To be honest Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not a cheap holiday!
Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania Mountain Climbing
Of course you try to save money where you can. The temptation is big to go hunting for the cheapest Kilimanjaro climb.
DON’T! Do not start your search for a Kilimanjaro climb by looking at the cost first. If you do, you may end up paying the ultimate price, or someone else may have to pay it for you… Prices between operators do vary wildly depending on the quality/experience/expertise from $1000 to $4000 and above.
(There are some operators advertising cheap Kilimanjaro climbs that cost below $1000. Don’t go there… Actually, don’t go below $1500 including transfer, and accommodation. You’ll see why…)
Be sure to get a good company – watch out for Kili Cowboys, make sure prices include Park Fees and they use proper porter/guide ratios, operate under Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, with Company of long established and have a good reputation.
Kilimanjaro porters are not usually employed permanently. Some quality responsible operators have teams of porters that they use on all their climbs, but most porters freelance.
They may walk to the National Park gate every day, sometimes for many miles, hoping that someone will be looking for porters.
That’s where many budget operators pick up their porters. Budget operators do not pay their staff well, in some cases not at all. Kilimanjaro porters don’t have many options. There are many more porters available than needed, and they are all desperate for work.
A porter on a budget Kilimanjaro climb may not get paid at all by the company. Those porters rely solely on your tips to feed their family.
Correspondingly you will be expected (and if needed hassled) to pay much higher tips than you would on a quality climb. Your porters will likely still end up with less money in their hands, since few climbers are aware of this.
(And if you pay all tips to the guide to distribute, the porters may see little if any of the money. A responsible climb operator will have tents and equipment not only for clients, but also for staff.
That costs money.
Carrying that equipment up and down the mountain needs extra porters. That costs money.
Feeding the porters in a way that actually sustains them during the climb also costs money, both for the food itself and for carrying it up the mountain.
Every year several Kilimanjaro porters die, but you won’t hear about it. They die of exposure (freeze to death), a result of the insufficient clothing, shelter and food supplied to them during the climb.
Also, was it really such a great buy if you then fail to make it to the summit? Would you really feel good to know that children have to go hungry or aren’t able to continue their education, just so you could save a few bucks?
I didn’t think so.
Make no mistake: very, very few operators pay or treat their porters fairly. Some of the big, well known outfitters are amongst the worst. Don’t assume just because someone is mentioned in a big guidebook they must be doing the right thing. More often than not they don’t.
Book a cheap Kilimanjaro climb and you are fully supporting the shameless exploitation of the very people who make it possible for you to climb Kilimanjaro at all, the Kilimanjaro porters.
For more information on the plight of porters on Kilimanjaro, and for information on very worthwhile projects that are trying to improve the situation.
Few tourists are aware why the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro is so high and where the budget operators cut corners to drop the prices.
Let’s look at where your money actually goes, what you pay for, and why. Several hundred climb operators are competing for business on Kilimanjaro, which has resulted in a cut throat price war.
Good for you, you may think… Drops the prices…
Well, sure, it does, but at what cost? If operators drop prices they also have to cut expenses to stay profitable.
The steep (www.tanzaniaparks.com) are something that nobody can change. For a six day/five night camping trek you pay $695 in fees alone and this is per person. So where can operators save? And how does it affect you.
You want to book a climb that is run by mountaineers, people who understand mountains, who understand the risks and know how to manage them. People who care about you, about how much you’ll enjoy the trek, about their staff and about the mountain.
You will not find those people for $1100. In fact, you won’t find them for under $1500. For a six day Kilimanjaro climb, booked in advance, that is the absolute minimum cost that you should budget for, and you will be sacrificing quality of experience at that level (e.g. you will be climbing on a more crowded or less scenic Kilimanjaro route).
Kilimanjaro climbs that cost less are guaranteed to cut corners. But not every climb above $1500 is guaranteed to be a quality, safe one! Not by a long shot. You better do some thorough research if you want to book in that range!
There are other factors that determine the final cost of your Kilimanjaro climb and that allow you to save some money.
The larger the climb group, the lower the price per person. There are operators who put over 20 people in one group. Add to that at least two porters per person, cooks, assistant guides and guides…
And you have a whole army trekking up that mountain! I think I’d rather spend a few dollars extra…
A private climb with two people is very expensive, but a group of up to twelve people is bearable and affordable. At least that’s how I experienced it. I was a school Teacher before with a long experience of becoming a Tour Operator. I can write and write but the truth remains.
What will also determine the overall cost is the route you’ll be taking. The more scenic and less crowded routes are more expensive. That’s discussed in the section about Kilimanjaro climb route. So $1600 is probably a half decent climb up the Machame route, but you won’t be finding that on the Lemosho route.
And last but not least, booking from overseas is more expensive than booking when you contact me direct.
BUT, you have the piece of mind of knowing when your trek will depart, that it will indeed depart, and you have the time to do research and ensure you are with a responsible and reasonable Tour Operator.
Tipping Guidelines (www.tanzaniaparks.com)
Chief Guide $20 per day
Assistant Guide $15 per day
Cook $10 per day
Porter $5 per day
Tips should not be dependent on whether you summit or not but rather whatever they were professional and had your best interests in mind.
If your guides and porters have not met your expectations please inform Tanzania Safaris Zanzibar Travel immediately and don’t feel obligated to give a tip. If they press you for a tip during your trek inform Tanzania Safaris Zanzibar Travel as well as this is against company policy.
Our Rates are standard and our service is of high quality and hereby takes this opportunity to introduce ourselves to your fabulous selves seeking for consideration to be your agent to ground handlers in Tanzania.
Our guides are of Linguistics and most of them speak English, French, Spanish, Italian and Germany. We use a fleet of standard Land cruisers and extended land cruiser for our safari both in Arusha and Kilimanjaro Tanzania.
Here below is Tanzania Mount Kilimanjaro reasonable climbing rates to make sure the price cover Governments entrance fee, Concession Fees, Camping fees, Crater service fee, Hut fees, climbing rescue fees, Mountain Guide fees, Porters fee, Cook fees, Lodge bills where applicable, and all tax bills.
The Marangu Route is also known as the “Tourist Route” and the “Coca-Cola Route.” This is because Marangu is the most popular route on the mountain, and thus is considered “touristy”, and because the route is the only one that offers sleeping huts.
Marangu is the easiest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s ascension profile is very gradual and steady, allowing for painless trekking for most of the way. However, due to its reputation as an easy route, Marangu is often selected by unprepared, inexperienced climbers.
Correspondingly, only about 45% of the people actually make it to the Uhuru Peak. The trek begins in the south-east area of the mountain at Marangu Gate. The route takes five days minimum to complete, although six days is more practical and recommended.
The sleeping huts along the route are structures with a dining hall and bunk beds, equipped with mattresses and pillows.
The descent is done on the same path, contributing to Marangu’s overcrowded feeling. It is a cheaper climb as well, do to the close proximity of the gate to Moshi, the gateway town, and because it is a shorter route.
Scenically, Marangu is not a desirable route compared to all the other routes because it confines climbers to one area of the mountain, thus limiting the variety. However, Marangu has the best trail in the rain forest section of the trek. Of course, there are still great views of the Mawenzi and it’s equally spectacular for everyone at Uruhu.
Marangu is ideal for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths. It’s also attractive for those who do not want to sleep in a tent.
Marangu’s huts offer shelter and warmth against the weather so it is a decent choice when climbing during the rainy season. Marangu is for those who want to spend less on their climb, and do not mind crowds.
Duration of climb: 5 – 6 days
The Marangu route is one of the most popular routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route, but more so, perhaps the fact that it is possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days, thereby getting to the summit one day earlier compared to the Machame route.
This is not always the best way, due to a shorter acclimatization period.
The Marangu route does however offer you the option of spending an extra acclimatization day on the mountain. This extends the route into a 6-day trek, greatly increasing your chances of success.
Shared hut accommodation on the Marangu route forms one of the main differences, compared to the other routes. It offers you the relative luxury of being able to sleep in huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are also sold at all the camps on this route. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals.
The main itinerary difference between the Marangu 5 day and 6 day routes is the additional acclimatization day at Horombo Hut.
The Machame route is our most successful and popular hiking route on Mt. Kilimanjaro, mainly as a result of the following two important factors:
On day 3 of the hike the topography of this route, allow you to climb high and sleep low – when you start from Shira camp (3 847m) hike up to Lava Tower (4 642m) and then down to Barranco camp (3 984m) to overnight.
The summit attempt path from Barafu camp has less loose scree (rocks) compared to the summit attempt path from Kibo Hut, making it slightly easier to reach the crater rim.
The Lemosho route is an unspoilt, remote, little used and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are inhabited by buffalo, elephant and other wildlife.
The minimum duration for the Lemosho route is 6 days, however we strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days. The additional 7th day will give your body more time to acclimatize, reducing the effects of altitude sickness and give you more time to rest before attempting the summit.
The Rongai route ascends Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.
The topography of the route does not allow for the application of the climb high and sleep low principle and hikers generally suffer more from altitude sickness on the Rongai route compared to other routes (an additional acclimatization day is highly recommended on this route). The Rongai route use the scree summiting path from Kibo hut to Gilman’s point and descend via the Marangu route.
The main itinerary difference between the Rongai 6 day and 7 day routes is the additional acclimatization day at Mwenzi Tarn.
The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to Uhuru Peak.
Umbwe is mostly avoided because the ascent profile does not give climbers much time to adjust to the altitude. The success rate is very low. The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended.
The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Umbwe is not as scenically varied as Machame, Lemosho and Shira, because the path up and down are nearby.
The Umbwe is ideal for those who want a challenging climb, and are very confident in their ability trek over consistently steep slopes.
Also, Umbwe is for those who are experienced at altitude and thus are confident that the punishing schedule of Umbwe will not impede their ability to adjust to altitude. Umbwe is also for those who want a secluded hike.
Thank You for Looking…..
Mount Kilimanjaro Tanzania Mountain Climbing