Once you decide you’re going to take on Africa’s highest peak there are a few things you’ll need to figure out before you set foot on the mountain. We help hundreds of climbers make their way to the summit of Kilimanjaro each year, and wanted to answer some of the most common questions we get as people prepare for their trip.
Where is Kilimanjaro?
Kilimanjaro is located in East Africa and is nearly situated on the equator. The mountain itself is in Tanzania and is just south of the Kenyan border. All of the climbing approaches to the mountain are via the Tanzania side and not the Kenyan side.
There are a few ways to make your way to Kilimanjaro. For most people, the best is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) directly. This is usually the fastest option, and avoids dealing with vaccinations and visas that other options may require.
There are a number of carriers that fly into JRO directly:
- KLM Airline / Kenya Air operate a direct flight from Amsterdam. This is one of the most popular options for US, Canadian, and European climbers
- Qatar Airlines offers a direct flight from Doha to Kilimanjaro, a good option for travelers coming from the Middle East, Asia, or Eastern Europe.
- Turkish Airlines offers a direct flight from Istanbul to Kilimanjaro, another good option for travelers connecting in through Europe.
- It is possible to connect through regional carriers as well by flying into Nairobi (Kenya Air), Dar es Salaam (FastJet, Precision Air), Addis Adaba (Ethiopian Airlines), or Kigali (RwandAir) and connecting to JRO.
Another option is to fly into Nairobi, where you can find a number of shuttle options to Moshi
- Riverside Shuttle – $40 USD, 7 to 8 hour drive, only departs twice a day
- Private Transfer Shuttle – $350-$450, 6 hour drive, more flexible schedule
Flights to Nairobi are often cheaper than to Kilimanjaro directly, and many travelers take that to mean this is the cheaper option. However, it can create a hassle with visas and immunization paperwork for yellow fever, and it requires a long drive on bumpy roads. I generally recommend paying the difference to fly to JRO directly whenever possible.
Finding Flight Deals to Kilimanjaro:
Airfare to Tanzania can be quite expensive, especially if purchased on short notice. For many climbers this is the most expensive part of their trip. I’ve often found the best deals on flights through websites like www.CheapoAir.com, www.Kayak.com, or www.expedia.com. This isn’t an endorsement, but as one traveler to another, you may find some good deals on these sites.
Get your visa
The majority of travelers need a visa to enter Tanzania, though there are some countries that don’t require it (see below). Luckily, the visa process in Tanzania is pretty simple and most visas can be obtained at the airport in Tanzania on arrival. We’re providing information here as a reference from our experience, you should always check current visa requirements with your local consulate or the Tanzania Embassy directly before traveling.
Applying in Person
Tanzania requires you to have a valid passport with at least 6 months before expiration date, and to pay the application fee, which varies by origin country and usage, usually $50 or $100 USD. You do not need passport photos or sponsorship documentation, though you may be asked for details about your tour operator, hotel accommodations, and return travel plans. We’re happy to help you with all of this information.
Applying by mail
Many travelers ask about applying for their visa before arrival, as is common in other countries. This is possible in Tanzania, but requires several weeks notice to mail your documents to your local embassy and wait for their return. This creates a delay and expense that generally only saves you a short wait at the immigrations office on arrival.
Unless there are special circumstances for your visa requirements or your country of origin, we recommend applying in person on arrival.
Visas for Minors
Visa applications for minors under 18 years traveling alone or with only one parent/legal guardians should be accompanied by:
- A notarized letter, jointly signed by parents or legal guardians approving the minor to travel
- A copy of their ID
No Visa is required for nationals of the following countries:
Immunizations and Medical Documentation
You should always check with your doctor on the immunization and medical preparations for your climb. The best choice of vaccines for your trip depends on many individual factors, including your precise travel plans. It is always best to seek advice from your doctor on travel and immunization plans well in advance, if possible around 6 weeks before departure.
The information here is based on guidelines from the Tanzanian Government and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The government of Tanzania requires proof of yellow fever vaccination upon arrival if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever. If you are travelling directly from the United States or Europe and transit through another country, it is not required.
However if you will stay for more than 24 hours in a country that is endemic or at risk for Yellow Fever, you are required to have the vaccine. A complete list of these countries is available at the U.S. CDC website
– Travelers from India and Malaysia may be required to obtain a certificate in order to return to their home countries.
Yellow Fever Vaccine Waiver:
If your doctor has recommended that you should not have the yellow fever vaccine due to a condition or having reached above 60 years of age, you can travel to Tanzania with your letter from the doctor and show it to the border immigration officer to waive the requirement. Please coordinate with your local Tanzanian consulate to make sure the letter your doctor provides will meet their requirements.
Other Common Questions:
Once you have your travel plans figured out, you may want to start thinking about how to best train for the climb, when you can expect the best weather, and what gear you’ll need. We have full guides for both topics available here:
Training for Kilimanjaro
Packing List for Climbing Kilimanjaro
The Weather of Kilimanjaro
What other questions do you have about Kilimanjaro? Use the Contact Us link below to let us know how we can help you prepare for your climb, or look at our upcoming departures here.