Kilimanjaro Frequently Asked Questions
Mt Kilimanjaro Frequently Asked Questions – We receive questions about climbing Kilimanjaro all the time. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro in general, and about climbing Kilimanjaro with Masembo Safari specifically.
Q: Can I use my mobile phone in Tanzania?
Yes, but you will be charged for roaming unless you buy a Tanzanian sim card. Also, you should talk with your cellular service provider about this.
Q: Can I use my credit card / debit card in Tanzania?
Yes. However, charges apply to most debit card withdrawals. It is also not common for shops to have debit card machines if you are used to this in your home country. Main banks in Tanzania, within major towns such as Moshi and Arusha are Standard Chartered, Barclays, Exim Bank. Cards are more widely accepted in the hotels / lodges and the National Parks.
Q: How safe is Tanzania?
Tanzania has enjoyed political stability since Independence in 1961. The U.S. Embassy bombing in Dar es Salaam was a terrorist attack directed against U.S. policy in the Middle East. Take precautions for your own safety if you’re walking alone in the city, and avoid walking alone at night.
Q: Is there malaria and sleeping sickness in Tanzania?
Unfortunately, yes for both. See your doctor for advice and the latest medicines.
Sleeping sickness, or Trypanosomiasis, is uncommon. Although most national parks have tsetse flies, it is very rare for anyone to contract sleeping sickness. The National Parks have introduced tsetse fly traps along the main roads. The traps have no ill-effects on birds or other wildlife that may prey on insects killed by the traps.
Q: Should I tip?
This is important in Tanzania and for us, as a local tour company. We strive to pay decent salaries because we have direct experience of exploitation and very few employment laws in the country to protect worker rights. As with anywhere, if you feel you have been treated well and received a good service then it is particularly well received if you ‘tip’. There are instances when climbing mountains that a lead guide will not distribute tips amongst the rest of the team, including porters. This is not acceptable so please travel with a level of awareness. Your tips will be highly appreciated and will go towards a continued personalized, excellent service!
The following are a guide as to the daily rates the group as a whole tip each crew member per day ($USD).
- Head guides $25-30 per day per guide
- Safari guides $20-30 per day per guide (1 guide per 1 car)
- Head cook $15-20 per day per cook (1 cook for up to 10 climbers)
- Assistant guide $25-30 per day per assistant guide
- Camping crew $15 per day per crew
- General porters $10 per day per porter
Q: How much do things cost in Tanzania?
We can give you an approximation of the general costs of some items but mostly you will find your money does stretch. For example, a glass of wine will be just over $2 in more local places, rising to $3 in hotel bars. You can expect to pay $2.50 for a local beer but again, more in hotels. The average cost of dinner in a restaurant – whether Chinese / Indian / Italian is approximately $15 – $20 for a main meal. However, the cost does rise within the lodges / tented camps during Safari.
Q: Are flights included with the booking?
No. We want to give you the flexibility of tailoring travel dates to suit you. We can however sometimes advise on better deals we have found. We have not set up direct partnerships with airlines that fly to Tanzania / Kenya and as there are many options, it helps you to book direct and thus obtain the necessary cover that is provided with a direct booking relating to protection and compensation.
Q: Will my driver / guide speak English?
Yes. At all times we will ensure you are travelling with a driver / guide who speaks English. We cannot, however, guarantee fluency in other languages so please let us know in advance if you’d like to request any translators and we will see what we can do
Q: Can I create a custom itinerary?
Presently we are offering treks to the summit of Kilimanjaro with all routes, as well as animal safaris and trips to various tribes. If you are interested in a variation on these, please contact us We will work hard to accommodate your needs.
Q: What price range are your trips?
Our prices are generally mid-range. We don’t compete with the cheap Kilimanjaro climb and safari companies on price because we don’t want to compromise your comfort, safety, and enjoyment, nor the wages and health of our guides and porters. On the other hand, we are far from the most expensive company because we do not have the high overhead of American and European based tour operators. We are a Tanzanian-owned and operated company helping our clients enjoys the beauty and excitement of our country and helping invest in the people of Tanzania.
Q: Can Masembo Safari help me book flights?
Masembo Safari books internal East Africa travel and transfers, including flights, bus rides and shuttles. Tickets can be mailed to you prior to your trip or picked up in Tanzania.
Q: Can I fly through Nairobi to reach Kilimanjaro?
It is possible to fly into Nairobi and transfer to another flight or by bus to Moshi. Although Nairobi offers more international flight options and slightly lower fares, we do not recommend flying into Nairobi. Logistically it is much easier to fly directly into Kilimanjaro on KLM (via Amsterdam) or Ethiopian Airlines (via Addis Ababa). Kenyan visas may need to be purchased; your schedule may require an overnight stay in Nairobi; and the bus connection, though reliable and comfortable, is 7 hours to Kilimanjaro.
Q: What other expenses are required to arrive in Tanzania?
There is a visa required for most foreign citizens. The fee varies according to your nationality. Please check with your embassy for up to date details. Also you will need to have immunizations. Check with a travel health clinic in your country.
Q: Where is Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro sits on the northern border of Tanzania, overlooking Kenya, and just over 200 miles south of the Equator. The area is not particularly mountainous; indeed, the nearest mountain to Kilimanjaro is Mount Meru, over 60km away to the south-west.
Q: How high is it?
Mount Kilimanjaro comprises with three volcanic cones, “Kibo”, “Mawenzi”, and “Shira”, is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and free Standing Mountain, and rises approximately 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) from its base to 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level.
Q: Can anyone climb Kilimanjaro?
YES, all the main routes up the Mount Kilimanjaro are really just walking routes; you don’t need to use your hands to climb but overall, it’s just a walk. Indeed, there are a couple of people who’ve climbed up the mountain in wheelchairs and make it on the top, so the ability to walk isn’t even a pre-requisite.
Q: Can I climb it independently?
Not anymore. In 1991 the park authorities made it compulsory for all climbers to sign up with an agency with TALA license, with a crew (guides, assistants, a cook and porters.
Q: How old do I need to be?
There’s no limit on how old you can be to climb. The minimum legal age for climbing Kilimanjaro is ten. If you are under 16 you actually get a significant discount on the park fees, a lot of agencies won’t tell you about this so make sure you insist on this!
Q: How dangerous is it?
If you tell your loved ones that you are climbing Kilimanjaro, most people become concerned for your safety. “Don’t people die there?” they ask.
There are a few deaths on Kilimanjaro every year with acute mountain sickness (AMS) and heart attacks the main causes.
Compare Kilimanjaro’s death rate (1 in 3,333) to dying in car accident (1 in 491), dying from heart disease (1 in 174), and dying from firearms (1 in 355) and you will see that Kilimanjaro is relatively safe. Mountains like Mount Everest have death rates of 10% (1 climber dies for every 10 successful ascents to the summit).
Taken together, you can see why Kilimanjaro is NOT very dangerous. Most of the dangers can be mitigated before your trip by selecting the right operator, selecting the right route, and by getting yourself checked out by a doctor. Masembo Safari safety is our first priority
Q: How long does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?
To reach to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro summits is a major achievement…but one big question is how long will it take you to do it?
This are complicated question to the most travelers think hoping to simply get a taste of Kilimanjaro can arrange for short 1-3 day climbs that stop well below summit elevation.
- Shorter Routes: Marangu, Umbwe and Machame routes, the minimum requirement is five days and 6 days .on the mountain.
- Longer Routes: Longer treks improve summiting odds in another major way: treks that run 8 days or fewer involve a challenging nighttime summit bid (which starts around midnight).
Q: How safe to book a tour with Masembo Safari ?
Masembo Safari has been operating safaris since 2016. They are an accredited member of the Kilimanjaro Association of Tour Operators (KIATO) and are licensed to operate mountain Climbing by the Tanzania Tourism Licensing Board (TTLB) and have a TALA License grade A.
Q: When is the best time to go safari?
Tanzania’s northern circuit is usually excellent during the whole year although we don’t recommend late March through ending of April because of heavy rains. This can make traveling a little slow and vehicles may get stuck. However, this is also an excellent time to see the large herds of wildebeest and zebra in the southern Serengeti.
The two busiest tourist periods are mid-July to end of August and mid-December through to mid-March.
Q: How many days should be spent on a safari?
If your time is limit you may do day trip although we do recommend to do safari in three days will be sufficient to visit Tarangire NP, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara. A more realistic time period is 4 to 5 days.
Q: The good time to see the migration in the Serengeti?
January to mid-May: southern Serengeti.
May to June: central Serengeti: Ikoma, Banagi, Seronera.
July to October: western Serengeti, Grumeti and northern Serengeti (Lobo).
November to December: central Serengeti: Ikoma, Banagi and Seronera.
Q: What are the best national parks to visit?
The times given below will vary quite a bit depending on local weather conditions. Exceptionally, they can be as much as six weeks out.
Tarangire: excellent mid – July to late October.
Serenget – south: January to May.
Serengeti Np– north: July to October.
Serengti – west: July to October.
Serngeti central: June to July and November to December.
Lake Manyara: good all year round.
Ngorongoro Crater: good all year. During rainy season vehicle movements may be restricted.
Lake Natron: main breeding ground for lesser flamingos.
Note: Wildebeest Migration calendar is not perfect always this is because of changing weather conditions, please ask us where the current migration is or where will it be during your safari and we will inform you.
Q: Etiquette of game viewing?
Be considerate of both the animals you are watching and of people who are watching them. Don’t make hasty movements in the vehicle and don’t get out of the car when animals are within 100 metres. If you do get out of the vehicle, look very carefully for hidden animals in long grass. You don’t want to surprise a lion or a hyena.
Q: Is there any danger from wild animals?
Very little. Don’t be out of your car if within 100 metres of an animal. It is extremely unlikely that you will be confronted with a dangerous situation but if you are it will be entirely unexpected. Animals can move incredibly quickly – don’t try to race a lion back to the car and don’t go close to the water’s edge if there are crocodiles around. If you are on a walk, follow the instructions of your guide or ranger. Buffaloes and Hippos are the most dangerous especially if you happen to be between them and the river. Lions seldom a threat, but a lioness will not tolerate any threat to her cubs. Hyenas eat anyone and anything – don’t leave any clothes or belongings outside your tent, especially shoes.
In some of the permanent camps animals will be roaming around at night. There is no danger from them providing you stay in your tent. Do not disturb them as other people may be watching them.
Q: How are the driver – guides?
Fantastic Masembo Safari driver – guides have a sound knowledge of animals, birds and plants as well as being knowledgeable about the various tribes of Tanzania. They will be happy to discuss politics and social matters.