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Best Kilimanjaro Packages

Best Kilimanjaro Packages

There are six approved routes for a Kilimanjaro climb , each offering different advantages and drawbacks. Regardless of which route you choose, you need not be a rock climber, superlatively fit, supremely well-equipped nor mentally indefatigable to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest and world’s highest freestanding mountain. Pensioners and children have completed the course whilst celebrities, athletes and billionaires have failed. 

Determination and positive thinking are no defense against the main cause of failure on a Kilimanjaro trip: climbing too high, too fast. If you are fit enough to enjoy a seven-day challenging walk and drink lots of liquid, you have an excellent chance of reaching Uhuru Peak. But 75% of all climbers will feel effects of altitude 3,000 meters above sea level. 

Best Kilimanjaro Packages

KILIMANJARO - 7 DAYS MACHAME ROUTE
KILIMANJARO - 7 DAYS LEMOSHO ROUTE
KILIMANJARO - 6 DAYS MARANGU ROUTE
KILIMANJARO - 8 DAYS LEMOSHO ROUTE
KILIMANJARO - 10 DAYS LEMOSHO ROUTE
KILIMANJARO NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE
Kilimanjaro rears to almost 6000 meters – just short of 105 meters. On a well-planned trek, 80% will summit. On a rushed one, less than 40% make the grade. The oft-repeated advice, “Pole, pole”, pronounced, “polay, polay”, is Kiswahili for “slowly, slowly”. Go unhurried and enjoy the novelty of the adventure and the wonderful scenery. Don’t waste a moment of this amazing top-of-the-world wilderness experience. Take your time, drink it in deeply and treasure your Tanzanian mountainous vacation achievement for a lifetime.

How to get to Kilimanjaro National Park

To get to Kilimanjaro you need to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). There are several direct flights from Europe (from Amsterdam and Zurich) and the Middle East (Doha and Turkey). But chances are you’ll need to fly via another African destination – Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Nairobi are your best bet.

A Mount Kilimanjaro hike will typically set off from one of two towns: Arusha, to the south west of the mountain, and Moshi, directly south. It takes around an hour to reach Moshi and 80 minutes to reach Arusha. 

The most common method of transportation is via taxi or prebooked shuttle – in many cases, however, your tour operator will meet you at the airport.

Tanzania National Parks on Map

Climate Zones of Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is made up of five major ecological climate zones. They are as follows; Cultivation Zone, Forest Zone, Heather-Moorland Zone, Alpine Desert Zone and Arctic Summit climate zones. 

Below we will look at each zone and what makes them unique. You will pass through all of these zones on your ascent of the tallest mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro National Park is home to a variety of different animals, birds and vegetation.

The five distinct climate zones on Kilimanjaro, from the tropical forest to the arctic tundra of the summit has been compared to walking from the equator to the North Pole.

Each climate zone has it’s own unique characteristics, both in terms of vegetation and animal life.

Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit

A northern Tanzania safari should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. The Serengeti National Park’s Great Migration is one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles in the world, whilst safari on the Ngorongoro Crater floor of the extinct volcano at Ngorongoro is a game viewing environment that has no equal. Towering above it all is Kilimanjaro, the worlds highest freestanding mountain and arguably Africa’s toughest challenge. Away from the tourist hotspots, quieter parks such as Tarangire National Park offers superb for game viewing yet often overlooked to their more famous neighbours. The Rift Valley Lakes of Eyasi and Natron are the home of Hadzabe tribes and the breeding grounds for the largest flocks of flamingo on earth. For many people, a Northern Tanzanian safari is the very best safari of all.

Things to do in Kilimanjaro National Park

Location: Just north of Moshi

Duration: 45 minutes of hiking each way

Difficulty: Medium (there are steep sections and you’ll get sweaty!)

Cost: $65 per person (includes English-speaking guide, packed lunch and bottled water)

Materuni Waterfall is a spectacular 90 m waterfall in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. A short but taxing hike along a forested footpath brings you to the base of the waterfall, where the water collects in a beautifully clear little pool that’s safe to swim.

Stream on Materuni Waterfall hike Tanzania

Our loyal client Lucy took this lovely pic on her hike to Materuni Waterfall

During the hike there and back you pass through coffee and banana farms, as well as traverse streams and small footbridges. Keep your eyes open for monkeys, duikers, birds and other small creatures. 

 
 

This is a perfect half-day outing, and we recommend picnicking at the waterfall. 

 
Hike to Materuni WAterfall Tanzania

The hike to Materuni Waterfall is a gorgeous 45-min walk through beautiful terrain

Location: Just north of Moshi

Duration: Around 2 hr

Cost: Varies, but often offered as a combo with a guided Materuni Waterfall hike – we’re happy to arrange either option for you

The lower slopes of Kilimanjaro are a fertile farming area thanks to meltwater from its arctic summit. The coffee farmers here are famous for their 100% arabica coffee, which has a fresh flavour and smooth texture. Tours of the coffee farms are a popular post-Kilimanjaro activity – understandably, as having an expertly brewed cappuccino or americano after a week of roughing it on the mountain is just perfection! 

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Inspecting the coffee beans on a farm on the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro

What a tour involves

A coffee farm tour includes being shown around the farm to learn how the coffee is grown and harvested. Actually harvesting of the beans take place between July and September. If you’re there between October and November, you’ll get to see the coffee bushes in bloom, with the flowers giving off a jasmine-like fragrance. Next, you’re shown the roasting and grinding process. Often, you can take part in the process so that you can enjoy a freshly brewed coffee near the end using the beans you processed! 

Coffee tasting Kilimanjaro region Tanzania

Lucy took this pic of her group on a coffee tour

Meet the Chagga

At some farms employees accompany the coffee roasting process with traditional singing and dancing. It’s a wonderful experience to be exposed to the traditions of the Chagga people, a distinct and thriving people group who have lived for centuries along the southern and eastern slopes of Kilimanjaro, among other areas. 

Support the local coffee industry

These farm tours help to support the Kilimanjaro coffee industry, with most of the farms being smallholdings. If you don’t have time to visit one, we highly recommend at least picking up a bag of arabica beans as the perfect souvenir of your visit to the Kilimanjaro region. 🙂

 
 

The Kilimanjaro coffee farm tours help to support the local farmers – and always end with tasty, freshly brewed arabica coffee being served!

Location: Chemka Hot Springs Campsite, 1 hr drive southwest of Moshi

Duration: Full day

Cost: $95 per person (includes private guide, entrance fee, packed lunch and bottled water)

Swimming in the Kikuletwa Hot Spring is definitely one of the best things to do in Kilimanjaro region – and certainly the most relaxing! The hot spring (also known as Chemka Hot Springs for the nearby campsite) is encircled by trees, giving you a sense of being tucked away from the world and its demands. 

Kikuletwa_hot_spring_Tanzania_Kilimanjaro_region-1024x768.jpg

Kikuletwa Hot Spring is the perfect relaxing activity after climbing Mt Kilimanjaro! | Image by BrixL

A relaxing oasis

The hot springs is the perfect post-Kilimanjaro activity, in our opinion. All that’s required of you is to slide your weary body into the warm water and …. nothing else. 😉 You can chat with your friends and neighbours, enjoy the birdlife hopping about in the fig trees around you, and let the fingerlings (small fish) nibble the dead skin off of your feet. When you feel revitalised, swing out on the tree rope and see how many expressive shapes you can make with your body as you drop into the water!

There are also food stalls at the hot spring selling delicious hot meals and snacks, so really you can just rock up and stay as long as you want.

 
 

The perfect day outing starts with walking to Materuni Waterfall, then going on a coffee plantation tour, and finally relaxing in Kikuletwa Hot Spring!

 
Kikuletwa hot spring tanzania

Swing out over the waters of the spring? Yes please!!

Duration: Half a day

Cost: Around $30 per person for an English-speaking guide

Moshi, the capital of Kilimanjaro region, is a 40 km drive from Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO). As the gateway to Kilimanjaro National Park, it’s a natural stopover destination for climbers. We always advise our guests to arrive at least a day before the start of their Kilimanjaro climb. This way, if there’s an unforeseen delay like a late flight, your climbing schedule isn’t jeopardised. 

If you do find yourself with some time to kill in Moshi, either before or after your climb, we definitely suggest exploring this pretty little city and its many gems. Even if it’s just finding your way to a coffee shop or restaurant so you can drop into a chair and gaze with heroic eyes at the mountain you just conquered.

Moshi Tanzania

Aerial view of Moshi showing how green and pretty it is

Coffee shops and restaurants 

Moshi has some fantastic eateries catering to the tastes of both its local and international customers. While popping into an unknown eatery that you spot and like the look of can lead to a great find, not everyone likes to leave things to chance. If that’s you, we recommend the following establishments as having great settings and ambience and offering the best service, food and drinks: 

  • The Coffee Shop on Hill Street is arguably the best café in Moshi. It serves (most importantly) the region’s famous arabica coffee, as well as various other hot and cold drinks, and lots of tasty snacks, including local favourites. 
  • Aroma Coffee House on Boma Road is a stylishly decorated refuge that serves tasty meals and snacks, including vegetarian options. 
  • Honey Badger Lodge in Sranga, 6 km east of Moshi, is a very popular restaurant and outdoor bar that serves Tanzanian cuisine as well as stone-baked pizzas. 
  • Indoitaliano Restaurant on New Street is a fantastic evening option (though latecomers might not get a seat). Sit on the verandah, which is rimmed by leafy pot plants, and choose between Indian or Italian cuisine! 
Moshi and Kilimanjaro

Moshi and Kilimanjaro

Local crafts and produce

If you’re looking to take home some local art, jewellery, crafts, coffee beans or other souvenirs, you’ll find options all over Moshi. There are so many that are worth a visit, it’s hard to pick just a few to recommend! But here are some of the establishments that we think you’ll appreciate:

  • The Central Market (open seven days a week) is the busiest and most interesting of Moshi’s various offerings. We recommend taking a leisurely explore through the warren of alleyways. You’ll find locally produced gems like spices, coffee beans and teas sold alongside cheap Chinese imports. This is the working heart of Moshi. Traditional herbalists can also been seen selling their wares. 
  • Our Heritage crafts shop inside of The Coffee Shop on Hill Street which sells, among other things, coffee beans, teas, cheeses, jams and honeys. Much of the produce is produced locally and supports various community initiatives. 
  • Shah Industries on Karakana Street is a crafts workshop in an old flour mill that sells highly creative leatherwork pieces and other artworks. Many of the employees have disabilities and the workshop provides them an income.  
  • Mama Africa Gift Shop in Selous Street is a fantastic and colourful little shop offering a variety of locally made handicrafts and artworks, including dresses, paintings, Khanga and Kitenge materials, carvings, bags and jewellery. It supports several wonderful initiatives, such as Jiendeleze Women Group, Tumaini for Africa and Tuleeni Orphanage.
 
 

Moshi is best explored on foot, powered by some of the fantastic local arabica coffee!

Location: 10 km northeast of Moshi

Duration: 7 hr for the hike, 6-9 hr for the mountain bike trip

Cost: Around $60 for hiking tour and $90 for riding tour (bikes provided) – add extra for transport

Fancy mountain biking or hiking in pristine forest near the base of Mt Kilimanjaro? Rau Eco & Cultural Tourism is a community-based youth tourism enterprise that always impresses visitors. They offer well-organised mountain biking and hiking day trips through the underground water forest of Rau. 

Mountain bike Rua Forest Tanzania

Mountain biking in Rau Forest lets you see lots of this beautiful reserve

Highlights

Highlights of both the biking and walking tour include:

  • Exploring the rice paddies and learning about the daily life of rice farmers
  • Passing through local villages like Mnono and Mabogini village (naturally you wander further on the bike trip than on the hiking trip)
  • Seeing black and white colobus monkeys and blue monkeys up close
  • Visit an African teak tree believed to be 196 years old that’s a sacred site of prayer among locals
  • Witnessing the many different water birds that love this catchment forest 
  • Tasting local banana beer
  • Enjoying a delicious cooked lunch (a vegetarian option is available)
  • Planting a seedling as part of the enterprise’s “one trip – one tree” initiative
lilac-breasted-roller-Tanzania2-1024x761.jpg

The lilac-breasted roller is a native of northern Tanzania

This is a wonderful opportunity for those wishing to support the local community and explore a lesser-visited part of the Kilimanjaro region. 

 
 

The “one trip – one tree” initiative means you’ll leave Tanzania knowing your tree is growing and helping to fight climate change.

Mt Meru 4,566 m (14,980 ft) is a beautiful volcanic mountain on the western edge of Arusha National Park, just north of the city of Arusha. It’s the second highest mountain in Tanzania, and the fifth highest in Africa. It was once taller than Kilimanjaro, but an eruption blew off its top. 

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The peak of Mt Meru is in the back corner and its 3.5 km-wide caldera in the foreground

The ideal Mt Meru trekker

The now dormant volcano is a popular three- or four-day trek. It’s a great option for anyone who:

  • only has a few days or wants a more affordable climb
  • is not (as yet) strong enough to climb Kilimanjaro
  • is keen to trek a quieter mountain
  • wants a challenging mountain climb without such a high risk of altitude sickness
  • wants to tackle an acclimatisation hike that prepares them for Kilimanjaro
Mount Meru in Tanzania

The barren peak of Mt Meru

While Mt Meru isn’t as tough or long as Kilimanjaro, it’s still a challenging trek, so don’t think you’ll breeze on up to the summit!! But it’s a very rewarding climb. For starters, the scenery is exceptional, and include a great view of Kilimanjaro 70 km to the east! The wildlife is also arguably better than on Kilimanjaro, and is easier to spot. You can hope to spy animals like buffaloes, giraffes, warthogs, bushbuck, duikers, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and tawny eagles. 

So could Mt Meru be a good trek for you? Here’s what you need to know …

Trek itinerary

Mt Meru can be climbed over three or four days. The first two days are for climbing up, with the third day serving as summit day. Some hike back down the same day, while others spend another night on the mountain for a more relaxed descent. Note that trekkers stay over in mountain huts, so this isn’t a camping climb. 

Forest Mt Meru

The lower slopes of Mt Meru are lush and covered in dense forest | Image by Y. Lerner

Climate and vegetation

The climate and vegetation zones of Meru are similar to those of nearby Kilimanjaro: you have dense forest, followed by meadows, then giant lobelias and giant groundsels, and finally montane desert. Only the top zone of Kilimanjaro – which is an arctic world of ice fields and glaciers – is missing on Meru.

 
 

Mt Meru is an excellent acclimatisation hike for those wanting to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

MATERUNI WATERFALLS IN KILIMANNJARO.

Where to Stay in Kilimanjaro

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want accommodation with a great location, good-quality services and excellent value-for-money. I’ve travelled to Tanzania several times over the years and my top five Kilimanjaro hotels are: 

  1. – The Pink Flamingo
  2. – Kaliwa Lodge
  3. – Shimbwe Meadows Guest House
  4. – Kilimanjaro Mad Monkey’s Hotel
  5. – Rafiki Backpackers & Guest House

Best time to go to Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro sits in Kilimanjaro National Park. It’s 300km south of the equator – and Tanzania is iconically tropical, with wet seasons and and dry season variations laid over a hot muggy climate. So when is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro? Let’s take a look at the seasons and Kilimanjaro climbing season.

Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons: a short one in November to mid-December and the long rainy season from March to May. The routes on Mount Kilimanjaro can be wet and muddy underfoot during these seasons. If you care less about monsoonal weather and more about solitude, then you may prefer these times to climb as there are far fewer people. Although expect to get very damp.

Kilimanjaro Climb Rongai Route

Best Kilimanjaro Packages - Tours FAQ's

Tanzania has three major international airports:

  1. – Dar es Salaam (DAR)
  2. – Zanzibar (ZNZ)
  3. – Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO)
  4.  

The latter is the most convenient for Kilimanjaro, sitting only 42 km away from the mountain town of Moshi and 50 km from Arusha.

In addition to flights to Tanzania, you may consider flights to Nairobi in Kenya, which is only a five-hour shuttle bus ride to Arusha or a one-hour plane ride to JRO. Note, however, that by choosing to fly to Kenya you may need a multiple-entry Kenya visa (if you’re flying out of Kenya, too, for example, and spend longer than a fortnight in Tanzania), which can cost as much as $122. This would reduce or even eliminate any saving you may have made in airfares.

In deciding which flights to book, you should take the full trip into consideration. For example, if you’d like to spend a couple of days in Zanzibar after the climb, it might be best to book one-way tickets from your home to Kilimanjaro Airport for the climb, from there to Zanzibar after the climb, and then from Zanzibar back home.

Pineapple and beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Many folks like to head on safari or to Zanzibar as a reward after the rigours of Kilimanjaro

We recommend arriving one day early (what we refer to as “arrival day”). This will give you time to relax, meet your fellow trekkers, and get a proper briefing before the climb starts. More importantly, if there’s any delay to your flight or your luggage goes AWOL, there’s enough wiggle room so that this delay doesn’t derail your climb. Seriously – this extra day really is a good idea, especially with post-pandemic airlines being in a little bit of a pickle right now.

All that said, we understand that travelling to Kilimanjaro can be a challenge. So we’ll accommodate your arrival time as best we can (for example, if you only arrive late at night the day before the climb starts, we’ll still be there to collect you!).

All smiles on the way to the Kilimanjaro summit

Every campsite has a sign with some altitude figures

Yes, most foreigners need a Tanzanian visa to visit the country. US, Canadian, British and most European citizens can simply obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport. The cost is $100 for US passport holders and $50 for others. US citizens do get a longer visa, however.

If you’re a citizen of a different country, please check with your embassy if you can obtain a visa upon arrival – of if you even need one. Certain African nationals, for instance, can enter Tanzania without a visa.

Please also note that you need a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your departure date.

What vaccinations do I need?

There are no specific vaccine requirements for entry into Tanzania. However, be aware that the Government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are travelling from a country with risk of yellow fever.

While it’s not mandatory by any means, we suggest you talk to your doctor about getting the following vaccinations (which are standard in developed countries): Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, yellow fever, tetanus, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and meningococcal meningitis (Africa and Asia).

Please check the Fit For Travel website for more up-to-date information.

There are seven different Kilimanjaro routes up the mountain. We recommend the eight-day Lemosho, seven-day Machame and nine-day Northern Circuit routes. These routes offer the best balance of a high success rate and beautiful scenery.

Lucy group Kilimanjaro 7-day Lemosho route

A group of Follow Alice climbers on the Lemosho route

Kilimanjaro requires no technical climbing experience nor climbing equipment. This makes it the most accessible of the Seven Summits in many ways.

Any decently fit person can summit the mountain. That said, for most people, it will be one of the most difficult things they ever do in their lives! As we discuss in Kilimanjaro vs Everest Base Camp, it’s even harder in our opinion than trekking to Everest Base Camp!

Kilimanjaro is climbable all year round. Yippee!

The best months to clim, however, are July to October and December to February, as these are the warmest and driest months respectively.

July, August and September tend to be the busiest months on the mountain.

Another factor to take into consideration is the full moon. Summiting Kilimanjaro on a cloudless evening with the moon as your guide instead of headlamp is without a doubt an unforgettable experience. Also imagine seeing the glaciers glitter in the moonlight – absolutely stunning! Learn more in our post Kilimanjaro full moon climbs.

You can also summit the mountain to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Why not join us on a New Year’s Eve climb, a unique once-in-a-lifetime adventure?

You will pass through varied terrain

The moorland section has some really unusual and striking vegetation

You’ll be provided with locally sourced, healthy and nutritious meals cooked fresh every day by your cook and his assistant.

Our menus have been carefully designed to ensure the food is delicious, easy to digest, and provides plenty of energy. Expect fresh veg, fruits, meat, nuts and snacks along the way, as well as clean water throughout.

The primary carbohydrates of the meals are rice, potatoes and pasta, as well as some meat. Fresh fruit and vegetables accompany every meal. Most meals will also have a selection of hot drinks like instant coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

You may want to bring some supplementary comfort foods, such as candy, gum, chocolate, health bars and powdered energy drinks.

CAMPING IN KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK.