Photo Credit: Magda Lovei
What is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?
Weather on the mountain is fairly consistent year-round, but should you plan on attaching a safari to your trek, it’s worth keeping in mind Tanzania’s seasonal shifts. June through October is cooler and drier. December through March is warmer and a bit wetter, with lush, green landscapes throughout the country.
We wouldn’t recommend climbing in April, early May, or late November, due to heavy rains.
Which Kilimanjaro route should I climb?
While Thomson can run treks on any route, we strongly recommend the least traveled, most scenic and most nontechnical options. Our preferred routes give trekkers plenty of acclimatization time, stunning views, and more intimate experiences of the mountain.
- Our 9-day Western Approach trek offers ample acclimatization and beautiful scenery all the way up the mountain.
- The Grand Traverse Route is a 10-day climb along one of the least-traveled routes on Kilimanjaro, with maximum acclimatization and luxury upgrades.
- The Umbwe and Machame routes offer beautiful scenery, more challenging hiking, and fewer acclimatization days.
What equipment do I need to climb Kilimanjaro?
No specialty mountaineering equipment is needed (i.e. ice axe, crampons, helmet, etc.), and most active guests find they already have some of the items we recommend—hiking boots, base layers, fleece hats and gloves, a fleece sweater, etc. Once you’ve joined a trek, you’ll receive a detailed packing list and rental gear list to help you prepare.
How much gear will I carry?
Porters carry all gear except for your daypack, which usually weighs around 10 lb on Western Approach, Umbwe, and Grand Traverse treks, and around 20 lb on Machame treks.
Personal porters can be employed to carry your day pack for an additional cost.
How do I book my Kilimanjaro trek?
Call 617-923-0426 (toll free: 800-235-0289) to reserve your trek with a 20% deposit. The final balance will be due by check, money order, or wire transfer 90 days prior to departure. See our booking information page for last minute booking details and other considerations.
What is your summit success rate?
Fully 98% of Thomson trekkers reach Uhuru Peak (Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit).
What are the COVID-19 entry requirements for Tanzania?
Thomson strongly recommends but no longer requires guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This decision follows the Tanzanian government’s announcement that it would no longer require vaccination for entry.
Of course, staying safe requires everyone to do their part for the good of their health, their communities and the people they visit when they travel. That’s why Thomson encourages everyone, including all Thomson staff in the U.S. and Tanzania, to stay up to date on their vaccinations.
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.
Kilimanjaro’s trails are completely nontechnical, but can be very steep at points. Before your trek, we recommend strength training exercises and regular hikes to familiarize your body with the rigors and nuances of trail-hiking.
Call us at 617-923-0426 (toll free: 800-235-0289) for more specific training recommendations.
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, guides will remind you to move pole, pole (go slowly) anyways; hiking at a slow and steady pace gives your body a chance to acclimatize to the altitude.
What if I can’t make it to the top of Kilimanjaro?
If you need to descent early, a medically-trained/Wilderness First Responders (WFR) mountain guide will escort you down the mountain. Your guides know a network of shortcuts to help you reach your next campsite as efficiently and safely as possible.
How qualified are the Kilimanjaro guides?
Your Tanzanian-born head guides are Wilderness First Responders (WFR) by the Sentinel Outdoor Institute.
These seasoned Kilimanjaro experts each have 100-200+ personal summits under their belts. 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 many people will be in my group?
Our small group treks have no minimum size, so all departures are guaranteed. We take a maximum of 10 climbers on Grand Traverse treks, 12 on Western Approach and Umbwe treks, and 15 on Machame Route treks.
How many hours will I trek each day?
On most routes, you’ll trek 4-7 hours most days. On certain routes you’ll trek as many as 10-15 hours on the longest days.
How many miles will I trek total?
Depending on the route you choose, you’ll cover anywhere from 30 to 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 rain forest, you’re likely to spot black-and-white Colobus monkeys, tropical birds and more.
What kind of food will I eat?
Highly-trained chefs prepare three hot nutritious meals daily, as well as trail snacks and afternoon tea each day.
You’ll eat all your meals in a solar-lit dining tent with your fellow trekkers and head guide.
Delicious vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other specialty meals can be provided (with advance request). We’re happy to send you a sample menu—just ask!
What are the Kilimanjaro accommodations like?
Your mountain camps are set up and broken down each day by expert camp porters. You’ll stay in 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 provided in every camp.
Grand Traverse treks include upgraded solar-lit walk-in-height sleeping tents with mountaineering beds and mattresses for additional comfort.
What is the temperature on Kilimanjaro?
Temperatures on the mountain vary greatly, from 70-90°F in the rain forest 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 stay prepared for sun, rain, snow, and wind. We recommend layering your clothing and carrying a waterproof shell at all times.
What route will I descend?
All Thomson treks descend via the Mweka Route, on the southeastern slopes of the mountain. Mweka’s well-maintained trail winds through lush forests, giving you a final chance to sight-see before finishing your trek.
At the gate, you’ll be awarded your climbing certificate and savor a hearty meal before bidding farewell to your guides and porters.