Jet lag is serious business. We recommend building in an extra day at the start of your trek to give your body and mind the chance to adjust to the new time zone (in June, Tanzania is 7 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone in North America ). If it’s not possible to arrive early, rest assured! You would not be the first to bumble through a day or two of adjustments.
Tanzania is hot in June, but the top of Kilimanjaro will be cool (or cold, depending on what temperatures you are used to in your everyday life!) We will be climbing through every type of climate from hot savannahs to Arctic-like glacier environments, so layers rule the day! Think of “sea and ski” and you’ll have an idea of what you’ll need.
Tanzania is generally safe to visit, though there is the risk of violence from gangs, crime, and terrorists, as is the case in many places in Africa. Please check your country’s travel advisories for more information (you can view Canada’s Travel Advisories for Tanzania here).
Once you get onto Mt. Kilimanjaro, the threat of this level of violence drops dramatically. However, there are risks inherent to climbing and trekking, and people do get injured on this mountain. But as mountain climbing goes, Kilimanjaro is challenging but not particularly difficult from a technical mountaineering perspective.
There is little threat from wildlife on Kilimanjaro. Snakes exist on the mountain but are rarely seen. Lions, water buffalo, hippos, and other sometimes-dangerous animals are rare-to-non-existent at the base of the mountain and non-existent as you begin to climb. Mosquitos (and the Malaria they can carry) are the biggest risk at lower elevations.
The official currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. You can exchange at most major banks in the country. Also, you can use your credit card (Visa or Mastercard) to withdraw money from ATMs. Many find this to be the most convenient way to get Tanzanian shillings.
However, US dollars are required for many things such as park entry and visas. (Your park entry is included with this trip, so this is more for your FYI if you plan to spend extra time in Tanzania and visit other parks including the Serengeti.)
US dollars are also accepted in most tourist areas. It is highly recommended that you bring travellers’ cheques in US dollars and a small amount of US cash.
Yes and no. But this is a good thing! We’ve heard that it is possible to get cell service on Mt. Kilimanjaro, but I will be trekking with the idea that it is non-existent. In the summer of 2022, the Tanzanian government announced that it was installing WiFi on Kilimanjaro, to be completed by the end of that year. Here too, I’ll be expecting not to find WiFi — and be ecstatic if we do! I’ll be using the WhatsApp as my primary method of communication on those occasions we do have cell or WiFi service.
Cell service are available in the main cities in Tanzania and along major roadways though again cell service should not be expected.
There is no access to electricity on Mt. Kilimanjaro, so it is highly recommended that you do not rely on anything (phone, camera, ereaders) that needs power to charge. You may consider items such as power banks and solar chargers, though these will add to your weight and have varying reliability. We can talk about this during our chat though you may want to poke around and do your own research as well!
Electricity will be available in all hotels, though you will need an adapter and/or converter for 230V, 50Hz.
Porters will carry your expedition pack up to 30lbs, so you will only need to carry a daypack. This should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight AT MOST. Bear in mind that every litre of water weighs 2.2lbs, and you will be carrying a minimum of 3Ls/water at a time. You are welcome to bring your favourite snacks with you, and don’t forget sunscreen, your rain gear and any photography equipment you wish to carry.
This is a real trek and we’ll be camping all the way up Kilimanjaro, so there will be several days when we do not have access to a shower. However, the guides provide us warm water for washing up in the evenings. Sponge baths all the way until we return to our hotel at the bottom!
Tanzania is considered to be “high risk” for Malaria. However, you can take anti-malarials to reduce the risk. Other measures including bug spray and mosquito nets can help reduce the risk. The plus side of malaria being common in Africa is that people there know how to treat it.
Passengers arriving in Tanzania should be prepared to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. As of this writing, travellers entering Tanzania by land must provide proof of vaccination/negative PCR test or take at test at the border. Those entering by air are as of this writing exempt (though this can change so please check the lastest info).
It is highly recommended that you get vaccinated for diseases common in Africa including Yellow Fever and Hepatitis A and B. Full Canadian vaccination recommendations are here (check your own country’s travel advisories for your government’s recommendations).
Further, Tanzania is considered to be “high risk” for malaria, so you should consider taking anti-malarials. Many require you start weeks before travel to Tanzania, so don’t leave to the last minute!
Visitors from all countries require a passport and citizens from most countries including Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom (with some exceptions including Isle of Man and Guernsey) need an Ordinary Visa/Single-Entry Visa ($50 USD as of this writing – confirm price through link) to enter Tanzania. These visas can normally be purchased online. However, the Goverment of Tanzania recommends that you purchase directly from official websites — there are many visa services online that are not officially recognized by the Tanzanian government. Other documentation may be required including proof of a return flight. Find more information including official Visa Guidelines here.
Camp cooks prepare fresh meals every day including local and international dishes. Porters carry all food and cooking supplies, and there is always good food on hand. However, as great as the meals will be, climbing Kilimanjaro is not a 5-star restaurant experience! We are on a trek, so meals will be delicious but relatively basic providing us with healthy sustanace designed for climbing mountains.
It is recommended you do not drink the tap water in Tanzania. Bottled water (both before and after the trek) is at your own expense, however, during the Kilimanjaro trek you will be provided with drinking water. This water is collected from fresh mountain streams and then purified with tablets by your guides who will replenish your empty bottles/thermos flasks on a daily basis. For peace of mind, you are welcome to add your own chlorine or iodine tablets instead, if you are uncomfortable drinking the water provided.
English will be the primary language spoken during our trek up Kilimanjaro. However, I’m fluent in French and German. English is spoken by most people you will encounter in Tanzania, along with Swahili (Kiswahili). It will be helpful to pick up some basic Swahili words, but you’ll be able to get by with just English, especially considering that this will be a guided tour.
Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is considered “Challenging” for the average person. However, as mountain climbing the world’s tallest mountains goes, it is one of the easier mountains to climb. There is no question that some level of cardiovascular fitness will enhance your comfort during the G’WA experience. Prior trekking experience is unnecessary, but I always recommend that you get into reasonable shape for any type of trek. Altitude sickness is also a concern. Although you can’t train for this necessarily (short of climbing other mountains), you will be able to handle the symptoms more easily if you are in better shape. You can always Contact Me with any questions you have.
Evacuation from the Kilimanjaro is a possibility you should consider. Broken legs, bee stings, you name it — sometimes life will throw you a curveball! We do not take risks lightly, which is why all participants are required to carry Emergency Travel Insurance. We can assist you to ensure you purchase appropriate and reliable protection, just in case. This is Sam’s area of expertise, and while we don’t anticipate any issues, insurance is a hard requirement.
You can have your own tent on our hike up Kilimanjaro with the Single Supplement of $149 CAD.