your flight reservation before departure, we will of course contact you to let you know.

Should your flight be delayed after check-in, the airline is responsible for rebooking your flight. They will typically book the next possible flight and arrange any meals and accommodation if necessary.

Our partner checks for any changes in arrival times and will naturally still wait for you, even if your flight is delayed.

If, due to a delay or cancellation, the airline books you on another flight number after you have arrived at the airport, please contact us on TourCompass’ emergency number.

AT THE DESTINATION

Immigration & Customs

Immigration:

When you arrive at your final destination, you will go through immigration, where your passport and any entry documents and visas are checked. In many places, you will be required to provide fingerprints, and a photo of your face will also be taken for biometric recognition. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying.

You will be required to complete arrival and departure forms. Remember to bring a pen with you!

Under the section where you have to fill in your address in Tanzania, you should enter the name of the first hotel/lodge where you will be staying.

 

Customs:
Once you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your luggage, you will head through customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can go through “nothing to declare”. If, on the other hand, you have something to declare, it is important that you go through “declare”. It’s your own responsibility to check the customs regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.

Arrival

When you come out into the arrivals hall at the airport, you will be met by a guide/driver holding up a TourCompass sign with your name on it, who will make sure you get safely to your hotel.

In the unexpected event that you cannot find your guide/driver, please contact our partner on the emergency number which appears on the travel documents.

Hotel check-in and check-out

Normal check-in is typically from 2 pm, and you cannot therefore count on getting your room earlier. If you’d like to check in early, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

When you check in, the receptionist will generally register your credit card and may reserve an amount. This is not an additional fee, but customary at hotels to ensure payment of any consumption from the minibar and the like. When you check out, the amount will be automatically released if you have not made use of this.

It is very normal for hotels to take a copy of your passport. In some places, this is a requirement of the local authorities.

Check-out is normally by 10 am. If you’re not travelling until the afternoon or evening, you can have your luggage stored until it’s time to leave. If you would like a late check-out instead, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

If you are rounding off your tour in Zanzibar, please be aware that the hotels in Zanzibar charge a hotel tax of USD 5 per person per day. This will be charged to you when you check out.

Overnight accommodation on Kilimanjaro

On Kilimanjaro, you will spend the night in tents or cabins depending on the route selected.

On the Machame, Shira, Rongai and Lemosho routes, tents and foam mattresses are included in price of the tour. The tents will be put up by the porters. You might like to bring a sleeping mat to use with the foam mattress for a little extra comfort. You are also welcome to bring your own air bed. We recommend that you use a sleeping mat that insulates against the cold.

You should either bring a sleeping bag with you or rent one at the hotel before the climb. We recommend using a sleeping bag that can handle temperatures as low as -25 degrees Celsius.

There is a primitive shared public toilet at the camp. It is possible to rent a toilet tent. Price for rental of a toilet tent: USD 100.

On the Marangu route, you will stay in simple cabins with bunk beds and foam mattresses. You will need to bring a warm sleeping bag on this route as well.

Type of tour and transport

General information about climbing Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro can be climbed by all healthy people in good shape. However, we recommend that you train physically for the trip, and we also recommend that you visit your GP for a check-up before departure.

When you book a trip to Kilimanjaro with us, you become a part of an international group. Each group consists of up to 1-8 people. Each group has a guide, assistant guides, porters and chefs for the journey.

If you are a group of over 8 people from one country who wish to climb Kilimanjaro together, then naturally this is possible as well. Contact us or write in the comments section when you are enquiring about a tour to Kilimanjaro.

The official lower age limit for climbing Kilimanjaro is 12 years. We recommend however that you think carefully before bringing any children under the age of 15 to Kilimanjaro. There is no upper age limit.

 

Altitude sickness

Altitude sickness is a condition that occurs when you reach altitudes where the air is thinner than you are used to. And the faster the climb, the greater the risk of altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness can affect everyone, no matter how fit and healthy you are.

Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, insomnia, nausea and loss of appetite.

This type of altitude sickness with “mild symptoms” often goes away during the night or if you remain at the same altitude for an extra day (acclimatisation day). If your symptoms deteriorate (e.g. with vomiting, difficulty walking, coordination difficulties and a dry cough), it is important to descend to a lower altitude. If you don’t, it can, in the worst case, be life-threatening.

Our guides are experts at identifying the symptoms, and they are adept at assessing when it is okay to continue as well as when the symptoms are so severe that you need to go further down. If this is the case, one of the guides will accompany you down, and it is important that you listen to them and follow their instructions.

Kilimanjaro is not a technically difficult mountain to climb, but due to the major differences in altitude, there is a real risk of altitude sickness. So, good acclimatisation is important.

Acclimatisation is a process whereby the body gradually gets used to the increased oxygen deficiency by climbing slowly.

For this to happen, you must sleep no more than 300-500 metres higher than the day before. And that is the challenge on Kilimanjaro, as the various camps are 800–1,000 vertical metres from each other. For that reason, selected routes include an extra acclimatisation day, increasing your chances of reaching the summit without altitude sickness.

The most important advice when it comes to avoiding altitude sickness is:

  • Pole pole – Take it easy and avoid overexerting yourself.
  • Drink at least 3 litres of fluid per day. Dehydration increases the risk of altitude sickness.
  • If possible, climb high and sleep low – this makes for better acclimatisation.

 

 

Conditions for guides and porters on Kilimanjaro

Our competent guides and porters are instrumental in you safely reaching the top of Africa’s highest mountain. So it is important to us that they work under good conditions.

There are a number of different organisations that help to ensure that the porters enjoy decent working conditions. The individual tour operators choose which organisation they work with. Some of the largest organisations are the Tanzania Porters Organization, the Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project and the Mount Kilimanjaro Porter Society.

Our partner in Tanzania is a member of KIATO – Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators and Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS), one of the largest and oldest porter organisations in Tanzania. This means that all the porters we use on Kilimanjaro are members of MKPS.

MKPS was started on the initiative of the porters themselves, and the independent organisation works for better conditions for guides and porters on Kilimanjaro.

Through Tanzanian legislation, porters on Kilimanjaro are assured a minimum wage, and MKPS membership ensures that the individual porters receive more than the minimum wage. Through MKPS, all porters also receive three meals daily, proper clothing for the mountain (jackets, boots, gloves, etc.), tents, sleeping bags, mattress, etc. In addition, rules have been put in place as to how much each porter may actually carry, and all porters have health insurance. They are also given a course in first aid, English courses and guidance on setting up a bank account, etc. The porters at MKPS, in turn, undertake to help pick up rubbish on the route to the top of Kilimanjaro twice a year. MKPS is 100% Tanzanian.

As MKPS is an NGO, the money the organisation receives primarily comes from donations, but MKPS has also started a car wash in Moshi, for example, which makes money for the organisation.

Our tipping framework has been agreed with MKPS. Tips are a natural part of the pay in Tanzania – it is part of the culture, just as it is in the US, for example. Our porters (and guides!) thus receive BOTH pay and tips, and to ensure equal distribution of the money, we have agreed a fixed tipping framework with MKPS.

We have an agreement stipulating that our guests pay a fixed sum of 250 USD per person as tips to the guides and porters. This applies to all of the different routes to Kilimanjaro.

The money should be placed in an envelope and handed in to Nur, Joram, Linda or Frank at the Springlands Hotel reception, and they will ensure the tips are properly shared out between the guides and porters.

Our tipping guidelines have been developed with our partner and MKPS. We also follow all established guidelines regarding pay and working conditions (including food, accommodation, wages and general welfare).

Need for help during the tour?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can always get in touch with us should anything unforeseen occur during your tour. You will also be sent the telephone numbers and emergency telephone numbers of our partners at the destination. In some cases, it may be easiest and fastest to contact our partners due to time differences, if, for example, you find yourself in a situation where your pick-up for an excursion or transfer is more than 15 minutes delayed.

AFTER THE TOUR

Feedback/Contact

Our livelihood depends on satisfied guests, and we would therefore very much like to hear from you after your return home. Send us an email at info@tourcompass.co.uk or call us on tel.: 01279 704 135.

 

Africa
Catriona Hodge

Catriona is passionate about helping other people fulfill their travel dreams, as she knows how much travel has only improved her life for the better!

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Friday 9-13