Mount Kilimanjaro Summit, with its three volcanic cones, “Kibo“, “Mawenzi“, and “Shira“, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and highest free standing mountain in the world, about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) from its base. 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level. The mountain is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. There are two distinct trekking seasons which constitute the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. They are January-March and June-October. January-March is generally colder than June-October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit.

Kilimanjaro Trek. Machame Route. September 2011. (7 day hike)
Kilimanjaro Trek. Machame Route. September 2011. (7 day hike)
Elevation: 5,895 m (19,341 ft)
Lava Tower

Lava Tower

There are several routes by which to reach Kibo or Uhuru Peak, the highest summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Machame route, nicknamed the "whiskey"route, is one of the best routes to take, both in terms of acclimatization and scenery. It takes 6-7 days from start to finish. It is great for acclimatization with many walk high and sleep low opportunities. There is a good opportunity to split the pre-summit day climb to leave climbers rested before summiting.

It is a challenging trek with stunning scenery through 5 diverse climatic zones.

1. Forest zone

2. Heather zone

3. Moorland zone

4. Highland Desert (very little vegetation)

5. The Summit (scree) 

1. Sleeping bag (-8 to +25 degrees celcius)

2. Sleeping bag liner

3. Self inflating sleeping mattress

4. Self inflating pillow

5. Two sets of thermal underware

6. Trekking poles with good grips

7. Thermal gloves & inners

8. Water proof poncho

9. Rain jacket

10. Thermal summit jacket

11. Back pack & porter bag (take a plastic pag to waterproof your clothes inside)

12. Good hiking boots (worn in)

13. Polaroid sun glasses

14. Two insulated 750 ml water bottles (on summit night, store the bottles in your socks, upside down so that the opening of the bottle does not freeze up)

15. One water bladder camel back (3 litre) (on summit night blow warm air back into the pipe after each sip to prevent the pipes from icing up)

16. One insulated 1 litre bottle

17. Omni shaped hat and plain cap

18. One polar buff

19. Normal head buff

20. Polar beanie

21. Rain proof trousers

22. Medium fleece trousers

23. Large micro fibre towel

24. Small micro fibre towel

25. Thin fleece sleeping trousers

26. Thin, medium and heavy fleece jumper

27. Inner socks (7)

28. Medium socks (7)

29. Thermal summit socks (1)

30. Hiking shirts

31. Hydrate powder sport drink (makes mountain water taste good!)

32. One light pair of shoes for the camp

33. Bio degradable toilet paper

34. Spare batteries (insulate batteries in your socks on summit night)

35. Thermal hand warmers (use on summit night)

36. Sachets of GU, trail munchies, biltong and dry worse

37. Small tissues

38. Deet spray (for Moshi overnight)

39. Factor 50 sun cream

40. Dettol hand wash

41. Foam ear plugs (sound proofing to help you sleep better)

42. Eye shades

43. Disinfect wipes & normal wet wipes (helps to keep you clean as there is no showering facilities)

44. Duct tape (for repair work)

45. Toiletries

46. Deodrant stick

47. Good head lamp

48. Small LED light (for the tent at night)

49. Swiss army knife

50. Waterproof passport holder

51. Mirror

52. Small first aid kit

53. Water purification & neutralizer tablets

54. Diamox tablets (take 1/2 a pill in the morning & 1/2 at midday - help to ease the altitude sickness)

55. Buscapan, imodium, brufen, broad based antibiotic, motilium, voltarin and antiseptic cream.

56. Small sewing kit

57. Lip balm

58. Vaseline (prevent any friction)

59. Spare boot laces

60. Small flask for coffee on summit day (take some coffee sachets)

61. Water proof camera

62. Small disposable bags (for garbage)

63. Daffel bag to leave behing at hotel with spare set of travel clothes & shoe cleaner for your boots after the hike. (padlock for your bag)

TIPS: USD 600 - 1,000

Special travel insurance (Bupa travel)

Immunization papers (yellow fever)

Passports, wallet, trip vouchers and airline tickets

Do not forget: "Pole-pole"... start & continue to hike very slowly to offset the altitude sickness.

I would seriously recommend renting a portable tent loo. I did not take this option, but if I was to do it all over again, I would. The porters will carry it up the mountain and set it up for you at each camp site. I know it sounds crazy, but you will never regret the extra cost of hiring the portable loo, after you see the terrible state of the long drop toilets in the camps sites.

When it comes to travel specialists, I recommend Wild Frontiers, a South African travel company. They will organise all your travel arrangements . They will arrange your accomodation, internal flights, organise your team of porters, your guides, park fees, etc.

The Jambo Song

Anyone who has successfully summited Kilimanjaro has one experience in common. Not the mental struggle of pushing yourself harder than you thought possible. Not the unforgettable moment when you finally take in the view from the “Roof of Africa.” It’s the Jambo song. Sung by your guides and porters after a successful trek, it’s an exuberant, joyful song, accompanied by clapping and the voices of the entire crew.

The song begins with a few tips useful for any trekker: walk slowly, drink plenty of water, and don’t worry too much about it! But by the end, the mountain seems menacing, enormously high and doing its best to chew you up and spit you out. No wonder they sing this after you’ve made it to the top and back again… Semi-sinister lyrics aside, singing the Kilimanjaro song is a joyous occasion, filled with laughter, dancing (from porters and guests alike), and celebration.


Jambo! Jambo bwana! Habari gani? Mzuri sana! Wageni, mwakaribishwa! Kilimanjaro? Hakuna matata! Tembea pole pole. Hakuna matata! Utafika salama. Hakuna matata! Kunywa maji mengi. Hakuna matata! Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro, Kilimanjaro, mlima mrefu sana. Na Mawenzi, na Mawenzi, Na Mawenzi, mlima mrefu sana. Ewe nyoka, ewe nyoka! Ewe nyoka, mbona waninzunguka. Wanizunguka, wanizunguka Wanizunguka wataka kunila nyama


Hello! Hello sir! How are you? Very well! Guests, you are welcome! Kilimanjaro? No trouble! Walk slowly, slowly. No trouble! You’ll get there safe. No trouble! Drink plenty of water. No trouble! Kilimanjaro! Kilimanjaro! Kilimanjaro, such a high mountain. Also Mawenzi, also Mawenzi! Also Mawenzi such a high mountain. Like a snake, like a snake! Like a snake you wrap around me You wrap around me, you wrap around me Trying to eat me like a piece of meat

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