On the Mountain
A Day on the Kilimanjaro
On a typical day on Kilimanjaro, you’ll wake quite early in the morning. One of your porters will wake you at around 6.30am with a pan of warm water with which to wash your hands and face.
You’ll then adjourn to the mess tent for a hearty breakfast of eggs, pancakes, salami, sausages, French toast, hot cereal, and fruit accompanied by fruit juices and hot drinks. We intentionally provide a large breakfast so that you’ll be full of energy for the day’s hiking.
After breakfast, you’ll pack your day pack and duffel before embarking. The porters will remain behind to break camp and will bring your duffel bag along with them when they’re done.
On an average day, you’ll hike for between 4-5 hours at a pace dictated by your guide. Your climbing guide will decide the pace and when to stop based on his expert assessment of how everybody in your party is coping with the rigors of the climb. You are encouraged to snack and drink water as you climb to supplement your energy.
During the day, you’ll dine on a pre-packed lunch. While you’re doing all of this, the porters will move ahead of your party and set up your camp for the night to come. When you arrive, snacks are served and you’ll have some time to relax and wash up before dinner is served at around 6pm. Over your meal, the guide will discuss the plan for the day to come and you’ll have the chance to bond with those you’re completing the climb with.
After dinner, you’re free to spend your free time as you like – relaxing, reading, chatting by the campfire, or getting some sleep. The exception to this schedule is summit day, which is a considerably more grueling 11 to 16 hour day. It is this day’s climbing that makes successfully summiting Mount Kilimanjaro such an impressive achievement. You’ll wake very early, as your guide will have calculated how early you need to depart to reach the summit in time for sunrise. You’ll begin the ascent after a light snack and in near total darkness and bitter cold. Between these factors and the uneven footing, this will be by far your hardest day of climbing and will test you both physically and mentally.
We can’t sugarcoat this – it is a tough day. For those who can’t make it, porters and assistant guides will be on hand to guide you back to the camp. For those who make it to the top, the hard day’s climbing will have been worth it. You’ll be given the absolute best view of Africa there is, and have time atop the mountain for photographs, selfies, and celebration. You’ll then return to camp for lunch before continuing your descent farther down the mountain.
All of the regular trails on Mt. Kilimanjaro are well marked and maintained, with minimal actual ‘climbing’ needed. Areas where advancing on all fours are limited, although the path to and from Uhuru Point on summit day is predominantly scree – which can be quite taxing to move through. Inclement weather can present challenges to your climbing experience, and anybody attempting the ascent should be prepared to trek through fog, rain, and snow.
Preparing Your Day Pack
While climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you aren’t expected to carry all of your belongings. While porters will carry the bulk of your possessions (up to 15kg(, you will simply need to carry a day pack containing the things you might feasibly need for the day’s climbing. For this purpose, a small to medium backpack (anywhere up to 30L) is appropriate.
In general, your day pack should include the following:
- Extra clothing;
- Waterproof gear;
- Bug repellant.