Pre-climb Preparation

So you are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro? Preparing for it can be quite a handful so we’ve made it easier for you with the following steps:

Private tour or join a group?
Private tour: if you are planning on climbing with a group of friends and / or family we would advise you to climb on a private tour basis. The trip will only include those that you have chosen to climb with and the support team, equipment etc. will be exclusive to only your group. A private tour gives you flexibility in terms of dates, you may start your tour on any day of the year.
Join a group: If you are a solo travel or a small group that wishes to meet other like-minded climbers we would recommend you to join one of our fixed departures. Other solo travellers from around the world may join and you will share the same support team, equipment etc. The tour dates are fixed, please click on the following link and choose the date/s that suit you best: Join a group

Kilimanjaro National Park does not permit any climbers to trek without a support team of guides, porters and cooks.

When to climb?
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

         Best time                   Good time                   Mixed

Astronomical happenings: make your climb special by combining it with a full moon or new moon summit. The full moon summit date should fall on the final day that you attempt to hike to Uhuru Peak; your path during the night ascent will be lit with the light of the moon. Star gazers can select a summit date that falls on a new moon – “summit under the stars”, where the night ascent will be in pitch darkness with billions of stars sparkling high en-route.

Special occasions: wish to climb on a birthday, honeymoon, anniversary or any other special date? Get in touch with us and see how we can make your adventure a special one!

Getting to Kilimanjaro
1. Getting to KilimanjaroKilimanjaro International Airport (code: JRO) is the closest international airport for your Kilimanjaro adventure and highly recommended. JRO is approximately 40 km / 40-50 minute drive away from Moshi. International flights that directly fly into JRO include Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Qatar Airways, and Turkish Airlines.

Other ports of entry:

Julius Nyere International Airport (code: DAR) which is located in Dar es Salaam. From DAR airport you may take a domestic flight from DAR to JRO* or alternatively a public coach transfer to Moshi which is generally a 9-10 hour journey and not recommended.

Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (code: ZNZ) which is located in Zanzibar. We would recommend a domestic flight from ZNZ to JRO*.*Please note: if you require assistance with domestic flights, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (code: NBO) situated in Nairobi, Kenya. From NBO airport a road transfer is possible in a pre-booked shuttle to Moshi which is a 5-6 hour journey, passing through Namanga Border. Please note a Kenyan transit visa is required which should be applied for online before travel and the visa for Tanzania can be issued at Namanga Border. Alternatively a flight from NBO to JRO is recommended instead.

Which route?
2. Which routeChoosing the route may not be easy. There are a certain aspects that need to be taken into consideration including some of the below:

  • Level of climber: beginner | intermediate | advanced
  • Acclimatisation required
  • Number of days on trek
  • Price range

Please see our Route Comparison Table and the detailed information on our website about each route to help you decide; or alternatively email us.

Training for your climb
To ensure that you are physically and mentally fit and capable of attempting your Kilimanjaro challenge, we would highly advise you to start training 3-4 months before your tour date. The most effective training would be to include other high altitude treks which reach high elevations, if available near you. Alternatively you may wish to opt for trekking Mount Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania, which is known to be great for acclimatisation prior to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Please see more information on: Mt. Meru.

It may not be possible for everyone to do other high altitude trekking; therefore we would recommend you to include long hikes in your training of 6-8 hours as this could typically simulate a day en-route on Kilimanjaro. Try to find natural land with various gradients to train your leg muscles. Remember to train in the hiking boots you intend to wear for your Kilimanjaro climb, and don’ t forget to carry your rucksack whilst training so that you get used to 3.5-4.5kgs on your back. Bear in mind your Kilimanjaro trek could be between 5-9 days, therefore any experience in hiking for a number of dayswould help your preparation.

Along with the hiking we would advise the following forms of exercise that will help, remember your training should be progressive so you should be able to do more or move on to harder practices.

  • Walking, jogging / running, aerobics, and a gym work-out for the fitness of the physical body
  • Swimming and yoga which are especially great for the breathing. Please note that there are other forms of exercises that may have not been mentioned but could also help.
Your Health
5. Your healthGeneral fitness: trekking the highest mountain in Africa should not be underestimated when taking your health and fitness into consideration. If you are physically and mentally fit, your chances of reaching to the roof top of Africa are increased. We would consider hiking up Kilimanjaro to be a high risk adventure, due to the high altitudes and physical exertion required.

Medical check: consult your family doctor / local GP / physician at least 3 to 4 months before your travel to Tanzania of the activities you will be participating during your tour, including the high altitude trek and any vaccinations and medication you may require. Your medical check-up may give you an indication of whether you are fit for the adventure.

Medication & first aid: ensure that you carry all your medication and a first aid kit for your travel. Click on: Check-list

Vaccinations: the table below is a general guideline on vaccinations that are recommended before entering Tanzania. Please consult your doctor for necessary vaccinations that you require before your travel:

Vaccination| Medication Details
Polio One time booster recommended for any adult travelling to any countrythat completed the childhood series, but never had the polio vaccine as an adult
Yellow Fever Recommended for all travellersexposed to mosquitoes. Required for travellers arriving from a yellow fever endemic country (please note: proof of yellow fever vaccination maybe required at the port of entry into Tanzania)
Hepatitis A Recommended for all travellersin case of intake of contaminated food or drink in Tanzania
Hepatitis B Not generally recommend for travel to Tanzania however recommended if you are going to be exposed to contaminated needles, blood products e.g. medical procedures, piercings or tattoos or sexual contact.
Typhoid Recommended for all travellersin case of intake of contaminated food or drink in Tanzania
Rabies For travellers spending a lot of time outdoors e.g. hikings, camping, adventure, or in areas with high risk of animal bites, or in activities that will involve direct contact with dogs, bats and other mammals in Tanzania.
Mumps, Measles, Rubella (MMR) Two doses recommended for all travellers born after 1995, if not previously vaccinated.
Tetanus – Diphtheria Vaccination recommended every 10 years

6. Malaria & insect protectionMalaria & Insect Protection: Please consult with your doctor the ways in which you should prevent Malaria, you may be required to take prescribed medication before, during and after your trip. You are likely to be exposed to malaria carrying Mosquitoes in Tanzania:

  • in altitudes below 1800m
  • during the evening and nights
  • throughout the year
  • in areas where there is dirty water

We would highly recommend you to protect yourself from Mosquitoes and other insects by:

  • taking anti-malarial medication
  • applying insect repellent
  • wearing clothing that covers majority of your body e.g. long sleeves, long pants, hats, shoes etc.
  • closing all room windows (by late afternoon) unless there is a net / screen to prevent insects and mosquitoes entering
  • using mosquito nets preferably impregnated with insect repellent, over your bed during overnights
  • a mosquito coil only as a last resort which will fill the room with insecticide throughout the night, although this method is not pleasant.

Traveller’s Diarrhoea: is the most common travel-related ailment which is acquired by the intake of contaminated food and / or water. It is characterised by an increased frequency of unformed bowel movements, i.e. three or more loose stools in an 8 hour period or five or more loose stools in a 24 hour period which could be accompanied with urgency, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating, fever or blood in the stool. In most cases traveller’s diarrhoea are mild where fluid intake and oral rehydration solution may be enough, and medication may not be necessary. Oral rehydration solution comes in sachets of powder which have to be mixed with treated or boiled water. They are generally available in pharmacies worldwide and it aims to restore the fluids and salts lost in diarrhoeal stool. In worst cases an anti-diarrhoeal drug such as Loperamide (Imodium) or Diphenoxylate (Lomotil) should be taken as needed to reduce the frequency of stools, however please seek advice from your doctor before travelling.

Eating & Drinking
Avoid the following food:

  • from street vendors
  • that is not piping hot or cooked food that has been left out for a period of time
  • undercooked or raw meat and fish
  • fruits and vegetables that have not been washed, peeled and cooked

Avoid the following beverages:

  • tap water that has not been boiled, filtered and treated
  • un-bottled drinks
  • drinks with ice
  • unpasteurised milk and any products made from it
7. Check listThe check-list includes our recommended items; however it may be too detailed for some people and too condensed for others, as check-lists are always very individual! Any items marked with * are available on rent at Mountain Inn equipment rental store or from Shah Tour’s office.

Passport (with 6 months validity after your proposed return date) and a TanzanianTourist visa Cash in USD $ (Bank notes printed after 2006, notes printed before this year are not accepted anywhere in Tanzania) Yellow fever certificate (If transiting/travelling from ayellow feverendemic country/region)
Airline travel documents Credit / visa card for emergency,(surcharges are high5-7%) Health/travel insurance documents
*Balaclava *Fleece *Anorak
Glasses (recommended over contact lenses if worn) *Water-proof / wind-proof  jacket *Water-proof / wind-proof trousers
*Hiking trousers / pants *Raincoat or Poncho Regular underwear
*Scarf / Neck warmer Shorts Sports bra / underwear
Sunglasses (UV filtered) T-Shirts *Sun hat, warm hat
Thermal underwear Watch Thermal long johns
*Glove liners *Waterproof gloves
Light shoes (Trainers / sneakers, running shoes etc. for walking around the camp) Water-proof hiking boots (Well worn-in) *Thermal socks
Hiking socks Thin liner socks *Calf Gaiters
Personal hygiene
Deodorant Hairbrush / comb Sanitary products
Soap Toothbrush + toothpaste Wet wipes & tissue packets
Vaseline Towel Toilet paper
Personal First aid / Medical kit
Acetazolamide (Diamox) if required Pain killers (e.g. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Paracetamol) Plasters / bandages / plaster tape
Own prescribed medication Sun protection cream (spf 30+) Lip salve/balm (With UV protection)
Malaria tablets Anti-Nausea tablets Antiseptic cream
Rehydration packets Blister pads Anti-diarrhoea tablets
Throat lozenges Water purification tablets Small scissors
Food and drink 
High energy snacks (e.g. Cereal bars, dried fruits, nuts, chocolates and sweets) Powdered sports drinks/ energy drinks Water purification tablets (for 1-5 lts) / Water purification system
Personal food products (e.g. for special dietary requirements, allergies etc) *Water bladder / Water bottle (hard plastic, metal etc. – no soft plastic bottles permitted on the mountain by National Park)
Baggage and sleeping
*Waterproof day pack (20-35ltscapacity, for personal use on the mountain / daytime hike pack) *Duffel bag / large rucksack/ holdall – 70-90 Lts capacity to be carried by porters Plastic / carrier bags (to keep wet / dirty clothing separate
Ziploc bags (for cameras, binoculars etc.) *Sleeping bag (with at least a -10 rating or colder) *Roll-able sleeping mattress
Waterproof rucksack cover (or a large heavy duty bin liner) Sleeping bag liner
Other items 
Binoculars *Head torch (with batteries) Ear Plugs
Video / picture camera (with spare film / memory cards / batteries and a disposable camera just in case) Torch / flashlight (with extra batteries) Pocket knife
Kilimanjaro Map, Town map Candles Purse / Wallet / Money belt
Mobile phone (there is some signal reception available on most parts of the mountain) Matches / lighter Playing cards, books etc. (for evening entertainment)
*Trekking /Walking poles (a pair) Luggage lock Notebook and pencil / pen
Insect / mosquito repellent Hot water bottle
Kilimanjaro Hiking Boots
Remember your hiking boots will be one of your most important companions up the mountain. It is the only item we would strongly recommend you to bring along with you (other than your underwear!) and we would not advise you to rent these in Moshi. It is essential to have good quality ones that allow you to comfortably hike long distances and a great way to test them is to utilise them during your training sessions and long treks. If you are planning on buying new ones especially for your Kilimanjaro climb, they should be well worn in at least for a couple of months regularly – wear them as much as you can. Besides comfort they should keep you dry, warm and free from blisters, frost bites and sprained ankles. Bad trekking boots can prevent your progress up the mountain!

So what kind of hiking footwear is suitable for Kilimanjaro?

  • Fitting: should not be tight, you should be able to wear thermal socks or two-three pairs of socks comfortably. To get a great fitting, wear the pair of hiking boots (without socks) and slide your finger in at the back of the shoe. If your finger does not slide in this means that they are too tight for you. There should be a gap of the width of your finger between the back of your foot and the shoe.
  • Waterproof: ensure that your boots are water proof
  • Support: your hiking boots should support the whole foot including the ankle and heel, therefore a recommended hiking boot for Kilimanjaro would have the mouth of the shoe higher up, covering more of your foot than normal sports shoes i.e. trainers / sneakers.

Wear your boots on board:

Have your hiking boots with you at all times while you fly or travel to Tanzania, best to wear them in case your checked-in main luggage gets delayed or in the worst cases lost! You can hire most things, however comfortable, well-worn in boots for your feet may be hard to find!

Rental Equipment
8. Rental equipmentBuying equipment working out to be too expensive? Why not rent some of the items for your trek. We have a range of great quality equipment available at Mountain Inn’s rental store and our Shah Tour’s office. Contact us to find out if the item/s required are available for the dates of your tour and we would advise you to reserve the required items prior to your arrival to avoid disappointment.

Mountain Inn rental equipment list:

(per item, per trip)

Anorak / Bivanorak Mixed brands 20.00
Balaclava Mixed brands 8.00
Boots – walking / trekking Mixed brands 20.00
Duffel Bag Ortleib ‘Packsack PS490, 109L 20.00
Hat Mixed brands 5.00
Head Torch Mixed brands 10.00 (excl. batteries)
Gaiters Mountain Equipment 10.00
Gloves / warm mitts Mixed brands 8.00
Glove liners Mixed brands 5.00
Mattress Mixed brands 10.00
Neck warmer Mixed brands 7.00
Rain coat / poncho Mixed brands 10.00
Rain / wind / water proof trousers Mixed brands 20.00
Ruck Sack / Day pack Mixed brands 20.00
Scarf Mixed brands 5.00
4 season sleeping bag Snugpak Chrysalis 5 30.00
Socks Mixed brands 5.00
Sunglasses Mixed brands 5.00
Sweater / fleece / jumper Mixed brands 10.00
Walking poles Black Diamond ‘Expedition’ 10.00
Water bottle Mixed brands 10.00
Water bladder / Water hydration system Mixed brands 15.00
Shah Tours rental equipment (to be pre-ordered):
Foldable travel bed Mixed brands 15 per person, per day
Single Light dome tent supplement Vaude Campo grando / Hilleberg tarra 10 per person, per day
Oxygen Cylinder* Summit Oxygen 150 (1 cylinder) / 180 (2 cylinders)
Pulse Oximetres Mixed brands 10 per item per trip
Portable toilet Mixed brands 45 per day

Please note:

  • All items are subject to availability
  • All prices are valid between 01.07.2014 – 30.06.2016 subject to change per item / tour unless otherwise stated
  • Additional equipment other than above may be available, please request anything that is not listed above and we shall advise whether it is possible to make arrangements accordingly.
  • All equipment hired is non-refundable and items should be checked before departure, and handed back in full working order to our equipment store.

Portable toilet: the hire includes, the portable toilet itself, the toilet tent, porter, cleaning chemicals, air freshener and toilet roll / paper. Please note that the Kilimanjaro National Park does not allow the set up and use of the portable toilet/s during the trek on route. These can only be set up and used at the campsites.

Emergency Oxygen system : is used to treat a whole host of medical emergencies as well as altitude related illnesses whilst on Kilimanjaro. Its uses are usually as a last resort, and in most cases descending to a lower altitude where the oxygen is richer is the best way to cure oxygen related altitude sickness.

Once receiving oxygen via the emergency system, you would need to descend immediately and would not be able to ascend further, or re-attempt ascension.

The oxygen system will be carried by an assistant guide who accompanies you on your trek, and the decision to use the system will be either the assistant guides or head guides as they are trained to detect symptoms of acute mountain sickness and are trained in using these systems. There may be some instances where altitude symptoms have risen however the emergency oxygen may not be necessary and the guides will recommend you to descend to a lower altitude, usually curing problems faced over taking treatment from the cylinder.

E1 – 1 cylinder package
Consists of a 3-litre or 2-litre light weight carbon composite oxygen cylinder, supplied with a medical oxygen regulator, medical facemask and backpack.

E2 – 2 cylinder package 
19. E2 SystemConsists of two 3-litre or 2-litre lightweight carbon composite oxygen cylinders, supplied with one medical oxygen regulator, a medical facemask and backpack.


Delayed / Lost luggage
Luggage may be lost or delayed by the airline or mode of transportation that you arrive in, which can cause issues with your planned tour. Just to be on the safe side, we would highly advise you to carry certain essential items with you including:

  1. Documents
  2. Medication
  3. All valuables: phone, camera etc.
  4. A pair or two of clothing for the initial day or so
  5. Wear your walking boots!

We highly recommend our guests to arrive at least two-three days prior to the start date of the climb or tour to take precaution.

In case the luggage does not arrive with you, report immediately to the officials at the port of entry and you will be guided on the following steps. If for example your arrival is at Kilimanjaro International Airport, please ensure that you report to the Swissport desk, where you will be given a form to fill in and if possible to request them to deliver the luggage at Mountain Inn or the Shah Tours office. A copy of your completed form should be given to you, please present this to Mountain Inn’s reception staff upon arrival and we will do our best to keep track and help in this situation. In most instances if luggage is delayed it usually arrives within 24 hours, however not at all times.

In the unfortunate event that the luggage has not arrived by the time you start your climb; the items are usually available on hire at the rental equipment store located in Mountain Inn. At this point we would recommend you to assume that the luggage may not arrive at all and prepare accordingly. The staff at Mountain Inn will help you to select the equipment and if in case it is not available do not worry, it can be arranged for. If your luggage arrives whilst you are on the mountain you will be informed, and if you wish for us to send an additional porter with your luggage, this can be arranged.

We will do everything possible to help during this situation, however any additional costs that may occur, e.g. extra equipment hire, transport to the airport, additional porter etc. will have to be paid locally (and claimed from the company of transportation or insurance with the collated receipts).

20. DocumentsPassport: foreigners / tourists seeking to enter the United Republic of Tanzania should be in possession of a valid passport, with six months validity after your proposed return date. It is to be presented to the Immigration Control Officer at any entry point: airport, border station or harbour. The passport must be presented along with one of the following: a valid visa, a residence permit or a pass.

Visa: all foreigners are required to have a valid visa, unless the country you are a citizen of has an agreement with Tanzania where the visa requirement is waived. A visa for Tanzania can be issued from:

  1. Entry points of the United Republic of Tanzania including:
  2. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
  3. Julius Nyere International Airport (DAR)
  4. Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ)
  5. Zanzibar Harbour
  6. Namanga Border
  7. Horohoro Border
  8. Tunduma Border
  9. Kigoma Port
  10. Tanzania representatives abroad: e.g. embassy / high commission

Airline travel documents: a valid return flight E-ticket is required for your travel. The Immigration Control Officer should be provided proof of an onward journey from Tanzania or a return ticket, proving that you will not be exceeding the length of stay for the visa. Remember to check-in online!

Insurance: should be obtained from the country of your residence, in case of any unforeseen circumstances. We would recommend insurance coverage for:

  1. Medical
  2. Trip Cancellation / interruption / delays
  3. Accident / Injury
  4. Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal belongings and travel documents.

Please ensure that your insurance company is aware that you will be participating in high altitude trekking and other tours in Tanzania.

21. Flying DoctorsFlying Doctors: the Flying Doctors Society of Africa (FDSA) provides free medical support and evacuation services such as air ambulance for members that are eligible. For more information on how to become a member please download the Flying Doctors document.

Yellow Fever: proof of yellow fever vaccination may be required upon arrival in Tanzania, especially if transiting through or travelling from a yellow fever endemic country.

E-booking tour confirmation: once you have confirmed your tour booking, an E-booking confirmation will be sent to you. A copy of this may be presented to the Immigration Control Office for the purpose of your stay in Tanzania.

Cash – Tanzanian Shillings: the official national currency.

Cash -US Dollars: considered to be the unofficial secondary currency accepted in most places. Only US dollar bank notes printed after 2006 are accepted in Tanzania, notes printed before this year are not accepted by banks in Tanzania.

Other currency: may not be known as well as the US Dollar and may not be accepted.

Credit / Debit cards: advised in case of emergency. Surcharges to withdraw or make payments using a card may be between 5-7% in Tanzania.

Tipping is always a sensitive subject to discuss as some cultures believe it is mandatory others say different. It seems to have become a tradition for Kilimanjaro climbs. Our theory is that long ago it was not a custom for the Kilimanjaro support team including the guides, porters and the cook to receive tips. However climbers from cultures that believe in giving gratuities distributed them to their Kilimanjaro crew, and therefore this tradition continued developing and it became a norm for the team to receive this bonus amount. Nevertheless we strongly believe that tipping is not mandatory and a tip should only be given if the customer has received an exceptional service.

We frequently get asked suggestions for tipping amounts. For a 5-8 day trek the following guideline is an average of what we recommend, however you may decide the final amounts to be greater or lower than recommended:

Kilimanjaro Crew Tipping Guideline (US $)
Each Guide 70.00
Each Porter 30.00
Each Cook 40.00

Our advice:

  • Clear any questions you may regarding tips during your briefing
  • Never feel pressurised to give a certain amount of tips
  • Avoid discussing the subject of tipping with your Kilimanjaro crew
  • The distribution of tips can be done either at the last campsite / hut on your descent or at the park gates after your descent before heading back to the hotel. To distribute the tips you may either:
    1. Put the amount of tip money for each crew member in an envelope and personally hand it to them.
    2. To give the whole amount to the head guide and announce to the whole team, the amounts that you wish each crew member to receive.
Pre-climb briefing
Once you arrive in Moshi and settle down into Mountain Inn, you will be briefed on your climb by our tour consultant. This will finally give us an opportunity to meet you and ensure sure that you are fully prepared for this life-changing adventure. Any remaining questions or doubts you may have can be clarified; we will run through a few important pointers and make sure that you are fully equipped. The briefing time will depend on your arrival time. If you have provided us with your arrival details, our tour consultant can advise the time of briefing upon request.