I Want to Climb Kilimanjaro, Where Do I Start?

If you are an avid outdoors person or just love nature, then climbing Kilimanjaro should be on your shortlist of outdoor adventures. So how do you start planning a Kilimanjaro climb to make it an awesome experience one that you’ll remember for a lifetime? I’m sure it seems overwhelming. Read further to see how to make it much easier.

Why Mount Kilimanjaro?

kilimanjaro walkableFirst of all, Kilimanjaro is the tallest “walkable” mountain on the planet. You can make the summit if you are in fairly decent shape and have hiking experience. 

dik dik on Serengeti
A dik-dik

You will pass through amazingly different climate zones en route to the Summit. Along the way, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Uhuru Peak and glaciers above and the clouds and rainforest below. You may get to see blue and colobus monkeys, a dik-dik, and maybe a stray lion that decided to check out why everyone is going up the mountain. Don’t scoff, during COVID, the number of people trekking haddropped off considerably and the animals on the plains below have been spotted venturing as high as Shira I camp.

Sign me up, Where Do I Start?

Now that you have decided that Kilimanjaro is something you want to do, you’ll want to find an experienced and safe operator. There are hundreds of operators on the Mountain, but only a handful are reputable. Just to give you an idea of what is reputable, here is what we offer at Kilimanjaro Sunrise

kilimanjaro tents

  • Daily health checks of climbers including pulse and oxygen saturation readings
  • Wilderness First Responder certified guides
  • AMREF Flying Doctors evacuation insurance
  • Heavy-duty mountaineering tents for sleeping and dining
  • The most comfortable Foam Pads you ever slept on
  • Three hot meals a day instead of boxed lunches
  • Membership in Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) – an independent organization that monitors trekking companies and verifies that porters are treated ethically
  • Airport pick up and drop off – for a fee, up to six people
  • Quality Rental Equipment such as Jackets, Trekking Poles, Private Toilet Tents, Duffel Bags, and Down Sleeping Bags

Budget operators do not offer any of these amenities. Their equipment is often used, handmade, damaged, and inadequate for high-altitude trekking. Client safety is not a priority.

Most of all, make sure your operator exists before you arrive. They may just take your money and run. If you choose to go with a budget operator, get trip insurance or you may be out several thousands of dollars.

If you choose to book with Kilimanjaro Sunrise you’ll see the quality of our service, guides, porters, and equipment compared to other companies. Our expert and knowledgeable guides and friendly porters will make your climb as pleasant as possible.  

Now that I have chosen an Operator, what’s next?

The next step is to make your 30% deposit. You’ll make the payment on our secure Payment Portal page. Then wait for a trip confirmation email. 

This email will have a lot of important information. Please read all of it. There are links to several forms to fill out in this email.

After you receive your trip confirmation email book your flights. You should also purchase trip insurance and send in your client information forms. Also, make sure your passport will be current for at least six months after your scheduled Tanzanian departure date. 

Furthermore, depending on how far away your trip is you may need to start training and gathering gear. 

train for kilimanjaroHere is what we recommend for training: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/how-to-prepare/

Here is the gear we recommend: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/wp-content/uploads/kilimanjaro-sunrise-gear-list.pdf

and what to wear: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/what-to-wear-on-kilimanjaro/

If you need to rent any gear also fill out your rental form: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/rental-gear/

My Trip Is Getting Close

Double-check to make sure you have everything booked, airport pick up, flights, extra lodging, safari, trip insurance, and someone is watching your dog. 

Contact your operator if you have any questions. Many questions can be answered here: https://kilimanjarosunrise.com/faqs/

If you choose Kilimanjaro Sunrise, we are with you every step of the way. Contact us by phone: at (602) 730-5028 or email: info@kilimanjarosunrise.com with any questions about your trip before leaving for Tanzania.

I’m on My Way to Tanzania

Our office is 10 hours behind Tanzania, if you have any issues while you are on your way, please contact us as soon as possible. Once you arrive in Tanzania you’ll contact our local office. We will have sent you that number in the trip confirmation email. You will need to download WhatsApp before departing for Tanzania and save that number there. You can text us if there are any delays.

If you are coming from the U.S. we recommend applying for your visa in advance. This will alleviate having to stand in the potentially two-hour-long line at JRO. If you don’t obtain your visa before your trip please hurry to the visa line(s). In the first line, you’ll show them your passport and be directed to the second line where you’ll get your visa. Then you’ll proceed to a third line to pay $100 USD. They will place the visa in your passport. 

Once through customs, you will proceed to the baggage claim area. Tell our driver if your bags aren’t. When you leave the baggage claim area you will exit the building toward the parking lot. If you booked an airport pick-up in advance, our driver will be there with a sign reading “Kilimanjaro Sunrise”. Please look for him. He’ll drive you to your lodging for the night. If you did not book a private pick-up, then proceed to the taxi area (don’t worry someone will show you where it is for a $1 tip). Taxis cost about $50 to take you to your hotel in Arusha. 

Kilimanjaro Sunrise DriverOnce you finally arrive at the hotel, you’ll be met by our Guides and given a trip briefing and an initial health check. They will let you know what time to be ready the next day, then you’ll be able to head off to bed. Your long trip will have tired you out.

That is if you didn’t book a flight recovery day (recommended in case of flight delays or delayed luggage) or a safari before the climb. Then we will perform the health check and trip briefing on your rest day.

In conclusion, we hope this helps ease some of your anxiety about traveling to Africa and how to start planning a Kilimanjaro Climb. If you still have questions or concerns feel free to contact us.

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