The details...

Boston Travel Blog

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In July, after a lot of searching, I bought my ticket to Nairobi for December, the start of the high season for Kilimanjaro.; 
As soon as I bought my ticket, the trip became real.  I was flying British Airways from Boston to London Heathrow with a short layover and onto Nairobi for the low price of $1090 total.  The dates were set:  I was leaving Dec 7th and getting back on the 26th.  Everyone was amazed!  They thought it was all talk, but no, I was really going.  Now to work out the details...

When I began researching, I didn't realize how much it would end up costing me.  Once in Africa, prices are cheap, but the flight and Mt Kilimanjaro is expensive.  Not only do you pay some hefty park fees, but you also have to buy equipment if you don't have it and of course make sure you tip the porters. since that's most of their pay.  Rough estimate at the beginning was $3000-4000 for 3+weeks.  I usually travel with no plans or reservations so just having a plane ticket bought so far in advance was crazy for me. 

Since the climb was so important to me, I decided I needed to reserve that in advance...I had little time as it was and wanted to make sure I was really going to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.   Also I was an early 20 something year old female traveling alone in Africa for the first time.  I didn't know how safe it was compared to backpacking Europe.  And of course the parents were scared to death, thinking they would be searching for my body for years to come...btw I felt safer there than in central and south america.
I ended up going with Zara tours...www.  based on the recommendations on the internet.  I also like that I could reserve everything online with a guarantee departure date.  I chose the Machame route 6 day... a little more challenging than the Marangu route
Starting in 2006, park fees were increasing so I went the last month of old prices...costing me $890 plus tips.

Everything else I would book once I got to Tanzania so now the packing list. 

I NEVER check bags in unless the gate agent tackles me to the ground and takes my bag away, so I needed a pack small enough for an overhead bin and wouldn't raise the gate agents eyebrow but could fit everything I needed from beach to mountains.
Here's what I ended up taking:
1 daypack filled with all essentials in case bigger backpack forced to check in and "disappears" for a few days
  • passport plus copies with all credit card cax numbers and extra passport pics for visas
  • pen (I honestly don't know how so many people forget to pack this when traveling int'l)
  • book
  • digital camera with extra batteries and memory card + disposable camera as back up
  • sunglasses (polarized)
  • 1st aid kit including malaria pills, stomach pills, blister care, Deet bug spray
  • toiletries: shampoo toothepaste, soap, sunscreen, lotion (can buy most of stuff their, but I like my brands)
  • yellow fever + immunization record (went to travel clinic and insurance covered everything)
  • Headlamp
  • Binoculars for safari
  • Peanut M&M's and granola bars
Main pack (weekend size 40 liter size)
  • sleeping bag (sub zero fleece, Western Mountaineering)
  • outershell pants (for top of Mt)
  • Underarmour tights
  • tank tops, short sleeve and long sleeve base layers (synthetic) highly recommend UnderArmour
  • 1 convertible pants
  • 2 capri type pants
  • 1 shorts
  • balaclava (so cold at night and summit day)
  • gloves and over mitts
  • 4 pairs of hiking wool socks (smart wool) and normal socks
  • flipflops
  • hiking boots (tied to outside of bag for more room) (LL Bean)
  • Winter hat
  • sun hat
Wore my outershell with zipped in fleece liner (Marmot Gore-tex), old running shoes, fleece pants (great for wearing at camp and sleeping on hike) on flight over there.
Yes everything was carried on and I didn't get any weird stares for the amt of stuff I was carrying.  What can I say, I'm a prof packer! :)  I used everything and honestly can say it was exactly what I needed....nothing more nothing less.

I bought all my stuff on is a great website for outerwear/camping at great prices.  That way I wouldn't be too disappointed if stolen or lost
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photo by: bubu932