Firstly, lets put your mind at rest. There are public toilets at every camp stop on a
Kilimanjaro trek you are going to need to lower your expectations though. Forget porcelain
loos with lockable doors, marble sinks with soap dispensers, hot water and hi-tech hand
driers. We are talking about a wooden shack (usually without a door, let alone a lock) that
surrounds a deep hole in the ground.
You will have to get used to squatting and near-zero privacy. Also, while Kilimanjaro National Park staff do their best to keep these facilities clean, its an uphill struggle because almost everyone on the mountain uses them. This means that the erm, bouquet, of Kilimanjaros public 'long drop' loos can often be a) challenging and b) cut with a knife. However, the natural views afforded by these dunnies are sensational so swings and roundabouts.
Help! Im shy. Can I get a private toilet on Kilimanjaro?
Trekking Kilimanjaro is an immensely bonding experience. In time you will come to regard your guides, porters and fellow trekkers as honorary brothers and sisters. All the same, this does not necessarily mean you had be comfortable dropping your fudge in front of them. Do not panic. There is an alternative to the toilet shack.
The second option is the portable private loo. This amounts to a proper chemical toilet (with a seat, no less!) that is contained within its own discreet tent for total privacy (if not soundproofing). A portable private loo is for the exclusive use of you and your group only. As with the shacks, though, it is only set up and available in camp.
The treks porters are responsible for cleaning, maintaining and transporting the loo between camps, so at least you have the assurance that your comfort breaks will be sanitary and conducted in privacy.
Im between camps on Kilimanjaro and I need to go to the loo! What now?
Getting caught short; It happens to all of us. Ignoring the urge and attempting to hold it for hours on end is inadvisable and can actually be dangerous. However, wetting/soiling yourself is not a great solution either. People will notice.
Now, if you simply need a pee the solution is to swallow your pride and disappear behind the
nearest tree or bush for a couple of minutes. To avoid consternation/embarrassment, you might want
to let your guide know. Things get trickier above the tree line. You might get lucky and find a
sizeable shrub to spare your blushes; failing that you are not usually far from a suitable boulder
or rock formation.
Going to the loo on Kilimanjaro: a final thought
Going to the loo might not be the most glamorous pastime, but believe me, when you are answering the call of nature in the magnificent surroundings of Mount Kilimanjaro, its part of a life-changing experience thats far more exciting and memorable than staring down at your bath mat. No matter how many multivitamins you have taken.
Toilets on Kilimanjaro and What to Expect When Doing Your Business
The camping facilities and toilets on Kilimanjaro are rather basic. For some the biggest complaints are the toilets on Kilimanjaro. Lets just say the loos leave much to be desired.
So what can you do to improve your ablution experience on Kilimanjaro Going to the toilet is an intensely personal experience. Doing so whilst camping on a 6 or 7 day hike however takes the personal and the experience to a whole new level.
On Kilimanjaro there are really only two toilet options.
Option 1 Use the toilets on Kilimanjaro
This option is chosen by most climbers and is probably why so many people complain. If you decide to use the toilets on Kilimanjaro then set your expectations really low and you wont be too disappointed. Bring your own toilet paper (2 rolls should be more than sufficient) and a sachet of baby wipes these are great for cleaning in general.
Option 2 Hire a Kilimanjaro Portable Loo
Most climbing companies offer climbers the option of taking a portable loo up the mountain. Portable loos are nifty little devices that come with their own mini tent and work a dream. The loo is carried by a porter and setup at each camp. Typically the cost of hiring a portable loo is $150, which may seem a lot, but if you are in a group with two or three other climbers it can be very affordable. For the privilege of being able to use a portable toilet you would need to spend some money to break even. Thats not the case with African Traces the use of a portable private toilet is included as standard with every one of our climbs because we look after the needs of our trekkers and do not cut corners (end of own-trumpet-blowing).
Portable loos may sound a little extravagant and maybe they are. But at the end of the day
if they make your climb more enjoyable we would argue that they are a good investment.
A nice little portable loo and tent .
Finally, you will notice that some people take the opportunity to go native on Kilimanjaro and do their business in the bushes on route. If you do need to go during the trek and in between camps then please do not leave your dirty toilet paper lying about. Take a small plastic bag with you for your rubbish and dispose of it when you get to your next camp.
A long drop toilet, also known as a pit latrine, collects human feces in a hole in the ground where the toilet is located and can work with or without flowing water. Long drop toilets work to decrease the amount of spread of disease and the transfer of pathogens from flies.
The longest that you can make your long drop toilet as far as the ground level goes is 1 meter
deep, and you will have to dig a new one once you fill your current one up to 330mm. You will also
have to cover the long drop completely with soil after it is filled.
What is a long drop?
A long drop is a type of non-flush toilet that collects waste underground. This low cost type of toilet helps decrease the spread of infectious diseases.