It’s a huge challenge and a great accomplishment! But here’s what you need to know about Mount Kilimanjaro tours before you go
By Diane Small
It’s one of the biggest accomplishments a select few will have done in their lifetime. But the truth is, you simply cannot climb Mount Kilimanjaro on your own. You’ll need to journey with a travel company, and choosing one can be rather difficult, considering none of the trustworthy ones are cheap. Here’s what you need to know about Mount Kilimanjaro tours before you embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
Mount Kilimanjaro Tours: What You Need To Know
1. Don’t Get Ripped Off
As was said before, Kilimanjaro isn’t a cheap journey – nor should it be. Plenty of tour companies will be factoring the prices of hotels and mountain crew into the overall booking, so the cheaper an option you choose, the more danger you might be facing.
The standard for a 7-day hike would be between $2,000-$2,400 with prices often varying wildly. Depending on the time of the year, the conditions of the mountain, as well as what’s included in the overall pricing of the booking, these prices will vastly differ. It’s important you know what kind of package you’re looking for specifically when booking your Mount Kilimanjaro tours.
A good tip is usually to never look at Kilimanjaro operators where the price is below $1,700, or even below $2,000 for that matter, as some guiding companies may be scammers, or even underprepared in terms of safety.
2. Choose The Right Travel Dates
Not all tours are available year-round. You’ll need to be well aware of this when deciding, and factor in your period of time off from work or otherwise. Keep in mind that some dates far more expensive and convenient for climbing the mountain and others. You’ll find both the date of your travel and the number of days over which the travel will last may have an effect on the pricing of Mount Kilimanjaro tours, hence another reason to plan out your group booking alongside your time-off arrangements.
The most recommended dates are between January and March. This is often the warmest season you can experience on the mountain with typically minimal cloud cover. The one issue with this time period is that crowds tend to be much higher, though this may not be as much of a problem after the pandemic.
The least recommended month for travel is November. This is during this month when the short rainy season tends to begin. Trekking a slippery mountain with higher chances of rain and cloud cover is by no means recommended! That’s why you’re not very likely to find groups whose services stretch into the November period.
Overall, it’s much safer to travel during other months of the year as these are the safer options.
3. Select An Ethical Operator
You want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the sense of accomplishment, sure. But you also want to do it to enjoy the natural beauty of the place, right? So ensure you find a tour operator who will care about the environment.
They should advise you on the most eco-friendly materials to bring with you on your trek, and should let you know how they will dispose of any rubbish you generate on the way. See if they follow the principles of the Leave no trace organisation, ensuring Kilimanjaro will be left unspoiled for future climbers.
Furthermore, responsible Mount Kilimanjaro tours will care about their guides and porters. Membership of the Tanzania Porters Organization (TPO) and Kilimanjaro Guides Association (KGA), should be a minimum. TPO makes sure all its members treat their porters well. The best Mount Kilimanjaro operators will have signed up to TPO’s and KGA rules.
4. Ensure You Get Personal Attention
Some unethical Mount Kilimanjaro tours will take up huge groups to maximise their profits. But that’s not good for you! Your travel guide needs to keep a close eye on every single member of their group, so these should include no more than ten people.
The Climbing Kilimanjaro Company is one company that limits the sizes of their travel groups to an absolute maximum of 10 people, unless under the conditions of a special request. This is to make sure that none of those travelling feel as though the group is overly crowded, and so that each person receives the attention they need.
Such a means of group control is best for ensuring health and safety over the course of such a long trip. Keep in mind that an average of 10 people die on Kilimanjaro every year, so having a tour guide that can attend to each person is essential.
5. Prepare For Possible Disappointment
It’s sad but true: only two thirds of people making the climb annually will make it all the way up to the top. Your chances can certainly be elevated with the help of a good, experienced Mount Kilimanjaro tour company with excellent guides. Make sure to make the right one! Whether you make it to the summit or not, your journey should be enjoyable and picturesque, in any case. And remember, it’s not just about the mountain! You can add a Tanzania Safari as well, to make your holiday completely unforgettable!