You can climb Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, but there are two different rainy seasons, which most guests prefer to avoid. Mid March to May are typically the long rains, and then there are the short rains at the end of October and into November. January, February, July August and September are all popular climbing months.
Frequently Asked Questions
How cold does it get on Kilimanjaro?
The temperature at the top of the mountain can vary widely. Sometimes it is only a degree or two below freezing, but visitors should be prepared for the possibility of temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, perhaps in conjunction with a wind.
Planning Your Trip
How much time do I need to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?
Most routes on Kilimanjaro are between 5 – 8 days. We recommend having at least one day at the hotel before the climb, so that we can give you a full briefing and also check your gear. Many guests like to have a day or two at the hotel after the climb, to relax and decompress a bit before heading home or continuing with their safari.
What do I need to bring with me?
All climbers should attempt to bring as much as possible of the following:
Anorak/parka, mittens, skimask , good wrap-around sunglasses, scarf, 3 pairs warm trousers, sweaters, warm socks (both thin and thick), thermal underwear, waterproof layer, sun hat, comfortable boots, sun screen, small first aid kit, daypack and water bottles or hydration systems sufficient to carry at least 3 litres, torch or headlamp, spare batteries.
Marangu Hotel will attempt to make up any shortfalls in equipment at no extra charge (for “fully equipped climbers). Climbers are advised to try to bring as much as possible of the above as cabin baggage since hold baggage may be delayed. Climbers might, for example, wear their boots on the plane.
Check out our suggested packing list here.
What medications do I need to bring? Do I need to be worried about malaria?
For climbing Kilimanjaro we suggest the following medicines: headache tablets (preferably not aspirin since this tends to irritate stomachs already sensitive at altitude), Imodium/Lomotil for diarrhoea sometimes associated with altitude.
Climbers may like to consult their physicians about azetazolomide (Diamox), a drug that many find mitigates the ill effects of altitude such as headache, diarrhoea & vomiting.
There is no malaria on the Kilimanjaro climb as you are above the altitude where malarial mosquitoes are found. Marangu also does not have these mosquitoes, although there have been very rare cases of Malaria found in Marangu once every few years.
If you are travelling to the coast of East Africa, or on safari after your climb it is a good idea to have malaria medication with you for this part of your trip.
Your prices seem higher than others we have found. Why?
Marangu Hotel is partner of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project and we adhere to strict standards and are an industry leader with respect to crew remuneration and conditions
We ensure that all our crew receive enough food, fuel and essential warm and waterproof clothing and that they are not charged for these. We also stick to the weight limits that are set by the national park, ensuring that porters are not overloaded. We provide enough tents for our crew to avoid having more crew per tent than it was designed for.
We provide enough guides to accompany a group to the summit. By providing more licensed guides than the National Park requirements we ensure that all members of a climb party have the option to continue to the summit, even if one or more members opt to turn around.
We will equip climbers paying for a fully-equipped climb with any shortfalls in their equipment at no extra cost. This includes warm weather gear as well as all necessary equipment. If a climber has to descend earlier than planned, we provide accommodation for these climbers at our hotel at no extra cost.
We offer a high quality, and safe, climb experience, giving value for money and allowing peace of mind for all our climbers.
What documents do I need to travel? Visa? COVID-19 vaccinations?
Tanzania requires visitors to be fully vaccinated against Covid19 or to have a negative PCR result returned in the 72 hours before travel. Tanzania recognizes any Covid19 vaccine that is approved by the WHO.
If you are travelling from, or through, a yellow fever endemic country you are also required to provide a yellow fever vaccination card upon entry.
Most nationalities can obtain a visa upon arrival, however it can save a lot of time if you apply for your visa before travel. Tanzania has an online visa application portal where this can be done. You may be required to upload a hotel booking confirmation – this can be provided upon request.
We advise those doing an online visa application to apply at least 1 month before travel.
Is it possible to rent equipment?
We have a large stock of clothing, tents, sleeping bags and lots of other mountain equipment and gear. We do not charge our guests for mountain equipment if they are doing a fully equipped climb with us. Many other tour operators will charge per item, which can add up. In all cases, we encourage climbers to bring as much warm clothing as possible. In particular, climbers should avoid the need to rent or borrow boots.
How much will a climb up Kilimanjaro cost?
There are three main factors factors to consider that will affect the ultimate price of a climb.
Route: the Marangu route has huts whilst all other routes are camping routes. The camping routes are more expensive to climb as all camping equipment must be carried up which requires a bigger crew.
Duration of climb: The longer the climb, the more expensive it will be. National park fees are charged daily, and your crew are paid more for longer climbs. The crew will also need to carry more provisions for more days, so this will result in a larger crew than for a shorter climb.
Number of climbers: The more climbers in a climb group, the cheaper the per person price. If you are a solo climber, you are not sharing the costs of the crew and logistics, but rather paying for them all yourself.
We would be happy to provide you with a costing – please contact us here.
Am I expected to tip guides and porters?
It is customary on Kilimanjaro to tip guides and porters if you are happy with the service they have provided, although we stress that tipping is always discretionary. We advise our climber to budget between $150 and $200 for this purpose.
If you do wish to tip your crew we always ask that you do so not on the mountain but at the hotel after the climb. We will be happy to assist with this process and help you organize this.
Do your guides speak English?
All of our guides speak English to be able to easily communicate, which is particularly important in emergency situations.We have always valued our guides for the way they can deal with emergencies, and for how they can observe and gently encourage climbers to do their best. Where climbers specifically request it, we can allocate guides who are more fluent.
What happens if my plans change and I need to change or cancel my reservation?
If you need to change your plans, we can easily accommodate your new travel dates. If you need to cancel your stay at the hotel, there are no fees. If you are cancelling a climb, you would have paid a $118 non-refundable deposit per person, but depending on the situation, we are usually very understanding!
How do I get to Kilimanjaro?
The best airport to fly into is the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is 80 kilometres from Marangu. This is served by KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Kenya Airways and Precision Air.
Some people also choose to fly into Nairobi airport in Kenya and then travel on to Tanzania. There are daily shuttle bus services connecting Nairobi with Arusha, Moshi and Marangu in northern Tanzania, and we also have several private taxis we can recommend. There are also daily flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro.
What are the accommodations like on the mountain? Where will I be sleeping?
On the Marangu route there are A-Frame huts that are reasonably comfortable. They have bunk beds with foam mattresses and the first two, of three, huts have running water and bathroom blocks with flush toilets. The final hut, Kibo Hut, at 4700m has no natural water, so there is no running water here. But the huts are still comfortable and offer the same sleeping options as the lower camps.
On the camping routes we use Vaude alpine tents for our climbers to sleep in. These tents are designed for the harshest mountain conditions and offer excellent protection from the elements. Our tents are rated as 3 person tents, however we use them as 2 person tents.
We provide RidgeRest Thermarest sleeping pads. Some climbers opt to also bring camping air mats for additional comfort.
What will I be eating and drinking on the mountain? Do I need to bring my own food?
The food we serve on climbs is similar to what we serve in our hotel before and after the climb. For breakfast we give you fruit and cereal, eggs, bacon and sausage, toast butter and jam/marmalade, tea and coffee.
Lunches are packed lunches of sandwiches, fruit and tea.
Dinner comprises soup, a cooked course of beef or chicken or stew or pasta plus vegetables, and fruit for dessert. In the afternoons there is tea and biscuits/cakes.
We are happy to cater to specific dietary needs or preferences.
You do not need to provide your own food on a fully-equipped climb, but most climbers do like to bring snacks for the trail.
Can I climb Kilimanjaro by myself?
The Kilimanjaro National park requires that all climbers have a guide, so you can not climb completely solo. We do however organize many climbs each year for just a solo climber and crew.
How much weight will I be carrying?
On a fully equipped climb your porter will carry the bulk of your gear. Each day you will be carrying with you only what you need on that day.
You will need to carry 3 litres of water each day, as well as different clothing items depending on the altitude. We estimate that your day pack will weigh about 5kg/11 pounds. As 60% of this weight is water, your pack gets lighter through the day as you drink the water.
What is the guide-to-climber ratio on your Kilimanjaro trips?
The guide to climber ratio on the final ascent is a guide to each climber in smaller groups and 1 to two climbers in larger groups.
As a rule, we have 2-3 porters per climber on the Marangu route and 3-4 on the camping routes.
What is altitude sickness and what are the risks of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is generally a safe mountain to climb and most climbers are able to reach the summit.
Climbing Kilimanjaro takes you to 5895m, so the biggest risk to climbers is altitude sickness. There are two different categories to consider here, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and Oedema/Edema.
“Mild acute mountain sickness” is common. The symptoms include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite and in some cases diarrhoea. The symptoms generally disappear after a few hours if treated appropriately however the illness should not be allowed to develop.
A much more serious type of altitude sickness is called oedema. This is an accumulation of fluid in the body, and when fluid accumulates in the lungs or brain this can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. This requires a descent to a lower altitude immediately, where recovery is rapid.
Fewer than 2% of climbers on Kilimanjaro suffer from oedema so we don’t expect to see it on climbs. Our guides are trained on what to look for, and during your pre-climb briefing we will discuss oedema in detail, as well as the symptoms and how to treat it.
What are the rescue procedures in case of problems on the mountain?
The national park operates a rescue service, and the ranger stations at the huts and campsites around the mountain are linked to each other and to the park headquarters by radio. In the vast majority of emergency cases, the problem is altitude related and the solution is immediate descent to a lower altitude. Our mountain crew are all experienced at dealing with such cases and can bring climbers down to safe altitudes very quickly and without park assistance if it is not immediately available.
Can you prepare for the altitude?
The only ways to prepare your body for altitude is to be at altitude, or to simulate the conditions found at altitude. There are specialized hyperbaric tents that can be used for this, however they are typically quite expensive to acquire and don’t have any everyday use.
We believe that your approach to your climb is key to how well your body copes with altitude, and this approach will be discussed with you during your pre-climb briefing and all your guides are trained on how to approach each day on the climb.
What training do guides have to undergo? What skills and qualifications do they have?
All guides on Kilimanjaro are licensed by the Kilimanjaro National Park. They are required to undergo the national park training in order to acquire their license.
Our guides have worked for us for many years, and have received first aid training, wilderness first responder training and specific altitude sickness training.
When guides first start working with us, they will climb for a sustained period as an extra guide, under the supervision of senior guides to ensure that they learn how to respond to different situations and how to look after all climbers and crew on the mountain.
Can children climb Kilimanjaro?
The national park regulations state that the minimum age for climbing above 3,000 metres is 10. This is because altitude sickness can affect children very quickly and dangerously.
Can I get a taxi to Marangu?
We can arrange your transfer from Kilimanjaro, Arusha or Moshi airports. We charge competitive rates for transfers, usually lower than a private taxi. We can also arrange group transfers.
There are also some public transport options available.
Is the water safe to drink?
The water in the hotel comes from our own spring, which is supplied by Mount Kilimanjaro. It is delicious and pure. On Kilimanjaro, the water that flows naturally on the Marangu Route is safe to drink without treatment – it is piped into the huts from nearby protected springs. On the camping routes, all water is filtered using Katadyn filters. However, many people feel happier if the water is treated during the climb. If you feel this way, please bring drops or tablets to sterilize the water. Higher up the mountain, water that has melted from nearby glaciers can taste unpleasant because of its high mineral content.
In many other parts of Tanzania, drinking water from the tap is not advised for those who are not used to the water.
Is it safe to walk around the hotel?
Yes, Marangu is a safe area, although it is not recommended to walk around at night as there are no street lights. We suggest that visitors hire a local guide for day walks, as they will see many more interesting things than if they walk alone.
I’m looking to host a party at Marangu Hotel, is this possible?
Yes. We have hosted many different types of events including weddings, sendoffs, conferences and other parties. Depending on the requirements of the event, we have different packages for those interested in renting only the grounds of the hotel, or if you would also be looking for Marangu Hotel to provide food and drink. Please contact us with your specific needs and we are happy to figure out a way to accommodate you!
Does the hotel provide a cot or crib if I travel with infants?
Yes, we have baby cots/cribs available. We would recommend families travelling with infants to stay in one of our self-contained cottages where there is more space and connecting rooms.
Is there a souvenir shop on the hotel premises?
Yes, our shop, the Bougainvillea Gift Shop, has a wide array of items from all over East Africa including paintings, prints, blankets, jewellery and books. We also stock essentials such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, in case you forgot them!
The Bougainvillea Shop derives its name from the bougainvillea tree that is just outside and above the shop – it was planted over 80 years ago!
What are modes of payment available once I reserve?
We do not require any upfront payment for hotel reservations and will only request a non-refundable deposit of $118 per person for a climb.
We do accept cash, bank transfers and credit card payments, however, our banks charge a small fee on all credit card transactions.
What happens if my plans change and I need to change or cancel my hotel reservation?
If you need to change your plans, we will try to accommodate your new travel dates. If you need to cancel your stay at the hotel, there are no fees. If you are cancelling a climb, you would have paid a $118 non-refundable deposit per person, but depending on the situation, we will try if possible to amend your booking to an alternative date or to sell your deposit to another prospective climber so that you can receive a refund.