Climbing Kilimanjaro is a major bucket list item for many people. I was lucky enough to be able to make the trek and experience the highest point in Africa. After receiving so many questions about my climb I wanted to put together a comprehensive guide to really get into what it takes to make it to the roof of Africa. This Kilimanjaro Guide will be a resource for you as you plan your journey, prepare for the climb, and reach an amazing goal.
Welcome to Our Kilimanjaro Guide
Ways to Get There
When I flew to Africa I was coming from the U.S. I flew to Frankfurt and then to Nairobi. I spent a few days in Nairobi as I wanted to see the city and give myself a little chance to recoup from jet lag and prepare my body for the climb. Another reason I stayed in Nairobi instead of flying straight to Moshi was because it was less expensive. I found a very good fare to Nairobi, and even with additional flights to Moshi from Nairobi, it was still less than it would have been direct.
Getting to Moshi by land is a cool way to make the trek. This had been my intention from the beginning, but some scheduling issues (and a Yellow Fever vaccination mishap), I ended up flying. If this is your plan, you can book through Riverside Shuttle. The trip will take about 8 hours but you’ll be going through some amazing African back country. The price doesn’t hurt either. A return trip from Nairobi to Moshi is $80USD. This was my reasoning for trying to go by land but if you aren’t up for a long trek on some bumpy roads before your long hike, you can always fly.
There are daily flights from Nairobi to Moshi on a surprisingly large plane. Seeing as Kili is in a small town I thought we’d be flying on some prop plane. Moshi has flights to most major capitals in Africa, and even some in Europe so it’s very well-connected. They have to get all of those hikers to the mountain somehow.
From Dar Es Salaam
Depending on where in the world you’re coming from, it might be cheaper to fly to Tanzania’s capital. Another great reason to fly to Dar is because it’s close to the island of Zanzibar. A lot of hikers travel to Zanzibar after the trek to relax on the beach and recover from the strenuous climb. You might look into making Dar your “homebase” in Africa and start and end your trip there to get a little R&R before and after.
The Kilimanjaro Express bus line runs between Moshi and Dar Es Salaam. The trip takes around 10 hours and is about $XX USD.
Direct to Moshi
Like I’ve said above, you can get a direct flight to Moshi from most major cities in the area. This is definitely the most convenient way to start your trip but might not be the most cost effective. Just weigh the pros and cons of time vs. expensive and what your ultimate goal is. A lot of my group flew directly to Moshi and didn’t stop anywhere else in Africa.
Getting to town from the Kilimanjaro Airport:
The airport is about 45 minutes by taxi from Moshi, depending on where exactly you’re staying. Taxis have a set price of $50 from the airport which can be a little steep if you’re traveling solo like I was. You can also try to arrange a shuttle with your hotel beforehand which might save you some money but it will most likely still be expensive.
An alternative to get into town is to take the bus. Precision Air operates a shuttle bus to Moshi (or Arusha) for about 10,000 TSH ($XXUSD). Passengers of other airlines can sometimes take the shuttle but only if
Because you must go with a tour company, I chose to go with G Adventures. (In all honesty I would have gone with a tour company whether or not it was mandated by the country, but in case you’re thinking of making the trek alone, it’s not possible to even enter the National Park without a certified guide.)
What Was Included
With G Adventures, and many similar style companies, there are many items included in the tour price. Here’s what I got with my booking:
- Hotel stays the night before and night after the hike.
- All food and water during the trek
- A tent (shared, unless you book a single)
- Guides to make sure you don’t die
- Porters to lug up your duffel bag and all items needed for your camp
Other vetted and popular tour companies that offer similar treks:
While the hike itself is pretty structured as far as how long you will hike each day, what camps you will stay at, and when you will rest, the different routes are where you can customize your adventure. Most routes that are offered by tours are around the same skill level, though there are more rough ones that a private guide could take you on. I would advise (to the best of my knowledge) that those routes should only be attempted by those who are the toughest of the tough.) Unfortunately, people do die on Kili when they attempt such routes because of their unstable terrain. I’m not trying to say you could never do this, but from what the other guides told my group, these routes aren’t any better, or faster, they’re just more death-defying. Basically I’m saying, choose at your own risk, but the ones I’m talking about now are all safe and rarely ever have any issues on people’s health.
Marangu Route– This is one of the
Rongai Route– This route is
Machame Route– This is the route I took. I chose it because it’s one of the more popular and had a median length for the climb. There is an acclimation day built in that should help
Lemosho Route– This is most likely the most difficult route. While I don’t have first hand experience with this route,
How to Prepare
To Do Before You Leave:
- Get Your vaccines
- Take care of things at home: this sounds simple, but make sure that things at home are taken care of- bill’s paid…
Preparing Your Body for the Climb:
- Go on hikes
- Life weights
- Walk uphill on treadmill
What to Take:
Take a look at my comprehensive packing list for exactly what I took on the climb with me, as well as a few tips and tricks for what you might want to bring.
What to Expect
What you might experience:
- nausea- especially on summit night
- aches and pains
What to do in Africa
If you find yourself with more time in Africa, and want some ideas on what else to do in the area, here are some ideas.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
Maasai mara National Reserve, Kenya
Ono River Region, Ethopia
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Siri Falls, Uganda
I hope you enjoyed our Kilimanjaro Guide and got some use out of it in planning your adventure. If you have any questions send me a message over at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to answer them!