Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro – 9 Day Lemosho Western Breach Route

Have you ever wondered what it would be like climbing Kilimanjaro? Before I get into my climb, I wanted to take the time to explain a little about the country and the people of Tanzania.

Mount Kilimanjaro - Climbing Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro

Tanzania is officially known as the United Republic of Tanzania. The country has a population of just over 65 million. 120 languages are spoken in the country, Swahili being the official language. The country is made up of over 100 tribes, each distinguished by their unique masks, hand-woven baskets and wooden carvings.

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in the country and the largest speaking Swahili city in the world. Tanzania has designated 25% of its land to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. It is among the highest in the world and during this trip, I would be visiting one of the most popular national parks in the country. Kilimanjaro National Park. Home to the iconic mountain and home to the largest elephant breeds in the world. This would become my home for 9 days.

Mount Kilimanjaro is like no other place on earth. The mountain holds many records; it is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. It has a staggering five different types of climatic zones, from hot and tropical to arid snow-capped peaks. In comparison, the entire USA has five climatic zones. Mount Kilimanjaro is also the tallest mountain on the African continent. Kilimanjaro is also the fourth most topographically peak on earth. The exact meaning of Kilimanjaro is not certain, it is closely tied to two words: one in Swahili, “Kilima,” which means mountain, and a local tribal word from the Chagga, “Njaro,” which means “whiteness.” Together we get “Mountain of Whiteness,” presumably for the ever-present snow-cap on the volcanos top.

Standing at 5895 meters above sea level it is a peak not to be taken lightly. In this blog post, I will take you through my experience day by day as I push toward the summit. I will give you the details about the climb, the highs and lows. I will share tips and the things I wish I knew before I started.

Here is my experience at climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Please note this is my experience with the Kiliwarriors. All the opinions and views are that of my own. I hope it helps gives you a sense of what it is like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with the Kiliwarriors.    

Kiliwarriors Flag - Climbing Kilimanjaro
Kiliwarriors Flag

Climbing Kilimanjaro – DAY ONE

Western Gate of Park (Lemosho Gate) 2100M (7,700ft) a climb to Rainforest Zone, Forest Camp 2821M (9,255ft)

It was an early start today at 4am. I could not sleep at all. I was excited about the day. I finally woke up at 06:20. After my shower, went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast (for breakfast it was fresh fruit/tea and yogurt). It was time to head up to the room to finish packing and sorting out my room. Finally, I did manage to get this done and get downstairs for 08:30.

Checked out on time and everything was fine. I kept my suitcase in reception, and they stored it for me. I then waited in the lobby with everyone for our 9am departure. The crew arrived and we left at 9am. We all got into the bus and headed for the national park. It was a good bus ride; it took around 3hrs to drive. We stopped halfway for a toilet break and to grab some snacks. Everyone was chatting, the entire group seem cool. I believe this is going to be a brilliant trip. We arrived at Kilimanjaro National Park at 12:30pm and had some lunch, it was huge sandwich, crisps, cakes and fruit. There was so much food. We checked in at the park, you HAVE to sign the park register. Once the paperwork was completed, we had a final picture before starting the route.

We started the climb at 13:10. I walked through the lush rainforest at first, we saw monkeys. It was great. The entire group were chatting and having some good banter. The walk was hard going in the first instance, over some steep terrain. We walked for around 5hrs before we arrived at our first camp, we got to camp at 17:55. There was water waiting for us. There was also food, tea and coffee. It would be our first dinner in the mesh tent on Mount Kilimanjaro. Dinner to my surprise was a 3-course meal! We also all had our blood oxygen levels taken. At this point, I had NO mobile phone coverage at all but it has been a brilliant first day. I finally ended up getting into my tent (No.10) at 21:10 and settled down for the night at 21:35. Fingers crossed more of the same tomorrow.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – DAY TWO

Rainforest Zone, Forest Camp 2821M (9,255ft) a climb to Moorland Heather Zone (3444M (11,300ft)

I struggled with sleep overnight; I woke up at 02:30 and could not really get back to sleep. I kind of cap napped the entire time. We were woken at 06:30 with a lovely warm cup of tea, hot water and soap. This would be my first morning waking up on Mount Kilimanjaro. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and got dressed (changed my underpants, socks and t-shirt).

We had to collect all our stuff together and put it in our duffle bags. Things we might need for the day in our daypack. Time for breakfast, the first breakfast on the mountain. It was a lovely brekkie and a total surprise. Eggs, Bacon, toast with fresh fruit and juice. It was a chilly night last night, so it was chilly this morning. We had breakfast and then got our final things together. What I was amazed at, when we came out the mess tent after breakfast, the entire camp had been packed up already by the amazing porters and everything in the bags ready to be transported onto the next camp.

Shira Camp - Climbing Kilimanjaro
Arrival at Shira Camp

It was 08:20 before we set off for the day of more hiking. Today was a real challenge, parts were steep. It was hot, humid, and intense. However, the guides and members of the group were so friendly and due to all the talking we did, time went extremely quickly. The route was around 12KM today. We stopped for lunch, which was pasta, eggs, toast and a stunning sauce. Then continued on the hike up the mountain and finally came into our next camp at 15:48. This is when we finally got to see the mountain in all its stunning glory for the first time.

At camp we needed to sign into the register (no idea why)! We got our stuff taken from us on arrival into camp by the porters who took our stuff to our tents for us. All of our stuff was very dirty from all the dust. We brushed ourselves down and I got a little help from the porters, we had a hot drink waiting for us and a shower! Yes, a shower. I can confirm I had a shower on Mount Kilimanjaro.

It was very well received. It was in a tent on its own with a bucket of hot water hanging from the roof, it had a small tap that you opened and finally running hot water was hitting my body and I savoured the moment. After the shower, it was time to chill out a little and relax in the mess tent. We had some popcorn, more tea and coffee and hot chocolate. I had my medication for the first time today (this is for the altitude sickness).

I am feeling fine at this time, no symptoms of altitude sickness at all. In fact I am feeling pretty good in general, a little tired but I am sure I will sleep better tonight after such an epic day. We had dinner, which was a 3-course affair! Yes, a 3-course meal on Mount Kilimanjaro. We started with a stunning chicken soup for starters, we had fish stew with roasted potatoes and vegetables and for pudding banana custard. The food would become such an important part of this trip, but more on that a little later. It really was a brilliant first full day with the crew and group. I finally got back into my tent and settled down for the night at 21:35 looking forward to what tomorrow might bring.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – DAY THREE

Moorland Heather Zone (3444M (11,300ft) a climb to Moorland Heather Zone 4200M (13,779ft)

Once again, I slept really badly. I felt like I had been lying awake for hours but I did get a few hours’ sleep. Maybe only 2 or 3. I got up at 04:00 and went for wee. Now, let me explain what this is like for those wondering.

There were always two toilets set-up at camp, these are chemical toilets but more than adequate for our needs. These toilets are emptied every day and transported with all the other gear to the next camp. tents that can be zipped up. Just bear in mind, as you climb higher it gets colder and you wear more layers. Making going to the toilet a little more difficult. It was cold on this morning at 04:00 when I get up and was still dark. A flash light or headlamp is necessary to have in your daypack. However, when I did get up to have my wee I saw the most amazing night sky, the stars were bright and there were so many stars in the sky. It was beautiful. I get back into my tent and tried to relax a little more, I did doze off again which helped.

Summit of Kilimanjaro - Climbing Kilimanajro
The first look at the summit of Kilimanjaro

I woke up at 06:20 to my alarm and got my wakeup call from the porters at 06:30. Same as yesterday morning, a hot drink was given to me, a bowl with hot water and soap. The hot water was a welcome relief as it was cold. I tried to keep as much as possible in my sleeping bag to keep warm. I got my things together (same as yesterday) and got my duffle bag outside my tent and packed my daypack. Breakfast this morning was porridge (I must admit porridge is not my favourite breakfast) but it was filling and warm and that was good enough for me.

Today we left camp and started our hike at 08:30, the sun was out and luckily, it did not take to long to warm up. I checked my phone for signal and still had nothing (that is 28hrs without any phone coverage). We walked for some time today. It was a little easier today as the terrain was a little flatter but we hiked for another 11KM to “Moir camp”. We also saw the summit again once we got to camp. It was a brilliant hike, chatting again to the group.

Time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to stop for lunch. Lunch today was a real treat, fried chicken and chips! Yes, on a mountain! We also had the best guacamole I have ever had. We finally got to our final camp at 15:10. Again, we had a hot drink waiting for us and the porters ready to take our stuff from us and put it in our tents. We all chilled in the mess tent, had a good catch up with the guides on how we were all feeling. I was still feeling good. No altitude sickness at all, so signs of it in fact. My body felt good and I was still enjoying every moment.

This evening we got to witness our first incredible Kilimanjaro Sunset, I mean we were spoiled in the end with many amazing sunsets but this would be the first and so will always be one of my favourites from the entire trip. We all stood outside and watched the sunset and the sky turn the deepest orange/red/yellow. It was a wonderful moment from this trip and one moment that remains one of my favourite. Dinner tonight was served at 19:00.

We were all loving the sunset that we were called for dinner. This evening it was beef stew with rice and banana pudding. Started once again with a brilliant soup. As soon as the sun set it got cold, really cold. Really quick. Anyone that knows me knows I do not like the cold, who does? The team asked if I wanted a hot water bottle for my sleeping bag, and of course, I said yes.

It would turn out to be one of the best things, it kept my feet warm all night. In addition, A member of our group suggested to me to that I should put all my electrical equipment (phone, batteries, chargers and any spare clothes for tomorrow) in my sleeping bag. That way, overnight they will be kept warm. Again, it was sound advice and thank you Ryan for that. Finally, we all went to bed around 21:30.


Moorland Heather Zone 4200M (13,779ft) a climb to Alpine Desert Zone 4600M (15,091ft)

Again, it was a rubbish night sleep. It was so cold overnight; I was shivering at one point and had to put more layers on. Despite having my sleeping bag and wearing clothes, I was still feeling very cold. Therefore, I did not sleep very well at all again. I was awake at 01:30 and just could not settle down. I finally got up at 06:20 and went for wee. A member of the group was already awake and outside his tent, so we stopped and chatted a little as quietly as we could. One thing I will say about camp, as everyone is sleeping close together and in tents. You do hear a lot of noise, from wind, rain, people walking, people weeing, people drinking. In fact, it is impossible not to hear. Everyone else started to stir and I was feeling tired today.

For the first time on this trip, I was feeling a little tired and little slow. I really needed to catch up on some sleep and I was starting to feel the sleep deprivation creeping in. At 07:00, we got our wakeup call, a hot drink, wash, brushed teeth and I got dressed. I had my clothes for today in my sleeping bag so they were nice and warm to put on. (Thank you again Ryan for the sound advice). We set off after breakfast a little later today at 08:50.

The first part of the hike today I did find difficult, it was very steep and very cold. I was also starting to experience short of breathiness. I am not 100% sure, if this was partly down to the altitude and me being tired or a bit of both. However, at times during the hike this morning I was certainly trying hard to catch my breath. We walked for approx. 4.5hrs to Lava Tower Camp.

This would end up being my favourite camp of the entire trip. On the way to lava tower camp, I also managed to get some phone signal so managed to get a message to loved ones. Once we got to lava tower, it was time for some lunch. Lava tower was also one of the busiest camps we had been to so far. There were many other groups here and it was a good vibe around camp. Lunch was soup, fish stew with rice. It was well received by everyone, as it was so cold. We found out that that would be all the hiking done for the day. We were able to rest, and acclimatize for the rest of the day.

I was able to chat with some other members of our group and I loved it, learning about different countries and talking to different people. After a few hours and a few rounds of tea, the guides came and asked if we wanted to climb up lava tower itself? I did not want this opportunity to pass me by so I agreed and so did a few members of the group. So, with the guides leading the way we climbed lava tower. Another 220ft. We had to scramble at times on our hands and knees, using our hands to pull us up. I loved it, got such a buzz from it.

We reached the top and were rewarded with some breath-taking views of the mountain and surrounding area. It was way above the clouds now. We stayed up on lava tower for a short while before navigating the way back down. Once we all arrived back at camp it was time to chill out for a little longer. I was still feeling tired. A little short of breath and just not feeling the best. However, a member of our group came running into the mess tent and told us that the sunset was looking amazing tonight and so we all went outside and watched another amazing sunset on Mount Kilimanjaro.

At the top of Lava Tower - Climbing Kilimanjaro
At the top of Lava Tower

The views were outstanding and we were much higher than clouds. It was another moment I will never forget. After sunset it was time to have dinner, dinner was served at 19:00 again. It was pasta, with a tomato sauce and was delicious as always. After dinner I made sure to grab my hot water bottle again, went back to my tent. Settled down and tried to keep as warm as possible. It was really cold this evening. I actually slept in my sleeping bag with my coat on this time.

Kilimanjaro Sunset
Amazing Kilimanjaro Sunset


Alpine Desert Zone 4600M (15,091ft) Acclimatization Day.

It was another sleepless night for me again. I woke up 3 times for a wee during the night and it was so cold. Most of the time I just laid their cat napping on and off all night. I was starting to get frustrated that I could not sleep. I wanted to, I needed too. However, my body and mind just would not allow me too. Was it the cold? Could it be the altitude? Was it the noise around camp? Maybe it was a combination of all of them. In any event, I was tired. My body was starting to tell me.

I got up at 07:00 this morning. It was a little later today as today was all about trying to acclimatize to the altitude. However, I had a headache, nothing serve or anything stopping me from going about my day. We went for breakfast; it was porridge/fruit/toast again this morning with a nice cup of tea. It was so cold today as well. During breakfast I was struggling, I was cold. Tired and had a headache. After breakfast, it was time to wash our faces, brush our teeth and get our things together in our daypacks.

We headed off for our hike today at 10:00. It was a sunny day, but really cold and still high above the clouds. I triple layered up today, which did help as we made our way to arrow glacier camp. It was approx. 2KM and a climb of 1000ft. It was very steep and hard going. Not easy for me being tired, cold and with a headache. We were hiking up there to get our bodies used to the altitude, we would be coming back to lava tower camp to sleep again tonight.

The ground under our feet felt different, it was much more lose then the previous days, it was gravel like which also made it a little harder to keep traction and you had to work a little more. This was the first time during this walk that I got a sense the people in the group were also starting to feel it, there was not much talking this time around. Most people were silent, just trying to save energy and keep breathing. I once again was short of breath. I found it hard to catch my breath as we continued to climb.

We finally did arrive at arrow glacier camp. We stayed for a short while and then packed up and headed back the way we came. I was glad in some ways that we were heading back to lava tower camp, arrow glacier was freezing cold and extremely windy. However, at least we knew what to expect for tomorrow.

Once we arrived back at lava tower camp, we had lunch. I was tired and just not feeling great so went and settled down in my tent in the hope I could have a little sleep. I did have a nap in my tent and slept for a solid 2hrs! It is amazing how different I felt when I woke up. I felt refreshed, ready for whatever came my way. We made my way over to the mess tent where some of the group were hanging out. It was time for a cup of tea and just chilled with the other members of the group in the mess tent.

My feet were struggling to keep warm this time around a member of the group again told me it could be because my feet had been sweating and it might help tonight before bed I change my socks. I was called for my interview, as part of our group there was a young film making crew. Such nice, amazing people from Canada, I had never been interviewed on camera before and they were making a documentary about climbing Kilimanjaro. They wanted to interview certain members of the group to get a feel and insight into why we wanted to climb, our backgrounds and what we thought so far. They were very patient, kind and professional. Just hope I did them justice.

It was then time for dinner; again, another 3-course meal was on offer in the mess tent. Dhuma was the chef we had however, we all nicknamed him Mr delicious.  As always, the food for dinner was incredible and in fact, all the food on this trip so far has been outstanding. Everything made fresh, it is some feet being able to prepare, cook and serve such amazing food on a mountain. The team at Kiliwarriors does an amazing job. Food is really an important part of the expedition. Due to the amount of hiking and walking you do each day, you burn many calories therefore it is very important you keep up with food intake and replenish those calories you have lost. Even for the members of the group that were suffering a little with appetite lost, the guides and crew made sure they ate.

Arrow Glacier Camp - Climbing Kilimanjaro
Snow, Glaciers and Ice

After dinner that was a little earlier today we were able to check out another stunning sunset on our last evening at Lava Tower Camp. However, tonight’s sunset would be remembered forever, for one special reason. You may have seen the You Tube videos of the Kiliwarriors singing a song. I had NOT watched any You Tube videos (only the one video when I booked the trip 18 months ago) so I did not have any idea what was about to happen.

The crew, guides and porters started chanting and even more members of the Kiliwarriors started to join the group. The Kiliwarriors then treated us guests to their famous song and chanting and even allowed us to join in. As the sun set, singing and chanting with the Kiliwarriors was an emotional moment and even now, typing this I am getting a tear in my eye as I get transported back to that moment on the mountain.

It was most certainly a highlight of my trip and you can watch the entire thing by visiting my You Tube channel and watching the Kilimanjaro climb. After, it just lifted everyone. The sickness, the tiredness, the headaches, the aches all gone shortly and we all felt like we could reach the summit that evening! After such an amazing end to the day, the camp was really feeling energised. I changed my socks (after the advice from Ryan) and then settled down for the evening at around 22:10.


Alpine Desert Zone 4600M (15,091ft) a climb to Alpine Desert Zone 4900M (16,076ft)

Another restless night! Another night of little to NO sleep and another night, I was trying everything to keep warm. I reckon I had 3 hours sleep. I woke up several times for a wee during the night. As I mentioned before, trying to stay quiet is impossible and at around 04:30 I went for a wee, it was so loud and lasted so long I feared I had woken up the entire camp! Luckily, I had not, but it sounded like we were sleeping next to a large waterfall. I slowly get back in my tent, back into my sleeping bag. I was pretty out of breath, I tried to settle down and relax a little more.

Arrow Glacier Camp
Arrow Glacier Camp

I got my wakeup call at 07:00 this morning. All my clothes were changed today, wiped myself down with body wash wipes I had brought with me (they were great, more on them below). I then headed for the mess tent where some other members of the group were already there. I had some fruit and a cup of tea, I headed back to my tent and packed up our stuff.

Everything that you do not need goes into your duffle bag and the personal items into your day pack. Today we were moving camps, so everything is being packed up. I topped up the water bottles (also important to stay hydrated) and then we went for some breakfast. French toast and fresh fruit this morning with a hot chocolate, it was so cold. I brushed my teeth, grabbed my daypack and then ready to hike back to arrow glacier camp. It started to feel real for us today.

In as little as 24hrs, we would be on our way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Summit day is scheduled for tomorrow and it was the hot conversation for the day. We left lava tower camp around 10:10 and made our way along the same route as yesterday to arrow glacier camp. It was steep, gravel and rocks under our feet and the going was tough. I was finding it difficult to catch my breath, even to drink. I was also desperate for some sleep and starting to flag. However, I had to dig deep and I pressed on with the help of the group.

We got to arrow glacier camp at around 12:50 and it was cold, damp, cloudy, windy and just not a pleasant place to be. It was hard to imagine that this would be our final camp, our last night before heading for the summit tomorrow morning. We actually continued past arrow glacier camp and climbed another 300ft to help with acclimatization. We sat above arrow glacier camp for a while and I could see that people in the group were suffering. They were quieter, not as outgoing. I totally understood. We made our way back down to camp and it was time for some lunch.

Leaving Lava Tower and heading for Arrow Glacier Camp
Leaving Lava Tower and heading for Arrow Glacier Camp

We had lunch around 13:40 and I managed to get some phone signal again (for the second time only on this entire trip) so I messaged family members and my husband. As my phone was getting signal I saw what the current temperature was… -2 at 13:45 in the afternoon! It was so cold. We all chilled in the mess tent and tried to keep warm with hot drinks and good food. The conversation was great, there was no topic not touched on. We had our briefing session this afternoon about the summit and what the plan was, what equipment we needed and how it was all going to work. The route we were going to take, what we could expect and how long it might take us. After that it was back to our tents to sort out our gear.

We would be leaving in the earlier hours so would not have time, which is why it was advised to do it all now. Dinner was at 17:00 today due to the early start tomorrow and during dinner, the main conversation point was reaching the summit.

After dinner it was time to make final preparations with our gear, checking the helmet fits properly. Making sure all the water bottles were filled up. Making sure the headlamp was fully charged. After I took my meds, it was time to try to get some sleep. I settled down at 20:10 with a hot water bottle and every layer I had with me. This not over stating, I am not kidding, I slept in seven layers. I found it hard to roll over in my sleeping bag, but it was extremely cold and, in the morning, all I needed to do was wake up already clothed.


Alpine Desert Zone 4900M (16,076ft) a climb to Artic Zone Uhuru Peak 5895M (19,341ft) then climb down to Alpine Desert Zone Barafu Camp 3983M (15,239ft)

It’s safe to say because of the 7 layers I had on I was actually pretty warm and that meant I slept for the longest amount of time so far during this trip. I had 4hrs straight sleep. At 01:10 I did wake up and although struggled to get back to sleep I was happy that I had managed 4hrs. I just chilled and napped until 02:30 then woke up and had a wee. When I got up my tent was frozen, my water bottle in my bag was also frozen. The toilet tent was also frozen. That gives you an idea on how cold it was at arrow glacier camp. In any event, our wakeup call was 03:00 and the porters started waking everyone up. Most people were already awake.

We were leaving camp at 04:00 and we had to do that for safety reasons (I will explain more below). My phone was showing -19 at this point but it felt colder than that. Breakfast was served in the mess tent at 03:30. Fresh fruit, juice, tea, coffee, toast porridge all for breakfast. Everything was looking good and as planned. We would be leaving camp at 04:00am, we got our gear together.

In total darkness under the light of our headlamps and guides, we started our hike to the summit. To get there, we would need to climb the western breach. It was steep, extremely steep. It was cold, extremely cold. My water in my bag was still frozen. I was out of breath, but determined to reach the end goal. At times, we even needed to use our hands and feet to scramble over rocks and boulders, it was a challenge and most certainly hard work. Going back to the reason of why we needed to do this so early.

Getting ready to start the climb of the Western Breach
Getting ready to start the climb of the Western Breach

The western breach is made up of rocks, stones and gravel. As I mentioned at times we were literally climbing over huge rocks and boulders. At these early times in the morning the entire western breach is frozen. All the rocks are frozen together due to the cold and being so high up, this means it is safer to climb. As the sunrises and starts to warm, you are at much more risk of rockslides making it too dangerous to attempt. Therefore, we were also on a race with the sun.

We needed to clear the western breach by sunrise. Of course, we managed it, the entire group managed to clear the western breach but I must say it was a lot harder than I ever imagined. In fact, the group re-named the western breach the western bitch! (Thank you Sarah, a great name for it). We cleared the western breach, looked up and it still seemed like we had days of climbing still to complete. It seemed so far away. My legs were burning, I was out of breath and to top it off I had the early signs of a headache starting. However, there was nothing that was going to stop me from reaching the summit.

We did stop to have a little break, we were able to sit down to have a warm drink with some biscuits. The sun was up by now and it was intense, although it was still feeling cold. I could feel the back of my neck burning, so topped up the sun cream and lip balm. It was actually nice to sit and be able to sit down and look back at where we had come. Our camp at arrow glacier was just a mere spot on the landscape.

At 10:20, we finally all made it into the crater of Mount Kilimanjaro. We had finally reached the hardest part, or so I thought. Who was I kidding? The hardest part was yet to come and it would test my resolve like never before. Once we reached the crater rim, we all just stopped hugged, high fives everywhere. It was a brilliant moment and the views high above the clouds were a picture that you just cannot describe. After a short stay at the crater to catch our breath, we started making our way into the crater rim of Kilimanjaro.

Our guides were able to walk us past one of the many glaciers that rest on the summit of the mountain. It was a great experience to see, touch and stand on one of the glaciers at the top of Kilimanjaro. After the glacier, it was then time to stop for some lunch at crater camp. We would only be here for a short time, we were told 1hr for lunch.

We all had lunch which consisted of chicken noddle soup, chips, toasted sandwiches, all were amazing and due to the amount of calories we had already burnt this morning we were all feeling hungry. Again, a huge credit to the chefs and Kili team on arranging and preparing such a lovely lunch at 15000ft in a tent! I was at this point getting a headache (I know it was due to the altitude) but that was not making me feel any better.

My body however was feeling good. After lunch at 12noon, it was time for one final push to the summit. Make no mistake it was hard going, it was steep. It was loose terrain, and it was now actually hot in the sunshine , it was not helping with all the layers I had on. However, with the help from the group and the Kiliwarriors team we all made it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro at 13:30pm.

It was such an emotional moment, all that planning. Months in advance, all that hard work over the past few months training had all lead to this very moment and finally I could say as loud as I possible could “I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro”. We all hugged, cried, sang, laughed and enjoyed every second that we could. To my amazement, we were the only people up at the summit at this time and we had the entire place to ourselves. The sun was shining, and it could not have been better. Like with any moment, it cannot last forever, and it was soon time to get our things together and start our descent. For me, coming down was just as hard if not a little harder than going up.

Uhuru Peak (5895M) Kilimanjaro Summit
Uhuru Peak (5895M) Kilimanjaro Summit

We came down a different way, the ground was loose gravel and it was slippery. I nearly went over a few times. It was hard work and after being up for so long, walking for hours, we still have many hours before I could put my feet up. We pressed on and finally got to our next camp at 16:20, I was dripping in sweat, and all my clothes were soaked. It did not help that I had so many layers on. It was still cold outside but I guess the hard work coming down really did give me a workout. We all arrived back at camp at different times.

We had dinner at 19:00hrs but not everyone attended. The day really took its toll on some of the group. Everyone was tired but talking about the day. We were all tired; we had been hiking today for over 12hrs. Soon after dinner everyone went to bed, our tents were already set up and ready for us to climb into. My body felt good, but I was tired. I changed my clothes, wiped myself down with the body wash wipes and settled down for the night. It was 20:30 and I am praying for some sleep tonight.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – DAY EIGHT

Alpine Desert Zone 3983M (15,239ft) then climb down to Moorland Heather Zone 3110M (10,204ft)

After a fantastic 7hrs sleep last night, I finally woke up at 03:00am. I needed a customary wee of course, so as quietly as I could I made my way out of the tent and into the camp toilet. It was a very cold night, but very still. The stars were once again out in force and as I looked toward the mountain, I was amazed to see the stream of torches and headlamps leading their way up the mountain. All the other groups head up in time for sunrise. Once I got back into bed, I tried to settle down to see if I could get a few more hours sleep. I did manage to doze off a few times.

I finally got up and out my tent at 07:20am, it was light (sunrise was always around 06:30am) but still very cold. It was a good time to get my duffle bag sorted out and daypack as we were looking to hike a long way again today, at least 6hrs of hiking down the mountain to the next camp. I went into the mess tent and grabbed a cup of tea. When I came outside and spotted the stunning scenery, so I just stopped and tried to enjoy the moment, I was having a lovely cup of tea way above the clouds again this morning and I really took some time to take that moment in and enjoy it.

Morning Cup of Tea high above the Clouds
Morning Cup of Tea high above the Clouds

I went back to my tent and needed to charge my mobile up, I had not had any phone signal now for days, not since arrow glacier camp. I had 41% battery left on my phone and my battery pack was really stepping up to the mark. However, after a short while I did notice that finally my battery pack had ran out of power, it did a brilliant job all this time. I brushed my teeth, had a wash of the face and headed into the mess tent for breakfast. Breakfast today was served at 09:00am and it was as always a brilliant well-cooked, well-prepared breakfast with bacon, eggs and toast. We had come out the mess tent after breakfast and the entire camp was packed away! The porters and crew do the most incredible job. We left camp at 10:10am and started our descent.

As we were coming down the mountain, we all talked and chatted as normal, as the morning started to turn into mid-morning, it started getting hot under the blazing sunshine. We were still above the clouds at this point so had no cover from the sun at all. I had to stop along with a few others and de-layer myself. We carried on down the mountain toward the next camp and it was relentless. It was steep, it was rocky, it was hot and by the time we finally came to camp my knees were shot to pieces. We pressed on, hoping that soon our camp would not be too far away.

At around 14:20 we finally arrived in our next camp. It was hot, really hot and we could see all around us how the landscape was changing from the Moreland/heather zone to the rainforest zone as the trees started to appear. We arrived just in time for lunch. Lunch was served and again it really was amazing. Fried Chicken and fries with freshly made guacamole. I honestly cannot say enough good words about the chef and his team, the food on this trip has been nothing short of amazing. After lunch, we got the chance to have a wash or a shower. A choose to wash with hot water, as much as I was craving for a shower. I knew that I only needed to wait another 24hrs.

On the way down

After a lovely wash and a shave, we had some time to chill out in the sunshine and finally feel some warmth. As I chilled out a little, I cannot help but reflect as we draw to a close my last full day on Mount Kilimanjaro. As much as I loved everything about this trip, I am ready to get the hell of this mountain! The Kiliwarriors team have been… Well it is hard for me to find the words to express how thankful and how amazing they have been. The Guides, Mr delicious and his team, the camp crew and of course none of it is possible without the porters. The porters have been nothing short of fantastic.

The Kiliwarriors are without doubt the best, most organised, friendliest team of people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Thank you just does not seem enough. Then there is the group, my climbing friends. This group of people have been without doubt the reason this trip will be remembered for the rest of my life. Each and every one of them. They are the friendliest, outgoing, inspiring group of people I have ever had the privilege of meeting and I hope someday down the road we will meet again. Dinner will be our last dinner together on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Our last supper as it is known was brilliant. It was more of a celebration, a celebration of our achievement but also a celebration of what we had all accomplished together. It was such a nice evening and one I did not really want to end. However, it did end. One of the members of the group kindly agreed to charge my phone for me overnight, I grabbed my hot water bottle again for my feet as it got really cold again really quickly. We all went to bed that night knowing, this would be our last night sleeping on Mount Kilimanjaro. I finally got my head down around 21:50 with a sense of achievement but also a sense of sadness that my time here is about to come to an end.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – DAY NINE

Moorland Heather Zone 3110M (10,204ft) then climb down to Mweka Gate 1653M (5,423ft) to finish and leave the National Park.

I had another good night’s sleep last night. I had 7hrs, which was good for me. As a member of the group was charging my phone for me, I did not have it for my alarm so I ended up getting a morning call from everyone in camp at 6am, which was kind of funny and very kind. It was a chilly night, but not freezing as we have been used to.

Nearly at the bottom

I got a knock on my tent for my morning cup of tea, we also got our normal hot water to wash and brush our teeth. Breakfast was served at 7am, eggs, bacon, toast, fruit, porridge all on offer for breakfast. After breakfast, it was time to get our bags ready and leave camp for the final time. We left camp at 08:50am and started our final hike not to a camp this time but the exit gates of the national park.

The hike was a good hike, not to demanding, (although it was in places) it certainly was not as bad as yesterday and it was getting very hot again very quickly. I needed to de-layer again. About an hour into the hike we were deep in the jungle, it was humid but beautiful. We started to see wildlife again, insects like fire ants and monkeys in the trees. The group ended up in two separate groups this time and by mid-morning, all I started to think about was a proper bed and a proper hot shower back at the hotel. We finally arrived at the gatehouse at 11:50am after hiking all that time. My calves and knees were aching.

We meet up with the camera crew team and sat down for a proper rest while we waited for the other group to also come down from the mountain. I sat down, grabbed a drink and had a snack. Everyone had to sign the exit register and we waited for the others. It was not to long before the others arrived and finally everyone was down and officially off the mountain. We were presented with our certificates in a wonderful ceremony put on by the Kiliwarriors, they treated us to another song and dance. It was awesome.

We then all got onto the bus and started making our way back to Arusha. As we drove through the gates of the national park we all gave a huge clap and cheer on the bus knowing we had all done it. The bus ride back was all about our trip, we all spoke about our favourite moments, best camps, our not so favourite moments and all that goes in-between. In fact, due to all the talking it really did not seem that long before we were back in Arusha and pulling into the car park of the hotel. Again, the bus let out a loud cheer, as we all know a hot shower was just minutes away.

Back in the Jungle
Back in the Jungle

We got back around 15:20, checked in. Grabbed our suitcases that we all had left at the hotel and made our way to our rooms. Once in the room the first thing I needed to do was connect to the Wi-Fi and let the family know I was still alive and off the mountain. I had not been able to message since that short time in arrow glacier camp. The second thing I needed to do was shower. After 8 days without one, I can tell you that shower was the best shower I have ever had. It was a wonderful moment to stand under that running hot water after so long, I ended up just standing there for 20mins. It was pure joy!

After the shower it was time to sort out the bags, I had stuff everywhere. The sad truth was I was being picked up in 11hrs to start my journey home. I spoke with the Kiliwarriors team about my pick up tomorrow and they would be picking me up at 03:30am. The group had arranged to meet at 7pm for dinner to honour our last meal together.

We all meet in the hotel lobby and it was great seeing everyone so fresh faced again. We made our way to the restaurant. I had burger and chips and it was divine. We stayed for a long while after food and chatted, then I had to say my goodbyes as I was leaving early and needed to get some sleep. Once I got back up to my room at 21:30pm and finished packing. It was time for bed, which was a huge treat! I fell straight to sleep after the most EPIC Adventure.

At the end of the climb
At the end of the climb

Costs to Climb Kilimanjaro

Having returned from Climbing Kilimanjaro this is one of the questions I have been asked about the most, how much did it all cost? The second most popular question I am asked, did I see any Lions? The answer is NO.

As far as the costs for this trip. As always, I like to be transparent and I like to be able to tell people the truth when it comes to any of my trips and the money that I spend. This is no different and below is a breakdown of the costs for this trip.

Trip Costs: This expedition (flights are not included in this) is not the cheapest one on offer on Mount Kilimanjaro but it was 100% worth every single pound. The Kiliwarriors ensure every member gets to the summit and they have one of the best success rates of any company on the mountain. Check out their website here.

All my gear for Kilimanjaro

Equipment/Gear: I paid for the inclusive package. This meant I got walking poles, sleeping bag and duffle bag all included and $400 of tips. The rest of the gear I had to supply myself leading up to the climb I would spend on average £100 – £150 each month on gear until I had everything. It may be that you already have the gear so will not need to spend as much. I would recommend if you do need to grab some items, always look in the clearance bins or at sale items first. It worked wonders for me.

Flights: This will be different for everyone depending on where you are coming from. I am lucky as for me it was just an 8hr flight from London to Nairobi then a connecting flight onto Kilimanjaro International Airport.  Check out the link here for the latest flight info and costs {Check flights to Kilimanjaro here}

Spending Money: You will need some while you stay in Arusha. You will need some for tips and food at the hotel before and after the climb. I would also recommend some cash to use at the airport for drinks and snacks. After the climb there is also a souvenir shop which has some great Kilimanjaro stuff for gifts. I would also bring some extra cash to tip the porters after the climb. They really do deserve it.  


How I do even begin to sum up this trip? It is hard to find the words. As I sit here and try to find something to say, I will try my hardest to summaries this trip.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is without doubt one of the hardest experiences I have ever done. It is also one of the most amazing. You always get the greatest success from the hardest things, if it was easy everyone would be doing it. I learned so much about ME, I learned that I love a good challenge, the harder the challenge; the more I worked to achieve it, the better I felt after achieving it. This trip certainly has changed me for the better.

The Kiliwarriors are without a doubt the most impressive group of people I have ever meet. From the first correspondence in emails when booking the trip, to phone calls to check on my training and gear preparation, to the guides, crews and porters on the mountain helping with every single step. The Kiliwarriors went beyond anything I have witnessed in a company before. You want a lesson in customer service, this is how it is done. I felt like a member of the family. I felt like a member of the team and it was that sprit that helped all of us up to the summit.

The Kiliwarriors are more than just an expedition company taking people to the summit of Kilimanjaro. They are THE experience of giving people the mental ability, access to the best food, equipment and knowledge of the mountain. I cannot thank the Kiliwarriors enough, a thank you just does not seem good enough to express my gratitude in helping me to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Speaking of the food, the food on Kilimanjaro is some of the best food I have eaten anywhere. I found it mind blowing that we were able to eat fresh food every day, even at crater camp at 18,000ft. The soups were the best, the chicken noodle soup is five star! In addition, the fried chicken and chips was also a massive welcome surprise. I had the most incredible adventure on my expedition, and it is a trip I will remember for the rest of life. Not just because I was able to summit Mount Kilimanjaro but more importantly because of the people I met.

Food of our Expedition
Food of our Expedition

I know this is not for everyone. You DO need a good level of fitness to be able to complete this trip. I would also recommend making sure, you have all the correct gear that the Kiliwarriors advise when making the booking. Once your booking is confirmed, you will be sent a packing list. Make sure you read it carefully and make sure you get all the items on the list, you will need them. I will have a separate Kilimanjaro Packing List Blog Post coming soon that you can view which will give you much more information on this and the types of gear I took with me.

I am so overwhelmed with joy that I can now say without any hesitation at all, I have reached the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, the stunning Mount Kilimanjaro. Are you going to be able to say the same?

Until Next Time…

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