Kili Sunset, Knowing the cost to climb Kilimanjaro

You may be excited about knowing the cost to climb Kilimanjaro, but the truth is planning a trip to this amazing mountain is an exhilarating process.

Excitement, anxiety, fear and hope are the emotions that come to mind when you’re about to click the book now button for your next holiday.

If you’re just doing your trip to a new destination for the very first time, then fear may be dominating your thoughts. And this is even more evident when you do not know the cost you have to pay to book your safari.

The feeling isn’t much different when it comes to finding cost to climb mount Kilimanjaro.

So in this article, my goal is to put you at ease.

The factors I am about to share will ensure you’re remaining with more money in your own pocket. At the same time, these factors that determine the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro will help you to get the most out of your Trip.

I will never forget my very first trip to Africa back in 2008. I was this internet guy in our family and my father handed me the task to research the best safari destination, agency & cost for the family safari holiday.

My task seemed simple enough, research the best destination, tour agent and the cost per person. Among these three tasks, I ended up getting one right, the holiday destination which I chose Tanzania.

but as one could expect, I also picked the operator who pitched the smallest cost to climb Kilimanjaro and other safari trips we had selected as a family.

As a result,

  • The trip was far from inspiring
  • We were not equipped with all the important facilities for a safari e.g. Binoculars
  • We were not taken into all the agreed trips.

Over the next two years, I went on to share my experience with a college mate who had one of the best Tanzania safari experience. In our conversation, I learnt one thing.

Looking for the cheapest price isn’t always the best idea, especially when you don’t know the people you’re dealing with.

In other words, the company we chose, (I actually I chose, not we since my family had zero engagement during the process) charged us the lowest price that themselves found it hard to deliver the perfect service.

The reason I bring up that embarrassing example is because you need to be aware of the power of understanding safari costs.

When researched and got properly, the single area of pricing can determine the extent of the enjoyment in your safari. This means knowing the Kilimanjaro climb cost is absolutely a crucial thing you need before planning your Tanzania safari holiday.

To be honest, one of the most important things I learned on my journey to planning a safari in Tanzania is that every successful safari-maker knows how to determine the cost of the safari package they’re going to select.

Now, without further ado, let’s get down to it.

Tie on your Tanzania safari apron, grab a pen to write down the key important factors for determining Kilimanjaro climb cost.

But before we start our journey, what a heck is Kilimanjaro by the way?

Kilimanjaro Mountain

Standing 5,895 meters above the sea level, this is the highest peak in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Everest Mountains, the highest in the world do not stand alone, they are in ranges. In comparison, Kilimanjaro stands magnificently on its own.

Kilimanjaro which is the highest volcano outside America is the dormant volcanic mountain with three cones of Kibo (the highest peak), Mawenzi and Shira. An adventure to Mount Kilimanjaro is surely among the best experiences one could dream of in Africa.

Ancestors Baptize Kilimanjaro

Ancestors in Kilimanjaro region narrates that the name comes from a Chaga word (Chaga are Kilimanjaro region dwellers) ‘Kilemakyaro’ which means an impossible journey. It is then understood that the early visitors to the region failed to pronounce the name and ended up calling it Kilimanjaro.

On Kilimanjaro two Main Peaks

Kibo which is the highest peak is also derived from a Chaga word ‘kipoo’ which means a ‘snow’ while Mawenzi  is from the word ‘kimawenzi’  used by Chagas to mean ‘having a broken top or summit’.

Getting to Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Mountain which has also a UNESCO World Heritage listing to its name is located about 300 kilometres south of the Equator just near the city of Moshi.

Kilimanjaro international airport is about 51km away from the mountain and there are good all-weather roads from the airport to Kilimanjaro national park authorities where all journeys to climbing start.

You can also reach Kilimanjaro by first landing to the country’s biggest city of Dar es Salaam, there you may choose for flight to Kilimanjaro or 10hr bus journey.

Kilimanjaro climb cost

As I am now about to tell you the Kilimanjaro climb cost, you have to promise me that we’re all clear in the following;

  • First, there is no fixed Kilimanjaro climb cost
  • Second, climbers differ in their preferences
  • Third, people use different routes to climb Kilimanjaro.

So how do we determine the cost?

Keep calm and relax. Then follow along as I walk you through the process to determining the best Kilimanjaro climb cost that will serve you money while giving you super satisfaction.

If you’re pressed with time, here are the key takeaways on the factors determine Kilimanjaro climb cost.

  • The route used
  • Number of climbing days
  • Number of visitors
  • Equipment you have
  • The company/operator/agent used.

 1. The route used

Now, before I get you bombarded with Kilimanjaro climbing routes, at the moment I want you to know that there are official 8 routes in Kilimanjaro Mountain.

However, only 7 of them routes are used for climbing and the remaining one route is for descending only.

You might be asking yourself ‘why so many routes while at the end of the day the aim is to reach the summit?

You’re right, and I fully understand your concern here. Nonetheless, the routes are not similar!

Not similar in terms of;

  • Cost
  • Difficulty level
  • Scenery richness
  • Success rates
  • Traffic
  • And of course, length in time and distance

So as you have seen in the sneaky preview above, the route is influential in determining the cost to climb Kilimanjaro.

In whatever way, availability of all these routes have the aim of solving over-crowding during ascending and descending, as well as giving trekkers the different experience as they(routes) all offer differing experiences.

Let’s now dive deep into the routes, shall we?

The Marangu Route

This route has the reputation of being the easiest route but I promise you, it isn’t!

Marangu is of course among the oldest and popular routes for climbing Kilimanjaro

About 40% of all trekkers use Marangu route.

As a result of the easiest route brand, the success rate is very low, about 30-35% of trekkers make it to the top in this route.

The route has its aka as well, the Coca-Cola route.  The route was baptized Coca-Cola after staffs in the accommodation huts used to sell Coca-Cola and other soft drinks to the thirsty trekkers.

Did I mention the accommodation huts above? Well, it’s the only route with accommodation huts, the other routes use tents as a means of accommodation.

Minimum days to climb in this route are 5, however I would recommend 6 days for better acclimatization.

It might be less scenic compared to other routes but I will tell you one thing, as someone who has personally used the route…there are a lot to see from colobus monkeys to breathtaking landforms like the small Mahundi crater.

The most crowded route as it uses the same path for climbing and descending. Also, this is one of the reason for the route to be considered less scenic.

Marangu isn’t short in aka(s), being the only route that uses huts for accommodation, it is named the touristy route

It also is the route with best trekking trails

Since it requires fewer days and no costs for paying extra potters to carry camping facilities, Marangu has less Kilimanjaro climbing costs as compared to the other routes.

The Machame Route

This is the most popular route I’d say

It is estimated that about 45% of all trekkers use Machame route

The route has one of the excellent sceneries. It gives you the chance to sing the beauty of Shira plateau, Barranco wall, and Lava plateau just to name a few.

Unlike two aka(s) for Marangu, Machame has got only one which is Whisky route. This is actually due to its difficulty compared to the ‘easy Coca-Cola route

No huts here my friend, Machame uses tents as the means of accommodation.

The route has high traffic, however the reason isn’t as in Marangu route which uses the same ascending & descending route. The reason is, climbers from other routes of Lemosho, Shira and Umbwe do often meet in this route.

The success rate is not low here. In fact, the route boost about 60% success rate.

Machame requires a minimum of 6 days but take it from me, don’t do six….7 days will do you a favour as it will give you an extra acclimatization day.

Trails in Machame are often steeper. Now most of you are probably not going to like this, but I promise you, the experience in climbing around the Barranco wall where you are going to need to use hands to support you is a lifetime adventure

Now when it comes to Kilimanjaro climb cost, Machame is a bit expensive than Marangu due to the factor that you are going to need an extra day as well as the extra porters to carry you some camping equipment

The Lemosho Route

Talk about the beautiful route

Lemosho attacks Kilimanjaro Mountain from West and joins Machame route later

It is estimated that Lemosho route is used by about 8% of all Kilimanjaro trekkers

Lemosho requires at least 7 days to trek but I would advice 8 days.

If you’re looking to get as best acclimatization as possible, then this route might just be your match

One of the traits I like about this route is that there is a possibility to see wildlife in Lemosho, you already know I am the wildlife lover by the way!

The route is scenic. It also has the longest distance to cover in the rainforest to make it even beautiful.

Descending is down to Mweka route, the route used for the descending only.

As you may already have anticipated, this is among expensive routes as it takes many days. A number of days is very crucial in calculating the Kilimanjaro climb cost.

The Rongai Route

With low traffic, Rongai approaches Kilimanjaro Mountain from Northern parts, near the Kenyan border.

I like to call it Marangu’s twin sister. These two routes look similar

As if their similarities weren’t enough, descending in this route is down to Marangu. This gives you a very unique opportunity to view the mountain from both sides, isn’t that beautiful?

It requires a minimum of 6 days but I would recommend 7 days if you need a chance to reach the summit of this highest mountain in Africa.

This is that route which gives you the true feeling of African wilderness as it as remote as un-spoilt rain forest

You may be lucky to see wildlife in the first days making the route even scenic

This route can be used in the wetter seasons of the year as it is probably the drier route in the mountain.

Difficulty rate in Rongai is the medium I would say, as a result, the success rate isn’t poor either

Now when it comes to our most important area which is determining Kilimanjaro climb cost, I would say this route isn’t cheap my friend, with the number of days, it is also far from town so the transport costs chip in.

The Shira Route

This is among the difficulty routes which approaches the Mountain from the West

The route is unique, ask me why? Well the first part is rather driven, not hiked!

The minimum required days are 6 but if you were to ask me, I would advise you to do it in 7 days

Shira route doesn’t give the highest acclimatization unfortunately

Descending is down to Mweka making it among the scenic routes added to the fact that it crosses the Shira Plateau

The route has low traffic in most part until it joins Machame route.

The success rate is brilliant here. Since trekkers know the difficulty of this route, enough preparation is always considered. Also, few operators give packages to this route and they are those advanced ones hence better guiding.

As I have mentioned before, the route uses driving in its first climbing part. So in finding out Kilimanjaro climb cost, you must as well consider added travel costs.

The Umbwe Route

Talk about the most difficult route

In fact, the route is steep and very straight climb to the top.

If you’re looking for the pure adventure then Umbwe might well be a heavenly match for you.

Acclimatization isn’t the best in this less crowded route

Although it requires 6 days minimum, I would recommend 7 instead.

Descending is down to Mweka making it scenic rewarding

The Kilimanjaro climb cost in this route isn’t much higher, but it is slightly above the cost of someone using the Marangu route.

The Northern Route

This is the newest route to the Mountain

In fact, it is the only route that visits the Northern slopes of the Kilimanjaro Mountain

It is as well the longest route when it comes to time and distance and of course, Northern route isn’t the easiest.

The Northern route offers best acclimatization hence the highest success rate.

While descent is down to Mweka, the route requires a minimum of 9 days to trek

With so many trekking days, Northern route is the most expensive when it comes to Kilimanjaro climb cost

As you may have noticed, climbing routes go in hand with the number of days to be trekked. Actually the route determines how many days you are going to need in your Kilimanjaro safari. It is then wise to conclude that both routes and number of days are vital in determining Kilimanjaro climb cost.

2. Number of days

Until now, I like to believe that you have already seen the way climbing days can be influential in calculating Kilimanjaro climb cost. The number of days you stay in the mountain the more you pay as you are going to pay daily park fees as well as accommodation (camping or huts) fees, not to mention porters & guides costs.

3. Number of visitors

In most tours, costs are usually shared between the group, meaning that the more the group the fewer costs per individuals. In Mountain climbing number of visitors is also an important factor in determining Kilimanjaro climb cost.

In the Shira route for example which covers the first part in the drive, the jeep costs can be shared.  

4. Equipment availability

To climb Mount Kilimanjaro you’re going to need some equipment. Don’t scratch your head too much trying to figure out which are they, I will have them listed for you within no time.

But this is how equipment availability affects Kilimanjaro climb cost.

You are going to need to hire trekking equipment, but how if you already have some? Well, here is where the costs get smaller than for a trekker who would have to hire almost every equipment.

As I promised, here is the table full of equipment you would need to climb Kilimanjaro Mountain

5. Trekking company used

We all agree that experience and skills are invaluable when it comes to taking you to the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

The company you’re going to use is very important in determining your satisfaction in this lifetime adventure, again it will also be crucial in determining Kilimanjaro climb cost.

The less advanced and inexperienced companies tend to charge smaller amounts, ending up to deliver uninspiring experiences.

However, it is important you choose an experienced company that has great past customers’ reviews.


NOTE: The prices above are only estimated to give you the general idea

Planning for a Kilimanjaro safari is sometimes challenging for even operators, let alone travellers.

And when it comes to cost things doesn’t get much easier.

It is important that you find the credible experienced operator who won’t charge you the smallest amount that will be a recipe for your failure to reach the summit.

If you need any assistance about planning your next adventure to Kilimanjaro, get in touch with us and our specialist will customize the best itinerary. You will just have to choose your favourite route and we can do the rest.