A lot of questions are asked when the issue of sleeping on Mount Kilimanjaro is brought up, like where do we sleep? What should I bring for a comfortable night? Are there rooms, or do we camp out? And what sort of bedding do I need? These questions are going to be answered, and more information about the sleeping arrangements will be provided so that you are fully equipped with the necessary information as you plan your Kilimanjaro climb. Sleep is an important aspect that should not be overlooked because getting enough sleep is essential to hikers enjoying the Kilimanjaro climb without getting fatigued.
Where do we sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro?
There are two likely options depending on the route used, and you can either sleep in a tent or a hut. It is safe to note that the largest percentage of hikers sleep in tents since sleeping huts can only be found along the Marangu Route. Things have however been made easy with porters carrying all your equipment and camping gear, giving you the chance to safely climb Kilimanjaro with ease and no burden of heavy luggage.
The huts: These were built on the Marangu route, which is the original route that was used by hikers, and it can also be referred to as the Coca-Cola route. The huts are A-frame structures that were constructed using wood; they are fitted with a bed and mattress, have no heating, and it is better if you bring your sleeping bag and pillow. It is quite a common route, making it an extremely crowded and busy route during the peak season.
The tented camps: every hiking route excluding Marangu has camps where tents are set up every day after a day’s hike. We offer the best dome tents (high quality) to make sure that our climbers enjoy the camping experience and Kilimanjaro climb. You can also decide to either share a tent, which is more affordable, or get your tent for privacy.
Is it hard to sleep at a high altitude on Mount Kilimanjaro?
Sleeping at a high altitude is a bit hard, whether you are a heavy or light sleeper, and this is because of the reduced levels of oxygen. You might find that it is hard to fall asleep, or that you wake up at night and fail to go back to sleep, and this might not be a big reason to worry, but it means that you might be fatigued the next day during the hike.
How to sleep soundly on Mount Kilimanjaro
As earlier discussed, it is hard to sleep on the mountain while on the hike. We however have some tips on how to sleep better at a high altitude:
- Avoid drinking a lot toward bedtime. Drinking plenty of water helps in dealing with altitude sickness, but we advise that you take it during the day and reduce your intake at night because you do not want to be needing the toilet in the middle of the night on Kilimanjaro.
- Earplugs are a necessity especially if you are a light sleeper. Porters and other mountain crew always wake up early to prepare breakfast and other meals and plan for the day, and you need all the rest before another hike.
- The sleeping bag needs to be shaken well to avoid clumping before you sleep. Note that sleeping bags are squashed during the hike, and by the time they are put down for the night, they need to be warm enough to get enough rest, and shaking the bags helps.
- Sleep in layered clothes, that is, a pair of socks, warm base layer pajamas, and a warm sleeping hat, especially at camps found at higher altitudes. Avoid sleeping in clothes that may cause dampness and moisture.
- Visit the toilet before you go to sleep to avoid waking up at night with the need to go to the toilet.
- If possible, carry a foot warmer or make sure that you fill a bottle with warm water and use it to keep warm.
- Make sure that you also have enough food because your appetite is likely to reduce the higher you go.
In cases where you have trouble sleeping, avoid taking sleeping pills, as these might affect your acclimatization process. Try using the above methods to sleep better because enough rest is also important for a successful summit hike.
What type of gear should I carry for my Kilimanjaro hike?
We have listed the most essential items needed for quality sleep on Mount Kilimanjaro for all the routes along the mountain, although the sleeping mat is one exception that you might not need when using the Marangu route.
Sleeping bags: It is extremely important that you carry the right type of sleeping bag for the Kilimanjaro hike. The mountain has different climatic zones that need to be catered for, which means that you need to carry an all-around four-season sleeping bag. Many tour companies require hikers to come with their sleeping bags, although others provide them for a fee. All you need to do is make sure that the sleeping bag is warm enough, big enough to allow leg room and easy turning, and should be durable. If you do not want to carry a sleeping bag from home, there are several on the market for hire at about $50 depending on the type, and the types that we recommend include the winter synthetic sleeping bags and the warm mountain hardware laminate sleeping bags.
Pillows during a Kilimanjaro hike: Most hikers prefer using a pillow at night, although if you are planning on bringing one, you should make sure that it is not too big as it has to fit into the duffel bag. You can also request a pillow before the start of the hike from the guides, or just carry a pillowcase and place your jacket in it at night to act as a pillow for comfort.
Head torch or lamp: a personal head torch is a must for easy navigation around the camp and inside your tent. Light is provided in the mess tent, but other than that, you have to use your t to do other things, including going to the toilet and on the summit hike day. You can decide to have both a pocket torch and a head torch, but make sure that you have fully checked them before the climb to ensure that the light works, and do not forget the extra batteries.
A sleeping mat: is an important asset because it is going to keep you warm from the cold ground. Ensure that the sleeping mat is thick and insulated for comfort, and you don’t need to worry about the extra weight since it is going to be carried by the porters.
A down jacket: is also needed for the hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, especially if you are going to be sleeping in freezing temperatures. If you do not have a down jacket or something similar, we can always hire one for you at an affordable cost.
Kilimanjaro is a sight to behold at night, and some of the things that you should look out for include watching the sunsets and sunrises, taking as many photos of the different features spotted from the high points on the mountain, and enjoying stargazing. All these can only be enjoyed if you get proper sleep.