Soaring 5,895 metres above the surrounding farmland and forest, Kilimanjaro is both Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
With a diverse ecosystem boasting everything from an active volcano to lush rainforest, vast glaciers and meandering alpine moors, it’s not surprising that the mountain’s snowy peak attracts so many visitors. Hailed as the ‘roof of Africa’, conquering Mount Kilimanjaro is a major achievement for any bold adventurer – one that’s rewarded with spectacular views across the savannah below. Only one question remains: will you rise to the challenge?
At a glance
Our Kilimanjaro treks and tours
The Marangu route
In times gone by, trekkers were able to purchase a refreshing bottle of Coca Cola during their trek on the Marangu route. Today this is no longer possible, but the route keeps its nickname as the ‘Coca Cola trail’. The Marangu Route is the most direct of the Kilimanjaro trails and the 35 kilometre uphill walk is well maintained. It is also the oldest and most popular route, passing vast grasslands, giant cacti fields and scenic alpine meadows against a backdrop of dramatic mountain peaks. Camping is not required as trekkers sleep in rustic huts dotted along the way. Although the trail ordinarily takes five days to complete, we have allowed an additional day of rest on our tours to give trekkers a chance to acclimatise before approaching the summit.
Why choose Peregrine?
Kilimanjaro trekking FAQs
The regulations for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro specify a minimum age of 10 years, with no maximum age, however all Intrepid travellers are required to be over 15 years old. While there is no maximum age for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it is important to remember that the climb is strenuous and presents health risks, especially to people in high risk categories. Serious consideration should be given to anyone under the age of 18 and over the age of 60.
The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is above 5,800m/1,900 feet. At this altitude it’s common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects – regardless of your age, gender or fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Everyone will adapt to the altitude and thinning air differently. This is why we always try to keep the ascent slow and steady, to allow your body to acclimatise and make your journey to the summit easier. Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor.
To reach the summit you’re going to need the right fuel, which is why our cooks will be providing delicious and nutritious meals throughout your trek. Our porters carry all the equipment and supplies we need and you’ll be treated to some local dishes. We can accommodate food allergies and dietary requests but please tell us when you book. It’s also a good idea to bring your own extra comfort snacks from home to keep your energy levels up during more difficult sections of the trail.
While on the trek, your guides will boil and cool 3 litres of water for you per day. This will ensure the water is safe to drink and you stay hydrated on the trek. We recommend you pack 3 x 1 litre refillable water bottles. Please note disposable plastic containers are not allowed on the mountain.
Your accommodation on the Marangu route will be basic but comfortable accommodation in wooden A-frame huts with single beds and simple mattresses. Due to limited accommodation on the mountain, you may need to share a hut with non-Peregrine passengers and/or members of the opposite sex. These sleeping huts are not equipped with facilities however there are seperate bathroom huts containing shared toilets and washing facilities.
What makes a Kilimanjaro trek appealing to so many travellers is that the summit can be reached by trekkers with minimal technical climbing experience; there are no ropes or belays required. Although no mountaineering experience is required, a good level of physical fitness is necessary. You’ll need to be comfortable walking 6-8 hours uphill a day. The distances may not be long but the altitude makes it harder than your average uphill hike. We recommend increasing your aerobic exercise in the months leading up to the climb, such as by walking, running or climbing stairs. There is plenty of time available each day to get between huts or camping sites so there is no need to rush, in fact the slower you go the more time your body has to adapt and the more you’ll enjoy the experience.
Although a guide will always accompany you on the trail, you are unlikely to see your porter (as they are very fast!) except at the huts or the camps. Therefore it is important you carefully pack a smaller day pack you carry yourself. Anything you need during the course of the day should be in your day pack including, most importantly, something warm and something waterproof.
Your maximum gear allowance is 15kg. Each porters load is weighed and cannot exceed 20kg. Their bags will be weighed at the hotel before the group sets off.
Light clothing is generally sufficient until you reach the 3-4000 metre/12-14,000 feet altitude range provided you always have something warm and waterproof in your daypack. Beyond these altitudes, even if the mornings are glorious, you must always be ready for dramatic changes in the weather, including snow storms. You must have clothing with you in your daypack adequate to the conditions. Please ensure your day pack is large enough to carry these clothes, your lunch box, 3 litres of water and any other items such as camera equipment. Warm clothing is important for the final ascent. The ascents are done at night and this is when the coldest temperatures are experienced. You must be prepared for temperatures of minus 25 degrees celsius/minus 13 Fahrenheit. As a rule you should wear two pairs of socks, two-three layers on the legs and four-five layers on top. A balaclava or neck gaiter and woolly hat are necessary to keep the head warm, while gloves and sunglasses are also needed.
Note: the bag the porter carries for you should not exceed 15 kg/33 lbs. If bags are too heavy items may have to be removed or the climber may choose to hire an additional porter.
• Anorak/parka with hood (waterproof) x 1
• Down jacket x 1
• Sweater/fleece x 1
• Thermal top x 2
• T-shirts x 3, long sleeve shirts x 2-3
• Waterproof trousers or ski pants x 1
• Warm trousers x 2
• Hiking shorts/trousers x 1
• Long thermal pants x 1
• Thermal underwear
• Socks thin and thick x 6
• Hiking boots
• Comfortable closed shoes (for around camp)
• Mittens and ski gloves
• Balaclava and woollen hat
• Sun hat
• Day pack, approximately 30 litres
• Refillable water bottles - 3 x 1 litre (note plastic containers are not allowed on the mountain)
• Small first aid kit
• Headache tablets
• Imodium (loperamide)
• Climbers may like to consult their physicians about azetazolomide (Diamox), a drug that many find mitigates the ill effects of altitude, headache, diarrhoea & vomiting.
• Hand towel
• Wet wipes
• Head torch and flashlight with spare batteries (needed for summit night)
• Sunblock and high SPF lip balm
• Camera, film, extra batteries - you will not be able to recharge on the mountain but can at the Kibo Hotel before and after the climb.
Additional hiking equipment can be hired in Marangu. However, on a trek such at this, tried and tested equipment purchased from home may be more comfortable and of a better fit. If you do require any gear, please speak to your leader at the welcome meeting on Day One. Below is a list of some of the equipment available and the rough rental costs.
• Waterproof trekking boots - USD30
• Gaiters - USD10
• 30 litre day pack - USD20
• Ski sunglasses/Sun goggles - USD10
• Waterprooj jackets/hooded parkas - USD15
• Warm fleece sweater - USD10
• Light hiking trousers and shorts - USD10 each
• Warm hiking trousers - USD15
• Trekking t-shirts/long-sleeved shirts - USD10 each
• Mittens/ski gloves/scarf/sun hat - USD10 each
• Balaclava/ski mask- USD5
Kilimanjaro’s location near the equator is a great advantage, with very little seasonal variation in climbing conditions. Having said that, the rainy seasons from March to May and November to December may make the track a little slippery. Generally speaking, January, February and September are considered the best times to climb the mountain.
Part of what makes Kilimanjaro so unique is the diversity of ecosystems and micro-climates on its slopes. This same benefit is what makes predicting conditions a challenge. You should trek expecting everything from tropical rainforests to sub-zero landscapes. The weather is prone to shift without warning and it is best to be prepared for all possibilities.
In a word? Improving. Until recently the toilet facilities left much to be desired but thankfully the park authorities have started to tackle the problem. Some state-of-the-art eco-toilets have now been built at the major campsites. There is the option to arrange a toilet tent for the entire trip. Please speak to your booking agent about the cost of this service.
The success of each climb is dependent on a number of varying factors, such as the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro and the age and fitness of each trekker. With that said, our operator's overall success rate on Mount Kilimanjaro treks is 86%.
Yes. We carry multiple, comprehensive first aid kits and our mountain guides are fully trained on their use. All of our mountain guides are first-aid qualified.
Absolutely! Intrepid have invested in the highest standards of training of any operator on Kilimanjaro. This includes advanced altitude training delivered by a UK doctor and altitude research specialist. One of the key elements of this is training on the Lake Louise altitude assessment system, which allows our mountain guides to effectively monitor clients constantly whilst on Kilimanjaro and assess if they are suffering from AMS and, if so, how severe that AMS is. We also train them on how to respond in the case of a moderate or severe case of altitude sickness – which will always mean organising for the affected client to descend immediately. During your briefing on the first evening of your trip, your mountain guide will talk to you about symptoms of AMS and how to recognise them.
Yes – there are two key, potentially life-saving drugs that our teams carry on the mountain. These are Dexamethasone and Nifedipine and they used to treat cerebral and pulmonary oedema, which are the two potentially life-threatening complications of severe AMS. Our mountain guides are fully trained on the use of these drugs for altitude related illnesses.
Please note that we do not carry Diamox on our Kilimanjaro treks. The reason for this is that, although medical research suggests that Diamox can be very effective in aiding acclimatisation to altitude, it has been proven to be far less effective at treating severe AMS. You may wish to talk to your doctor prior to travelling about being prescribed Diamox to assist acclimatisation while you climb Kilimanjaro.
We carry medical oxygen – and when a group has four passengers or more, this will mean multiple cylinders will be distributed among the team of mountain guides to ensure that oxygen is always quickly available in the case of an emergency. The oxygen that we carry is strictly for emergency use only – and cannot be used by clients to assist in climbing or summiting.
No. Gamow bags and PACs are two types of portable hyperbaric chambers, which are sometimes used for sufferers of severe AMS. What makes Kilimanjaro relatively unique is that it is a “rapid ascent mountain” – meaning altitude gain happens extremely quickly. Logically, therefore, Kilimanjaro is also a “rapid descent mountain” and our policy is that in the case of severe AMS, our mountain guides will immediately evacuate the patient down the mountain, usually with the assistance of porters to carry the person affected. Often, a descent of just a few hundred metres will be enough to make a difference. Gamow bags and PACs are more effective in other parts of the world where rapid descent on foot is not possible. Also, a gammow bag takes a little while to inflate – which on Kilimanjaro is valuable time lost when an evacuation down the mountain could already have commenced.
Cell phone coverage on the mountain is improving – but it's still patchy in many areas. For this reason, Intrepid mountain guides carry short wave radios to allow for communication in the case of an emergency.
Unfortunately there is a problem in the trekking industry with some service providers taking advantage of porters, compromising staff safety in order to minimise costs. Our Tanzanian Destination Management Company (DMC) was established in 2014 with the purpose of ensuring Intrepid stood at the forefront of responsible tourism practices on Mount Kilimanjaro. We're proud to say that we're an official partner of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) and its Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). This means all of our climbs have been assessed and scored based on a number of criteria designed to ensure the proper treatment of porters on the mountain. You can read more about KPAP's good work at the bottom of this page.
All Intrepid Kilimanjaro climbs are operated by Intrepid Guerba Tanzania Limited, which is a fully owned Intrepid company based in northern Tanzania. Peregrine Adventures is a company that forms part of the Intrepid Group.
Read more about Kilimanjaro trekking
Giving back: supporting Tanzania's local porters
Being responsible travellers is a large part of what we do, and The Intrepid Foundation has a long history in supporting grassroots projects in many of the destinations where we operate. As a member of the Intrepid Group, Peregrine helps support The Intrepid Foundation by matching each donation from our travellers dollar for dollar.
The Intrepid Foundation is an official partner of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP). KPAP works to assist local porters who are severely underpaid and work in poor conditions with inadequate clothing and equipment. KPAP provides these porters with support, advocacy and education, and works with the travel industry to maintain good climbing practices and conditions for hardworking porters.
Your donations will be used to assist KPAP in offering educational opportunities to porters, support KPAP’s clothing lending scheme, and facilitate the monitoring activities crucial to the Partner for Responsible Travel program.
You can learn more or make a donation by visiting The Intrepid Foundation website.
Combine your trek with a Tanzania adventure
If you’re looking for adventure then you couldn’t find a better place. Whether it’s tracking the Big Five across the Ngorongoro Crater, counting stars from your camp on the Serengeti, or simply watching elephants bath in Lake Manyana – Tanzania delivers experiences you’ll never forget.