Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

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sunny1
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by sunny1 »

Joel & I went to Tanzania Jan-Feb 2013 for 2 weeks, focused on Safari. It was a "bucket list" item for Joel, and a milestone birthday celebration for him.
We saw Kili once or twice - it was in the clouds at other times. It was Joel's trip, he wanted to focus on the country and animals, Kili was not a goal for him.
I really wanted to climb Meru, it was very appealing. Perhaps because I saw more of it than Kili?

In any event, I'm in agreement with Nyker re: traveling together in Africa with your wife. I would not be comfortable traveling solo in Tanzania.
I like Scott P's idea:
Scott P wrote: Mon Sep 04, 2023 9:56 pm ....Rather than leaving her alone for a week to climb Kili, you might want to do a safari and other activities together and then she flies home before you and you climb Kili. It might work better that way.
You may already be aware, there are a series of vaccinations recommended prior to visiting Tanzania - including Yellow Fever, Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis, and an oral Rx for Malaria prevention . That may not be a complete list. Chat with your medical team.

EDIT: we also went to Zanzibar for 3-4 days after the safari. Would not travel solo there.
Last edited by sunny1 on Wed Sep 06, 2023 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Jay521
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Jay521 »

Wow - Thanks for all your replies. It will take me a bit to work through them. And a note to pvnisher - It had seemed in my research on this site that most everyone was asking for recommendations and the answers they got were mostly "the guide service I used was great" and "I loved the route". I was looking for things that people maybe didn't like or would have done differently - and I did get those responses. Also, in my research, I couldn't find anyone who had done Kili while their significant other did something else. You're right - those probably aren't "off the wall" but I think they were out of the norm for Kili questions.

Again, thanks to all for your replies. I will likely PM some of you individually with most specific questions as I have time to work through them.

Jay
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by BobbyFinn »

Kate and I used Zara as guide service and safari company. We liked them and would use them again.

As for gear, we didn't realize how much the guides and porters would do for us. We were prepared with extra food, but didn't use much of it since the guides/porters gave us breakfast, hiking snacks, lunch, and dinner. I think I gained weight... We ended up carrying day packs with rain gear, snacks, and water and that was it.

Maybe also ask what the guides / porters are bringing for you. We are pretty low-maintenance and didn't end up using everything. Might save some weight for the porters.

Also, ask what the guides porters will be doing for you - ours gave us hot water to wash with every morning and night and way more food than we would normally eat. We told them to stop with the hot water because some camps aren't near easy water and we didn't want to make them do something that we didn't want/need.

We did Lemosho and cut a couple of days off of it (prearranged), so you could make a faster hike if you want. This will stress the porters a bit, though, since they want to get to camp first and get everything set up before you show up. We carried more gear ourselves once we realized our shorter hike was more difficult for the porters.

Our hike had an overnight on the way down.

Zara has (or did when we used them) a gated/walled hotel in Moshi and they might be able to do some guided trips to some sights in the area for your wife while she waits for you.

Safaris and Zanzibar were our after-hike plan and we enjoyed those, too.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by mtnkub »

-brought a quick-dry towel of about right size (not too big!) but wished i also brought a quick-dry wash cloth.
-brought a half-size thin buff, but wished i brought 2 full size ones (for sun and dust, and to have a fresh one for summit and descent).
-brought some one dollar bills, but wished i brought more ones and fives (but that mainly for the tipping outside of the Kili climb).
-when in the area, you should at least visit the Ngorongoro crater (we didn't do that because we instead met up with friends in Nairobi for a 5 day safari in the Mara, which was spectacular).

We went with Gladys (Scott P's recommendation; thank you Scott!) and I was super happy with this. Indeed better food that others around us. And the porters always seemed happy and in a good mood. Would highly recommend Gladys if you are at least two people. (If alone, i might consider Zara, since their pricing doesn't depend on the number of people that will join; once there are at least two on the tour, Gladys definitely seems like the better bang for the buck).
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Jay521 »

Much appreciated! Guess I need to take a close look at Gladys!

And it seems like everyone loved their guide company. Which is good, I think. But is there anyone who would not go with the one they took - i.e. are there any I should avoid?
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by KState14er »

Jay521 wrote: Mon Sep 04, 2023 2:48 pm OK - So I am in the very early stages of planning a hike up Kili - a bucket list item of mine I'd better do soon or I might be too old to make it (if I'm not already too old...). I've read many threads on guide and route recommendations and it's almost too much information - sorta like taking a drink from a fire hydrant. So, I will ask a few questions that might draw out some things I need to think about.

For those of you who have done it, Is there anything that you didn't do that you wish you had done? And conversely, what did you do that you wish you hadn't?
On that same line, what about gear? Take something you wish you hadn't or not take something that you wish you had?

Did anyone really dislike the route they took and/or the guide service they used?

And maybe the most important question for me, anyway. My wife wants to go on the trip with me but is NOT a hiker or climber. Are there things she could do while I'm off living my dream that she might enjoy? She loves history, learning new things, etc. But as her husband, I am a bit concerned about an unescorted woman. Any and all thoughts would be great.

I'm not adverse to going on my own but if there is someone that like to join me, I'm open to that. I'm loosely thinking of late 2024.

Thanks in advance!!!!!
Hi Jay, we met on Castle Peak a long time ago--- maybe about 10 (15?!) years ago. It was my dad and I up towards the summit block.
Anyway, after finishing the 14ers I am onto the Seven Summits and did a successful climb of Kili in summer 2018.
Happy to help here.

I did the 6-day Machame Route and really enjoyed it. Didn't see any of the others to compare directly, but really enjoyed it. Every day you were changing ecosystems and you had some beautiful views of the summit on days 2-4, summitting on the 5th morning.
I used Zara Tours and they were wonderful. If Kabila is still a guide, I highly recommend him. They were amazing from start to finish. Like clockwork every step of the way.
Zara Tours also operates day-trip safaris, local tours of some of the farming/agricultural areas, town tours, etc. Zara has a huge resort and even when I had to go get cash off-site, I was escorted and driven there and the escort even went up to the ATM with me and stood by while I got my cash. They are very aware of the perceived dangers of westerners in Africa (which I believe is overblown), but rest assured she will always be around groups of other travelers or resort workers no matter what she decides to do during the day, if she books excursions through Zara.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Scott P »

Jay521 wrote: Sun Oct 01, 2023 2:11 pm - i.e. are there any I should avoid?
Anything with a US based company. The markup will be several thousand dollars (usually at least double) and you won't get any more services. Go with a Tanzania based company. Also, it will be more flexible that way. We were able to change our safari plans last minute with Gladys (and any local company will do the same for you). If you go with a US based company, in addition to paying double, you will be locked in and have no flexibility.

All the companies on Kilimanjaro legally have to meet a minimum standard, but there are still some that have been reported as not treating porters well, etc. Do your research anyway. The people in the thread who were happy with who they went with likely did their research.

Tips: Even though sleeping pads are provided, I'd bring a thermarest anyway.

Don't be afraid to hire an extra porter to spread the loads out. It is always appreciated.

Most local companies have you wire transfer a large part or even all of the payment before hand. This may make you nervous, but that's the way it's done in Tanzania and most of Africa. Any balance remaining will likely be paid in cash.

Cash is still king in most of Africa and credit cards are still not accepted many places (upscale hotels and restaurants are exceptions).

You probably already know this, but don't put all your cash and credit cards in the same place. Spread them out so if you lose your money pouch or wallet you have backup. Bring only a few dollars with you on the mountain; the rest will be locked in a safe when you're gone.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by mtnkub »

(^ Gladys wanted half in advance per wire. For the balance that is due on arrival, they'd take cash or card, but will charge 3% if using a card. Tipping is in cash almost everywhere. Regarding cash on the mountain: I didn't bring any, and there is actually a legal limit how much you are allowed to bring into the national park; i believe its $200, but it maybe even less. The tips are generally announced on the last day on the mountain, but paid out later).
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by climbingcue »

Jay,

I have not climbed Kilimanjaro, but I do have a coworker who is climbing it right now. October 3, 2023. This youtube video gave a pretty good view of what you can expect. Good luck and enjoy your climb next year.

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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by Scott P »

Concerning bringing cash on the mountain, we brought a little with us since the route we took was a long drive. It ended up being a good thing though since my wife got a less than $1 haircut along the way and we found when we were hours into the drive that we left our sunscreen on the hotel bed! Buying sunscreen is very hard outside the cities in Tanzania since everyone is black and doesn't need it! Luckily our guide tracked some down, but it required stopping in thee towns/villages along the way. We found some in a roadside cosmetics shack. Don't do this and make sure you have it!

One more tip: Don't plan to leave for the climb the day after you arrive. Give it an extra day or two in case your baggage gets delayed. This is a good idea worldwide. I'm in Istanbul (Turkey) now and my baggage for climbing Ararat was delayed 1 1/2 days. I've had that happen in Ecuador, Morocco, Guatemala, Saba, and Spain. For things like mountaineering or trekking you're screwed if the trek plans to leave before your luggage arrives so I'd suggest building in a few days at the beginning of any such trip to just in case. Our baggage arrived on time for Tanzania, but we enjoyed a tour for a waterfall and agricultural places we had built in just in case our bags were late. There are some nice hot spring tours around Kili as well.
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by nunns »

Bump. I am also considering Kili in 2024 or 2025, so any advice would be helpful. I have read a couple of books already, so like Jay, I am kind of looking for stuff that isn't found in books.

Sean Nunn
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Re: Off the wall Kilimanjaro questions

Post by two lunches »

nunns wrote: Tue Oct 24, 2023 4:41 pm Bump. I am also considering Kili in 2024 or 2025, so any advice would be helpful. I have read a couple of books already, so like Jay, I am kind of looking for stuff that isn't found in books.

Sean Nunn
Raytown MO
did you happen to find this thread, sean? it was a very interesting read and very compelling arguments to take the "off the beaten path"/not found in books route -- https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=22344
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