When climbing Mt Kilimanjaro on the Marangu route and during the Mt Meru trekking, you will stay in mountain huts which are similar in style to Scandinavian wooden huts. Mattresses and electric lights are available. All other routes are camping routes and overnight accommodation will be in 2-man-tents equipped with sleeping mats. All meals will be served in a larger mess tent and camping tables and chairs are supplied by us.
On private trekking tours along the camping routes, we carry a chemical toilet with a toilet tent. The toilet situation on Kilimanjaro has been the biggest concern for mountaineers and this undertaking will definitely be a big relief for all private trekking guests.
Our equipment has to withstand the onslaught of exposure to the elements: extreme temperatures, snow and ice storms and powerful sunlight. Good quality materials and regular maintenance are vital for continued safety and durability and all equipment is replaced and updated periodically.
We only use the best products and brands such as VauDe and Nordisk and even modify our equipment to meet our clients’ needs. The cooking utensils, cutlery and crockery are made of strong materials to resist the tough requirements. The sleeping mats and the camping gear are made of sturdy but light materials to reduce weight for the porters.
The challenge all outfitters face is one of finding the delicate balance of comfort between client expectations, safety, costs, environmental responsibility and plain reality.
While it is possible to porter everything including the kitchen sink up the slopes of Kilimanjaro, a more sensible approach is best.
We look at our camp gear from a practical point of view: what do our clients need to help them be successful on Kilimanjaro without dramatically increasing their costs and/or harm the environment?
Please know our basic safety equipment are not considered comfort items - these are entitlement items and we carry them on every trek regardless of your comfort selection (Gamow Bags and AEDs are special cases - read below). Here is a short but important description of our emergency equipment:
- Emergency Oxygen. We carry enough oxygen for use in emergency situations on SPECIAL REQUEST. We DO NOT supply clients with supplemental oxygen on the way to the summit because this is a very dangerous thing to do. You do not need supplemental oxygen to reach the 19340ft summit of Kilimanjaro. If you do, it means you are not acclimatizing properly and administering bursts of oxygen creates a compounding problem that can turn fatal if a technical problem happens and/or your oxygen supply gets depleted. Our solution is best and all the top outfitters agree - we specialize in making sure our clients acclimatize properly without supplemental oxygen and when they don't, they must descend. This is the safe thing to do.
- Pulse-oximeters. Available on ALL treks. We use these little finger-devices to measure your percentage of oxygen-rich red blood cells traveling through your body. As you climb higher, we expect your readings to show less saturation and dramatic drops may point to acclimatization issues. But we do not depend solely on these readings. Your guides will monitor you in many ways, including your ability to keep up with your group, your appetite, your water intake, your communications (slurring words, etc), your breathing, headaches and other symptoms.
- Canvas Stretchers. Available on ALL treks. To carry you safely and comfortably during an emergency descend.
- First-aid Kits. Available on ALL treks. Your guides are trained to treat minor injuries and discomforts BUT we cannot give you medicine or other drugs! Should you have an allergy the end-result can easily be more harmful than the symptom we are treating! Please bring your own small supply of pills and drugs as recommended by your doctor including Diamox. Our guides will advise you when and how to take your medication but please read our health section elsewhere on this website.
- Gamow-bags. Available when sleeping in the Crater. If you overnight in the Crater on Kilimanjaro, simple evacuations are not always possible because you have to ascend higher in order to scale the rim before descending down to a lower elevation. If you are suffering from serious altitude-related symptoms it may be safer to stabilize you by placing you in our pressured altitude chamber for an hour or so. This will fool your body into thinking you are 2000ft or so lower in elevation and the improvement in your condition will buy precious time as we evacuate you over Stella Point and down to safety. A Gamow bag is not needed for treks that do not overnight in the Crater as immediate and fast descending is always possible and preferred.
- Automated External Defibrillator (AED). We offer AEDs as an upgrade option but we do not want you to get caught up in marketing hype. You must know that these devices are unproven at high altitude in cold/wet weather. They may malfunction. And medical studies have shown AEDs to be very ineffective in most heart-related emergencies when not used in hospital emergency rooms. Immediate CPR remains the most important life-saving technique and our guides will do CPR FIRST as it is very important to keep oxygen flowing into the brain while the lungs and heart are pumped. An AED shock will be a last-ditch attempt if CPR fails to revive the patient. Using an AED instead of CPR will waste precious early minutes that may result in serious brain-damage.
Flying Doctors Evacuation. Should you require serious medical attention, our guides will call the Service who will send helicopters or airplanes to the nearest landing strip to evacuate you the nearest best hospital at no cost to you. But please remember you will be responsible for medical costs. The Flying Doctors organization works directly with your insurance company to recoup their flight costs - please make sure you have proper medical insurance before tackling Kilimanjaro!
Are you looking for a trekking adventure, joining an adventurous safari or relaxing on a white beach by the Indian Ocean? We provide professional and competent service. Get in touch with us and we will help you create your dream holiday in East Africa.
See you in Tanzania!