What Gear Do I have to carry in my Day Pack?

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To climb Kilimanjaro you should limit yourself to carry only the items from our Gear List. This list contains all important things that you will need for a successfull climb. Of couse you can add personal items but you should try not to exceed the total weight to carry.

Your Kilimanjaro Gear will be packed in 2 bags:

  1. Your Daypack

  2. Your Duffel Bag


A DAYPACK FOR CLIMBING KILIMANJARO

In your Daypack you will only carry items that you need to reach the next camp. You will have to carry the Daypack by yourself during the entire climb. A regular backpack, with a capacity of about 30 to 35 liters (equally 10kg) is the maximum that you should carry with you. As every day will be different, also the items in your Daypack will change according to the expected climate and weather conditions.
A Daypack contains:
Water bottles/Water bladder (3 to 4 liters), snacks, gloves, hat, sunglasses, lip balm, sun screen, rain jacket, walking poles. Our guides will tell you every morning what conditions you will face and how to pack your Daypack.
All gear can be rented on arrival in Moshi so that you don’t have to carry all items in your luggage!


DUFFEL BAG FOR KILIMANJARO

DUFFEL BAG FOR KILIMANJARO

In your Duffel Bag you will have to place all items that you need, but not during daytime. That includes your sleeping bag, sleeping mattress, additonal clothes, extra pair of shoes and other items. The Duffel Bag will be carried by our porters for you from camp to camp. The maximum weight for a full Duffel Bag is limited to 20kg (including the bag itself) and will be checked before climbing. You should use plastic bags (dry bags) to organize your items inside your Duffel Bag. You have to pack your Daypack and Duffel Bag every morning before starting to climb. Please note that porters are usually carrying Duffel Bags on the top of their heads so please make their life easier by arranging your items well!

You might want to continue reading information about your “Gear List”.

All necessary Gear can be rented before climbing!

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information!

How is the Weather and Climate on Kilimanjaro?

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa with an altitude of 5.895m above sea level and is located right next to the equator. These two facts are giving Mount Kilimanjaro its extreme contrasts. You stand in Moshi Town in front of the mountain, temperatures can easily reach 30 °C and more, while the top of Kilimanjaro is covered with ice and snow and temperatures of -25 °C (-13 F°) all year around. On the way from the surrounding plains you will be hiking through five different climate zones. It is said that hiking from the gate of Kilimanjaro to the peak is like travelling from the equator to Antarctica in a few days! Each climate zone consists of about 1.000m in altitude. Every zone offers an individual amount of rainfall, temperature and flora/fauna according to its altitude.

Moshi town, where you will start your journey, is located on the base of Mount Kilimanjaro at 900m above sea level at the warmest ecological zone and shows a big contrast to the climate at Uhuru Peak. Average rainfalls and temperatures can be seen in the tables below:

AVERAGE RAINFALL IN MOSHI, KILIMANJARO (IN MM)

AVERAGE RAINFALL IN MOSHI, KILIMANJARO (IN MM)

AVERAGE TEMPERATURES IN MOSHI, KILIMANJARO (IN °C)

AVERAGE TEMPERATURES IN MOSHI, KILIMANJARO (IN °C)

January and February are the warmest months, March and April are the rainiest months, June and July are the coldest months, and July and August are the driest months. These generalities about the weather in Moshi hold true for Mount Kilimanjaro as well but can vary slightly from year to year.

Due to its short distance to the equator, Mount Kilimanjaro has a quite constant climate all year around. Temperatures are more defined by the time of the day and altitude. Sunrise is about 7AM and dawn at around 7PM. In Moshi town, at the beginning of your climb, it is quite humid and the average temperature will be around 25 to 30 °C (77 °F to 86°F). From day to day you will cross Kilimanjaro’s 5 ecological zones and temperatures will decrease until you arrive Uhuru Point at 5.895m asl. At summit night temperatures can range between -10 °C and -30 °C (-14°F to -22 °F). Additionally there can be strong winds around the crater. Due to Mount Kilimanjaro's altitude the mountain creates its own weather that can change quickly. You should always be prepared for wet days and cold nights!

Please see the current weather conditions for Moshi & Uhuru Peak below:


Kilimanjaro knows Five Ecological Zones:

Below are Mount Kilimanjaro's zones from the lowest to the highest altitude along with the average annual rainfall and zone characteristics.

Cultivated Zone

Altitude: 800m to 1.800m (2,600 to 6,000ft)
Rainfall: 500 to 1.800 mm (20 to 70in)

Cultivated Zone Around KILIMANJARO

The lowest elevation climate zone is a cultivated area, mostly used for coffee plantations and farming by surrounding villages up to an altitude of 1.800m (6,000ft).

As the mountain provides fresh water all around the year, the soil is very fertile and ideal for farming for all kind of tropical fruits, coffee, tea and animals. The Chagga people have cultivated the land around the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro for centuries. Therefore wild animals are rarely seen, but many bird specied can be spotted and monkeys in the rainforest areas.

Rain Forest Zone

Altitude: 1.800 to 2.800m (6,000 to 9,200ft)
Rainfall: 2.000 to 1.000 mm (79 to 40in)

Rain Forest Zone on KILIMANJARO

The rain forest zone around Kilimanjaro is hot and humid throughout daytime, but temperatures can already drop down significantly at night. Here is where the entrance Gates of Kilimanjaro National Park are located around the mountain and here is where you will start climbing. The area is rich of ferns, sycamore figs, palm trees and enormous camphorwood trees. Blue and Colobus monkeys can be see and heard at night at your first campsite. Climbers arriving from the Rongai, Lemosho, Shira or Northern Circuit routes may be lucky enough to spot elephants and antelopes that are sometimes passing the rain forest zone.

Moorland Zone

Altitude: 2.800 to 4.000m (9,200 to 13,200ft)
Rainfall: 1.300 to 530mm (51 to 21in)

Moorland Zone on KILIMANJARO

You will leave the rain forest zone and notice that the trees are getting smaller and then suddenly disappear as you are reaching this semi-alpine zone that is characterized mostly by shrubs and moorland. After breaking through 2.500m (8,200ft) the first symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) may start to show up. We will take several short stops to give your body enough time to adapt to the dryer and cooler climate at high altitude. We regularly advise our clients to spend several days at this altitude to gradually acclimatize properly to the decreasing oxygen and the higher elevations to come. It is very important to choose the right climbing route and right number of days for your climb.

Alpine Desert Zone

Altitude: 4.000 to 5.000m (13,200 to 16,500ft)
Rainfall: 250mm (10in)

Alpine DESERT ZONE ON KILIMANJARO

This region is extreme, impressive and intense. There is hardly any water and vegetation. During daytime temperatures can reach more than 35 °C (95° F) and solar radiation is harmful. It is necessary to protect your skin and eyes, and to drink enough water to prevent your body from dehydration. During night temperatures can drop down below freezing of -5 °C (40 °F) so don’t be surprised to see some ice on your tent when you wake up. According to mountain medicine definition this zone is defined as “very high altitude” and can initiate some first stronger symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). You should communicate any kind of discomfort immediately to our guides. It will take time for your body to acclimatize to this region.

Arctic Zone

Altitude: 5.000 to 6.000m (16,500+ ft)
Rainfall: 100mm (<4in)

ARCTIC ZONE ON KILIMANJARO

The final region of the climb up Kilimanjaro is the arctic zone which is the most remarkable area as you are still in a tropical region but now only surrounded by rocks and ice. Nights on Kilimanjaro are extremely cold and windy with temperatures down to -25 or even -30 °C (-13 °F to -22 °F).

Mountain medicine classifies this zone as "extreme altitude." Oxygen levels are roughly 50% of what they are at sea level, making breathing exhausting and difficult. You literally have to earn every step to the summit but you will be rewarded with the most spectacular view that Africa has to offer.

Where will I sleep while climbing Kilimanjaro?

All our climbers will sleep in four-season mountain tents during the trek. These tents are checked before and after each climb to maintain good quality. They are warm, waterproof and roomy, according to the needs of climbing Kilimanjaro. We usually accomodate tents for 2 people, but we can arrange individual tents according to your needs. You don’t have to worry about camping for several days. Tanzania Horizon Safaris is using sleeping bags that are made for temperature up to -30 degrees Celcius and is providing sleeping mattresses for all climbs. If you wish to add some additonal comofrt to your climb, we offer softer inflatable sleeping mattresses. Please contact us for further information and check our Gear List.

KIlimanjaro 7 Days Lemosho Route

KILIMANJARO CLIMBING TENTS / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

All our tents will accomdate you, your Daypack and your Duffel Bag so that you will keep all your personal belongings with you at night. Inside the tents we provide small lamps in additon to your headlamps. In front of your sleeping room there is a small space that can be covered to wash yourself and also to place your shoes and Duffel Bag at night.

OUR PORTERS WILL CARRY ALL CLIMBING EQUIPMENT AND YOUR DUFFEL BAGS FOR YOU / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

OUR PORTERS WILL CARRY ALL CLIMBING EQUIPMENT AND YOUR DUFFEL BAGS FOR YOU / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

FOUR SEASON SLEEPING BAGS ARE NEEDED FOR KILIMANJARO

FOUR SEASON SLEEPING BAGS ARE NEEDED FOR KILIMANJARO

Four season sleeping bags are available for rent on location in Moshi Town, Tanzania. Our warm, winter synthetic sleeping bags are specified for the needs of high altitude climbing. They are soft and can be closed from the inside to eliminate cold spots. The nylon shell is waterresistant from the outside and durable while the polyester lining from the inside keeps away moisture, keeping weary climbers dry and warm. Please make sure that you always cover yourself well at night as feeling cold will decrease your success of climbing Kilimanjaro. This is extremely important as temperatures will drop drastically during night, especially at high altitude and there is nothing more dangerous than waking up at night because of feeling cold.

Safety Guidelines for Kilimanjaro

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Climbing Kilimanjaro is not dangerous, if you are prepared well!

Every year about 1.000 people are evacuated from the mountain. The main cause is altitude sickness. Everyone climbing Mount Kilimanjaro should be aware of its symptoms and don’t underestimate the impact. Official statistics show that almost 50% of all climbers are not reaching the top of Kilimanjaro. Tanzania Horizon Safaris has a clear Safety Guidelines to minimize all risks for your health.

Please see our Safety Precautions below.


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Tanzania Horizon’s Safety Precautions:

  • By handling over 1.000 clients per year our guides are highly experienced in preventing, recognizing and treating Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

  • Established protocol for handling emergencies on the mountain, including rescue and evacuation

  • Our guides are certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR)

  • Health checks are conducted twice daily to measure pulse, temperature, blood pressure and oxygen saturation

  • Emergency Oxygen and a First Aid Medical Kit are carried on all climbs

  • Provide Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter evacuation for injured or ill climbers


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Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

The percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere at sea level is about 21%. As altitude increases, the percentage remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced. At 3.600m there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath so the body must adjust to having less oxygen. Altitude sickness, known as AMS, is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced oxygen at increased altitudes. Altitude sickness can occur in some people as low as 2.500m, but serious symptoms do not usually occur until over 4.500m.
read more…


KIlimanjaro 7 Days Lemosho Route

Acclimatization Guidelines

  • Pre-acclimatize prior to your trip by hiking at high altitude if possible.

  • Pole, pole! Our guides will remind you to walk slowly throughout your climb as it takes time to acclimatize to higher altitude.

  • Take slow deliberate deep breaths.

  • Climb high, sleep low. Climb to a higher altitude during the day, then sleep at a lower altitude at night. Most routes comply with this principle and additional acclimatization hikes can be incorporated into your itinerary.

  • Eat enough food and drink enough water while on your climb. It is recommended that you drink from four to five liters of fluid per day. Also, eat a high calorie diet while at altitude, even if you don’t feel hungry.

  • You can use altitude medication such as Diamox for prevention of AMS.

  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs including, barbiturates, tranquillizers, sleeping pills and opiates. These further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of altitude sickness.

  • If you begin to show slight symptoms of altitude sickness, don't go higher until symptoms decrease. If symptoms increase, descend.


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Daily Health Checks

Our guides are all experienced in identifying altitude sickness and dealing with the problems it causes with climbers. Our guides are certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR) and they will constantly monitor your well-being on the climb by watching you and speaking with you. Twice daily, in the morning and evening, our guides will conduct health checks. If you should feel any slight symptoms of mountain sickness or discomfort please don’t hesitate to talk to your mountain guides to prevent further problems.


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Pulse Oximeter

A pulse oximeter measures oxygen saturation - the oxygen level in your blood & and your pulse rate. The oximeter is placed on a climber's fingertip. It uses two beams of light that shine into small blood vessels and capillaries in your finger. The sensor reflects the amount of oxygen in the blood. Oxygen saturation is a measurement of how much oxygen your blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry. Normal blood oxygen levels at sea level are 95-100%.

As altitude increases, oxygen saturations decrease. Proper acclimatization generally brings oxygen saturations higher, which is why these figures typically rise when oxygen saturations are tested after resting overnight. On Kilimanjaro, oxygen saturations percentages are regularly in the 80's. There are no definitive saturation levels where a client can be declared absolutely safe or at risk. However, when oxygen saturation drops below 80%, we monitor that climber very closely.

Blood Pressure (bpm)

Checking the blood pressure is important because the higher your blood pressure is, it is putting extra strain on your arteries and on your heart. A very high blood pressure can cause heart strokes or heart attacks. A normal blood pressure stays between 120 and 80 mm Hg. High blood pressure between 140 and 80 is only harmful when expereineced over a long time and while resting. A hypertensive crisis is at risk when blood pressure rises above 180 and 120 mm Hg and is a very high risk. Our guides will always check your blood pressure levels AND oxygen levels.


Altitude Medication

Diamox (generic name acetazolamide) is an F.D.A. approved drug for the prevention of AMS. The medication acidifies the blood, which causes an increase in respiration, thus accelerating acclimatization.

Diamox does not disguise symptoms of altitude sickness, it can prevent them. Studies have shown that Diamox at a dose of 250 mg every twelve hours before and during rapid ascent to altitude results in fewer or less severe symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS).

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The medicine should be continued until you are below the altitude where symptoms became bothersome. Side effects of acetazolamide include tingling or numbness in the fingers, toes and face, taste alterations, excessive urination; and rarely, blurring of vision. These go away when the medicine is stopped. It is a personal choice of the climber whether or not to use Diamox as a preventative measure against AMS.

Please consult your doctor before any kind of medication! Tanzania Horizon Safaris neither advocates nor discourages the use of Diamox! Ibuprofen or IbuTad can be used to relieve altitude induced headaches.
read more…


Emergency Oxygen & Mountain Rescue

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All camps provide bottled oxygen for acute emergencies. On demand, we can carry bottled oxygen on all of our climbs as a precaution and additional safety measure. The oxygen cannister is NOT used to assist clients who have not adequately acclimatized on their own to climb higher. The most immediate treatment for moderate and serious altitude sickness is a fast descent. With Kilimanjaro's routes, it is always possible to descend quickly. Therefore, oxygen is only used in case of emergency to prevent climbers from severe health issues. Please contact us for further information!


Kilimanjaro Helicopter Search and Rescue (SAR)

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We are partnered with Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (SAR), a helicopter rescue operation which conducts modern, efficient rescue services on Kilimanjaro. Airbus AS 350 B3 helicopters waits nearby at Moshi Airport. Once a distress call is received, rescue procedures are activated within five minutes. Expert pilots, highly trained rescue doctors and emergency flight technicians are exceptionally qualified and prepared for all emergencies on the mountain.

Kilimanjaro SAR manages a medical clinic that focuses on high altitude related illnesses, mountain medicine, and trauma. It is staffed 24 hours a day by doctors, nurses and assistants offering the best possible treatment.

PLEASE NOTE that this service is only available to clients who have the required TRAVEL INSURANCEA valid travel insurance is a must have to participate in our trips. Clients must be covered to trek at high altitude up to 6.000 meters to qualify for Kilimanjaro SAR Rescue. Your travel insurance will be verified by our staff before the trek.

How does a typical climbing day look like?

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Getting ready

On a typical day on Kilimanjaro we will wake you up at 6:30AM and bring you a pan of hot water to your tent to wash your face, hands and body. Then you have to pack your Daypack and your Duffel Bag. Breakfast will be served in a special mess tent. Our team will provide fresh water for your Daypack to refill your bottles. The porters will start packing all other items, tents and equipment and hike to the next camp before you. You will start hiking around 8:00 AM.

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Hiking

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Pole Pole! Take Slow! It is probably the most important rule while hiking Kilimanjaro to adapt to the altitude. Every day on the mountain will be different. You will hike through different climate zones and weather conditions. According to that our guides will advise you how to arrange your Daypack. You will hike around 6 to 8 hours per day. Our porters will prepare a hot lunch for you part way around noon time. Here you will take a rest before arriving at your next campsite where dinner will be served around 6PM. Throghout the day we will perfom many small breaks and health check-ups to guarantee your safety. If you notice any kind of signals of Altitude Mountain Sickness don’t hesitate to talk to our guides!

Summit

Summit day, or better to say summit night, is extremely tough. It will be the last and most exhausting step to reach your goal of standing on top of the highest mountain of Africa! We will try to arrive at Uhuru Point at sunrise. Therefore we will wake you up around midnight and give you a small snack and hot drinks. Here you will need all your extra layers to be prepared for the extreme cold. Temperatures at night can go down to -25 °C (-13 °F). From Barafu Camp we will start our climb and walk about 6 to 7 hours to pass Stella Point and then to arrive the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Our guides will constantly check your condition while taking short breaks to drink hot tea and for small snacks on the way. It is extremely important to listen to their advise at all times. Every group will have a main guide and assistant guides that will give a helping hand. At this point you will reach 5.895m and exhaustion and the risk of altitude sickness are most high but we will do our best to lead you to the summit. Your success is our success!

By reaching Uhuru Point you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the sunrise over the african continent, seeing Tanzania and Kenya and the seemingly endless sky!

Arriving BY sunrise at uhuru pOINT

Arriving BY sunrise at uhuru pOINT

What Food and Water Will be Provided during the climb?

FOOD FROM THE LOCAL MARKET IN MOSHI, KILIMANJARO

FOOD FROM THE LOCAL MARKET IN MOSHI, KILIMANJARO

You will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner each day spent on the mountain. Every breakfast will start with hot drinks such as tea, hot milk, hot chocolate, coffee and additional water. We carry special tents where our clients will take all their meals. The food, specifically selected to help your climb, is high energy food that is easy to digest and to give you the energy that you need to climb. We mostly serve soups to give you enough water and calories for every day on the mountain. The primary carbohydrate of the meals are rice, potatoes and pasta. In additon we serve fresh fruits like mangos, bananas and avocados. Also vegetables accompany every meal. Meat is served on the mountain but not in large quantities because it is not easily digestible at high altitude. The best meals for climbing contain a high quantity of water, such as soups and porridge. We buy all our food locally on the market in Moshi. Every climbing group will have a private cook that will check the qualityof the food before every climb. All food will be prepared on the mountain with clean water.

Water is collected from mountain streams and treated with Aquatabs water purification tabs. Water is provided only at the campsites in the morning so you need to carry enough water, usually about 3 to 4 liters to stay hydrated while you are hiking. This is very important to avoid headaches and to minimize the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).

You may want to bring some supplementary snacks that contain sugar, such as chocolate bars, energy bars and powdered energy drinks. Please note that you don’t have to buy expensive energy bars. Just to name a few, Snickers, Mars or equal snacks are very enough to help to keep your calories up while you are climbing.

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We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets. For those with special diets, please contact us in advance to discuss what we can or cannot do. Note that food selection is limited in Tanzania and especially for climbing Kilimanjaro, so although we will try to please all clients, in some cases clients will be asked to bring their specific food items to us, which our cooks will prepare.

How are the trail conditions to climb Kilimanjaro?

KIlimanjaro 7 Days Lemosho Route

The trails on Mount Kilimanjaro are well marked and maintained by Kilimanjaro National Park Authorities. Special technical skills are not required on our Kilimanjaro Routes but a minimum fitness level will definetely help to enjoy your climb. Please read our article about How do I prepare for climbing Kilimanjaro?” There are only a couple of spots where climbing on hands and feet is required. The last part to and from Uhuru Peak is on loose rubble, which is slippery and very exhausting also for descending.

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At some parts of the trail, depending on the route that you chose, a bit of climbing is actually required. Not all routes have the same level of difficulty so we advice you to communicate with us before your arrival. Please also read our articles about What is the best Route to climb Kilimanjaro?” and also to check your fitness level before the climb. For your safety we will always climb together and remain together as a group. Please listen to our experienced guides at all times and don’t walk away from the group. Over the days you will become a team with your fellow climbers and the whole crew of guides and porters.

Bad weather conditions can complicate your climb. You must be prepared to trek through all types of weather from sunshine to fog, rain, snow, and all types of soil, whether loose, dusty, muddy, wet, snowy or icy. Beside preparing your gear and body, that also means to prepare yourself mentally to an exhausting time. But the better you prepare yourself, the more you will enjoy your climb!

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There are public toilets at every campsite usually without running water and rather dirty. Please always remember that you are climbing one of the highest mountain on earth, it is not a walk in the park. Tanzania Horizon Safaris provides private toilets per group on request. Please contact us before your climb, changes can be made anytime before you start climbing. Private toilets consist of a plastic toilet and a privacy tent. There are no shower facilities on the mountain, but a bowl of hot water will be provided everyday before and after your climb at your tent.