To climb Kilimanjaro, one should budget at least $5,000.
Flights usually cost between $2,000-$3,000 from the USA. This can be cheaper during the low seasons or much higher during peak tourist months. There are ways to lower the cost by flying what may be inconvenient times or with many connections and long layovers. It is also possible to fly into Kenya, then shuttle into Tanzania. I would not recommend doing these things as traveling in third world countries can be very tiring, frustrating and even unsafe. In my opinion, the time and energy wasted is not worth the money saved. I think it is best to arrive in Tanzania feeling fresh and ready to go – in body and mind.
The land costs are $2,000-$3,000 for a climb with a decent Kilimanjaro operator (see visit this Selecting an Operator). Again, you can find cheaper prices with a budget operator or more expensive with luxury operators, but I strongly advise you go with one of my recommended operators. Hotels and airport rides are usually included in the climb packages.
You may see older articles which say you can climb for $1,000 or less. This is not possible anymore. Prices have been steadily climbing throughout the years – for good reason. One is that services are better than they were before. Guides and porters are better trained. Equipment is in better condition and replaced sooner. Most importantly, the treatment of the workers have improved a lot. So more porters are being used so that they do not carry heavy loads. More guides are used per group of clients so that there are enough people to watch the clients. Wages are higher, which was desperately needed. Also, park fees have increased.
Other expenses are staff tips, about $200-$300 (10% of your trip cost); visas, which are $100 for US citizens and $50 for everyone else; and vaccinations, which can cost as much as $500 if your insurance do not cover your shots. Please tip your staff! Some countries are not used to tipping but on the mountain it is expected. The porters do depend on tips for their compensation, much like a food server in the USA does.
The last big ticket item is the gear. If you are an experienced backpacker, then you probably have all or most of the required items. If you are new to backpacking, then this can get very expensive. Good boots are over $100. Warm sleeping bags start around $200. Nice parkas are about $300. Quality down jackets are about $200. Try to borrow gear from your friends, or rent from your operator. You can save a lot of money.
- How do I Select the Best Kilimanjaro Operator?