Nafika Tours Frequently Asked Questions

Lemosho is considered the most beautiful route on Kilimanjaro and grants panoramic vistas on various sides of the mountain. It is the most favorite route because it offers a great balance of low traffic, scenic views and a high summit success rate. Thus, the Lemosho comes highly recommended and is one of our client’s favorites.

Yes, you can!! Climbing Kilimanjaro does not require any technical skills or special equipment, just some physical fitness and determination, people from all walks of life are able to achieve a successful summited. Individuals from 7 to 89 years old have made it to the top. But the challenge should not be taken lightly. You do need to understand what lies ahead. Rest assured, you will find the answers to all you question here at Nafika tours.

Altitude sickness, also called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is an illness caused by exposure to the low air pressure; especially low partial pressure of oxygen, which many climbers experience at high altitudes.

There are a number of practical steps that you can take to minimize the chances of having to abandon your climb of Kilimanjaro due to the effects of altitude sickness:

ACCLIMATIZE PRIOR TO THE CLIMB.

This is easier said than done if you live at sea level but if you are able to spend time at high altitude prior to the actual Kilimanjaro climb then this is the very best way to avoid altitude sickness.

 Start the climb in the best possible health and with an excellent level of physical fitness is imperative. If you are fatigued, unwell or stressed you are more likely to suffer from altitude seconds. If you want some recommendations on how to prepare your body for the climb feel free to reach out to Nafika Tours and we will be happily to help you.

SLOW AND STEADY.

You need to keep your respiration rate low during the climb you should be able to maintain a normal conversation. If you are panting or breathing hard, you must slow down. Overworking your heart and lungs substantially increases your chance of becoming ill.

ASCEND SLOWLY. Your guides will tell you “polepole polepole (slowly slowly) throughout your climb. Because it takes time to acclimatize, your ascension should be slow. You will make slow and steady progress each day to allow for a successful summit, what we want you to achieve.

CLIMB HGH SLEEP LOW. Climbing to higher altitude during the day and then sleeping lower allows for a better acclimatization. Most routes comply with this principle and additional acclimatization hikes can be incorporated into your itinerary.

DRINK MUCH WATER AS YOU CAN.

Getting up in the middle of the cold night may be an unpleasant thought but altitude dehydrates you and the better you hydrate the quicker your body is able to acclimatize.

Even though you may not feel like it, you should eat as much as you possibly can at every meal. This will give you plenty of energy and help you to feel great. I find it also helps me to keep warm and sleep well at night, maybe with an extra layer of clothing.

SLEEP WELL.

Sleeping well in a tent is an acquired skill. Spend a few nights out in a tent with a sleeping bag prior to your climb so that you are prepared for the routine, and that your body is accustomed to sleeping in a sleeping bag on a hard surface.

DIAMOX:

Diamox is the prescription name for the generic drug acetazolamide. And, though acetazolamide is prescribed for the medical treatment of glaucoma, sleep apnea, epilepsy and hypertension, it’s also used to prevent altitude sickness. You should consult with your doctor before taking it and let your Nafika representatives know if you are planning on taking it during your climb.

RELAX.

Relax and think positive. Although not pleasant, the vast majority of people suffer only mild altitude sickness. Do not think that every headache is cerebral edema and that every cough pulmonary edema as this is very unlikely. By relaxing and enjoying the climb you are far more likely to have a trouble-free experience.

DAILY HEALTHY CHECKS

Our Nafika tours guides are all experienced in identifying altitude sickness and dealing with the problems it causes with climbers. They are continuously watching you and speaking with you throughout the climb. Twice daily, in the morning and evening, our guides will contact health checks.

We are safety focused!!!

Your health is our first priority!!!

Our knowledgeable and experienced guides have collectively mounted Kilimanjaro well over a thousand times. They are regularly trained in latest guiding techniques, first aid, English language, zoological and geological topics, customer relations, and environmental conservation. They are fully licensed by the National Park authorities and most importantly they really love their job.

You will be amazed at the variety, quality & quantity of the food we serve you whilst you are on your Mount Kilimanjaro climb. As you are trekking for between 6-9 hours a day (before summit night) you will be burning a lot of calories – and as you are at a higher altitude – you are burning even more than at sea level.

Ensuring that you are well fed – and fully fueled for climbing Kilimanjaro is paramount – allowing you to have enough energy to get you to the top. On all of our Kilimanjaro climbs you will be fully supported by a team of profession  chefs whom will cater for every dietary requirement and who will provide you with 3 hot cooked meals a day – plus plenty of water and hot drinks.

Every day you will be served different meals whilst on the mountain.

Snacks at camp – on arrival into camp there will be salty snacks & biscuits (we do recommend bringing some of your favorites from home though)

At each stop, there will be purified water, hot water for teas, coffee & hot chocolate!

DIETRY REQUIREMENT:

Remember to inform us if you have any special dietary requirements – Our Nafika tours chefs are also able to accommodate almost any dietary restrictions; vegan, vegetarian, gluten and lactose intolerant and those with restrictions due to their religious beliefs.

Just let us know in advance of any dietary restrictions that you may have.

If you have any questions or concerns about the food whilst on the climb, feel free to speak to our team and we can give you more information!

STAYING HYDRATED

Keeping hydrated is crucial in the Kilimanjaro acclimatizing process – and you will get dehydrated easily, not just from the walking each day but by breathing in the air at higher altitudes. We ensure that there is always a plentiful supply of treated and filtered water in the camp each morning/ night and water will also be provided at lunch also. Depending on your physiology you will need to take in between 3-4 liters of water each day. If you are not used to drinking this amount of water, many people find that adding electrolytes or flavoured cordial helps to keep the taste buds excited. There will also be hot drinking water at the camp eat morning/ evening as well as the lunch stop with a selection of teas, coffee and hot chocolate.

The best times to climb regarding to the weather (avoiding rain) is from January to early March, and June to mid-October. There’s a long, dry winter and a green season with two rainy periods at each end. December, January, February and March are the warmest months, with clear mornings and evenings, and clouds during the day that occlude the summit in the early afternoon hours.

Kilimanjaro is often described as “easily accessible” because of the nice trails, the assistance of porters and guides, and that technical mountaineering skills are not required, but do not underestimate this mountain. A climber’s biggest problem may be the effects of high altitude, which seem to be unrelated to fitness, age, or gender. General fitness is necessary. Prior to your visit, physical training should emphasize leg muscles. Include some aerobics and practice hiking with a light day pack. The fitter you are, the easier the climb will be for you. Determination is another important factor.

Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit, but not at the expense of their overall experience. Certificates are given for reaching the crater rim and gold certificates are given to those who reach Uhuru Point. Guides do everything they can to ensure your success, but if someone decides they cannot continue or a guide deems it unsafe for them to continue, they are escorted to the most convenient campsite or hut. Our Nafika tours guides intimately know the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and are trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstance.

Some climbers may fall short of reaching the summit, but not at the expense of their overall experience. Certificates are given for reaching the crater rim and gold certificates are given to those who reach Uhuru Point. Guides do everything they can to ensure your success, but if someone decides they cannot continue or a guide deems it unsafe for them to continue, they are escorted to the most convenient campsite or hut. Our Nafika tours guides intimately know the network of shortcuts to escort climbers to safety, and are trained to act quickly and calmly under any circumstance.

Your day pack will sustain you until you reach camp at the end of the day such as water, snacks, first aid, camera, gloves, and clothing layers. Porters carry your backpack/duffel from campsite to campsite and will be there before you arrive. Each porter’s load is limited to 35 lbs. (15kg) so weight is distributed among them.

On the Marangu Route there are simple huts which sleep four, with the last hut being a dormitory style hit with bunk beds. On other routes, you sleep in dome-style mountain tents, two people in each. They are modern with flysheets and large vestibules. Porters set up, take down, and carry them to each camp each day. A toilet tent is set up at every campsite and hot water is provided for each person every morning if possible (no showers). Meals are served in dining tents with chairs and tables. Before meals, waiter provide soap and hot water for washing your hands.

37 miles

The Machame Route is approximately 62 km/ 37 miles from gate to gate. It is designed for physically fit people with some hiking experience, but plenty of first time trekker use the route as well and do just fine. Machame Route is the mostly popular route on Mountain Kilimanjaro.

Around 21 to 27 °C

The temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro are determined more by the altitude and time of day than the year. At the base of the mountain, the average temperature is around 21 to 27 °C and at the summit, Uhuru Peak, the night time temperatures can range between -7 to -29 °C (20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit). On Summit Night expect a long day starting at midnight and then continuing all the way back down to High Camp by about 4 pm in the afternoon. The route up will be in the darkness and a headlight is required it will also be cold and often windy. Do prepare with good warm clothing and also remember to protect your extremities and face.

During your climb of Kilimanjaro ‘bed tea’ is generally at about 6.30 – 7.00am, breakfast is between 7.30am and 8.00am, and departure from camp is at 8.30am latest. There is a snack lunch at midday, tea and biscuits around 4 pm and dinner at 7 pm. Summit morning is different; tea and biscuits at 11.30pm and start hiking at midnight or just after.

Most daily hikes take from 4 – 7 hours. The pace is slow and not forced at all. There is a rest at least once every hour and plenty of time to take photos, enjoy the view and chat. When you arrive at the campsite you will find the tents erected and your bags will be waiting inside. In the morning, you will pack your bags ready for a speedy departure after breakfast.

SUMMIT DAY:

Expect a long day starting at midnight before continuing all the way back down to High Camp by about 4 pm in the afternoon. The route up will be in the darkness so a headlight is required and it will be cold and often windy. Do prepare with good warm clothing and also remember to protect your extremities and face. From Barafu Camp to the Crater Rim it will take about 6 to 8 hours, and you will arrive as the sun rises which is very special. From the rim (Stella Point) it is a further hour to the top, so expect summit time to be between 7 am and 9 am. With an hour on top for photos, enjoying the exceptional view, and feeling absolutely elated, the route down is dusty, loose and quite a strain on the knees. Take it easy and stay with one of the guides; they will split up to cover all the mini groups that naturally form for the descent.

When you get back to Barafu pack your bags ready for the porters to take down (you should prepare this the night before), take a rest, eat lunch and then we will descent down to High Camp which is a further two hours to the edge of the forest. Some people question this, but it is necessary to get lower because Barafu is still at 4600 metres and your body will thank you for losing altitude. It may be the last thing you want to do after having summited Kilimanjaro, but it is necessary.

There are main six Mount Kilimanjaro climbing routes. These routes vary not only in length, cost and scenery; they also have different difficulty levels and different success rates. Selecting a Kilimanjaro climb route is one of the most important decisions you have to make. There is no single best Mt. Kilimanjaro climb route. The route that is best for you depends on several factors. The time and money you have available, previous experience and fitness, the time of the year and your personal preference.

HERE BELOW ARE DIFFERENT KILIMANJARO ROUTES PROS AND CONS

MARANGU ROUTE:

This route is also known as the “CocaCola” route.

The only Kilimanjaro climb route that offers hut accommodation

The route is popular for its comfort while undertaking this classic trek.

Regarded as the least difficult of routes, Marangu is the most popular route on Kilimanjaro.

Gentle slope; it has a gentle slope for the first several days, prior to the tough summit attempt from Kibo Hut.

MACHAME ROUTE:

The most popular climbing route up Kilimanjaro

Forest; it is richest forested area on the mountain.

Lush and beautiful; but also gets very muddy during the wet season

LEMOSHO ROUTE:

The eight days trek itinerary allows for maximum time for acclimatization. Allowing for improved chances of reaching the summit & allows time to enjoy variety of scenery in the different climatic zones.

The most beautiful Kilimanjaro climb route, but expensive

Shira Cathedral

Less travelled Lemosho route

High Success Rate 98%

Traversing beautiful forests and moorlands

RONGAI ROUTE:

The Rongai route is a more gradual ascent, and is therefore preferred by those with little or no backpacking experience.

The easiest route on Kilimanjaro

Less traffic

UMBWE ROUTE:

It is a very challenging route and very muddy especially during the rainy season.

THE NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE:

This is one of the best routes on Kilimanjaro, offering high degrees of beautiful scenery including the quiet, rarely visited northern slopes.

As the longest route on Kilimanjaro, the Northern Circuit also has the most acclimatization time and the highest summit success rate.

You must have enough time and money

Tour operators are expected to comply with KINAPA guide and porter regulations. Porters are responsible for carrying a trekkers gear as well as key items like tents; water and cooking supplies. The number of crew depends also on the number of trek days. The longer the route the more number of porters. The shorter the route the less the number of porters.  Also, there are other factors like the weight of your luggage (we recommend to pack not more than 15kg/13Lbs) and the addition of facilities like private portable toilets.

You can refer to the chart to see how the number of crew members corresponds to the number of climbers.

Clients

Guides

Cooks

Porters

1

1

1

6

2

2

1

8

3

2

1

10

4

2

1

13

5

3

1

16

6

3

1

19

7

4

1

22

8

4

1

24

9

4

1

26

10

4

2

30

11

5

2

33

12

6

2

36

HERE BELOW IS A QUICK LIST OF ALL THE GEAR THAT YOU NEED TO PACK FOR YOUR KILIMANJARO TREK

BASIC EQUIPMENT:

Sleeping Bag – Will be provided however, we do recommend bringing a sleeping mat if you can fit it inside your duffle.  

Duffle bag/ rucksacks – This is for carrying your main gear and normally will be carried by a porter. We recommend 60Liters – 80Liters water proof duffel bag/rucksacks

Daypack – You will need to carry your own daypack. 30-40L is sufficient.

Trekking poles – Trekking poles will reduce your joint pain. We recommend adjustable trekking poles.

Water bladder/bottles – Highly recommended with a capacity to carry 3 liters of water. Alternatively, you can bring two bottles 1.5L each. We would also recommend bringing an extra 1L bottle in addition to your water bladder.

HEAD WEAR:

Warm winter hat

Neck gaiter or scarf – We recommend bringing a neck gaiter or bandana as it can get dust on Kilimanjaro

Sun hat – Choose a hat that is wide-brimmed for protection

Sun glass – Choose a pair of high UV protection glasses as sun intensity above 4,500m is very high.

Headlamp – You will need a headlamp with good light output for any late-night toilet journeys, and importantly for summit night. We also recommend having extra batteries (AAA batteries)

HANDS AND FEET WEAR:

Lightweight Gloves – We recommend this for the lowers slope

Warm gloves or mittens – For the cold nights and for the summit we recommend heavyweight gloves

Trekking boots – We recommends using a mid-weight trekking boots with good ankle support. We also recommend it to be waterproof.

Gym shoes/sandals – To wear around camp after a day’s trek.

Socks – We recommend bringing 3-4 pairs of outer socks and 2-3 pairs of liner socks. We also recommend bringing 1 x thick thermal socks for summit night.

Gaiters – We recommend this to keep your trousers clean from wet and muddy or dusty conditions.

Microspikes/crampon – Not always required, but there are special periods when the mountain receives an excessive amount of ice near the summit.

UPPER BODY WEAR:

Thermal base layer – 2 thermal base layers, ideally made from merino wool. One to wear on summit night and one to sleep in each night

Short sleeved shirt: 2 lightweight, moisture wicking short sleeved shirts are sufficient.

Long sleeve shirt – 2 or 3 light or medium weight, moisture wicking long sleeve shirt.

Fleece or soft-shell jacket – A mid-weight fleece jacket is ideal for Kilimanjaro

Insulated jacket – A good quality and warm down or primaloft jacket is required for the cold nights and summit push.

Hard shell outer jacket – A windproof hard shell outer jacket to protect you from the elements

Poncho – As Kilimanjaro weather is unpredictable then poncho is real recommended.

LOWER BODY WEAR:

Leggings – 2 Thermal or fleece base layer for your legs.

Trekking trousers: 1 medium weight trekking trousers is recommended.

Hard shell trousers – Wind proof will protect yourself from the elements

TOILETRIES AND OTHER STUFFS:

Sun and lip screen – High sun protection factor sunscreen and lip protection balm is recommended

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Wet wipes and hand sanitizer

Personal medicines and medical kit – Recommend bringing Paracetamol and Imodium at a minimum

Extra bag and padlock – For your extra luggage that will remain at hotel

Packing cubes: Useful for keeping items organized within your duffle bag

Camera and spare batteries

Plug Adapter – A plug adapter for charging your devices in the hotels before and after the trek.  We recommend adapter type G.

Personal snacks: Boiled sweets, nuts, energy bars and dried fruit are all a good for Kilimanjaro, most clients like to bring candy from their home countries too.

Towel – lightweight, quick-dry

Portable power bank and extra one if possible

Depending on the route chosen, most trekkers take 4-6 days to reach the summit. The longer you spend on the mountain, the more time your body gets to acclimatize, the higher the chance you will succeed in reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Yes, any excess luggage you do not need to carry with you on Mount Kilimanjaro can be left at our office. You should keep valuable items with you at all times.

We always boil and filter drinking water for our clients. Cooks always make sure the food is well cooked and utensils are sterilized with clean hot water before they are used. The mess tent is cleaned on a daily basis. Mess tents are solely reserved for clients’ use only.

Yes, portable toilet is available for rental at US$130/group (up to 4 climbers).

All of our lead guides are trained and certified in the following areas: altitude sickness and recognizing symptoms in the early stages, emergency use of oxygen, wilderness first responder and performing CPR. Each guide carries a first aid kit which includes: paracetamol, Imodium, ibuprofen, rehydration salts, paraffin gauze, sterile swabs, bandages, plasters, cotton wools, latex gloves & tongs, antiseptic disinfectant, antimicrobial cream, antihistamine, Diamox, etc. We check in with the clients and crew daily at camp as they are equipped with mobile phones.

Yes. In addition to paying a proper wage above minimum rate and supplying proper food and tents on the mountain, we also cover for any medical expenses in case of injury or illness arising from work.

Yes, absolutely! Because we do not join groups together, you can choose to start your climb on any day you choose.

The minimum age limit set by Kilimanjaro National Park for children trekking to Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro is 10 years old.