Questions? We have answers! Below is a collection of the most frequently asked questions. 

 

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Are discounts offered for large groups?
Yes, absolutely. Groups of 5 or larger qualify for significant discounts. Please contact us for more details.

When do I select a trekking date?
The local tour operators listed on VentureFar offer treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro on all dates year-round and can accommodate most requests for a tour start date. Once you have booked your tour on ventureFar a representative will contact you within 24 hours to collect detailed information about you desired tour traveling dates and confirm your travel dates with the Local Tour Operator within 36 hours. In the unlikely event that your desired tour start date is not available, VentureFar will issue a full refund of the tour booking amount.

You can also contact us prior to booking your tour to confirm that a specific tour date is available.

What is the VentureFar cancellation policy?
VentureFar offers the industry standard cancellation policy for treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro. The following cancellation fees apply based on the timeframe of when the tour is canceled. An alternative to cancellation is to re-schedule the tour for an alternate date, no fees apply if this is done within two weeks of the departure date.

i) Cancellation 60 days or more before departure: 20% of the cost of services booked.

ii) Cancellation 59-30 days before departure: 50% of the cost of services booked.

iii) Cancellation less than 30 days before departure: 100% of the cost of services booked.

What is the ventureFar 100% satisfaction guarantee?
VentureFar strives to ensure that travelers are thrilled with their experience on their tour. In the event that a traveler is not completely satisfied please contact ventureFar and a representative take the necessary steps to resolve the matter. The ventureFar team understands that booking Adventure Travel is an enormous time and financial investment and will do everything within our control to ensure that it is the experience of a lifetime.

How are tour operators selected to join the VentureFar network?
It’s extremely important that tour operators on the VentureFar network offer the best service in their operating market. To facilitate this, VentureFar staff personally verifies each Local Tour Operator for the following criteria before they are allowed to join the VentureFar network.

1. The Tour Operator must be a local to the market - Local operators know their market the best and booking locally allows the travel to save money and for the money booked on the tour to be re-invested in the local community improving the lives of the local citizens.

2. Proper Operating Licenses - Tour operators are required to have the proper business licenses and local licenses to operate as a local tour operator.

3. Independent Reviews from past clients - VentureFar independently collects and verifies reviews from past clients for each local tour operators. These reviews will be posted on VentureFar’s review section for travelers to read. Tour operators that have consistent negative reviews will not be allowed to join the VentureFar network.

Each tour operator will be officially reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they are still meeting the high standards that VentureFar sets to remain part of the VentureFar network.

What is the national language in Tanzania?
Swahili is the official national language, in Tanzania used for inter-ethnic communication and for official matters. English is widely spoken by everybody and it is easy to get around and communicate through speaking English.

How do I obtain a Visa for Tanzania?
The easiest way to obtain your visa is upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport. The cost as of July, 2009 is $100 per person, payable in US dollars. Please note that US dollar bills printed before 2003 are not accepted in Tanzania, as there was a large amount of illegal processing of dollar bills in the country during that time. High denomination bills may also not be accepted. There are no passport photos required to obtain a visa to Tanzania. Visas can also be obtained from the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington, DC. VERY IMPORTANT! Your passport must be valid for at least (6) six months following your scheduled return to the United States. Also, you must have 1 blank page available in your passport for entry into Tanzania. Keep in mind this page must be labeled “Visas” at the top (blank “Amendments and Endorsements” pages are not acceptable). If both of these requirements are not met, you will be denied boarding and may be refused admittance into Tanzania and, consequently, required to return to the U.S. immediately.

Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance can cover unforeseen costs or problems such as lost baggage, cancelled flights, and the costs of canceling your trip due to illness or injury. It is very important to consider purchasing your insurance within 15 days of making your reservation, as there are additional benefits included in the policy including a waiver of pre-existing medical conditions.

The following travel insurance providers are recommended.
http://www.atlasdirect.net/us
http://www.travelinsure.com/

What does “Kilimanjaro” mean?
The origin of the name "Kilimanjaro" is still shrouded in mystery. In Kiswahili, the word Kilima literally means "small hill", while -najaro means "greatness". The last word also means "caravan" in Kichagga, the language of the skilled people settled around the lower slopes. According to ancient myths, Njaro is also the name of a fearful demon who was living on the summit. Last but not least: for the Waswahili people, drivers of caravans during the past centuries, the word Kilimajyaro was meaning "landmark".

How difficult is climbing Kilimanjaro?
About 50,000 climbers set out every year to conquer the Mount Kilimanjaro peak. Although climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro does not require mountaineering skills, trekking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is physically and mentally demanding and should not be under estimated. Only 40-50% of people who attempt the summit succeed. However with adequate preparation and your guide's leadership on the mountain, a reasonably fit person who puts forth an effort to get in shape will typically reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro successfully.

What is the climate on Mount Kilimanjaro?
The weather on Kilimanjaro is quite diverse. The climb starts through a wide belt of wet tropical forest then goes through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall to the summit where there is permanent ice and sub-freezing temperatures. Our trips avoid the rainy season, which runs from March to May, and the short rains in November. Because Kilimanjaro is so close to the equator it not only has more stable weather with no marked winter months but also offers a wide range of vegetation zones on the ascent. You will travel through equatorial forests, alpine heath, moorland, deserts and permanent ice caps in the 6 days that you are on the mountain.

The main seasonal differences are caused by the wet season which lasts from March to the end of May or early June. Clouds tend to pile up and over the summit, dropping snow on top and rain at the base. The temperatures at this time of year are relatively warm but cool down slightly in the dry season. January and February are traditionally the driest months with warm clear days and brief rain showers making for good climbing conditions.

August and September are slightly warmer and can have completely clear days, but the forest and moorland are often blanketed in cloud. This is the peak climbing season on the mountain.

Is drinking water safe in Tanzania?
Generally it is advisable not to drink tap water in Tanzania. Bottled water and soft drinks are available in all towns, most villages and in all lodges and hotels. During the trek bottles of water will be provided on the first day and subsequent water will be either boiled or purified by the staff using an expedition grade water filter.

What medical precautions should we take when visiting Tanzania?
Vaccination requirements change from time to time. We suggest you consult your local doctor, travel clinic or health department for information on the latest health precautions. Information is contained below regaring vaccinations. Also, if you are on prescription medication, please ensure you have an adequate supply to last the duration of your stay and a copy of your prescription(s).

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is typically mandatory to enter Tanzania. This certificate can be picked up from your doctor after you have been inoculated.

Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in all countries in East Africa, including cities depending on the specific locations you are visiting. See your healthcare provider for a prescription anti-malarial drug for details concerning risk and preventive medications.

Do I need any vaccinations when traveling to Tanzania?
Yes. The best resource out there is the CDC’s website. Go to http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/tanzania.aspx to find their updated recommendations. We recommend seeing your doctor or travel health clinic at least 1-2 months prior to your departure to get any necessary vaccinations.

Will I experience altitude sickness on my Kilimanjaro trek?
It is not the lack of fitness that prevents people from reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro, it's altitude sickness! It is impossible to say for sure as altitude affects different people in different ways. Men, especially those who are young and fit, appear to be more susceptible than women because they will often ascend at a faster pace. Older people seem to be less susceptible because they tend to ascend more slowly. Signs and symptoms of altitude sickness include:

Lack of appetite, nausea, or vomiting
Fatigue or weakness
Dizziness or light-headedness
Insomnia
Pins and needles
Shortness of breath upon exertion
Persistent rapid pulse
Drowsiness

Here are some tips to help your body acclimatize:
Get sufficient rest
Drink plenty of bottled water
Eat light, easily digested meals
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
During the trek, take small, slow steps as your body gets used to the altitude
Avoid using sleeping pills

Should I take Diamox or another high altitude medicine?
The decision to take Diamox is a personal decision and your personal doctor should be consulted. It is something that in our opinion should at least be considered by all participants. In our experience, people who take Diamox, on average, experience less effects of high altitude and enjoy the climb more than those who do not take it. For more information on the use of Diamox in high altitude climbing, go to http://www.basecampmd.com/expguide/diamox.shtml Please note that Diamox is a sulfa based drug and those who are allergic to sulfa drugs may be allergic to Diamox. We recommend that you take a dose prior to departure to ensure you are not allergic. It is also our experience that climbers will arrive with many different dosages and prescriptions. We are not medical doctors, however in our research and experience, we believe that the appropriate dosage is 250mg pills taken twice per day.