So I never thought I would be writing a blog post about toilets, but seen as the Kilimanjaro toilet experience is one of the biggest things on people’s minds when climbing the mountain and it definitely formed part of my love-hate-relationship with Mount Kilimanjaro. Here is the low-down:
Are there any ‘normal’ toilets on Mount Kilimanjaro?
Yes! If you choose to climb the Marangu Route, more commonly known as the Coco-Cola route, you will find some toilets. They are not everywhere, but you will find Western toilets at camp sites and at some picnic stops.
What are the toilets like at camping-only camp sites?
If you choose any route other than the Marangu Route you will be camping in a tent. These camp sites are little more than an open area on the mountain, usually positioned in a place which is slightly sheltered from the elements. These camp sites have little more infrastructure than the occasional ranger hut and some wooden structure housing squat toilets.
Will I have to squat?
Yes, you will! If your thigh muscles aren’t strong you might want to start practicing!
Will they stink?
I can’t speak for every toilet on the mountain, but the majority of time no- they did not stink. I put this down to temperature. The first site that we stayed at on the Rongai Route was pretty smelly, it was also a fairly large site. From then on they didn’t tend to smell too bad, but it was pretty cold up there too. The heat always makes these things smell worse in my experience!
Should I hire a portable toilet?
It costs around $100 I believe to hire your own toilet and the porters will carry it for you and set it up. I do not have experience of this personally, but Eva did talk about it a length in her book Kilimanjaro Diaries. According to her it was wonderful to have a seat to sit on but it got very smelly by the end of the climb!
What if I need to ‘go’ and I am nowhere near a camp site?
You will not be the only person placed with this predicament, believe me. Unfortunately, this is such a common occurrence that during peak season (June-September) the trails are littered with used toilet paper and there is a distinct possibility that you may, if you’re unlucky, accidentally step in some human faeces!
What if I get an upset stomach?
This is another real possibility whilst on the mountain. It is recommended that you include a range of medication in your packing list including some tablets for diarrhea along with some rehydration sachets. And don’t forget your sterilisation tablets for your water to help prevent getting a poorly tummy in the first place!
So that’s pretty much it as far as toilets go- does this put you off or make it more of an adventure?