“ Sightseeing Type: Tours „
I went on an Exodus tour to Kilimanjaro during my gap year (summer 2007). I was looking for something that would be more challenging than just throwing on a backpack and picking a continent. The concept really appealed to me- to be able to say that I've stood on the highest point of the African continent sounded like something worth talking about when I would be making friends at university.
The cost of the trip was at the time £1500, although this included flights and I think due to the increase in flight costs the price has now gone up slightly. Anyway, this money got me return flights from Heathrow to Nairobi and return flights from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro international. Also included were two nights at a hotel including breakfasts and evening meals, and six nights camping with three meals a day and snacks. Also covered were the guides for the trip, porters, basically everything. Whilst I was out there I had to pay for one lunch at the hotel and I bought a few beers on our safe return and that was about it. You really do get good value for your money.
NOTE- the price quoted on the website will not include the tax you pay to enter the national park. This is around 600 US Dollars to be paid on top of the cost of the rest of the trip.
For this trip you need a four season sleeping bag, a good set of walking shoes or hiking boots, a day sack with capacity around 30 litres, a head torch, a good coat for the summit day, a good pair of gloves, a warm hat (or two), at least one 1 litre drinks bottle and the usual mozzie repellent, suncream etc.
You can hire a sleeping bag, a warm coat, a day sack, gloves etc locally for pretty reasonable prices if you don't wish to fork out more on top of the cost of the trip. Also the mozzie repellent is only really needed on the first and last days of the climb which pass through forest like vegetation. I forgot my repellent and didn't get bitten once.
Its Africa so Typhoid and Yellow Fever and Hep A are a must I believe along with an up to date Tetanus and polio.
Malaria medication is also a must and I took with me Diamox to counter any effects of altitude sickness, although thankfully I didn't need it.
I went on the Rongai route which is considered to be of medium difficulty. The shortest route, Shira route is the most popular and most busy (known locally as the coca cola route). Rongai offers a more varied landscape, longer to acclimatise and a better sense of wilderness as it is a much less crowded route. The climb itself takes six days (4 ½ days up and 1 ½ to get down) with a day at the hotel at either end.
Worth every penny. On the first day a porter offered to show us round Marangu and for a few dollars we got a great tour of the place including the old Kibo hotel. The hotel we stayed in was called something like "the mountain resort" but it was brand new (to the extent that there were still electricians there when we arrived) and I could have no complaints whatsoever.
The climb itself is pretty easy going if you can handle being on your feet for a few hours a day. You don't need any experience, just a reasonable base level of fitness is required. It only really gets tough above 4000m. When we got to the final camp before the summit day one guy in our group of 12 dropped out due to symptoms of altitude sickness. The summit day itself is a killer and a real test of mental toughness. I made it to Gillmans point for sunrise and reached the snow covered Uhuru peak along with 5 others from our group of 11 summiters nearly two hours later. The views really are worth all the effort. I have some photos which didn't really do it justice.
When you return from the climb you have a free day to explore before an evening flight. I went on a one day safari in Arusha national park which cost I think 100 USD. It was a great day out and a nice relaxing way to end the trip.
I absolutely loved every minute of this trip. I went on my own but came back with friendships, I relished the physical and mental challenge, and I learnt a few things about myself and experienced another culture.
Some people in my group had combined this trip with a safari in Kenya before hand and recommended it. Some others were off to the Zanzibar beaches afterwards which again I'm told was thoroughly worthwhile. There were actually two honeymooning couples in our group- the exception rather than the norm I think!
From my experience, Exodus are an excellent tour operator and I would highly recommend them. This trip is a once in a lifetime and again I would endorse it fully. If you want to find out more feel free to msg me. Hope this is helpful!
Safari tours and climbs in Tanzania.