Paperwork | Travel Arrangements | Visa & Entry | Climate | Lodging | Food | Physical Conditioning | Gear | Local Guides & Porters | Expenses & Tipping | Balloon Ride | eVisa Instructions | Covid-19 Protocols
Please take the time to read the entire Logistics section in full. If you have questions, feel free to call the Alpine Ascents office or email us.
Please return the requested paperwork, (application and flight itinerary) as soon as possible. This information assists us in procuring permits and making final hotel reservations.
⎕ Flight itinerary
⎕ Tanzanian Visa (Obtained on arrival or prior, see below)
As there are many unforeseen circumstances that may occur during or leading up to the trip, we strongly recommend trip insurance for your expedition.
A variety of trip insurance options are available through different providers. We recommend Comprehensive Trip Insurance for your protection.
There are two basic policies: ‘standard trip insurance’ which can cover injuries or illness, or a ‘cancel for any reason’ addon which covers a wider variety of situations. Note – this addon is considerably more expensive, and if paid out only covers 75% of the trip fee. Please note this is just a summation of the policies available.
Please see complete specific policy information for our recommended policies..
Please note that trip dates are inclusive of travel time from your home country and a day-to-day itinerary can be found in your initial confirmation letter. Please forward a copy of your flight itinerary before booking so we may review departure and arrival dates. Alpine Ascents highly recommends the services of Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel: [email protected] when making flight arrangements.
Flying to Tanzania
Most climbers arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport. KLM/NW is currently the only flight from the US, via Amsterdam. Other possibilities are via Ethiopia or Nairobi (via additional shuttle flight).
Suggested Flight Departure: KLM Flight 571 — Arriving Day 2 of your expedition at 7:45 p.m.
Suggested Flight Return: KLM Flight 569 — Departing the 2nd to last day of your expedition at 8:50 p.m.
Other Flights and Early Arrivals: We will accommodate other flights. For those arriving early or departing after the scheduled itinerary, we are happy to make hotel and airport transfer arrangements. Please contact our office in advance of your departure if you would like us to make additional reservations for you at an additional cost.
Upon Arrival: We will pick you up at the airport. Please look for an Alpine Ascents sign upon leaving customs. It is very rare that we miss a pick up.
Visa & Entry Requirements
Each climber needs a visa to enter the country of Tanzania. There are 3 methods of obtaining a visa.
- Obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport (this is the easiest method)
- Obtain an e-visa which can save time on arrival. This is an online form which will save time at the airport and prearranges your visa, then you can obtain your formal visa more quickly on arrival. (See below for directions on obtaining an evisa)
- Obtain a full visa through Tanzanian Embassy/Consulate and best for those traveling with a passport from a country that does not allow evisas
Please contact us any time for questions.
The most common considerations are 1) polio and tetanus 2) Typhoid 3) Hepatitis A 4) Malaria prophylactics. If you are coming from another East African country (transit not included) such as Kenya and Ethiopia, climbers must have a yellow fever shot and certificate. Climbers should bring a small medical kit which can include prescription drugs and Diamox/Acetazolamide for altitude illness. Your guide will discuss the proper usage and dosages for Diamox during your orientation day. We encourage you review the latest health information regarding Tanzania, at the Center for Disease Control’s website:
Climate in Tanzania
The climate in East Africa can be cooler than many expect. Arusha sits at 4,400’ ft. on the Masai step. The July – September season is the dry season, and the coolest time of year. Expect daytime temperatures in the high 60’s and nighttime temperatures in the low 50’s in town. Pants and sweaters are needed in the morning and evening. On safari most wear long pants (lightweight trekking pants) and a light long and short sleeve shirt. Bring nice/comfortable clothes for dining in the evenings. The December – March season is warmer with short sleeves being the norm and daytime temps in the 80’s, with lows in the lower 70’s. On safari many wear either lightweight trekking pants or shorts, a long sleeve roll-up safari shirt with comfortable tennis shoes. We recommend swimwear for the lodge pools.
On the mountain July-September is drier, but cooler with more wind up high. Summit temps can be 0˚ Fahrenheit or colder with wind chill. December-March is warmer, with more precipitation, particularly in December. Expect rain on the 1st and last days through the forest zone. Summit temps are warmer, typically 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit at the summit, with no wind. Keep in mind these mountain
temperatures are only guidelines, as with any big mountain, the weather and temperatures can be highly variable. We suggest you follow our gear list carefully to be fully prepared.
Hotels & Lodging
During the program we base out of the 4 star The Arusha Hotel, a classic and elegant remnant of old Colonial East Africa. This recently renovated gem is located directly in the center of town, offers a swimming pool and gym, extensive gardens, along with a 4 hour laundry service, a bar, and 2 restaurants. We will begin our trip here, leaving all extra items while on the mountain. Valuables will be locked in a secured safe with the management while we are on Kilimanjaro. We will return after the mountain for our celebration, before departing on safari the following morning, again leaving all extra items in storage. Finally, we will return after safari to enjoy lunch and repack all our items for evening departures homeward.
Four Points The Arusha Hotel
(Formerly New Arusha Hotel)
A classic colonial hotel that dates back to the 1920’s with a modern upgrade
Phone: (255) 222-772-782, Fax: (255) 222-773-409
Safari Lodges are deluxe 4 star accommodations with the world renowned Serena Lodges, located deep within each of the parks,
Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. These lodges have been individually designed to complement their environments while
reflecting the themes and influences of culture and custom within. Large open-plan areas and rondavel-style guest rooms represent
both the local landscape and the inhabitants who make up the rich tapestry of Tanzania. Dining is given great importance within Serena Lodges, with menus drawing from the classical African, European, and Asian origins, fused with modern eclectic themes and influences. Wherever possible, produce is sourced locally from the rich farmland areas nearby, allowing Serena Lodges to continue with support and commitment to local communities.
Water Treatment: All water served on the dining table and at meals has been boiled- purified. For water bottles there is a filling station inside the dining tent at camps, and the daily sit down lunch. Climbers can fill their bottles from a large 4 gallon dispenser that has been purified by cartridge filtration. We ask that you add treatment tablets to this water or use a steripen. This extra step of precaution has largely eliminated water borne issues. Food and Meals: We are all aware of the potential monotony of expedition food and Alpine Ascents makes every effort to have meals on the climb as enjoyable as possible. This includes local market shopping before each expedition, pre-planned meals and dining as a group in our dining tent. We take great care in our meal preparation while understanding the importance of enjoying your food and staying healthy.
We are proud to have some of the best expedition food on the mountain. Due to the hard work of the Tanzanian staff we are able to enjoy fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats every day, via several re-supply loads. Our chefs, most of whom have previously worked in hotels, are trained in hygiene and understand proper sanitation. Each morning we enjoy hot porridge, fresh fruit, eggs, toast, and
bacon or sausage. Lunches include fresh salads, soup, and grains. Dinners always include fresh meats, grains, vegetables, and soup.
For vegetarians it is easy to avoid the meat dishes while enjoying the plentiful grains and veggies. We also provide a small snack
bag each morning for our regular, short breaks throughout the day. We are able to accommodate gluten free, most food allergies.
Please contact us with your specific dietary needs.
Please note that most people under-train. You are expected to be in excellent physical condition for this trip following the guidelines below. Kilimanjaro at 19,340ft is an extreme, high altitude climb and is perhaps the most underestimated of the seven summits. You should be comfortable walking 7–8 hours per day. Summit day is the most demanding portion of the climb, typically involving 8 hours for the ascent and 6–7 hours for the descent. Our expeditions require strength & endurance. Being in sound physical condition is the single most important aspect for climbers to maximize their climbing potential.
The most frequent comment we have received over the years is that climbers have underestimated the fitness level needed to fully enjoy their trip. Additionally, inadequate fitness has an effect upon the atmosphere, pace, and overall enjoyment of the climb for your other team members.
For a more detailed training program, please read the training information on our website:
Please note: Those on the Lemosho/Crater Rim Route must acclimatize well to sleep at the crater rim camp (18,600 ft.). There will be an option to descend back to high camp after reaching the summit for anyone who is not acclimatized well enough and needs to sleep at the lower elevation of Kosovo (15,700 ft.).
Physiology Of Mountaineering
Hydration, dehydration, hypothermia, frostbite, and altitude illness are all important health conditions to be aware of while climbing. Please read our overview of physiology in the mountains:
We certainly understand that you may have personal preferences and have tested gear and gear systems in the field, but encourage you to contact us with any significant variations from the gear list. Please review required gear list online carefully and contact us if you have any questions.
This list is updated regularly, but some brands and models do change. You are required to bring every item on the list. We are happy to work closely with you on finding the proper gear. We have a storage facility in Arusha for gear not going up the mountain.
Outlets differ not only by hotel but hotel room. Adapters can also be bought locally.
Local Guides & Porters
The vast majority of guides and porters on Kilimanjaro are from the Chagga tribe. We have long standing relationships with many local companies, thus we are able to work with the same Chagga guides and crews for well over 10 years now. These highly experienced, hard working crews have done hundreds of trips with us, understand our high standards regarding safety, quality, and organization. They have become our friends and colleagues, who bring an important cultural component to the journey.
The Chagga’s are descended from Bantu speaking peoples, who began migrating to the Kilimanjaro region somewhere between the 12th and 15th centuries. The current Chagga population is estimated at about 2 million, and they are the 4th largest ethnic group in Tanzania. They are arguably one of the most economically successful peoples in East Africa, maintaining a strong presence in business, politics, and religion.
The area in and around Kilimanjaro is sometimes referred to as Chagga land with a total area of 2007 square miles. Our Chagga guides work directly with you and your Western guide for the whole trip. They assist you throughout the climb, both by carrying and in the role of a mountain guide. The rest of the senior Chagga staff do the cooking and setting up of camps, toilets, ect. The general porter staff transport all of our goods from camp to camp. We pass through Chagga villages on the way to the Machame trailhead start and from the Mweka trailhead finish on Day 7, returning to Arusha.
Personal Expenses & Tipping
Please review the Costs include/Do Not include portion of the website, particularly which meals are provided. Please bring at least an additional $600 beyond the recommended tips below, for personal items. U.S. currency over ten years old, or bills ripped or torn in any way will not be accepted in Tanzania.
Travelers Checks: Difficult to use, generally for limited amounts with a commission.
Credit Cards: American Express cards are not accepted many places. Visa/MC can still be useful in the hotels and lodges, but credit cards can be difficult elsewhere. Commission may be charged (usually 5%, though as high as 8%) basically covers the advantage the card user would normally have over typical hotel and agent exchange rates.
Cash: How much to bring is strictly a personal preference.
Although we prefer not to suggest tipping amounts, we feel obligated to pass on information that will help your trip run more smoothly. As tipping and expenses are a personal preference, the information below is merely a guideline. Though we rarely recommend this, American Dollars are the preferred method of payment in Tanzania, so plan on handling some expenses in Tanzania with cash. (Generally money is carried in a money belt underneath your clothing). Dollars are generally very difficult to get once in Africa, so plan ahead. Local ATM’s will give change in Tanzanian Shillings.
Tipping is in not mandatory but it is an established tradition on Kilimanjaro and safari. Tips help to supplement the low salaries that guides and porters receive from their Tanzanian employers. We strive to meet and exceed what is recommended by the Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project (KPAP), one of our program partners located in Moshi, Tanzania. https://kiliporters.org/
In partnership with our Tanzanian agents, we strive to ensure that the crews receive a fair daily living wage (combined salaries and tips) that is in the top 10% of the industry. Travelers frequently comment that they wish that they had brought more for tips. Guides, cooks, porters are tipped as follows:
• The tipping program for the Kilimanjaro staff will be explained in detail by the Western guide at orientation. Tips for the climb can be given directly to your Western guide during orientation and gear check day in Arusha. Your Western guide will take care of changing into local currency, handle the money and facilitate the tipping ceremony for the local crew on the last day at the Mweka gate end point. Each crew member receives their tip directly, one by one at the ceremony.
• The recommended tip pool donation per climber for the Tanzanian crew is $250 USD. For teams of less than 8 people we recommend increasing the amount.
• The total tips recommended for the entire trip amount is around $600-650 USD total for tips for climb and safari:
Tanzanian Crew $250
Western guide $200-$250
Safari guide $80
Misc. tips hotel porters, etc $20-30. (small bills)
• Recommended denominations to bring: $20 in 1 dollar bills (for tipping hotel porters in Arusha and on safari) $100 in 10 dollar bills, $500-600 in 50 or 100 dollar bills.
• Money changers give better rates for large bills ($50 or $100) and will only take NEWER BILLS (2013 or NEWER) with NO TEARS or DAMAGE
• It is easy to change to local currency in Arusha and your western guide will give information on how to do this.
Serengeti Balloon Ride
On the last day of the safari there is a scheduled morning game drive. Participants may opt for a sunrise Balloon Ride in the Serengeti. The approximately one-hour flight at dawn is an unforgettable experience. There is an additional fee for those team members who wish to add this to their itinerary. If you choose to add the balloon ride once in Arusha, please understand space may no longer be available. Current balloon ride costs can be found on our website:
Prior to entering Tanzania. Please use the instructions below to complete your eVisa application. Once completed, the Tanzanian government will send you an official confirmation which you will print out and take with you to the airport in Tanzania. This will expedite your entry process at the airport. On occasion the Tanzanian Embassy will ask for a letter of invitation which we can provide.
Please note to complete your online eVisa application you will need the following documents ready to upload in Jpeg format (300Kb size max) (Phone photos should work)
- Passport photo (300Kb max Jpeg or Png file)
- Photocopy/Scan of your passport document page showing photo and number (300Kb max)
- Return flight ticket/ (1MB max size)
To fill out the eVisa application, open a new browser and visit: https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/
- Application page 1: Create account with your email
- Application page 2: Enter your contact info and employment info
- Application page 3: Enter your passport info
- Application page 4: Please note the following info which you will need to complete your application. Enter the following under travel info:
- Host: Company/Organization
- Host full name: Mustafa Panju
- Mobile No: +255 786 989 898
- Email: [email protected]
- Company/Organization registration No: Bushbuck Safaris
- Relationship: Agent
- Address: Simeon Road P.O. BOX 1700 Arusha, Tanzania
- Application page 5: Enter your travel companions
- Application page 6: Scan your documents into system.
- Passport photo (300Kb max Jpeg or Png file)
- Passport Scan (300Kb max)
- Return ticket (1Mb max)
- Application page 7: Declarations page
- Application page 8: Make online visa payment ORDINARY SINGLE ENTRY VISA $50.00 USD (if ordinary visa not available, you can choose multiple entry)
A full set of guidelines can be found here: https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/guidelines
Once you complete your application and pay online, you will be able to check the status of your application using the i.d. number you were given, along with the email and password you set up at the beginning of the online process. Once approved, download and print the multipage PDF to use on arrival in Tanzania at JRO/Kilimanjaro airport customs. With this document you can go straight to one of the Visa Booth stamp-in lines.
Please note that Covid protocols, both best practices and entry requirements, are changing frequently. While we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we do carry out a variety of measures designed to mitigate the risk of illness for climbers and staff. It is important we work together with the same team-oriented perspective we rely on in climbing, and we greatly appreciate your partnership. Please take a few moments to thoroughly read the information below and know that we look to improve our operation as additional information about the virus becomes available.
We expect that all climbers will be vaccinated and completed the waiting period (2 weeks after final vaccination) before joining our Kilimanjaro expedition. Please contact us if getting vaccinated prior to the expedition is problematic.
Climbers will be asked to wear proper facemasks in all public places while not on the mountain. This includes while in towns, while being transported and while in hotel premises or during meals.
All climbers will need to arrive with a negative covid result completed 72 hours or less before departure to Africa. We will assist with obtaining tests before returning to the US (mandatory) before departing on homeward.
Based on recommendations and factors at time of departure we may opt to use multiple vehicles for transport to and from airport and to and from the mountain to maintain better social distancing.
Lodging will be in shared rooms and tents unless a single room is requested. Subject to change based on conditions.
Dining on the Mountain
Guides may opt to have outdoor dining and not use a dining tent should circumstances warrant.
If you experience fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea please immediately contact Alpine Ascents. Anyone experiencing these symptoms within 14 days of their trip date will be asked to reschedule their trip. All climbers may be verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival in Arusha
Hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities are provided throughout the program, We encourage you to regularly clean or sanitize your hands while on this journey, especially after touching your face, sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom, eating, or drinking. Common areas, high-touch surfaces, and restrooms are sanitized regularly.
We are committed to keeping our environment clean for your protection as well as ours.
No joke, this was a thoroughly planned and executed course. Very well organized, the opposite of a “gong show.” I will absolutely use the skills on future climbs and courses. Our guides curated a curriculum that cut the fat and emphasized the important skills.