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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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How do I get to Mt Kilimanjaro

There are a number of ways to reach Mt Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is the closest international airport for your kilimanjaro adventure. JRO is approximately 50mins from Arusha or Moshi.

Many Airlines fly directly into Kilimanjaro (JRO). These include : KLM, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Emirates.

Flying into Julius Nyere International Airport (DAR) located in Dar es Salaam in another popular extra point into Tanzania for guests and is considered the main International Airport inTanzania so daily flights are numerous.

Qatar, Etihad, Emirates, and most major airlines fly into Dar es Salaam. Its a short 1 hour flight to JRO from DAR. We can certainly assist you to book these.

Zanzibar also has an international airport, Abeid Amani karma International Airport (ZNZ) Many international flights land in ZNZ so you can start and end your Tanzania adventure in ZNZ and we can simply assist you with organising a short 1 hour flight to JRO.

Jomo Kenyatta Itnernational Airport - (NBO) you may choose to arrive in Kenya which is perfectly fine. Its a short connecting flight to JRO and multiple carriers provide this flight daily. Alternatively you can transfer by pre-booked shuttle buses from Nairobi to Arusha which takes around 5 hours and the the shuttle service will assist all guests across the Namanga border. Please check your visa requirements prior to travel and use the online visa serve prior to travel if available for your country of origin. Otherwise ensure you have the correct USD for the entry visa. If you are unsure, please ask as we are here to make it easy for you.

What level of fitness do I require to climb?

Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro is physically demanding on your body so its important to undertake a training program before you attempt the trek.

Mt Kilimanjaro is a non technical trek so anyone can attempt to reach the summit with a high level of success, however being healthy and having a reasonably good level of physical fitness is required. You don’t by any means have to be an elite athlete to trek Mt Kilimanjaro but you need to be healthy, have reasonably good cardiovascular fitness and able to maintain several hours of comfortable walking each day. Please remember that your body is put under strain with altitude so its wise to have a medical checkup by your doctor prior to attempting Mt Kilimanjaro. Its also a good idea to talk to your local gym for some advice about maximising your cardiovascular fitness prior to attempting Mt Kilimanjaro. As a general rule if you can walk up to 10kms comfortably or jog 5-6 kms then you are ready to attempt Mt Kilimanjaro.

How Difficult is it to climb Mt Kilimanjaro?

Any beginner can trek Mt Kilimanjaro as due to the nature of the routes, the mountain does not require any technical climbing experience at all and any reasonably fit person can attempt and summit Mt Kilimanjaro. However it should be noted, that changes in temperature on the mountain, the rapid change in altitude does make it challenging for the body to adapt to the altitude change inside a week and individuals vary widely in their ability to cope. You can combat this a number of ways:

  1. Good preparation - regular exercise, extended walks, gym or aerobic exercise to maximise your fitness and the strengths of your legs in sustaining extended walking periods.
  2. Choose an itinerary on Mt Kilimanjaro with extra days 7 - 8 day itineraries have higher summit success due to additional acclimatisation days.
  3. If time is your friend, then maybe consider tackling Mt Meru which is a lower elevation to acclimatise before attempting Mt Kilimanjaro
What Additional Costs do I need to be aware of?

The most important is the tipping for the guides, porters and chefs.

Any equipment that you require for the mountain, other than a tent which is provided for you. Please refer to the rental list for pricing or you may decide to bring your own with you.

Entry Visas into Tanzania - please check with your local embassy or consulate to ensure you are aware

Tipping - always a very sensitive subject as the view differs greatly amongst cultures. Understandably it can be a contentious issue. Tipping on Mt Kilimanjaro has occurred over such a long time now that it has not only become customary, but is now a requirement for all guests trekking on Mt Kilimanjro for all porters, chefs, Assistant and head guides. Tipping guidelines have been developed by “Kilimanjaro Porters Assistant Project, which is a non-for profit organisation on the mountain that works in association with the International Mountain  Explorers Connection (IMEC) to ensure that partner trekking companies are providing socially responsible and ethical Mt Kilimanjaro treks that prioritise the welfare of the porters, chefs, guides and other support staff on the mountain. This includes salaries and tipping.

The following tipping guidelines have been developed

Porters - $5 per day

Chefs - $5 per day

Assistant Guides $10 per day

Guides - $10 per day

We will provide you with the number of staff on your trek so you are adequately prepared prior to arrival, however the average additional amount you can expect to pay for tips generally falls within the range of $150 USD to $250 USD. The value depending on the length of the trek and the number of climbers accompanying you on the trek to share the contribution.

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is caused by a shortage of oxygen. As climber ascend higher, the air becomes thinner as atmospheric pressure declines. At 5500m above sea level the atmospheric pressure is 50% of that at sea level and at the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro 5895m, it is lower still.

You might expect that breathing twice as fast as at sea level would let you take in more oxygen, this is not the case as the lungs ability to extract oxygen decreases much faster with altitude than the rate of decline in oxygen pressure. Furthermore when climbing Mt Kilimanjaro over challenging terrain, your muscles need more oxygen.

The oxygen demand of your muscles depends on the activity level, but your brain also needs its share. Despite only having 2% of your body weight, your brain needs 15% of its oxygen. If it gets less, judgement declines, control suffer and speech may become confused.

Interestingly the body responds in various ways to needing more oxygen:

  1. You breathe faster and deeper
  2. Your Heart Beats faster, increasing oxygen reaching tissues and forcing blood into parts of the lungs you don’t normally use.
  3. Your body expels excess fluid and creates more red blood cells to compensate for lower oxygen concentration, making your blood thicker

These changes happen over different times scales are depends largely on the individual person. Every persons heart rates is noticeably increased right at the beginning of the trek and after several days your blood will start to thicken as your red blood cell concentration increases.If you find yourself urinating a lot more frequently then its a sign that your body is acclimatising well.

You can help yourself to acclimatise by breathing deeply, drinking plenty of water and maximising sleep each night. ITs wise to avoid sleeping pills and alcohol as both these depress heart rate and decrease acclimatisation.

Most climbers will experience some degree of altitude sickness. Why? The standard trekking rule to minimise altitude sickness is to limit daily altitude gain to 300m. The spacing of campsites on Mt Kilimanjaro makes this impossible, so acclimatisation should be a major factor in deciding on the length and route of your itinerary.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Acute mountain sickness is the medical term for altitude or mountain sickness, acute, refers to the “sudden onset” AMS symptoms, if mild or moderate, often disappear if the victim rests or ascends no further. If AMS if severe, then the climber must descend.

Mt Kilimanjaro Guides are continually assessing your health. Each morning your health with be checked and detailed recorded for monitoring purposes and to ensure we maximise your chances of reaching your goal safely by assessing the degrees of AMS.

Your Guides use a point system to regularly assess your health and determine whether you may be experiencing mild, moderate or severe AMS.

Complications from Acute Mountain Sickness

You need to be fit to climb Kilimanjaro though your fitness will not itself reduce your chances of suffering from AMS. Over exterior is a risk factor despite being the fact that great fitness reduces oxygen demand at any given ascent rate, ultra fit individuals are more likely to ascend too quickly , thus making themselves more vulnerable.

Can Children trek Mt Kilimanjaro National Park?

Children can trek Mt Kilimanjaro though the national park authority has set the minimum age of children allowed to summit to 12 years of age. Children below this age are allowed to a maximum height of 3700m. Once they reach this height they can either be transferred back down the mountain and taken to the hotel to wait for their parents or wait at 3700m for their parents to summit and return.

Delayed or Lost Luggage

Even the best planned holiday can be disrupted by delayed or lost luggage. This can especially be challenging when it comes to the specialised nature of a Mt Kilimanjaro trek. We highly recommend that all of our guests pack essential items in cabin luggage to minimise disturbance to your holiday.

  1. Documents
  2. Medication
  3. Phones, cameras and other valuables (shah tours)
  4. A pair or two of clothing for the initial day or so of trekking
  5. Wear your walking boots

When it comes to Kilimanjaro trekking, its always a good idea to arrive at least 1 - 2 days earlier than the commencement of the trek to acclimatise, recover from the journey and to allow time to recover your luggage. If your luggage arrives late, don’t be concerned as we will send a porter up the mountain with your bags. However if your luggage does not arrive and we are unable to trace it, we can easily assist you as we have many equipment hire stores to ensure you are perfectly setup for your trek. 

What Additional Costs do I need to be aware of?

The most important is the tipping for the guides, porters and chefs. Any equipment that you require for the mountain, other than a tent which is provided for you. Please refer to the rental list for pricing or you may decide to bring your own with you.

Should I Hire or Purchase Kilimanjaro Hiking Boots?

Do not hire hiking boots for Mt Kilimanjaro! Buy them. Why?

Your feet are your best friend on Mt Kilimanjaro so you need to be kind to your feet.

When thinking about the correct boots for Mt Kilimanjaro you need to consider the following:

Do they fit well? When I say fit, you should be able to comfortably wear your boots with thick thermal socks or a number of pairs simultaneously. Many of our guests run out and buy brand new boots for Kilimanjaro without wearing the shoes in. We strongly recommend to wear the shoes for a while so you can ensure they are comfortable and won’t cause you issues walking long distances.

Do the Boots provide ankle support? You are walking on uneven rocky surfaces. Choose boots that are designed to protect your ankles and give you the best support.

Are the boots waterproof? Even if they are, its always an idea to spray the boots with waterproof spray. Remember your feet are most important asset on the mountain so take care of them.

Should I Purchase my trekking Equipment or can I rent it in Tanzania?

Sleeping Bags, Portable Toilets, Emergency oxygen, Duffel Bag, Trekking poles, Head Torches, Rucksack, Gaitors, Sleeping Mattresses.

Diamox

Diamox is used on the mountain by some climbers to minimise the effects of AMS. When you breathe fast or pant, as when exercising at altitude, you lost a lot of carbon dioxide, reducing the acidity of your blood. Diamox blocks or slows the enzyme involved in converting carbon dioxide. As a result it speeds up acclimatisation by stopping the blood from becoming too alkaline and smoothing out your breathing.

Diamox can cause reactions in some individuals so if you plan to take it, its wise to try it before your trip to see how your body reacts, the dosage your body tolerates and whether you experience side effects.

Increased urination (diuresis)

Numbness or tingling in hands, feet and face

Nausea

Finding carbonated taste flat

Since altitude has a diuretic effect anyway many guests prefer to avoid diamox, wishing to avoid further interruptions to sleep in order to urinate.

If you choose to take Diamox you must maintain high levels of fluid intake.

Should I Purchase my trekking Equipment or can I rent it in Tanzania?

Sleeping Bags, Portable Toilets, Emergency oxygen, Duffel Bag, Trekking poles, Head Torches, Rucksack, Gaitors, Sleeping Mattresses.

HAPE and HACE

High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) - These are serious complications, caused by the swelling of tissues in the lungs and brain respectively.

HAPE can occur anywhere above 2500m and HACE above 3000m. The risks therefore exist at any time from the first night onward, albeit more probable at higher altitudes and amongst those who ascend too quickly.

HAPE is caused by fluid from tiny blood vessels leaking into the lungs. Its affects 2% of those at altitude, usually impacting climbers who are already showing signs of AMS. Cold, exercise, and dehydration all increase the risk of HAPE. Gender also plays a part, with males being 5-6 times more likely to be affected than femailes, and children are more at risk than adults.

HAPE Sufferers generally look and feel ill.

  1. Has serious difficulty in breathing which may be “noisy or crackly”
  2. is very weak and cannot sustain exercise
  3. Has a rapid pulse and perhaps a fever
  4. may have blue looking lips, ears, and fingernail beds
  5. has a cough; if there is pink or frothy sputum, the case is serious

in HACE, swollen blood vessel in the brain can cause pressure to build up, causing some or all of the following: ataxia, dizziness, extreme fatique, vomiting, acute headaches, disorientation, hallucinations, loss of vision, numbness or personality change. All climbers which HACE are immediately evacuated.

Mild AMS is common on Mt Kilimanjaro, though your guide will monitor any symptoms you have and manage your condition daily to ensure you have a safe and successful trek.

Diamox

Diamox is used on the mountain by some climbers to minimise the effects of AMS. When you breathe fast or pant, as when exercising at altitude, you lost a lot of carbon dioxide, reducing the acidity of your blood. Diamox blocks or slows the enzyme involved in converting carbon dioxide. As a result it speeds up acclimatisation by stopping the blood from becoming too alkaline and smoothing out your breathing.

Diamox can cause reactions in some individuals so if you plan to take it, its wise to try it before your trip to see how your body reacts, the dosage your body tolerates and whether you experience side effects.

Increased urination (diuresis)

Numbness or tingling in hands, feet and face

Nausea

Finding carbonated taste flat

Since altitude has a diuretic effect anyway many guests prefer to avoid diamox, wishing to avoid further interruptions to sleep in order to urinate.

If you choose to take Diamox you must maintain high levels of fluid intake.

Do I need Travel Insurance

 All Climbers trekking Mt Kilimanjaro must have travel insurance. It is advisable to confirm with your insurance provider that the policy covers climbing to altitudes up to 6000m. TrekkingHQ uses Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue Service which requires travel insurance policy to cover altitude evacuation up to 6000m.

Entry Visas into Tanzania

 please check with your local embassy or consulate prior to travel to ensure you satisfy entry requirements into Tanzania for your specific Nationality.

Entry Visas into Tanzania

Please check with your local embassy or consulate prior to travel to ensure you satisfy entry requirements into Tanzania for your specific Nationality.

Do I need Travel Insurance

 All Climbers trekking Mt Kilimanjaro must have travel insurance. It is advisable to confirm with your insurance provider that the policy covers climbing to altitudes up to 6000m. TrekkingHQ uses Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue Service which requires travel insurance policy to cover altitude evacuation up to 6000m. The most popular Mt Kilimanjaro Travel Insurance provider is World Nomads. Most travellers coming to Tanzania use World Nomads as their preferred insurance provider.

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