Frequently asked questions
The following are the questions that we tend to get asked the most by our clients. Please note that this list of questions refers specifically to the treks that we deal with; for a list of general questions about Kilimanjaro please visit the homepage
ABOUT YOUR TREK
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 6 people booked on the trek and a group of four 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 to grow 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 have completed our six months of ‘probation’ with them, 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 our 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 condition to book a night at Crater Camp.
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 our Routes up Kilimanjaro section. You can also find detailed day-by-day descriptions and detailed day-by-day route maps of each of the trails in the guidebook – which you will receive for free when you book a trek through us.
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.
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, as stated above, this will be quite expensive. If you are a solo traveller, therefore, we strongly advise you to join one of the scheduled treks.
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 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, it will actually be cheaper!
A rough idea of our prices can be found by following this link to the trekking dates and prices page. Note, however, that the prices quoted are for one or two people only joining the trek. If there are three or more of you, then the per person price will be cheaper. If you are a group of three or more people wanting to arrange a trek, or join a prearranged one, or if you would like to take a route that you cannot see listed on the trekking dates and prices page, then just get in touch with us and we will be able to supply you with a quote for the trek you had in mind.
Follow this link to find out what’s included in the cost – and what isn’t.
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 and, as long as there are two of you, we will be able to help you. Nor will it cost any more than if you booked to join a prearranged trek. Much will depend on the demand but we will try, where possible, to accommodate you where we can.
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 one of the best wages on the mountain, means that their treks will always a bit more than the very cheapest treks. Indeed, for those companies who offer cheaper treks, you may want to ask 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 – and which we can also book. We will then send you 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 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 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.
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, we will send you an invoice for the deposit (US$250 or equivalent in your currency, plus 20% of the total cost of any safari that you have booked), 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.
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, Israeli shekels, Singapore dollars, Indian rupees etc etc
If you are paying by credit or debit card there is a 2% fee. International transfers are also accepted and is the easiest way to pay. For this reason, 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 they will usually charge a fee to carry out the transfer
Unfortunately the rules have changed since those days and since 2008 you have not been able to pay your park fees by travellers’ cheques or cash. Instead, all fees must be paid by special credit cards that are held by the trekking agencies. As such, I’m afraid you now have to pay your park fees in advance. Do contact us if this is going to be a problem.
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 the trek package.
Only once every aspect of your trip is sorted out and booked – including not only the trek but any accommodation, safari, Zanzibar excursion etc – we will then send you an invoice for a deposit, which will be for US$250 per person.
We like to have everything sorted out two months before you are due to begin your climb.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
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 their costs.
However, if, instead of cancelling your trek, you merely wish to postpone it and climb on a later date within one calendar year, 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 take section on this site. You can also hire top-quality sleeping bags for no more than a few dollars per item per day – though do make sure you contact us early with your requirements to ensure that we can reserve this for you.
We discuss this in the guide (a copy will be sent to you free of charge when you book) and also on the Fitness for Kilimanjaro page on this site.
Yes, definitely. We insist that you are fully insured for your trek. Do read our advice on insurance in the book, and also our insurance for Kilimanjaro 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). 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 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.
Whilst cooking and camping equipment (including sleeping mattress and tent) are included in the price, clothes, boots, gloves, rainwear, head torches and trekking poles are not. A couple of the most important items such as sleeping bags and trekking poles can be hired from us for no more than US$5 per day.
ON THE MOUNTAIN
When you receive the Trek Booking Form from us 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 you may have.
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.
Your guide may decide that the best course of action to guarantee your safety is to send you back down the slopes. Usually this will mean returning to the previous campsite, before deciding on a suitable rendezvous point to meet up with your fellow trekkers who carried on ascending. However, the guide may decide that the most appropriate action would be to evacuate you off the mountain altogether. If this is the case, you will accompanied on your descent either by one of the assistant guides, a summit porter or, if he deems it necessary, by the guide himself. In order to ensure your safety, the guide will probably want you to descend as quickly as possible without risking injury.
While you are descending, the guide will contact the base near Arusha to update them on the situation. As such, by the time you reach the exit gate there should be a car waiting for you to take you back to your hotel. Should the hotel you were due to stay in after the trek be full, we will try to book you into a hotel of a similar standard, and then help you to transfer across to the other hotel when a room becomes available. Note that you will need to pay for any extra nights accommodation you have; but the transfer from the mountain to the hotel is free.
Yes, this is vital. A guide to tipping can be found in the book, as well as on the Tipping your Kilimanjaro crew page on this website.
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.
Certainly. We can book tours 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 what’s on offer.
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, a safari in Arusha National Park, 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.
Of course we can. We use a couple of different safari operators in order to make sure we get the most suitable safari (and the best value!) for our clients. 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.