How much does a Kilimanjaro climb cost?
With prices ranging from $1,500–$7,000+, you can book a Kilimanjaro trek within your budget, but they’re not all created equal.
In today’s guide, we’ll discuss the real cost to climb Mount Kilimanjaro from low-budget outfitters to luxury trekking companies.
So let’s start by breaking down exactly what those online booking prices include (and fail to cover) first.
What the Cost to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Includes
According to our estimates, you literally cannot climb Mount Kilimanjaro for less than $1,200.
At a minimum of $160 USD per day, a five- or six-night hike could set you back $800 just in park entrance fees.
On top of this $800, trekking companies still need to provide:
- A fair living wage for their guides and porters
- Food and water for all hikers, porters, and guides
- Camp equipment, such as tents, restrooms, and cooking gear
What’s Not Included in Your Kilimanjaro Climb Cost
You’ll also need to consider what you’ll need to buy that’s not included in your booking costs, such as:
- Airfare from your home to Kilimanjaro International Airport
- Passports and visas you’ll need to enter the country
- Vaccinations, if you need them
- Extra hiking equipment
- Protective clothing and hiking boots
While cost should never be the first thing you check, it should be used as an indicator of the type of service, amenities, and experience to expect, as we’ll see next.
Kilimanjaro Climb Costs By Budget
We’ve broken down this section into three categories based on hikes for:
- Budget-conscious treks with Kilimanjaro climb costs under $2,500
- Middle-of-the-road spenders with Mount Kilimanjaro climbs between $2,500–$4,000
- Discerning trekkers spending $4,000+ on their Kilimanjaro trek
Let’s see where the difference in price comes from.
1. The Cost to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Thrifty Travelers
We’ll be honest: if budget is your main and/or only concern when preparing for your first Kilimanjaro hike, you may want to reconsider another vacation.
There are over 200 guide companies and many hundreds of subcontracting agencies competing for tourist dollars yet only a handful of them are actually registered/licensed companies in Tanzania. Most subcontract their Kilimanjaro climbs to local operators and give up full control of how their hikes are actually run just to provide low-cost tours.
That means you think you’re booking with a reputable company only to arrive and find out your trip has been passed off to a company you’ve never heard of or researched.
Here’s what you’ll typically pay for with a budget operator:
- Hit-or-miss standards. Subcontractors cannot guarantee the same high-quality safety standards you may be expecting.
- Non-experienced guides who freelance for different companies and work for little money. These guides are not guaranteed to speak English, do not have any medical certifications, or know anything about safe climbing. Safety should be your number one concern when booking a Kilimanjaro trip. Every year climbers, guides, and porters die climbing Kilimanjaro, so it’s important to take safety seriously.
- The shortest time on the mountain. Since each day hiking adds to your total trip cost, budget outfitters will want to spend as few days using their resources as possible. But this increases your chances of developing acute mountain sickness (AMS) and not reaching Uhuru Peak.
- More crowded routes are generally cheaper than Kilimanjaro climb routes with the best views or fewest hikers.
- Less-than-acceptable equipment. Hole in your tent at night? Good luck sleeping when you’re shivering and trying to keep the cold and rain out.
- Subpar food and meals. It’s harder for companies with lower budgets to buy and carry lots of fresh food up the mountain. What ends up happening is hikers eat pre-packaged, cold food instead of hot meals in a dining tent.
- Low success rates. With not enough time to acclimatize, shoddy equipment, bland food, and guides who don’t have the necessary skills to help you reach the top, it’s no wonder lower-priced tours result in low success rates.
What good is saving money if you don’t get to accomplish your goal of reaching the Kilimanjaro summit?
The average success rate for Kilimanjaro is only 60%, but you boost those odds when you choose a company with guides who care about your success, and you climb a longer route. And that comes at a higher price tag.
2. Middle-of-the-Road Mountaineering Costs
Spend between $2,500–$4,000 on your Kilimanjaro climb cost and you can expect:
- Better guides and porters, but not many of them. In order to keep the price affordable, these companies make hiking groups of 20+ people and only hire one or two guides because it costs them around $100–$150 per climber per day. While guides in this camp may speak a bit of English, they still may not have high altitude training or emergency evacuation experience. Porters may also be in short supply and forced to carry more than their legal limits to cut costs.
- Decent food and trained cooks who know proper food handling practices. This boosts your chances of avoiding traveler’s diarrhea — one of the worst experiences you can have while mountain trekking. Expect food costs to run anywhere from $20–$40 per climber per day. This also covers the food your guides, cooks, and porters will be eating too.
- Better gear and equipment, though not the best. Upgrading may ensure you don’t have holes in your tent. Tusker’s gear, which is the toughest, most durable on the planet, includes 4-season waterproof mountain tents, 2-inch comfortable air/foam mattresses, 4-season basecamp dining tents and chairs, a private toilet tent and waterproof duffle bags.
- Rentable equipment. With higher price points come more options for gear. Here at Tusker, we offer our climbers the option to rent:
- Wet weather clothing (i.e., rain jacket and pants)
- Layered cold weather clothing (i.e., down jacket and gloves)
- Mountain Hardwear “Lamina” – 30-degree sleeping bags
- Komperdell & Leki trekking poles (or similar)
- Outdoor Research Gore-Tex gaiters
Now it’s time to find out what the best Kilimanjaro hiking companies provide for the price.
3. Kilimanjaro Climb Costs for Discerning Trekkers
In addition to all the perks of an average-priced hike we discussed above, here’s what you should be looking for in an upgraded adventure:
- Extra time getting used to the altitude. Each day you spend climbing adds to the overall price of your adventure. So trips reaching this bracket are usually the longest and start at a minimum of 10 days but could go as long as 13 days. Longer hikes bring higher success rates – and Tusker’s are over 95%.
- Guides with 10+ years of experience and high altitude medical training. When guides are treated and paid fairly, they tend to stick around. Tusker’s highly skilled guides are in a league of their own. Well respected on Kilimanjaro, they exhibit rare leadership qualities that instill confidence in their climbers. All our guides have 10+ years of Kilimanjaro climbing experience — with one single company – Tusker Trail. They each complete a specialized high altitude medical course as well. This trains them to deal with the specific challenges of Kilimanjaro’s high altitude environment.
- More guides and porters per climb than any other company. You should have between two and six guides for a group of 12 hikers. If you’re climbing solo, a luxury company will give you your own personal guide. Tusker also includes 4–5 porters per climber. And they each can carry 30 lbs of food and gear comfortably and safely.
- Dining tents featuring gourmet adventure cuisine. At this price point, meals should strive for variety, taste, and the demanding nutritional needs of your Kilimanjaro trek. Tusker Trail partners with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to train all our chefs. We also work side-by-side with the CIA’s best to create our unique adventure cuisine menus. We sit down to our meals in roomy all-weather dining tents equipped with tables, comfortable folding chairs, and gas lamps for warmth and lighting.
- Fine accommodations before and after your hike. With Tusker, you’ll stay at one of our two family-run hotels in Moshi for three nights (two before your climb and one after your summit). It’s close to the center of town, the Moshi market, unique shopping, and delicious restaurants. And if you are forced to descend Kilimanjaro early, Tusker will provide one “extra” hotel night in Moshi free of charge.
- Shuttle service from the airport to your hotel and transfers to and from the park gates in 4×4 vehicles. Tusker combines all the perks of discerning travel with a great value that trickles down to its invaluable guides and porters.
- High altitude testing and monitoring to ensure you’re acclimatizing to the altitude safely. Twice a day a guide will check your vitals and monitor stats using stethoscopes and pulse oximeters.
Guides in this price range also carry:
- Rescue stretchers
- Portable altitude chamber
- Multiple oxygen tanks (to alleviate many minor altitude problems and stop them from developing into more serious emergencies)
Let’s talk our 2018/2019 prices now.
Tusker’s Kilimanjaro Climb Costs for 2018/2019 Trips
With over 42 years of Kilimanjaro climbing experience, the health and safety of all our climbers is our number one priority.
We’ve led thousands of climbers to the summit thanks to our combination of guide expertise, excellent gear, and superb cuisine.
How much does all that cost?
Here’s a breakdown of pricing for our 2018/2019 Kilimanjaro climb costs:
Kilimanjaro Climb Route Days of Trek Climb Cost
Machame 10 days $4,260
Lemosho 11 days $5,270
Lemosho 12 days $5,960
Kili 360 12 days $5,990
As you can see, the shortest trip – the Machame climb route – gives you 10 days on the mountain for less than $4,500. Take the longest Kilimanjaro hikes and you’ll spend just under $6,000.
So before you book your trek, learn how to tell if your Kilimanjaro climb cost is worth the price first. And, if you need help budgeting for the cost to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, check out these 17 budgeting tips from top travel bloggers next!