What You Need to Bring for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

What You Need to Bring for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, at 19,341 feet, is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It is also the fourth highest of the "Seven Summits" - the highest mountains on seven continents. Kilimanjaro is an extinct conical volcano covering an area the size of the Danish island of Funen. The part of the mountain above 8,858 feet is designated as a national park. Kilimanjaro is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Routes on Kilimanjaro

There are 6 traditional routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro: Marangu (Coca-Cola route), Machame (Whiskey route), Rongai, Lemosho, Shira, and Umbwe. Additionally, there are several other lesser-used routes. Each route has its unique features with different levels of difficulty and natural landscapes.

The Machame route is one of the most beautiful and diverse on Kilimanjaro, also known as the Whiskey route. The ascent follows a more natural, rather than man-made, path to the summit of Africa, making the route more demanding. Therefore, we have developed a 7-day route up the mountain, which provides much better acclimatization, better chances of avoiding mountain sickness, and consequently, greatly increases the success rate of the climb.


In Tanzania, there are two main languages: Swahili and English. Our local guides and kitchen helpers speak English well, though typically with an African accent. Hotels and shops in Moshi also speak English well. Most of the porters on Kilimanjaro are also fairly proficient in English.


A visa is required for entry into Tanzania. It is easiest to obtain it at the airport upon arrival. It costs 50 US dollars, and don't forget to bring a passport photo with you.


The local currency is the Tanzanian shilling. Bring Euros or US dollars, which you can exchange at the airport or in Moshi.


Climbing Kilimanjaro is possible year-round, but there are rains from April to May, often with dense clouds and heavy precipitation. January to March is a great time with clear and mild weather. From June to August, it is cold but very clear. In September and October, it gets warmer again, often with fog at the lower part of the mountain but usually with beautiful weather above 9,842 feet. November and December generally have clear weather but with a chance of occasional rain.

Carry-on during the flight

Take the most important items such as passport, money, credit cards, camera, and medicines in your carry-on to be prepared in case of luggage delays. If luggage is delayed, you can rent equipment in Moshi. Wear your hiking boots on the flight.

Lead guide and local team

The ascent of Kilimanjaro is usually led by an accompanying guide. The hike also involves a local team, consisting of a lead guide who heads the local team. Together with the guide, they ensure the best tour experience. To assist group members, there are usually 3-4 additional guides walking along with the participants. We have porters to transport the luggage. Usually, porters carry luggage for two participants, and after you hand over your luggage in the morning, you will not be able to access it until you arrive at the overnight stop. Porters are hired locally through our long-time local partner. Our local partner also ensures proper insurance and acceptable working conditions for the porters.

Hotel accommodation and overnight stays

In Moshi, we stay at the Mountain Inn, where breakfast and dinner are included. During the ascent of Kilimanjaro, overnight stays are in two-person tents. A large dining tent is also set up, where breakfast and dinner are served. There are separate toilet tents for the convenience of the hike participants in secluded conditions.

Food and drinks

Breakfast and dinner are included in Moshi, but lunch is paid for separately. You can have lunch at the hotel or at one of the restaurants in Moshi. On Kilimanjaro, all meals are included. A chef and a team of cooks are sent on the hike, who prepare breakfast and dinner at the tent camp. Lunch is taken along and eaten on the way. The team of cooks also provides drinking water, tea, and coffee.


It is customary to give tips to the guides, porters, and other helpers on Kilimanjaro. As a guideline, budget approximately 80 US dollars per participant.

Photography and electricity

There are many scenic spots on Kilimanjaro, so make sure you have enough space on your memory card. You can charge batteries in the hotel, but it is not possible on the mountain itself, so take an extra charged battery for your camera. Pack batteries separately, as they discharge faster in the cold.

Travel insurance

It is recommended to purchase travel insurance that covers at least medical expenses, accidents, repatriation, missed vacation, luggage, and liability. The client is responsible for arranging the necessary insurance policies covering these expenses. We recommend Gouda Rejseforsikring.

Typical day on the route

A typical day on Kilimanjaro starts with waking up between 6:00 and 6:30 AM. After dressing and breakfast around 8:00, we pack up and begin the ascent. It is important to go at your own pace and take necessary breaks. Around 11:30-12:00, we take a long lunch break and eat the packed lunch before continuing the day's hike. In the evening, we arrive at the camp and can rest. Dinner is served around 6:00 PM. Most prefer to go to bed early.

Summit day

Summit day starts at midnight when we are awakened. After dressing, we receive a quick sip of tea and a light snack before starting the ascent to the summit. Make sure your headlamp has fresh batteries, as we will be walking in the dark until dawn. The ascent to the summit is technically not difficult, but very strenuous, and the altitude is strongly felt. After 6-7 hours of walking, we reach Stella Point on the edge of the crater. Another 1-2 hours of walking along the crater rim leads us to Uhuru Peak, 19,341 feet - the summit of Africa.

The descent is relatively simple and follows roughly the same route as the ascent. Shortly before noon, we return to Barafu Camp. There, a hot lunch awaits from the rest of the team. After a well-deserved rest for a few hours, we continue the descent to Mweka Camp, where dinner and overnight stay await. A long and eventful day comes to an end, and you will surely sleep soundly that night.

Acclimatization and altitude sickness

Good acclimatization and getting used to the altitude are absolutely essential for a successful ascent of Kilimanjaro. There are tour operators offering shorter tours up the mountain, but we can only caution against them. Getting used to the altitude takes time, and in this tour, we use 6 days for the ascent to the summit and a total of 7 days on the mountain. As a very important part of acclimatization, we have included an extra day at Barranco Camp at an altitude of 12,795 feet, where we climb up to 13,780 feet. "Climb high, sleep low" is the optimal way to accustom the body to altitude. The more time you spend climbing the mountain, the better you will feel and the easier it will be to reach the summit. The best way to prevent altitude sickness is to go slowly and drink plenty of water. Most people who climb Kilimanjaro experience mild symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches, loss of appetite, and insomnia, but they usually pass quickly. If you experience more severe symptoms, such as severe headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and extreme fatigue, it is important to seek help immediately and descend as quickly as possible, even if it is in the middle of the night. Immediately notify the guide if you experience symptoms of altitude sickness. In our group, there are always additional local guides who can help participants descend if necessary.

Difficulty level

The trek to Kilimanjaro is rated at a difficulty level of 4-5. The first days of the ascent up the mountain are at level 4, but summit day is long, hard, and demanding.

Level 4 difficulty

A demanding hike with daily journeys lasting 6-8 hours, often over rough terrain at altitudes up to 16,404 feet. There will be long climbs up to 3,280 feet vertically. Good physical condition, endurance, as well as strong knees and ankles capable of enduring a prolonged descent are required. You must be in good health and ideally have experience in hiking. Quality hiking boots and appropriate clothing for active recreation are needed. There will be large temperature fluctuations.

Level 5 difficulty

Overnights are in tents, and there will be many days with daily journeys lasting 6-8 hours, often over rough terrain with long climbs and at altitudes up to 19,029 feet. Good physical condition and endurance are required. Quality hiking boots and appropriate clothing for active recreation are needed. There will be large temperature fluctuations.


Clothing in Tanzania is very casual, even in good hotels. On the mountain, the temperature varies from plus 86 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit on summit day. Therefore, layering is the best philosophy when it comes to clothing on Kilimanjaro, as you can add and remove layers as needed. Woolen underwear is just perfect as a base layer, over which you wear a shirt or sweater. Then a warm fleece sweater or thick wool sweater, and on top a water- and windproof jacket, e.g., Gore-Tex. See additional information about clothing in the packing list below.

Overall equipment

Below you will find a packing list for climbing Kilimanjaro. The list is recommended and based on many years of experience climbing Kilimanjaro. In general, it is important to bring the "right" equipment and therefore keep the weight around 26-33 pounds for trekking.

Consider the following when packing:

In Moshi during the day, it's usually 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit, and it gets a bit chilly in the evening.
On the mountain, the temperature fluctuates greatly throughout the day. At high altitudes in the morning when we start the climb, it's cold, but it can be up to 68°F during the day. When the sun sets, the temperature drops sharply, and at night it can drop to minus 10-12°F. Clothing for hot weather is just as important as for cold weather.
We strongly recommend dressing in layers. Woolen underwear or moisture-wicking underwear as a base layer, with a t-shirt or shirt over it. A fleece or wool sweater as a warm layer and a windproof jacket on top. A down jacket is very nice, but not mandatory and if necessary can be replaced by a warm ski jacket.
Many experience colder temperatures than they expected while packing at home, so make sure you have enough warm clothing!
It's practical to pack clothes in different plastic bags to make them additionally waterproof and easier to keep organized.
If you are unsure about which clothes and equipment to bring, you can always call us and discuss clothing and gear.

Hiking boots

It's important that you have good footwear for climbing Kilimanjaro. Quality hiking boots with firm and sculpted soles are essential. If you need to buy new boots, purchase them at a specialized outfitter where you can get qualified advice. Make sure the boots are well-worn before the trip. We recommend wearing two pairs of socks in the boots: one pair of thin cotton socks inside and one pair of thick trekking or wool socks over them. This way, you can avoid many blisters.

Sleeping bag

It's important to get a good night's sleep, and that's not possible if you're cold. Therefore, a warm sleeping bag is crucial. It will be colder than many imagine! Many sleeping bags are not warm enough, and buying a new down sleeping bag can be expensive. A practical solution instead of buying a new expensive sleeping bag is to use a fleece liner inside your sleeping bag when it gets very cold. This is an inexpensive and good option. If you are unsure whether your sleeping bag is warm enough, just call us and find out more.

Trekking packing

You can take 44 pounds of luggage on the plane plus one carry-on, which can conveniently be your daypack for one-day hikes. It's practical to pack in a large backpack, travel bag, or duffel. Keep the weight minimal and leave room for potential purchases. Clothing in Tanzania is very casual, even in good hotels, so there is no need to take "dressy" clothes. Keep the weight at 26-33 pounds for the part of the luggage that you entrust to the porters during trekking.

Kilimanjaro climbing packing list

Travel bag

  • Large backpack, duffel, or travel bag (60-80 liters)
  • Daypack for one-day hikes (about 30-40 liters)
  • Clothing storage bag at the hotel
  • Plastic bags
  • Sleeping bag

Sleeping bag

  • Sleeping bag rated to minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fleece liner for the sleeping bag (raises the comfortable temperature by 6-8 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Additional thin liner for the sleeping bag (optional)
  • Additional mat, e.g., Thermarest


  • Hiking boots with good ankle support and vibration-damping soles
  • Sandals and casual footwear


  • Warm, snug-fitting hat
  • Sun protection hat or cap
  • Scarf, balaclava, or light shawl
  • Good quality sunglasses

Body clothing

  • Windproof jacket, Gore-Tex recommended
  • Down jacket (optional)
  • Warm fleece or thick wool sweater
  • Trekking pants
  • Shorts
  • Trekking t-shirts/shirts
  • Moisture-wicking thermal underwear or wool underwear (two sets are practical)
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear

For hands and feet

  • Thin socks
  • Thick hiking or wool socks
  • Light gloves and warm mittens

Additional items

  • Water bottles (two 1-liter bottles are practical)
  • Headlamp with spare batteries
  • Trekking poles (optional)
  • Sunscreen with high SPF and lip balm
  • Toiletries
  • Small towel
  • Camera with extra battery and memory cards
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • Individual first aid kit: band-aids, sports tape, Panadol, etc.
  • Personal medications if you take them
  • Books for reading and diary (optional)
  • Passport, money, plane tickets, insurance, contact information
  • Medical insurance


Climbing Kilimanjaro is an exciting and memorable adventure that requires careful preparation and equipment. By following the recommendations for clothing, equipment, and acclimatization provided here, you will significantly increase your chances of a successful ascent and be able to fully enjoy the beauty of this majestic mountain. Don't forget to go at your own pace, drink plenty of water, and enjoy the stunning views at every step. Kilimanjaro will give you unforgettable experiences and a sense of pride after reaching the summit of Africa.