Frequently asked questions
The following are the questions that we tend to get asked the most by our climbers. If you have further questions after reading this, do check out the Climb Mount Kilimanjaro website that accompanies the guide book, and of course the Kilimanjaro guide book itself, which has been deliberately designed to give as much detail and answer as many questions as possible.
About your trek
No. All of the treks, including the Full Circuit Umbwe and Alternative Lemosho treks, are walks, not climbs. Nor do you need any special equipment, so you can leave all your ropes, crampons, ice axes etc at home. All of the routes are walking routes only.
The treks vary from six to eight days. The exact length of each trek is written on the Trekking dates and prices page. You can, of course, ask for treks that are longer than eight days and we can arrange this for you; though we don’t book treks for less than 6 days as we feel this is too short to allow you to acclimatise properly.
We are. We are not agents for anybody, but run the treks ourselves through our own Tanzanian company. So you can rest assured that whoever you speak to in our company has climbed Kilimanjaro – and probably many times.
The treks will be led by a local guide whom we have hand-picked because of their knowledge, expertise and experience on the mountain. We have an advantage here: because of the many years we have been working on the mountain and the number of times we have climbed it, so we are able to employ only those guides who meet our very stringent criteria. We employ only those who demonstrate excellent knowledge of the mountain, first-rate safety records, brilliant leadership skills and routinely provide wonderful care and attention towards all climbers to ensure the trek is a safe and enjoyable one.
In short, we think our guides are the best currently working on the mountain.
Please note that, in accordance with the rules of the park authorities, on every trek there will be one guide for every two climbers.
The maximum number of people on the trek is eight. Occasionally this may stretch to nine or ten if, for example, there are already seven people booked on the trek and a group of two or three want to join. On the rare occasion where this happens we will contact those already booked on the trek to see if they have any objection to the group size growing above eight.
Yes. Of course we are. As readers of my guidebook will know, we are keen supporters and advocates of KPAP and admire the work that they, and their indefatigable boss, Karen Valenti, do to ensure that porters are fairly treated and properly paid for their work on Kilimanjaro. We completed our six months of ‘probation’ with them back in 2018, which means we are now fully fledged partners of KPAP. As such, there will be a KPAP ‘spy’ on all of our treks to ensure we abide by KPAP’s stringent criteria to becoming a partner. We also pay all of our mountain crew – the porters, guides, assistant guides and cooks – the wages recommended by KPAP.
A reasonable level of fitness is required to climb Kilimanjaro. You can read more about this subject by following this link to the Fitness for Kilimanjaro page. Note that those hoping to sleep in the Crater Camp must understand the dangers of sleeping at 5730m ASL, and the extra stress this puts on the body. As such, you should be of considerably above average fitness to book a night at Crater Camp.
Click here for a brief introduction to the routes up Kilimanjaro on this site.
You will receive an exact itinerary when you send us an enquiry. In the meantime, you can read a summary of each of the treks by visiting the Routes up Kilimanjaro section on the Kili guide website. You can also find detailed day-by-day descriptions and detailed day-by-day route maps of each of the trails in the guide book – which you will receive for free when you book a trek through us.
For the special routes that we do, please click on this link for the Alternative Lemosho Route, and on this link for the Full Circuit Umbwe.
9) I’ve heard that the Western Breach Route to the summit is open again. Can I take this path to the summit?
The Western Breach Route is indeed open again and we can book a climb for you on this route – though do note that we do not recommend it. The reason is that the changes that were recommended to KINAPA following the tragedy that killed three climbers and led to the closure of the route in the first place have not been implemented. A further disaster in 2015 means we are reluctant to book climbers on this trek – and will only do so if we feel that they are fully aware of the risks involved – and will ask you to sign a release form that states that you are clearly aware of the extra dangers present on this route.
10) I would like to book my trek through Kili Experts but my group is larger than eight - is this a problem?
We aim to keep the size of the public groups to a minimum, as we feel that a group that is much larger than eight trekkers is cumbersome and trekkers lose the sense that they are in a wilderness if there are too many people. That said, if you are a single, private group, then there is no problem accommodating you whatever the size of the group, as, of course, you will be aware before arriving in Tanzania of the number of people you will be trekking with.
We can book a trek for just one person but this will be quite expensive. If you are a solo traveller, therefore, we strongly advise you to join one of the scheduled treks. But if there are two of you then you can either join a public trek or opt for a private one. It’s more fun on a public trek, in my opinion, but weighed against that is the fact that you can choose the route up Kilimanjaro that you follow, the starting date of the trek and its duration on a private trek.
Sure, just visit the Full Circuit Umbwe and Alternative Lemosho pages and you’ll find all the relevant information there.
You can rest assured that with all of our treks the aim is to maximise your chances of making it to the top. By monitoring the pace of the trek, the amount of food and rest that each trekker gets and their overall health and well-being, as well as devising different routes on the mountain, we maximise the chances of our clients to stand on the Roof of Africa.
That said, the ambition for all treks is to make sure that all trekkers fulfil their potential – which does not necessarily mean reaching the summit. We will not jeopardise the health of anybody just so that we can say that all trekkers who booked through us have reached the top. We want you to enjoy your trek, to have a fantastic experience and to love the mountain almost as much as we do. And we want you to feel that you have done the best you can. But above all else, we want you to be safe. Everything else is of secondary importance. So if it is felt that you are not fit or well enough to reach the top, you will not be allowed to try.
No. As the price includes your park fees, food, equipment, etc, a refund cannot be paid to those who do not make it to the summit.
Booking your trek
You will find a schedule by following the links to the Trekking dates and prices page. Note, however, that if there are two or more of you, we can book a private trek for you. This means that you can go on the dates you want and on the route you want. And what’s more, the price will not be any more expensive than if you were joining one of the prearranged treks – and if there are three or more of you, you still get the same discounts as you would if joining a public trek!
Our prices can be found by following this link to the pricing table on the Trekking Dates page.
You will note that these dates and prices refer just to the treks. We have not printed any dates for our safaris. This is because the safaris are usually private, and so there are rarely public safaris that you can join (though if you are a solo trekker and want a safari afterwards, but can’t afford a private one, then do ask us as we can sometimes put you on a safari to save you money). As for the price of a safari, because there are so many variables (duration, destinations/parks visited, accommodation level etc) so we can’t compose a simple table of prices for these. But just get in touch and we’ll recommend which parks you should visit at the time of year you’re travelling and the number of days you want to go on safari for, and quote you prices depending on whether you want a lightweight camping safari or something more luxurious.
Again you can find out what exactly is included in the price of your trek – and what isn’t! – by visiting the What’s included in your trek section of the dates and prices page.
18) I'd like to book my climb through you but not on the dates you are offering in the schedule - is it possible to book on another date?
Yes. If you wish to book a climb with us on a date that is not listed on the Trekking dates and prices page, just contact us. If there are two or more of you, it won’t cost any more than if you booked on one of our public treks. Whereas if you are trekking on a solo climb just for one person, we can still arrange a trek for you but the price will be higher. (See the first column of the pricing table.)
19) Why is there such variation between the cost of trekking with different agencies? I’ve seen other treks costing US$5000-6000 - and some offering treks for as little as US$1200!
Our aim is not to offer the cheapest treks on the mountain – just the best value. It’s true that we do not offer the cheapest treks on Kilimanjaro – the ethical policy, and the fact that the crew are paid some of the best wages on the mountain, means that our treks will always a bit more than the very cheapest treks.
Indeed, for those companies who offer cheaper treks, you may want to ask exactly how much they are paying their staff!
Once you have done that, then just compare our prices with those of other trekking agencies who offer a comparable service and fair wages to their mountain crews – and you’ll see what we mean when we say that we think we offer the best value treks on the mountain.
So maybe you shouldn’t be asking why our treks are cheap – but why other companies are so expensive!
i) If you are a solo trekker: Booking a private trek for just one person only is an expensive business. We can arrange it, but if you are a solo trekker and money is an issue then we strongly advise that you join one of the prearranged treks instead. To do this, simply visit the trekking schedule and find a trek that is suitable. Note that we update this page every time there is a new trek, so if there is not one on the dates you want don’t give up – because new treks are being organised all the time.
Once you have found a trek that suits you, simply send us an email with details of which trek you wish to book. You can also tell us of any other activities and excursions (Mount Meru trek, safari, Zanzibar etc) that you want to go on as well. We will then send you the link to our Trek Booking Form which you fill out online, and which shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two to complete. Once we have received this, we will then send you a second and final form, on which you can inform us about your preferred accommodation for before/after the trek, and your arrival/departure details (so your airport transfers, which are included in the price, can be sorted out).
After we have received this form back from you, and your treks/accommodation/ safari/ Zanzibar trip have all been booked, we will send you an invoice for the deposit (US$250 per person or equivalent in your currency), as well as our terms and conditions, which we will ask you to read carefully. Once this is paid, we will send out a copy of the guide book to help you prepare for your trek. If you have any questions regarding the trek or the booking, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by email. You can also visit our How to book page for more details.
ii) If there are two or more of you: If there are two or more of you then your choices are much greater. You can either choose to join one of the prearranged treks – or, for the same price, book a trek on whatever dates/route you want. You can also tell us whether you want it to be a private trek, or whether you are happy for other people to join you (which we will assume unless you tell us otherwise).
The actual booking process is exactly the same as above: Once you have got in touch with us and told us you are interested in booking your trek through us, we will ask you to fill out a Trek Booking Form which you fill out online, and which shouldn’t take you more than a minute or two to complete. Once we have received this, we will then discuss your accommodation for before/after the trek, and your arrival/departure details (so we can book your airport transfers, which are included in the package). Once we have sorted all this out, and your trek/accommodation/safari/Zanzibar trip are all booked as well, we will send you an invoice for the deposit (US$250 per person or equivalent in your currency), and our terms and conditions which we will ask you to read carefully.
Once this is paid, we will send out a copy of the guidebook to help you prepare for your trek. If you have any questions regarding the trek or the booking, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by email. You can also visit our How to book page for more details.
Only once every aspect of your trip is sorted out and booked – including not only the trek but any accommodation, safari, Zanzibar excursion etc – will we then send you an invoice for a deposit, which will be for US$250 per person.
As we are charged in US dollars, so all our prices are quoted in US dollars too. However, we are able to accept a wide range of other currencies too including sterling, euros, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars and many more. Just ask us and we’ll do our best to oblige. Nor do we use ridiculous exchange rates. Instead, we use the rates set by Transferwise which are widely regarded as the fairest market exchange rates in common use.
If you are paying by credit or debit card there is a 2.99% fee. International transfers are also accepted and is the easiest way to pay.
For this reason, we recommend that you pay the deposit by credit or debit card. The 2.99% fee for this relatively small amount will probably be cheaper than arranging a transfer (though do check with your bank about their fees first.)
When it comes to paying the final balance we recommend you pay by international transfer. There will be no extra charge from us for receiving these transfers, though you may want to speak with your bank first as, again, they will usually charge a fee to carry out the transfer.
We do also accept cash on arrival, providing that you have already paid a deposit and arranged with us beforehand that you want to pay the balance when you arrive in Tanzania.
We offer a wide range of accommodation options which you can find out about on our Accommodation page. Note that some of these will require the payment of an ‘upgrade fee’ as they are of a superior standard to the hotels that are included in your trek package.
We like to have everything sorted out 45 days before you are due to begin your climb. The exact date will be given on your invoice. Sending us the money this far in advance gives us time to pay the hotels, and to pay for other services that need paying for beforehand.
Obviously if you are booking a trek at the last minute then we will be flexible on this deadline and will find a way to work around it. Similarly, if you contact us in advance because you are having trouble meeting the deadline then we may able to arrange a later deadline.
We try to be as fair as possible when it comes to people cancelling their trip. Basically, if you need to cancel your trek for whatever reason, providing you do so at least two months prior to departure you will receive a refund for the full amount paid less US$250 per person (ie, the amount equivalent to the deposit we charge to reserve your trek) and any safari deposit you have paid. We need to charge this fee to cover our costs.
However, if, instead of cancelling your trek, you merely wish to postpone it and climb on a later date , then any payments you have made (whether you have merely made a deposit payment or have already paid the full balance) will be passed on to this new trek – so you lose nothing.
Preparing for your trek
You can find a comprehensive list of things to bring in the book and on the What to wear and what to bring section on this site.
Note that we supply tents, mess tents and private toilets. We also provide sleeping mats. But we don’t supply sleeping bags – you’ll either have to bring one from home or hire one from us (see Question 28, below)
You can hire top-quality equipment for no more than a few dollars per item per day – though do make sure you contact us early with your requirements (including, where necessary, the required sizes), to ensure that we can reserve this for you.
The kit we can rent out, and the cost of renting these items, is as follows:
Sleeping bags US$5 per day
Down/summit jackets US$5 per day
Waterproof trousers US$2 per day
Waterproof jacket US$2 per day
Head torch US$1 per day
Walking poles US$2 per day
Daypack US$3 per day
Balaclava / Buff: US$1 per day
Large kit bag US$5 per day
Gloves US$2 per day
Just let us know if there are any items you require and, where necessary, your size (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and I’ll make sure we reserve these items for you.
Yes, definitely. We insist that you are fully insured for your trek. Do read our advice on the insurance for Kilimanjaro page on the climb Kilimanjaro website and also the information on the Preparing for your trek page on this website.
By far the best and most convenient way to get to Kilimanjaro is to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), served by airlines such as KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Kenya Airways. From the airport, we will transfer you to your hotel (which, as with the transfer back to the airport at the end of your trek, is included in the price of your trek).
You can also fly to Nairobi or Dar es Salaam, and catch a bus or local flight to Kilimanjaro, Moshi or Arusha from there. Though transfers from these airports are not included in our package (only from JRO), we can help you to arrange tickets for these buses (though note that we are not insured for any public bus travel taken by our clients, so any bus journey taken by you is done so entirely at your own risk and we are not responsible for any loss or injury that occurs during the journey).
We advise you to spend at least one full day in Tanzania before beginning your trek. Arriving by plane one day and then climbing the next is not the best way to begin a trek. This is particularly true if you’re coming from North America, Australia, New Zealand, or the Far East, where journey times to Tanzania are much longer. See our ‘typical itinerary’ page for more details on this.
On the mountain
On the Trek Booking Form you will notice a box where you can tell us about any dietary requirements you may have. As long as you give us enough notice, we will be able to satisfy any dietary demands – vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, nut allergy etc etc. See the Food on Kilimanjaro page for further details.
The trek will be led by a local guide. These have been handpicked for their experience, expertise, knowledge of the English language etc. I am really proud of our guides – indeed, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that I think they are one of the greatest advantages we have over other companies. Nearer the time of the trek I will send you details of the guide(s) who will be accompanying you on the trek.
The guides have been trained in high-altitude medical care. Each trek will also be equipped with a comprehensive first-aid medical kit. The guides also carry oxygen for those people who are suffering from altitude sickness – though this is very much a last resort and the guides are trained to spot altitude sickness before it becomes necessary to use oxygen.
You can read a more comprehensive description of the safety procedures that we operate on the mountain by reading safety on the mountain page.
You can read all about our procedures for evacuating a climber from the mountain on our Your safety is our priority page.
Yes, this is vital. A guide to tipping can be found in the book, as well as on the Tipping your Kilimanjaro crew section on this website.
Reception on the mountain is patchy, though it depends to a large degree on which route you decide to take. At the foot of every itinerary you’ll find details of where we’ve been able to get reception on Kili. Your crew will also know where they can get reception, and you’ll often see porters drifting off from the campsite together to walk to a spot where they’ve got reception before.
Of course, these days a phone is more than just something to speak into, and you’ll also find your phone useful for taking photos, recording sound, using as a torch, playing games in the campsite, tracking your exact location etc etc etc. So do remember to bring a battery pack/powerpack or two, to make sure you can keep it charged during the trek. Our guide will have a battery pack for his phone too, and towards the end of the trek he may let you use it. But, of course, his first priority is to keep in touch with our office to keep us updated on your progress on the mountain – so for this reason he’ll probably be reluctant to let you borrow it, at least for the first few days of the trek.
There are public toilets at the campsites on Kili, and occasionally elsewhere too. But sometimes they are in a dreadful state, incredibly unclean, with doors separated from their hinges or missing altogether. The smell is appalling, and as for the state of the floor, well, all I can say is that some people have a terrible aim. Going to one of these wooden toilet huts at night, with minimal lighting, can be quite an upsetting experience, particularly if, and when, you accidentally put your hand in something wet or squelchy.
So at Kili Experts, we provide private toilets on all treks at a ratio of one toilet for every four people. We also provide toilet roll, and someone to empty and clean the toilets every day. They are still not the height of luxury, of course, but they’re private, clean – and a great deal less scary than the public option.
As for hygiene, well standards are pretty minimal on Kili, as you can imagine. But we do our best to make sure that you are safe and healthy on the trek. We have hand sanitisers available in the mess tent for you to use before each meal. The porters are also encouraged to use (separate) sanitisers.
We also provide a bowl of hot water and some soap twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, for each trekker, to enable you to freshen up. Obviously, for most of our climbers this ‘bathing regime’ is far more minimal than they’re used to at home. But just remember, everybody is in the same boat on the mountain, water is very limited in supply, and after a couple of days you won’t care too much about what you look like. And if you think you’re starting to smell, well thankfully you’ll be wearing several layers most of the time and any aroma won’t be able to escape. A packet of ‘wet-wipes’ are also useful to maintain some sort of cleanliness – just make sure you throw them in the bin (which we usually attach to the mess tent door), and that they aren’t left to litter the campsite.
Other trips and excursions in Tanzania
Certainly – a trek up Mount Meru is a great way to acclimatise. It is also, as anyone who has read the Meru chapter in the book will know, a great trek – though don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an easy one. Just get in touch with us and we’ll sort out everything.
On the book’s website you can read an introduction to climbing Mount Meru.
Certainly. We can book safaris around the ‘Northern Circuit’ of Tanzania (ie the national parks of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara etc), as well as flights to Zanzibar and accommodation whilst there.
But there is too much to describe here; when you book your trek through us, let us know if you are interested in taking further excursions before or after the trek (there’s a little space on the form for this) and we’ll be able to send you information about what exactly we can arrange.
41) I've been reading your book and would like to visit the Amani orphanage in Moshi. Is this possible? How about other excursions in the local area?
That’s really not a problem. Indeed, if you’ve got the time, we encourage you to visit the orphanage – especially if it’s Wednesday afternoon when you can join in with their football match! We can also try to book trips around Marangu, Swahili lessons, drum workshops – or you can simply laze by your hotel pool. Just let us know when you book your trek and we’ll try to get this arranged for you.
42 I want to go on a lengthy safari. I might even want to visit the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. Can you help?
Of course we can. We have links with companies in Uganda/Rwanda to help you find the most suitable gorilla/chimpanzee safari (and the best value!) Please note that you won’t get these safaris cheaper if you book directly with these companies – and indeed often it is cheaper to book through us. Just get in touch and we’ll sort out a suitable safari for you.