Mountain Climb Overview
Tanzania is blessed with having one of the most famous mountains in the world, Mt Kilimanjaro. In addition, the nearby Mt Meru is also an attractive climbing destination. Mt Kilimanjaro is not famous without good reason. It is not only the highest mountain in Africa, its snow-capped peak towering over the African savanna, but it is also the highest mountain on earth that can be climbed without technical skills or equipment (5,895 m/19,340 ft). It is also the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Along with Mt Meru, both are classified as dormant volcanoes. There are 6 routes used for climbing Kilimanjaro. The Marangu Route offers overnights in dormitory style basic huts (equipped with solar power). All other routes are camping routes.
Since the mountain does not require technical skills to climb, many people underestimate the challenge. Climbers should treat the challenge with respect as the climb is not without danger. Recognizing this, park regulations require all climbers to trek through a certified tour operator and require trained and certified guides and porters to accompany all groups. The biggest obstacle facing climbers is Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) due to the lower oxygen level found at higher altitudes. At the summit, the oxygen level is under half that compared to sea-level (10% compared to 20.9% at sea-level). Among the first symptoms is disorientation, loss of judgment and energy. Unattended, this renders the climber unable to take the proper actions to remedy the situation. At times this even leads to death (average death rate on Mt Kilimanjaro is 10/year). While there is no guarantee of safety in any adventure travel, the risk is minimized through well trained and experienced guides. Kili Trips TZ requires all guides to undergo extensive and ongoing training to insure the safety of our clients. They are fully prepared to handle emergency situations. Mt Kilimanjaro National Park also has emergency evacuation procedures in place if needed. Annually, over 1,000 climbers are evacuated off the mountain, so the park service is well practiced at these procedures. All climbs will have not only a head guide but an assistant guide who is able to lead either rescue situations or lead the remainder of the group while the head guide aids any who cannot continue. As mentioned, a climb is not without danger and also as mentioned a climbers judgment skills are at times compromised by AMS. That means that sometimes a guide might insist that a climber return back before a successful summit. Of course this is a difficult decision for the guide to make and only happens with the health and best interest of the climber in mind. Climbing with Kili Trips TZ, you will be cared for even in the worst case situations.
During the climb, you will take whatever you will need during your days climb and the porters, carrying all other provisions, tents, cooking utensils and food, etc. will go well ahead of you to prepare the camp for your arrival. Upon your arrival you will find the campsite ready with dinner being prepared. A climb can be achieved in as short as 5 days although the success rate increases greatly with adding an altitude acclimatization day. During this time, food supplies are usually brought up to insure fresh fruits and vegetables (it may take 6 or more days of struggle for your climb, but some who have grown up on the mountain can reach the top and back in one day). The success of the climb requires much energy and eating right and eating well is important. Universally, climbers are amazed at the quality of food prepared on the mountain. Our cooks know not only how to prepare tasty meals, but how to prepare high energy meals that are easily digested since nausea accompanies AMS. Kili Trips TZ can accommodate special diet needs (with advanced notice). Over the period of a few days, a climber will pass through several climate zones, from tropical rain-forest to near arctic conditions. This makes packing efficiently and smartly a necessity. See our packing section for our strong recommendations. Items listed can be rented locally. It is recommended that climbers arrive in Tanzania with at least one extra day before climbing. This is smart not only for needed rest but in case of delayed/lost luggage. Feel free to ask questions that are not found on this website. We are here to help.