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Kilimanjaro

Africa's highest peak and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro offers an exciting, demanding but very achievable trekking challenge for those looking for an active and adventurous Africa holiday.

Climbing Kili (as it is known) is straightforward but is not a trek to be taken lightly. At a little under 6,000 metres the altitude is serious, but then so is the sense of achievement.

Enjoy a Kilimanjaro climb in conjunction with a few days in a boutique resort in Zanzibar afterwards. You will genuinely feel deserving of some rest and relaxation after climbing Kilimanjaro.

 

Discover Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro & Zanzibar

Climb Kili via the most popular Machame Route. Also includes a couple of days pre-climb and 4 nights in Zanzibar to recover!

Machame Route
Includes Beach Extension
13 Nights from
£2795pp
View
Flight Inclusive Price from UK

The Machame Route

We consider Machame the best route for climbing Kilimanjaro, considering acclimatisation, scenery, logistics and cost.

Of the different routes for climbing Kilimanjaro (Kili), Machame is the most popular and in our opinion the best option for getting to the summit.

The shorter routes for climbing Kili include Umbwe (the shortest), Marangu and Rongai. These routes are shorter, but the gradients make them harder going.

The Londorossi Route via Shira Plateau is the longest approach, with an 8 to 10 day trek and longer acclimatisation.

The Machame route includes 4 days high up and a “climb-high-sleep-low” routine on the summit circuit.

The Marangu Route up Kili is a popular budget climbing route (and there are huts as well) but it's straight up and down the same way.

 

Staying at Kibo (4,700m) for two or more nights is not permitted so the acclimatisation day on this route is at Horombo (3,700 m), which is just not high enough for most trekkers to offer real acclimatisation.

Fewer than 25% of climbers make it to the summit on this route as they are often rushed and ill prepared.

Londorossi/Shira offers great scenery and the first three days are in a more remote and seldom visited area with a hike across the other-worldly Shira Plateau.

This route links with the Machame route around the summit circuit skirting the spectacular Western Breach.

The Marangu route does have great views of Mawenzi - but you see that as well from Barafu on the Machame route.

The Umbwe Route has nothing on the way up until the moorland except the walls of a steep gorge.

The Rongai Route is logistically convenient if you come from the Kenya side - but fairly unexciting scenically.

Baggage:

  • Large Rucksack (for equipment to be carried by porter)
  • Daysack (for personal use on mountain; ready-access items)
  • Sleeping Bag (minus 10 degrees Centigrade rating). We can organise rental.
  • Waterproof rucksack liner or heavy duty plastic sack
  • Elasticated waterproof rucksack cover

Clothing:

  • Sweat-wicking T-shirts / vests Fleece.
  • Insulated down jacket or similar. We can organise rental.
  • Down mittens or similar. We can organise rental.
  • Thermal long-johns for summit night.
  • Lightweight walking trousers (avoid jeans or heavy cotton as they chafe and dry slowly).
  • Underwear (briefs are usually better than boxer shorts which gather and chafe).
  • Very good quality hiking socks and thin liner socks. (We advise that socks should be at least a size too small otherwise they stretch and bunch causing blisters)
  • Breathable lightweight waterproofs (jacket and trousers). We can organise rental.
  • Waterproof walking boots, sturdy and worn-in.
  • A Gore-tex membrane or similar is advised.
  • Calf gaiters
  • Balaclava
  • Sun hat

Hygiene:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant
  • Flat packed Wet Ones in sealed packets of 20.
  • Toilet paper, eg. Kleenex tissues in plastic travel pouches
  • Hairbrush / comb Sanitary products
  • Lip salve with UV protection
  • Vaseline, to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters

Health:

  • Malaria Tablets (if you choose to take these. Most will seek advice from their GP. Note that some anti-malarial courses need to commence several weeks before departure)
  • Factor 30+  sun cream Sun barrier cream white / blue for nose and ears

Documents:

  • Passport (with additional 6 months’ validity after proposed expedition return date)
  • Tanzanian Entry Visa
  • Cash in US dollars in denominations of $10 and $20 and $1 (tipping allowance and local purchases, taxis, meals, etc)
  • Credit Card (recommended for eventualities only)
  • Travel Insurance Documents Vaccination Certificates (Yellow Fever, if visiting a ‘risk zone’ prior to entering Tanzania)

Other Items:

  • Camera and film or Digital Camera
  • Sunglasses with UV-filter lenses
  • High Energy Snacks (Cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts)
  • Spare Contact Lenses and fluid, if worn.
  • Watch Torch with spare batteries and bulb.
  • A Head torch is required for summit night Water Bottles & Camelbak (3 litres carrying capacity).
  • Water Purification Tablets / Iodine drops
  • Ear Plugs and Blindfold (to aid sleep on afternoon before summit night)
  • Plastic bags (for dirty washing, wrappings, etc.)
  • Telescopic walking poles (optional)
  • Mobile phone. There is signal reception on most parts of the mountain. It is a good idea to unlock your phone before you come out so that a local sim card can be used.
  • Personal Small First Aid Kit Pain Killers (Ibuprofen)
  • Diamox (Acetazolamide) if you choose to use this.
  • Paracetamol Zinc oxide tape and small scissors.
  • Compeed Blister Pads Loperamide Diahorrea Tablets Any medication you normally use Dioralyte sachets or similar rehydration packs.
  • Note that your guide will carry a more comprehensive medical kit containing additional Acetazolamide, Ibuprofen, Anti-inflammatory gel, bandages, Loperamide, Amoxycilin, Oral Dexamethasone, and several other items.

Fitness Requirements

When people speak of this degree of difficulty, they are mainly referring to one single part of the climb, which is the six to eight hour section up to the summit. This part really is tough, mainly due to the extreme altitude.

For the most part, the days that precede this ascent are not too physically demanding for anyone with a reasonable degree of fitness.

That is not to say that this is easy. A combination of adverse factors such as bad weather, altitude sickness and general tiredness arising from being out on the mountain can make even the easiest walking days very tough indeed.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is therefore as much about perseverance and will to succeed as it is about sheer physical fitness.

That is not to say that you should take this as an excuse not to get yourself into good physical shape before the climb.

Any reasonable exercise is good, but especially walking. You should be able to walk for several hours on consecutive days without too much problem.

Add to this some more aerobic activities such as cycling or running and you should be getting towards the kinds of fitness levels that you will need for a serious attempt on the mountain.

Fit to Climb?

Even if you achieve extreme levels of fitness, this will not give you protection against altitude sickness, which seems to hit a proportion of people more or less indiscriminately, regardless of age or fitness.

**SUGGESTION**

Basic Fitness Test: maximum best time of 15 mins 30. This is a mile and a half run (2.4km), usually including an incline.

However, we suggest you test yourself either on a treadmill at a gym, or by running 6 times around an athletics track.

Although no running is required on the expedition, nonetheless, a BFT is a good indicator of cardio-vascular output, a reasonable level of which is required on Kilimanjaro.

Choosing the right route is probably the single most important decision that you will make when planning your trek on Kilimanjaro.

The Kilimanjaro park management plan has quite a complicated traffic strategy, which aims to provide climbers with routes, which are good for both acclimatisation and rescue. Climbers are required to follow one of several established routes.