What are the main differences between the Rongai, Machame, Lemosho, and Marangu routes?

The Rongai, Lemosho, and Machame routes are camping routes that take longer and are considered more scenic than the Marangu. On the Marangu route you will be staying in huts as opposed to camping, and you hike up and down the same path.

The Rongai route takes you up the north side of the mountain and you descend down the Marangu route. The Lemosho and the Machame routes traverse the mountain and descends down the Mweka route.

How many days are the Rongai, Machame, Lemosho, and Marangu routes?

The Rongai route entails 6 days on the mountain while the Machame route has two options, a 6-day hike and a 7-day hike.

For those that need extra time to adjust to the altitude, the Lemosho route is best, with 8 days total on the mountain.

The Marangu route is the shortest route at a total of 5 days on the mountain. If you are concerned about altitude sickness, it is best to go with a minimum 6-day hike, give yourself enough time to acclimatize.

Do I have to be extremely fit to take part in this trek?

Yes. If you attempt to climb Kilimanjaro without the proper training you may not enjoy the trek as much as you would have with adequate training. The best way to train for Kilimanjaro is to strap a pack on your back and go hiking as much as possible. By doing so your feet and joints will become accustomed to the constant walking you will face on the trek. Also be sure to hit the gym!

What is the success rate for the Rongai, Machame, Lemosho, and Marangu routes?

In the last calendar year, from April 1 2018 to March 31 2019, the success rate for each route is as follows:
Lemosho Route (DTKL) 95%
Marangu Route (DTKM) 90%
Rongai Route (DTKR) 96%
Machame 8-day (DTM8) 92%
Machame 9-day (DTM9) 95%

What are the accommodations along the trail?

On the Marangu route, trekkers stay in huts. Each hut has a dining room for eating as well as separate bathroom facilities (can be flush toilets or pit latrines). There is no electricity in the huts.

On the Rongai, Machame and Lemosho routes, trekkers camp all the way up! For these routes G Adventures travellers receive a private mess tent and they are shared pit latrines.

Trekkers on all routes are given a hot water bowl to wash their hands and faces.

Is drinking water provided during the trek?

On the first day you are responsible to bring your own water but beyond that, water is provided on all routes. Water is taken from the mountain streams, boiled and treated to make safe to drink.

Do we carry our own luggage on the trip? If not, what is the weight the porters carry?

You will not be responsible to carry your luggage up Kilimanjaro. The porters can carry approximately 30lbs (15kg) of your luggage; the rest can be stored safely at the hotel. You will only be responsible to carry your day pack with the essential and personal items you need to have with you at all times.

What qualifications do the guides have?

The mountain guides have to attend certified courses that are offered by Tanzania National Parks before they get their Mountain Guide Licenses. A Porters Association also selects the porters; they will carry an identification card allowing them to carry your belongings, and assist you up the mountain.

Can we hire a sleeping bag with the thermal quality required for the trip? What about hiking gear?

A limited supply of equipment is available to rent directly from your Moshi hotel, however the quality varies. Please let your CEO know at the welcome meeting. Whenever possible you should endeavour to bring your own clothing and equipment. There are shops and locals offering these services to you as well. It is best to come outfitted but if necessary here are the prices (USD):

  • Rucksack/day pack $12
  • Balaclava $6
  • Sleeping bag (-25 to -35°C) $40
  • Poncho $18
  • Plastic bag $4
  • Duffel bag $6
  • 2 walking poles (ski sticks) $12
  • Gaiters $8
  • Gloves $6
  • Sweater $5
  • Sunglasses $8
  • Long underwear $5
  • Raincoat $12
  • Rain pants $12
  • Fleece pants $6
  • Mountain boots $9
  • Warm jacket $12

**These rates are subject to change and are only a guideline.

If the trek becomes too difficult for me can I turn around?

Yes you can. If you are in any physical danger or suffer from altitude sickness the porters will be able to assist you down the mountain.

How long is the trek and how many hours do we hike each day?

These times are based on physical ability of the group as well as the altitude (the higher you go, the slower you move).

1Begin TrekBegin TrekBegin TrekBegin TrekBegin Trek
25-7 hrs (11km)5-7 hrs (11km)3-4 hrs (8km)3-4 hrs (8km)4-5 hrs (8km)
35-6 hrs (5km)5-6 hrs (5km)5-6 hrs (10km)5-6 hrs (9km)6-8 hrs (11km)
45-6 hrs (10km)5-6 hrs (10km)3-4 hrs (3km)3-4 hrs (5km)6-8 hrs (10km)
58-9 hrs (9km)4-5 hrs (5km)5-6 hrs (9km)5-6 hrs (10km)11-14 hrs (21km)
611-14 hrs (17km)3-4 hrs (4km)14 hrs (21km)4-5 hrs (5km)5-6 hrs (20km)
74-5 hrs (10km)11-14 hrs (17km)5-6 hrs (20km)3-4 hrs (4km)End trek
8End trek4-5 hrs (10km)End trek11-14 (17km) 
9 End trek 4-5 (10km) 
10   End trek 

What is the coldest it is expected to be at the summit of Kilimanjaro?

Temperatures vary considerably with altitude and time of day. On the plains surrounding Kilimanjaro the average temperature is about 30°C. At 3000m frosts can be encountered at night while daytime temperatures range from 5 to 15°C. Nighttime temperatures on the summit can be well below freezing especially with the strong winds at times.

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a condition where the body becomes dangerously cold. It can be caused by brief exposure to extreme cold, or by prolonged exposure to mild cold.

Hypothermia occurs when a person's deep-core body temperature drops below 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees farenheit). It is the lowered temperature of the organs inside the body that is important - an ordinary thermometer cannot measure this.

The person may not actually feel cold but if they stay in a cold environment and do little or nothing to keep warm, then they may run the risk of becoming hypothermic or becoming ill with bronchitis or pneumonia. Both are cold-related illnesses.

Danger signs to watch out for:

  • Drowsiness
  • Very cold skin on parts of the body normally covered, for example, stomach or armpits
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Absence of complaint about feeling cold, even in a bitterly cold environment.

What is the highest altitude we will hit on this trek?

The highest altitude reaches 5895m.

What is altitude sickness and what are the symptoms?

During the trek it is likely that all climbers will experience at least some form of mild altitude sickness.  It is caused by the failure of the body to adapt quickly enough to the reduced level of oxygen in the air at an increased altitude.  There are many different symptoms but the most common are headaches, light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite, tingling in the toes and fingers, and a mild swell of ankles and fingers.  These mild forms are not serious and will normally disappear within 48 hours.  Please visit your physician for any preventative medications.

How can I prevent altitude sickness?

1. Stay hydrated. Try to drink at least 4-6 liters per day.
2. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other depressant drugs including barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.
3. “Don’t go up until symptoms go down”. People acclimatize at different rates, so make sure that you properly acclimatized before going higher.
4. Before your trip, maintain a good work/rest cycle, avoid excessive work hours, and last minute packing.
5. Listen to your body. Do not over-do things the first day or two. Avoid heavy exercise.
6. Take your time. Pace is a critical factor on all routes. "Pole pole" (go slowly) is the phrase of the day.
7. Walk high sleep low: If you have enough energy, take an afternoon stroll further up the mountain before descending to sleep. (not if you have any symptoms of altitude sickness!)

Six factors that affect the incidence and severity of altitude illness:
1. Rate of ascent
2. Altitude attained
3. Length of exposure
4. Level of exertion
5. Hydration and diet
6. Inherent physiological susceptibility

Will the effects of the sun be stronger on the mountain?

Absolutely, so precautions are required. About 55% of the earth's protective atmosphere is below an altitude of 5000m. Far less ultraviolet light is being filtered out, making the sun's rays much more powerful, which could result in severe sun burning of the skin. It is strongly recommended to use a 20+ sun protection cream at lower altitudes, and a total block cream above an altitude of 3000m. It is also important to wear dark sun glasses preferably with side panels above 4000m in daytime and essential when walking through snow or ice. Snow blindness can be very painful, and will require your eyes to be bandaged for at least 24 hours.

How much do you recommend we tip the porters and/or local guides?

Tipping is an expected and highly appreciated component of your Mt. Kilimanjaro trek. It should be an expression of satisfaction with those who have assisted you throughout the expedition. Tipping is one of the most direct ways that you can have a positive economic impact within the East African community. Although it may not be customary for you, it is of considerable significance to your guides, assistants, cooks, and porters, as an important source of and supplement to their income.

During the welcome meeting the CEO can confirm to the travellers the total number of guides and cook but not porters, the total number of porters will only be confirmed once all the luggage and equipment are checked by Kilimanjaro national park rangers at the gate. Normally 2-3 porters per hiker.

You are not introduced to the porters at the gate because there is no enough time and when you arrive at the first hut or camp on Day 1 the staff are busy and travellers are tired. On Day 2 of the hike travellers will have enough time to meet everyone when they arrive at the hut or camp.
Upon completion of your climb it is ideal to have a tipping ceremony with the crew at the last meal on the mountain. Tips should be placed in a group envelope and a member of the climbing team can hand the envelope directly to the Lead Guide because there are many people to share the tips with. It is encourage to announce the amount in front of the group to ensure each crew member knows the total amount.

A method that’s popular is for everybody to contribute 10% of the total cost of their trek towards tips. So if you paid US$2000 for your trek, you should pay US$200 collectively for your crew. (If there were only one or two of you, it would be better to pay slightly more than 10%.).
A realistic amount for a trip of 5-7 days length would be between 200-300 USD per climber for tips. Here is a suggested amount per trip:
5 days on Mountain, common tip amount = $200-250
6 days on Mountain, common tip amount = $225-275
7 days on Mountain, common tip amount = $250-300

***Please note that these are only guidelines and tips can be based on personal opinion
If paying each crew member individually, you can use the following chart as a guideline:
Tipping guide in USD (or equivalent in local currency) per group per day spent on the mountain:
Per Chief Guide: US$10-15 per day
Per Assistant Guide: US$8-10 per day
Per Cook: US$7-$10 per day
Per Porter: US$5-8 per day

Gifts in addition are also appreciated – e.g. warm clothing or footwear.

These are mere guidelines, and you may wish to alter them if you feel, for example, a certain porter is deserving of more than his normal share, or if your trek was particularly difficult.