Rongai Route General Info

International Flights to Tanzania (GMT +3hrs)

Flights and Travel

Tanzania has two international airports: Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International. Kilimanjaro International Airport is only 50km away from our base in the town of Arusha. KLM, Ethiopian Air, Air Tanzania and Air Kenya fly here.

Dar es Salaam airport is much larger, and utilised by far more airlines – but it’s about 400KM away from Arusha. It’s 12 hours by bus or an hour’s flight to get from Dar es Salaam to Arusha. The overland journey is somewhat challenging – rough roads and rickety buses.

Buses leave daily from the main bus station in Dar es Salaam and you’ll need to set off early in order to arrive in Arusha at a reasonable time (it’s not wise to walk the streets in Arusha after dark). The alternative is to fly. Precision Air, Air Tanzania, Coastal Air and Zan Air all fly between Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro (and the smaller Arusha) airport.

Kilimanjaro International Airport is located only 1 hr from Arusha.

Most trekkers arrive in Tanzania via Kilimanjaro International Airport.

It's a good idea to build-in a rest day (at extra expense) after you arrive in Tanzania. It will be late-at-night by the time you arrive at the hotel.

Tip - make sure you take a writing-implement with you. You will have to complete an Arrivals Form prior to the passport check and there is only one Biro in Kilimnajaro International Airport - there tends to be a bit of a queue!

Shop around for your international flights. Currently, it costs around £650 - £750 to fly into Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam airports.

Visa requirements

Almost everybody, including UK passport holders, require a visa in order to enter Tanzania. A single entry tourist visa costs £38.

It is possible to get a Visa at the point of entry, but this is not a good idea. The queue for the Visa Office (in the arrivals lounge at the airport) is usually lengthy and it can take several hours for a visa to be issued.......and then you'll have to queue at the Passport Check! Whatsmore, most flights arrive late at night and the Visa office is not always open. The best advice it to get the visa before you set off.

If you have no alternative but to get your Visa on arrival, make sure you bring with you the completed Visa form (download it from the Tanzania High Commission website) and passport photo's.

The process for applying for a Tanzania visa from the UK is quite simple, and more information can be found on the website of the Tanzania High Commission. Visas last for 90 days, so it's best to apply 3 - 4 weeks before you set off.

Tipping your Kilimanjaro crew/ Money Issues

There is a Barclays ATM outside the International Arrivals Lounge at Kilimanjaro and Nairobi International Airports which accepts most bank cards and pays-out Tanzanian Shillings. There is also a Bureau de Change but not much else.

Our guides and porters will bend-over-backwards to make sure that the trip goes smoothly and they’ll expect to be tipped for their work. If you’re happy with the service they’ve provided, you should consider tipping to be obligatory. The amount that you should tip is not set-in-stone, the following should be considered a minimum guideline:

Guide: US$60 – 70

Assistant guide and cook: US$ 40 - 50

Porters: US$20

Depending on the size of the group, expect to tip around US$150 - 250 per climber.

Another easy way to help your crew is to give them any old kit you might have; coats, fleece jackets, socks, gloves and boots can be traded or used to replace worn-out equipment.

Have a look at to find out more about how the porters work and how we can better look after them.

Safari Tips - US$30 - 50 per client is appropriate.

Climbing Seasons

Kilimanjaro/ Mawenzie/ Meru

There are two dry seasons on Kilimanjaro, which correspond with the peak trekking periods; January to mid-March and June to October. There’s not much difference between them in terms of the conditions that you can expect on the mountain. If anything, the January to March season is slightly cooler, with a greater chance of short rain or snow showers. The June to October season can be slightly more crowded.

Don’t forget that Kilimanjaro is a big mountain and big mountain weather is unpredictable. The weather may well be dry and mild, but you should expect and prepare for cold, rain, wind and snow even in the ‘dry season’.

Daytime temperatures on trek can be quite mild. Night time temperatures fall below zero and at altitude may approach minus 20o C on your night-time climb to the summit. You must take clothing and equipment which is suited to these extreme changes in temperature.

Tip - EXPECT RAIN on the mountain. Make sure you have the right clothing to deal with it and your luggage and day pack is waterproof.


Normal 3 pin plus are used in Tanzania. There is no need to bring an adapter.

Health & Recommended Vaccinations

All travellers to East Africa MUST have a Yellow Fever vaccination, and be able to produce a vaccination certificate at the border control point.

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to East Africa. Discuss your travel plans and personal health with your doctor to determine which vaccines you will need.

Hepatitis A: Transmission of hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice, or shellfish; or from fruits, vegetables, or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.

Malaria: The risk of malaria may be high in all countries in East Africa, including cities. See your doctor for a prescription antimalarial drug.

Typhoid vaccine: Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food, or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to faecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors.

Yellow fever: a viral disease that occurs primarily in sub-Saharan Africa (including Tanzania) and tropical South America, is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Yellow fever vaccination is recommended for travelers to endemic areas and may be required to cross certain international borders. Vaccination should be given 10 days before travel and at 10 year intervals if there is on-going risk.

Things to do in Arusha

There is a bar and a pool at the hotel - but if you fancy venturing outside, here are a few options:

Players Bar and Gym - (off the Nijiro Road near the PFF building - the taxi driver will know the way). There's an excellent gym and swimming pool here as well at a sports bar and ok-ish restaurant.

Nijiro Cinema Complex - (3km out of town, on the Nijiro Road). Several excellent and cheap restaurants (Curry, Chinese, Mexican etc), bars,  an expensive ex-pat supermarket for last minute supplies and a cinema

Via Via Night Club - (Boma Road, Arusha) - easily the best Night Club in town. Open most nights. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are usually quite lively.

AfriCafe - Excellent coffee and milkshakes. Boma Road.

Kilimanjaro – a brief history

Rising 4800m above the East African plains, 270km from the shores of the Indian Ocean and measuring up to 40km across, Kilimanjaro is a bizarre geological oddity, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and one formed by gargantuan volcanic eruptions and tectonic activity of the Great Rift Valley.

The three summits of Mount Kilimanjaro, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi are all of very recent origin. The volcanic activity that created the (now collapsed) Shira volcano, the oldest of the volcanoes forming the Kilimanjaro massif took place only 500,000 years ago. Soon after Shira’s extinction, Mawenzi appeared during further eruptions. 460,000 years ago, another enormous eruption caused the formation of Kibo.

The last volcanic activity of note, just over 200 years ago, left a symmetrical inverted cone of ash in the Reusch Crater, known as the Ash Pit, that can still be seen today.

Shira and Mawenzi both have suffered considerable erosion and only jagged peaks remain. Kibo, the central, youngest, and highest peak has survived as an almost perfect cone.

A Wachagga legend talks of Mawenzi receiving fire for its pipe from his younger brother Kibo. The Wachagga, who live on the fertile volcanic soils around the base of the mountain probably only came to the area about 300 years ago - further evidence of Kibo's very recent activity. Another legend talks of demons and evil spirits living on the mountain, guarding it's treasure. Stories are told of a king who decided to go to the top, few of his party survived and those who did had damaged arms and legs, and early encounter with frostbite, perhaps.

There is no evidence that native Africans ventured on to its slopes, or reached the summit, before Kilimanjaro first appeared on the horizon before western eyes. The records of human endeavour on Kilimanjaro began with western adventurers whose travels took them to the mountain in the 19th century.

In 1887, the missionary Charles New became the first person to reach snow on Kilimanjaro when he climbed to the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi.


The first ascent of Uhuru Peak was made in 1889 by the German geographer Hans Meyer and Swiss mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller and local guide Yohani Kinyala Lauwo. It took the intrepid Meyer almost 6 weeks to reach the summit.

In 1887, during his first attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, Meyer reached the base of Kibo, but was forced to turn back. He did not have the equipment necessary to handle the deep snow and ice on Kibo. The following year, Meyer planned another attempt with cartographer Oscar Baumann, but the mission was aborted due to political unrest. On October 5, 1889, with professional mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller and lead guide Johannes Kinyala Lauwo Meyer reached the summit of Kilimanjaro.






Ludwig Purtscheller was an Austrian mountaineer, teacher and moustache enthusiast.

Although his most remembered achievement is the conquest of Kilimanjaro, Purtscheller also scaled many of the European Alps most demanding peaks. Indeed, in the late 19th century he was known as Europe's best mountaineer. He died when trying to climb the infamous Dru in the French Alps near Mont Blanc. Even today, as ascent of the Dru is considered a difficult and dangerous undertaking




Yohani Kinyala Lauwo was only eighteen years old when he led Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller to the highest point of Africa on October 5th, 1889. His selection by the Mangi (Chagga chief) to be Hans Meyer's guide was accidental, but it forever changed his life.

Kinyala was born and lived his entire life in the village of Marangu on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. By the time Hans Meyer arrived in Chaggaland, Kinyala Lauwok knew the forests and slopes like the back of his hand. By then, colonialism had started in Kinyala's homeland and young men were being forced to construct roads. Kinyala tried to 'dodge the draft', but was caught. As a result, he was summoned for trial at Mangi Marealli's palace.

Coincidentally, Hans Meyer had just arrived at the palace asking for permission to climb the mountain with local guides and porters. The Mangi's wachili (advisors) spotted Kinyala, knew that he was of the Lauwo clan, and asked him to guide the expedition. Kinyala lived in Marangu with his two wives until his death on May 10th 1996.