Marangu Route 5 days:
The Marangu Route is also known as the “Tourist Route” and the “Coca-Cola Route.” This is because Marangu is the most popular route on the mountain, and thus is considered “touristy”, and because the route is the only one that offers sleeping huts. Marangu is the easiest route on Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s ascension profile is very gradual and steady, allowing for painless trekking for most of the way. However, due to its reputation as an easy route, Marangu is often selected by unprepared, unexperienced climbers. Correspondingly, only about 45% of the people actually make it to the Uhuru Peak. The trek begins in the south-east area of the mountain at Marangu Gate.
The route takes five days minimum to complete, although six days is more practical and recommended. The sleeping huts along the route are structures with a dining hall and bunk beds, equipped with mattresses and pillows. The descent is done on the same path, contributing to Marangu’s overcrowded feeling. It is a cheaper climb as well, do to the close proximity of the gate to Moshi, the gateway town, and because it is a shorter route.
Scenically, Marangu is not a desirable route compared to all the other routes because it confines climbers to one area of the mountain, thus limiting the variety. However, Marangu has the best trail in the rainforest section of the trek. Of course, there are still great views of the Mawenzi and it’s equally spectacular for everyone at Uruhu. Marangu is ideal for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths. It’s also attractive for those who do not want to sleep in a tent. Marangu’s huts offer shelter and warmth against the weather so it is a decent choice when climbing during the rainy season. Marangu is for those who want to spend less on their climb, and do not mind crowds. Read more
Machame Route 6 days:
The Machame Route is known as the “Whiskey Route” in comparison to Marangu’s “Coca Cola Route”. This is because Machame is a more difficult route, and does not have sleeping huts for accommodation. Machame is the second most popular route on the mountain.
The trek begins in the south-west area of the mountain at Machame Gate. The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Because of the ascent in the west and descent down the north, Machame offers great vistas of Kilimanjaro. Additionally, Machame visits stunning places such as Shira Plateau, Barranco, and Lava Tower. Machame is ideal for those who want a more difficult climb, and are confident in their ability to hike over extended periods of time on sometimes steep terrain. Climbers using Machame place a premium of varied scenery, but also accept heavy traffic. Read more
Lemosho Route 7 days:
The Lemosho Route is a newer route on Mount Kilimanjaro that approaches from the west. It is a difficult and long route, but one that is favored by most reputable Kilimanjaro outfitters due to its smaller crowds, scenic variety and high success rates. A vehicle is used to bring climbers to the gate, where the trail begins in the rainforest. Lemosho trekkers have a longer distance to cover in the rainforest ecosystem than other routes, and as a result climbers do not exit the rainforest until the end of day two. This schedule means that the Lemosho Route is a longer route, usually taking seven to eight days to complete.Though considered a difficult route, the added days on the lower slopes of the mountain make this the best route for altitude acclimatization.
The descent is down Mweka, in the south-east. Because the starting point is far from Moshi, it is more expensive to climb this route due to the added transportation cost of getting climbers to the gate. Scenically, Lemosho is considered the most varied and most beautiful because it begins in the rainforest, crosses the spectacular Shira Plateau, and then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit. Lemosho has low crowds until it combines with Machame. Lemosho is ideal for those who place a premium on proper altitude acclimatization, who are confident in their ability to walk over steeper paths for extended periods, and want a lesser used route. However, Lemosho is also more expensive than the other routes. Read more
Umbwe Route 6 days:
The Umbwe Route is the least used, least crowded route on the mountain. For good reason, it is also the most difficult route on the mountain. Umbwe is a steep, constant, straight climb to Uhuru Peak. Umbwe is mostly avoided because the ascent profile does not give climbers much time to adjust to the altitude. The success rate is very low. The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Umbwe is not as scenically varied as Machame, Lemosho and Shira, because the path up and down are nearby. The Umbwe is ideal for those who want a challenging climb, and are very confident in their ability trek over consistently steep slopes. Also, Umbwe is for those who are experienced at altitude and thus are confident that the punishing schedule of Umbwe will not impede their ability to adjust to altitude. Umbwe is also for those who want a secluded hike.
Rongai Route 6 days:
The Rongai Route is the only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. Rongai’s ascent profile is very similar to that of Marangu. It is one of Kilimanjaro’s easier routes. The climb to the top is gradual and steady. However, unlike Marangu, this route has low crowds and passes through remote wilderness areas. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first days is possible. The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, on the south-east side of the mountain. Because the starting point is far from Moshi, it is more expensive to climb this route due to the added transportation cost of getting climbers to the gate. Scenically, Rongai is beautiful because it travels through an unspoiled rain forest and remote wilderness area. However, it is not as scenically varied as Machame, Lemosho and Shira. Rongai is ideal for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths, those who want to avoid traffic, and those who want to enjoy a quieter hike. It is also preferred when climbing during the rainy season because the north side of the mountain receives less precipitation.
Included in the Price:-
-Guided and Assistant Guide, Cook, porter, salary
-Nighttime accommodation in camps or huts, depending on route, while trekking
-First night/last night bed-and-breakfast accommodations in Arusha Crown Hotel All park fees -2 ways Transfer from/to Kilimanjaro Airport/Complementary – Not in price list.
Not Included in the Price:
-Tips for guides and porters
-Airfares and airport taxes
-International visas for Tanzania
-Medical/evacuation trip insurance
-Tipping Guidelines (www.tanzaniaparks.com)
-Chief Guide $20 per day
-Assistant Guide $15 per day
-Cook $10 per day
-Porter $5 per day
Tips should not be dependent on whether you summit or not but rather whatever they were professional and and had your best interests in mind. If your guides and porters have not met your expectations please inform WORLD TOURS & SAFARIS at the office immediately and don’t feel obligated to give a tip. If they press you for a tip during your trek inform WORLD TOURS & SAFARIS as well as this is against company policy.
To be honest Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not a cheap holiday! Of course you try to save money where you can. The temptation is big to go hunting for the cheapest Kilimanjaro climb.
DON’T! Do not start your search for a Kilimanjaro climb by looking at the cost first. If you do, you may end up paying the ultimate price, or someone else may have to pay it for you… Prices between operators do vary wildly depending on the quality/experience/expertise from $1000 to $4000 and above.(There are some operators advertising cheap Kilimanjaro climbs that cost below $1000. Don’t go there… Actually, don’t go below $1500 including transfer, and accommodation. You’ll see why…)
Be sure to get a good company – watch out for Kili Cowboys, make sure prices include Park Fees and they use proper porter/guide ratios, operate under Kilimanjaro National Park regulations, with Company of long established and have a good reputation.
Kilimanjaro porters are not usually employed permanently. Some quality responsible operators have teams of porters that they use on all their climbs, but most porters freelance. They may walk to the National Park gate every day, sometimes for many miles, hoping that someone will be looking for porters. That’s where many budget operators pick up their porters. Budget operators do not pay their staff well, in some cases not at all. Kilimanjaro porters don’t have many options. There are many more porters available than needed, and they are all desperate for work.
A porter on a budget Kilimanjaro climb may not get paid at all by the company. Those porters rely solely on your tips to feed their family. Correspondingly you will be expected (and if needed hassled) to pay much higher tips than you would on a quality climb. Your porters will likely still end up with less money in their hands, since few climbers are aware of this. (And if you pay all tips to the guide to distribute, the porters may see little if any of the money. A responsible climb operator will have tents and equipment not only for clients, but also for staff. That costs money. Carrying that equipment up and down the mountain needs extra porters. That costs money.
Feeding the porters in a way that actually sustains them during the climb also costs money, both for the food itself and for carrying it up the mountain.
Every year several Kilimanjaro porters die, but you won’t hear about it. They die of exposure (freeze to death), a result of the insufficient clothing, shelter and food supplied to them during the climb. Also, was it really such a great buy if you then fail to make it to the summit? Would you really feel good to know that children have to go hungry or aren’t able to continue their education, just so you could save a few bucks? I didn’t think so.
Make no mistake: very, very few operators pay or treat their porters fairly. Some of the big, well known outfitters are amongst the worst. Don’t assume just because someone is mentioned in a big guidebook they must be doing the right thing. More often than not they don’t. Book a cheap Kilimanjaro climb and you are fully supporting the shameless exploitation of the very people who make it possible for you to climb Kilimanjaro at all, the Kilimanjaro porters. For more information on the plight of porters on Kilimanjaro, and for information on very worthwhile projects that are trying to improve the situation.
Few tourists are aware why the cost of climbing Kilimanjaro is so high and where the budget operators cut corners to drop the prices. Let’s look at where your money actually goes, what you pay for, and why. Several hundred climb operators are competing for business on Kilimanjaro, which has resulted in a cut throat price war. Good for you, you may think… Drops the prices…
Well, sure, it does, but at what cost? If operators drop prices they also have to cut expenses to stay profitable.
The steep (www.tanzaniaparks.com) are something that nobody can change. For a six day/five night camping trek you pay $695 in fees alone and this is per person. So where can operators save? And how does it affect you.
You want to book a climb that is run by mountaineers, people who understand mountains, who understand the risks and know how to manage them. People who care about you, about how much you’ll enjoy the trek, about their staff and about the mountain.
You will not find those people for $1100. In fact, you won’t find them for under $1500. For a six day Kilimanjaro climb, booked in advance, that is the absolute minimum cost that you should budget for, and you will be sacrificing quality of experience at that level (e.g. you will be climbing on a more crowded or less scenic Kilimanjaro route).
Kilimanjaro climbs that cost less are guaranteed to cut corners. But not every climb above $1500 is guaranteed to be a quality, safe one! Not by a long shot. You better do some thorough research if you want to book in that range!
There are other factors that determine the final cost of your Kilimanjaro climb and that allow you to save some money.
The larger the climb group, the lower the price per person. There are operators who put over 20 people in one group. Add to that at least two porters per person, cooks, assistant guides and guides… And you have a whole army trekking up that mountain! I think I’d rather spend a few dollars extra… A private climb with two people is very expensive, but a group of up to twelve people is bearable and affordable. At least that’s how I experienced it. I was a school Teacher before with a long experience of becoming a Tour Operator. I can write and write but the truth remains.
What will also determine the overall cost is the route you’ll be taking. The more scenic and less crowded routes are more expensive. That’s discussed in the section about Kilimanjaro climb route. So $1600 is probably a half decent climb up the Machame route, but you won’t be finding that on the Lemosho route.
And last but not least, booking from overseas is more expensive than booking when you contact me direct. BUT, you have the piece of mind of knowing when your trek will depart, that it will indeed depart, and you have the time to do research and ensure you are with a responsible and reasonable Tours Operator Mr Richard of World Tours.