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Kilimanjaro Travel Guide | Kilimanjaro Safari tours

Kilimanjaro Travel Guide | Kilimanjaro Safari tours

Kilimanjaro National Park covers an area of 760 sq km (293 sq miles). It was gazetted in 1977 to protect the mountain above the 2,700-metre (8,858ft) contour and includes the two main peaks: Kibo (5,895 metres/19,340ft) and Mawenzi (5,149 metres/16,893ft). Below this is a buffer zone of Forest Reserve to the 1,800-metre (5,905ft) contour.

The summit of Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889 by Dr Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller. Today, more than 25,000 people a year make a bid for Africa’s highest mountain. Increasing numbers have made a considerable environmental impact on the park’s trails. Efforts are being made to counteract the erosion, and the Marangu and Mweka routes have been upgraded.

The region forms part of the Northern Tourism Circuit in Tanzania. It is home to the Kilimanjaro National Park the highest free standing mountain in the world, the Mkomazi National Park, the Pare Mountains, Lake Jipe, Lake Chala, tropical forests and waterfalls(marangu waterfall). The region is bordered to the north and east by Kenya, to the south by the Tanga Region, to the southwest by the Manyara Region, and to the west by the Arusha Region.

Best Safari Tours from Kilimanjaro

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.

Tanzania’s northern safari circuit is the most celebrated safari area in Africa. Home to the world-famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, and the lesser known parks of Lake Manyara and Tarangire, the sheer concentration of Africa’s big game in this area is phenomenal.

Best Safari tours from Arusha
Best tours from Arusha
Tanzania flying in Safaris
Tanzania flying in Safaris
Most itineraries to this region are designed around the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, with the Serengeti’s Wildebeest Migration and immense predator concentrations as the main attraction, not to mention the Ngorongoro’s big five experience. The area is also home to a variety of different cultures including the Maasai and the Hadzabe, as well as being one of the most scenically striking and diverse parts of the continent.

Kilimanjaro Travel Guide

There are hundreds of companies who service the mountain, but only a handful can be considered reputable. Look for an established company with experienced and competent guides who practice high safety standards. Look for an operator that has proven expertise, successfully serving a wide range of clients spanning many years. Serengeti Trips Tanzania® has guided more than 500 clients to the summit since we began more than 15 years ago. We are the Kilimanjaro specialists. And we’re still going strong.

Do not select a company strictly based on price! Price should be only one component in your overall decision. Prices vary significantly between operators, however high prices and low prices should both be viewed with caution. Serengeti trips Tanzania® offers high quality climbs at reasonable rates. At our price levels, we can satisfy all park fees, pay real wages to staff, supply good food and equipment, while still providing great service to our clients, equal or better than climbs costing much more

The best months to climb Kilimanjaro tend to be the warmest and driest months – January, February, and September. June, July, August and October are also good months. However, temperatures and weather are unpredictable, and can change drastically based on the time of day and altitude. For most people, it’s best to avoid the long rainy season, from the end of March to early June, and the short rainy season, from November through the beginning of December.

Each route has different characteristics that may or may not appeal to you. Consider the difficulty, scenery and crowds when you select your route. Other factors that should be considered are your age, fitness level, medical conditions, backpacking and hiking experience, experience at high altitude, degree of motivation, and any other special considerations. Serengeti trips® recommends the Northern Circuit, Lemosho, Machame and Rongai routes. Which is best depends on your specific situation.

The more days that you spend on the mountain, the higher your chances of reaching the summit. Statistics show that each additional day you spend acclimatizing increases your probability of success. Therefore we strongly recommend that you do not book the minimum number of days. Odds are you will experience altitude sickness, won’t enjoy your hike, and won’t reach the top. Seven or more days is highly recommended for a safe and successful climb. Our 8 and 9 day routes are the most popular.

Mount Kilimanjaro does not experience wide temperature changes from season to season. Instead, the temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro are determined more so by the altitude and time of day. The trek from base to summit crosses several distinct climate zones, each with different temperatures, humidity, and precipitation levels. On the lower slopes, the average temperature is around 70-80F and decreases as you gain elevation. At the top, night time temperatures can range between 20 to -20F.

You are responsible for bringing personal gear and equipment while communal equipment (tents, food, cooking items, etc.) is provided. Our comprehensive gear list contains everything you need to tackle the mountain’s varied terrain and weather. It includes technical clothing such as a waterproof jacket, insulated jacket and base layers as well as equipment such as a backpack and sleeping bag. Note that you will only carry a small daypack with you while you hike between camps. The remainder of your gear is transported by our support crew. No need to carry heavy packs!

It is very hard to gauge the mental and physical strength needed to climb Kilimanjaro. If you’ve spoken to those who have successfully or unsuccessfully climbed it, you’d get a wide range of accounts. The truth is, like any other activity, some people excel at it and some people struggle. We recommend a minimum of two months of physical training – more if you are out of shape, less if you are already an avid hiker. The best exercise is doing day hikes for four to six hours, with moderate elevation changes (~1,500 ft), while carrying a 20 lb. pack. Endurance is key, so focus on long sessions at a slow pace. 

Serengeti Trips® has robust safety systems in place to minimize the dangers of high altitude trekking. Our guides are certified Wilderness First Responders. We perform health checks twice per day to monitor oxygen saturation levels and pulse rate. Additionally the Lake Louise Scoring System helps us determine whether climbers have altitude sickness and if so, its severity. Bottled oxygen is carried on every climb as a precaution and added safety measure. We can even initiate helicopter rescue if necessary. Your health and well being is our first priority and we take that responsibility very seriously.

There is a fair share of budget operators who offer cheap climbs. These poorly run companies use low prices as their only way to attract clients. There is simply no way for these operators to provide satisfactory services without skimping on necessary expenditures that affect the quality of your climb. For starters, they have low level guides (top guides don’t work for budget companies), questionable equipment, and serve nutrient deficient meals. Furthermore, they engage in appalling practices such as paying paltry wages, underfeeding staff, and forcing porters to carry loads greater than the weight limit.

Best time to Climb Kilimanjaro

One of the places in Kenya that will give you a brilliant view of the mountain is the Amboseli National Park. Amboseli is fairly flat and the observation hill gives you a 360 degree view of the park as far as your eyes can see.