Africa’s highest peak (5895m) and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, climbing ‘Kili’ is a huge highlight of any trip to East Africa. I’m going to dispel a few of the myths about the costs involved and give you all the lo-down on how much it costs to climb Kili on a tight budget.
I guess everyone here wants to climb Kilimanjaro on a budget so let’s get down to business:
How much does it cost to climb Kilimanjaro? Around $1000 USD.
That’s the answer folks, ignore all other websites touting their businesses complete with flights, visas etc. It costs about $1000 USD end of story. Naturally, if you want to pay more your tent will be higher quality, the food a bit nicer but it’s all unnecessary to be honest, the $1000 will get you to the top just fine.
The cheapest way to climb Kilimanjaro is as follows:
Don’t arrange anything before hand. I’ll repeat that guys, do no arrange anything before you arrive in Moshi. Do it all when you get here – that is the easiest and cheapest way to arrange it. You could arrive on at 10pm in the evening and still have time to organize it and set off the next day so have faith!
1) Get to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. I arrived by land from Malawi but many international airlines fly here.
2) Take a bus from Ubungu bus station, Dar Es Salaam to Moshi. The bus costs around $5-$10 depending on the bus quality and take 8-10 hours.
3) Arrive in Moshi around 4pm. Find your accommodation (I recommend the A&A guesthouse, $5 private bathroom, views of the mountain – cracking!) and check in.
4) Ignore all the touts hustling you for their business and walk directly into one of the (literally) hundreds of tour operators who offer climbs.
At this junction let me explain the routes. There are 6 different routes you can take but realistically everyone takes one of two, the Machame route or the most popular Coca-Cola (Marangu) route. The Coca-Cola route is the easiest route in terms of physical exertion but the Machame route actually has a higher success rate mostly due to the fact that it takes an extra day so you get a further days acclimitastion. The Machame route offers much better scenery too and I would definitely recommend taking it.
5) Explain you want to do the Machame (or Coca-Cola depending on your choice) route. The standard Machame route is 4 nights/5 days. This costs $850 for 5 days. If you want an additional day to acclimatise on the mountain (recommended) then it costs about $1000. Normally you pay the park fees on the 1st day of the ascent to the park officials, whereas you pay your tour operator their fee for equipment (normally included), food, tents etc
6) Aside from the obligatory tips, this is all you have to pay. It includes porters (compulsory – normally 3 per climber, crazy I know!!), chefs (!?), tents, breakfast lunch and dinner each day, water, equipment, park fees, transport – everything!
7) Ideally, you shouldn’t climb the next day because Moshi itself is around 800m up so an extra day there to acclimatise only increases your chances of success further
8) The following morning, you’ll be picked up and off you go! Tip the porters and chef etc about 5 – 10% of your fee, they very much expect it.
9) Climb to the top and brag to all your friends for the rest of your life
So that’s it guys, you now know how much it costs to climb Kilimanjaro! It costs around $1000 and it’s impossible to get it for less than $850 due to park fees, compulsory porters and guides etc. Just remember, don’t organise it online, come to Moshi and sort it out here. Happy travels! Any other questions just email me on johnny ‘at’ onestep4ward.com
Climbing mountains around the world is a cool way to travel, so if it’s your thing make sure you check out my posts on climbing Mount Kinabalu (Borneo’s highest mountain), and the trek to Mount Everest base camp.