For some travelers, the idea of climbing Kilimanjaro without access to the customary sanitary facilities for a week first seems rather strange. Understandably. Nonetheless, the situation is not hopeless, and a minimum level of hygiene and personal care is possible.
Sanitary Facilities / Washing Opportunities
There are sanitary facilities along all routes leading to Uhuru peak, the peak of Kilimanjaro. The facilities of the individual routes differ from each other, whereby the standard is generally unpretentious, and one should not expect a fully arranged bathroom. However, they allow for a minimum level of privacy and save from relieving oneself in nature.
On most of the routes, including the Machame Route, there are little wooden toilet houses along the tracks as well as in the camps. They resemble outhouses, i.e. there is no toilet with a seat. Furthermore, there are no sinks with soap, running water or showers. However, one can receive bowls with warm water and soap, which are provided by your team if required. This way, at least a minimum level of personal hygiene is ensured. On these routes you sleep in a tent.
Along the Marangu Route, also called Coca-Cola Route, you sleep in wooden huts. These are differently sized, and partly offer room for more than ten people. The beds are equipped with thin mattresses, and the huts are spartanly furnished. The huts come with toilets. Essentially, they do not differ from the ones mentioned before. Also, the huts do not contain showers or running water. However, most of the organizers offer portable toilets for rent during the hike, which counts for all routes. Depending on one’s personal feeling this can improve the comfort levels.
Drugstores and the cosmetics industry offer all sorts of products, which enable personal hygiene even without the customary sanitary facilities. Products, which are very recommendable, are, among others, disinfectant gel, wet wipes, and classic antiperspirant. Dry shampoo for the hair, too, and a razor, if required, can be sensible. We have created an extensive packing list, noting down all products that support you throughout your hike.
If you are still in doubt, and you do not feel comfortable doing without a daily shower: In the end, the time you spend under these circumstances is very limited. In addition, everyone who ascends Kilimanjaro knows about the circumstances, and all are in the same boat. Realizing this can help leave the own comfort zone, and expand it.