Are you planning your next family vacation and have adventurous kids who are teenagers or older? Then, we have an amazing idea for you—climb Kilimanjaro! Booking a family vacation to Kilimanjaro would be epic.
It may seem daunting at first, you may even say to yourself;
“No, thank you.”
“I don’t want to spend two weeks traveling with my moody teenagers.”
“There is no wifi on the mountain. They’ll pout or complain the entire trip.”
“On safari, they’ll play with their devices and not even look at the animals.”
“Why should I spend all that money, fly halfway around the world, and train for months for my unappreciative family?”
We know the feeling. We have teenagers of our own. But take it from us, they will appreciate it. They will love it. It’ll be a highlight of their childhood.
Think about it. What do you remember about your childhood? You remember the good and the bad. You don’t remember the boring. Trekking to the highest peak in Africa is not boring. Imagine all the fun you’ll have. It will be a great bonding experience. You’ll struggle together (probably you more than them). You will have many amazing moments together as you climb.
Picture this: You and your child standing on the roof of Africa. Huge smiles ear to ear, hugging, and sobbing (you’ll be sobbing. Your teen will be embarrassed).
Trust us, you’ll never be prouder of them. It will be a cherished memory for the rest of your life.
Furthermore, imagine your friends’ and relatives’ faces when they open their custom Christmas cards from you that year.
The journey to the highest peak in Africa will bring your family closer together and create cherished memories for a lifetime.
We covered why a family vacation on Kilimanjaro is a great idea, but what are the age restrictions? This article is about climbing with your teenagers. Kilimanjaro National Park does not allow children under the age of 10 to climb. Additionally, Kilimanjaro Sunrise does not allow children under 14 to climb except under special circumstances. Feel free to contact us and we will discuss your child’s ability.
So what do you need to know about climbing Kilimanjaro with your teenagers? First of all, they get bored—easily and frequently. Make sure they have enough batteries and power banks for their smartphone or tablets. Have them bring a book. There is downtime at camp each afternoon. They will need something to do. Get them a camera so they can take pictures. They won’t be able to Snapchat or TikTok—there is no wifi passed 12,000 feet. However, they can shoot videos or photos of their experience and share them on social media once they are on their way home or at the hotel, or on safari. Our safari vehicles have a wifi hotspot.
You can have them download WhatsApp so they can share photos with their friends when they have wifi. Their friends will also need to have WhatsApp to receive texts and videos.
While training for Kilimanjaro, help build their confidence by starting with short hikes and empowering them to lead the way. Then increase the difficulty and length. Have them help plan the hikes.
Prepare them mentally for the long monotonous hiking. Don’t worry, our cheerful guides will also be there to sing and talk to your child if they get mentally or emotionally fatigued.
BEST TIME TO CLIMB
When should you climb? You’ll have to work around school. So here is where it gets tricky. Let’s break down traveling limitations. Spring and fall break are out unless you are ok with them missing a couple of days of school. Fall break is usually in October. October is a good time to climb. Spring break roughly falls in March or April. March through the end of May is the rainy season. That would not be a good time to climb. That leaves winter and summer break. Winter break is good if you don’t plan on visiting family during the holidays. Unfortunately, airfare tends to run higher during the holidays. When purchasing tickets for an entire family, it can get pricey. That leaves summer. We recommend booking your climb from the end of June through August. September is also a good month, but they are usually back in school.
If we are recommending climbing during the summer in the U.S. That would mean it is winter in Tanzania. Regardless, of the time of year, the weather in Tanzania doesn’t vary much since it is close to the equator. Mount Kilimanjaro is only 200 miles south of the equator.
Despite Tanzania’s weather not varying much, Kilimanjaro is altogether another story. Very tall mountains are known for creating their own weather pattern. Rainforests surround the mountain. You will travel through five distinct climate zones as you ascend and descend from the summit. Dress in layers to handle the varying degrees of temperatures through the day and night.
Watch this video on how to dress:
It is imperative to choose the right operator. Choose one that has high levels of success. One whose guides are medically trained. Guides that perform daily health checks. Make sure it is a reputable company. The last thing you want is for something to go wrong. But if it does, having experienced guides and staff is important. An operator whose guides can spot the symptoms of altitude sickness and can act quickly to make sure everyone is safe.
The best way to follow up your Kilimanjaro climb is by going on a safari to one or several of the best safari parks in the world. We recommend at least a 4-day safari. That way you get to see the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. A 5-day safari would be better so you aren’t rushing the Serengeti experience.
There will be times when the safari is boring and your teenager(s) may start complaining However, once you see a lion stalk a gazelle or hyena eating a small creature, you’ll be excited for more.
The safari wildlife is spectacular, whether it’s a crocodile snapping at an impala at a waterhole or lazy lions sleeping in the dirt, you’ll be entertained. And one of the best things to watch and we are sure your teens will agree are the hippos. You’ll all get a good laugh watching hippos fling their feces at each other as they wallow around in their filth.
Book your next family vacation in Africa. Climbing Kilimanjaro and going on safari are both amazing experiences by themselves. Combining them makes it even more memorable. And what better way to experience it than with your family?