Kilimanjaro Climbing and Trekking Tour Operators

Choosing a Tour Operator

Your choice of tour operator and your choice of climbing route are probably the two biggest factors in determining the quality of your Kilimanjaro experience.

Do I have to go with an organized tour?

Kilimanjaro park regulations require all climbers to be accompanied by a certified guide, and follow established routes. Your options are basically to hire a private guide for yourself and your group, or to join an organized trekking group.

If you are going alone or as a couple, we suggest joining an organized group. People who climb Kilimanjaro tend to lead interesting lives, and part of the fun of a group trek is the social interaction with the other trekkers. You will be spending much time in camp eating and just hanging around, so it's nice to have some travel companions.

Tour Operator Services

To some extent, you get what you pay for on a Kilimanjaro trek. A budget tour operator will probably serve only basic food, and their tents and other equipment might be in poor condition (or you might have to bring your own gear).

At the other end of the scale, we ate like kings at folding tables and chairs in bug-proof mess tents on our Kiliwarriors trip. They also carried a shower tent, and a portable toilet so that we didn't have to use the smelly long-drop outhouses (these were the envy of the other groups on the mountain, and more than a few clients from other outfitters tried to sneak into our toilet tent!) Kiliwarriors also carried a satellite phone for emergency use (and for calling friends from the summit!),
as well as extensive safety gear such as an inflatable hyperbaric chamber for severe altitude problems.

Questions to ask your tour operator

  • What safety equipment do they carry? Some things to look for include a first aid kit, a pulse oximeter to monitor acclimatization, and a satellite phone for emergency contact.
  • What hygiene practices do they enforce? You don't want to get sick on the mountain, so they should enforce hand washing by both clients and staff, as well as proper food handling and water treatment.
  • What kind of tents and other gear do they supply? Depending on your budget and you preferences, some of the options for group gear include mess tents, tables, and chairs for meals, separate toilet tents, showers. For personal gear like tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags, check if they're included, available for rental at extra cost, or if you have to bring your own.
  • Do they include transportation to and from the airport? To and from the trailhead? Make sure you understand what's included in the price and what's not.
  • Is hotel accomodation before and after the climb included? You will normally spend at least one night before and one night after your trek in Arusha (or possibly Moshi or Marangu). Some operators include extra nights at a hotel in their price, while others don't.

Recommended Tour Operators

There are lots of good Kilimanjaro tour operators out there (and more than a few bad ones too!) Two that we recommend from personal experience are: