Kilimanjaro Climbing Guide
All you need to know before climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
An almost perfectly shaped volcano which rises sheer from the plains, Mt. Kilimanjaro is one of the African continent’s most magnificent sights. Snowcapped and not yet extinct, at 5895 metres it is the highest peak in Africa.
From cultivated farmlands on the lower levels, it rises through lush rainforest onto the alpine meadow and finally across a barren lunar landscape to the summit. The rainforest is home to animals like monkey also contain an incredible vegetations
Geologically, Kilimanjaro is a relative newcomer to the Rift Valley and did not even exist between one and two million years ago. At that time, where Kilimanjaro now stands there was just an undulating plain with a few old eroded mountains. But that all changed with movements of the earth’s crust associated with the rift. Lava poured out from the fractures that were created and eventually gave rise to an enormous ridge, which is now represented by the nearby peaks of Ol Molog, Kibongoto and Kilema.
Kilimanjaro began to grow about 750,000 years ago as a result of lava spewing out of three main centres – Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi, It kept growing until their cones reached a height of about 5000 metres about half a million years ago. About this time, Shira collapsed into a Caldera and became inactive, but Kibo and Mawenzi continued to erupt until their peaks reached about 5500 metres. Mawenzi was the next to die, but Kibo continued to be active until about 360,000 years ago, during which time there were some particularly violent eruptions, including one which filled the old eroded caldera of Shira with black lava.
From an estimated final height of 5900 metres, Kibo gradually fell silent, and through intermittent eruptions continued for thousands of years, the whole mountain began to shrink and Kibo’s cone collapsed into a series of concentric terraces. Erosion in the form of glaciers which came and went, wore the peaks down even more, as did a huge landslide about 100,000 years which created the Kibo Barranco.
Kibo finally died after the last fling of violent activity which created the present caldera and the lava flows known as the Inner Crater and Ash Pit. Then the glaciers returned to continue their work. Meanwhile, what they could of the mountain, and streams sculpted the side of massif into the shape it is now.
Your safety and that of the rest of the group is our first priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices like phones that can use to report any emergencies as well as medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination.
Sometimes it happens with people want to climb without sufficient acclimatisation and end up with altitude sickness or, at very the least, nausea and headaches but to give yourself the best chance of reaching the top, it is a very good idea to choose tours with more number of days also whatever else you do, walk pole pole (slowly), drink a lot of liquid, suck glucose tablets and don’t eat too much. (You won’t feel like eating anyway)
Since Shizi Safari has a high success rate for reaching to the peak of Africa then our experienced guides, chefs and rest of crew will make sure that you have the best experience during your climb and reaching to the highest peak (Uhuru Peak) of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Clothing and Equipment
No specialist equipment is required to climb Kilimanjaro but you do need a strong pair of good boots, and plenty of warm clothing, including gloves, a woollen hat and waterproof overclothes. You also need a sleeping bag and a small mattress or air bed. If you lack any of these, they can be hired in Moshi town.
We camp in two-man tents; these are usually expedition-style (ie sleeping room only). Camps are usually simple, in remote locations with great views! We have communal dining areas (usually with tables and chairs/stools) and toilet tents, and the local crew look after us very well. We stay in hotels (of a 2-3* standard or equivalent) at the start and end of the trip; standards may vary between different hotels, but they are generally clean and comfortable with good facilities
The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. In some regions, there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others, fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance while having a trip briefing with your guide. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Our local guides know the area well and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles and they will teach and explain to you the flora and fauna as well as the history of the Mountain. Not all support crew will speak English well but are very friendly and approachable. Shizi Safaris crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely.
Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages but bear in mind that the average wage in many countries you travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out. Common tips for satisfactory service are from about US$10 to US$15 per group per day for the guide, US$8 to US$10 per group per day for the cook and US$5 to US$10 per group per day for each porter.
Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not then porters will carry them throughout your expedition. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.
Other luggage can be left in the hotel (storeroom) while you are on the mountain.
Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue
We are using specialised Airbus AS 350 B3 helicopters, positioned at Moshi Airport in Tanzania from Kilimanjaro sar. It’s the ideal location for high altitude search and rescue operations for Mt Kilimanjaro. And their team is highly experienced and have a perfect safety record.
Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time of the year, but there is usually a lot of rain during April and November and sometimes early May.
It is a traveller’s dream to scale the summit, watch the dawn break and gazes out over the vast expanses of East Africa bushland. Who would come to East Africa and not climb Kilimanjaro? Certainly not many, and Shizi safaris are proud to arrange a trip to Kilimanjaro for you, Contact us or you can join a group here.