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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.

how much does it cost to climb kilimanjaro

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.

kilimanjaro,   tanzania

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 kilimanjaro for cheap
Me at the top, sporting Northern Ireland’s flag

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.

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66 thoughts on “How much Does It Cost To Climb Kilimanjaro

  1. Pingback: Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp – Nepal | One Step 4Ward
  2. Pingback: How Much Does it Cost to Go From Cape Town to Cairo? | One Step 4Ward
  3. respected sir
    i am impreesice . i am ready for exepidition with u team . before this i have summit mount everest , mount elburs and many different peaks. now i am instred for kiliomanjro exepidition . sir ple send me my temparey confirmantion seat letter on my email address immegatly . i need temperey confirmnation seat leeter for departement noc. i am working in forest deptrement so ineed noc for this exepidition .
    with regards
    sanjay kodain
    block forest officer
    haryana ( india)

  4. Woh It seems to have lots of people to joining for climbing Kilimanjaro, i love to climb as well but not this year may be next year, I used to have group from Russia, so please code me price details for 5above pax with service details.

  5. Hi Johnny, thank you for your write up. I’m planning to do a unplanned trip later next month, and with all the Google results pointing me towards $2,000~$4,000 per trip, I just thought it will be impossible. But $1,000+ is certainly manageable! But like MG mentioned, there is a chance for substandard climb. How do you determine/judge from the hundreds of guides that you run into, who you want to pick as your guide?

    Thanks! 🙂

  6. Hey Johnny,
    To be honest $1000 does not sound like to bad od a price to pay to make this epic climb! I bet it was worth it when you felt like the king of the world up there 🙂

  7. We are a group of 7 members are interested to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro during September 2013. Please quote the tariff and terms and condition of booking.

    DC Thakur

    1. Hi Thakur,

      Please Send me an email at wixit at yahoo dot com. I am also planning for the climb. Lets see if we can coordinate our efforts,

      Thanks

  8. Consider this: Everest the Earth’s highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 metres costs $40,000 to $110,000 to climb!!!

    While kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres or 19,341 feet above sea level (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak). cost as low as $1000 to scale to the top.

    The Irony: While Kilimanjaro Is NO Everest it costs $40,000 to $110,000 per person for a guided climbing expedition to the top of Everest!!! that’s if you survive the the attempt for the experience to be worth while. Go figure!

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/05/22/f-mount-everest-cost.html
    Kai.

    1. Thanks for all the info! I booked a climb for $1300 (prior to reading this) We leave Wednesday and fly into Tanzania, however, now that the company has received the money, the email replies are far and few between, or non existing…. how do I know the company is legit and they didn’t Take me?

  9. We have a project in Kilimanjaro region on a plain facing Marangu, the point where climbers or trekkers use. We have, this year, water drilled, a lot of it. If you have anyone who want cheap place to stay while stopping to climb and return from the Kili, we are thinking of having a camping site area, that will cut down your hotel bills and help us with our orphanage funds. It is a beautiful spot. We have 18 acres of land so you can be far away from the orphans. If this is viable, then we can prepare a place for this http://www.nyotastar.ort.

  10. Hi,

    Can you please tell me which of the following are mandatory to take with you:
    – porters
    – guide
    – cooker

    What should be their minimum number for a group of 6 people. We would like to take none of these if possible.

    Also, can you please tell me what kind of vaccines a person should do prior to this travel ? Is it safe to drink water without boiling from the mountain or it may lead to hepatitis/tifoid?

    Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the great information – you just put a worried mother’s mind to rest! My daughter is PC volunteer in Mozambique and she booked her Kili climb just as you suggested. When she told me how much she paid I began to worry that she might have booked with a substandard operator at $850, but now I feel a bit better. She leaves tomorrow so now I’ll just cross my fingers until I hear from her again!

    1. sorry, i am trying to comment on “Jan in Sodak’s” post directly, but it wont work.. i was just wondering if i could speak to her daughter about which agency she went through?

  12. HI Johnny,

    Thanks so much for your post, it was a great help for me and my hubby looking into doing this climb. We are doing a big honeymoon trip around the world, so low budget is importune to us, but it is also importune to us that the people who work for the companies get treated well, so ended up spending quite a bit of time looking into a bit more info. Not easy to find info, but hear is what I found out from google search.

    US$ 580-680 National Park fee for around 6-7 days (or government)
    http://www.mtkilimanjarologue.com/planning/prices/kilimanjaro-park-fees.html
    US$ 45 a day for porters, cooks and guide
    http://www.tanzaniaparks.com/regulations_and_park_fees.html

    On top of that is transport to and from start/end point of the climb + 3 meals a day for 5-7 days, tent gear, not super expensive.

    Maybe hotel before and after.

    And then the company has to make some money as well.

    But when I break down the most common price from the internet pre-booked trips I’m so choked, $250+ a day, that is just crazy.
    I know they have an amazing Mountain there, and it is a poor country that should make money on tourist.

    But I can’t help to compare a bit.
    We just got back from Peru (a country a bit more rich that Tanzania) we did 5 days/4 night trek, incl. Machu Picchu, all transport, guide, porters + horsemen + horses, food (really nice) , tent, sleeping pad. We paid $350, a bit more then the rest of our group $290. We booked in town.

    Thanks for your help Johnny.

    Diana

  13. The $1000 price tag, while possible, is not really a good standard to use. As you noted park fees make up most of the cost, $710. Realistically to have only $290 go to food, equipment, salaries, etc. is way too low. Here is a estimate of expenses for a climb. http://www.ultimatekilimanjaro.com/cost.htm

    Just because people are desperate does not mean you should take advantage of them. Taking the minimum porters and food and equipment means that the entire crew also suffers with heavy loads, poor nutrition and poor shelter. No one likes paying for things, me included, but just think about the effects of underfunding a trip.

    1. to be honest, i didn’t feel like that at all. We tipped the guides and porters more than normal and took minimal stuff. We carried a lot of our own stuff AND paying more is more likely going to increase the companies profit margins as opposed to filtering down to the sherpas/guides.

      1. Nearly 17 years ago June 21st around 7AM, I reached Africa’s roof top. What an amazing experience! Five days with wonderful care from the guides, for a grand total of $400 ! I hope today’s costs offers more $ to those hard working guys. The company we used was arrange one day and we left the next. Three and a half days (including a day to help acclimate ourselves) to the top and 1&1/2 days to return. If you can do it for $1000.00, great, remember to tip well. Happy trails.

  14. hi dear
    i will go there for climing klimanjaro and vizit natural park i am head leader and i will get there about 40 people in 13 feb for 12 days 100 person go to ( klimajaro – zangbar and safari ) and 30 person go to klimanjaro – ouganda – and darolsalam city . please help us and give us a great tips . please ansrwe me very soon im waiting for u .
    the best wishes

  15. Hello Johnny!

    I want to go on a safari and climb the kilimanjaro on january, the only problem is that I am travelling solo. Is it feasible to find a group in one day? Where is it a better place to look, Moshi or Arusha?
    I’ve been calling many travel agencies in tanzania and they offer me a price around 1000USD, which is OK, but this is based on a 2 people group and there is no way I find any which organizes groups or such…

    Thank you!

    1. i’m pretty sure if u turn up, they’ll do it for you for $1k mate – it’s a standard ‘lowest price available’, normally regardless of group size. Let me know how you get on =)

  16. Hey Johnny,

    We`re planning my husband and I to visit Tanzania next Feb, this will be our first time to Africa. I was going to book the safaris, Kili trek and even a diving trip through the internet cause this is the way we do it everytime we travel,then i read what you wrote here and changed my mind, thank you so much for sharing.I have few questions if you get time please: iam a little overwhelmed by the number of national parks in Tanzania and cannot make up my mind which safari is the best, we`re thinking to pick 2, perhaps Serengeti and Ngorongoro? which route to choose for Kili given that this will be our first mountain trek? which island is the best for diving Pemba or Mafia or somewhere else?
    I appreciate your help. Thank you.

    1. hey Faty,

      If you choose two then the Serengeti and Ngorongoro are DEFINITELY the best choices =) For Kili I’d say the Coca-Cola route is the easiest but also the most crowded so either that or the macheme route. Forget the rest. For diving, Pemba is the most recognised spot but anywhere is going to be beautiful on the coast =)

  17. Hi Johnny,

    I’m interested as to how you came up with the total of 1000USD for the climb.. as the park fees + camping fees alone cost 710USD, and this is not including the salary paid for mountain guides, porters, and the meals.. While it’s understood that the wages in Tanzania is relatively lower than what we’re used to, I think some local companies will give a super cheap quote (e.g. 1000USD) and pay their staff close to nothing.. Just something to keep in mind, I guess.

    oh, and it’d also be helpful if you could provide a cost breakdown?

    Thanks,

    Lucia

    1. Couldn’t agree more with you Luca.

      I’m the Frank who asked questions about Kilimanjaro back November 30th, 2010. We ended up booking our trip through a local company and paid around $1400 each for the Lemosho route. We loved every second of our trip and would love to go back.

      Everyone needs to understand that yes, it is possible to climb Kili for $1000 but at who’s expense? The porters, guides and cooks. Our company provided tents, good food, safe equipment and a dcent wage. All things that are impossible to provide to your team if you charge $1000.

      You you can spot the porters that aren’t paid well enough every night as they sleep in tents with holes, carry 40lbs on their shoulders wearing flip flops and are served a fist full of rice.

      Again, you can climb kili for $1000 but understand that you are promoting slavery. While planning your trip, try to understand how the funds are being allocated by asking questions to your tour operator. Check out the Porters of Kilimanjaro video I’ve copy pasted to this message to get a true feel of the impact you could have by making an informed choice.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-lpXf-UlP4.

      Cheers,
      Frank (Canada)

      1. hey Lu and Frank,

        $1000 was the maximum I could afford that time. I individually negotiated with the local company, cut out all unnecessary expenses (we were pretty much eating rice and boiled vegetables the whole time!), filling water up in streams etc Also, we demanded that we take the absolute minimum amount of guides and porters allowed by the national park.

        Also, to be perfectly honest – i would rather pay less and not receive “good food and safe equipment”. This is a hike, not a mountain climb, i spent 90% of my time in my adidas trainers and cargo shorts! A half decent sleeping bag and a good spot at base camp on the last night is all we really needed.

        I guess, if fees are $700 and I paid $1000 +tips, that’s $300 surplus right – that was 3 climbers (me and 2 friends) with 5 employed staff to come with us. That’s $900 for 5 people – nearly $200 each for 5 days work. English teachers in Thailand earn considerably less than that (although admittedly they don’t have to walk up a mountain for it). Also, you may pay $1400 but how many staff did u employ for that? How much had to go for your higher quality food and equipment? The per capita income for the porters may well have been less on your trek than my bargain basement trek, considering i forewent all luxuries imaginable and took a minimum sized team. Just a thought

        Lu, i don’t have a break down i’m afraid :S

  18. I was wondering if it is necessary to bring a tent, sleeping bag, and other gear to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or if it is possible to rent out that kind of gear when you get there. I dont want to bring a bunch of bulky things with me if I can avoid it. Is there anything for rent near the base of the mountain or should I just bring everything I need?

    1. the trek organiser will give (or rent) you everything you need mate, i wouldn’t bring anything to be honest.

  19. The only thing I would be wary of when booking when you reach moshi, as opposed to booking online is that the availability of some of the routes could be limited; as an example Marangu route!

    If it’s a risk you dont mind taking then by all means you can bargain alot more when in person :)!

    1. considering you run a company selling overpriced tours I think we’ll take your opinion with a pinch of salt 😛

  20. Great article. I hear it’s pretty cold at the summit, but maybe it depends what month you go. I’m wondering what kind of jacket/sweater, etc I’ll need for this climb if I’ll be in the middle of a 6 month trip (on foot) with just the one bag on my back. Did you have warm clothes with you already or did you have to buy some once you got to Moshi?

    1. hey susie, yeah seriously cold! i think it was -20 when i was there :S

      You’re organiser will (should) give you everything you need so don’t worry about that, i only had shorts and flip-flops initially so if i can do it, so can u 😛

  21. Hey,
    Do you recommend a book or a website that can inform us on where to go when we get there to book these adventures? How did you find the safari… some people say it gets boring towards the end? We’re thinking of going to Zanzibar also.. any suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Marie

    1. Hi Marie. Noooo, don’t use any websites!!!! go to Moshi and book Kili through somewhere there. For safari in Tanzania, sort it out in Dar Es Salaam (or Moshi). It will be so much cheaper, i know it’s scary to go with nothing booked but trust me, it’s so easy, you can arrange it in about 20 mins and go the next day.

      Safaris are great, I’ve done 3 now. I did one in the Masai Mara, Serengetti Border and lake Nakuru in Kenya recently for 4 says i think. That’s more than enough time, I wouldn’t personally want to do one longer than that but it’s such a real experience.

      Zanzibar is fun to kick back, relax, swim with dolphins and escape Sub-Saharan Africa for a week or so 😛 a very different place indeed. Beautiful though! Have fun and if you need any help just drop me a line 🙂

      johnny

  22. Hi Johnny, first off thanks for all the info. My girlfriend and I are planning on doing Mount Kili this coming Febuary. We were going to book our entire trip through Gap but after reading this I will strongly suggest to my girlfriend that we waiting until our arrival before booking. Do you recommend doing the same for Zanzibar and the safari?
    Thanks for saving me a pile a dough mate.
    Cheers,
    Frank

    1. hey mate,

      no probs 🙂 Yeah definitely do the same for the safari, i went on a 4 day safari for about $300 then when we arrived it turned out people had paid $700+ for exactly the same thing! I know it seems scary going without anything booked but i promise u, it’s soooo easy to arrange everything when ur there and is less than half the price!

      good luck mate and keep me posted,

      johnny

      1. Good tips mate. You are doing a great job helping us.I am really relying on your suggestions. I live in Oz and plan to go on 28th May to Kilimanjaro.You like to do a few trips with me? say Base Camp Everest,etc.

        1. hey ox, i’d love to get to nepal again unfortunately flights this late are quite expensive so i’ll have to take a rain check :s i’d love a crack at Annapurna base camp, it’s supposed to be even more beautiful than Everest!

          1. yea man. I did Base camp and had to pull back about 500 meters from it bcos of altitude sickness and asherpa who couldnt speak English. I know you said you did BC. Everyone talks about Everest only bcos it is the highest in the world. You will agree that there are so many other peaks around which look more beautiful than Everest. keep well mate. Hey, I am a malaysian living in Oz. Glad to hear you enjoyed KL, the grand prix – and I hope you visited all the pubs in Bangsar and Hartamas!! the new place now is Changkat Bintang

  23. hey! this is great news. Im hoping to hike (c) march 13th. the costs i was finding online were, i felt, WAY too much! johnny, do you recall what company you went with? and is that 1000 including park fees just minus the tips for the guides right? very exciting

    1. hey liana, yeah the $1k is everything apart from the tips (which should be about $100 person). I went with an awesome company called gladys adventure, under the A&A hotel, she’s a cool chick =)

      Remember, just organise everything when ur there – it’s so easy to sort out!

      good luck and keep me posted,

      johnny

      1. thanks for all that, I keep forgetting to ask this one question. You are qouting everything in US dollars. why? is it because its universal or because that is the currancy they use outside of there own? and so, do i need to be exchanging my money for Us dollars? thanks

        1. Sorry, i use USD because ppl generally understand the value of the dollar (as opposed to Tanzanian shillings!).

          Don’t worry about cash, just use ur ATM when u get there – they’re everywhere 🙂

      2. Hey Johnny, Ox from Oz here. Since you say stay a day to acclamatize, would it be better to do the 4 day safari first before the climb or vice versa so that you can relax before I head back? Thanks again mate. You are doing a great job! Anytime, anyone comes to Oz, let me know. I live in Melbourne.

        1. are you talking about the ngorongoro safari Ox? I think that stretches as high as 2000m so it’s a great idea to do the safari first, that’ll definitely increase your chances of summating killi a few days later 🙂 remember to pick up some diamox pills for the altitude too, they really helped me

          1. can you do the Ngorongoro, Serengetti and masai mara in 4 days mate? i am arriving at 9am in Kili A’port. Dont want to waste that day. What time do the safaris or kili climb usually start.

  24. Great tips. I don’t know when I’ll get to climbing this, but it is on my list of things to do. I’ll probably do a mountain closer to where I am first just for practice.

    1. hey steve,

      i’m sure you’ll get your chance. Altho it can be done relatively cheaply, getting here is a big cost too so i waited until I was traveling in Africa and then threw all my cash at it then to avoid having to fly here on top of the $1000 fees. Good luck mate

  25. excellent tips mate. nice photos too. did you have any problems with your camera or is it those weatherproof ones?

    1. no probs really but the camera is waterproof. The water bottle was leaking at the summit and before the drips hit the ground they had turned to icicles so it’s was pretty cold! i didn’t hear of any problems for anyones cam tho

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