My camping experience and knowledge before doing Kilimanjaro was down to, well, zero - so this was going to be an entirely new experience for me and I must say it was one of the scariest, obviously since it was an unknown factor.
What I can say is that its not that bad. If you go with a good and reputable company, the camps are usually very good quality and one thing I noticed is that the porters assigned to you and your tent mate (unless you decide to stay solo), will do their best to place your tent in the best and the flattest place possible. The latter is very important, since a rock under your back is not a nice feeling when you're trying to get some rest!
In my case we had rental sleeping bags (top tip: take a sleeping bag liner - its more hygienic and does add a layer of insulation) and sleeping mats. The sleeping mat was just a simple foam mat, it did the trick but others of the group who had an air mattress did boast of added luxury, so next time camping I might actually check these out.
When you arrive at your next camp, after a 5 hour or so trek, you will find you group's mini camp town (which will have neighbouring camp towns all around the campsite) made up of guest tents, tents for the porters and guides, dining tents and in some cases communal tents. Your porter will be waiting for you to show you the location of your tent. One thing I found very handy is to "mark" the tent with a piece of coloured string or fabric to identify it, since all the tents are the same and if you are out at night for a quick loo visit and cannot find your tent its no fun when the temperatures are at minus something!
One suggestion is to keep all your belongings in your tent at night. This is mostly to avoid getting your shoes or any other gear totally wet at night, the other is (although not much is reported on Kili) to avoid ending missing your trekking shoes in the morning - you never know!
Overall you shouldn't be scared, the first two nights might be a bit tough, but you will get used to it and you will be calling your tiny tent home in no time! Just let your hair down and go with the flow :)
|Our Campsite at Shira Camp|