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Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Image Title: Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. [Photo: Open Door Travelers]
Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. [Photo: Open Door Travelers]

Kilimanjaro is serious bucket list territory. I did a lot of research for our group before booking our trip. This is where we ended up booking: Ultimate Kilimanjaro.  Ultimate Kilimanjaro is the US Front for Zara Tours. We were very pleased with the price, the logistics, the staff, and the gear they provided.  Basically, they have a well-run program and they are socially responsible in the way the treat and pay the porters.  This was a really big deal for us – we didn’t want to support a guide service that didn’t support the porters.  Zara has several programs to support the porters including gear and fair wages.  They also support an orphanage in Arusha that you will have the [heartbreaking] opportunity to visit if you want after the climb.

 Here are a few additional considerations as you get serious about your booking:

Look for a full-moon summit day.

  • Do a Safari BEFORE the climb.  All the packages steer you to Safari on the back-end, but if you do it on the front-end you get to clear your jet lag, get your system used to different food and water, learn a little bit about the country, and even get a little acclimatization at 2,000ft if you go to the Ngorogoro Crater park.
  • Bring an extra one-way duffel full of used climbing clothes and gear for the guides and porters. Your old stuff that should be bound for Salvation Army is like gold to these guys and really appreciated. Boots and even tennis-shoe hikers are a premium.
  • I printed dry-fit long-sleeve Tee’s to commemorate our expedition and gave 15 of them to the guides to distribute among themselves, porters, and cooks.  This was $200 that really made an instant bond with the guys taking care of us.
  • Pole-Pole really is the linchpin to a successfull Kili climb.  We did an 8 day Machame route and never had any trouble.  Over-training not only ensures success, but ensures enjoyment.  The last day is a ball-buster, no matter how you look at it.
  • The hardest part any of us had was knees coming down the last day.  I would strongly suggest bringing knee braces for the last day and to make a point of training yourself good knee preservation technique for a long down climb.
  • Get Trip Insurance! We used Allianz.  You can book your Allianz Travel Insurance through our affiliate link: Allianz and we will get a commission, but you won’t see any difference.  4 months before our trip, our oldest daughter was in a horrible car accident that prevented my wife from going on the trip.  Our daughter survived and is ok now and Allianze paid up without any hassle.  At our age, a lot of things (like knees) can take you out on a trip like this.


Phil & Diane


[Disclosure: No goods, services, or discounts were recieved by the businesses mentioned in this artcle as compensation for inclusion.]