Kilimanjaro

Organisation and preparation

This page is aimed at sharing our experience in organizing and preparing Kilimanjaro climbing expedition.

Best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro

Before everything we had to decide when was the best time of year for this expedition according to Kilimanjaro weather system.
There are actually two favorable periods to get to Kilimanjaro:
  • From january to march, quite cold which increases the chances of snow. Showers are less likely and clear sky are perfect to gaze at gorgeous landscapes. It is also less busy than:
  • From june to october, during school holidays. The air is warmer and rain showers not likely to happen.
NWe chose january as we wanted to see snow on Kilimanjaro.

Which travel agency to climb Kilimandjaro ?

Climbing Kilimanjaro is expensive, at least more expensive than an expedition in Nepal. For information, 7 days spent climbing Kilimanjaro via Machame route were more expensive than 21 days for Annapurna climbing in Nepal. This is mainly because of the entrance fee in Kilimanjaro national park. Most of travel agencies propose fares all included which we considered too high.
We wanted to directly involve a local tanzanian travel agency but right from scratch it is difficult to find a reliable one. We finally contacted Reachsummit an agency which works in close contact with a local tanzanian travel agency. The first contacts are made and we rapidly realize it corresponds to what we were excpecting:
  • The fare for 7 days is attractive. 7 days, that is to say 1 more day than what the other agencies propose which enables a better acclimatization to altitude. This fare includes entrance to Kilimanjaro national park, camping equipment, meals, hotel night upon arrival and the night before we leave, transportation between Nairobi and Moshi. It doesn't include plane tickets.
  • The guide is english-speaking and well-skilled (climbed Kilimanjaro 326 times).
And as we anticipated this expedition we were lucky to find interesting plane fares resulting in a total fare for the whole expedition of 1800 euros per person that is to say we saved 400 euros compared to other travel agencies whereas spending one extra day.

Which route to climb Kilimanjaro ?

There are numerous routes to climb Kilimanjaro, the most famous ones are Machame and Marangu:
  • Machame route (whisky route) is the one we chose and remains the one most guides consider as the most beautiful but the most difficult.
  • Marangu route (coca cola route) is oldest one and the most popular. Nights are spent in dormitory huts hence the living conditions are easier than on Machame route where camping is the only option.
The other routes are Rongai route, Umbwe route and Shira plateau route. If you hesitate, ask directly to your travel agency, they will for sure give you the best advices.

Physical training to climb Kilimanjaro

Although it became mythical, climbing Kilimanjaro does not require to be a professional sportsman or used to high altitude trekkings. Mountaineering knowledge is not required either as it remains a "simple" trek on practicable terrain. Moreover, climbing Kilimanjaro is allowed from the age of 10.
Having said that, be in good shape and trained can only increase your well being and your chances to get to the summit.
The best advice is to start training 3 or 4 months prior to departure by walking or jogging regularly, increasing progressively the length. You can also walk instead of take the bus, use the stairs instead of the elevator and so on.