Internet and Mobile Reception on Mount Kilimanjaro
In August 2022, the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation achieved a significant feat by introducing broadband connectivity for Kilimanjaro climbers up to 3,720 meters (12,200 feet) above sea level. This breakthrough brought internet access to one of Africa’s most renowned natural wonders.
This service is currently available along the Marangu route, with WiFi hotspots at Mandara Hut, Horombo Hut, and Kibo Hut. These hotspots are solar-powered and, while occasionally turned off to conserve energy for lighting, maintain a strong WiFi signal. Climbers were even able to make WiFi calls and video calls during their ascent.
The plan for the future is to expand WiFi coverage to Kilimanjaro’s summit and then lay cables along the Lemosho route. The ultimate aim of the national park is to provide WiFi service across all routes on Kilimanjaro.
Mobile Signal Availability on Kilimanjaro
While scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro, you may not always have consistent cellphone coverage. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t have opportunities to stay connected with loved ones. During your Kilimanjaro journey, you should have at least one chance each day to make contact.
To make the most of these communication opportunities, feel free to ask our helpful guides about the best spots for signal. They’ll be happy to point out signal-friendly areas along the route. Additionally, keep an eye out for the local porters—when you spot them hurrying uphill from camp, chances are they’re headed towards a signal zone!
For better battery management, it’s recommended to switch your phone to airplane mode to avoid constant signal searching. This helps preserve your battery life, ensuring you won’t miss out on capturing unforgettable moments due to a drained battery.
Interference with Mobile Signals on the Mountain
Expect some disruption in mobile signal as you ascend the mountain, owing to the extreme climate. Water vapor, especially during rain, snow, fog, and high humidity, can hinder cellular signals. The conductivity of water affects radio waves, leading to signal interruption.
Getting a Local SIM Card
Upon arrival in Tanzania, you have the option to obtain a local SIM card, which requires passport registration. However, note that this process can be time-consuming, so it’s recommended for stays exceeding two weeks.
A local SIM card typically costs around TSh 1,000, which is approximately US$0.41—a budget-friendly choice.
Internet Service Providers in Tanzania
Tanzania boasts a variety of internet service providers (ISPs) offering cellphone services. You can purchase a local SIM card in Arusha or Moshi Town. Some notable ISPs include:
Vodacom Tanzania: A leading mobile network operator, Vodacom provides diverse cellphone internet services, including data plans and bundles.
Airtel Tanzania: Airtel is another major telecom operator offering internet services for cellphones, featuring various data plans and bundles.
Tigo Tanzania: Known for its mobile network services, Tigo offers different data packages and plans for cellphone users.
Halotel: This telecommunications company provides mobile and internet services, including cellphone internet plans with diverse data options.
Zantel: Zantel, a telecom operator, extends cellphone internet services through a range of data plans.
These examples showcase the array of providers available in Tanzania. To make an informed choice, assess the offerings and coverage specific to your location.
Charging Your Devices on the Mountain
Charging your devices conventionally on the mountain isn’t feasible due to the absence of charging spots. Alternatives include:
Power Banks: Carrying fully charged power banks allows you to charge phones and cameras via USB cable. Keep in mind that some airlines have restrictions on lithium batteries, so consider carrying power banks in your carry-on luggage.
Solar Chargers: Solar chargers are often considered for remote charging, but their effectiveness on the mountain is limited. They have restricted power storage, slow charging, and can be cumbersome.
Ensuring your devices stay powered on Kilimanjaro demands thoughtful planning and readiness for the unique conditions of the mountain.