Kilimanjaro Trek FAQs
Learn the answers to the most commonly asked questions about our Kilimanjaro Trek.
Joining a Wildland Trekking trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro? We have compiled the most frequently asked questions that Wildland Trekking guests have about visiting and hiking the Kilimanjaro Trek.
We invite you to peruse the categories below and find answers to your questions.
What are the local customs regarding tipping?
- The “Tipping Ceremony” performed upon arrival back from each expedition is paramount for the Tanzanian mountain culture. Its origin came from the period when the mountain teams did not get any wages for their work except tips from the guests. We are glad that this is no longer the truth about wages. We are very appreciative that the tipping ceremony is still a big cultural part of every expedition.
- This ceremony is the traditional marking of the final moments when guests express their gratitude for all the services rendered by their team. It is also the team’s moment to express gratitude and joy of having been able to work with the guests.
- Below are the steps we take in that ceremony for more clarity around the tipping process and your role in the ceremony. Kilimanjaro Porter’s Assistance Program (KPAP) recommends giving the same tip amount per trip to each crew member as they would receive in wages. Wages are based on what position crew members hold on the team.
- Our experience suggests that 20% of the amount paid by each guest for the expedition meets or even exceeds the KPAP recommendation. We also feel that in the end it is the guest’s decision how much they want to tip and show appreciation of their mountain crew’s services during their specific trip. It is best to pay the tip in Tanzanian Shillings.
- First, upon arrival back to the office at the end of the trek, you will all gather in the office, and the lead guide will ask if the crew served you well and which staff members you may favor the most. After this discussion, guests will declare the amount of tip they or their group is giving.
- This total amount is added up and the figure is declared to the crew very transparently.
- The crew is divided into categories and will apportion the total tip amount given according to these categories per day on the mountain.
- For Example: Collective amounts based on 20% of the expedition cost per customer as mentioned above. The number of staff, especially porters, depends on the size of the group. This number is often not finalized until all the gear is packed and weighed for each expedition due to the weight limits for porters. Potentially the need for more staff last minute occurs and porters are added. Amounts below are approximate for each individual crew member and totals are covered as a collective tip from all guests on a trip.
- Lead guides $25 per day x 7 days = $175
- Assistant guides $20 per day x 7 days = $140
- Cooks: $20 per day x 7 days = $140
- Waiters: $15 per day x 7 days = $105
- Camp crew: $15 per day x 7 days = $105
- Pilot (toilet porter) $15 per day x 7 days = $105
- Porters $10 per day x 7 days = $70
- Together guests and office staff will prepare the actual amount of each tip to be given to crew members. The list of specific crew members will be based on the official sheet given to the lead guide before the trip. Each guest will take the tip money for a few of the staff to distribute during the ceremony. Once all tips are prepared, we will go outside and begin to hand out the tips to each crew member on the team by calling their names one by one. Guests will then give the tip to the staff members assigned to them.
- After distributing all the tips, guests will receive their official summit certificates. The crew will then sing and dance with the guests in appreciation and gratitude. After the celebrations, guests will share a meal with the entire crew before going back to their hotel.
- All bills must be older than 2013, and the bills cannot be marked or torn.
Are ATMs readily available on this trip?
- The currency in Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling.The JRO Airport has a few ATMs available. Moshi and Arusha both have larger banks and ATMs available. When you are on the trek, no ATMs will be available.
- Most larger hotels and shops accept both Visa and Mastercard, but local cash is needed in most other situations and smaller markets. Some larger hotels may allow payments in US Dollars for drinks, food, etc.
- You will want to let your bank know that you will be travelling so they do not put a hold on your card. Also, it is a good idea to research which of your credit cards have the cheapest international transaction fees.
- For additional information on current currency exchange rates you can click here.
What is the internet access like?
- WIFI will be available at the hotel in Moshi. There will be no internet access when you are trekking.
Can I use my cellphone in Tanzania?
- Purchasing a SIM card upon arrival should give you the cheapest and most reliable cell phone coverage while in Tanzania. You can also call your phone carrier and ask about international phone plans or activating global roaming. Make sure to ask about pricing for these options as they can be expensive.
- Phone service is patchy while you are trekking.
What are the toilets like on this trip?
- There are Western toilets while you are at the Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel on Nights 1-2 and 9.
- While you are trekking, the toilets will be pit, squat toilets that are rustic. We recommend carrying extra toilet paper, hand soap, and/or hand sanitizer as they may not be readily available in public places. Please remember to throw all toilet paper in the trash can, not the toilet.
I use Zip-loc bags for organizing my gear and waterproofing. Are they banned in Tanzania?
- In 2019 the United Republic of Tanzania issued a ban on plastic bags to help protect the country’s ecosystems. When you arrive to JRO, they may not confiscate plastic bags in the airport, but in Kilimanjaro National Park and on the mountain, they are highly discouraged. We suggest using something like stuff sacks to organize your clothes and gear.
Should I bring micro spikes?
- If micro spikes are needed, the guide will provide them to you.
Can I get a ride to Moshi when I arrive?
- Transportation from JRO to Kilimanjaro Wonders Hotel is included in the trip price if you arrive on the starting day of the trip itinerary. If you arrive before or after Day 1 of your trip itinerary, we can coordinate shuttle service for you to your hotel for $50 USD. You can pay the driver directly when you board the shuttle. You can also check with your hotel as they may provide shuttle service.
Accommodations and Amenities
Can I store extra luggage on this trip?
- Yes, you can store extra luggage at our originating hotel. Please note that we do not take responsibility for the security of stored belongings. You will not have access to this luggage throughout the trek.
Food and Water
Is the water safe to drink along the trek?
- The tap water in Tanzania is not safe to drink. Your guides will provide filtered water from natural sources that will be safe for drinking or bottled water.
What are the elevation gains on our daily hikes? What are the elevations of our camps each night?
- Kilimanjaro summit at Uruhu Peak 19,341ft
- Day 3: 2,075 ft gain – Camp 8650 ft
- Day 4: 2,765 ft gain – Camp 11,415 ft
- Day 5: 1,060 ft gain – Camp 12,175 ft
- Day 6: 2,080 ft gain – Camp 14,120 ft
- Day 7: 1,720 ft gain – Camp 15,425 ft
- Day 8: 4,100 gain/7,240 ft loss – Summit 19,341 ft – Camp 12,300 ft
- Day 9: 6,350 ft loss
- Moshi 2,887 ft
I am worried about acclimatization- is there a certain exercise or practice that will decrease the probability of altitude sickness?
- For any hike with significant elevation change, we suggest training by hiking hills and/or stairs. Getting out on the trail with your recommended pack weight and hiking boots is the best way to get your body prepared for hiking up and down mountains. Start by climbing for about an hour and slowly increase your climbing time each time you go out on a hike. When hiking uphill, hike slowly so that you can moderate your breathing and keep moving. It is better to hike continuously at a slow pace rather than hiking fast in spurts with frequent stops.
- Other than living and hiking at elevation, the best way to prepare your body for acclimatization is showing up for the trip rested, hydrated, well fed, and in good shape. Our Kilimanjaro summit itinerary is designed to gain elevation slowly and give the best chance for guests to acclimatize slowly and properly. Everyone acclimatizes and handles elevation a little differently. On the mountain, it will be important to hike slowly especially in the lower elevations where it is easy to want to hike faster. Keeping your heart rate down and more O2 going in helps the acclimatization process. If you are hiking to the point of out of breath it will hinder proper acclimatization. Kilimanjaro and other high mountains are better climbed slowly. You will hear the Swahili phrase “pole, pole” often on the trail. That means, “slowly, slowly.”
Should I take Diamox to help prevent altitude sickness?
- We recommend talking with your doctor to help you make an informed decision. There are some medications that can help with the acclimation process, but there is no miracle drug. Typically, these drugs are best used when you do not have time to acclimatize properly. Our itinerary is designed to provide time for acclimatization so that you can have a successful summit hike. Previous guests who have used these medications have had varied responses, ranging from lots of success to bad side effects.