Trekking up the mountain, "pole pole".

Ascending on the snow

Camping along the route

Victory, at Uhuru Peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.

Mt Kilimanjaro Climbing Information

We only promote climbs of 5 to 8 days or more: We want you to meet your goal of reaching the summit!

Private Climbs – We don’t force you to join large groups to climb with a bunch of strangers. Most climb operators run group departures where you join other climbers to form a larger group, usually with a maximum of around 12 to 16 people. For each party, there is a guide, assistant guides, and depending on the route and number of days, two to four porters per climber. Therefore a group of 12 to 16 climbers means that there can be 35 to 50 staff members, bringing your group to almost 50 to 70 people in total. Asking guides to watch and manage that many people is a daunting task, but that is precisely what our competitors do.

A private, small-party custom climb is not the only way to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s just the best way. There is a better team dynamic with a small, private group, which not only makes the days on the mountain more fun, but safer too as these groups work well together.

With a small group, our experienced and competent guides can effectively monitor the progress of each individual climber and the collective group. Our guides have the opportunity to interact with each climber to assess how he or she is doing, and to ask and answer questions when needed. Our porters, honest and hardworking, can also provide better service by catering to the varied needs of each member. While our competitors are focused on gathering as many climbers as possible to put a large group on a set route, we strive to create the optimal conditions so that you can have a safe, inspiring, and successful climbing experience.

At Open Africa Safaris, our goal is to work with our clients to create an ideal itinerary based on their needs, abilities, and desires. We can help you plan every aspect of the itinerary. You choose when you want to climb; we don’t make you start on fixed dates. You can also customize your route as there is no set itinerary.

In short, we provide everything you need for a successful summit and enjoyable experience, and leave plenty of money in your pocket. We specialize in private, custom climbs. We will work with you to find an optimal itinerary. You can choose ANY route, ANY length, ANY dates, for ANY size group.

Group climbs – We offer group climbs that have an upper limit of 10 climbers (not up to 16 as with some competition). Our group-climbs avoid rainy seasons, include acclimatization days, and are limited to only 6 to 8 climbers. We don’t believe in creating large trekking parties as it detracts from the experience. Keeping the party small creates an intimate setting on the mountain, but more importantly ensures proper attention for each and every climber.

  • Best guide-to-climber ratio
  • Quality equipment
  • Well-paid, and well-treated staff

To learn more visit, Our Ethics which describes a little more about our ethical responsibility to both the people and land of Tanzania. The importance of having competent, high quality guides and porters cannot be overstated when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Open Africa Safaris uses local guides, all of whom have received extensive training in first aid, mountain rescue, flora and fauna, and history. All are registered with Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) too.

Our Kilimanjaro guides are very experienced, with most having climbed more than 100 times! They are professionals who intimately know the mountain.

You can expect the following from your Kilimanjaro guide:

  • High Safety Standards– Your guide can identify and avoid potential hazards such as slippery trails and loose rocks. Your guide can prevent, recognize and treat altitude related illnesses.
  • Climb Knowledge– Kilimanjaro trails are clearly marked, so following a trail should not be a problem. But there are more intricate things that your guide will take into consideration when deciding when, where, and how to move the party. These things include weather conditions, trail density, rest stops, pace, etc.
  • Mountain Facts– Your guide is knowledgeable about general mountain facts. He can tell you about the climate zones, the altitudes of and distances to the campsites, and information about the geology, flora and fauna. These facts increase the enjoyment during the trek by giving you an idea of what you are seeing and feeling.
  • Our Kilimanjaro guides love working with us because we book small, private parties on the best routes. Our guides can effectively manage all clients due to the small size of our groups. Because each climber generally needs 2 to 4 porters, each additional client multiplies the number of people under the guide’s care. A guide can give more individualized attention when groups are reasonably small. We also book longer trips, which due to proper acclimatization increase the probability of successful summits. This in turn gives a sense of satisfaction to the guide and staff.
  • Because of our hardworking porters, all you need to do on your climb is walk. Porters carry the tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, food, water, cookware, gas stoves, medical supplies, chairs and tables – not to mention your camping gear. It is a tough job and anyone who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro will tell you that their strength, skill and stamina are incredible.
  • Our porters take care of you. So we take care of them. We take porter welfare very seriously and we do our best to ensure that all our staff is treated well. We strive to have the best porters through fair and honest treatment of our staff. We ensure that:
  • Our staff is paid a set wage, which means they do not have to rely entirely on tips for payment
  • Our porters have the proper gear and equipment to handle the mountain. Their clothing, sleeping bags and tents are sufficiently warm and/or waterproof.
  • Our porters are fed nutritious meals in adequate amounts of their preferred local foods.
  • Our porter loads are limited to 35 lbs (15 kg). The porter-to-client ratios we utilize are sufficient to handle the equipment needed. If more porters are needed for a party, we will add more.
  • Our guides are specially trained for safety and recognizing critical aspects of altitude sickness; you will be checked every morning to ensure that you are safe to climb.

See more information about our Kilimanjaro climbing routes.

Our Kilimanjaro Ethics

We take what we do very seriously, and we believe in responsibility. This extends to several issues, especially with us working in a developing country. We want to be a sustainable company, and we mean this in a variety of ways, but in particular, we want to waste less, and give back more. And, we mean this for both natural and human resources. We don’t want to just prevent problems; we want to reverse the resources too. In addition, we make every effort to give people the opportunity to contribute. Therefore, we take a strong ethical stance in both our environmental and employment policies. Our goals are as follows:

  • To better the lives today
  • To ensure what’s available today will be available tomorrow for all posterity
  • Social responsibility
  • Environmental responsibility

Social Responsibility

  • Fair Wages: We want to provide good service to our clients. But good service is dependent on people who provide the service, namely our tour guides, cooks, and porters. To ensure our clients get top service, we pay our employees top prices.
  • Benefits: All of our employees get a company health insurance policy for their family. They also continuously get opportunities for advancement. For dedicated workers, we fund further education for their career advancement.
  • Tip Sharing:It is famous in the tourism business for tips to be unfairly distributed among team members, and often companies do not have a strict policy regarding this issue (and Tanzanians based on their culture are not ones to complain, especially when they are getting a job in the first place). Therefore, we have a very strict policy regarding tips which we rely on our clients to support us in. We would like each team member to be directly handed their tip. We feel that if our employees worked so hard to provide service, they should be properly awarded to for it, whether they are head guide or a mountain porter. We believe tips should be distributed equally throughout the team, to promote team cohesion and to prevent animosity. As it is, due to their higher education level, head guides receive a higher wage. Since we believe all the team works equally hard on safari, the amount should be distributed equally among all.

Environmental Responsibility

Carbon Neutral Climbing: There are fewer places on earth where the effect of global warming can be seen more visibly than the snow cap of Kilimanjaro. Since the first survey in 1912, the glaciers on the mountain have shrunk by 82% and 33% of that has shrunk since 1989. Current trends show that at this rate, the permanent snow cone will disappear in as little as 2 or 3 decades – and that’s conservative! A 2001 study by the Ohio State University shows that there could well be no more glaciers by Kilimanjaro by 2050. We really do think this is a sad state of affairs; Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most iconic natural features!

How we are helping: It doesn’t take a scientist to work out that this is not a good sign. We’re not scientists but we figure that if we make a living by sending clients to climb Kilimanjaro (getting there by plane, lots of carbon given off…) we’re not exactly helping the problem. So we have pledged to plant enough trees to offset the carbon given off by each climber we send to the mountain. We pay for this, not you- but if you want to help out too, get in touch and we’ll tell you what you can do.

The best part is that the tree plantation we choose is in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, just a few hundred miles north of Mount Kilimanjaro. It helps to provide jobs for local people as well as cleaning up our world.

We hear it every day. The globe is warming. Yes, there are arguments on both sides regarding whether it is due to human activity. Nevertheless, the evidence that the temperatures are rising are overwhelming, and we don’t want to do anything to contribute to it getting worse. We take this seriously in the region of Tanzania, as the delicate environmental balance is critical.

For example, Kilimanjaro melting- it has been stated that by 2050 there will be no more ice on the top of the mountain!

The Great Wildebeest Migration is dependent on specific environmental features. If changed, it can significantly jeopardize the animal’s way of life.

We want to preserve these features for all posterity to enjoy, and we feel that as a tour company we are the front line defense of what is important to us. As a result, we have taken the following steps to ensure the health of the environment, the wildlife, and even the health of you and our staff.

Tree Planting – Planting Trees: Getting fruits and cutting carbon

In this effort, we try to get people involved in our contribution. In every safari and mountain climb, we plant trees in a local village to try to offset the carbon produced. Trees that either grow naturally in the local habitat, or fruit trees are chosen. The fruits can be used by the locals to eat, or to even pick and sell in the market. We make a small ceremony where we plant the trees and leave a small note on the tree as a message to the present and for posterity. It is your option whether you would like to participate, but regardless of participation a tree will always be planted for every safari.

Tiffin Sets– The Lunch Box of the future: Our lunch boxes are prepared and placed in Tiffin lunch boxes which are stainless steel carriers used in India and the Middle East for lunch food transportation. By using these boxes, we don’t need to use the wasteful paper boxes that are littered throughout the national parks. We also do not like to use plastic boxes, due to the fact they don’t last very long (they warp in the sun), and they can also leech plastic chemicals into the food. Also, we try to refrain from using things that are easy to fly away with the wind, such as saran wrap and paper napkins.

Composting – Less waste, more health

We have started a composting system, where all compostable waste, such as fruit and vegetable peels can be saved and turned into fertilizer. This limits the use of manure, which can flow down into rivers and cause habitat problems and even sanitary issues for the local villages that use this water. Our ultimate goal is to use this natural fertilizer to produce organic vegetables which we will use for our meals on safari and the mountain.

Sanitary Toilets –Leave No Trace: We use special toilets that have biodegradable bags and we treat all matter with a chemical that neutralizes and sanitizes the waste. We use this system in all areas where there are no toilets, such as in remote camping areas and on mountain climbs. This is particularly critical on Kilimanjaro where there are several rivers that flow to the base of the mountain. There are several villages in the surrounding and we don’t want to contaminate these waters.

Water bottles: In Swahili they say, Maji ni Uhai. Water is Life. Water is critical to all and we want to provide fresh clean water to all who go on a safari with us. We also want to reduce our impact. As a result, we have a porous water filter that we use to filter the water into sterilized glass bottles, instead of using a multitude of plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are not only wasteful for the environment, but also leech plasticides into the water when they are in the sun (which often happens when on safari).

Plastic Bottle Recycling: Even though we don’t use them, plastic bottles are of course still being used. Therefore, as a service to the community, we provide a plastic bottle recycling system, where people can drop off their plastic bottles for a refund. We have had everybody from families to local businesses to help in this endeavor. It is better they are recycled than thrown away in a landfill or littered in the streets.

Fresh coffee and tea: Yes, believe it or not this is a luxury in Tanzania (which produces these products with abundance). Dehydrated coffee is the norm in Tanzania, and we feel we would be doing you an injustice if we do not allow you to experience the delicious taste of Tanzania’s coffee. We purchase our coffee that is organically shade-grown from local coffee farmers, so as to support the local communities. We roast it our self, and don’t grind it till there is a safari planned. Every morning you will be welcomed to a freshly brewed cup. And don’t think we would dare to give you dehydrated milk powder to put in that coffee; only fresh half-and-half (always pasteurized). We also use whole-leaf teas, which in our opinion, tastes wonderful. These are also organic and purchased from local farmers. It is filtered each morning in bodum filters.

No more plastic: Continuing on our mission of providing healthy foods, we have eliminated all plastics that are used to contain or hold food (although if the plastic isn’t touching the food we deem this acceptable). This includes plastic plates, plastic lunch containers, and especially plastic mugs which can leech plasticides into hot drinks.

Our Kilimanjaro Inclusions & Exclusions

These inclusions and exclusions are for all the group prices, but also for the quotes for the private safaris that you will be given if you choose to personalize your safari.

Kilimanjaro prices include:

  • The usual 2 nights hotel accommodation in three star in Moshi (before & after climb) (additional for more luxurious options)
  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Group transport to and from Moshi to the trail head
  • Kilimanjaro National Park fees
  • Mountain rescue fees
  • English-speaking, experienced mountain guide
  • Assistant guides and cooks
  • 4 porters per person
  • Tents, sleeping mattresses and utensils
  • All meals on the mountain
  • Unlimited Katadyn filtered water on the mountain
  • Transport to and from the airport
  • Your tree to plant in the village
  • There is NO local payment on any of our climbs

Exclusions

  • International & domestic airfare
  • Visas
  • Lunch or dinner at the hotel
  • Personal gear and equipment
  • Tips

Costs of additional services:

  • Single supplement, for group climbs: per trip $60
  • Private parties of two persons or less: add $300 per trip
  • Extra porter: per day $10
  • Extra hotel night: per room $60
  • Bottled oxygen, only for rescue/emergency use: $30
  • Gamow bag: per trip $100
  • Private toilet: per trip $100
  • Mount Meru climb (4 days/ 3 nights): per person $695
  • Extra day on the mountain: $180

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