This classic trek follows the most popular route to Mt Kilimanjaro and is the only one serviced by mountain huts, to provide protection from the elements. It’s the most direct path to the summit and covers the trail in just five days, with the help of experienced guides and porters. Walk through forests and alpine meadows, over rocky ravines and past lunar landscapes to the spectacular summit of Africa's highest peak.
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Jambo! Welcome to Tanzania.
Our hike begins at the Marangu Hotel in the foothills (1,300 m/4,500 ft) of Mt Kilimanjaro. On clear days, in the evenings and early mornings, the snow-capped mountains are visible from the hotel grounds.
Please make sure you are at Marangu Hotel by early evening, as your tour commences here with a full briefing and kit inspection before dinner by an experienced Kilimanjaro climber, in preparation for the start of our trek.
Please note that it is sometimes necessary to have this meeting on the morning of Day 2 if someone arrives late. Please check at reception for up to date information on where and when this important meeting will take place.
Accommodation for the first night of the trip is on a bed and breakfast basis. Please budget an additional US$20 for dinner.
Marangu Hotel is a beautiful farmhouse set in 12 acres of delightful tropical gardens.
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip: While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
The challenge begins!
We meet our guides and porters after breakfast. Each person has a personal porter and there are extra porters for camping equipment and food. Please read your trip notes for further information about your guides and porters.
It takes just 15 minutes to get to Marangu Gate (1,860 m/6,000 ft) at the entrance of the Mt Kilimanjaro National Park. We have to register as a group which can take a little bit of time depending on how busy things are. From here it is a long but easy walk through dense rainforest to the first mountain hut.
In the forest there are many species of brightly coloured birds and different types of monkeys can be seen and heard. We walk through giant heather on our way to Mandara Hut (2,725 m/9,000 ft) where we stop for the night. From here an optional walk to nearby Maundi Crater can be undertaken. If the skies are clear, there may be excellent views of the nearby town of Moshi far below.
The distance from Marangu Hotel to Mandara Hut is 12 km (approximately 3-5 hours).
- Fully catered trek including National Park entrance fees, climbing fee, mountain huts & rescue services (5 days)
- Services of highly experienced guides and porters
During the day's walk we traverse several ravines before reaching the hut, which is set in a rocky valley. As we walk there is time to enjoy a wide variety of vegetation and changing landscapes on the way to Horombo Hut (3,780 m/12,000 ft), where we spend the night.
The distance from Mandara to Horombo Huts is 15 km (approximately 5-7 hours).
Skirting Mawenzi Peak, we arrive at the stark lunar landscape of the Saddle. Reaching Kibo Hut in afternoon (4,740m/15,450ft), we take the opportunity to have an early night.
The distance from Horombo to Kibo Hut is 15km (approximately 5-7 hours).
The trek begins beneath the stars as we zigzag our way up a large scree slope guided only by torch light to reach Gilman's Point (5,685 m). Hopefully we'll arrive in time to see breathtaking views of the sun rising behind Mawenzi Peak. This is the stretch that most people find the hardest, and you should be prepared for a very cold morning. However, the dramatic spectacle of the sun rising over the ice fields of the crater will make the early start totally worthwhile.
For those who still have the will and the energy, it is a further two hours along the rim of the crater to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m), the highest point in Africa. From this peak, there are unforgettable views of the crater, the ice fields and the vast and distant East African plains below.
After photos and time to catch our breath we descend back to Horombo Hut for a well-earned rest.
The distance from Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak is 14 km (approximately 6-8 hours), and the descent to Horombo takes approximately the same amount of time.
Here transport awaits and we return to the Marangu Hotel for a relaxing shower or bath - a real treat after the physical exertions of the last few days. Over a celebratory meal we can relive and share our experiences of the past five days on the mountain.
You are free to depart at any time on the final day of your trip.
Transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport or Nairobi can be arranged at Marangu - please ask at reception.
- Kilimanjaro Machame Route Independent (YKAR-B)
- Serengeti & Kilimanjaro (YGOMC)
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Plenty of time is available each day to get between the huts on the mountain so you do not need to rush and you are in fact far better off going slowly and enjoying the changing scenery and views. That way you acclimatize better and are in better shape for the final trek from Kibo Hut to Gillman’s Point, or Barafu to Stella Point on the Machame route, and then around to Uhuru Peak.
We recommend that in the months leading up to your climb you increase your physical fitness with aerobic exercise. Walking, running and stair-climbing will all strengthen your legs and improve your stamina.
The official currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS).
Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2004. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2004 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2003 SERIES***
EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
VISA AND MASTERCARD:
With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change.
Your Crew (including the leader, local guides and porters): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline we recommend US$ 80 to 150 per person, for the Kili climb. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Please make sure you arrange your flights in order to arrive at Marangu hotel before 4pm on Day 1 in order to attend the very important pre-climb briefing and information session. This meeting is usually held before dinner, however in some instances it may be necessary to have the meeting on the morning of Day 2. Please check at reception what time and where this meeting will take place.
Breakfasts are provided at your pre/post climb accommodation. Please budget an additional US$20 if you would like dinner.
It's easy to book yourself a transfer from Nairobi to Marangu (or vice versa). Simply ask at your hotel. They will make a booking and collect payment for you (cost is approx US$80). This public shuttle transfer leaves your Nairobi hotel around 8am in the morning and you should arrive at your destination at 3pm. There is also often an afternoon shuttle available - please ask at your hotel.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
This trip is led by experienced guides, with a minimum of 1 guide to every 2 climbers. Sufficient porters are employed to carry the group’s equipment.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Alternatively there are daily shuttle bus services connecting Nairobi, Arusha, Moshi and Marangu Hotel. If you are travelling all the way through to Nairobi we recommend you leave yourself plenty of time. This service departs the hotel at around 11.30am and arrives in Nairobi between 6.00-6.30pm depending on traffic. This service can also be booked through the hotel and costs around 80USD oneway.
- Office: +255 27 2756594 or +255 27 2756361
- Mob: +255 (0)754 886092
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - Visa required
Belgium: Yes - Visa required
Canada: Yes - Visa required
Germany: Ye - Visa required
Ireland: Yes - Visa required
Netherlands: Yes - Visa required
New Zealand: Yes - Visa required
South Africa: Yes - Visa required
Switzerland: Yes - Visa required
United Kingdom: Yes - Visa required
USA: Yes - Visa required
It is recommended you purchase your visa in advance at any Diplomatic or Consulate Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania abroad. The cost is approximately US$100 depending on nationality and should take 1 business day. At the present time you do not require a multi entry visa to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda due to an agreement between the three countries (eg. if you exit Kenya to Tanzania you can re-enter Kenya on the same visa). However if your trip visits Tanzania twice after a visit to a country other than those listed above, you may need to purchase two visas.
It is also possible to obtain a tourist's visa for a single entry at any one of the following main entry points to Tanzania, subject to the fulfilment of all immigration and health requirements:
-Dar es Salaam International Airport
-Zanzibar International Airport
-Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA)
-Namanga Entry Point (Tanzania-Kenya boarder point)
-Kasumulu Border crossing
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
Most of your clothing that you are not actually wearing will be carried by your porter in a bag which is locally known as a sulfet. This comes from the word 'sulphate' as these sacks originally contained fertiliser. The bags, used to carry 50 kg of fertiliser, are washed and go on sale in the markets. They are made of a woven plastic material and are very strong if far from pretty. The items to be carried by the passenger's porter go into this and it is then put into a homemade plastic sheath for waterproofing and finally a canvas pack that the porters carry on their heads.
Every porter load is weighed by the Park and cannot exceed 25 kg. Marangu Hotel weigh the 'gear sacks' at the hotel before the group sets off - 15 kg is your maximum gear allowance. Although a guide will always accompany you on the trail you are unlikely to see your porter (as they are very fast!) except at the huts or the camps. Therefore it is important you pack carefully the smaller day pack you carry yourself. Anything you need during the course of the day should be in your day pack including, most importantly, something warm and something waterproof.
Light clothing is generally sufficient until you reach the 3-4000 metre/12-14,000 feet altitude range provided you always have something warm and waterproof in your daypack. Beyond these altitudes, even if the mornings are glorious, you must always be ready for dramatic changes in the weather, including snow storms. You must have clothing with you in your daypack adequate to the conditions.
It is for the final ascent that all your warm clothing is important. The ascents are normally done at night and this is when the coldest temperatures are experienced. You must be prepared for temperatures of minus 25 degrees celsius/minus 13 Fahrenheit. As a rule you should wear 2 pairs of socks, 3 layers on the legs, 4-5 layers on top. A balaclava or ski mask is necessary to keep the head warm and you should have a hood to protect your head from wind. Mittens and dark glasses are also needed.
Note: the bag the porter carries for you should not exceed 15 kg/33 lbs. If bags are too heavy items may have to be removed or the climber may choose to hire an additional porter.
• Anorak/parka with hood
• Balaclava/ski mask
• Ski sunglasses
• 2 pairs warm trousers
• Thermal underpants and vest/long sleeved
• 6 pairs socks thin and thick
• T-shirts x 3, long sleeve shirts x 2-3
• Sweater/fleece x 1
• Waterproof trousers and jacket
• Sun hat
• Boots and trainers/sandals
• Small first aid kit
• Day pack, approx 30 litres
• Refillable water bottles (3 x 1 litre) and if desired water purification method
• Good quality, super-warm 4-season sleeping bag (these can be borrowed from our local operator in Tanzania but this
service is on a request basis only - please book your bag at time of booking)
• Optional - Thermarest or trekking roll mat (All huts have mattresses).
• Headache tablets
• Imodium (loperamide)
• Climbers may like to consult their physicians about azetazolomide (Diamox), a drug that many find mitigates the ill effects of altitude, headache, diarrhoea & vomiting.
• Torch/flashlight and spare batteries(head torches are really great)
• Sunblock and high SPF lip balm
• Camera, film, extra batteries - you will not be able to recharge on the mountain but can at the Marangu Hotel before and after the climb
• Wet wipes
Over the years Marangu Hotel has accumulated clothing for use on the mountain and have long had a policy of lending whatever is available at no extra charge. It is vitally important however that you know that this gear is dependent on availability and cannot be guaranteed. Hotel staff will check each climber's clothing and equipment to ensure no essential items are omitted. An agreed upon deposit, refundable upon return in good condition, may be required. Lost equipment will be charged for at replacement value.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip.
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor
We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip.
While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
* Amani Children's Home rescues street children and orphans from homelessness and restores hope in their lives. At the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Moshi, Amani provides children off the street with a safe and loving home, education, medical care, healthy food, and counselling. Donations through the Intrepid Foundation will be used to rescue, feed, educate and care for the hundreds of homeless children that Amani helps every year.
* The Village Education Project Kilimanjaro (VEPK) was established in 1994 with the belief that education is one of the most important parts of building sound long-term economic growth for Tanzania. With the motto ‘Elimu ni uhai - Education is life’, its projects aim to provide improved primary and vocational education to Tanzanian children.