Toilets on Kilimanjaro: What to Expect

When it comes to restroom facilities, the conveniences we’re used to can differ greatly when you’re trekking on Mount Kilimanjaro. In this article, we’ll explore the available toilet options on the mountain, ranging from basic campsite setups to the possibility of private portable toilets.

Using Toilets on Kilimanjaro

Rest assured, public toilets are available at each campsite on your Kilimanjaro trek. However, it’s important to adjust your expectations. These are not the porcelain restrooms with lockable doors and modern amenities you’re familiar with. Instead, you’ll encounter wooden shacks (often without doors, let alone locks) that surround deep holes in the ground.

Be prepared for squatting and minimal privacy. Although the Kilimanjaro National Park staff work diligently to maintain these facilities, the sheer volume of trekkers makes it challenging. As a result, the communal ‘long drop’ toilets on Kilimanjaro can emit strong odours and may be less than comfortable and clean.

Private Toilets on Kilimanjaro: Is It Possible?

Indeed, we offer an option for “portable private toilets.” These fully-equipped chemical toilets come complete with a seat and are housed within their own discreet tent, ensuring privacy (though not necessarily sound insulation). This portable private restroom is exclusively reserved for you and your group’s use. Similar to the wooden shacks, this facility is set up and accessible only at the campsite.

The porters are responsible for cleaning, maintaining, and transporting the portable toilet between camps. This arrangement guarantees that your restroom breaks will be hygienic and conducted in a private manner.

Dealing with Toilet Needs Between Camps 

For those times when you’re between camps and nature calls, there are practical solutions. If you need to urinate, find a private spot behind a tree or bush, and consider informing your guide to avoid any awkwardness. As you ascend beyond the tree line, finding suitable cover becomes trickier. Larger shrubs, boulders, or rock formations can provide some privacy.

For defecation needs, it’s important to find a secluded area, as mentioned earlier. Carry disposable plastic bags in your daypack for waste collection. Bring toilet paper and wet wipes for proper cleanup.

Remember: Leave no trace, especially non-biodegradable items like wet wipes. Proper disposal is essential. After attending to your needs, place everything in a securely tied plastic bag and carry it to the next campsite for proper disposal by the porters.

Understanding Long Drop Toilets 

A long drop toilet, also known as a pit latrine, involves collecting human waste in a hole in the ground beneath the toilet structure. These toilets function with or without flowing water and aim to minimize the spread of diseases and pathogens by flies.

Managing Long Drop Toilets 

The maximum depth for a long drop toilet is around 1 meter from ground level. Once the current hole reaches a depth of 330mm, a new one needs to be dug. It’s important to completely cover the filled long drop with soil to maintain hygiene and environmental standards.