So we all need a wee and a poo, but strangely it’s a topic that’s never really gets mentioned in day to day life. However on Kilimanjaro, and in fact any mountain, there’s this amazing shift in hot topics of conversation which more often than not include a person’s daily movements or toilet adventures. No doubt questions regarding mountain toilets will come to mind before your climb. Then, after a quick google search, you’ll be horrified by tales of filth and concern about the lack of privacy. So first things first!
The loo with a view is no longer!
It used to be the case on Kilimanjaro that the toilets were wooden huts with holes in the very slippy wooden floor for your business to drop down into vast bottomless pits, or if it’s an old, well used loo, then the drop was just a few inches! These toilets were famed for not having doors (loo with a view) and if windy, when your bits were out, well let’s just say the draft wasn't great – though the wind would dissipate the smell! The original toilets do still exist and are used by the staff, so if you would like to experience them, it’s still possible, but do take a clothes peg!
The traditional 'Loo with a View' looking up to Kilimanjaro from Karanga Camp
So what has replaced them? Well there are basically two options – use the new improved toilets which are at each camp. Or use a private toilet carried up by our porters.
Usually people prefer us to carry up a private toilet. For this there is a cost to cover the toilet attendant, who carries, pitches, cleans and empties the loo, which currently costs circa £100 per group per climb. This is not covered in our trip fee as some groups request a loo and others don’t.
Quite a view from this loo too! This is the toilet tent (the blue one) carried by our team with the loo inside.
So what is a private toilet like on Kilimanjaro? Well it’s clean, it’s doesn’t smell, it’s private but they are small and if windy a bit awkward as they’re inside little toilet tents. They are made from plastic, they have a seat, a flush mechanism and a sliding door which opens for your business to drop down into a container which the attendant empties.
The new Kilimanjaro toilets at the campsites are great. They’re cleaned regularly, they’re big, private and don’t have drafts. The floors and walls are tiled and they offer both western style toilets (sit down) and a traditional hole in the ground. They’re not pristine if the campsites are busy but they really are very good.
What toilets do people use on Kilimanjaro? As mentioned some groups prefer to take up a private toilet and some people prefer them on the mountain but quite often, after a few days, people tend to migrate towards the new Kilimanjaro campsite toilets. Whilst using these toilets people tend to also migrate away from the western style sit down toilets, to the hole in the ground version as once people have mastered their aim, they’re cleaner because you’re not actually touching anything.
As for in between camps then people tend to just pop behind a rock for a wee, and this is common due to high fluid intake. It’s unusual to need a number 2 whilst in between camps, but can of course happen especially if someone has an upset tummy. We do carry a trowel which can be used to bury it and any loo paper should be popped into a plastic bag and disposed of at camp.
It is of course personal choice / preference when it comes to what you use, but be assured that you no longer have to fear using the loo on Kilimanjaro!
There we go, that’s how to go to the toilet on Kilimanjaro - just don't forget your loo roll! Just kidding we provide that - but some people do like to bring some kitten soft triple ply from home.