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Island Peak & Mera Peak FAQs

  • How difficult is it to climb Kilimanjaro?
    The Kilimanjaro hike is graded as T4 - CHALLENGING:  These treks are more physically demanding and involve climbing at altitude. Appropriate for those that have experience of multi-day trekking and mountain walking. Backpacking may be required. Summit night in particular is a gruelling experience that will test you both mentally and physically. You should not undertake this challenge without significant training.
  • What does a typical day on the trek look like?
    During the trek you will be trekking an average of 4 to 8 hours each day, Depending on the weather and the day. Rest stops will be regular, where you can regroup, rest and relax while drinking and eating snacks. Lunch will be a hot cooked lunch either along the way or when you reach the accommodation (depending on the length of that trekking day). You will get to your accommodation in the afternoon where you can relax, have a hot drink and snacks, and then eat your dinner.
  • How will you manage our safety on the trek?
    We consider the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, Safety First has become our ethos. From vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount. When embarking on a trek at altitude, here are a few important points that you should be aware of: Altitude trekking carries it's own risks You could be sleeping in temperatures of down to -15 degrees
  • What happens in an emergency on the trek?
    If you are unable to continue the climb, you will be sent down with a porter/guide where you can seek additional medical attention at the local hospital if needed. The doctors at this hospital are very well trained in dealing with altitude related illnesses as well as trekking injuries. However, please be understanding of the fact that facilities in this part of Himalayas will not compare to those that you are used to at home. All participants must have their own suitable insurance for emergency helicopter evacuation, if needed. Emergency evacuation to a hospital may take upwards of 8 hours, depending on your location on the trail
  • How do I organise flights?
    Although we are not able to book flights or clients, we will offer help and advice in finding the most suitable flights for you. We often need to coordinate the arrival of clients from different countries, therefore we will ask you to arrive on certain days/time to make this process easier for all.
  • Do I need a VISA to enter Tanzania?
    Your passport must have at least six months left to run from the end of the trip. You will need a Single Entry Tourist Visa to enter Tanzania. As with flights, this will be your responsibility to obtain, we will offer help and advice if needed. Please note that we are NOT responsible for your Visa application Visa applications can now be completed online at: https://eservices.immigration.go.tz/visa/
  • Will I need to get any vaccinations to travel to Tanzania?
    Participants should all have up to date vaccinations for Tetanus, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid. It is optional to have vaccinations for TB, Meningococcal Meningitis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Cholera We highly recommend having the Yellow Fever vaccination. Your Yellow Fever certificate will probably be checked on entering airrivals at Kilimanjaro Airport. It is a requirement to show a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entering any African Nation when traveling from and spending a minimum of 24hrs in any other African Nation. Although you will most likely not be spending 24hrs in another African Nation prior to arriving in Kilimanjaro, you will almost certainly be getting off transferring flights from somewhere in Africa (Addis Abba, Nairobi etc). Therefore, it is simply better to be safe than sorry. It will be your decision to get the Yellow Fever vaccination or not, but it will be your responsibility if there is any problem entering Tanzania or contracting the disease if you decide not to get the vaccination.
  • Do I need to take Malaria medication?
    These should be essential for everyone. The course of tablets should be started approx. two days before travel and continues approx. seven days after travel. Please consult your doctor or pharmacy for their advice.
  • Is there medication to prevent/help with altitude sickness?
    Most people experience some symptoms of Altitude Sickness (AS) at some point on the trek. This will normally be limited to headaches and nausea, as well as finding it a little more difficult to eat, drink and sleep. These symptoms are not severe but will make your journey a little uncomfortable for a short time. In order to prevent these symptoms as much as possible, we recommend going to your family doctor and asking for a script/prescription for Acetazolamide, usually sold under the trade name Diamox. This is a drug given for Glaucoma symptoms, but is also used for the treatment of AS.
  • Can I take with my regular medication?
    Our team are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your family doctor to discuss you medication requirements. Carry medicines (including those bought over the counter) in their correctly labelled original packaging, as issued by the pharmacist. These should be carried in your hand luggage. Consider packing a spare supply of medication in the hold luggage in case of loss of hand luggage A letter from the prescriber detailing the medicines with the generic names for the medications can be helpful for border control checks, and in case medicines have to be replaced or medical help is required Carry a note from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery for controlled substances and injection medications When taking out an appropriate level of travel health insurance including repatriation, specify cover for any pre-existing illnesses
  • What is the climate on Mt Kilimanjaro?
    Temperatures on Kilimanjaro can vary dramatically, from 35°C in the plains below the mountain to -20°C at the summit (if you include the wind chill). Early mornings will immediately warm-up as soon as the sun rises, and the days should be warm and bright. As soon as the sun sets, however, the temperature drops radically, and it is often well below zero degrees. On the mountain, you will need strong UV protection (even on cloudy days) as there is minimal shade as you start your ascent. Whenever you climb, expect convection to send warm air from the hot plains below across the rainforest to precipitate at higher altitudes as rain, sleet, and snow. This happens on some, but not all, afternoons. Nights are usually clear and frosty, and mornings clear and sunny.
  • What is the terrain like on the mountain?
    The terrain on Kilimanjaro varies and you will travel through 5 eco-sytems during your trip. You will begin in the 'cultivation zone' at the gate and then travel through the 'rainforest' (1,800m - 2,800m) and into the 'moorland' (2,800m - 4,000m). As you climb higher, you will experience the 'alpine desert' (4,000m - 5,000m) and then the 'arctic zone' (5,000m - 5,895m). You will be trekking along a mixture of paths, tracks and plateaus which will include areas with uneven ground and loose rocks or scree. Some routes have an element of scrambling where you will need to use your hands to help you up and over large rocks and boulders. You will be supported by a large local team at all times and there is no technical climbing involved.
  • How fit do I need to be to hike Mt Kilimanjaro?
    A relatively good level of fitness is definitely an advantage for this hike, due to the basic facilities, high altitude, long days and rough terrain. Temperature extremes, high altitude and trekking for a number of days will take its toll on even the fittest of participants. Anyone who leads an active and healthy lifestyle should find this challenge achievable, however always ensure that you have trained appropriately and prepared thoroughly. The more prepared you are, the more you will get out of it. For more advice on how to prepare for the hike, or a plan of how to train for this adventure, please contact us.
  • How should I pack for this trip?
    Luggage should be kept to the absolute minimum. Details of what to pack are provided in your Kit List, Click Here You will require three types of bag for this trip: Daypack - This will be carried by you during the trekking day and will contain your trekking essentials. This bag should be fitted properly and should be 30-40 litres in capacity, depending on your size. Duffle bag - This will be carried by the porters during the trek and will only be accessible at the campsites. It should contain everything that you require for the trek that you will not be carrying yourself. Please do not bring a bag with hard sides or wheels as porters often carry luggage on their heads. Your duffel bag should be 70-90 litres capacity. The maximum weight each porter will carry is 15kgs and your luggage will be weighed at the gate before commencing the climb. If you have more than 15kg an extra porter will need to be hired and you will need to cover the charge. Hotel bag - This will be left at the hotel while you are on the mountain. You can leave any non-trekking and Safari items in this bag to be collected when you return from your trek. These items are left with the hotel reception, but they are left at your own risk. Your passport, money and any valuables should be kept on you at all times. While we will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. On your outward journey, please wear your trekking gear, hiking boots, and carry a spare change of clothing in your hand luggage, just in case your duffle bag gets delayed.
  • Who will be our Leader and guides for this trip?
    All groups will be led by one of our PJS Challenges Leaders. All are highly trained and experienced mountain leaders with multiple summits of Kilimanjaro and other mountains around the world, under their belt. All our local guides are Licensed by the Tanzania National Parks and have gained KINAPA. They are also trained in incident management and challenge leadership. They will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.
  • Will the itinerary always be as planned?
    The itinerary is there as a guide and may be forced to change, for example, due to unusual weather patterns or the strength of the group. We will do our very best to keep to the set itinerary. However, we cannot be held responsible for any last minute changes that might occur. In all such circumstances, your challenge leader will have the final say.
  • How important is my Kit, do I really need everything listed?"
    Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You don’t need a clean pair every day, but enough to make sure you have dry socks each morning. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you get one fitted in-store and train with this. Other essentials are high quality waterproof and windproof jackets and trousers, technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts, and a down jacket for the evenings in camp and your summit day/night. Everything listed on the Kit List is needed.
  • What is the accommodation on the trip?
    You will be camping on the mountain in two person tents, which will be supplied and erected by the ground team. Before and after your climb, you will be staying in more comfortable accommodation at a lodge in Moshi. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with, please let us know in advance. If you do not wish to share a tent/hotel room, please enquire regarding the single supplement.
  • What are the toilet facilities like?
    In the camps you will have toilet tents set up by your ground team, containing chemical toilets. You can also use the long drops provided by the National Parks agency, which are very basic and not monitored regularly. Your camp team will provide washing bowls of warm water as you arrive at camp at the end of the days trekking. There will also be water and soap available in camp to wash your hand with after using the toilet and before eating. You should take plenty of toilet paper and wet wipes with you as well as anti-bacterial hand gel. You should also bring something to put used toilet paper in during the trekking day as toilet facilities between campsites will be limited to the great outdoors. Please note, there are no showers whilst you are on the trek.
  • How do you provide Kosher food on this trip?
    Most items we use are fresh, however all package items carry a hechsher. Our trained chefs do not use any leafy vegetables and all foods are checked for bugs including sieving flour. All cooking and eating equipment is owned by PJS Challenges and only used for our Kosher groups. The equipment is stored securely when not being used.
  • What food/meals are provided?
    Each Day there will be a hot breakfast (eg: porridge, eggs, toast, tea and coffee) to start the day, a cooked lunch on the mountain or at your camp and a filling hot meal in the evening (eg: soup, followed by rice, potato or pasta and sauce, and usually fruit for dessert.) You will need to bring plenty of snacks to keep your energy levels and calorie intake high during the trekking hours, especially on summit night. It is advisable to bring snacks that you really enjoy eating as altitude can affect your appetite. Please let us know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.
  • How will be get/fill fresh water to drink?
    There will be ample drinking water, as we will be filling up from local water sources. All the water is treated and is safe to drink. It is NOT advisable to use water straight from a stream or from hotel/lodge taps it is best to purify it first. The porters will collect water each morning and evening for drinking and cooking.
  • What money should I bring for the trip?
    The Tanzania Shilling is the local currency, however you cannot obtain Shillings outside of Tanzania. US dollars are accepted in most places and should be used. Old and worn notes are generally not accepted. It is advisable to bring small denomination bills ($1, $5, $10 & $20), as change will usually be given in Shilling along with a low exchange rate.
  • Should I bring/use a credit card?
    Major credit cards are usually accepted at hotels/lodges and shops. Bring enough money and do not carry all your cash on you. Cash point machines, which allow the use of Visa & MasterCard etc with a PIN, can be found at the airport and in the main towns, but are rare in smaller towns.
  • Will I need any other spending money?
    You will not need a large amount of money during this trip. Enough to cover presents, tips, drinks, and so on. Keep in mind that other than at the start and end of the challenge, you will be in the mountains away from any foreign exchanges or banks. We recommend that you carry cash.
  • Will I need to give tips locally?
    We recommend in the region of USD $300 - $350 per client for the local Kilimanjaro crew in total, however this will depend on the amount of people in your group and the amount of staff we need. We will notify you of the total amount of recommended tips for your trip approximately two weeks before departure. This should be given to the PJS Challenges leader on the last day of the trek, who will distribute it among the support team. If you want to give one member of staff an extra tip, please also leave this until the end and allocate this on top of the recommended tipping amount. Please bring new and clean small denomination Dollar bills such as $20, £10 & $5, as this will make it easier for us to split between the crew. Bills more than 12 years old are not accepted. Make sure you also have plenty of smaller dollar bills for tipping drivers and lodge/hotel staff. If you are going on the Safari we recommend $20 per person per day for your guide/driver and extra crew.
  • Will there be any phone, network & WIFI connection?"
    There is Wi-Fi at the Lodge/hotel at the beginning and end. Phone signal is available in town, but virtually non-existent on the mountain. In most cases we will be carrying a satellite phone for emergencies. This is for outgoing calls only and can be used by clients for a charge of $5 per minute. There is no opportunity to recharge any electrical equipment during the trek, but if you want to bring a small solar charger these can work well to charge phones. In most cases we will be carrying a large panel solar charger that can be used. There are charge points in your rooms at the hotel and in our jeeps.
  • Is there a minimum age to take part?
    Participants must be a minimum age of 18 years old on or before the departure date. Anyone under the age of 18, may also take part with the written agreement of a parent or legal guardian, or when accompanies by a parent or guardian, of legal age. The parent or guardian will need to sign our Parent Responsibility Form.
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