Kilimanjaro FAQs

How do I book my trek?

Give us a call at 617-923-0426 (toll free at 800-235-0289) to reserve your trek with a $700+ deposit. The final balance will be due 90 days prior to departure by check, money order, or wire transfer. See our booking information page for last minute booking details and other considerations.

What is your success rate for summiting?

98% of Thomson trekkers reach Uhuru Peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit.

How long will I trek per day?

You’ll trek 4-7 hours most days. Depending on the route you choose, you’ll trek 10-15 hours on the longest days.

How many miles will I trek total?

Hikers on Umbwe, Machame, Western Approach, and Grand Traverse routes typically trek between 30-55+ miles.

Will I see wildlife?

Prior to the climb, you’ll enjoy an acclimatization day with wildlife viewing and nature walks. Trekking through the rainforest you may see black and white Colobus monkeys, tropical birds, and more.

How many people will be in my group?

Our trek sizes are small, offering you a more intimate experience of the mountain. There’s no minimum size, so all departures are guaranteed. We take a maximum of twelve climbers on the Western Approach and Umbwe routes, fifteen on the Machame Route, and nine on the Grand Traverse Route.

What are the accommodations like?

Your mountain camps are set up and broken down each day by your expert porters. They include double occupancy all-weather tents with full-ground pads to keep you and your gear dry. Private toilet tents, solar-lit dining tents with tables and chairs, and basins of hot water for washing are also all provided. Grand Traverse treks include upgraded, solar-lit walk-in height sleeping tents with mountaineering bed and mattress for additional comfort.

What kind of food will I eat?

Chefs with professional hygienic food preparation training make three hot, nutritious meals, trail snacks, and afternoon tea each day. You’ll eat all three meals in a solar-lit dining tent with your fellow trekkers and head Mountain Guide. We can also provide delicious vegetarian, vegan, gluten- free, and other specialty meals (with advance request). We’re happy to send you a sample menu—just ask!

How qualified are the guides?

All head guides are internationally certified Wilderness First Responders. Tanzanian- born, they are all seasoned Kilimanjaro experts with 100-200+ personal summits. They speak English and Swahili, have extensive experience leading treks with western group dynamics, and carry an arsenal of emergency equipment that they are trained to use. Trekking with them is the safest way to summit.

How much gear will I carry?

Porters carry all your gear except for your daypack, weighing from 10lbs on the Western Approach, Umbwe, and select Grand Traverse routes to 20lbs on the Machame Route. Personal porters can be employed to carry your day pack.

What if I can’t make it to the top?

If you need to descend early, a medically-trained Mountain Guide will assist you down the mountain. Your guides know a network of shortcuts and will escort you to your next campsite as efficiently and safely as possible.

What if I’m slow?

Don’t worry! Thomson treks have one guide for every three trekkers, so you can move at your own pace. Besides, your guides will remind you to move pole, pole (slowly, slowly) anyway; hiking at a slow and steady pace gives your body a chance to acclimatize to the altitude.

What route do I descend?

To see even more of Kilimanjaro, you’ll descend via the Mweka Route, on the southeastern slopes of the mountain. The final day’s descent cuts through lush forests on a well-maintained trail to the gate. Here you’ll be awarded your climbing certificate and savor a hearty meal before bidding farewell to your guides and porters.

What route should I climb?

While we can run treks on any route, we strongly recommend the least traveled, most scenic, and most nontechnical options. Our preferred routes offer acclimatization time, stunning views, and more intimate experiences on the mountain. The Western Approach Route is our 9-day trek, which offers ample acclimatization and beautiful scenery all the way up the mountain. The Grand Traverse Route is our 10-day climb along the least-traveled routes, with maximum acclimatization and luxury upgrades. The Umbwe and Machame routes offer beautiful scenery, more challenging hiking, and fewer acclimatization days.

What is the temperature range on the mountain?

Temperatures on the mountain vary greatly, from 70-90°F in the rainforest to -10°F near the summit. Above the tree line, most days are 30-50°F. Kilimanjaro creates its own weather patterns, and the weather can change dramatically and without warning. Your guides will help you be prepared for sun, rain, snow, and wind. We recommend layering your clothing and carrying a waterproof shell at all times.

How fit do I need to be?

You don’t need to be an athlete or have experience with technical mountaineering, but you do need to be active, committed to training prior to the climb, and ready to persevere on the mountain. The trails are completely nontechnical, but they are very steep in some areas and easy in others. Before your trek, we recommend strength training exercises and regular hikes to familiarize your body with the rigors and nuances of the trails. Give us a call for more specific recommendations.

What equipment do I need?

No special mountaineering equipment is needed, and most active guests find they already have most of the items we recommend—hiking boots, multiple layers, warm hats and gloves, a down jacket, etc. Once you’ve joined a trek, you’ll receive a detailed packing list and rental gear list to help you prepare.

Check out our Pinterest page for gear we recommend.

What is the best time of year for climbing?

June through October is the coolest, driest time to climb. December through March is warm and a bit wetter, with lush, green landscapes prevailing. We wouldn’t recommend climbing in April, early May, or late November, because of heavy rains.

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