These notes have been detailed for your comfort and safety. We suggest reading through them and bringing a copy with you on your trip for ongoing reference.
People from all walks of life and all changes tackle the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, but the lower age limit is 10 years old for safety reasons. There is no upper age limit, all that matters is that climbers are in good health.
Mount Kilimanjaro can look daunting – in the morning light her peak glimmers like an icy diamond, and she always throws her shadow far across the Serengeti. Ascending this mountain is not a technical climb and mountaineering knowledge is not necessary. However, at over 19,340 feet attempting to reach the summit is not a decision to take lightly.
One of the main obstacles climbers are confronted with can be altitude sickness, a debilitating reaction to the change in oxygen that can sweep you off your feet. Everyone reacts differently to changes in altitude so it is difficult to pre-empt how challenging you will find it. However, because she is not a technical mountain it means that everyone has the chance of reaching the glory spot – the peak where all of Africa is laid out beneath your feet.
Those who are spritely on their feet, strong in their bones, and have a fierce sense of determination are more likely to make it to the top. Our success rate is very high, with over 98% of climbers managing to make it to the peak. However, we do recommend spending time before your visit to improve your strength and stamina as this will make the climb easier for you.
Those who are already active in their everyday lives may want to increase their activities, those who are not so active may need to work out a fitness regime or plan prior to attempting the climb. We recommend starting fitness preparations 3-4 months in advance.
We also recommend practicing long distance walking if this is something you haven’t done before. There is a huge physical difference in taking a short stroll around the park and walking up Africa’s highest mountain for days straight.
We recommend the following;
Running, cycling or jogging to build lung efficiency
Building overall muscle strength, particularly in your legs
Reducing body fat and improving tone
We welcome you to Tanzania without the need for injections, but we do like to recommend that our travelers top up on their inoculations to ensure their complete health and wellbeing. We recommend you check the following are in date; hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus, polio, rabies, and meningitis. We also recommend visiting your local travel health clinic to check your records are up to date. Also anyone traveling from a yellow fever area will need to bring a vaccination certificate with them.
Traveling to far flung new countries, changes in temperature, and differences in diet can lead to mild stomach problems whose side effects include vomiting and diarrhea. Some clients can mistake the body’s reaction to these changes as food poisoning but this is often not the case. We do recommend bringing with you your preferred treatment against stomach problems to help facilitate a speedy recovery. We also recommend staying hydrated and drinking lots of water as this can also help stave off dehydration which can make matters much worse.
There are many images showcasing Mount Kilimanjaro with a shimmering snowcapped peak, but along the way you will cross many varied weather conditions and terrains. From blistering sun to wetlands, this is why it’s important to be prepared for every possibility. Make sure you bring a hat to protect your head from the harsh rays of the African sun. We also suggest using a high factor sun cream to keep your skin shielded from UV light and making sure to cover every inch of exposed skin.
Nothing can spoil your summit celebration like snow blindness. The combination of heady sun and pure white snow at the peak can cause a glare so strong that it can affect your vision. Bring and use a good quality pair of protective sunglasses to ensure that when you reach the top you are able to see the view.
One breath in and one breath out – such a simple motto, but something we rarely think about across the course of the day. Breathing is something to think about when it comes to altitude.
Slow deep breathing is imperative when climbing, and it is advisable to try and get into a rhythm from the very first step you take on your Kilimanjaro climb. As you climb higher, your speed of breathing will need to be increased as the air is thinner. Getting your body into a beautiful breathing rhythm will stop lactic acid building up which can lead to cramps. Not ensuring your body has enough oxygen can also lead to hypoxia and hypothermia.
We suggest some research before coming to Tanzania on correct breathing techniques, a little light yoga practice could be a useful tool in this. It is also important to remember to maintain correct breathing practice at all times, even in times of high anxiety. On the evening ascent to the summit we also recommend covering your mouth and nose with a bandana as the air is stark and cold and can hurt to breathe in.
Your safety is our absolute priority and each and every one of our mountain guides are trained in first aid. However, we do recommend packing a perfect little first aid kit to bring with you, along with personal prescriptions and any anti-malarial medication you are currently taking. We recommend the following should be found within your first aid kit…
Bandages for strain
Knee and ankle supports
Imodium for stomach problems.
Lip salve / chap stick
A small tub of Vaseline
Anti-fungal foot cream
We also recommend packing away any liquids or ointments in zip lock plastic bags to prevent leaks.
Tackling the hot and humid lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro is thirsty work, and higher up the dry and desolate conditions can leave you parched. Strenuous exercise will also leave you wanting to guzzle lots of cool clear liquid, and because you are pushing your body it is sure to be crying out for water.
Staying hydrated is not a luxury on Kilimanjaro – it is a necessity. After years of experience climbing this mountain we recommend drinking 4-5 liters of fluid a day. Water is the best for your body, but also supplementing with a little fruit juice will boost your natural sugar intake which can give you energy. Sipping endless coffee in high altitudes is not recommended.
Try and remember to drink throughout the day rather than gorging yourself on water once you get thirsty. We suggest bringing drinking containers that can hold 3 liters and also bringing with you some water purification tablets. Layering your clothing can also help you to control your own temperature and will hinder water loss through excessive sweating.
The lower slopes of Kilimanjaro are abundant with cool clear streams formed from the snow melt that runs down from the pretty peaks. This water is safe and divine to drink, and our guides are always there to help advise you. Those who wish to have their water purified can use the specialist tablets. On the Marangu routes bottled water and sodas can be purchased for the journey although you will pay a premium.
Altitude sickness can be the bane of any climber’s life, particularly if you have not experienced it before and do not know how you are going to react. It is important to remember that altitude sickness can be serious and in some cases even fatal. Understanding the symptoms and knowing the right actions to take can be a life saver. The best medicine for altitude sickness is descent although plenty of rest can also help you recuperate. Altitude sickness is not a disease or illness you catch – it is the result of the body not adapting quickly and efficiently to the change of environment.
Most often, mild altitude sickness will display itself as a headache ranging from uncomfortable to severe. Often, standard headache tablets will help alleviate the pain. If the symptoms persist or are accompanied by vomiting and inability to catch your breath – then the altitude sickness has progressed and a period of rest is advised to help you acclimatize.
It is worth noting that once on the mountain it is very difficult to alter our schedule, so should you foresee that you may need more time and a leisurely pace to acclimatize it is worth working that into our itinerary in the initial phase of planning.
Should the severity of altitude sickness call for you to immediately descend the mountain unfortunately we are unable to cover private transport and extra accommodation costs, so these will be at your discretion.
The symptoms associated with altitude sickness are; decrease in mental ability, poor speech and coordination, increasing lethargy or desire to sleep, rapid heartbeat, persistent coughing, and rattling lungs.
The more time you give your body to adapt the better your chances of reducing the effects of altitude sickness. Sometimes planning longer and slower treks can be the kindest way of acclimatizing your body. The most important thing is to make sure that you communicate with your guide, inform them of any symptoms and keep tabs together.
Tanzania is a wild and wonderful place – full of climbing mountains, gushing rivers, beasts and birds. Because of all this excitement we expect each and every traveler to have valid travel insurance. Due to strict health and safety regulations we are unable to accommodate clients who are unable to provide a valid travel insurance certificate prior to taking a trip with us. We ask that your policy includes medical cover along with ample cover for emergency rescue and repatriation. We also suggest you pick a policy that covers trip cancelation, personal liability, and loss of personal effects.
Here at Bush 2 City we can also arrange Flying Doctor Insurance. This insurance is perfect for remote locations as it enables doctors to reach you through the use of light aircraft, and to quickly transport you to the nearest hospital. Flying Doctors Insurance is additional cover and doesn’t replace your normal travel insurance. If you wish to opt for this insurance add on, then please contact us to let us know. We will require a copy of your passport, full details of your travel insurance company, policy number, and a 24-hour contact number for them. We request that you make your booking for Flying Doctors travel insurance when booking your trip with us at Bush 2 City.
We understand that for many choosing to climb Kilimanjaro that this is a bucket list adventure and not something you would do every day. For those who don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands on top of the range trekking and climbing gear, we offer you the chance to simply rent it. Not only will this save you investing in resources you may not use again, but it also saves you from packing to stuff it all in your suitcase. All prices are in US dollars and are the rental costs for the entire trip per person.
|Equipment||Price in US$|
|Sleeping bag (-25 to -35°C)||$40|
|Walking poles(ski sticks, pair)||$12|
|Finger gloves (pair)||$8|
|Warm jacket G.T||$12|
|Warm jacket/down jacket||$12|
At Bush 2 City we want your journey from slope to summit to be mesmerizing, memorable and magical – this is why we hire local porters to carry your heavy belongings, so you can take the time to enjoy the view. The only thing you will need to carry is your daypack. Your daypack should weigh no more than 5-6 kg to keep you comfortable, and should contain water, waterproof clothing, sunscreen, a camera if you wish, and maybe some snacks to keep your energy high on the ascent. Those taking prescription medication should also be sure to pack them in their daypack.
High quality weatherproof clothing is essential for your comfort on the climb. Below we have sketched an outline of what you should be looking for. If you don’t want to invest in, or to carry the following items, then some of the things may be available for hire. Please refer to the list above for further information.
Your feet will carry you from the folds of the foothills to the shimmering ice white peak, which is why choosing good quality walking shoes is one of the most sensible things you can do. You don’t want your journey to be fraught with blisters, aches, pains, and cramped toes. You want shoes that allow your feet to breathe, that support the ankles, and that keep the water from sinking in.
If you do want to buy your own pair of hiking boots we recommend going to a specialist outdoor shop and seeking advice. We also strongly suggest ‘wearing your boots in’ before heading out to Tanzania. New boots will be stiff, uncomfortable and can rub your feet causing blisters that could even stop you from reaching the summit. If you are using pre loved boots, then make sure that they still have plenty of grip and are also still waterproof. We recommend bringing an extra set of laces.
Gaiters are a protective covering for your lower legs and ankles and are great for keeping stones, grit, and at higher summits – snow out of your boots. They bring added protection and comfort and are highly recommended.
Socks are just as important as shoes, and together they should form a beautiful and comforting relationship. Taking some time to experiment with your socks and hiking boots before venturing to Tanzania will help familiarize you with your own personal preference. Some people like thick and luscious socks, others prefer to wear a couple of pairs of thin and breathable cotton socks. We suggest packing enough socks for the duration of your journey and making sure that you have a dry pair for summit day so you can enjoy your final celebration without shivering with wet feet.
At Bush 2 City we are big fans of trekking poles. We find that telescopic poles are not only easy to pack, but they also provide invaluable support on the descent as they help to reduce strain and pressure on the knees.
We suggest bringing two different styles of hat with you for your climb. Closer to the lower slopes you will want a hat with a brim to protect against the sun which is sure to be pouring down from the deep blue sky. As you climb higher and hit the colder snowier slopes you will want a wooly hat to stop your body heat escaping. Some climbers also like to pack a balaclava to keep the wind chill from whipping their cheeks.
Getting wet on your Kilimanjaro climb is more than a simple inconvenience – it can actually be dangerous. When your clothes get wet, your body heat will trickle out, which could lead to hypothermia in chilly conditions. At Bush 2 City we are big fans of the Gore-Tex brand as we know that no matter what nature throws at you – these waterproofs can withstand it. We suggest picking a waterproof jacket that can cover you comfortably even when wearing all your layers, and also wearing waterproof trousers.
One of the wonders of Mount Kilimanjaro is her wide range of glorious landscapes. In one moment you can be wandering through the heavy heat of thick gold savannah plains, the next you are in dense and dark humid green jungles, and before you know it you are on snowcapped peaks with the wind howling. To make it to the top – flexibility is the key. Trekking with layers is the best way of regulating your temperature. We suggest bringing shirts, one warm fleece, one light fleece, thermal underwear, trekking trousers, and thermal gloves. Many climbers also like to pack a bandana which can be used to protect the mouth and nose from dust or wind.
Of course it wouldn’t make sense to haul all your holiday belongings to the glittering summit of Kilimanjaro. We offer all our travelers the chance to leave their luggage behind at our headquarters at no extra cost. We recommend only taking what you need on the climb and leaving your beach things behind.
Climbing is physically hard work and burns through a lot of calories. We know how important it is to keep your strength up with highly nutritious and delicious food. On the climb our chefs will whip up a delectable breakfast, lunch and dinner for you to enjoy in a cozy solar lit dining tent away from the elements. We do recommend bringing along snacks like nuts and dried fruit should you get peckish in-between meals.
Our chefs can cater for diners from all walks of life- whether you are vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. However, our chefs do require advance notice of any dietary needs so they are able to prepare.
Your guide will be your spirit leader on the climb to the summit. A good guide can make every step part of an unforgettable journey – one where you achieve your dreams and make everlasting memories. At Bush 2 City we hand select only the finest guides in the whole of Tanzania. Collectively, our guides have hiked Kilimanjaro over a thousand times – gifting them the experience, the knowledge, and the secrets of the slopes they need to show you this perfect world.
We treat our guides exceptionally well because once we find the best, we don’t want to lose them. Most of our guides have been with us a long time, and together we form a tight knit family. To become a mountain guide with Bush 2 City they must undergo rigorous training. Not only do they need to know the mountain like the back of their hand, but they must be well versed in spotting the signs of altitude sickness, of working with climbers of varying abilities, and being a book of knowledge when it comes to flora and fauna on the slopes.
Not only will the change of seasons affect the weather and temperature on Kilimanjaro, but also the altitude will have an impact. Walking through the humid rainforests on the lower slopes the temperature could be a balmy 20 degrees, but up on the summit it could plummet to as low as minus 20. Be sure to read through our clothing and equipment section above so you are able to choose your clothing accordingly.
At Bush 2 City we are committed to delivering a luxurious experience even out in the depths of the wild. This means that, whenever possible, we will dig latrines and set up toilet tents at the campsites along the way. However, they may be times when you will be required to use the public long drop facilities. Be prepared because out in the wild, many of the Kilimanjaro facilities are nothing more than a wooden shed with a hole, and these are not often kept to the highest hygienic standards. We recommend carrying a bandana with you to help alleviate sensory discomfort when using such restrooms.
Fortunately, in many camps the situation is improving. For example, on the Marangu Route all the restrooms in the huts boast English style toilets. However, along the Machame, Lemosho and Rongai Routes you will find that the restrooms in the campsites and picnic spots are all long drop. Please remember that these facilities are the responsibility of the park authorities and not Bush 2 City.
Our guides are always on hand to help advise you on the best way to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro. We do advise pacing yourself and taking time to acclimatize to boost your chances of success.
You have pushed yourself to the top, you have been dazzled by the sight of the morning mist clearing to unveil the jaw dropping splendor of Africa at your feet, and you have cried with tears of joy having conquered one of the world’s most impressive mountains. Now you have to get back down.
Correct breathing is equally important on the way down as on the way up, and using your trekking poles will also help to take the strain off your knees and your hips. Bending your knees with every step will also reduce injury and strain, as will focusing your body weight onto your knees. We also recommend re-tying your boot laces before making the descent to help ensure your heel is at the back of your boots and your toes aren’t being crushed against the front.
Our dedicated porters will be there every step of the way to carry the heavy equipment that makes comfort possible on the mountain. The only thing you will need to carry yourself is your daypack. If you require a personal porter, then please do let us know and we can arrange one at an extra cost.
At Bush 2 City we have a staggeringly high success rate for clients making it to the summit. Over 98% of our visitors are able to reach the top. However, safety and not success is our number one priority. Our guides are trained to respond quickly and efficiently to anyone in difficulty. In the unlikely event of needing to descend quickly down the mountain, you can be rest assured that you will be with a medically trained guide who will see you safely to the ground by taking the quickest means possible.
In order to enter Tanzania, you will need your passport with at least six months’ validity left on it. Often business travelers are required to have a little longer left on their passport, please be sure to check the local government website for more information.
All foreign visitors will require a visa to enter Tanzania, other than those coming from certain African countries. We recommend arranging visas in advance to avoid lengthy waits upon arrival. If, however, you touch down in Tanzania without a valid visa you can obtain one at the airport. Please see below for further details on applying for a visa on arrival.
Complete the visa request form. Forms will either be available on the flight or upon arrival
Join the queue for one of the visa counters – please don’t let yourself be assisted by anybody at the airport or be persuaded to give your visa money to anyone apart from the staff at the counter
Pay for the visa – USD 100 per person for US nationals and USD 50 per person for nationals of other countries (visa fees are payable in cash ONLY and US bills should not be older than 2006)
Make sure that you get a receipt for this transaction – the receipt is yellowish- orange colour with a silver seal sticker
Verify that the number on the receipt is the same as the one written on top of the visa stamp on your passport
Queue up to give your fingerprints and passport check
Collect your luggage and leave by the exit door
Outside the exit door you will see our driver guide holding the ‘Bush 2 City Adventure’ sign board
Tipping is always a choice for clients, but it is worth noting that it is common practice in Tanzania. We respect that with clients from every far flung corner of the globe – that everyone has a different cultural attitude to tipping. Tipping in Tanzania is seen as a sign of a job well done, and we do hope that over the course of your adventure, all of our staff contribute to an unforgettable experience for you.
During the welcome meeting you will be introduced to the number of guides and chefs. The number of porters is only confirmed once we reach the gates of the park and the luggage situation has been assessed by the park rangers. From experience, there are normally 2-3 porters per trek. As we don’t want our clients to feel uncomfortable or confused when it comes to the tipping process, we have outlined what is normal practice. Of course, this is always at your discretion.
Some clients prefer to hold a tipping celebration after the last breakfast on the mountain, after you have reached the summit.
Tips can be placed in an envelope and given to the lead guide, who can then distribute them to the team. It’s also advisable to make an announcement to the team so everyone knows how much is to be distributed.
Most trekkers feel that 10% of the trek cost is an appropriate tip. For example, if your trek cost $2500 US dollars then they would tip $250. If you are a solo climber or a duo, then you may want to tip a little more.
An alternative method, which some trekkers prefer, is to give individual tips to the team members, in which case the following amounts can be used for guidance:
Lead guide: between US$15 and US$20 per group, per day on the mountain
Assistant guide: between US$10 and US$15 per group, per day on the mountain
Cook: between US$8 and US$15 per group, per day on the mountain
Porter: between US$5 and US$8 per group, per day on the mountain.
We believe that a good business is ever evolving and that we can only adapt and grow due to honest and open communication. We rely on our visitors and clients to let us know how we can go that extra mile. Whilst we are confident at delivering a once in a lifetime opportunity, we are always grateful to hear from you regarding your experience with Bush 2 City. We have attached a feedback form and should you find the time to tell us your thoughts you can return it to email@example.com