Things You Need to Know Before Climbing Kilimanjaro
Interested in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro? Wondering what it is like to be on Africa’s highest peak? Here are important things you need to know before booking your expedition.
- Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb. It’s a hike.
Mount Kilimanjaro does not require any technical skills. It is what is known as a “walk up or pole pole” mountain because, well, you just walk up it. There is no need for mountaineering equipment like harnesses, ice axes or ropes because there is no danger of falling off a cliff or into a crevasse.
- Africa may be warm, but the mountain is cold.
Just because Kilimanjaro is located close to the equator does not mean it is scorching hot. It’s not. Almost immediately, as soon as you gain elevation, the temperature drops. That means everyone needs to have clothing that is designed to keep them warm in cold weather.
- A support team handles all the heavy lifting
Kilimanjaro expeditions are fully supported, meaning that a team of guides, cooks and porters accompany climbers on the trek to do all the work. The porters set up the tents, take down the tents, cook the food, fetch the water, and clean the campsite. Clients do not have to use their precious energy doing any labor and instead can focus on acclimatizing to the altitude and enjoying the hike.
- You will eat well on the mountain.
The meals on Mount Kilimanjaro are made with fresh ingredients. Our clients eat real meals consisting of fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and grains, as well as an assortment of snacks.
The chef and his helpers prepare your meals in a kitchen tent (open fires are no permitted on the mountain. We can cater to vegetarian and vegan diets.
Baraka Trails crews carry enough food for every client and every staff person to last several days and have more rations brought into camp once or twice during the trek so the food is always fresh and plentiful. Our clients often say they eat better on the mountain than they do at home. We believe them.
- Acute Mountain Sickness is dangerous.
The air is thinner at high altitude. This is the cause of a common illness experienced by climbers known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). AMS is the primary reason that people fail to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. And while mild forms of AMS are expected while climbing Kilimanjaro, severe forms of AMS are potentially fatal.
Our team conducts health checks twice daily to monitor the well being of our clients. The health checks consist of oxygen saturation readings, a review of pulse rates, and a survey of symptoms. The data is recorded to evaluate changes over time. If the guides determine that it is too risky to continue, you will be escorted down the mountain for your safety. We carry bottled oxygen and a portable stretcher on every climb, and can coordinate an evacuation on foot or by helicopter in case of a medical emergency.
- It’s going to cost some money.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is not cheap. In fact, most of the expenses incurred by Kilimanjaro operators are made up of mandatory park fees. At this time, the park permits, other fees plus government taxes equal more than $120 per person per night. When you see considerable prices for Kilimanjaro climbs, understand that these numbers are a function of these costs that the operator has no control over.
Secondly, as we mentioned above (climbs are fully supported), there is a lot of manpower involved in every Kilimanjaro expedition. For instance, a group climb of 2 people requires a crew of 10 staff members. Therefore, labor costs make up another large portion of total expenses.
Climbing the mountain day in and day out is a tough job. At Baraka Trails, we reward our crew by paying them one of the highest wages on the mountain (only behind western operators who charge double our prices). Our staffs consist of a great bunch of people trying to make an honest living and they deserve it.
As the #1 mid range guide service and local operator on Mount Kilimanjaro, our group climbs are competitively priced. There are budget operators who charge less but climbing with them comes with its risks. There are also luxury operators who charge much more, which we feel is unnecessary. We are positioned where we can deliver great service, with a high standard of safety, at a fair price. This is why our clients rave about our operation and refer their friends and family to us for their own Kilimanjaro adventures.