Written By: Jonathan Lee
Once you decide on a Tour Operator for your Kilimanjaro climb, you will have the option to add on additional things to make your climb more comfortable and adding a private toilet to your climb will be one of those options. In this post I hope to shed some light on the bathroom situation on Kilimanjaro to help you make the decision on if you should add a private toilet to your climb.
What is a private toilet anyway? It’s a portable camping toilet brought up the mountain for private and exclusive use by you and the other members of your group. The porters will set up the private toilet close to your camp each night in its own ‘royal tent’. There are two main reasons climbers opt to have a private toilet:
Cleanliness - Private toilets are for exclusive use by only your private group. So it has way less traffic than the public outhouses at the Kilimanjaro camps, and naturally it smells much better than their public counterparts (“better” being a relative term here!)
Convenience – Depending on the location of your tent and it’s proximity to the camp outhouses it can sometimes be a challenge to get to the outhouse at night when there is no light or in foggy conditions which often occur on the mountain. Having a private toilet also means a lot less waiting for others to finish using the outhouses.
What are the public toilets like on Kilimanjaro? The public toilets at each of the Kilimanjaro camps are essentially outhouses where a wooden structure has been built to cover a hole in the ground to capture human waste. The public Kilimanjaro toilets are comparable to the toilets that you would find at many remote national parks in the U.S. and similar to the experience of using a port-o-potty aka portable toilet. There is no running water and thus no flushing. Due to this, the smell can be pretty awful, as you might expect.
Typically the cost to add a private toilet to your climb is around $150 for the whole climb. When split between two or more climbers across several days the cost is reasonable coming out at a little more than $10/day per person assuming a 7 day climb for two trekkers. Higher priced ‘luxury’ treks will typically include a private toilet, so make sure to ask your tour operator if this is included.
So if you’re asking yourself “do I need a private toilet for Kilimanjaro?" The answer is...it all depends on personal preference. Just like beauty, the value of a private toilet is all in the eye of the beholder :) If you are used to camping in the outdoors and ok with roughing it for a few days, then the public toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro will work just fine for you. However if you are the type of trekker that cringes at the prospect of using a public outhouse, then you’ll value a private toilet much more.
Let us know if you added a private toilet to your climb and if you felt the extra cost was worth it in the comments section below!