How does Monkey Mountaineering ensure fair treatment of porters, Guides and other mountain crew on Kilimanjaro?
Monkey Mountaineering is an approved Partner Company with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) and are Partners for Responsible Travel with the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC). We are extremely proud of our involvement with this programme and feel it is important to support and look after our porters and mountain crew; without them your Kilimanjaro climb wouldn’t be possible. We voluntarily allow KPAP to monitor how we treat our porters and mountain crew and we are committed to improving their pay and working conditions. By choosing Monkey Mountaineering for your ascent of Kilimanjaro you can be certain that your porters and mountain crew will be happy and well looked after. You can find out more about KPAP and the Partner for Responsible Travel programme here.
What food will I eat on the mountain?
We use our own chefs and locally sourced fresh produce to provide you with the highest quality meals possible whilst on the mountain. We know that a well-balanced and nutritional diet whilst climbing can be a key factor in success, so we make every effort to ensure that your dietary requirements and preferences are met. Considering the wild places we find ourselves in on Kilimanjaro and the very basic equipment available to our kitchen teams we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the food that we provide. We also provide you with tea/coffee/drinks with all meals, when you arrive in camp after the days trek and first thing in the morning at your tent. You are also most welcome to bring your favourite snacks and/or sweets with you from the UK to help you along when the going gets tough.
Can you cater for food allergies, intolerances and special diets?
We think that the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro should be for everybody and food allergies or intolerances shouldn’t limit what you can do. We ask that you let us know about any dietary requirements at the time of booking so that we can take these into account and ensure that our Chefs on the mountain can meet your needs.
How and when will I be provided with water?
At the start of the trek we provide you with bottled water, as we make our way higher up the mountain the water is sourced through local streams and springs. We boil this and make sure it is filtered so it is totally safe to drink. Maintaining good hydration is a key factor in the acclimatisation process so we make sure water is always available throughout the day. We suggest making sure you have a bladder type drinking container (see our kit list) which we fill up in the morning whilst you are enjoying your breakfast, and again when we stop for lunch.
Will I have to share a tent?
Generally, symptoms of altitude related illnesses start to show after arrival in camp and during the night. For this reason, we recommend sharing tents whilst on the mountain. Clearly, if you are travelling with a friend or partner you will be sharing the same tent. For those joining a group, we always arrange tent sharing on a same sex basis and try, where possible, to match people of a similar age. Single tent occupancy is available for a supplement. This must be arranged in advance so please get in touch if you would like a tent to yourself. We use top spec 3-man mountain tents but only ever sleep 2 people in them, so you’ll have plenty of room inside. An example of the type of tents we use can be found here.
Will we have to set up our own tents?
No. When you arrive in camp all of your tents will be set up and your bags will be placed close by them leaving you more time to relax. On short days you might arrive in camp before the porters and crew but the dining tent will quickly be set up so you can enjoy a hot drink and snacks whilst you wait.
What are the toilet facilities like on the Mountain?
Public toilets are located at each camp, but these are not serviced and tend to be un-hygienic. To avoid any problems and ensure your health and safety we provide our own toilet tents and portaloos. These can be used at any time whilst in camp and will be kept spotlessly clean by a member of our crew. During the trek on the mountain if you need to go, choose a secluded spot and leave no trace.
How are problems dealt with on the mountain?
We believe prevention is better than cure and all our trips are planned and structured to reduce the likelihood of problems arising. That said, things can go wrong. Our mountain crew are experienced and work hard to prevent problems however, if a problem does arise then our first aid trained Guides will deal with it in the first instance. If the problem is beyond their abilities, we can call on the support of the rescue service operated by the National Park through our robust and reliable communications network using mobile phones and VHF radios between our Guides, our office in Moshi and the Park Headquarters.
What is AMS and will I get it?
AMS is short for Acute Mountain Sickness, an illness caused by being in a high-altitude environment, where the body needs more time to adjust to the low levels of oxygen. Symptoms of AMS include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and poor or disturbed sleep. Whilst we can’t promise you won’t experience these symptoms, we can promise that we will carry out checks twice per day (at breakfast and again at evening meal) to make sure we monitor your resting heart rate and blood/oxygen saturation levels, recognising any symptoms and taking action to help reduce the risks. AMS might sound scary but it is really easy to avoid. Our Guides will provide help and advice and you can read more about how to be successful on Kilimanjaro here.
I’ve heard that Diamox can help prevent AMS – should I take it?
Diamox has been shown to reduce the chances of getting AMS, but it does not replace proper acclimatisation. We don’t recommend you take or use Diamox on Kilimanjaro and would encourage you to properly acclimatise during your ascent.
What are HACE and HAPE?
HACE stands for High Altitude Cerebral Edema which is essentially a swelling of the brain due to excess fluid. HAPE is High Altitude Pulmonary Edema or fluid in the lungs. These two conditions are fairly rare and can be prevented by careful management of any symptoms of AMS whilst ascending Kilimanjaro.
How can avoid getting AMS?
The best way to avoid AMS is to follow these five simple steps:
1 – Go slowly. Trekking up Kilimanjaro should be done at a snail’s pace. Be first out on the trail in the morning and last into camp in the afternoon, take your time, keep your pulse rate and breathing down, enjoy the views and take plenty of breaks to take photos. Going slowly means that your body can focus on acclimatising rather than keeping you moving at a fast pace.
2 – Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water whilst on the trail. Being hydrated helps with the acclimatisation process. As a guide, you should need the toilet more than normal and your urine should be clear.
3 – Eat. Trekking up Kilimanjaro requires lots of energy and so does the acclimatisation process. Eat well at each meal.
4 – Keep Warm. If you start to get cold your body will need to use extra resources to keep you warm. This slows down the acclimatisation process so make sure you put that fleece on when you stop and that you take a 4-season sleeping bag to stay warm at night.
5 – Get good rest. Sleep and rest are extremely important and also part of the acclimatisation process. Don’t be up chatting all night, get an early night and make sure you are warm and comfortable so that you can get a good night’s sleep.
Do I need to take Malaria tablets?
Mosquitos don’t generally survive above 1800m and so it is very unlikely you will get malaria whilst climbing Kilimanjaro. There is a risk however in Moshi where you will stay before and after your climb. We recommend taking advice from your GP before you travel. Further information including advice on bite prevention and vaccinations can be found here.
Do I need to take my own first aid kit, or will this be provided?
Yes, we recommend you carry a small first aid kit in your day pack containing the following items:
- Blister plasters
- Antiseptic cream
- Personal medications
- High factor sun protection
Your first aid kit should be small and light so as not to add too much weight to your day pack. Our Guides carry full group first aid kits for dealing with more serious injuries.
Do I need any vaccinations?
Yes, you are likely to require vaccinations to climb Kilimanjaro and we recommend you book an appointment with your GP to discuss your trip so they can provide you with specific advice. More information can be found here.
What clothes do I need for my Kilimanjaro trip?
A comprehensive list of clothing and equipment required for your trip up Kilimanjaro can be found by visiting the 'Kit List" tab (just to the left of this tab).
What about summit day - will it be really cold?
Summit day is often very cold, and it can be windy too with temperatures falling as low as -20oC. This is pretty normal at the top of the world’s highest free-standing mountain, so you need to be prepared. To keep warm and improve your chances of success on summit day, we recommend you set out wearing:
- Base layer top and bottom (2, dependant on how much you feel the cold)
- Thick socks on top of a liner sock
- Mid layer
- Fleece layer
- Down or synthetic jacket
- Waterproof/Windproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Mittens – with liner gloves underneath
- Warm hat
- Walking poles (optional)
- Head torch
- A small hot drink
- Quick energy/sugar snacks
Some people like to listen to music on summit night, or some simply prefer to zone in and have that goal of the summit in mind. It’s close, one last push!
What should I wear on my feet for the trek?
You need to look after your feet, after all it will be your feet that get you to the top. Making sure you choose the right footwear, preferably boots, and allowing time to break them in will help prevent injuries like blisters, which can be very painful and potentially prevent you from reaching the summit. When choosing suitable boots make sure they are waterproof, insulated, have a good sole and provide ankle support and above all, make sure they are comfortable. If you are looking to buy specifically for Kilimanjaro, then the best advice we can offer is to pop into your nearest outdoor gear shop and speak to a store assistant who should be able to help you choose the most suitable pair.
What items do I need in my daysack?
The porters will be carrying your main duffle bag from camp to camp, but you will need to carry your own daysack. This should be about 30 to 40lts and have a good waist strap so that the load can be carried on your hips. In it you should have only the essential items that you will need during the day. These include any personal medication and your first aid kit as well as a fleece layer and a full set of waterproofs (jacket & trousers). You should also carry at least 2 litres of water and your packed lunch/snacks, a head torch, hat and gloves and sunglasses if you aren’t wearing them.
What weight can my duffle bag be?
Here at Monkey Mountaineering we take responsibility for our porters’ welfare and the weight they carry on the trek so your bag must not exceed 15kg. This should be more than enough to fit all your clothes and equipment in for the trip. The lighter the load the better as porters often have to carry other things for camp set up. Park regulations state that porters can only carry 20kg. It’s also important you consider a light duffle bag rather than a large rucksack as porters carry most of the load on their heads. Having a rucksack that is shaped different and not so soft can make things difficult for them.
Does my jacket and sleeping bag have to be down?
Ultimately this is your choice, but we would say yes. It’s important you keep yourself warm and down is without a doubt the best insulation. You will really feel the difference when the temperatures drop and especially on summit day. There are some very good synthetic brands on the market, and these have the advantage of still keeping you warm when they are wet but synthetic insulation is heavier and bulkier than down – you need a bigger, bulkier synthetic jacket for the same warmth as a lighter down jacket. Sleep helps us to recover from our trekking and is an important part of the acclimatisation process. So, our recommendation for a sleeping bag would again be down. Be sure to pick a bag with a comfort rating of -20oC and 3-4 seasons. You can buy silk or similar liners which will also enhance the warmth. With all down sleeping bags, the best way for you to keep warm is to remember to wear as little as possible whilst inside it. The heat from your body then warms the bag and the feathers retain the heat.
Can I hire some gear from Monkey Mountaineering?
No, unfortunately we don’t currently provide equipment for hire but can recommend Expedition Kit Hire.
Is there a strict dress code in Tanzania?
Tanzanians don’t have a very strict dress code when it comes to foreigners. Our advice would be to respect the people as you would in any other country. Most Tanzanians are Christian, although there are around 25-30% Muslim in the towns of Arusha and Moshi. During the day shorts and tee shirts will be fine. When out and about in the evening casual clothing such as long trousers and shirts and long dresses and blouses are more appropriate. Clothing and equipment not needed on the trek can be safely left at the hotel whilst you are climbing Kilimanjaro.
What is Monkey Mountaineering summit success rate?
There are no official statistics for success rates on Kilimanjaro, unofficially though, the success rate on the 8-day Lemosho route is around 90%. At Monkey Mountaineering, our success rate on the Lemosho route currently stands at 98% (as of 1 Sept 2020) and this is something we are extremely proud of. Our high success rate is down to the fact that we have a very good approach to operating at altitude, ensuring you have access to the right knowledge and that our Guides and Mountain Crew know how to look after you and encourage you to acclimatise well.
I’ve heard the Lemosho route is best for success?
There are a number of different routes up Kilimanjaro, but the Lemosho offers the best chance of success because it has a gradual ascent profile allowing more days to acclimatise before the push to the summit. The Lemosho route also allows us to guide you through all 5 different climatic zones on the mountain. Remember acclimatisation is crucial so slowly slowly is the key to success, or, as the locals say ‘pole pole’ will get you to the top.
What time I year should I look to go?
Climbing season on Kilimanjaro starts from late December through to early March. In the daytime it tends to be quite warm with minimal cloud cover giving great views. You can also climb Kili from June to October where the weather tends to be cooler in the day, but the skies are still clear. When choosing a time to travel it’s worth thinking about the main holiday months in Europe and the US as the routes will be busier during these periods. You can find out more about the best time to climb Kili in our Ultimate Guide to Kilimanjaro.
Will it get really cold?
At the summit of Kilimanjaro temperatures can fall to as low as -20o Celsius, but this can vary widely dependant on the time of year. Sometimes it can be relatively warm and only a few degrees from freezing at the top. If the winds are low this makes the temperature feel less harsh. If the winds are blowing this is when it will feel cold. The main thing to remember is be prepared for the weather. Our Mountain guides will inform you on summit night what to expect.
Do I need to have special insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro?
Yes. Most insurance companies do not cover you for trekking at altitudes of more than 4000m. Kilimanjaro is 5895m so you will need to make sure you have the appropriate cover. This should also include medical and emergency evacuation from the mountain. Insurance is a condition of booking and we request that all clients provide us with proof of insurance before travel (8 weeks before departure).
Is a visa required for Tanzania?
Yes. Visas are compulsory for Tanzania for all UK citizens. We highly recommend you obtain one before arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport as this reduces the amount of queuing on arrival and any potential problems that could occur. Please visit the Tanzania High Commission for more information.
How fit do you need to be to climb Kilimanjaro?
Being physically fit will help you take each day in your stride. Fitness will make everything you do feel that much easier and, in theory, the fitter you are, the easier you will find the task in hand and the quicker you will recover from exertion and physically demanding tasks. To answer the question, most people of average fitness are capable of climbing Kilimanjaro and lots of people of average fitness do actually manage to stand on that prized summit every year. Being fit helps and the fitter you are the more likely you are to enjoy the journey. If you are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro or have already booked a trip, then our advice is to try and improve your fitness before you go. Not only will you feel better for it, but it should make your endeavours on Kili that much more manageable. For information on how to train for Kilimanjaro, why not read our ultimate guide to climbing Kilimanjaro.
How much will I be out of my comfort zone?
Climbing Kilimanjaro is an experience at every level, but the ultimate high at the same time. You will most likely be experiencing altitude for the first time and it may become difficult to sleep and eat so yes you might feel a little out of your comfort zone. All of our experienced team are here to help you through these moments and remember your climbing partners will be going through this too so you can help each other along the journey.
How long before my departure date do I need to pay my balance?
A deposit of 25% of the total cost of the trip is payable at the time of booking and the balance is due 8 weeks before the departure date. If the booking takes place less than 8 weeks before departure, then the full amount is due at the time of booking. If you would like to discuss payment options, then please get in touch.
What is Monkey Mountaineering’s cancellation and refunds policy?
Please refer to our Booking Conditions which can be found HERE. Alternatively, please feel free to contact a member of the team.
What currencies are accepted in Tanzania?
We advise taking US dollars as these are readily recognised and can be easily converted into the local currency (Tanzanian Shilling) should you require. Please make sure you ask the bureau in the UK to only give you US dollar notes from 2016 onwards as most places in Tanzania will not accept any denomination of note printed prior to this date. Generally, if you pay in US dollars, Tanzanian Shillings will be given back to you in change. We recommend you taking lots of small denomination notes for any gifts or snacks that you might want to buy as some shops struggle with the larger notes.
What is the average cost for a meal and drinks in Arusha and Moshi?
Tanzania is a relatively cheap place and most things are very good value for money. The same applies for food and drink. The average price for a good meal is around 12-15 Tanzanian Shillings. (6-10US$ - without tipping). It can be cheaper for breakfast and lunch.
How does the tipping work and do we take money on the mountain?
Our local team will be working very hard to make sure your Kilimanjaro trip runs smoothly and help you to achieve your goals. The only money you will need on the mountain is for tips as these are generally given to the crew on the last day before you leave the National Park and head back to your hotel. Tipping is down to you but I’m sure once you see how hard the crew work and what they earn in comparison to our own wages you will want to reward them. For guidance on how much to tip please read our article on tipping your Kilimanjaro Mountain Crew.
What happens if I can’t continue and need to come down?
If this happens for any reason don’t worry our Head Guide and Office in Moshi will make all the arrangements. You will be responsible though for any additional costs, such as transport, hotels, meals etc.
How do I keep my phone and camera charged on the mountain?
There are no plug sockets or recharging points on the mountain so we recommend you bring a solar battery charger or a power pack that will last for the duration and provide sufficient charge for all your devices. If your device has disposable batteries, then please take spares and make sure you carry the used batteries back down the mountain for recycling. Keeping your devices warm at night by taking them in your sleeping bag is a good way to prolong your battery life.
Is there mobile phone reception on the mountain?
There is some limited mobile phone coverage low down on the route, but this disappears the higher you get although there is sometimes a signal on the summit!
How safe are my personal items on the mountain?
Our team of guides and leaders do everything we can to make sure all your possessions remain safe, but we recommend a small padlock on your duffle bag for extra piece of mind. Like any other trip we recommend things like passport, money etc should be kept with you at all times (in your daysack). If you normally wear jewellery, unless it is absolutely necessary or for medical reasons, we suggest this is left at home whilst you visit Tanzania and climb Kilimanjaro. It is important that you take responsibility for your valuables whilst away as you would do on any other trip.
Does our hotel have a pool?
Yes, the hotel has a small pool so make sure you bring a swimming costume so you can make the most of it.
I’ve heard that Tanzania has banned plastic bags, is this true?
On June 1st, 2019, Tanzania prohibited all use of plastic bags. This means any imported, exported, manufactured, sold and stored. If you have any plastic bags on arrival regardless of size or thickness (excluding the ones you are given at airports to store small quantities of liquids whilst travelling) you will not be allowed to take them in.
Where can I find out more about Kilimanjaro?
You can find a very useful guide to climbing Kilimanjaro written by Sam Marshall, Monkey Mountaineering’s owner and founder here.