Mike Baley

Travelled to 10 countries / regions

Written 18 briefs
Visited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2018-02-01 for 8 days



Africa > Tanzania > Mount Kilimanjaro > Trip Briefs
Updated on Aug 06, 2018 Trip Brief

How to plan for a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Kili is only doable with a tour agency; it's impossible to climb by yourself. Because of this, the cost of climbing Kili is not cheap. The cheapest reliable tour I found was around US$1600, going up to as high as US$3500.
  • The upside is that the agency takes care of pretty much all the logistics for you during the climb. I didn't have to do any cooking, pitching tent, etc. They provide a whole support team of people to look after you (guide, porter, assistant guides, etc.)
  • The cost of the agencies vary depending on route and size of the group. Obviously being in a group of 20 climbers going up the easiest route (Marangu Route) is the cheapest
  • Don't forget to budget for tip as well. It's pretty much mandatory to tip at the end of the climb, and this can range between US$150 to $300
  • Routes: there are 6 routes to choose from. The cost will vary by route and you basically buy a specific route with whichever guide you decide to use. Most of the routes don't require any specialized training or skills
  • Marangu: cheap and popular. Staying in huts instead of tents. Same route up and down
  • Machame (I did this one): also very popular, and not that hard. I did the 7 day option and we were able to summit
  • Rongai: easiest route apparently, and not that popular
  • Shira: intermediate level route
  • Umbwe: very difficult route
  • Lemosho: expensive
  • Getting there:
  • I flew directly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) close to the mountain. I booked well in advance and the flight was actually quite cheap from Ottawa (around CAD$1200 round trip)
  • I stayed the night in a town called Arusha, a little bit west of the airport, where I rented the gear I needed for the climb and met with the tour guide. Arusha and Moshi are the two main towns that people use as their bases for climbing Kili
  • What's the climb like?
  • Big temperature difference day vs. night, and lower altitude vs. higher altitude. The first day I was in shorts and t-shirt, by night I wore a jacket. On the summit it was basically Ottawa winter day and night (-20C at night)
  • Altitude sickness: I experienced some signs of it with shortness of breath and fatigue, but I didn't get any headaches that some people from my group did. I picked the 7-day option specifically because I wanted to add an extra day in here for acclimatization. It's very common for many people to get severe altitude sickness in Kili (I read somewhere that this is the #1 reason people don't end up making it to the top), and the biggest reason for altitude sickness is not enough time for acclimatization
  • No shower: duh. I sweat a lot and in lower altitudes this got pretty gross. But as soon as you get above 3000 meters it gets cold and dry you don't really notice it
  • There's cellphone signal: this was pretty cool and completely unexpected. I had an international roaming plan with Bell and I was able to Facebook the entire trip. There's no power supply but I brought my own power bank
  • Toilet situation: most people just find a bush somewhere along the way if they need to go (I did). Always check with your guide, and obviously take toilet papers away with you. I had a little sealable bag for this purpose (sounds pretty gross I know)


User submitted photo of Mount Kilimanjaro

Day 1 campsite

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Higher altitude

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