The most important step in having a successful Kilimanjaro trip is to hire the right guide company. Your guide service is the single most important factor in determining the success of your climb. We aren’t just using that as a slogan. It is true. First of all, when choosing a Kilimanjaro Operator, you’ll want to find an experienced and safe operator. There are hundreds of operators on the Mountain, but only a handful are actually reputable.
Here is a list of items and services that a reputable company such as Peak Planet offers:
- Daily health checks of climbers including pulse and oxygen saturation readings, temperature readings, Blood pressure readings and listening to the heart and lungs
- Wilderness First Responder certified and IFREMMONT trained guides
- AMREF Flying Doctors mountain rescue and evacuation insurance
- Satellite, real-time tracking of trekking parties
- Heavy duty mountaineering tents for sleeping and dining in lieu of locally made tents
- Inflatable sleeping pads in lieu of locally made foam pads
- 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 pickup and drop off
- Private toilet tents
Budget operators do not offer many of these amenities. They do not focus on safety and their equipment is often used, handmade, damaged and inadequate for high altitude trekking.
Most of all, make sure your operator is going to be there when you arrive. They may 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.
One big mistake that clients make is not reviewing their itinerary when they receive it. So another way to have a successful Kilimanjaro trip is to review your booking form. Once you have reviewed it, book your flight to arrive on the correct date. We recommend that you come in at least one day earlier. Booking this rest day allows for any flight delays and for any delayed or lost bags. This also gives you a day to recover from the long flight and to participate in the trip briefing. If your flights arrive on a different day than your booking form says, please let us know immediately so we can book additional lodging for you.
Additionally, check your itinerary for your safari and make sure your flights depart after the time stated. For example, if you booked a 5-day Luxury safari you should not book your flight to leave any earlier than 8 PM on the last day. Better yet, stay an additional night in Arusha before departing the next day.
We do not recommend booking your departure flight the same day you come off the mountain. First of all, if you are with a group you’ll have to wait for everyone to come down. Two, you’ll have to wait for your guide to check you out of the park—there is usually a line for that. And three, you are going to want a hot shower, dinner and a well deserved night of sleep.
Furthermore, check your flight tickets. With several stops, you may overlook the time you land. We can’t pick you up if we don’t know when your flight lands. JRO is 40 minutes from Moshi, so if you arrive at a different time than you told us, it’ll be at least an hour before we can get to you and that is only if we have a driver available.
Also, make sure you are landing at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and not Arusha Airport (ARK) or Dar es Salaam (DAR). We can pick you up from ARK but for an additional fee. Keep in mind, ARK is an hour and 45 minutes from Moshi. We will not pick you up from DAR since it is 9:30 from Moshi.
Another problem to watch out for is to confirm your tickets before arriving at your home airport. Sometimes when you book online they may send you a confirmation email. It may go to spam and if you don’t click the confirmation link your ticket will be canceled.
Finally, check the status of your flights. Make sure they are on time or have not been canceled. If they have, use WhatsApp and text us to let us know. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, but we are 10 hours behind Tanzania so texting via WhatsApp is a much faster way to let us know when your flight will arrive.
- Outside Tanzania: +255 753 896962 or +255 769 079525.
- Inside Tanzania: +255 0753 896962 or +255 0769 079525.
On a side note: If your bags do not arrive with you at JRO, let our driver know immediately so we can begin tracking them down or replacing your gear.
“Pole, Pole,” the guide said. If you have climbed Kilimanjaro, you will hear that the entire way. If you haven’t climbed yet, what does it mean? Pole, is Swahili for slowly. We want you to make the summit. You spent a lot of money getting there and trained for months to be able to make the summit. Our guides will tell you “pole, pole” every day. Listen to them. You are ascending very rapidly to 19,341 feet and your body needs the time to adapt. It doesn’t matter how fit you are, altitude sickness can get anyone at any time. You can read more about altitude sickness here: https://peakplanet.com/acclimatization-how-to-summit-mount-kilimanjaro-safely-and-successfully/.
Finally, the best way to make sure you have a successful Kilimanjaro trip is to listen to the guides. Our guides are experts on the Mountain. All of them have been climbing Kilimanjaro for many years. Some have been to the summit over 400 times. We have had department heads of prestigious hospitals tell us that they were impressed with the medical knowledge our guides have. Listen to them. They know what they are talking about.
Our guide and assistant guides will also tell you to drink plenty of water as you hike. You will also be provided plenty of water when you are at camp. Drink it. It will help your body adapt to the elevation.
Every night our guide gives a briefing to cover what you’ll need to know for the following day. This includes what gear to pack in your day pack and the amount of water you’ll need. During this briefing, you also be given a health check. We monitor and log each and every client every day to make sure they are as healthy as they can be as they ascend the mountain.
Afterwall, we really do want you to succeed in your summit attempt. We want your climb to be the safest possible and we want you to stand on the summit of the highest peak in Africa and marvel at what you just accomplished.
Also published on Medium.