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About Kilimanjaro

On this page: Overview | Itinerary | Meals | Biomes | Photos

Overview

Mount Kilimanjaro is located three degrees south of the equator in Northeastern Tanzania. It is the tallest mountain in Africa and is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. This immense mountain is made up of three volcanoes: Shira, Mawenzi, and our goal, Kibo, the tallest one in the middle.

Of the famous highest seven peaks in the world, this is the easiest to get to and the easiest to climb. It requires no technical climbing experience, and any moderately fit person can summit the mountain.

Kilimanjaro

Itinerary

If you arrive at the Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha. We recommend at least one rest day before starting your trek. If you are traveling through Nairobi, this can act as your rest day. If you have time, enjoy a guided walk through the local rice fields and rainforest, do a little shopping in the town of Moshi, relax at the swimming pool, or get a massage.

Your guide will provide a briefing the evening before your trek, and you must separate one bag for the trek from your other luggage. Rental equipment is available. Extra luggage can be stored in a locked storage room at your Moshi hotel at no charge.

The next morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel before last-minute trip preparations. Depending on the route you take, the drive to the trail head can take up to one hour and can be very bumpy (2-3 hours for Rongai, Lemosho, and Shira routes). Bring enough water for hiking on the first day.

Once you reach the park gate, climbers are requested to make their final preparations for the climb and sign the national park registration book. Porters will be seen arranging their packs containing the food, water, and other equipment. Make sure that you have all your day pack items with you as the porters travel very quickly. Your guide will be pleased to assist with any additional information. It will take about an hour to get signed in with the national park and get equipment ready.

The average hiking day begins between 8-9am and is about 5 to 6 hours, walking very, very slowly. The distances you will hike each day are very moderate so as to acclimate a little at a time. Your guides will repeat over and over, "pole pole" (po-ly, po-ly), which means "go slowly" in Swahili.

The terrain lower down is absolutely gorgeous and fascinating. Higher up, the views are vast. There is little to do at the camps themselves, so take advantage of the slow pace to absorb the scenery and take every photo opportunity.

The hike on summit day starts around midnight depending on your route and speed of your group. You will go as high as you feel fit. Some people stop at the crater rim, and others continue to the very highest point on the mountain. Your guides will then take you down as quickly as possible to minimize any altitude problems. You will continue past your last campsite to the next one for overnight.

At the end of your trek, you will be picked up at the trail head and taken back to your hotel for a hot shower and warm bed.

Meals

The staple foods in Tanzania are meats, carbohydrates, and fruits. Some western foods are difficult to find locally (herbal tea, soy products, specialty items). You may want to bring some of the items with you as well as comfort foods (like chocolate), and high-energy foods (Power bars, Gatorade, etc.).

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and afternoon tea are provided on the trek. All meals will have some sort of fruit like bananas, oranges, papayas, and watermelon. Most meals will also have a selection of hot drinks like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. "Tea" is served mid to late afternoon with peanuts, popcorn, fried bread, and/or biscuits/cookies.

Vegetarian and other special diets can be accommodated. Please let us know ahead of time and remind your guide during your trek briefing. Protein options may be minimal on a vegetarian diet, so you may want to bring protein supplements.

Because of the exercise and high altitude, it is recommended that you drink at least 3 liters of water a day. The porters will purify water for you at each camp in the morning and evenings. Altitude may diminish your appetite, but it is very important to keep eating.

At your Moshi or Arusha hotel, only breakfasts are included. Lunches and dinners are available at an extra charge.

"Sample" Menu on Kilimanjaor

Day Breakfast Lunch Dinner
     
Day 1 Hotel Breakfast Hotel Lunch Box Avocado vinaigrette 
Fresh Bread
Cucumber Soup
Spaghetti Bolognese
Veg fry / pies of cheese
Banana fritters
       
Day 2 Black Coffee, Black Tea Cheese Sandwich Nuts or Popcorn
Porridge Pancake/Vegetable Pie Cucumber Soup
Milk / drinking Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Bar Fried rice with beef stew/Veg. fry
Scramble/Spanish egg Boiled egg, Banana & Juice Sweet & Sour sauce
Omelet or Boiled egg Fried Chicken Tea or Coffee
Sausage, Toast Bread or Pancake
Fruits (Watermelon, Papaya, or Juice)
       
Day 3 Black Coffee, Black Tea Beef Burger Pumpkin Soup
Milk / drinking Chocolate Fried Chicken Brown Toast
Scramble egg Zucchini Sauce Macaroni
Spanish egg Juice Veg Sauce
Omelet or Boiled egg Fruits (Pinneaple) Beef fry
Sausage, Toast Bread or Pancake
Fruits (Orange & Banana)
       
Day 4 Black Coffee, Black Tea Chicken with Chips Popcorn 
Porridge Fruit Salad Potato Soup
Milk / drinking Chocolate Buns
Scramble/Spanish egg Coconut Rice
Omelet or Boiled egg Chicken Curry/assorted Veg
Sausage, Toast Bread or Pancake Coffee or Tea
Fruits( Watermelon Papaya or Juice)
       
Day 5 Black Coffee, Black Tea Veg. Potato Stew Veg. Soup
Porridge Tea Spaghetti Bolognise
Milk / drinking Chocolate Fruits (orange) Veg. Fry
Scramble/Spanish egg Banana Fritters
Omelet or Boiled egg
Sausage, Toast Bread or Pancake Summit Take Away
Fruits (Orange & Banana) Biscuit, Chocolate Bar
Juice
     
Day 6 Carrot & Ginger Soup Zucchini Soup
Pancake Bagia
Cheese sandwich Garlic Rice/mashed potatoes
Fruits (Watermelon) Bean stew/fried Veg
Fruit (Orange)
   
Day 7 Black Coffee, Black Tea
Porridge
Milk / drinking Chocolate
Scramble/Spanish egg
Omelet or Boiled egg
Sausage, Toast Bread, or Pancake
Fruits (Watermelon, Papaya, or Juice)

 

Biomes

You will experience many different biomes as you climb Kilimanjaro. The land is cultivated and inhabited up to about 1900 meters (6200 feet) in elevation. You will begin the hike at the edge of the forest. This starts in a dense rainforest with an extremely high ceiling. The forest turns into a shorter forest with moss and giant ferns until about 2800 meters (9200 feet).

Next is the heather biome up to 3300 meters (10,800 feet) when Moorland appears with the unusual Senecio Kilimanjari trees. From 4000 to 4800 meters (13,000 to 15,500 feet), you will go through Alpine Desert where some mosses, lichens, and starchy flowers are all that remain. The area around the summit is Arctic conditions. It looks a bit like moonscape with only rock and glacier.

Photos

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Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro
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More photos of Kilimanjaro treks >>

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