• Situated in Tanzania, east Africa, it is Africa’s highest peak at 5895m. It is the worlds’ highest free standing mountain. Loosely translated from Swahili and KiChagga languages it means “White Mountain”. “Uhuru”, the highest point, means “freedom”.

National park was established in 1910, and became a world heritage site in 1987.

  • It’s a strato-volcano with three volcanic cones: Mawenzi, Shira (oldest) and Kibo (youngest). The latter is dormant and last recorded activity was over 200 years ago. The former two craters are extinct. The highest point of Kilimanjaro is Uhuru peak on Kibo’s crater rim.
  • First recorded summit was in 1889, by a German geographer Hans Meyer. Today there are 25000 to 35000 climbers attempting to summit annually. 1000 evacuations occur annually, with 10-15 deaths per year. Only two thirds of climbers attempting to summit succeed
  • 4th highest of the 7 summits of the world.
  • Kilimanjaro Nat. Park contains 5 unique ecosystems: savannah bush land, sub montane agro-forest, montane forest, sub-alpine moorland and  alpine desert.
  • Youngest person to summit was 7yrs old, with the oldest being 85yrs.
  • Driest months are August to October thus the more favourable months to climb. Most rainfall occurs below 3000m.
  • 140 species of mammals and 179 bird species.
  • Ice cap is gradually melting and could be totally removed within the next 20 years according to most predictions.
  • There are 6 routes to choose from: Shira, Lemosho, Machame, Umbwe, Marangu and Rongai.

Summiting Kilimanjaro will require some expenditure for appropriate gear as a climber will encounter some extreme conditions either while summiting on summit night or getting to base camp. As the altitude increases so the temperature decreases and overnight temperatures do plummet to below zero degrees Celsius. As you progress up the mountain icy winds may develop esp. at Lava Tower which is at 4600m.

Bearing the above in mind the following was found to be very helpful. Your kit needs to be divided into two broad categories:

a)      Your day-pack ( this you carry: items that will you require whilst trekking)
b)      Your duffel bag ( this your porter carries: thus no access to it until you get to the following camp where it will be waiting for you in your tent)



A)     DAY-PACK: ( waterproof/cover, compartments, side-pockest,insulated water bladder and hose)

  • WATER: “medicine for the mountain”, at least 4 litres per day. 2-3l water bladder preferably insulated, with 2 water bottles (600-1000mls each)preferably insulated
  • Sunscreen UV 50+, skin moisturiser
  • Lip balm with UV protection 30+
  • Medications, chlorine drops
  • Snacks/rehydration solution/drinks/enrgy solutions
  • Woollen Beanie, inner gloves, buff
  • Waterproof trousers and rain jacket (poncho optional)
  • 100 fleece
  • 200 fleece
  • Trekking/hiking poles
  • toilet paper, hand sanitiser, wet wipes (in a zip-loc bag)
  • pocket knife, utility tool, camera, spare batteries (or solar- panel charger with cables optional)
  • pocket tissues
  • hikers first aid kit
  • gators
  • sunglasses, broad rim hat
  • Copies of passport and yellow fever certificates
  • Small amount of cash: USD or Tanzanian shillings




B)     DUFFEL BAG: (strong, durable, waterproof)

  • Thermal underwear: tops and bottoms (2-3 sets)
  • Spare fleeces: 100 and 200 and 300
  • Thick track suit pants
  • Spare hiking shirtsx3 and trousersx3,
  • Head lamp x2 with spare batteries
  • Hand warmers
  • Underwear, socks
  • Camp shoes: to change out of your hiking boots in camp
  • Additional snacks, supplementation, rehydration.
  • Additional medications, chronic prescription
  • Additional Toilet paper, wet wipes.
  • Toiletries, face cloths, insect repellent, skin glide
  • Thick outer gloves
  • Hard shell for chest, and hard shell beanie
  • Journal, pencil, pen
  • Tough outer plastic cover for duffel bag, cable ties
  • Sleeping bag (-8?C preferable, sleeping bag inners may allow for colder conditions but are uncomfortable), inflatable pillow, inflatable mattress.
  • Bulkier first aid kit
  • Utility bag: duck tape, spare laces, cable ties, nylon, hooks and needles etc.
  • Dri-bags: these are waterproof and help to compartmentalise your duffel bag, handy as a linen bag too.

  • SLOW ASCENT- POLE……..POLE……… like a chameleon.
  • CLIMB WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW. Should you encounter problems or difficulty they would be able to assist you or determine the seriousness of your condition and aid in decision making.
  • Be prepared for weather conditions to change within the hour on the hour.
  • Gators only needed if hiking in the rain and for descent from summit (sand and loose stones).
  • Sunscreen is crucial especially to apply on summit night.
  • Its cold up there and water will freeze on summit night. A thermos of hot water will go a long way on summit night should your water freeze.
  • Keep well hydrated and well fed especially on summit day/night. This will be a long gruelling day with exposure to the elements and effect of altitude all at once.
  • Keep comfortable: STOP and strip if you are over-heating and dress-up if you are cold.
  • Test all your gear BEFORE attempting to climb the mountain, before-hand.
  • Soft shoes/trainers are very welcome in camp to give your feet a break from your boots
  • BOOTS MUST BE COMFORTABLE, test different sock combinations and break your boots in.
  • Trekking poles are a must: takes up to 20% of your weight off your legs, crucial for the long descent.
  • It’s a physical AND a mental climb
  • It’s 1.2kms form Stellar point to Uhuru peak ( not 400m, as I was told).
  • It’s not a race, take it easy and enjoy the experience.
  • Apply external ID tags to your duffel bag to differentiate yours from other similar duffel bags.
  • Invest in a portable toilet- well worth the cost

Calm over the horizon

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