What do we do from day to day on Kilimanjaro?
Regardless of the route you choose, the daily routine when climbing Kilimanjaro generally remains the same.
You wake up pretty early, around 6:30AM. Gather your things and pack them up either in your day pack or duffel bag. Make sure you have snacks and water in your day pack. Then go have breakfast which is served in the mess tent.
Hiking times range from 4 and 8 hours depending on the schedule and distance covered. Regular breaks are taken throughout the day. You will have plenty of time to snap photos, eat snacks, drink water, and get to know your fellow hikers. The guides will be with you on trail the entire time but the porters will not hike with you.
Porters clean up the campsites as you leave. Then they speed up the trail to arrive at the next camp in good time. They will have collected water, set up your tents, and started prepping the meals. Once you arrive at camp you will be provided with hot water to wash with and a chance to relax before dinner is served. It’s a good idea to wash up then put on the clothes you will sleep in underneath your evening clothes so that you are ready for bed.
Dinner is typically served around 6:00PM. After dinner your guide will come inside the dining tent and talk to you about the next day’s hike, including what to wear and carry in your day pack. The evening is for you to relax, maybe a game of cards with a cup of tea, reading, or getting to know your fellow travelers. You will typically be in bed by 9:00PM.
The hike to the summit is a very tough day.
Summit day is a different animal. Unlike the other day hikes, this one begins in the middle of the night! You will generally set off around midnight and walk through the night aiming to reach Uhuru Peak close to sunrise. Once you have stopped briefly for the obligatory photo, you will then start your decent. Summit day will typically last between 10 – 16 hours depending on which route you choose and your pace.
This is a physically and mentally demanding night and day, walking in absolute darkness with only your headlamp to guide the way. Temperatures that can reach minus 25 degrees with wind chill. It’s no easy feat, but if it was that easy then everyone would do it!
The mantra that you will hear from the guides and porters on Kilimanjaro in Swahili is ‘Pole, pole…..’, meaning – ‘slowly, slowly…’ no need to rush! This holds true on all parts of the climb.