Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 20
Accommodation: Hotel & trekking huts
Transport: A/C minibus/car
Highlights: Climbing Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa!
Experience stunning panoramic views on one of the world’s most renowned treks when you join us on this iconic climb of Africa's tallest mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro.
This trek takes you on the popular Marangu route, which uses comfortable trekking lodges for the overnight accommodation. You'll be climbing for six hard and breathless days to reach the summit, so its a strenous and challenging hike. We recommend you do plenty of training before undertaking this trek, but when you reach the summit the spectacular views out across the African landscape will make all the hard work and pain so worthwhile. Truly a once in a lifetime achievement!
The itinerary below follows the shortest Marangu route which takes 7 days in total. Private departures are also available for any number of travellers on any date on this route and itinerary, or you can add an extra day's acclimatisation at Horombo, or choose one of the other longer routes up the mountain as well. Please contact us for further details and ideas.
Today we meet in Moshi - if you are flying in to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), we will arrange an airport transfer for you. If you are making your own way to Moshi please advise your estimated arrival time in order to organize the briefing. If the weather is favourable we might get a first glimpse of the world's tallest freestanding mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro (5,895 m). When you arrive at the hotel you will have some time to relax. One of our representatives will brief you on what to expect in the upcoming week.
Single room supplement (TATMCK)
After a big breakfast we transit to the eastern side of Kilimanjaro to start our trek. Marangu Gate is at 1 860 m above sea level and this is where we begin. It is roughly a 7 km journey through rainforest to the Mandara Huts (2,700 m). If you are still feeling energetic after this section you can walk to Maundi Crater for some scenic views of both Kenya and Tanzania and on a clear day, Kibo Crater. There is an evening meal and overnight stay at the Mandara Hut.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After a good night's rest we have a filling breakfast before we climb through forest and moorland to the Horombo Huts (3,700 m). The distance covered today is roughly 11 km and along the way we see some of Tanzania's most interesting vegetation such as the giant lobelia and giant groundsel. Half way we stop for lunch while enjoying amazing views of Mawenzi (5,149 m), one of Kilimanjaro's peaks. Tonight we stay at the Horombo Hut.
Note: Additional day for acclimatisation
If you're not rushed for time, then we recommend adding an optional extra day on the mountain for further acclimatisation with the day spent resting at Horombo or climbing Mawenzi peak.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We get up at sunrise and after breakfast we set off for the Kibo Huts (4,700 m). Again, it is roughly 12 km to our destination. The first half of the hike traverses upper heath land while the second half crosses the vast saddle that connects Mawenzi and Kibo. The saddle of Kilimanjaro is alpine desert and care must be taken on this rough terrain. After dinner we need a very early night as the next day there is an extremely early start.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today is 'The Big Day' - the summit stage. Many hours before dawn we begin the final trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro. At sunrise we reach Gillman's Point (5,681m) which is the crater rim of Kilimanjaro, where the sun slowly starts to warm up the land. After a further hike of 1-2 hours to Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) we can celebrate the accomplishment of reaching the 'Roof of Africa'. The route back down is faster (compared to ascent) and a warm meal awaits us at the Kibo Hut. Later we continue on to the Horombo Hut where most of the mountain conquerors will be glad of an early night.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our journey back to Marangu Gate is about 18 km, a steady descent down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2,700m) where a hot lunch is prepared for us. If you conquered the summit you will collect your summit certificate at the gate. Green for Gilman's Point and gold for those that reached Uhuru Peak. Then we head back to Moshi for a hot shower and a well-deserved rest.
Free time until your departure airport transfer.
Weekly shared departure prices are given below. We can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements, building in extra acclimatisation days or using other routes. Please contact us for details and price
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
This beautifully situated hotel, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, stands in twelve acres of well laid out gardens. It has a fine variety of exotic trees and flowering shrubs.
This beautifully situated hotel, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, stands in twelve acres of well laid out gardens. It has a fine variety of exotic trees and flowering shrubs. From the gardens there are magnificent views to be had of Kilimanjaro, with its larger peaks of ice-capped Kibo and rocky Mawenzi.
Kilimanjaro National Park
The trekking huts used during the Kilimanjaro trek are basic multi-share accommodation, with a communal dining area and shared bathroom facilities.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
This tour include a 24-hour shared airport arrival and departure transfer service at Kilimanjaro International airport and all other transfers. Please look out for an Encounters Travel signboard to find our representative. You will be pestered for tips by porters who try to carry your luggage. We suggest you either be firm and insist on carrying your own luggage, or if you want assistance, wait until you have met our representative and then let him arrange the porter for you. You will need to have some money ready for a small tip (eg. a single US Dollar bill).
Your airport transfers are only included on the first and last day of the set tour itinerary, plus on any additional days if you book your hotel room with us. If you make your own arrangements for additional accommodation at either the beginning or the end of the tour then you will need to arrange your own airport transfers on these days.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to book your flights for you, and our ATOL (UK flight sales license) covers all holidays booked together with a flight from the UK.
Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from. Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour whether you book your flights independently or through us. This tour starts and ends at Kilimanjaro International Airport and this is where you should book your flights to.
It is customary tip the guides and porters on the Kilimanjaro Trek and it is important to understand that this is an essential part of the porters, cooks, drivers and guides income - though we do pay their basic wages of course. They work very hard to provide the best possible services. The suggested maximum amount is given in our tips guide below. Note that this is the total amount to be given by each group (not per climber). So, if only 2 passengers are climbing it comes out to a total of $160 for a 5 day climb (1 guide, 1 cook and 4 porters). This system works best because the alternative is to increase the staff salary to compensate and add it to the tour price which would result in large groups paying considerably more than necessary for the trek. So the current system is actually the fairest and cheapest way for climbers.
The following are daily rates the group as a whole is recommended to pay per staff member :
Porters - $6.00-8.00
Head Guide - $20.00
Assistant Guide - $12.00
Cook - $8.00
Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities. Encounters Travel will not be held responsible if travellers are denied entry because they are not in possession of the relevant visas. We therefore recommend you re-check requirements with the relevant embassy/consulate around 4 weeks before travel.
You should also be in possession of a valid onward or return flight ticket, or proof of other means of transport enabling you to leave the country that your tour passes through or finishes in. In addition you should carry proof of sufficient funds to cover you during your time in the country (eg. credit card).
Should your tour be re-entering a country, please ensure that you have a multiple entry visa that allows this. Some countries have a visa on arrival service which can be more convenient and cheaper. However, for peace of mind and to speed up the border crossing process, Encounters Travel advises that you to get your visas prior to your trip if possible.
LUGGAGE ALLOWANCES: Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of luggage to go in the hold of the plane. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.
OVERLAND AND SAFARI TOURS: Please keep in mind that these are adventure tours in an adventure vehicle (truck or 4x4) and luggage should not include any solid Samsonite style suitcases. On our accommodated overland tours most of our trucks have lockers for the luggage (locker sizes: 37,5 cm high, 32 cm wide, 80 cm deep). Only a soft bag will fit in these lockers. A suitcase is far more difficult to store and make secure in our vehicle and this is part of the reason we ask for a backpack or tote bag to be used as your luggage. The other reason is that you need to walk from the truck to the accommodation and often over sand or uneven terrain. Your luggage on our Overland tours is limited to ONE backpack and ONE daypack weighing no more than 20kg. As a general rule, if you cannot lift your own luggage - you’ve got too much stuff! Most people make the mistake of bringing too many clothes. A quick reminder - suitcases are not suitable on our overland tours – especially huge Samsonite-style cases! Small wheeled cases are OK for safari tours.
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Kit for all weather conditions including: • 2/3 shorts/skirts • 1 jacket/anorak • Tracksuit/pullover • 2 pairs of long pants/jeans • 2 pairs of walking shoes/boots/trainers • 1 pair of sandals • 3 or 4 T-shirts/short sleeve shirts or sundresses • 2/3 Long Sleeve Shirts • Smart casual change of clothes • Swimwear • Underwear & socks • Sun Hat – preferably that covers the back of your neck. • Raincoat • Kikoi/sarong
Your clothing should be easy to wash and dry and should preferably not need ironing. Avoid synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Many people underestimate how cold Africa can be – remember that jersey/jacket! There are also nights that are warm but you must still wear clothes that cover arms and legs from mosquitoes. Take a set of casual but smart clothes for the occasional evening out in a restaurant or club. If you wear glasses (or contacts) it is also advisable to bring a spare pair.
While on wildlife safaris it is important to wear dull coloured clothing - olive, mushroom, brown, khaki, stone are ideal.
You should avoid white (stands out too much), black or blue (attracts tsetse flies), and camouflage (illegal in many countries for civilians)
Additional Items: • Towel & facecloth • Baby wipes/ Wet Wipes • Personal toiletries • Sleeping bag • Torch & enough spare batteries • Camera & spare batteries and memory cards • Water bottle. (A 2-litre Coke bottle works well...) • Penknife • Insect and Mosquito repellent • Suntan lotion, sun block & after sun lotion • Sunglasses • Watch • Biodegradable laundry detergent • Passport (plus a copy of your passport & visas) • Extra passport photos • Vaccination certificate • Money • Travel plug • Neck pillow • Small sewing kit • Plastic bags • Clothes line and pegs • Small scrubbing brush • a small padlock for your luggage locker in the truck • Small basic First Aid kit (painkillers, band aids, after-sun lotion, eye drops, anti-diarrhoea tablets etc.)
DAY PACKS: Please check the itinerary for your specific tour if you will need a little daypack. For example on our Cape Town to Vic Falls overland tour you will need a smaller bag, big enough to bring basic equipment (toiletries and clothes) for 2 nights. The daypack is for your Okavango Delta Excursion, where you cannot bring your entire luggage.
Luggage: Whatever you’re doing in Africa, you’ll find that large rigid wheeled suitcases are cumbersome - you may be able to wheel them inside the airport and your hotel, but due to the condition of roads and pavements that’s often about it. As many of our tours involve a degree of adventurous activity, we strongly advise you to bring a more practical bag for these i.e. a rucksack or holdall. These are easier for both your porters, and yourself to carry around. Suitcases are OK for our cultural tours in Africa though, but please aim to bring small or medium sized ones rather than very large. If you are trekking or doing a lot of travel throughout the country, then as little as possible is the basic message. A rucksack or holdall (50-70 liter approx.) for your main luggage, and a daypack for you to use during the day should be plenty. While trekking your porters will carry your main luggage, leaving you with just a daypack with things you'll need during the day. You can also leave some luggage locked safely in the pre-trek hotel if you wish. We recommend that couples plan to leave one main bag behind, and pool their remaining luggage in their other bag for the porter to carry.
Luggage limits: Most international airlines allow 20-23kg per person of hold luggage. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.
If you are trekking with us, we ask that you keep the weight of your main bag that the porter will carry to a maximum of 12.5kg. This then allows the porter to carry up to 2 bags, and a maximum of 25kg.
What to Pack: Essential items we recommend on this trek as as shown below:
- Warm underwear
- Warm socks
- Gloves and warm hat
- Sunglasses- Sun protection
- Boots/Walkers/Climbers Shoes
- Walking Pole(s)
- Sleeping Bag
- Water purification tablets
- Torch and Batteries
- Toilet Paper
- 2 Water bottles
- Wash kit and towel
- First Aid Kit (ie. blister plasters, headache tablets, lip balm, personal medication)
A huge variety of cheap trekking gear is available close to the base hotel and buying or renting some here can save you carrying it with you, and support the local economy. However, you should definitely bring your own walking boots which have been well bedded in to avoid blisters.
Day Packs and Main luggage: You will want a sturdy and comfortable daypack to carry your day-to-day items with you while you are walking (clothes you may change in and out of regularly, drinks, snacks, camera). You will also need a sturdy holdall or backpack for your main luggage. Your porters will carry this for you, so suitcases are not appropriate. They may leave earlier than you, and may not walk with you throughout the entire day, so bear in mind that you won’t have access to this luggage all the time - you need to ensure you are carrying everything you require during the days walk in your daypack. You can leave luggage behind in storage at your hotel so you don't need to take everything with you on the trek.
The tour reaches an altitude of over 5000m and we therefore build in several acclimatisation days and plan the daily walking schedule to take account of the effects that spending time at high altitude can have on you. These acclimatisation days are compulsory; you may not miss them out and push on ahead even if you think you are feeling fine at the time or you want to shorten the tour.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can develop at any altitude over 2000 meters. The early symptoms are headache, extreme fatigue, and loss of appetite. Some people become breathless at rest. AMS is the result of fluid accumulating in parts of the body where it does not belong: in the brain, in the lungs, or both. When mild symptoms develop, it is a signal that you must stay at that altitude or descend until symptoms have gone away. Never ascend with any symptoms of AMS!
Most people reaching altitudes above 3000m and certainly above 3500m will experience some breathlessness, mild headaches, and poor sleep patterns. Other common symptoms include lack of appetite, increased urination (though you should be drinking a lot so should expect this anyway), strange dreams, tightness in the chest and fatigue. However, few people get very severe symptoms or go on to develop acute altitude sickness (AMS) which requires medical treatment.
If you are male and/or unfit/unhealthy and/or older (60s, 70s, 80s) then you are more likely to be affected than if you are female and/or fit & healthy and/or younger. However, there is no hard and fast rule and there are plenty of exceptions to these generalisations.
To try and minimise the effects of altitude, we recommend that you:
People with serious heart disease should not visit high altitudes, and people with light heart troubles should check with their doctor and follow their advice , as should people with high or low blood pressure.
More severe symptoms that may require medical treatment or an early descent to a lower altitude include severe and persistent headaches, nausea & vomiting, disorientation and loss of co-ordination, irrational behaviour. If you do experience any of these, make sure you tell each other and your guide straight away.
Trekking and Altitude Sickness
If you are trekking with us then you should keep your guide informed at all times of any symptoms you may be developing, especially headaches and breathlessness while at rest. You may need to spend a night or two at the same altitude before continuing your trek. All our trekking tours have acclimatisation days built into the itinerary where necessary to help with this. Usually within one or two days you will feel well and can continue your trek. On private tours, your guide will adjust your itinerary to try and ensure the normal route can be achieved, though this may not always be possible. On group tours, the group may delay their ascent if the itinerary allows, or a porter or second guide may remain with you until the group descends and rejoins you, or you try and ascend to catch up later.
If you are resting at the same altitude and your symptoms are becoming worse, then it is necessary to descend. Worsening symptoms of AMS including increasing tiredness, severe headache, vomiting, and loss of coordination. These are signs of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (or HACE). HACE can lead to unconsciousness and death within 12 hours if progressive symptoms are ignored. Increasing shortness of breath, cough, and tiredness are signs of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema or HAPE. HAPE can also be rapidly fatal if ignored.
A person suffering from AMS may not have clear thinking and may have to be forced to descend. You accept that our guides have the final decision on whether you should descend and that ignoring their advice constitutes leaving the tour. Even if someone is willing to descent they should never be allowed to descend alone and one of our porters or a second guide will accompany you. Keep descending until the person shows some sign of improvement, usually after 300-500 meters of descent. Even if the diagnosis is not clear, but might be AMS, you should descend. You can always re-ascend when you feel better.
It is best to start descending while the person who is ill can still walk. In Tanzania, if the person can no longer walk porters can often be found to carry a sick person down. Do not wait for a helicopter. If you choose to administer oxygen or medications do not delay the descent to watch for improvement.
In summary, if you are not doing well at altitude, most likely you have some mild symptoms of AMS. Rest at the same altitude until you feel well. If you are getting worse at the same altitude, descend to at least the last point at which you felt well. If you are not sure of the diagnosis, err on the side of being too cautious. Remember severe altitude sickness is entirely preventable if you follow these guidelines.
Costs for changing itineraries:
If you are not able to complete your trek or tour for any reason and choose to return back down early, then you may be liable to pay for extra accommodation and transport costs (see our booking conditions for full details). We try to be as flexible and helpful as possible in these cases, and will aim to arrange some lower altitude trekking or other tours during the time you would have spent at higher altitude. You must ensure that you have travel insurance that will cover you for any extra costs incurred due to symptoms or treatment or altitude sickness, and that your policy will cover you to the altitudes reached on your tour.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.