Here are the top five mistakes that people make when booking their Kilimanjaro trip.
The first one and probably the biggest mistake is contacting too many companies that guide Mount Kilimanjaro. We know it is difficult to decide on which operator to choose since there are easily over 200 of them. Keep in mind, however, that the success of your climb is determined by the operator you choose. Not everyone will summit and your odds greatly decrease if you choose the wrong company to climb Kilimanjaro with.
By sending out many “cut and paste” emails to many companies is one, lazy and two, will just end up confusing you. Many times we have to spell out to people what exactly we offer and don’t offer and they will argue with us when all along they were thinking of another company.
To avoid this confusion, narrow down your list of reputable operators and send out just a couple of emails or better yet, fill out their online form so you get an email response and accompanying literature to sort through later. Afterall, it is your trip and you should have some knowledge about what you are doing, what gear to bring, how to pack and how to train since climbing Kilimanjaro is a difficult and dangerous adventure.
The second biggest mistake people make when booking their Kilimanjaro trip is not communicating with us when things change from their booking form. A couple of examples are, not letting us know your flight times or if you need additional accommodations. We can’t pick you up without knowing your arrival time. If your flight arrives in the middle of the night and you haven’t booked additional lodging, we won’t even pick you up. We do not want to be responsible for finding you someplace to stay at that hour.
This one is easy to solve. Just email or call us before you arrive. Keep us posted when you need to make changes and fill out the required forms.
When going to Africa and climbing Kilimanjaro do your homework. You are spending thousands of dollars to fly halfway around the world and need to know what to bring, what exactly climbing Kilimanjaro entails and even where Tanzania is located.
We have heard questions like “Do I have to wear a jacket when climbing in August?” or “Can I do a horseback riding Serengeti safari?” If the people asking these questions had done a little research, they would know that yes, you need a jacket. Tanzania is in the Southern hemisphere and August is winter there. Additionally, the mountain is 19,341 feet tall and is usually cold, covered in snow and windy at the summit with temperatures hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit. And as far as horseback riding in the Serengeti—riding food through tall grass near predators such as lions, hyenas, jackals, and cheetahs will just end badly.
So how can you avoid making these mistakes? Research. Read the confirmation emails, itineraries, website, and guidebook. Ask questions. One type of question we get all the time is “What do I need to know?” or “What things can you tell me that I am not thinking of?” First of all, we are not mind readers, we don’t know what you do and do not know. And secondly, write out a list of questions after you have read the provided materials and our website then send us an email.
Make sure you bring enough money on your trip. ATMs are not readily available and credit cards are not accepted except in large stores and markets. Bring enough cash for tipping, souvenirs, rental gear, and food. Most of the street vendors, local business, restaurants, rental gear and tips can be paid for with US Dollars. Make sure they are 2009 and newer, undamaged bills.
So how much should you bring? We recommend at least $800 or more depending on what your trip consists of. ie climb, safari and/or Zanzibar.
Five: Under Pack
Finally, the fifth biggest mistake people make is not packing enough comfort items. We give a recommended list of gear to bring. Keep in mind, we are avid outdoorsmen and ultralight backpacking is how we roll when covering many miles with a pack on your back. We can easily do a five day Sierra Nevada backpack with a pack that weighs only 25-28 pounds. And that is with a bear canister. So if you are not used to roughing it, we recommend bringing extra socks, base layers, t-shirts, gloves, warm layers, and snacks.
So there you have it, these are the top five mistakes people make when going on a Kilimanjaro trip.