Kilimanjaro & East Africa Backpacking

Leadership & Guide Training Course
(24 days)

The roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. -Sean Gaffney


Kenya and Tanzania include the diverse terrains and ecological regions of this storied continent. From the plains of the Serengeti, filled with zebras, gazelles, lions and elephants, to the stark alpine zone of Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters), this region offers participants a fascinating glimpse into this wild land.

Picture yourself emerging from your tent to find giraffes browsing the foliage of treetops or catching a blood-red sunrise while climbing around the spectacular caldera of Mt. Meru (4,667 meters). The variety of terrains and people you will encounter not only help you polish your skills, but prepare you for more international adventure.

This comprehensive trekking course is the perfect setting to achieve your goals whether you are looking to become a professional guide, hone your technical abilities for personal adventures, or expand your leadership skills. It focuses on teaching students to be safe, efficient, knowledgeable and confident outdoor leaders in a winter mountain environment.

THE INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES OF IWLS are widely recognized as some of the very best in their field and have practical leadership experience from around the globe. They are well trained and have an uncommon enthusiasm for sharing their skill and knowledge, borne out of a passion for outdoor exploration.

The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates an awareness of the guiding mentality that is essential for leading safe, fun adventures in the mountains. The combination of technical skills training, experiential education and practical leadership experience make the IWLS curriculum world class.

Glacier view on Kilimanjaro summit day.

THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership.  Here are a few points that the course will focus on:

  • Weather: Will the storm arrive in the next 12 hours, or the next 48? Understanding weather patterns and trends will help you plan successful trips in a wilderness setting.
  • Leadership: Opportunities to lead the group will be abundant and you’ll have the time to learn and practice multiple styles of leadership.
  • Safety and Risk Management: Safety is always the #1 consideration. As the course progresses, you’ll develop an awareness to appropriately asses risk and make safe decisions.
  • Environmental Ethics: As adventurers in some of the most pristine environments on the planet it is our duty to respect the natural world. All of our courses practice and teach Leave No Trace ® principles.







IWLS BACKPACKING CURRICULUM is developed from countless expeditions in Africa and around the world. You’ll learn how to be a competent international backcountry trekker and proficient high altitude traveler. Here are some points that will be covered during your course:

  • Stoves and Campfires: The ability to repair a broken stove, make an emergency fire after being submerged in an icy river, and melt snow efficiently for water are key components for leading a group in the wilderness.
  • Altitude Considerations: Mt. Kilimanjaro reach heights above 19,000 feet. Learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of acute mountain sickness, and steps to take to avoid it. We’ll also discuss the most effective treatment for all altitude illnesses: descent.
  • Geology: From plate tectonics to granitic batholiths, you’ll learn the history of the land you are exploring and how these forces create and influence the environment around you.
  • Timing: This is a key component of group management. You’ll develop this awareness and how it affects all aspects of a day on an expedition.

-G. Martin

IWLS INTERNATIONAL CURRICULUM is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of planning and leading expeditions in foreign countries. Here are just a few topics that will be covered:

  • Cultural History: As visitors to this remarkable place, we place a premium on being respectful and learning about the local culture and history. Learning about the heritage of the Bantu tribes, the Masaai and other peoples of East Africa enriches the understanding of Africa today.
  • Language Skills: The ability to ask directions, purchase items, and communicate on any level is an essential element of leading an expedition to a foreign country. Throughout the course, we’ll develop our Swahili language skills through dialog and lesson plans.
  • Trip Preparation: Logistics in a foreign country have the potential to be complex and tenuous. You’ll take part in shopping at the local market, arranging transportation, and securing permits in preparation for your expedition to the highlands of East Africa.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL No previous experience is necessary for this course. However, with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for adventure, this course prepares you for a lifetime of wilderness exploration.

CERTIFICATIONS Upon completion of the 24-day course, participants may qualify for the following certifications:_

24 Day Guide Training Certificate of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School


DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.