Frequently Asked Questions

Safety Concerns

Travel Questions

Safety Concerns

Why go with Africa Travel Adventure?

Africa Travel Adventure is an experienced outfit for climbing Kilimanjaro, safari trips and other places of interests in Tanzania. Our team, a.k.a. The Top Team, is formed by well trained and knowledgeable members who know the areas better than anybody else.

The founder of the company, Gilbert Minja, has a record of over 100 successful climbs to the top of Kilimanjaro. He will be there with you, along with the other team members, every step of the way, making sure that you achieve your goal of either making it to the highest point in Africa, seeing the big five on safari or guiding you to experience the wonderful culture of Tanzanian people.

Our first priority is your safety and your satisfaction. We go through every measure to make sure that you will be safe and that you enjoy the experience. All of our guides are licensed and have gone through important first-aid medical training. Each year they go through a refresher course provided specifically for ATA staff. We carry all the necessary emergency equipment on the mountain like oxygen, Gamow bag and stretchers.

Why is there such a price difference between companies?

We are proud to say that we provide top quality services on our trips and we charge reasonable prices compared to many others. And for those who charge lower— you will find that they do not pay their crew well, they provide old, substandard gear and they do not carry emergency equipment on their trips.

Safety Standards on Every Climb:

  • 2-5 623-liter oxygen tanks (with groups of 2 or more).
  • "Gamow" hyperbaric bag.
  • Pulse-oximeter and stethoscope monitoring twice daily.
  • Custom-designed portable stretcher for emergency evacuation.
  • ATA’s own evacuation protocol and rescue procedure.
  • Best trained guides on Kilimanjaro.

Is oxygen really necessary?

Absolutely!

A lot of problems at altitude arise from the ever-decreasing amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. So having oxygen on board alleviates a lot of problems and prevents minor problems from developing into serious emergencies. It can and has saved lives. With groups of 2-8 we carry two 623-liter tanks of oxygen. One always goes down with an evacuation. The other remains on the climb for the rest of the group.

What if I need to be evacuated?

We have designed our own evacuation protocol and rescue procedure. We carry all our own rescue gear ON EVERY CLIMB, and train our guides intensely on how to use it efficiently and correctly.

You're in extremely safe hands.

Do I have to pay for the hotel if I come down early from my climb?

Yes. If you come down early you will settle the bill for those extra hotel nights and your meals.

What about acclimatization to the altitude?

As you climb, the amount of oxygen in the air, and the oxygen pressure decreases. Every individual's reaction to this is different. There is no way to predict how well you will do at altitude. You will get short of breath -- this is normal. However, you can stack the deck in your favor by being in good physical condition, planning a longer climb, staying well hydrated, taking it very slowly as you hike, and using diamox if you start getting altitude sickness.

Does ATA offer medical evacuation insurance?

If you have a medical emergency and need to be evacuated home for reliable medical care, GLOBAL RESCUE will get you back home if necessary. GLOBAL RESCUE is the finest medical evacuation outfit in the business, and is staffed with ex US airforce personnel.

If you are not enrolled in the program and need an emergecy evacuation home, it could cost you more than $150,000. We feel it’s well worth the cost of signing up.

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Travel Questions

What's included on your ATA climb?

Almost everything except airfare, visa fees, tips to crew and your preferred drinks.

Our Kilimanjaro climb costs include:

  • • Park fees
  • • Kilimanjaro (JRO) airport transfers (to/from)
  • • 4x4 transfers to/from park gate
  • • 3 hotel night accommodations in Arusha (B/B)
  • • Kilimanjaro pre-climb briefing in Arusha to familiarize you with the climb and gear
  • • All meals and drinks on the climb
  • • 3 litre bottled water each day on the climb, as well as purified water at camps
  • • Medically qualified guides, cooks and porters
  • • Medical health monitoring with pulse-oximeter and stethoscope
  • • Plenty of oxygen
  • • Foam camping mattress
  • • 4-season Mountain Hardwear expedition tents
  • • Heavy-duty waterproof duffel bag.
  • • 3 porters per climber which includes a porter to carry up to 30lbs of your personal gear
  • • Comfortable chairs and tables in a private dining tent
  • • Private shower tent with hot water almost each day
  • • Private toilet tent
  • • ATA's own evacuation protocol and capability
  • • Hyperbaric chamber “Gamow bag” and portable stretcher for emergency evacuation

Are there any other expenses besides the climb and the airfare?

Yes, but not much. You will need to pay for meals and drinks at the hotel plus laundry, phone calls and tips to the crew.

What if I have to cancel or postpone my trip?

If you postpone more than 60 days before departure, we'll give you a RAINCHECK, at no extra cost. There are nominal fees for rainchecks less than 60 days.

If you cancel, there are cancellation fees:

More than 60 days before you leave: US$250.

30-60 days before you leave: 25% of the land cost.

Less than 30 days before you leave: No refund unless we fill your space.

Does ATA offer trip cancellation insurance?

We strongly advise you to buy insurance coverage for Baggage Loss, Trip Cancellation, Non-refundable Airfare and Medical Expenses. Please note that trip cancellation insurance is not available for all countries in Africa. The company that we recommend is CSA Travel Protection.

What is the typical group size?

We keep our our scheduled Kilimanjaro climbs to a maximum group size of 16 people. But, you can climb alone, join an existing group or form your own group of any size that you wish. If you would like your own group, please let us know ahead of time.

How many guides will be on my climb?

Depending on how big your group is, the ratio is about one guide per three climbers. For example, a group of twelve will have 4 medically qualified guides and a group of two to five people will have two medically qualified guides. In case of any emergency, there will always be a medically qualified guide with the evacuation team.

How many porters will be on my climb?

The ratio is three porters per one climber. We use more porters than other companies, as we carry extra safety and camping gear. For a group of twelve people there will be 36 porters, 1 cook and 1 assistant cook and 4 medically qualified guides, making it a 42-person crew.

Are kids allowed to climb?

Yes. Kids are not as affected by the altitude as adults. The main problem for kids is the mental toughness required as the breathing gets harder. The authorities have set a minimum age of 10 years old. Special permission can be obtained for under 10 years. Gilbert Minja has made a number of successful trips with taking kids all the way to the top!

What's the hotel accommodation like?

Very good. You spend two nights at the hotel before the climb and one night when you come down. The hospitality and food is excellent!

Will I need a Visa to enter Tanzania?

Yes. You need to purchase an entrance visa to enter Tanzania. The visa is easily obtained upon arrival at any major airport or border entrance in Tanzania. You may also obtain visa from Tanzanian embassy in your resident country by sending them your passport.

What innoculations will I need?

Currently in Tanzania there are no requirements unless you travel from an endemic Yellow Fever Zone. But we suggest you get yellow fever shots anyways, we also suggest that you make sure your Tetanus is up to date. You can choose to take a whole barrage of other shots, which are listed online at www.cdc.gov. We will be happy to talk to you about this once you sign up. You also need to take anti-malaria pills, and we suggest you bring some Diamox with you although we do not suggest to take it right from the beginning.

When is the best time of year to climb?

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is from mid-June through October and from mid-December to early March. However, over the past 15 years the weather has become extremely unpredictable and you should count on rain within the first 2 -3 days regardless of when you climb. But ATA recommends climbing at any time of year.

What's the weather like on the mountain?

On your climb you will experience humid and hot weather in the rain forest at the base, with temps around 80 – 90F. Temps on your first night may drop to freezing. Day 2 – 3 can be dry and warm, with temps around 60 – 70F. At night be prepared for freezing and snow. As you climb the temperatures decrease. The top considered Arctic weather, where you will find permanent ice. Temperatures at the summit can get as low as 0 degrees F to -15F.

What routes does ATA climb?

We climb Lemosho, Rongai, Machame and Umbwe routes with extra days for acclimatization. Our climbs may be from 7 to 9 days. None of these routes requires technical skills or mountain climbing experience. Over 90% of the people climbing these longer routes make it to the top, and with ATA you are almost guaranteed 100% success.

Is it a technical climb?

Nope. You do not need any climbing experience. Any person in good physical condition can make it to the climb.

What guide qualifications are required by the Tanzanian authorities?

All guides must be licensed by Kilimanjaro National Park. The guides must undergo three weeks course, theory and practical. In additional to this we train our guides privately each year how to spot, treat and deal with emergency evacuation.

What gear will I need to bring?

You will get a detailed list when you book your climb, however, in general you will need layered cold-weather gear, wet-weather gear, a good pair of waterproof boots, sleeping bag, hiking poles and gaiters, personal meds and Diamox, and a medium sized daypack.

What tents do you use?

We use Mountain Hardwear “expedition” tents for sleeping. These are 3-person tents but we sleep two. These are the strongest 4-season mountain tents. See equipment

How's the food?

It's excellent!

You eat two delicious hot meals a day - breakfast and dinner. Lunch is a pack lunch which you carry with you during the day. All camp meals are served up in our dining tent. If you have special dietary needs, let us know, and we'll be happy to oblige.

Our cooks do just that - cook. They're specially trained, and whip up amazing meals for you. There is a great variety of food which is prepared over kerosene and gas stoves in the kitchen tent. Feel free to pop in to the tent for some cooking tips! We do not burn any firewood on the mountain.

Do you provide for special diets?

Certainly. Just let us know what your needs are, and we'll work with you.

What are the sleeping arrangements on the climb?

You will be paired up with a tent mate, if you don't have one already. You can also pay a little extra and have a hotel room and tent to yourself. If you'd rather not bring a sleeping bag, you can rent a bag and a fleece liner from us at a reasonable price.

What do I do with my valuables?

You will deposit them in the hotel safe. It's extremely safe there. You won't need any valuables on the mountain other than a few dollars to buy a soft drink or beer (if you can't wait) on your last night.

Can I store my clothes for the safari after the climb?

Good question. As there's no need to carry your safari clothes on your climb, just put them in your own bag and store them in the hotel for when you return.

Will I have time to wash my dirty clothes after the climb?

On your last day at camp, gather your dirty clothes and give them to your guide. The following morning a porter will leave early and deliver your clothes to the hotel laundry. They'll be clean and dry for your safari or your flight home the next day.

Be sure to make a list of the clothes being laundered.

You will pay the hotel seperately for your laundry service.

Is the water on the climb safe to drink?

You will be provided with 3 liters of bottled water each morning in addition to boiled water provided at camp, as we recommend you drink a minimum of three liters of pure water a day to help with acclimatization.

Can ATA organize a safari for me after my climb?

Absolutely. From Kilimanjaro you are within a few hours from some of the finest wildlife reserves on the planet — the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Selous Game Reserve and many more! ATA specializes in running excellent wildlife safaris. You should spend a minimum of three days, and if you want to go to Serengeti you should plan on at least five days.

Is Victoria Falls near Lake Victoria?

No, Victoria Falls is on the southern border of Zambia, and is the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It takes about two days to fly there, as you have to fly from Tanzania to Johannesburg, South Africa, spend the night there, and then fly to Livingstone the next day. These flights can cost a total of US $800-$1200, depending on the season and availability.

Does ATA do any community and environmental work?

Plans are underway to build an orphanage center in Moshi, the home town of Gilbert Minja and most of the ATA staff. The idea is some of the profit obtained from your trips will go directly to support the project. We now have many orphans in our country left behind by AIDS victims, and we understand that it is our responsibility to take care of those who have been left behind.

We also encourage people to plant trees in their areas and help them with the supplies. On the mountain each company should be responsible and bring their own trash down, but unfortunately a lot of trash is left behind. We pay our staff extra money when they collect trash left behind by inconsiderate people and bring it down the mountain.

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