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Popular Cultural Holiday
This is a small group guided holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
Download the detailed trip notes for everything you could possibly want to know about this trip, including detailed itinerary and full kit list.
Arrangements prior to our travel were very good indeed with Kate at Exodus exploring lots of options for our rather complicated itinerary from Aberdeen and Rwanda to the start of our trip at Arusha. Our chief guide, Makeke, was very welcoming and highly professional throughout but wasn't terribly aware that payment for our transfers had been made or of the arrangements at the end of the safari for transfer back to Kilimanjaro airport for our flights home. In the end, we had to pay for a room in which to shower at Kia Lodge and for the transfer to the airport. This part of the plan was not made clear to us at all beforehand and seemed rather ad hoc on the day.. However, once, the trek began, we quickly fell into camp routine and gelled as a team. This was greatly aided by the good nature and positive approach of the assistant guides and porters. Even when the inevitable effects of altitude took their toll of us on different days, the guides encouraged us and we regained our self-belief. Catering throughout was extraordinary given the camp conditions and the need for every item to be carried, unpacked and packed again every day. There was never a shortage of tasty food. All of us were well fed and only suffered from the predictable loss of appetite once or twice. Porters were outstanding. The two girls who carried our gear welcomed us into camp each afternoon with congratulations and smiles even although they had carried more than twice our loads at high speed past us. We certainly take our hats of to them all. The summit day was one of the most challenging of our mountaineering experience. Don't be lulled into false expectations because of the term, trek. It was a very serious and demanding mountain experience that took everyone to their limit. The cold, the driving icy wind and the altitude conspired to make us feel absolutely miserable. However, the guides maintained the necessary "pole pole" pace for us to maintain confidence that we could reach the summit. Ten out of twelve of us succeeded in this. The determination in some team colleagues was inspiring. Disappointingly, we had little opportunity to take photographs as the guides seemed to be working to a tight schedule for descent. Frustration about opportunities to stop for photos and drinking had surfaced earlier when, despite constant advice to drink from the guides, we were given little opportunity to do so while walking. The descent back to Barafu Camp was as grueling in some ways as the ascent with the further challenge of another descent to Millennium Camp. The next and last day also involved a massive descent back into the heat of the rain forest that was the final test of endurance. We were very glad to have succeeded in the climb but gladder that it was over.
The stage of the trip that we had rather neglected in our thinking was the safari with the focus being on Kilimanjaro but it proved to be an absolute highlight. The landscapes, the density, variety and proximity of the wonderful animals and the quiet expertise of our safari guide were all utterly memorable. We would advise anyone to add on this element if they can. It was exciting, awe-inspiring and relaxing with perfectly tuned accommodation and great quality catering.
Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro together, as a couple, was one of the most emotional (in a positive way) experiences we've had.
The multi-sensory experience of being close to so many of the iconic African animals while on safari really brought home to us how important they are for us all.
Both our Kilimanjaro leader and safari leader were highly professional and knowledgeable. They conveyed a respect for their environments as well as a love of their country, Tanzania. They were totally trustworthy and a credit to themselves and that country.
Read the trip notes very carefully and take note of the advice. The notes are very accurate so there should be no surprises or disappointments if you take them into account. Be prepared for your legs and knees to suffer a wee bit being folded into a Land Rover for a few days immediately after 8 days of walking and climbing.
Great trek to the 'Roof of Africa' followed by a enthralling safari taking in the Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge and the Serengeti.
Standing on the summit of Kilimanjaro was amazing and Summit day was the hardest piece of trekking I have ever done - quite literally breaktaking! But there were great views and experiences along the way too - a stunning view from Shira Cathedral of Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru and the Shira plateau and I loved climbing the Barranco Wall and then discovering an absolutely delightful valley a little later the same day - it was my favourite day of trekking - I loved it! The view of the Ngorongoro crater from the view point on the crater's edge was astounding and the Olduvai Gorge - the cradle of mankind - was incredible. And on Safari the sights and sounds both day and night were magical at times. We saw so many different animals and birds that I lost count.
Meke our group leader was fantastic. So cheerful and encouraging and showing real concern for all of us. I would not have made it to the summit without him and the other guides in our group (Wilfried and Said), they were great.
Some physical preparation before the trip will pay off and make the whole trek more enjoyable. Listen to your guides - they are experts and know what they are talking about.
You don't need to change your currency to Shillings, US dollars are accepted everywhere that you go on this trip, just make sure they are newish.
The drive across the Serengeti was very, very bumpy - just be prepared for it, after all it is a Safari in Africa.
Be prepared to come home dirty and dusty but very happy!
I have just had the time of my life! Everything was well organised, trouble free and I always felt safe and looked after - without being molly-coddled. I can't wait to do another trip and would definitely book with Exodus again.
Ascent of Kilimanjaro along the Lemosho route, followed by safari through Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Oldupai Gorge and Serengeti. The ascent, run by the African Walking Company, was extremely well run. The guides and porters could not do enough to provide first rate support for the group and made sure everyone was catered for, even if it meant splitting the group up into differing abilities. Im quite a large guy, and felt a little uneasy on some of the slopes which we had to scramble up, but the guides patiently helped me up and never rushed me. There was rarely any shortage of food or drink, and everything was provided when required. Everyone in our group summitted and team spirits remained high throughout. The follow up safari, run by Karibu safaris, provided a relaxing wind down to the ascent. Despite this, we were left feeling it was arranged as an after thought rather than principal part of the trip.
Summiting Uhuru peak, and watching the sunrise over Mawenzi peak at 5600m below Stella Point.
The climb group leader Meke was first rate, his experience of climbing the mountain was second to none and his team of guides were equally top notch. They all made us feel like they had our very best interests at heart and went that extra mile to make sure we all succeeded.
- Bring at least one lock per kitbag, while the guides and porters within our group were trustworthy, they advised extra vigilance when stopping in campsites
- Follow the advice of the guides on the mountain.
- Pack economically, but effectively. Don't overpack your day pack as you'll run the risk of exhaustion on the lower slopes, which will impact your performance higher up.
- Get as much sleep as you can, when ascending, and save the partying for when you come back down.
- Eat and drink as much as possible, and as often as possible. As you get higher up the mountain, you will need as much energy as you can get. I frequently polished off all of the meals put in front of me, and summitted without the need for any diamox and without any headaches.
- When renting kit, make sure it is the correct size before reaching the mountain. I rented a sleeping bag which turned out to be too small. Despite the best efforts of the guides to replace it once on the mountain, they didnt have any suitable replacement. Ultimately, I needed to wear extra layers in bed, to keep warm, though by summit night, I was well aware of the best combination of layers for keeping warm in the night air.
- Do rent a sleeping mat though, as its not included in your 15kg bag limit, and generally much better for sleeping on the mountain than a thermarest
- Trim your toenails extra short for summit night... the descent from Kibo involves skiing down scree, for an extended period. Even after two weeks, my toes are still sore from the experience.
- A lightweight but rigid, waterproof sleeve/envelope would be useful for carrying your summit certificate in to ensure it doesnt get damaged during the safari
- A good pair of binoculars will pay dividends
If transiting Addis Ababa, try some of the local dishes at the airport.
Special mention for Emmanuel, our driver from the African Walking Company, who drove us to the mountain, picked us up afterwards, and also met us after the safari to transfer us to our flight home. Like everyone else in the African Walking Company, he was always cheerful and helpful, and couldnt do enough to help us out.
The organisation of the safari was less satisfactory as we didn't receive any update when returning from the mountain as to how, or at what time, we would meet our guide. Despite asking at reception for an approximate time, we found that our guide arrived half an hour earlier than anticipated, meaning our departure was somewhat hurried. Unlike on the ascent, no additional information was provided as to where we were going or what we could expect. While the guide was perfectly competent at finding lots of animals, we seemed to simply drive from place to place randomly.
We were provided basic printed maps of Kili for the climb, however I feel similar maps of Ngorongoro and the Serengeti would have framed this part of the trip better. There were information centres at Ngorongoro and the Serengeti which could also have provided this additional information, but these weren't pointed out when we arrived. That aside, Id still highly recommend this overall trip.
On all routes, Exodus have an enviable success record, often enabling full groups to reach the summit together. This is in part down to our excellent guides and the guiding ratios (2:1) we provide, but also to the additional acclimatisation days we build into the standard park recommendations for each route we trek.
In taking 6 days to complete this beautiful trek we ensure that over 85% of our clients reach Gillman's Point on the crater rim, while two thirds (66%) stand on top of Africa, reaching Uhuru Peak the true summit of Kilimanjaro. Figures based on records since January 2000.
Nearly 99% of our clients on this trip have reached Stella Point on the crater rim, while around 95% have reached Uhuru Peak. The summit day along the Lemosho Route is a lot steeper than that along the Rongai Route, but as the Lemosho Route takes a day longer there is more time to acclimatise, this gives a better chance of success!
Which route to choose?
We currently operate six different trips that include a trek up Kilimanjaro. Four include the Rongai Route and two include the Lemosho Route. Here are all the relevant links:
Jim Eite - Head of Product
The total distance on Kili is approx 57km. We walk variable distances each day, from 6km on Day One to 12km on summit day. There will be plenty of chances to rest and take photos along the way.
Andrew Appleyard - International Sales Manager
You can only charge electrical items in the hotel before and after the trek. There are no facilities on the mountain at all. Some people do invest in portable solar rechargers which, while sometimes expensive, seem to do the job quite well.
Tom Bowring - Customer Operations
For British passport holders, it's very straightforward. You need a clean $50 dollar bill (notes issued before 2001 are NOT accepted ) and the window is on the right as you enter the arrivals building. Please note passports and visas are your own responsibility and we cannot be responsible for any problems you may encounter.
Tom Bowring - Customer Operations
1. Listen to the guides
2. Walk slowly, or "pole, pole" as the guides would say!
3. Aim to drink about 5 litres of water each day
4. Have the right walking boots well broken in
5. Do plenty of training walks and keep your aerobic fitness up
6. Enjoy it!
Olly Leicester - Sales
The best currency to take is USD $, small denominations and try to get some $1 dollar bills, which can be quite handy. On Kili you can hardly spend money (slight shortage of shops!) and for just the climb, $250 is probably more than enough, including tips. For anywhere beyond that, it will depend on exactly where you're going but about $50 a day should suffice.
Andrew Appleyard - International Sales Manager
No one ever goes hungry on Kili, we have great chefs and you'll be amazed what they can cook up. Loads of carbs and protein are the order of the day and if you are a veggie, no problems at all. There are also plenty of snacks, mainly biscuits, bananas and essentially chocolate! Water purification tablets shouldn't be necessary (although some people like to take some to be extra safe) as we boil all the water on Kili at night. I recommend a metal Sigg bottle, which doubles up as a hot water bottle at night!
David Richardson - Sales
US dollars cash is best, and this is changed into the local currency, the Shilling. We price most activities in our trip notes in dollars, simply to make it easier to calculate costs but you will not be spending dollars directly.
Certain optional activities may be possible to pay in dollars but please note that dollars are not legal tender in Tanzania. There are some ATMs in Arusha and Stonetown, but money is best changed upon arrival at Kilimanjaro airport.
Tom Bowring - Tanzania Operations
Unfortunately we are not qualified to answer all your questions in regards to travel health, so we strongly recommend you contact your GP or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. There will be limited information in the trip notes but you should always seek further qualified medical advice.
Nomad Travel Clinics are experts in preparing people for travel, providing advice on vaccinations, anti-malarial and staying healthy whilst overseas. We have arranged a special 10% discount for Exodus passengers on any vaccinations that you may require! Take along your Nomad discount card, sent with your confirmation pack, or call Exodus for your special discount code.
Visit www.nomadtravel.co.uk/exodus for further information.
For additional information please visit: www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Charlotte Taylor - Customer Operations
All the staff at Exodus share a passion for adventure travel, and are always happy to answer any questions you may have. You can find an expert for the area you are interested in here and can contact them to get further information. If you don't see your specific country listed, please email [email protected] and they will get the answers you need!
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