HomeMount Kilimanjaro Hiking FAQ’s

How much time do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?

We recommend a minimum of 8-10 days from the USA, although some people may want more time for the trip. We can customize itineraries or routes to offer more days in the park. Some people may wish to climb nearby Mount Meru as well. If you have more than 10 days, you can choose any of the main routes on the mountain and still have time for a wildlife safari before or after your trip.

What is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?

You can climb any month of the year. At lower elevations, April, May and November are quite wet while March and June are transition months. August and September are the coldest and driest months. January, February, July, August and September are all popular climbing months.

What route should I climb?

Around 80% of climbers choose the Marangu route (5 or 6 days), which is commonly referred to as the “Tourist” or “Coca cola” route because  it is easy to climb compared to other routes. The rest usually goes for Machame route (6 or 7 days). The four routes (Umbwe, Rongai, Shira and Lemosho) are far less frequented. Please note that many of the routes meet on a mid-way point and there are only three routes to the summit.

How fit do I have to be?

Many texts state that Kilimanjaro is easily accessible. However, you should not underestimate this mountain. There are no technical mountaineering skills required, but general fitness is necessary. However, the biggest problem for climbers is the effects of high altitude, which seem to be unrelated to fitness, age or gender. It is a good idea to start some physical training prior to the trek, which might include aerobic cross training and hiking to familiarize your body with the rigors or the trek. The fitter you are, the easier the climb will be for you. Determination and will power are other important factors.

How far do I hike each day?

It is more reasonable to measure each day in hours walked rather than miles. Most days, other than the summit day, will begin with breakfast around 6:30 AM and departure at 7 A.M. You will walk 4-5 hours with a break for lunch followed by another hour or two of hiking in the afternoon. These days are not long or difficult and you will be advised to walk slowly (“pole pole” in Swahili) by your guide.

Why do we make the final ascent in the pre-dawn darkness?

Most groups will start for the summit on ascent day at 11 PM to 12:30AM, depending on the perceived fitness of the group, the weather and the route. The pre-dawn hours, while cold, are also the calmest and clearest. The best views from the summit are at dawn. Often clouds and high winds develop not long after sunrise making the summit much less attractive and the descent more difficult. Guides who have been to the summit scores of times report that it is very rare to find it cloudy at the summit at dawn in any season. The ascent day is a very long day of hiking. Some people may require 15 hours to reach the summit and descend to the campsite for that day.

What if I am slower than the other trekkers?

There is no need to worry because this is a common concern. It is much better for your body if you proceed slowly and the guides will continually remind you about this (“pole pole”-Swahili word which means slowly). By walking slowly, your body will much better acclimatize to the high altitude. There is plenty of time allotted each day for the trek, even for those who like to go very slowly.

What if I cannot make it to the top?

Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit, but not at the expense of their overall experience. Even for those who never reached the top, the experience of the wonders of Kilimanjaro is rewarding. If one or more members of a group decide they cannot continue or if a guide deems it is unsafe for an individual (or group) to continue, they will be escorted to the most convenient campsite or hut. Our guides intimately know the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and they are trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstance.

How many weights will I have to carry, and where can I leave things not needed on the climb?

You will simply carry a day pack of about 5-6 pounds, though some people carry more or less. Your gear, not to exceed 33 pounds, will be placed inside a waterproof duffle at the trail head, and a porter will carry this for you. If you have things you do not need on the climb, you may leave a bag behind at Moshi in our office.

What kind of staff will accompany me on the climb?

The usual ratio is three local staff for each climber, although small groups may have four staff per climber. These usually consist of an English speaking guide or guides, a professional cook and gear-carrying porters. We encourage you to interact with your staff, though some will have limited English. They are all trustworthy local people who have grown up in the shadow of the mountain. Many of them have climbed the peak 50 or more times.

What is provided, and what do I have to bring?

We provide tents, food, utensils and leadership. You should bring your own sleeping bag rated to 10 degrees F., water system, personal clothing, sleeping pad, light duffle bag and day pack. Hiking poles can be rented for $10. A packing list is provided to all climbers, along with our pre-departure packet.

How much equipment will I carry?

You are expected to carry your own day pack, which should be able to sustain you until you reach a camp at the end of the day. You do not need to carry your person backpack/duffel pack it will be carried by a porter. The weight per porter is limited to 20kgs. Your duffel bag will be brought from campsite to campsite-before you arrive it will already be there. What do you need during the day in your pack will depend on your priorities, but will generally include drinking water, basic medical kit, camera, water proof layers, a pair of gloves and hat, a warm layer, and snacks.

What is the accommodation like at the trek?

On the Marangu Route there are simple basic huts. The first two huts sleep four people each and the last hut is dorm-style with bunk beds. On all other routes, you will sleep in 3-person dome style mountain tents, two people each. The tents are modern and have an outer flysheet and large vestibules keep equipment from the elements. They are set up, broken down and carried along with everything else by our porters. A toilet tent is set up at every campsite and hot water is provided for each person every morning if possible (no showers).There will be dining tents with chairs and tables where all meals will be served. Before the meals we will provide soap and hot water for washing your hands.

Testimonials

What our Travelers are saying

Elisa M
Elisa M
2024-04-06
Verified
Great Tour Company me and my girl friend went on 7days safari with Awe Safari, to Tarangire, Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti national park, Ray and his Company (Awe Safari) was wonderful and he was also funny Guide and knowledgeable, we had a great time and enjoyable trip, we saw all the animals that we expected to see, Ray went out of his way to make sure that everything is clear and well done, we'll go back again for wildebeest to Zebras Migration in Serengeti national park, I highly recommend this great company for both Kilimanjaro trekking and wildlife Safari, cheers and see you again
Cecilia C
Cecilia C
2024-04-02
Verified
Excellent Safari with Raymond! We went on a safari with Raymond and had a truly amazing time! Raymon was so kind, funny, and knowledgeable. We learned so much and saw so many animals - all of the big 5 while with him! We always felt safe and had a wonderful time. We still think so fondly of our time with Raymond!! Thank you!
Gregg Yan
Gregg Yan
2024-04-01
Verified
Excellent Value for Money Ray Shirima knows where the animals are. He'll get you to them safely. His tours are A-Grade and well worth your time and treasure.
Linda G
Linda G
2023-08-25
Verified
Ray is an amazing guide! Me, my boyfriend and some friends went on a 4-days safari trip. It was one of the best days in my life! The owner Ray is an amazing guide. I highly recommend this company! /Linda from Sweden
VIRGINIA O
VIRGINIA O
2023-02-12
Verified
A fabulous Safari! We went on a 6 day safari with Ray in Jan 2023. Ray is a very friendly young man with a great sense of humour. He is an experienced and knowledgeable guide with a keen eye for spotting elusive wildlife; he is a skilllful driver. He made every effort to make sure we were comfortable and had plenty of time to view and take pictures of the animals. He was accompanied by a chef, Victor, who prepared delicious Tanzanian meals, including a hot lunch. We certainly recommend Ray and Awe Safaris. Virginia O'Brien and Bob Audet
Ivan R
Ivan R
2022-03-15
Verified
Almost there... Almost there... words, words I will never forget. Kili was my dream and after those words, I overcame it with the help of AWE Safari. it was hard and at the same time mental rest from the worries of everyday life. For the rest of my life I will remember that experience and thank Peter, Ino, Majka and of course Ray for organizing and finishing my dream to the end.
kitty_knows
kitty_knows
2021-08-14
Verified
Inside knowledge pays off when you travel this far We did the 5-day camping tour including Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It took us ages to find the operator we wanted to go with. Firstly, because this kind of activity is expensive in Tanzania (the National Parks take a huge chunk of money), secondly because there are so many fake and frankly strange reviews that give little info and, thirdly because the Covid pandemic meant a wildly reduced offering. It is very difficult to imagine what you will really experience on a safari when you have never done one before and all the offers look similar. A lot of operators don’t have proper websites, which is a worry when you try to book. Here is what we luckily found out: Unless you have very specific needs regarding accommodation, tent and foods, the experience of the guide makes the difference between amazing experience, value for money and “ok”. With Ray we had a once-in-lifetime!!! And I will come back to Tansania to have a safari with him again, and I will continue to recommend him to friends and colleagues. The trick on a safari is to know where to go and when to have the best chance of seeing an animal before all the other guides find it. Inevitably, most of the cars in each park will converge on a spot. But if you have a guide like Ray you will have five or ten minutes to yourself before that happens. And this is what sets apart an experienced guide from a novice. The novice (or perhaps the lazy guides) can follow the other cars and their clients will end up seeing the same animals. But no money in the world can weigh up observing a heard of elephants or a mother lioness with her cubs in total calm with nobody else around. No chatter, no screaming children, no posing for pictures just watching. I must stress that this is also dependent on luck. And you will need a lot of it. You never know what you see on any given day. We saw absolutely everything Serengeti had to give. It was just nice. To close my review I will say that a good guide is kind to his clients, kind to all the other workers and kind to the animals. Ray is all of this. So big thumbs up. And hope to be back in Tansania soon!!!
Lone Asif
Lone Asif
2020-12-11
Verified
Lifetime experience We had an amazing trip with Raymond Ray is a wonderful guy he knows everything .Everything was good like Car ' food ' camp ' and also price was affordable Ray is good speaking guide and also very helpful We had a great time with him .Ray is a very knowledgeable about the animals and environment and very good finding the animals .. You don't need to search more just do it with Raymond , you won't regret I highly recommend Raymond for everyone Will sure come again Best regards Lone Asif
Aytekin Bal
Aytekin Bal
2020-11-25
Verified
Raymond is the right one... We had a great experience with Raymond. He is more than a guide… You become like friends in short time.. You dont need to search more. Just do it with Raymond, you won't regret...
Peoscar
Peoscar
2020-11-21
Verified
Highly recommended Back in November of 2017 me, my wife and a friend couple was in Tanzania and had the pleasure of meeting Ray. He was our tour guide through a 4 day safari that can only be described as amazing! I'm really thrilled to hear that he has opened his own company!!! I would recommend his services to anyone. Top of the line; both in terms of professionalism and friendliness!