ROUTES AND COST TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO

Routes and Cost to Climb Kilimanjaro

Climbing Mt Kilimnajro, Africa’s highest peak is a major highlight in any East African trip. The beauty of it is, various routes are available for any kind of traveler. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate trekker or an experienced mountaineer, there is always a perfect route for you! The question is: How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro?

IN A NUTSHELL

Depending on the route you take and the number of days you spend on the trek, a climb to Kilimanjaro typically costs around $1500 to $4000 (£1077 to £2870) or more per person, depending on which route you take to the summit plus the number of people in a group. Essentially, the less number of climbers the more expensive and the more climbers the cheaper. This estimate is based on the average prices of the all-inclusive packages offered by established tour operators around the country. Each package usually covers airport transfers, full-board during the trek, porter fees, expert guides, tents/huts and a night’s accommodation pre- or post-climb. Park entrance fees, which are pretty steep at $800, to say the least, are included in the package as well. Breakdown of expenses on average (per person per day):

  • Park entrance fees, camping fees, taxes = $185
  • Staff, transportation, etc. = $80 to $150
  • Food = $15 to $20
  • Other administrative costs and additional expenses including special beverages or orders not included in the package
  • Tips = your discretion

CAN I CLIMB KILIMANJARO WITHOUT A GUIDE?

Unfortunately, NO. The government of Tanzania together with the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority regulated the policy on unsupported treks on Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbers are mandated to register with the Park Authorities and they should be accompanied by a registered licensed guide. Proper camping gears and cooking equipment are also required as well as porters and other relevant members of the support crew. Some tour operators offer cheaper packages that involve fewer members of the crew. This cheaper package usually does not include porters so trekkers have to carry more things. The weight limit that each trekker is allowed to carry is 12kg. This is for the safety of each traveler as well as a higher chance of successfully reaching the summit.

DIFFERENT ROUTES TO KILIMANJARO

There are several ways to reach the Roof of Africa — 7 to be exact. For you to pick the right one, you have to consider your level of experience, budget and of course your schedule. If you are traveling with other climbers, you also have to mind their preferences and experience. Trek lengths range from 5 days to 10, but most guides recommend at least 6 days to give ample time for acclimatization. Here are the available routes to Kilimanjaro: Mt. Kilimanjaro Routes Map

MACHAME ROUTE

  • Approaches from the south of the mountain
  • Highly recommended for its scenic value
  • Considered a difficult route with steeper walks
  • Perfect for adventurous travelers and intermediate to highly experienced backpackers
  • Con: Can get crowded as this route has become more popular over the years
  • Trek length: 6 to 7 days

MARANGU ROUTE

  • Approaches from the south of the mountain
  • Oldest, most established route on the mountain
  • Said to be the easiest path up the summit because of its gradual slopes
  • The only route which offers dormitory-style hut accommodations instead of tent camps
  • Can be done in 5 days although success rate is low for this
  • Recommended: 6 days to allot an extra day for acclimatization
  • Uses the same route for ascent and descent
  • Most preferred during wet season because of its accommodation type

LEMOSHO ROUTE

  • Approaches from the western part of the mountain
  • Offers a lot of opportunities for acclimatization
  • Trekkers can hike through the Shira Plateau, one of the world’s largest high altitude plateaus
  • Begins on a remote region giving the trekkers an untouched landscape and scenery
  • Con: Large wildlife is rarely spotted
  • Joins the Machame route on Day 3
  • Trek length: 7 or 8 days

RONGAI ROUTE

  • Approaches from the northeastern part of the mountain
  • Descends via Marangu route
  • Offers true wilderness experience during the first days of the climb as spotting large wildlife like antelopes and elephants is highly possible
  • Trek starts on a flatter surface during the first few days
  • Considered a good alternative (with lesser crowds) to the Marangu route
  • Trek length: 6 or 7 days

SHIRA ROUTE

  • Approaches from the western part of the mountain
  • Starting point is at 11,800 feet (3,600 m) which is pretty high, thereby giving climbers less time to acclimatize
  • Perfect for climbers who are confident to hike moderately difficult terrain and camp out for extensive periods
  • Trek length: at least 6 days

UMBWE ROUTE

  • Approaches from the south of the mountain
  • Short, steep and direct route
  • Considered the most challenging route up the summit
  • Only advised for highly experienced trekkers
  • Cons: Quick ascent with very poor acclimatization and very low success rates
  • Trek length: 6 to 7 days

NORTHERN CIRCUIT ROUTE

  • Approaches from the western part of the mountain
  • Longest route
  • Has the highest success rates
  • Trek length: 8 to 10 days

Mount Kilimanjaro Routes Map

OTHER EXPENSES

  • INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Flights to and from Tanzania take up a large fraction of the travel budget. Check the airlines available in your departure country. Most flights are one- or two-stop flights. Here’s a not-so-secret tip: try booking early and take advantage of ongoing promotions.

  • VISA

Like traveling to any other country, you need a visa to travel to Tanzania. Some citizens who belong to visa exempt countries may obtain their visa upon arrival. Single-entry visas on arrival cost $50 for most countries and $100 for US passport holders. Multiple-entry visas on arrival cost $100 and transit visas are $30, valid for 14 days.

  • EQUIPMENT

To trek a mountain like Kilimanjaro, you need to be properly geared up. The important gears you need to bring include good quality hiking boots, extreme weather sleeping bag, duffel bag, walking poles, layered clothing, headlamp, daypack and insulated water bottles. If you already possess some or all of this equipment, you’ve just saved a lot of money. If not, make sure you buy reliable equipment. Prices will vary depending on the brand, quality and other factors like sale and promotions.

  • VACCINATION AND MEDICATIONS

When entering Tanzania, you are advised to get a Yellow Fever vaccination card which typically costs around $100 (£72) for a shot if you are coming from any of the countries with a risk of Yellow Fever Virus. Other than that, CDC does not recommend getting a vaccine unless you are staying for a long time or you’re going to be heavily exposed to mosquitoes. Other vaccinations that are recommended are routine vaccines such as MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine and DPT (Diphtheria Polio Tetanus) booster as well as Hepatitis A vaccination. Also, bear in mind that Tanzania is a known malaria area. Although trekking up the mountain lowers your risk, it’s better to be on the safe side. You can bring malaria tablets and maintain precautions by using mosquito repellents, wearing clothes that cover your extremities and staying indoors after dusk.

  • FOOD AND ACCOMMODATION

Food and accommodation outside the mountain (before and after the climb) may or may not be provided by the tour operator, especially if you plan to stay longer in Tanzania. Rates will depend on your type of accommodation, the place you are going to stay in (Moshi and Arusha provide pretty cheap rates), number of days of stay and the season of your travel.

  • ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES

If you plan to have other activities like safari drives and other park visits, you need to set aside some money for that. Depending on what you plan to do or where you plan to go, prices can go as low as $180 and as high as over $1000 per person per day.

  • MISCELLANEOUS

Additional expenses especially unforeseen ones are inevitable in any trip. Miscellaneous includes public transportation which costs around $1.60 per hour for local buses and minibuses (dalla-dalla), and higher prices for luxury buses.

EVERY TREKKER’S DREAM ADVENTURE

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Mount Kilimanjaro is not just Africa’s highest mountain. It is also the world’s highest free-standing mountain. It offers incredible views of the wildlife-filled Tanzanian plains and it promises an experience like no other. No wonder thousands of visitors lust over a Mount Kilimanjaro trek. If you are one of them, you have to take note that knowing the cost to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is not all you need. You have to make sure that before anything else, you assess yourself so that you can pick a good route for you. For an optimum experience, make sure you book with a reputable tour operator that provides experienced expert guides, impeccable service and best of all, high quality climbs at reasonable rates. Check Tanzania Exclusive Journeys for the best Kilimanjaro experience!

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