During the expedition
The delightful hotel
The first and last two nights of the Kilimanjaro Expedition you stay
in an atmospheric and lushy green hotel in the centre of the town of
Moshi. When you book, you can indicate if you prefer a single,
double or triple room. The hotel has a bar, a restaurant, a massage parlor (very pleasant after the climb), safes for valuables and laundry services.
During your stay at the hotel the simple breakfast buffets are included.
You climb the Kilimanjaro in 7 days and 6 nights through
the Machame Route. Through this
route you 'climb' up, and after reaching the top, turn and
descend via the Mweki route. During this route you will
enjoy the views of tropical rain forests to the magnificent
endless moon-landscape above the 4000 metres.
Every expedition is guided by one or two well-qualified
mountain guides (depending on the size of your group). They
are extremely well trained to assess your well-being. If you don't feel well during any point of the climb, always
inform your guide. Usually the guide will have already noticed and will help and support you. Sometimes you just need a
motivational push or small medical assistance (think
blisters). The mountain guides are solely responsible for
your health and welfare and will therefore do anything to
On the first climbing day everyone gathers at Machame
Gate, the entrance to the Kilimanjaro National Park and the
start of the Machame route. Here you you the guides
select the mountain porters who carry all belongings and
weigh their baggage. Porters will be carrying over 60
kilograms. Here you must register yourself.
You should absolutely not climb if your doctor has advised against it, if you are pregnant, or have severe
difficulty in breathing. If you are over 3500 meters and you
have a burden of colds, cough, an elevated body
temperature gets a nosebleed, you will be advised by the
guide as ti whether you should continue or descend
to prevent altitude sickness.
- Porters provide you with daily drinking water. The
first day water will be bottled, but on the mountain you
will drink cooked and filtered fresh water. You need to drink at least three litres of water per day. The porters
arrange breakfast, lunch and a solid nutritious dinner
(several courses). You have to supply energizing daytime
- The communication to the park rangers at foot of the
mountain goes through mobile phones.
- All guides carry a first aid kit.
- Every night the guide will check your heartbeat
and the percentage of oxygen in your blood with an
optimeter to determine whether you're
fit enough to continue the next day.
- Every night on the mountain you will get a briefing
by the guide about the itinerary of the following day.
You'll notice immediately that the walking speed after
the start is already very slow. There is absolutely no
hurry. You'll soon notice that the slow pace is ideal: you
don't get out of breath and you don't need many resting
breaks. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the flora and fauna around
you. Another advantage of the slow pace is that your body has the chance to properly adjust to the altitude.
The climb to
the top of the Kilimanjaro
On the sixth day you will be given an early dinner after
already a full day of walking. Your guide will advise you to
quickly go to sleep to prepare yourself for the coming
night. Indeed, around midnight, the ascent of the summit
starts. After a light snack and drink the head lights go on,
you're dressed up warm against the cold and you'll set off -
very slowly - to the top of the volcano in the darkness of
This is the most exciting day of the Expedition, because
everything comes down to this. How far do you get, do you
stay warm enough, do you get enough oxygen, do you quit?
Always follow the advice of the guide and with enough
stamina you can see the sun rise somewhere near Stella Point
(5685 m). With the sun that slowly warming up your body you
walk along the crater towards the ultimate summit: Uhuru
Peak (5895 m). At that moment you reach the highest point on the
During the days on the mountain it can easily be 30
degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) and you can mostly walk wearing only a t-shirt
at 3,000 metres. Wind can sometimes be a disadvantage,
causing the temperature to drop to 15 degrees Celsius (59 F).
You will notice a huge temperature change once the sun goes
down and the night begins. At night, it can freeze (a warm
sleeping bag is absolutely necessary). The morning is pleasant and
soon you'll be taking off your sweater as the strong sun begins to shine again.
Unfortunately there can be no guarantee given for sunny
days. Depending on the seasons it may also rain or snow. Be
always prepared with the proper clothing. The guide can give
you very good advice on how to dress for the next day.
You'll hardly believe it, but during the climb will you
really never get any shortage of food. The chef cooks great
mountain menus under the most difficult circumstances.
Breakfast includes wheat porridge (fibres!), toasted bread
with a variety of sweet ingredients to put on it, omelets,
fried bacon and a big bowl of fresh cut fruit. For drinks
you can choose from tea, coffee, hot chocolate or filtered
Lunch starts each day with soup and fresh vegetable
salad. Expect pancakes, cakes or sandwiches with various
fruit drinks. In between the chef prepares grilled peanuts
and salty popcorn and you can choose from chocolates and
biscuits. Dinner is one of the most important meals of the
day. After a long walk your body needs to be fed to recover
and to prepare for the next day. Dinner may consist of fish,
chicken, chips, pancakes, rice, pasta with various
vegetables, the Tanzanian banana stew Ndizi, followed by a
rich desert (fresh fruit, baked with chocolate sauce) and
banana pancakes with honey and Tanzanian yogurt.
Every day you will be surprised with what the chef will
If you have special dietary desires, let them know when
you book your Expedition Kilimanjaro. The chef will match
your wishes with his cooking.
The porters carry your luggage
A porter may officially carry 15 kilograms of your
baggage. So make sure your bag (clothing, sleeping bag and
all other supplies) is not heavier than 15 kilograms.
You 'daypack' should also be as light as possible. If you
already have three litres of water in it, there is already a
good weight. Fill the rest of your pack with only those
things you need on the route, such as energy snacks, sunscreen, a scarf and a warm sweater. Sunglasses and head
protection should already be on your head.
In addition to your luggage a porter will also carry all
supplies up the mountain: food, water, tents, the kitchen
and their own belongings. In the morning they will pack up
camp and they will run past you when you are already walking
again. Once you arrive at the next camp at the end of the
afternoon, you'll see that everything is ready. Your luggage
will already be in your tent and hot coffee will be waiting for you.
You will be staying in daily double tents on camping grounds
where you'll meet many other climbers. If you wish to have a
tent for yourself, please request one during your booking.
Depending on availability, this is usually free or a small
fee is requested (locally).
The toilets on the mountain are wooden boxes with a hole in
the floor. It may take a few days to get used to it.
Every morning the porters arrange a bowl of hot water for
you so you can wash your self for as much as possible.
If you have any trash, gather it every morning and give
it to the porters. Garbage is burned or carried along
until the end of the expedition (when plastic).
If you use a digital camera, you should always bring enough
full batteries with you during the climb. Because of the
cold they become empty faster than normal. Also, put batteries
in a place where they are no direct exposure to the
cold. During my own expeditions, I held all batteries in my
sleeping bag at night and had no problems.
At most locations on the mountain you'll notice there is
a mobile (roaming) network available also supplying data
traffic. Some people have even used Twitter to tell their friends
they made it to the top!
Just remember there is no way to charge a phone on the
mountain, unless you use solar panels.
After the climb
Anyone who made it to Stella Point or Uhuru Peak
will receive theire official certificate after the expedition
at Mweki Gate or at the hotel.
At the hotel you can relax and order a massage for those
tired legs and back muscles. You will love it.
In Tanzania it is customary to tip about 10% of
any total price. This applies to all services that might be
provided for you. So please remember to also think about the guide that kept you safe for seven long days, as well as the chef and the porters. If the
expedition will cost you $2,300 total, at least count
on 230 dollars for a tip for your entire mountain team (one team of twelve participants can already have a support team of several guides, assistants, chefs and over 25 porters).
If you have finished your climb and you have clothing left
which you'll no longer use and you want to make your luggage
lighter, donate your old clothes, shoes or other supplies
to your chief guide. He knows exactly which members of
his team will be most in need with new shoes, winter gear and
Expedition Kilimanjaro calls for a good physical condition,
good planning and adequate acclimatization to the high
altitude. The book Kilimanjaro, A Trekking Guide to
Africa's Highest Mountain
by Henry Stedman helps you
with planning for the physical and mental condition and the
need to acclimatize yourself.
All facets of the mountain and its environment are addressed
in this great book. The author provides information about
what you can expect and how then can reach the top with lots
of practical background information. Details include information about de town Moshi, on the nature
(flora and fanua) of the region and the mountain itself.
You can order this book online at Amazon.com