Backcountry Skiing


Natasha Poletaeva

39 years, Russia

9 days ago

How to Choose the Right Guide for Climbing Kilimanjaro

Mountains, without a doubt, are priceless. But you can calculate your spendings and even save some money! Read below how to choose the right guide or agency for your Kilimanjaro trip, and what to pay attention to.

How to Choose the Right Guide for Climbing Kilimanjaro
Photo: Sergey Pesterev for Unsplash

Tanzanian official have stated that Kilimanjaro will be opened to climb in June 2020. Quarantine is being lifted and flights are reopening: now is the time to think about climbing the highest point of Africa!

After choosing prefered peak, many turn their attention to choosing the route and guide for the climb, closely studying the prices (which is important in our times). And stumble upon a question: how can trekking costs may differ by hundreds of dollars/euros? We will try to answer this question.

Can I Climb Kilimanjaro Without a Guide?

The answer is no. The highest point of Africa is located on a national park territory (which is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1987) and climbing it without a guide is impossible.

Which Route to Choose?

There are six main routes, each of them takes five to eight days long (plus a day in a hotel before and after the climb). Their detailed description, required gear list and other useful information can be found by the link.

Prices start at $1,766 for group climbs and vary depending on the number of people in the group and the route complexity.

What if I Want it Cheaper?

Please note, that if you see the prices much lower than stated above, in most cases it’d mean that the accompanying crew does not get paid salaries and work for tips only. So, at the end of the climb the guide can ask for an additional payment of $1,000 from each client — for the whole crew tips.

But respectable companies work only with the reputable local providers, that pay their employees fixed salaries — so the client won’t have to worry about after pay. In this situation the nice number of tips for the whole crew will be around $200 from each climber. And usually a group of 5 climbers is catered by a team of 20 professionals, so each professional gets about $10.

How to Choose the Right Guide for Climbing Kilimanjaro
Photo: Caromcdaid for Pixabay

When Should I Start to Worry?

The price for climbing Kilimanjaro shouldn't be less than $1,600. It is not so much the question of extra tips that is important, but the most strategic thing in any journey — safety. In order to get as many “cheap” clients, providers often skimp on hiring additional guides, or first aid kits, fresh food and equipment. So if you pay less, you shouldn't complain about being fed canned nourishment instead of promised fresh vegetables.

How to Choose the Right Guide?

In order not to run into all the above, you should refuse any cheap tours and focus on choosing a good agency. Let’s see which steps to take to insure the best adventure there can be.

1. Read reviews! While it seems quite trivial, reviews are a good grade of guide’s/agency’s work. Among others, reviews are a good source of additional information (for example, that you can rent some equipment on site as not to deal with excess baggage).

How to Choose the Right Guide for Climbing Kilimanjaro
Photo: Tom Cleary for Unsplash

2. Pay attention to how fast are the responses. A good agency or guide will always find an opportunity to answer you questions in no time, and send you an email or give you a call with detailed explanations if needed.

3. Ask the organizers how many staff members accompany the team, and how many team members will be assist each climber. Despite Kilimanjaro being considered one of the safest peaks in the “7 Summits” program, circumstances may vary. And if a person has to turn back, they must not be left alone in any case.

A good provider will have around 4-5 team members per single client (including guides, porters, camp staff and chefs).

4. Pay attention to what equipment does a guide/agency provide for rent. If tents, matts, cutlery come from well-known brands — it is a good sign of quality. A good provider also will send you a photo of said equipment, even a picture of the storage room.

How to Choose the Right Guide for Climbing Kilimanjaro
Photo: Foxycoxy for Pixabay

5. Ask about the contents of the first aid kit (it goes without saying, that each traveller must not forget their personal medicine).

Also the availability of a tonometer and a pulse oximeter are not a fad, but a necessity. So choose those providers, which guides will do a check up on each participant every morning.

Pulse oximeter shows the rate of oxygen saturation of the blood — which is extremely important when trekking in the highlands and climbing.

Mountain Planet are ready to organize your trip with utmost comfort — only the best partners and proven guides work with us. Go to the mountains safely and have fun!

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