Kilimanjaro Climb and Safari
- January 21, 2023 Guide: Casey Grom
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*ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19.
RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to [email protected].
Travel insurance is required for this trip. Your travel insurance policy should include trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, and evacuation.
Navigating through the different options for travel insurance can be confusing. To help make the process straightforward, we have partnered with Ripcord Insurance because their policies are specifically designed for adventure travel and offer coverage for remote areas, and for activities like mountaineering, climbing, skiing, and trekking, without any altitude restrictions.
When purchasing Travel Insurance, here are a few items to consider:
- Read the fine print. Travel Insurance will refund you when canceling for a covered reason for any non-refundable cancellation fees. However, there are exclusions, so make sure you understand the "covered reasons."
- Confirm that your activity is a covered “activity.” Not all travel insurance policies will offer coverage for activities such as mountaineering, climbing, skiing, or trekking adventures. Policies can also exclude coverage for activities due to the gear used (crampons, ice axe), for activities that go above certain elevations, or for activities in a particular region of the world. If there are exclusions, you may need to add an "Adventure" or "Sports" package to cover your activity.
- Verify that your state of residence is allowed with the policy that you are purchasing. Not all insurance companies offer policies in all 50 states.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is travel insurance designed for adventurers, including the best evacuation and rescue services available.
Benefits are tailored for adventurers and include:
- Rescue and evacuation from the point of illness or emergency to your home hospital of choice.
- Trip cancellation/interruption, primary medical expense coverage, sporting goods, baggage loss, emergency dental, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) and more.
- Completely integrated one-stop program with a single contact for emergency services to travel assistance and insurance claims.
- 24/7 access to paramedics, nurses and military veterans.
- Security extraction in case of unexpected dangerous and chaotic events.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance is powered by Redpoint Resolutions, a medical and travel security risk company. Their team is comprised of special operations veterans, paramedics, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, former intelligence officers, insurance actuaries and global security experts with dozens of years of experience in theaters around the world. The Redpoint network covers the globe, making them uniquely equipped to provide elite rescue travel insurance – in every sense of the word. Whether it’s reimbursing you for a cancelled trip, paying your travel medical bills or evacuating you home in an emergency, Ripcord takes the worry out of your travel.
Travel Advisories / Warnings
Please confirm any current travel advisories/warnings as well as entry requirements with the U.S. Department of State.
Travel to Tanzania is relatively straightforward. Most people fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha either directly from Amsterdam or from London with a connecting flight through Nairobi.
The time in Tanzania is ten hours later than in Seattle; seven hours later than New York.
Flights departing Arusha should be booked for 7 p.m. or later on our last day in Africa (Day 14).
A valid passport is required when traveling to Tanzania. Your passport must be valid for 6 months beyond the expected date of return. U.S. passport holders can stay up to 90 days without special visas.
We suggest making a copy of the first two pages of your passport and keeping them in a separate bag as a backup. A copy should also be left with your emergency contact.
A Tanzanian visa is required for travel. We recommend that you apply for this visa 3 - 6 months before your trip and use a reputable visa and passort processing agency. Travel Document Systems (TDS) can assist you with securing your visa. You will need to provide them with your current passport that you will use for travel, application form, two passport size photos, etc. Please follow the instructions on their website. Once your passport is returned to you check that the date of your Tanzania Visa covers your complete stay in Tanzania.
You may also register in advance for a Tanzanian Visa by completing the application and sending your passport along with additional materials to the Embassy of Tanzania. Please visit the Tanzania Embassy website for more information.
Once you have entered the Arrivals Building, proceed to the Immigration Counter. Claim your checked bags at the Baggage Claim and then proceed through Customs. Be sure to keep all your bags together. After you clear customs, your RMI guide will meet you outside.
The provided transportation in Tanzania as stated in the itinerary is via private vehicle.
Immunizations & Travel Medicine
For the most current information on inoculation requirements and recommendations, please refer to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.
Travelers may suffer from upset stomachs when in foreign countries. There are some basic rules, however, that can help keep you healthy.
- Hygiene: It is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before meals and after using the restroom. If water is not available for washing, we recommend using a hand sanitizer.
- Water: The number one rule is: don't drink the water, and that includes shower water and ice! Brush your teeth with purified water rather than tap water. You should check bottled water for a good seal and use a napkin to wipe excess moisture from drinking glasses. Take care with fruit juice, particularly if it has been diluted with water. Carefully clean the tops of bottled beverages before opening.
- Food: If it is cooked, boiled or can be peeled, you can usually eat it. Salads and fruits should be washed with purified water or peeled where possible. Be wary of ice cream and shellfish. Always avoid any undercooked meat.
While the small Mt. Meru Regional Hospital is located in Arusha, no Level 1 trauma care exists in Arusha or Moshi. Kilimanjaro and the safari remain remote locations without established medical facilities. Medical emergencies would require transport to a higher level of care in Nairobi, Kenya.
Tanzania Country Facts
The United Republic of Tanzania lies in East Africa at the edge of the Indian Ocean. The spice island of Zanzibar is separated from the mainland by a 22-mile channel. The country's name derives from the names of the two initial states, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which unified in April 1964 to become Tanzania.
The population of Tanzania is nearly 45 million persons, consisting of numerous tribal and ethnic groups. 44% of the population is age 15 or younger.
The official language of Tanzania is Swahili, but English is widely spoken or understood and is the principal language of commerce.
Tanzania has a spectacular landscape including islands, coastal plains, the inland plateau and the highlands. The Great Rift Valley that runs from north east of Africa through central Tanzania adds scenic beauty to the country. The country has the largest concentration of wild animals and is home to numerous famous national parks and game reserves.
TANZANIA PLASTIC BAG BAN
All plastic bags, regardless of their thickness are prohibited in Tanzania. Visitors to Tanzania are advised to avoid carrying plastic shopping bags, storage bags, or garbage bags in their suitcase and hand luggage to Tanzania.
Plastic bags known as "ziploc bags" that are specifically used to carry toiletries are permitted as they are expected to remain in the permanent possession of visitors and are not expected to be disposed in the country.
Tanzania enjoys a warm equatorial climate. Though Kilimanjaro is relatively dry and can be climbed year round, the main climbing seasons are during the months of January-February and June-September. These dates take advantage of both the best weather on Kilimanjaro as well as prime game-viewing. The weather is usually sunny and warm at the lower elevations, but can be quite cool in the evenings. It is not uncommon to experience cooler temperatures while on safari.
The two rainy seasons on Kilimanjaro are during the months of April-June and October-December. During the rainy season temperatures are colder and the trails turn muddy. The game viewing areas are also affected during this period as muddy roads may force closures of certain areas.
Although it is not expected that we dress formally, we should dress modestly. Casual and comfortable clothing and shoes are suggested. Showing expensive cameras, watches, jewelry, etc. is considered unseemly and may attract unwanted attention.
On occasion, you will be approached by children for some little gift. Some ask directly for money. These children can be quite persistent. To keep from being hassled, a polite but firm “No, thank you” is generally sufficient.
It is expected that you engage in some degree of bargaining for market or street purchases. This is fun, and should be taken lightly.
Ask for permission before photographing individuals, particularly indigenous people. Most of the locals will gladly pose for a photo in exchange for a small gift. If in doubt, either ask or refrain. Don't photograph any government or military property or persons; this includes the airport.
Since the electricity in Africa is not the same as in the United States, voltage converters and plug adapters are required in order to use U.S. appliances.
The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling (TSh). Check a financial newspaper or www.xe.com for the current exchange rate prior to departure.
U.S. Dollars are accepted nearly everywhere. It is best to use crisp, clean bills printed in 2006 or later. We suggest bringing $800 total for personal spending money including restaurant meals, drinks, pocket money, and the Support Staff Tip Pool.
We recommend that you have some small denominations of cash with you for your arrival at the airport, shopping at local markets, paying for drinks, visiting a Maasai Village, etc. You should change to TSh only as much money as you think you may spend (i.e., carry cash of small denominations) as local currencies cannot be removed from the country or reconverted.
Cash machines, by far the best way to get cash in country, are readily available in Arusha and on safari.
Everyone has a preferred way to carry money. Some use money belts, others have hidden pockets. Whatever you do, be aware of pickpockets in any area which caters to tourists.
Here are some tipping guidelines for your trip.
Support Staff Tip Pool: We recommend that each climber contribute $400 to the Tip Pool. This is collected at the beginning of the trip and will cover group tips for all our support and mountain staff throughout the program. Tips are expected and considered part of their wage. We follow the tipping requirements as outlined by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Program (KPAP).
Our guides work hard to ensure your well-being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 – 15% of the cost of the program. If you would rather not bring the guide gratuity with you on the trip, you can send a check or call the RMI office to pay with a credit card upon your return.
There are a number of books on travel health including: Staying Healthy in Asia, Africa and Latin America by Dirk Schroeder. Lonely Planet, Let's Go, Fodor's and Frommers are all good travel guides. Information and updates can be found on the website for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, which provides medical information for travelers as well as the consular information.
Alexander Stewart, Kilimanjaro: A Complete Trekker's Guide (A Cicerone Guide). Cicerone Press, 2004.
This is a beautifully illustrated, useful and packable guide.
GameReserve.com offers detailed and comprehensive information on Africa's top game parks.