Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa, sitting at 19,341 feet (5,895m) above sea level, and is one of the world’s famous Seven Summits. This stratovolcano is the highest free-standing mountain in the world rising over 16,000 feet (4,900m) from its base. Kilimanjaro’s striking topography makes it the fourth-most prominent mountain on Earth with unbeatable views from the summit. Its array of ecosystems offers a unique experience as the team travels through dry African plains to North-Eastern Tanzania where the mountain then transforms from rainforest to low-alpine vegetation to a glaciated high-alpine zone. For over 100 years, this peak has called mountaineers and adventurers from across the globe.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with Montana Alpine Guides offers a true high altitude mountaineering experience. Our highly trained guides and partnership with local African guides allows for a thoughtful selection of your climbing route and provides the best opportunity to successfully reach the summit of Kilimanjaro. Our thorough staff consists of not only MAG and local guides, but also porters and cooks who make the trip more comfortable along the way. After the climb, we provide the option to explore local culture and wildlife with an all-inclusive African Safari in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife parks. This is an excellent way to take in more of authentic Africa before heading home.
Why Climb Mount Kilimanjaro with MAG?
Experience. The professional mountain guides on the Montana Alpine Guides team share a wealth of experience of guiding at altitude including the world’s great ranges: Himalaya, Alaska Range, Andes, Rockies. Climbing high altitude peaks with professional guides with years of experience at altitude greatly increases your chances of success and assures you the highest level of risk management available.
- All Montana Alpine Guides’ Kilimanjaro trips have one of our US-based lead guides on the trip.
Day 1: Travel
Depart country of origin. When traveling from the US, flights are typically over 24 hours. The best international connection is through Amsterdam which allows a direct flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
Day 2: Arrival in Tanzania
You will be greeted at the airport by your MAG guide. We take private transportation to our lodging in Arusha, Tanzania. Overnight at our hotel.
Day 3: Preparation Day
Preparation day for final expedition logistics and general overview of the climb with our expedition team. Afternoon to relax.
Day 4: Machame Trailhead
In the morning we drive to the Machame Trailhead where we register with the park service and meet our porters. We begin our climb on the edge of the rainforest (5,800’) trekking for roughly 6 hours through dense forests to Machame Camp (10,000’).
Day 5: Machame to Shira Camp
Leaving camp in the morning we eventually gain the Shira Plateau (12,200’). Along our trek, we leave the heath forest and gain the moorlands. With clear skies, we have views of the summit and the Great Rift Valley.
Day 6: Shira Camp – Barranco
We continue on through Giant Grundsels & Lobelias, endemic flora on the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro.Camp is set near the base of the Great Barranco Wall.
Day 7: Barranco – Karanga Valley
We ascend the Great Barranco gaining altitudes up to 14,500’ then descending into camp at 13,000’ which provides further acclimatization.
Day 8: Karanga Valley – Barafu Hut
As we ascend toward high camp, we enter the high desert plateau strewn with volcanic boulders. Surrounded by spectacular views of the desert plains we rest and prepare our packs for our early morning summit climb.
Day 9: Summit Day
Summit day to the roof of Africa! With an alpine start by headlamp, we slowly gain elevation as the rising sun sheds its first rays of the African plains below. We gain the crater rim following a distinct ridge to the high point of Africa, Uhuru Peak (19,341’). Here we enjoy the summit views prior to our return to pack up camp then descend to Mweka Camp (10,000’).
Day 10: Mweka Camp – Arusha
After breakfast, we continue our descent to the Mweka Gate to celebrate our achievements. We continue by private vehicle back to our hotel for hot showers and clean beds.
Day 11: Arusha to Serengeti National Park- Safari
Waking in our hotel, we have breakfast and head out for the Serengeti. We view wildlife together on the drive and have a picnic lunch. Eventually, we arrive at the Serengeti Osupuko Lodge where we will stay for two nights.
Day 12: Serengeti National Park- Safari
Rising early for sunrise, we travel into the park for an early morning wildlife viewing drive. After lunch back at the lodge, we will go on a second wildlife ride for the afternoon. We’ll stay the night again at the Serengeti Osupuko Lodge.
Day 13: Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Crater- Safari
We’ll have a nice breakfast before gathering our things and checking out of the lodge. The team will enjoy a wildlife drive and picnic lunch as we exit the Serengeti and descend into Ngorongoro Crater for the day. We’ll drive back to Arusha after an afternoon full of wildlife.
Day 14: Arusha
Today we get to relax prior to our departing flights from Tanzania. We have an early dinner before getting private transportation to the airport.
Day 15: Travel Home
Continued flights to the US or country of origin.
Safari: Serengeti National Park // Ngorongoro Conservation Area
After we come down from the summit, we travel back to Arusha for some rest before leaving for our three-day Safari which begins in Serengeti National Park. The name Serengeti comes from the name “Siringet,” used to describe this land by the local Maasai people. It means “The place where the land runs on forever.” The park, established in 1951, is comprised of 5,700 square miles of woodlands, grassland plains, savanna, and riverine forest in northwestern Tanzania. Aside from the park staff, no humans live in this park.
Wildlife viewing in the biodiverse Serengeti National Park is some of the best on Earth making this Safari a once in a lifetime experience. The park is home to a wide variety of beautiful animals including Lions, African Leopards, Cheetahs, Eastern Black Rhinoceros’, African Bush Elephants, Buffalos, Giraffes, Gazelles, Impalas, and many more. The largest big-mammal population in the world, more than 1.5 million Wildebeests, is found inside the Serengeti. During this part of the trip, we will stay at lodges and venture out on the Safari during the day time. Lodges are comfortable and relaxing. Access to WiFi is available.
On our last day of the Safari, the team drives into Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This beautiful landscape built on extinct shield volcanoes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Similar to the Serengeti, this protected land is the home of a diverse wildlife population. Many large African animals are found here from Rhinos and Buffalo to Cheetahs and Leopards. We will descend into Ngorongoro Crater for a picnic lunch and wildlife viewing. This crater is the world’s largest inactive and unfilled volcanic caldera. It was created when a massive volcano erupted and collapsed into itself. It is believed the old volcano was nearly the height of Kilimanjaro and erupted over two million years ago. The crater is now a rich and protected land home to many animals.
Serengeti National Park:
- Tanzania’s oldest park
- 250,000 Zebra
- 1.5 million Wildebeest
- Home to the endangered Eastern Black Rhinoceros
- Comfortable lodging
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Protected World Heritage Site
- Comprised of 8 extinct shield volcanoes
- Ngorongoro Crater: world’s largest inactive, unfilled volcanic caldera
- Zebras, Impalas, Cheetahs, Leopards & more
Travel insurance is required for this trip. Depending on the type of insurance you purchase you will be covered for trip cancellation, interruption, delay, medical expenses or evacuation, baggage loss or delay, etc.
Cancellation Insurance is included in most trip insurance policies for injuries to yourself and family emergencies prior to your trip. If you need to cancel your trip, your insurance should provide a refund for any non-refundable portions of your trip if covered for one of their listed reasons.
For trips including climbing, you may need to upgrade your travel insurance or be sure that your activities are covered as well as the altitudes in which you will be traveling.
Most travelers fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha. It’s best to fly in from Amsterdam or London if possible. Typically you will have a connecting flight in Nairobi, Kenya. The Tanzanian time zone is 7 hours earlier than the EST zone in the US.
Return flights should depart Arusha at 7 pm or later on the final day of your trip, which is day 14 on the itinerary.
All travelers must have a valid passport with validity 6 months after the date of return from Arusha. Make two photocopies of your passport, one to keep with you on your travel, and one to leave back home with your emergency contact in your country of origin.
A visa is required to enter Tanzania which can be purchased upon arrival for $100. It is best to have cash with printed dates 2006 or later. Make sure to check the dates on your visa to ensure it covers your trip dates.
ARRIVAL IN KILIMANJARO AIRPORT
Upon arrival you will head to the Arrivals Building, then continue to the Visas office window area which will be on your right. Once you have your visa you will continue through Passport Control before continuing on to the baggage claim. Keep your luggage together as you continue on to Customs. Your MAG guide will be awaiting you outside of customs.
TRAVEL IN TANZANIA
For all portions of our trip listed on the itinerary, you will be transported by private vehicle.
Immunization requirements and recommendations can be found at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. General sanitation should be observed to avoid cases of traveler’s upset stomach. Basics include:
- Washing your hands, or using hand sanitizer often.
- Don’t drink any water that is not bottled. This includes ice, fruit juices that are diluted with water, shower water. It’s also advised to brush your teeth with bottled water. Ensure all bottled drinks have a sealed top.
- Food should be cooked and/or something you have to peel. Avoid salad that may have been washed in non-purified water
The Mt Meru Regional hospital is located in Arusha, with the nearest level 1 trauma facility in Arusha or Moshi. Severe emergencies would require evacuation to Nairobi, Kenya.
The Tanzania Shilling (TSh) is the official currency. Check online for the latest exchange rate. U.S. Dollars are widely accepted throughout the country. It is best to carry clean crisp bills from 2006 or later. You should plan to bring roughly $800 in cash with some small bills. ATMs are available throughout Arusha. Consider a secure and somewhat hidden way to carry your cash and cards (money belts, hidden pockets, etc.).
MAG follows the suggested tipping lined out by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program (KPAP) for all local support staff. We suggest you contribute $310 to the tip pool. Tips are expected and are part of the staffs’ wage.
MAG Guides: Industry standards for tips to your US-based mountain guides are in the range of 10-15% of the program cost. Your guides work hard to bring you success and greatly appreciate the gratitude. You can bring cash in-country but if you’d rather you can follow up with a gratuity payment post-trip through the MAG office.
Please visit https://www.state.gov/ for the most recent advisories for the country for your climbs and navigate to that nation.
All gear on the list below is required for your trip unless listed as optional.
- Socks: 4-5 pairs, mid-weight to heavy-weight socks
- Gaiters: mid-calf high is sufficient for this climb
- Hiking boots: light-weight, designed for hiking on rugged terrain
- Hiking/comfortable shoes: comfortable shoes for in-camp use & travel
- Hiking shirt: synthetic material, a hooded base layer with built-in sun protection is a great option.
- Baselayer top: long sleeve made of wool or polyester. No Cotton!
- Midlayer top: worn over your base layer, this should be a light-weight fleece. Hoods are a nice option.
- Insulated mid-weight layer: ideal options are a light-weight puffy jacket made of synthetic materials that won’t sacrifice warmth if wet.
- Rain shell jacket: waterproof and breathable jacket with a hood, and no insulation.
- Insulated down parka: expedition style down-fill parka that extends below the waistline and has a hood. Look for total weight to range between 1.5-2.5lbs.
- Sports bra: synthetic or wool materials (no cotton)
- Underwear: 2-3 pairs of synthetic or wool materials (no cotton)
- Long underwear: light-weight, synthetic or wool materials (no cotton)
- Climbing soft-shell pant
- Rain pant: waterproof pant with full-length zippers for quick and easy layering adjustments
- Hiking shorts: should be very light-weight
HEAD & HANDS
- Gloves: light-weight fleece
- Gloves: mid-weight, with shell built-in and insulation
- Gloves: heavy-weight, can be a mitten or glove with waterproof exterior
- Sun hat: light-weight
- Insulated hat: fleece or wool
- Neck gaiter: Buff style
- Sunglasses: dark, polarized lenses for glaciers/altitude
- Trekking poles (collapsable in 3rds)
- Waterproof bag: 115-liter size or greater. Seal Line, Black Canyon Dry Pack, in 115 L. We use bags traditionally used on river trips. This keeps our belongings dry on the lower portions of the mountain where rain is frequent. Buy the item listed or something similar with shoulder and waist straps.
- Backpack: 35-liter, lightweight hiking pack
- Pack cover for your backpack
- Sleeping bag: 0-degree, down or synthetic
- Compression sack: for sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Travel duffel: 110-liter or greater We will leave this bag at our hotel while on the mountain. No wheeled bags.
- Water bottles: (2-3) 1-liter bottles. No water bladder systems, the hoses will freeze.
- Water purification: bring both a Steripen & some chemical-based water treatment.
- Pee bottle: nice option so you don’t have to get out of the tent at night. Should be clearly marked! Pee Funnel for Women (practice using pre-trip)
- Insect repellent
- Camera (optional)
- Lip balm with sunscreen
- Personal first aid kit: Moleskin (blister care), over the counter pain meds, band-aids, septic wipes. Guides will carry more severe med kits.
- Medications: any personal meds. Add in some safety nets for travelers stomach/diarrhea including Pepto Bismol, Immodium, Cipro (antibiotics), Diamox, Z Packs, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.
- Earplugs: two pairs, store some in your sleeping bag.
- Hand & Footwarmers (2-4 sets)
- Toiletry items: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, tooth care, wet wipes, etc.
- Snacks: 8-12 energy packets (GU packer, Clif Shot Blocks, Energy Gels, or something similar). This will be for summit day. Also consider cough drops. All other meals & snacks are provided.
- Travel clothes: for before and after your trip. Consider bringing a swimsuit, 2-3 shirts, shorts, pants, long sleeve shirt.
- Luggage locks: TSA approved
TRAVEL ITEMS & DOCUMENTS
- Passport: must be valid 6 months from your return date
- Passport copies: leave one at home, bring the other to keep in a separate location
- Printed copy of flight itinerary
- Immunization records
- Cash & credit cards
Kilimanjaro may be an easier climb with regards to the technical components, but with an elevation of 19,341’ it is not to be underestimated. Training for such a high objective requires a certain level of dedication to ensure success. Running on flat ground day in day out will obviously not prepare you as well as running or hiking with elevation gain. After all, this climbing objective gains altitude every day until we reach the summit.
- Begin your training ASAP. Ideally 3 months or more prior to your climb.
- Climbing Kilimanjaro includes hiking day after day with a 15-20 pound pack on uneven terrain. Summit day will be 12 hours or more.
- Create your own training program or get a personal trainer that matches your objective. This should be written out so it is a plan you can easily follow.
- Plan to arrive on day 1 of your climb in the best shape of your life. The better shape you are in, the more you will be able to enjoy yourself, and of course, raise your chance for success.
What is a typical day like on the mountain?
We rise in the morning and have breakfast together in the dining tent. With our belongings packed, we set off to trek to our next camp, the time trekking will vary depending on what camp we are headed to. Expect to hike for 4 to 7 hours. On longer treks, we will eat lunch on the trail. At our next camp, we have plenty of downtime as we try to relax while acclimating to higher altitudes. We’ll have a team dinner each night before tucking off to bed.
What is the actual trekking like?
The route is not technically difficult but is challenging because of altitude gain. We will trek at a pace that is enjoyable for every member of the team. We will have porters carrying much of our belongings, this makes the trek much easier for us and our personal packs will weigh between 15 and 20 pounds.
What is the food like?
On the trip, our camps are stocked with excellent food. A typical breakfast will consist of eggs, toast, sausage or bacon, fruit, cereal or porridge, and coffee or tea. Lunches and dinners include salad, soup, pasta, meat, veggies, fruits, and hot drinks.
In Arusha, we’ll have the opportunity to eat things we already know and like as well as enjoy the local Tanzanian food. The bustling city is full of restaurants. The most popular food in Arusha is “Ugali” and it can be found in most local restaurants.
What are the camps like?
Our camps are built for comfort and give us incredible views from each one. We will have cooks, fresh food and water, a group space for eating, socializing, and relaxing, and no more than two people per tent. Our camps will already be set up by the time we arrive. Camp is a great atmosphere, it provides both the opportunity to rest as well as enjoy the trip as a team.
What is the plan for summit day?
On Summit day we wake up under the stars at Barafu Hut (15,100ft.). We’ve prepared our rucksacks the night before and after a quick breakfast we set off with headlamps for the roof of Africa. The summit climb is just over 4,000 vertical feet and we take our time to get to the top as a team. The final distance is surreal as we enter the crater rim to get to the highest point of Kilimanjaro which is called Uhuru Peak (19,341’). After some time on the summit, we descend back to Barafu Hut to collect our things and then continue down to Mweka Camp (10,000’).
Will we be able to get phone service or WIFI?
Cell phone service is available on most parts of our journey but signal strength can vary depending on where we are. WIFI is available in Arusha as well as the lodges we stay at during our Safari. No WIFI is available on the mountain.
What is the best way to get power on the mountain?
While working our way up the mountain, a personal solar charger is the go-to for charging your electronics (phone, cameras, etc…).
Deposit: MAG requires a $1,500.00 non-refundable deposit to reserve your spot.
Remaining Balance: Full payment is due at least 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If we do not have the full payment inside 90 days prior to departure, we will have to cancel your reservation. MAG will reach out to make sure you are paid on time. If you book for a trip less than 90 days to departure, the full payment will be required at the time of reservation to secure your booking.
MAG will refund all fees except the $1,500.00 non-refundable deposit if the booking is canceled more than 90 days prior to the start of the trip. If the booking is canceled less than 90 days prior to the start of the trip we will be unable to refund any fees, at that time MAG has already invested the money into your trip.
Mountaineering is a sport of changing factors. Because of this, Montana Alpine Guides cannot guarantee that you will make it to the summit. Weather, route conditions, and team chemistry are examples of reasons a mountaineering trip may not reach the top. Your climbing abilities, fitness, and health, as well as that of the other climbers on the team, may result in you or the entire team abandoning a summit attempt and heading down the mountain. MAG is not responsible for any climbers’ failure to reach the summit and does not offer refunds or rebookings for this result.
What our clients say about us
“I started climbing with MAG a few years ago. I was pretty shocked when the owner and lead guide, Sam, said I was ready for an expedition to Peru to climb 20,000 ft. peaks. He handled all of the logistics from start to finish and nothing was forgotten. Everything was handled professionally and I always felt comfortable. The climbs were incredibly difficult but Sam was always there to offer positive reinforcement to get us through. I would highly recommend a trip like this for anyone wanting to take that next step!”