4 Dangerous Ways to Save Money on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Climb - Rongai Route

Kilimanjaro deals can be dangerous

At first I was thrilled to see  USA Today doing a piece on climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.  However, as I read the article about saving money while climbing Kilimanjaro, I was not only unimpressed, I was downright concerned.   Climbing Kilimanjaro isn't cheap.  But there is a fine line between saving money and risking your safety.  And, in my humble opinion, this article crossed the line. Spending a few thousand dollars just to get to Tanzania and then not making it to the summit because of penny pinching would be the biggest waste.  So here's a few thought on areas where you don't want to skimp as you plan your own Kilimanjaro climb. Do a 5 day climb via the Marangu Route - Bad idea!  A 5-day Machame climb has the lowest success rate of any route on the mountain.  So taking the fastest, cheapest route violates the initial point of spending thousands of dollars to get there and then failing to reach the summit. Rent sleeping bags and other gear from your outfitter - Kilimanjaro gets COLD.  The last thing you want to do at 12,000 feet above sea level is spend a long night shivering because your sleeping bag isn't warm enough.  If you can help it, never take any personal gear (clothing and sleeping equipment) that you haven't tested and are comfortable with.  If you want to save money, get a warm bag at Walmart.  It'll be too heavy for any real backpacking (by the way, make sure you got the waterproof daypack).   But the porters are carrying your gear for you.  So it won't inhibit your climbing in any way. Take the overnight bus from Dar es Salaam - Dangerous!  If you've read my book you know how much I love Tanzania.  But I think taking an overnight shuttle bus is a bit risky.  Aside from potential bandits, there is just the basic transportation risk.  Roads and drivers are notoriously bad in East Africa.  Taking the overland shuttle is a great way to see the country and save some money.  My trip from Nairobi to Moshi was amazing.  But don't do it at night.  It's more dangerous and you'll miss out on some amazing scenery. Wait and book your trip when you arrive - Maybe.  If you book in advance you can contact several local outfitters and negotiate a lower rate via e-mail (especially helpful if you're not comfortable negotiating face-to-face).  You can also schedule your trip to join a larger group and get an additional discount.  If you just show up you may climb alone and not get that big deal you were hoping for.  If you're comfortable with your negotiating skills do some research first on reputable companies and try to get a deal ahead of time.  If you're not satisfied with the discount, then book it when you arrive.  But at least now you have an idea of prices and a list of good companies to contact.
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One Comment

  1. Brigid Slavin
    May 3, 2011 | Permalink

    I agreed 100% Daniel…Where do these people think they are helping when they put lives at risk? If you can’t afford to climb right and protect yourself, then don’t go to Africa. You must be well informed and well prepared to enjoy and survive the trip. Get real people!! And don’t listen to the liberal media.

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