What is a day on the trek like?
A typical day on the trail begins around 7:00 am when we meet for breakfast in our dining tent. We begin trekking shortly thereafter and walk for between 4 - 7 hours. The trail is not a difficult hike but the altitude does make it a physical challenge. Depending on the length of the day's hike, we either stop for lunch along the trail or continue to camp and have lunch there.
After reaching our camp for the day (normally by early afternoon) we have the afternoon to rest, relax, or read a book, before meeting for dinner. There is plenty of down time - an important part of the acclimatization process - during the trek. Be sure to bring along a good book or a deck of cards!
How much weight am I carrying in my pack?
Backpacks on the trail should weigh approximately 15 to 20 lb. as we only carry the day's snacks, water, and a few extra layers in case of rain or cold temperatures. Porters assist us on the trek, carrying all of our sleeping gear, extra clothing, and equipment. Our porters are always available to help lighten your load if your backpack is proving a hindrance while on the trail.
What is the pace like?
Our goal is to get everyone through the day while having an enjoyable time! While the actual distances are relatively short, the altitudes to which we travel are very high and the days are still challenging. Overall, our guides set a reasonable pace - at the appropriate speed to cover the distance we need that day without going too quickly or too slowly.
What is the food like on the mountain?
Please see our Food details for an example of meals while on the mountain.
Is the water okay to drink?
We do not recommend drinking tap water in Tanzania. Bottled water is readily available at the hotel and at safari lodges. On the mountain, we provide our teams with boiled water that is safe to drink. Personal water filters or water treatment tablets are not needed.
What are the camps like?
We take the necessary time to establish nice camps that are surprisingly comfortable considering that we are on a mountain! We provide three-person tents for every two climbers. Our private toilets are small chemical toilets used exclusively by our group and enclosed in small tent to offer plenty of privacy. The cooking is done in a separate kitchen tent and our dining tent, with tables and chairs, is a nice to place to hang out and escape from the sun in the afternoon before the team sits down together to dine around the table.
What are the toilets like?
At camps we provide private chemical toilets that are used only by our team. On the trail there are occasional simple "latrine style" toilets but most of the time there are no established toilets between camps.
How will I be able to stay connected with those at home?
We suggest bringing a smart phone or a WIFI-enabled device and using it where WIFI and internet services are available, as in Arusha and at the safari lodges. Along the route, however, Wi-fi access is not available. Cell service is widely available across most of Tanzania.
Should I bring a cell phone or a satellite phone?
Sure, cell phone coverage exists on the majority of the climb; however, coverage is not always available depending on terrain and signal strength. Check with your cell phone carrier to see if they offer international coverage in Tanzania and make sure you have the appropriate international plans and understand the associated rates.
RMI carries a satellite phone with the group through the entire trip for emergency use.
Do iPhones function well at high altitude?
Yes. However the cold can impact the battery life making it necessary for it to be charged a few times on the trip (via a personal solar charger).
Is a Kindle or Nook practical on this trip?
Yes, but if you wish to take it up on the mountain you will certainly need to recharge it once in a while using a personal solar charger. We recommend downloading all of your desired books before arriving in Tanzania.
What is summit day like?
The ascent above our high camp follows a rocky climber's trail to Stella Point on Kilimanjaro's crater rim, and then follows the crater rim around to the high point of Uhuru Peak at 19,340'. After our ascent, we drop to approximately 10,000' to Mweka Camp in order to get our bodies back into lower altitudes and thicker air! While the ascent and descent could technically-speaking be considered trekking, the high altitudes and lengthy day make it a challenging endeavor.
Do I need technical climbing gear like an ice axe or crampons? What if it snows?
No, you do not need technical climbing gear to climb our route up Kilimanjaro. New snowfall, while not uncommon, is typically a trace amount (1-2") and often melts in the midday sun. Sturdy hiking boots provide enough traction and insulation to climb in the snow.
What is a typical day on Safari like?
A typical day on safari begins around 7:00 am when we gather for breakfast at the lodge. Afterwards, we hop in the open-top safari vehicles (Land Rovers or Land Cruisers), bringing our bags with us if we are moving lodges, and drive to the Parks. We spend the day exploring the Parks, pausing midday for a sit down lunch cooked in the field. We return to the lodge mid-late afternoon and have a few hours of rest and relaxation before dinner. There is a bit of driving time between Parks so bringing a book to read is a good idea!
Can I re-charge my electronics while on Safari?
Yes, there is electricity at all of our safari lodges. Make sure to bring an adapter kit to accommodate for different outlet types.
What kind of clothing do I need on Safari?
The weather on Safari can vary from being hot and dry when visiting Lake Manyara and the Tarangire to cool and chilly, particularly in the evenings, in the highlands near Ngorongoro Crater. Plan on bringing shorts and a t-shirt for the days as well as pants and a sweater or light insulating layer, and a rain jacket, for the evenings. While most of the safari viewing is from the vehicles, we will get out and walk around so comfortable shoes are appropriate.
Do I need a yellow fever vaccine to enter Tanzania?
No, you do not need a yellow fever vaccine to enter Tanzania if coming from the United States. However, Tanzania Immigration Officials may request proof of the vaccine if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever from other places. See the CDC website for more information.