How Much Does It Cost to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Kilimanjaro Climbing Costs: A Comprehensive Guide by Moria Safaris

The question on many minds is: How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro? The price of a Kilimanjaro climb can range from $1,400 for standard packages to upwards of $7,000 for luxury options and beyond. However, in a region with approximately 250 licensed operators and hundreds more unlicensed ones, choosing the right package becomes a formidable task. To unravel the elements shaping the cost of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, one must delve into various contributing factors.

The Array of Offers and Cost Breakdown for Climbing Kilimanjaro The price you encounter when booking a package often provides a glimpse into the nature of your upcoming climbing experience. Nevertheless, relying solely on cost as a decision-making factor can be misleading. Indeed, the Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing cost comprises numerous concealed yet crucial components.

With your personal safety and the creation of lifelong memories in the balance, selecting the most economical option to climb Kilimanjaro is not advisable. As a general rule, a secure and comfortable Mt. Kilimanjaro trek typically requires an investment of no less than $1,400.

Conversely, there’s no need to shell out $7,000 or more for a VIP package to access that extra level of service that can make all the difference.

In this article, we will outline the factors influencing the cost of a Kilimanjaro climb and provide guidance on selecting the ideal offer to match your budget. The following example is based on a 7-day “Classic” Machame route package designed for two or more climbers, which represents the most popular choice. This option offers a reasonable level of comfort at a moderate price point, neither falling into the budget category nor the extravagance of a package with an abundance of porter

Dissecting the Expenses of Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

The cost of a Kilimanjaro climb can be broken down into several essential components:

  1. Kilimanjaro Park Fees: These non-negotiable fees are paid directly to park authorities and grant both clients and the expedition crew access to the park. The following fees apply, and while they cannot be reduced or evaded, travelers under 16 years of age may benefit from a discount:
    • Rescue Fees: $20 per person per trek ($23.6, inclusive of 18% VAT)
    • Entrance Fees: $70 per person per day ($82.6, inclusive of 18% VAT)
    • Camping Fees: $50 per person per night (For the Marangu route, hut fees are $60 per person per night) ($59 and $70.8, inclusive of 18% VAT)
    • Crew Fees: $2 per crew member per trek ($2.36, inclusive of 18% VAT)
  2. Kilimanjaro Crew Wages: Wages for the crew, including porters, guides, cooks, and assistant guides. These costs vary and increase as group size increases. The minimum wage requirements for the Kilimanjaro hike crew are as follows:
    • Porters: $10 per day
    • Guide: $20 per day
    • Assistant Guide: $15 per day
    • Cook: $15 per day
  3. Transport: This covers transportation to and from the hiking trail, connecting your hotel in Arusha or Moshi. Costs vary, ranging from $110 to $170 USD.
  4. Food: The overall expense for meals, encompassing both your meals and those of the crew. Costs can vary, starting from $220 USD.
  5. Value-Added Tax (VAT): A standard 18% tax applied to all products and services in the country.
  6. Add-Ons: Certain optional equipment, like a private toilet, may be considered add-ons. They are not deemed necessary but can be provided for an additional fee, potentially increasing the overall cost. Additional expenses may arise due to the need for an extra porter to transport the private toilet and the cost of the equipment itself.

(Indirect Costs)

  1. Administrative Costs: The company incurs administrative costs that cannot be directly attributed to the climb’s cost. These may encompass expenses such as leasing, taxes, salaries, and marketing, among others.

(Additional Costs You May Incur)

  1. Tipping: Given the outlined minimum wage and cost breakdown, tipping becomes an essential practice for the crew. While not enforced, it is strongly recommended and should be provided directly to the crew by the client. Tips are not included in the price hike.
  2. Gear Rental: If you are not fully equipped for the hike, you may need to rent some gear.

Mount Kilimanjaro Hiking

How to prepare for the climb

Effective Planning is Key

A journey up Mount Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary adventure, distinct from typical vacations or casual hikes. Climbing this majestic peak demands meticulous preparation. After all, this expedition leads hikers to the summit of Africa at 5,895 meters (19,340 feet) above sea level, an altitude many may never have experienced before. It truly embodies the adventure of a lifetime.

Kilimanjaro expeditions come with inherent risks associated with high altitudes. These challenges underscore the importance of having professional guides and proper equipment. Without these crucial elements, the safety of the hiking party is compromised.

It’s important to emphasize that appropriate gear is paramount. Climbing Kilimanjaro requires specialized equipment; your usual hiking attire won’t suffice.

Considerations to Remember in Preparing for this Thrilling African Expedition Undertaking this exhilarating adventure in the heart of Africa requires attention to several significant aspects. In this article, we’ve condensed essential recommendations to ensure a successful and seamless Kilimanjaro expedition.

Opt for Extended Itineraries for Your Journey

You’ve likely come across a variety of Kilimanjaro itineraries online, ranging from concise 5-day treks to more extensive 7, 8, or even 10-day adventures with the possibility of Crater Camping. It may be tempting to opt for a shorter itinerary, especially when they all ultimately lead you to the pinnacle of Africa. So, what’s the rationale behind investing more time and resources on the slopes of Kilimanjaro?

There are two primary reasons for considering longer itineraries:

  1. Enhanced Acclimatization: As you ascend higher during your trek, the oxygen saturation level in the air gradually decreases. This phenomenon occurs due to the reduction in atmospheric pressure, which causes oxygen molecules to disperse. Essentially, every breath you take at higher altitudes provides your body with less oxygen. However, your body can adapt to this challenge through intensified and deeper breathing, as well as expedited oxygen transportation by red blood cells and other physiological adjustments. Nevertheless, this transformation necessitates time and energy. Hence, spending more time on the mountain is crucial for effective acclimatization.
  2. Altitude Sickness Mitigation: Rushing up Kilimanjaro without allowing sufficient time for acclimatization increases the risk of altitude sickness. This condition may necessitate a return to lower altitudes before you can successfully reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Furthermore, extended itineraries offer superior opportunities for savoring the breathtaking scenery that Kilimanjaro has to offer. When hurrying to reach the next camp before nightfall, you might inadvertently bypass the most picturesque regions of the mountain. Kilimanjaro is undeniably one of the most stunning places on Earth, and lingering on the Shira Plateau or Barranco Wall to relish the remarkable vistas or taking a leisurely break with friends in the midst of your journey between camps is a true delight. Ascending the highest peak in Africa is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and rushing through it may not be the most fulfilling way to relish this incredible opportunity. Indeed, when you consider the investment involved in a Kilimanjaro climb, the distinction between a 6-day and 7-day trek is marginal, but the difference in your overall experience and adventure is substantial. A longer itinerary not only provides a more rewarding experience but also enhances safety, allowing you to truly revel in Kilimanjaro’s splendor with minimal discomfort.

It’s worth noting that longer itineraries also boast higher success rates. Be sure to explore 7-day Kilimanjaro itineraries, renowned for their exceptional success rates.

Select the Optimal Timing for Your Expedition

Tanzania, nestled in East Africa along the equator, boasts a distinctive climate marked by the absence of traditional seasons, instead experiencing dry and rainy periods.

The dry seasons encompass:

  1. Late December to early March: This period, coinciding with the Christmas holidays, is particularly favored by tourists.
  2. Early June to early October: Surprisingly cooler than the “winter” dry season, this time boasts sunny weather and clear skies.

On the other hand, the rainy seasons include:

  1. Mid-March to late May: Known as the “big” rainy season, it earns its name not due to its intensity but because of its extended duration, persisting longer than the “small” rainy season, which commences in late October and concludes by mid-December.

While the majority of climbers gravitate toward the dry season for their Kilimanjaro adventures, the rainy season offers distinct advantages. You can explore more about these advantages and other intriguing facts about Tanzania’s seasons in our dedicated article.

NOTE: The dry season does not imply the absence of rainfall entirely, as Kilimanjaro is, after all, a mountain where weather can change unexpectedly. Carrying a rain poncho in your daypack at all times is essential. Similarly, the rainy season doesn’t signify constant downpours. Typically, drizzling begins around midday and intensifies toward the evening. Occasionally, there might be no rainfall at all.

Therefore, one should not anticipate a guaranteed clear sky in January or constant rains in May; the weather is likely to follow these patterns, but it is not absolute. Consequently, regardless of when you choose to embark on your adventure, it’s imperative to be equipped with a comprehensive set of Kilimanjaro gear capable of handling various weather conditions.

Dedicate Time to Prepare for Kilimanjaro

To undertake a Kilimanjaro climb successfully, you must be ready to hike approximately three to five miles daily, traversing challenging terrain. This demands robust stamina and a well-conditioned cardiovascular system. If your current routine primarily involves sitting in an office, there are steps you can take to get in shape for your Kilimanjaro adventure:

  1. Running and biking: Running or biking are excellent exercises for Kilimanjaro preparation. Initiate your training with a 3-mile run or a 5-mile bike ride every other day. Engaging in swimming will also enhance your cardiovascular fitness.
  2. Gym Workouts: If you have access to a gym, treadmill running is advantageous for Kilimanjaro readiness. Additionally, incorporating planks and squats into your regimen will fortify your leg muscles, ensuring you’re well-prepared for the extended hikes on Kilimanjaro.
  3. Aerobic Focus: In a gym setting, emphasize aerobic and cardio activities more than muscle building. On Kilimanjaro, endurance holds greater significance than sheer physical strength.
  4. Country Hikes: For those residing near the countryside, extensive cross-country hikes covering 6–10 miles serve as excellent preparation for the mountain climb. These hikes mimic the challenges you’ll face on Mount Kilimanjaro. Concentrate on routes featuring hills and steep inclines to prepare your body for the mountain’s slopes.
  5. Boot Break-In: If you’ve acquired new hiking boots for your Kilimanjaro tour, embarking on a cross-country hike offers the perfect opportunity to break them in. Setting out with brand-new, unworn boots on a Kilimanjaro journey is unwise, as it can lead to painful blisters and calluses, transforming an otherwise exciting adventure into a grueling ordeal. By “breaking in” your new boots during training, they will be comfortable and well-prepared by the time of your Kilimanjaro ascent.

To ensure optimal readiness, we recommend commencing your physical training for Kilimanjaro approximately 3–4 months prior to the expedition’s start. Additionally, we suggest refraining from strenuous workouts and long walks during the two weeks leading up to your arrival in Tanzania, affording your body the opportunity to fully recuperate and recharge before the Kilimanjaro climb.

For a more comprehensive guide on structuring a suitable training plan for Kilimanjaro, please consult our dedicated article on our website.

Organize Essential Documents

To facilitate your journey, it’s crucial to have the necessary documents in order:

  1. Valid Passport: Ensure your passport is suitable for international travel. It must be valid for at least six months from your planned arrival date in Tanzania. Furthermore, your passport should contain a minimum of two blank pages to accommodate visas and entry stamps.
  2. Passport Information: Our team will need your passport information to facilitate the acquisition of entry permits for the National Park. Please rest assured that we maintain strict confidentiality regarding all your personal and identity details.

Kilimanjaro Dietary Guidelines

Maintaining a suitable diet is of paramount importance for a comfortable and secure Kilimanjaro expedition. As you ascend Kilimanjaro, your body will require a substantial surplus of calories to reach the summit. On this journey, your energy expenditure will be approximately double your typical intake, underscoring the significance of nourishing your body effectively.

At Moria Safaris, we have meticulously crafted a specialized Kilimanjaro menu that harmoniously combines delicious flavors with energy-rich ingredients. Our mountain chefs, adeptly trained by seasoned professionals, will captivate your taste buds with a diverse array of daily offerings within the dining tent. Our menu typically features an assortment of options, including beef, chicken, salads, vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, potatoes, beans, spaghetti, cheese, and other popular continental dishes.

We gladly accommodate special dietary requirements at no additional cost, such as Halal, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free meal plans. If you have any allergies or specific dietary restrictions, kindly inform us before embarking on your adventure. Our team will ensure that the necessary adaptations are made to the supply provisions, and our chefs will receive precise instructions to accommodate your needs.

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

Optimal Timing for Ascending Mount Kilimanjaro When determining the most favorable period for your Kilimanjaro expedition, it’s essential to take multiple factors into account, including temperature, scenic vistas, trail congestion, difficulty level, and safety. Nevertheless, the overarching factor that influences all these aspects is the prevailing weather. Mount Kilimanjaro is situated within an equatorial climatic region, meaning it foregoes the traditional four-season cycle (winter, spring, summer, and autumn) in favor of solely experiencing wet and dry seasons. The wet seasons typically occur in April-May and November. Much like in other tropical regions, precisely pinpointing the onset and conclusion of rainfall can be a challenging feat. As for the remaining months, they constitute the “dry season,” marked by predominantly sunny days; however, it’s important to note that this doesn’t guarantee an absolute absence of cloud cover.

Two predominant climbing seasons stand out: the first spans from July through August to September, and the second from January to February. These time frames align with the summer and Christmas holidays for many travelers, coinciding with the idyllic weather conditions for ascending Mount Kilimanjaro.

Conversely, the rainy seasons tend to deter a large portion of climbers. In April, May, and November, the likelihood of trekking amid drizzling rain is considerably high. Rainfall softens the terrain, rendering rocks slippery and elevating the challenge and risk of your ascent. Nonetheless, these rainy interludes hold a particular allure for landscape photographers, especially those captivated by Tanzania’s unique beauty. The increased precipitation leads to more snow adorning the peak, offering the opportunity to capture Kilimanjaro’s snow-clad summit. Furthermore, it’s the sole period when you can evade the “peak-hour” rush on the routes, relishing the solitude of traversing virgin-snow-blanketed trails.

What Is the Ideal Time to Conquer Kilimanjaro?

April to May:

The “big” rainy season unfolds from late March to mid-May, coinciding with the onset of Tanzania’s chilliest period. These months see significantly fewer climbers compared to the rest of the year, but they come with a higher likelihood of trekking through rainfall.

June to July:

As June and July arrive, rain becomes less frequent. These months typically bless Kilimanjaro with dry, clear weather, although the nights remain chilly. June, in particular, tends to be quiet, sunny, and often underrated for climbing. Opting for a June expedition means benefiting from excellent weather and nearly exclusive access to your chosen routes. As the year progresses, climbing traffic increases, with July signaling the beginning of heightened route congestion.

August to September:

Peak climbing season unfolds from August to September, presenting ideal conditions for ascending Kilimanjaro. Days are generally clear and slightly warmer than in June or July. However, rain may persist in the forest and moorland zones and occasionally affect the southern routes like Machame and Umbwe. Once you leave the rainforest behind, expect sunny skies.

October: October,

Another somewhat overlooked season, boasts favorable weather conditions that extend into mid-October, accompanied by a significant drop in the number of climbers. This presents a unique opportunity to savor Kilimanjaro’s treks with relative solitude. Toward late October, weather patterns may become more variable, but equipped adventurers can easily handle occasional rain showers.

November: November

Signifies the “small” rainy season, which can linger into mid-December. Lower temperatures and mist enshroud the mountain, adding an element of challenge and excitement to your climb. While it may not offer the best weather, November does provide a chance to capture breathtaking images of a mist-shrouded Mount Kilimanjaro with its snow-capped peak.

December to January:

The period around Christmas and New Year’s marks the second busiest climbing season on Kilimanjaro, characterized by exceptionally high traffic. However, there’s also an increased likelihood of rain and thick clouds at lower altitudes on the mountain.

Mid-January to Mid-March:

This period is highly favored among climbers, offering a well-balanced climate – neither excessively cold nor overly wet. The days are generally dry, although occasional showers can occur. Rain chances increase in the latter half of March as the “big rains” season approaches.

Kilimanjaro Temperature Variations The temperature on Mount Kilimanjaro fluctuates in tandem with its four distinct climatic zones:

  1. The Rainforest Zone (800m-3,000m)
  2. is characterized by warmth and humidity. This lush, verdant region sees average temperatures of 12-15°C (20-25°C during the daytime) at around 2,900m. Typically, the initial one or two days of your ascent, depending on the chosen route, are spent in this zone

  1. The Low Alpine Zone (3,000m-4,200m)
  2. transforms into a semi-arid landscape as you ascend. Vegetation becomes progressively sparse. Depending on your route, you’ll spend approximately one or two days in this zone, where average temperatures range between 5-10°C (15-20°C during daylight hours) at around 3,600m.
  3. The High Alpine Zone (4,200m-5,000m)
  4. takes on a desert-like character. This is where you’ll spend your fourth and fifth days on the mountain, making final preparations for your summit attempt at these altitudes. Temperatures here hover near freezing at 5,000m. However, in the daytime, when the sun graces the landscape, it remains comfortably warm.
  5. The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, situated in the glacial zone (above 5,000m)
  6. Maintains an average temperature of around -6°C. It’s important to note that most summit attempts commence at midnight to reach Uhuru Peak by dawn. During this nighttime trek, temperatures can plummet to -20°C, and with biting winds, it may feel even colder, dipping below -40°C. Despite the challenging cold, enduring these conditions is wholly worthwhile, as it grants you the opportunity to witness one of the most stunning vistas in the world – the spectacle of the rising sun from the summit.

Additional Insights on Kilimanjaro’s Climate There are a few more considerations regarding Kilimanjaro’s weather that are worth mentioning.

You might opt to embark on your climb during less-than-ideal times, either to avoid the peak season rush or because it aligns with your holiday schedule. In such cases, you might want to explore the Northern Circuit Route or the Rongai Route. The northern side of the mountain boasts a notably drier climate compared to other Kilimanjaro routes. Additionally, if you desire the finest weather conditions while preferring a quieter experience, the same advice applies. Carefully select your route, as routes like Rongai, Lemosho, and the Northern Traverse tend to have less traffic than the popular and consistently busy Machame and Marangu routes.

At Moria Safaris, we firmly believe that you can relish Mount Kilimanjaro year-round. The key factor lies in your preparation. For instance, in September, a single set of thermal underwear, Gore-Tex membrane gaiters, and boots may suffice. Yet, just two months later, in November, you might want to bring along three sets of each to ensure you can comfortably continue your ascent if you happen to get thoroughly soaked. Irrespective of your chosen route and season, our team at Moria Safaris is dedicated to ensuring your Kilimanjaro journey becomes the adventure of a lifetime!