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Getting In and Around
: It is possible to obtain a visa upon arriving in Tanzania, but we highly recommend that you arrange that before you travel. Tourist visas are issued as single- or multiple-entry permits and cost about $100.
: The town of Moshi, where you can hire a guide if you haven’t already, and where most people stay before beginning their trek, is about one hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport, and about 80 kilometers from Arusha. A number of bus services run from Arusha to Moshi, and you can also hire a private car from the airport.
Safety and Security
Do not underestimate Kilimanjaro—it requires preparation. Ask your doctor for advice about vaccinations and preparing for the climb. Bring all the necessary equipment: porters are inexpensive to hire, and lightening your pack by a few pounds isn’t worth a bout of altitude sickness. Be wary of touts and anyone who approaches you on the street in Moshi offering their services as a guide. If you need help finding a reliable guide, ask at your hotel or travel agency.
Do not bring your passport or excessive cash with you on the mountain. You won’t need it, although a photocopy might be useful. Although many guides charge for their services by the day, avoid taking the shorter routes up the mountain, particularly if this is your first climb—they are more challenging, and the faster ascent can result in altitude sickness.
The Top 5: Local Advice
1. Although Kilimanjaro does not require climbing expertise, you do need to build up your strength before attempting the trek. Get plenty of cardiovascular exercise in the months before your trek—you will be walking for up to nine hours per day. One guide recommends practicing “walking for five hours at one time, carrying about five to seven pounds, you will be in good shape.
2. Individuals are required to climb Kilimanjaro with a guide and to stick to established routes. You will most likely need porters and a cook as well. When booking a guide, go through an accredited agency, and book in advance: good guides will be reserved well ahead of time, and guides who approach you in person are not to be trusted. We recommend Serengeti Pride Safaris and Forster’s Safaris.
3. Although a short route may seem appealing, you are actually more likely to reach the summit on the longer ones, because they will allow you more time to adjust to the altitude.
4. Bring lots of sunblock and wear it, even if it’s cold. Even when there is no snow on the mountain, the higher altitude means that your skin can burn faster.
5. Kilimanjaro’s temperatures can dip below twenty degrees, even in the summer, and your body will have a harder time maintaining what heat it has, due to the altitude. Make sure you have special cold-weather jackets and pants; consult your tour operator or a sporting goods store before you leave.