Friday, May 26, 2017

Kilimanjaro:  Good reasons why you should

  • Because it will make you fitter Indeed, on Kilimanjaro you lose weight even when you’re standing still!
  • So you can climb through 4 seasons in a week It’s true – but what are we talking about
  • To take fantastic photographs Because, simply put, Kilimanjaro is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet.
  • To become friends with the your crew Ornithologist, zoologist, botanist, geologist, butler, manager, doctor, linguist &  teacher – and that’s just your guide!
  • To see some of the world’s strangest fauna From high-altitude spiders to a mutilated monkey.
  • For the sense of achievement Fancy feeling smug for weeks – we’ll show you how!
  • To raise money for charity Sponsors tend to be a bit more generous with their funds when they realise you’re doing something as massive as climbing Kili.
  • To get to some serious altitude – under supervision Altitude can do some funny things to the human body – most of them unpleasant. Better, then, to climb to the heights with someone who’s been trained to deal with acute mountain sickness and other high-altitude ailments
  • To see the stars It’s comforting to know that the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro won’t necessarily be the only thing that’s astronomical – the rewards can be too.
  • To go on safari or visit Zanzibar After all, you’ve spent all that time, effort and money on getting to the summit, so it’s only right that you reward yourselves afterwards.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kilimanjaro – The Essential facts

Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, East Africa, right on the border with Kenya.

There are various estimates as to how high it is. But most people use the figure of 5895m. This is the height you will find printed on the certificates handed out to those who successfully reach the summit. 

In one sense, yes. All the main routes up the mountain are really just walking routes. So you don’t need to be a mountaineer. Sure, there are a couple of places on some routes where you may need to use your hands to steady yourself. Occasionally you may also need to haul yourself over a rock or two. But overall, it’s just a walk. Indeed, there are a couple of people who’ve climbed up the mountain in wheelchairs, so the ability to walk isn’t even a pre-requisite. Don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s easy.

Not any more. In 1991 the park authorities made it compulsory for all climbers to sign up with an agency. They in turn will provide you with a crew (consisting of a guide and his assistants, a cook and several porters). You can thus no longer turn up at the foot of Kili with a rucksack of food and clothes and hope to do it all yourself. The choice of which agency to sign up with is thus the most important decision you’ll have to make. Which is why we provide an extensive review of all the major ones in the guidebook.

Everybody has different idea of what they want from their trek. Of course, everybody wants a safe and enjoyable trek. However, you may also be very concerned about the welfare of the guides, porters and crew who accompany you on the trek. Other climbers will just want the cheapest trek – while not compromising on safety. Some climbers will want a few home comforts on their trek, such as a mess tent. Others will want minimal comfort, and may even want to carry their own rucksack. Some trekkers will want to take a quiet or unusual route away from the crowds. Some climbers want a private trek; others will prefer to climb with others. And so on, and so on…
Just as trekkers all want different things, so the trekking operators all offer a slightly different service too. Some companies are very good when it comes to customer relations. Some have a very good reputation for treating their staff well. Some companies are very good at booking a trek at the last minute. Some agencies are more generous and flexible with refunds and cancellations than others. Some companies treat single trekkers more fairly than others – for example, they give solo trekkers their own hotel room before the trek and their own tent when on the mountain at no extra charge. Other Kilimanjaro agencies, however, insist that solo trekkers share a room with other single climbers, and charge extra for those solo trekkers who want their own tent or hotel room.
So we’ve made it easy for you: if you want help in choosing your trekking company, just send us an email. Simply drop us a line, give us an idea of what you want from your trek – and we’ll provide you with our opinion on which trekking company is right for you. 
At the risk of sounding like a salesman, I would also advise you to look at our guidebook. In it you’ll find a comprehensive review of all the major agencies selling Kilimanjaro climbs. We also provide advice on what questions you should be asking your agency, and what should be included in your trek package. We also look at whether it is better to book your trek before you arrive in Tanzania – or wait until you arrive and book your trek then.
Ideally, we say that you should book at least six months in advance – and preferably a year before you want to trek. On this website you can find  THIS, which gives you a timetable for booking and preparing for your trek.
By booking early you give yourself more time to prepare and train for your trek. It also increases your chances of getting exactly the trek you want, with the route you want, the dates you want and your preferred choice of hotel too. That said, when we were booking climbs we often had people who booked their trek just a few days before it was due to start. If you are fit enough and have the right gear, there is nothing wrong with this approach, as long as you are fully aware of the challenge that awaits you and know about the dangers too.
There’s no need to go overboard with fitness preparations for climbing Kili. The main reason why people fail to reach the summit is altitude sickness rather than lack of necessary strength or stamina. .That said, the trek will obviously be more enjoyable for you the fitter you are. So anything you can do in the way of training can only help. After all, on the final push to the summit you will be walking at very high altitude for about 16 hours! So a certain degree of fitness is necessary. For a more in-depth look at fitness for Kilimanjaro, including a suggested regime, visit our fitness page 
The minimum legal age for climbing Africa’s highest mountain is 12. If you are under 16 you actually get a significant discount on the park fees of around US$90-100 for every day you spend on the mountain. (A lot of agencies won’t tell you about this discount so make sure you insist on this!) At the other end of the scale, there’s no limit on how old you can be to climb.
There are a few deaths on Kilimanjaro every year with acute mountain sickness (AMS) and heart attacks the main causes. Very occasionally there are freak accidents too, such as lightning strikes and rockfalls. The park authorities are naturally very reluctant to reveal details on how many people perish on the mountain, but we estimate the number to be around six or so a year, though this includes porters and other mountain crew members who die on the mountain too.
The minimum number of days is 5. The park authorities, KINAPA, won’t allow you on any of the routes for less than this minimum (unless you are on a day-trip, in which case you aren’t allowed to go very high on the mountain). Many agencies will not sell you a trek for five days as it doesn’t really give you enough time to acclimatise safely. At the other extreme some groups trek for 9-10 days. Most treks, however, are 6-8 days in length.

Not cheap, I’m afraid. The absolute cheapest (and not recommended) Kilimanjaro trek will set you back about US$1800. Most companies charge in the region of US$2000-3500. Some actually charge US$5000 or more! That said, that anybody who has climbed to the summit will agree that whatever price you pay, it’s worth it.

The main trekking seasons on Kilimanjaro correspond with the mountain’s two ‘dry’ seasons. These are January to mid-March and June to October. Note that it will still probably rain on your trek during these months too – it’s rare to climb without getting rained on at least once. You can read more about the mountain’s seasons by visiting our BEST TIME TO CLIMB PAGE.

You can of course travel overland and on this website we have a whole section devoted to travelling in Tanzania. But for most people the only option is to fly.
The mountain has its own airport and there are currently five major airlines serving Kilimanjaro International Airport (three-letter code: JRO). The most popular carrier is the Dutch airline KLM, largely because a) they fly frequently (pretty much every day in the high season) and b) they have an extensive network of regional flights in the US and UK (and Europe), which makes them more convenient than other airlines.
Kenya Airways have also been serving the airport for many years and I have to say, having flown with them last time, that I was impressed with their service and the quality of the plane. Given that their hub, Nairobi, is less than an hour’s flight from Kilimanjaro Airport, this probably means that they will be the natural choice if you want the most direct flight (depending on where you’re flying from, of course). They’re pretty cheap too.
Ethiopian Airlines have also been flying to Kili for many years. They have two big selling points: 1) They’re cheap; and 2) they fly via Addis Ababa, which means you may be able to stop over and see a bit of the country – which is something everybody should do at least once in their life (it’s lovely and fascinating).
Two airlines that started flying at approximately the same time to JRO are Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airlines. The former are often the cheapest though there is a hidden price to pay: they tend to arrive at 1 or 2am, which means that you’ll have to pay for an extra night’s accommodation. For example, say you fly into Kilimanjaro Airport on the 2nd, you’ll actually need to book accommodation for the 1st as you are arriving so early in the morning on the 2nd (and you aren’t allowed to sleep in the airport). As for Qatar Airlines, they have a good reputation for service and are popular with those flying in five the rest of Asia.
In addition to the above there are the local airlines including Precision Air, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways and one that most people use to get around the rest of Tanzania and Kenya; Rwandair, which serves that country; the local budget airline fastjet which connects Kili with Dar es Salaam and Entebbe in Uganda; and a host of smaller airlines, many connecting Kili and northern Tanzania with Zanzibar.
If you can’t find anything suitable, do try Nairobi Airport, which is just an hour’s flight from Kilimanjaro Airport or six hours by shuttle bus to Arusha, where many of the trekking companies are based. Flights to Nairobi can be slightly cheaper – there is more competition and more choice – and it’s a good way of seeing a bit of the region before heading up it’s highest mountain.
For those travelling overland we have a whole section devoted to travelling in Tanzania. While for more information on how to get to East Africa for your trek, please visit the Getting to Kilimanjaro section of this website.
t’s a good question, particularly if you want to reach the summit on an important day such as your birthday. The easy way to work it out is this: you will normally reach the summit at dawn on the penultimate morning of your trek. So, for example, for a seven-day trek you would reach the Uhuru Peak at dawn on the sixth day. The rest of that day – and the morning of the last day – will be spent descending back down the mountain to the exit gate.                                                
Here’s an example. Your birthday is on the 10 March and you want to do a seven-day trek on the standard Machame Route. So you need to book a trek running 5-11 March. That way, you’ll spend five days (5, 6, 7, 8, 9 March) walking to Barafu. You will then walk through the night (beginning at about midnight), reaching the summit at dawn on the 10 March. You then spend the rest of the 10th March walking down to Millennium or Mweka Campsite. The final day is then spent walking to Mweka Gate.
You will need to bring clothes that cover every possible weather condition, from steamy jungle to snowy sunset. You can find a complete list of what to wear in our PACKING LIST.
A lot depends on what company you are trekking with. Some agencies supply more than others. For example, some supply sleeping mats and even sleeping bags while others (the majority) will expect you to bring these themselves. That said, they pretty much all have the facility to rent these items to you.Make sure you ask for a kit list from your agency so you are sure of what you need to bring. See our what to take section for a comprehensive list of equipment to bring.
There are in fact six main paths leading up the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain. These are (running anti-clockwise, beginning with the north-westernmost trail)

For many people, the sole purpose of climbing Kilimanjaro is to get to the summit. Fail to do that and the whole trip has been wasted. If this is you then Lemosho, Machame and Rongai (the one with the Mawenzi diversion) are, statistically, the best bets. (The Alternative Lemosho Route that we used to offer – and some other companies still offer – actually has the best success rate of all.)
On the other hand, those looking to avoid the crowds (again, ignoring alternative routes) should look at Lemosho and Umbwe.
For a no-nonsense, cheap-ish climb then Machame, Marangu and Umbwe are good.
While if you don’t want to stay in tents then Marangu is the only option.
The route with the best views and scenery? Well they’re all brilliant in this respect. I love the forest on the Lemosho and Umbwe Routes. I love the beautiful view of Kibo from across the Saddle on the Rongai and Marangu Routes, and across the Shira Plateau on the Lemosho Route.
So what is my personal favourite of all the trails? Well, the part of the mountain I enjoy the most is the forest on the lower slopes. I also love taking photographs and so appreciates great views and scenery. Furthermore, I like to avoid the crowds on the mountain. If you’re going to spend a week on one of the planet’s most unique wildernesses, it’s good to spend it without hundreds of other trekkers. A few others is nice, but not hundreds. And yes, I do also like to acclimatise well: life’s always so much better when you don’t have a splitting headache. And I do like to reach the summit too! – so any route that aids this is good.
For this reason, my favourite of the ‘official’ routes is Lemosho, which ticks all of the above boxes: the forest is the best in my opinion, the views and scenery once you leave the forest and gaze at Kibo across the Shira Plateau are jaw-dropping, and the chances of getting to the summit are high, particularly as it’s also the longest ascent route on the mountain. It’s also a fairly quite route, at least for the first 3-4 days before you meet up with the hordes on the Machame and (to a lesser extent) the Umbwe Route.
Of all the routes – official and otherwise – the Alternative Lemosho is my favourite path of all. It’s both even quieter than the official Lemosho and seems to improve one’s chances of acclimatising still further.
When buying insurance for climbing Kilimanjaro you must make clear to the insurer that you will be trekking on a very big mountain. If you are going to be mountaineering and using ropes then you need to tell them that too. This will probably increase your premium (it usually doubles it) and may even exclude you from being covered altogether. But if you don’t make this clear from the start and pay the lower premium you may find, should you have to make a claim, that you weren’t actually covered at all.
Do note, however, that it pays to bear in mind that you are not actually doing any climbing, you are just walking. In other words, you won’t be using any ropes, crampons or other climbing gear . The insurance company should know this – but many of the staff they employ don’t!  So do make this clear or they’ll be charging you a higher premium unnecessarily.
Remember, too, to read the small print of any insurance policy before buying one to protect you, and shop around too, for each insurance policy varies slightly from company to company. Details to consider include:
  • How much is the deductible if you have to make a claim on your Kilimanjaro insurance?
  • Can the insurers pay for your hospital bills etc immediately, while you are still in Tanzania, or do you have to wait until you get home?
  • How long do you have before making a claim and what evidence do you require (hospital bills, police reports etc)?
  • Does your policy include mountain rescue services, helicopter call-out and so forth? If it doesn’t, don’t buy it! That said, remember that helicopter rescue is very limited on Kilimanjaro. For one thing, helicopters can fly only up to a certain altitude and can’t land anywhere on the Kibo summit (which is where you are likely to need helicopter rescue!). Secondly, by the time they’ve arrived, it may well be too late, particularly if you have collapsed due to altitude sickness. So while it’s always worth having cover that includes helicopter rescue, it is likely to be of limited use. And if you do find yourself in a situation where helicopter rescue could come in useful, the chances are by the time they arrive you’ll either be: a) Dead. Or b) Bouncing down the slopes on a stretcher (which they keep at the ranger’s huts) to the KCMC hospital at the bottom of the mountain. Which would be the quickest way, anyway. In fact, I’ve never seen a helicopter land on Kili myself in all the years I’ve been climbing it; and the only time i know it happened was not in an emergency situation. Instead, it was to help bring up all the heavy cameras and other gear for the IMAX film about the mountain!
There’s plenty of wildlife on Kilimanjaro, though your chances of seeing much are slim. This is largely because the animals prefer to avoid those parts of the mountain where more than 40,000 people tread every year. For this reason, you’ll be lucky to see anything larger than a monkey or a mouse. That said, every so often a reader will write in to say that they saw a buffalo, eland, leopard or elephant on the trail.

Improving. Time was when many toilets were so full they started to develop their own geological formation. Neither stalagmite nor stalactite, but stalagshite. Thankfully, the park authorities are starting to tackle the problem. They have built some state-of-the-art eco-toilets at the major campsites. In addition, many decent trekking companies now provide their clients with their own private toilets.

The national language is Swahili. But on Kilimanjaro the local language is Kichagga, spoken by the Chagga people, which has several dialects. English is widely spoken, at least amongst the guides and more educated members of the mountain crews.


The policy towards this varies from company to company and on the severity of the injury/illness. However, usually the injured/unwell party will be accompanied down the mountain by an assistant guide while the rest of the party continue their ascent.
Usually, if you’ve had to descend, you will return to the previous campsite before deciding on a suitable rendezvous point to meet up with your fellow trekkers on their descent. 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.
As extra insurance, any decent company will also provide every trek with a couple of oxygen bottles. Do note, however, that once you’ve been administered oxygen it is no longer safe for you to continue to ascend as the 99% oxygen inspiration de-activates the body’s triggers which accelerate its Haemoglobin production. In other words, oxygen is there to help you get off the mountain safely – it should never be used as a means of assisting a climber to the summit.
While you are descending, the guide will contact the base in Moshi or 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. Usually your transfer back from the mountain to the hotel will be included in your package, even if you have come off the mountain early. However, you will still need to pay for any extra nights accommodation you require.
It varies from company to company, of course, but on the whole it’s hearty, healthy,wholesome. Hopefully there’s a lot of it too. Vegans/vegetarians and those with food intolerance can all be catered for as long as you give your agency enough notice.
Yes. I would say that overall, reception on Kilimanjaro remains patchy. There are several variables that can affect your ability to get a phone signal, including the network you’re with and the quality of the phone you’re carrying. But we do think it’s improving. The last time we were round the northern side of Kibo, on the Alternative Lemosho Route, the group we were leading were, on the whole, able to get reception pretty much all the way. This is certainly an improvement from the situation a few years ago. That said, it’s highly possible that you may have to go for a day or two without being able to communicate with the outside world, whatever route you take. In the book we provide details of where we’ve found reception on the mountain for each of the routes.
Here’s very little science to back this claim up. What’s more, I certainly don’t recommend you take up the tobacco habit to increase your chances of getting to the summit! But this rumour has been hanging around for years now. And I have to say that, in my experience, there could be something to it. Around five years ago I led a party of 12 Scottish guys up the Machame Route. All of them made it, but my distinct memory is that the two smokers in the group merrily skipped their way to the summit. The others all suffered from the altitude to some degree. Is it because their bodies are used to less oxygen? Or was it just a coincidence? Who knows? I’d love to find out if it’s true – and why!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Moses may have bagged Mt. Sinai and come down with Ten Commandments, but getting to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro and descending with even one life lesson may be harder than that, depending on you and your team.
Kilimanjaro in all its ethereal, godly eminence can also be a god forsaken place. Its thin air, cold temperatures and grinding terrain allow just 40 percent of the 40,000 annual climbers to Uhuru Peak’s holy glaciated shrine. And this is as it should be. It took Moses 40 days and nights to descend with his god given tablets.
Kilimanjaro allows only the chosen few – the most physically, mentally and spiritually aware to ascend. Here are the mountain’s Ten Commandments that if followed may lead to seeing the light at the top of Africa.

1. Thou Shalt Take This Seriously
Kilimanjaro, at over 19,000 feet is a very unforgiving place for those who think it is not worthy of supreme effort. Arrogance is a sin; don’t underestimate Kilimanjaro’s stature. This is more than a walk in the park, but rather a self-sacrificing near religious experience requiring 100 percent devotion.
2. Thou Shalt Be Wise With Money
To achieve the summit safely, spend money on a solid company that has the best guides, food and gear. Kilimanjaro is not the place to tighten your budget with your life on the line. Don’t risk your safety booking with a fly-by-night operator.
3. Thou Shalt Be Patient
Expedience is not the way to the top. Just 27 percent of climbers on the five day route make it. Six day adventurists are only 44 percent successful. Seven day summiters are 64 percent blessed, however those who take the ten day pilgrimage are over 95 percent successful. The mountain gods are saying, “be patient and acclimatize.”
4. Thou Shalt Listen To The Elders
ECO-AFRICA CLIMBING  are best guide on Mountain, but they have the wisdom of the prophet when it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro. Heed their advice, trust their counsel. 
5. Thou Shalt Be A Good Sister/Brother/Wife/Husband
You must help your climbing brothers and sisters with encouraging words to achieve ascendancy. They are there for you and you are there for them. Kilimanjaro is a test and a time for bonding and chance to make friends for life.
6. Thou Shalt Have The Best Boots
Walking in the footsteps of Hans Meyer (the first known summiter of Kilimanjaro) requires the best hiking boots you can afford. Break them in before trudging Kilimanjaro’s volcanic terrain.
7. Thou Shalt Be A True Believer
Self-doubt is not the answer. Be confident in your ability to make it to the summit. Convince yourself you’re worthy.
8. Thou Shalt Cherish The Journey
Don’t covet the end result, but revel in the mountain’s majesty – its rainforest, its wildlife, its melting glaciers and the people living in its shadow. By being singularly focused on reaching the top, you miss the experience and spiritual journey of climbing Kilimanjaro.
9. Remember The Summit Day, And Keep it Holy
Atop the mount you should exult in the inner peace you have achieved. You should not be boastful about your achievement. Blasphemous ego-trips, bad in biblical times, are still not cool in the Internet Age.
10. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Success
If you fail to achieve the summit, don’t harbor jealously over the success of others. You have learned much on your journey and reveled in the mountain’s majesty. Should the yearning for the summit persist, summon the courage to try again.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Getting to the top of Kilimanjaro involves more than just doing the actual climb. Indeed, the trek itself is perhaps the least stressful part of it, especially for those who’ve had to do all the organising on behalf of their friends. This page has therefore been created to help you to prepare for your climb. Just follow these ten simple steps, in order, and they’ll take you from the comfort of your favourite armchair to the top of the Roof of Africa. Note that the times awe have given below are very general and many/the majority of people diverge from this schedule in some way. Indeed, we have many clients who make their first contact with us just a few days prior to the start of the trek and still manage to reach the summit OK; and if you have the necessary level of fitness, and the money and means of getting to Tanzania sorted, then there’s no reason why you can’t either. But for those who like to take their time this, in our experience, is a reasonable – and unhurried – timetable for sorting out your trek:

10.Decide whether you really want to...

We love climbing Kilimanjaro, of course – we wouldn’t have done it as many times as we have if we didn’t! We love not only the walk itself, but also the preparation that goes into every trek and the feeling of achievement and satisfaction (bordering on smugness) that one carries with them for weeks afterwards. But we also recognise that it isn’t for everyone; after all Kilimanjaro is not only a potentially dangerous activity, but it’s also an expensive and exhausting one. 

9.Choose when you want to go, which route you want to take – and who you are going to take with you
It’s one thing to say you’re going to climb Kilimanjaro, but quite another to actually do it. So about a year before prior to the desired start date of your trek you really need to start taking those first few steps that will lead, eventually, to the Roof of Africa. One of the first decisions to make is to decide when you’re going to trek. A lot of this will depend, of course, on when you can get time off from work/studies and other situations back home. But you also need to consider the conditions on Kilimanjaro too. For while the mountain is open all year round, there are definite high and low seasons. The high season may have the better weather, but it can also be very busy on the mountain. It is also possible to be too dry as this photo shows.  As for the rainy season, well it’s entirely possible that it will be dry and beautiful at this time too. However, even if it’s not raining the clouds are likely to prevent you from getting glorious far-reaching views. While if it does snow, it can make for a soggy trek for the first few days, and a freezing one as you approach the summit, as this photo makes clear. For a more thorough examination of the difference between the seasons and when to climb, visit our When to go pages. At the same time as you decide when you’re going to go, you also need to read up about the routes upKilimanjaro to choose the one that’s right for you. Each route has its own characteristics and it’s important you choose the one that’s right for you. Finally, at this time you need to decide whether you want to go by yourself – or climb with your friends. Again, it doesn’t sound much – but it’s important to get it right.

8.Book your trek!
About six months (ideally) before you want to climb is a critical time; for this is when you need to take a deep breath, hold your nerve – and book your trek. Choosing the right company to climb Kili with is perhaps the most important decision you make. In the book we go into great detail looking at the major trekking agencies and ground operators – and you can follow this link to get a few pointers as to how to book; just make sure you select the right one for you.

7.Sort out flights
Ideally this should be done around the same time as you book your trek. After all, you don’t want to book your trek, then find you can’t get any flights out there at that time – or vice versa. The number of airlines serving Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) has increased steadily over the past decade. Where once you had to rely on three major airlines – KLM, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenyan Airways – as they were the only ones to serve Kili, there are now over six airlines and the airport is busy every day. Remember that, if you can’t find something suitable to JRO, Nairobi Airport is only a six-hour bus journey away from Arusha (or an hour’s flight) and Dar es Salaam is another possibility too. See our Getting to Kilimanjaro pages for more information on how to travel to the region.

6.Work on your fitness
This should be ongoing, of course, but when you begin your fitness regime depends, of course, on how it you are to begin with. If you have a reasonable level of fitness already then you can begin your fitness regime a couple of months beforehand. Unfit and/or overweight, however, and you really need to start six months at least before the start of your trek. As to what fitness regime you should undertake, visit our Fitness section
5.Sort out your vaccinations and visas
Leave time to get the inoculations – some need to be done a couple of months before you arrive in East Africa. Hepatitis A, typhoid, polio, tetanus (which you should have already) and meningococcal meningitis should all be considered, and even rabies if you’re planning on coming into close contact with animals during your trip. The yellow fever inoculation is a tricky one. Sometimes the authorities demand that you have one if you’ve come from or travelled via a country where the disease is endemic. Read about the latest situation here. Thankfully, securing a VISA is  easy for most nationalities and most people can pick one up at Kilimanjaro Airport or the border when they arrive in Tanzania. Do check to make sure that you can do this too

4.Work out what you need to buy and what you can rent for your climb

You can begin to buy your stuff as soon as you’ve committed yourself to going – the earlier you start, the more likely you are to pick up some bargains, so let’s say it’s good to start shopping at least six months before. Never miss the chance to check out the sales in the shops – top quality stuff is often knocked down at these times (as the top-end items are often the ones that go on sale due to the fact that they are out of the price range for most people when they’re at full price). Remember, however, that often cold-weather gear – which is what you’ll require for the upper reaches of Kilimanjaro – is often harder to come by during the summer months when high street retailers are more interested in selling warm-weather camping gear for festivals etc; though you should be able to find something online. How much kit you buy and what you decide to rent from your trekking company depends on several factors: Firstly, are you planning on doing anything like this again in the future? There’s no point spending the best part of a week’s wages on a super-warm sleeping bag if you are only going to use it for one week during your lifetime; better to pay your company a few dollars a day to hire theirs – after all, if they’re hiring out kit, you can safely assume that their kit is suitable for the mountain. Secondly, your company may supply much of what you require anyway; sleeping mats are often provided by the agencies, for example and sometimes sleeping bags too. Make sure you know exactly what they will be supplying as part of your package and what you need to bring yourself. For a complete list, visit our What to take 
One last thing: don’t leave buying your boots until the last minute. These will be your most important bits of kit, of course, and they will need to be broken-in thoroughly before you set foot on the mountain. If you followed the advice given in the Fitness section, above, you’ll hopefully be doing plenty of walking already – wearing your new boots on those exercise walks is a great idea to make sure they provide maximum comfort on the mountain.
3.Pay for your trek
The deadline for paying the final balance for your trek varies from company to company but it’s usually around 30 days prior to departure. This is also a good time to sort out your budget for the trip, with expenses such as tips for your crew, meals when not on the mountain, souvenirs, transport, extra nights’ accommodation etc

2.Check everything
 When the final invoice arrives read through everything carefully – preferably at least a month before in order to give your agency time to make any amendments should they need to. Just a few things to look out for include: Is everything you’ve paid for included on the itinerary?(For an example, here is a list of what we include – and exclude – in the price of our treks.) Do you know how you’re going to get to your hotel from the airport? Do you have accommodation for every night? Are all the timings correct? In other words, go through everything really thoroughly to make sure you’re not missing something – it could save you a lot of stress later on!.

1.Climbing the mountain
Lift-off! Many people say you’ve done the hard part already. But you don’t get a certificate for merely preparing for a Kilimanjaro trek. Only for getting to the summit. So there’s nothing to it now except tying your laces, picking up your daypack – and climb that mountain.  Don’t forget to enjoy it, too. You’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money getting to this mountain, so make sure you savour every single moment. Stop to smell the flowers, pause awhile to observe the behaviour of the colobus monkeys as they crash from tree to tree, and make sure you fill several memory cards with photos; you’ll only regret it later on otherwise. And besides, the slower you go, the more time you give your body to acclimatise – and thus increase your chances of making it to the summit. GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A beautful cheetah lies on the top of termit nest during the early hours of the sunrise on the big plains of the Serengeti Tanzania.

10 Interesting Facts about Mount  Kilimanjaro

Mountain Kilimanjaro

Rising majestically above the African plains, the 20,000-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro has beckoned to  climbers since the first recorded summit in 1889. Here are 10 interesting facts to help    inspire your own future summit:

1. Approximately 25,000 people attempt to summit  Mt. Kilimanjaro annually. Approximately 

two-thirds are successful. Altitude-related problems is the most common reason climbers  turn back.  

2. South African Bernard  Goosen twice scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair. His first summit, in 2003, took nine days; his second, four years later, took only six. Born with  erebral palsy, Goosen used a modified wheelchair, mostly without assistance, to climb the mountain.

3. Shamsa Mwangunga, National Resources and Tourism minister of Tanzania, announced in 2008 that 4.8 million indigenous trees will be planted around the base of the mountain, helping prevent soil erosion and protect water sources.  

4. The mountain’s snow caps are diminishing, having lost more than 80 percent of their mass since 1912. In fact, they may be completely ice free within the next 20 years, according to scientists.  

5. The fasted verified ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro occurred in 2001 when Italian Bruno Brunod  summitted Uhuru Peak in 5 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds. The fastest roundtrip was accomplished in 2004, when local guide Simon Mtuy went up and down the mountain in   8:27.  

6. Almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit.  

7. The oldest person ever to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro was 87-year-old Frenchman Valtee Daniel.  

8. Nearly every climber who has summitted  Uhuru Peak, the highest summit on Kibo’s crater rim, has recorded his or her thoughts about the accomplishment in a book stored in a wooden box at the top.  

9. Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Mawenzi, Shira and Kibo. Mawenzi and Shira are extinct but Kibo, the highest peak, is dormant and could erupt again. The most recent activity was about 200 years ago; the last major eruption was 360,000 years ago.  

10. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest freestanding mountain in the world.  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

10 Interest Facts you should Know About Zanzibar Island

The name Zanzibar is an Arabic word that is translated as 'the coast of black people'. The Zanzibar archipelago is a series of islands on the Indian Ocean about 16-31 miles from the mainland Republic of Tanzania. It is a semi-autonomous region of the Tanzania. The island has the best beaches in the world - and this is not an exaggeration. If you love lazing around in the sun, then this is the place to go. Below are a few facts that will give you an overview of the Island country.

1.      Zanzibar is comprised of several islands, but two are the larger ones.  Unguja is the largest one and is erroneously called Zanzibar. The other is called Pemba.

    2. The island is home to the almost extinct Zanzibar Red Columbus Monkey, the           Zanzibar Servaline Genet, and the Zanzibar Leopard.

3. Zanzibar has been home to intelligent humans (Homo sapiens) for more than 20,000 years.

4. The capital of Zanzibar is called Zanzibar City and its most historic feature is the ancient Stone Town.

5. Due to its proximity to Equator, Zanzibar is warm throughout the year and has equal day and nights (12-hours each) like most of the East African Countries.

6. Apart from tourism, the other economic activity in Zanzibar is spice growing. In fact, the island is sometimes fondly referred to as The Spice Island due to its cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper.

7. Some ancient potteries have been discovered in Zanzibar showing that it was a major trading route for the ancient Assyrians.

8. Amazingly, the shortest war ever recorded by man is the Anglo-Zanzibar War where the British bombarded the Beit al Hukum Palace and after 38 minutes, a ceasefire was called.

9. Thanks to Monsoon Winds, by the first century, Arabs, Persians and Indians were sailing to Zanzibar in their fast sailing dhows.

10. Throughout history, the Persians, Portuguese, Omani and British have fought to control the important island. It was seen as a gateway to mainland East Africa. In fact, the Sultanate of Omani was the first to trade slaves, cloves and ivory from East African Mainland.

The Island of Zanzibar boasts pristine white sand beaches, abundant sunshine, exotic Swahili dishes, a hospitable people and luxury tourists resorts. If your idea of fun is to mix a jungle safari with lazing on the beach, then you have just found a hidden gem in Zanzibar.

Where the pepper grows
Since the 7 th century the island supplied the world with spices and attracted migrants from the most exotic countries. Vanilla, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. Apparently they stayed "where the pepper grows" voluntarily. The location of this fertile island of Zanzibar also made ​​the connection between East Africa and the rest of the world. Even distant fleets from the USA made ​​their way down to Zanzibar not only to export the spices, but also settle there. Until today, besides tourism the export of spices is the main source of income. But the trade in spices has a dark side: Under arab domination it favored slave trade who were used as workers on the plantations in the 18th century. This was so lucrative that the simple city centre rapidly transformed into a thriving one – Stone Town. The slave trade was officially abolished in 1873 by the British.

Zanzibar was not always Muslim

When in 1108, the first mosque in Zanzibar – the first in Africa – was built, the foundation stone for a small thriving Islamic empire in Africa was set. Before the Arab embossed flair was brought to the island by the Sultan of Oman, the Portuguese also wanted to write a piece of the island’s history. They set up an important trading center in Zanzibar. In less than 200 years they had to admit defeat by the Sultan of Oman and give dominion again to Muslim hands. But even if the majority is Muslim today, a Christian minority could remain on the island. As the cultural development would not have been enough contrast, not only the roots of Islam in Africa are to be found here, but also the  ones of Christianity. Again, the island served as a conduit between Africa and the rest of the world: about 150 years ago the evangelization East Africa’s started here. Even if the Christian minority enjoys widespread acceptance among the Muslim population, there are attacks by radical groups, that are to be racial. Radical Islamists not only want to expel the Christians, but also the independence of the semi-autonomous state – a struggle that crumbles the magical, multicultural image of the island

Kilimanjaro:  Good reasons why you should Because it will make you fitter   Indeed, on Kilimanjaro you lose weight even when you’re ...