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Mount Kilimanjaro ~ Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

  • 1) Do I require any special skills or equipment to trek on any of the routes?
    No. All of the treks, including the Full Circuit Umbwe and Alternative Lemosho treks, are walks, not climbs. Nor do you need any special equipment, so you can leave all your ropes, crampons, ice axes etc at home. All of the routes are walking routes only.
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    2) How long are the Treks?
    The treks vary from six to eight days. The exact length of each trek is written on the Trekking dates and prices page. You can, of course, ask for treks that are longer than eight days and we can arrange this for you; though we don’t book treks for less than 6 days as we feel this is too short to allow you to acclimatise properly.
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    3) Who are your operators in Tanzania?
    We are. We are not agents for anybody, but run the treks ourselves through our own Tanzanian company. So you can rest assured that whoever you speak to in our company has climbed Kilimanjaro – and probably many times.
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    4) Who is leading my trek?
    The treks will be led by a local guide whom we have hand-picked because of their knowledge, expertise and experience on the mountain. We have an advantage here: because of the many years we have been working on the mountain and the number of times we have climbed it, so we are able to employ only those guides who meet our very stringent criteria. We employ only those who demonstrate excellent knowledge of the mountain, first-rate safety records, brilliant leadership skills and routinely provide wonderful care and attention towards all climbers to ensure the trek is a safe and enjoyable one.
    In short, we think our guides are the best currently working on the mountain.
    Please note that, in accordance with the rules of the park authorities, on every trek there will be one guide for every two climbers.
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    5) What is the maximum number of people on the trek?
    The maximum number of people on the trek is eight. Occasionally this may stretch to nine or ten if, for example, there are already seven people booked on the trek and a group of two or three want to join. On the rare occasion where this happens we will contact those already booked on the trek to see if they have any objection to the group size growing above eight.
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    6) The welfare of porters is very important to us - are you partners of KPAP?
    Yes. Of course we are. As readers of my guidebook will know, we are keen supporters and advocates of KPAP and admire the work that they, and their indefatigable boss, Karen Valenti, do to ensure that porters are fairly treated and properly paid for their work on Kilimanjaro. We completed our six months of ‘probation’ with them back in 2018, which means we are now fully fledged partners of KPAP. As such, there will be a KPAP ‘spy’ on all of our treks to ensure we abide by KPAP’s stringent criteria to becoming a partner. We also pay all of our mountain crew – the porters, guides, assistant guides and cooks – the wages recommended by KPAP.
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    7) How fit do I need to be?
    A reasonable level of fitness is required to climb Kilimanjaro. You can read more about this subject by following this link to the Fitness for Kilimanjaro page. Note that those hoping to sleep in the Crater Camp must understand the dangers of sleeping at 5730m ASL, and the extra stress this puts on the body. As such, you should be of considerably above average fitness to book a night at Crater Camp.
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    8) Can I get an itinerary for the trek?
    Click here for a brief introduction to the routes up Kilimanjaro on this site.
    You will receive an exact itinerary when you send us an enquiry. In the meantime, you can read a summary of each of the treks by visiting the Routes up Kilimanjaro section on the Kili guide website. You can also find detailed day-by-day descriptions and detailed day-by-day route maps of each of the trails in the guide book – which you will receive for free when you book a trek through us.
    For the special routes that we do, please click on this link for the Alternative Lemosho Route, and on this link for the Full Circuit Umbwe.
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    9) I’ve heard that the Western Breach Route to the summit is open again. Can I take this path to the summit?
    The Western Breach Route is indeed open again and we can book a climb for you on this route – though do note that we do not recommend it. The reason is that the changes that were recommended to KINAPA following the tragedy that killed three climbers and led to the closure of the route in the first place have not been implemented. A further disaster in 2015 means we are reluctant to book climbers on this trek – and will only do so if we feel that they are fully aware of the risks involved – and will ask you to sign a release form that states that you are clearly aware of the extra dangers present on this route.
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    10) I would like to book my trek through Kili Experts but my group is larger than eight - is this a problem?
    We aim to keep the size of the public groups to a minimum, as we feel that a group that is much larger than eight trekkers is cumbersome and trekkers lose the sense that they are in a wilderness if there are too many people. That said, if you are a single, private group, then there is no problem accommodating you whatever the size of the group, as, of course, you will be aware before arriving in Tanzania of the number of people you will be trekking with.
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    11) Is there a minimum number of people on the trek?
    We can book a trek for just one person but this will be quite expensive. If you are a solo traveller, therefore, we strongly advise you to join one of the scheduled treks. But if there are two of you then you can either join a public trek or opt for a private one. It’s more fun on a public trek, in my opinion, but weighed against that is the fact that you can choose the route up Kilimanjaro that you follow, the starting date of the trek and its duration on a private trek.
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    12) Can I see a map and itineraries of the Full Circuit Umbwe or Alternative Lemosho Routes?
    Sure, just visit the Full Circuit Umbwe and Alternative Lemosho pages and you’ll find all the relevant information there.
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    13) Is it guaranteed that I will reach the top?
    You can rest assured that with all of our treks the aim is to maximise your chances of making it to the top. By monitoring the pace of the trek, the amount of food and rest that each trekker gets and their overall health and well-being, as well as devising different routes on the mountain, we maximise the chances of our clients to stand on the Roof of Africa.
    That said, the ambition for all treks is to make sure that all trekkers fulfil their potential – which does not necessarily mean reaching the summit. We will not jeopardise the health of anybody just so that we can say that all trekkers who booked through us have reached the top. We want you to enjoy your trek, to have a fantastic experience and to love the mountain almost as much as we do. And we want you to feel that you have done the best you can. But above all else, we want you to be safe. Everything else is of secondary importance. So if it is felt that you are not fit or well enough to reach the top, you will not be allowed to try.
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    14) If I fail to reach the summit, can I get a refund?
    No. As the price includes your park fees, food, equipment, etc, a refund cannot be paid to those who do not make it to the summit.

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