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Kilimanjaro Questions and Answers about the water

Jonathan –
I hope you don’t mind if I occasionally ask you a question about your climb, we are climbing (my wife and 3 grown kids) in September. We’re going up the Machame route – I think you did the same. Are there places to buy bottled water, at the bottom, along the way …… or do you have to get it from the guides / streams, and boil it and purify it? Do you then have to carry all 4 litres with you, each person, for the day?
Having recently done it – You are the expert of course – and I’m thrilled to know someone who we can ask a question to now and then (we’re a bit nervous at this point). We just got our visas back from the Tanzania embassy yesterday – thank goodness.
Thanks Jonathan!

Hi Scot!
I definitely don’t mind answering the questions!
We did take the Machame Route. Who’s organizing the Africa side of the trip for you? Our guides and trip organizers in Africa were AWESOME! You might think about checking them out. Simon is the company’s owner, his brother Felix was our guide, and Francis (the books side of the business) drove us to the airport on the last day.
The most nerve-wracking thing for us was putting our passports in the mail to the Tanzanian embassy in order to get the Visas. (I actually called the embassy twice during the process to check on our visas) so that’s good you have that out of the way!
There is a place to buy bottled water at the bottom – but nowhere along the way (on the Machame route). Our guides/porters took care of the water for us at camp, and then Carrie and I each carried 2 liters, and I carried an extra liter some days (to share if needed) for each day. To be honest, I don’t know where the water came from, but they boiled it, and then filtered it, before it went into our bottles.
Carrie is of the impression that the water looked like a science experiment because of all the floaties therein… I don’t think the water was that bad. BUT, (and this is a big but) we were so glad that we had taken powdered drink mix with us. Someone told us before leaving that it would take the “edge” off of the water, and they were definitely right. Crystal light lemonade and fruit punch come in little tear packets, as does the berry flavor of Gatorade, which made it easy to get into our Nalgene bottles.
On the mountain, we got special permission on the last day to camp about 1,000 feet above the high camp. If you use Simon and Felix, they may be able to get this for you too… we were the only ones camping that high up, but it made a HUGE difference on summit day.
Feel free to ask any other questions you may have!
Thanks Scot!

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