Women climbers on Kilimanjaro

Women’s presence on Kilimanjaro is steadily increasing year over year. The success rates of reaching the summit are similar for men and women.

GM Expeditions is prepared to deliver a great experience for women climbers, whether in women-only climbing groups, solo female climbers, or women in a mixed-gender climbing group.

The crew. Our guides and porters treat all climbers, men and women, with respect and kindness. Please report any questions or concerns to your guide.

Mountain safety. Kilimanjaro is safe for men and women alike. There have been no reports of any attacks or issues faced by solo female climbers, to date.

Safety in Tanzania. GM Expeditions provides door-to-door service with trusted drivers between airports, hotels, and adventures. Tanzania is generally safe for women during the day, but women should avoid going out alone at night.

Hotel and lodge accommodations. During safaris, you may stay in wilderness lodges, all of which are trusted and provide a great, safe environment for women and other travelers alike. If you need a hotel before/after a safari or climb, GM Expeditions will recommend or book your stay in one of our trusted high end hotels.

Accommodations on the mountain. The camp accommodations can be arranged to ensure for women to share the tent with other women. GM Expeditions recommends women use sleeping bags made for women, since the design differs between men’s and women’s. In general, women tend to “sleep colder” and often find that men’s sleeping bags are too large and therefore hard to achieve optimal temperature control. When renting a sleeping bag, please request a women’s sleeping bag specifically. If none are available, women can rent a men’s sleeping bag and should also bring a warm sleeping bag liner, or even a lighter women’s sleeping bag to be used inside the men’s sleeping bag – this is particularly important for those women who tend to sleep very cold.

Bathroom facilities. GM Expeditions provides private toilets at all campsites, and warm water daily for personal hygiene.

Women’s packing list. In addition to the standard packing list, women should consider adding:

  • sports bra that is moisture-resistant
  • thick sleeping bag liner or even a lightweight sleeping bag to be used inside the large rental sleeping bag, (for extra warmth)
  • toe warmers or mountaineering boots, if your feet tend to get cold. Mountaineering boots are warmer than hiking boots and women tend to get colder than men, especially on summit day. Consider bringing mountaineering boots in addition to or instead of hiking boots, which are recommended by most Kilimanjaro packing lists
  • hand warmers (you can also use toe warmers in your gloves or mittens)
  • face protection (to prevent sun burn and keep their moist and warm, to protect from Khumbu cough, common at high altitudes)
  • a belt to accommodate any potential (likely) weight loss
  • a bandana, headband or beanie, and extra rubber bands to keep long hair under control (it will need all the help it can gets after a week without a wash)
  • feminine hygiene products. Please note that high altitude can play havoc with menstrual cycles, and many women experience surprises with periods that are irregular, longer or heavier than usual. Come prepared.
  • Biodegradable zip-lock bags for storing used hygiene products (avoid leaving tissues and other paper waste on the mountain – it is very unsightly!). Please note that Tanzania does not allow the use or import of plastic bags
  • pee bottles (to avoid nighttime trips to the bathroom)
  • a ‘she-wee’ (to help pee on the mountain), though most break spots will offer either vegetation or rocks to hide behind
  • wet wipes (for personal hygiene), including facial wipes
  • dry shampoo
  • skin cream and lotion to prevent or alleviate dry skin, including after-sunburn cream or lotion
  • nasal spray (recommended for use in dry high-altitude air, to prevent nose bleeds and Khumbu cough)
  • moisturizing eye drops
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