Planning a Kilimanjaro Climb
Deciding on a Date
The best times to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro are the driest months of the year, especially Jan/Feb and Aug/Sep. But any time between January and mid March or between June and October offers reasonable chances of good weather on Kilimanjaro.
Booking Your Flight
If you book your Kilimanjaro trek from overseas then your trekking agency may also organise your Kilimanjaro flight for you. If not, then you have to do that. The closest airport to Mt. Kilimanjaro is, yep, Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO). Kilimanjaro Airport is situated half way between Arusha and Moshi, and most people land there.
Getting your Vaccinations
You may need a yellow fever certificate and there are a number of other vaccinations recommended. Some of them need to be started months in advance, so talk to your doctor soon. Depending on your travel plans you may also want to take anti-malaria medication. Talk to your doctor about it.
Route & Duration
There are several climb routes up Kilimanjaro. They vary in length and difficulty. All except one require you to camp. If you use the Marangu route your accommodation is in huts and camping is not allowed. Five days is the absolute minimum duration for a Kilimanjaro trek, six is better. For the popular Machame route six days is the minimum, seven days is recommended.
Organising Your Visa
You need a visa to enter Tanzania and a passport that's valid for at least another 6 months.If your country of residence does have a Tanzanian embassy, phone them or check their website to find out how to obtain your visa. If your country does not have a Tanzanian embassy, you can buy a visa upon arrival in Tanzania.
If you booked with a quality operator then quality camping equipment is included in the price. Many Kilimanjaro tour operators also offer other gear for rent, gear that you may not want to purchase for one time use only or may not want to lug around Tanzania on an extended trip. Equipment you can often rent includes down sleeping bags, insulation pads and down jackets. Beyond that you will also need very good quality, thermal under and upper layers of clothing, gloves, warm hat, good sunglasses, sunscreen (for the lips, too!), a day pack, rain protection for everything, water bottles/camel back and more.