Mt. Kilimanjaro

The ultimate adventure of a lifetime by trekking Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak


The single most important decision you will make in planning to climb Kilimanjaro is deciding on the best operator company to climb Kilimanjaro with.

We recommend you check 7 key issues

1. The best company to climb Kilimanjaro with will be a dedicated operator not a travel agent
Agents just take your bookings – all the major adventure travel companies offering treks all around the world are just agents. They take your booking and then someone else you do not know is then subcontracted to run your climb.
This may work out fine if you are lucky but the agent cannot control what actually happens on the mountain so you just have to hope. Not only that, but agents get commission from the operator that bumps up the price you pay. So when you are deciding which company to choose for your Kilimanjaro climb choose one of the best operators: they can give you a good price and can directly control the quality of your climb.

2. Make sure the operator for your Kilimanjaro climb meets the basic legal requirements.
They should have financial bonding to protect your money if they go bust. They should have proper public liability insurance and also a Tanzanian Tourist Board license, both are compulsory: all the best Kilimanjaro operators meet these basic legal requirements.

3. Check what is included in a quote from your preferred Kilimanjaro operator
Big things that matter are whether airport transfers are included both coming and going, whether you have a good quality hotel before and after the climb and whether all the park fees are included. Even some of the best Kilimanjaro operators quote these as a local cost and given they are about $700 this is a huge cost to leave out.

4. Ask what guide to client ratio, what food and what kit the operator provides
This is critical to your safety. We always have a minimum ratio of 1 guide for every 2 clients. And really good tents are essential, there is nothing worse than a leaky tent and of course you need good food and plenty of it to have the energy to summit.

5. Make sure they operate responsibly
This might seem like just a nice to have but the best Kilimanjaro operator will care about his guides and porters, about Kilimanjaro and about Tanzania. Membership of the Tanzania Porters Organization (TPO) and Kilimanjaro Guides Association(KGA), should be a minimum – TPO makes sure its members treat their porters well. The best Kilimanjaro Operators all sign up to TPO’s and KGA rules. (see Climb Kilimanjaro cost)
Also look at what they say about the environment, we follow the principles of the Leave no trace organization ensuring Kilimanjaro will be left unspoiled for future climbers. And the best Kilimanjaro operators also support local charities. We fund a local children’s home and the porters association with a contribution for every climber.

6. Check out what they will do when things go wrong
Things that do go wrong are flights are delayed – the best Kilimanjaro operators will reschedule your climb right down to the last moment at no extra cost; luggage is lost or arrives late – a good operator should be set up to deal with this and some people in a group can get ill – the best Kilimanjaro companies will always be able to split a group so that not everyone has to descend.
7. Get proper references.

Don’t just rely on testimonials they are too easy to make up. Get real emails and contact people yourself and if you use facebook or Tripadvisor check out an operator’s page as you can see exactly what other climbers have said. This is a great way to check out the best and reputable Kilimanjaro operators company to climb Kilimanjaro with.
So there you have it: seven tips to get yourself the best operator to climb Kilimanjaro. Book with an operator not an agent, make sure they operate legally, check exactly what they include, find out if they are socially responsible, ask what they do when things go wrong, and last but by no means list get some references.

Best time to Climb
When is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro? The best time to climb Kilimanjaro are the months of January through early-March and June through October. The clear skies, great views, and the sunshine makes it the best comfortable hiking conditions. However, there is always the possibility of weather changing dramatically, regardless of the season. You can climb Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, but certain months are better than others. We recommend best to climb Mount Kilimanjaro during the driest months We avoid April and November as these are the main rainy seasons, making the trails more dangerous.

What is the best month to climb Kilimanjaro? month by month overview
Unlike the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro is never “closed”. You can trek year-round, but you need to be prepared. We do not normally offer climbs during April/May and November.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in January and February to early March
Ideal trekking conditions with mostly dry, clear days, and good visibility. Occasional showers and a good chance of snow over 14,000ft, making for some epic photo opportunities.
While this is considered “high season”, it’s often quieter on the slopes than the main climbing season of June to September, making it a good balance of not-too-crowded and decent weather.
Best for: Hikers who want to minimize crowds, whilst still having dry conditions. Snow on the summit is a bonus. Climbing Kilimanjaro in March, April and May Early March can be lovely, but as the month progresses, the rains can start to set in, making for muddy trails, cloudy skies, and poor visibility. In late March and late May, you can get lucky with some dry weather, but it’s a bit hit or miss. April to early May are the long rains, and not suitable for climbing. If your schedule dictates that you need to go during the shoulder seasons – late March and late May – you need to be prepared for wet weather, and not be disappointed by poor visibility. Ideally, you’ll have some trekking experience already and won’t be phased by trickier trail conditions.

Best for: Experienced trekkers who want to avoid crowds, and who don’t mind unpredictable weather. We recommend the routes on the north side of the mountain. Climbing Kilimanjaro in June/ July/ August and September A combination of the best weather and the US and Europe summer vacations means this is the main climbing season and the busiest time on the mountain. July and August are the most popular months, so if you want to try and avoid crowds, opt for June or September, or October if you don’t mind a bit of rain.
Occasional showers are always possible, particularly in the forest, but it’s a predominantly dry time of year. Routes tend to be busier during this period, especially over the full moon.

Best for: Climbers wanting the best weather for their trip, who aren’t deterred by crowds, which are mostly on the Marangu and Machame route.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in October / November Short rains usually come in November and last for 3-4 weeks. Often the rain is less persistent than in April-May (the “long rains”) and mostly come in the late afternoon. The mountain is very quiet during this time.
We would recommend the Rongai route or Northern circuit route as the northern side of the mountain is more sheltered and has less overall rainfall.

Best for: Avoiding crowds, experienced trekkers who aren’t put off by wet weather.
When can you climb Kilimanjaro – Important Considerations

Weather Conditions
Kilimanjaro is close to the equator and doesn’t experience the same four seasons as the more temperate parts of the world. Instead, it has rainy seasons and dry seasons, both of which alter the complexion of the mountain. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro are the months of January through early-March and June through October. The clear skies, great views, and sunshine make for spectacular photo-opportunities and comfortable hiking conditions. These are also usually the drier months of the year and the busiest. Read more: Guide to Kilimanjaro Weather.

Temperatures on the mountain vary with the seasons and also within the different climate zones as you climb higher.
The summit zone is considered “Arctic” and temperatures drop well below freezing at all times of the year.
December to March, and June (just after the rains) are usually the coldest, and there’s a good chance you’ll see snow on the summit. This reduces the number of visitors (as compared to July through August which is the busiest time). Rain Rainy season There are two distinct wet seasons in the Kilimanjaro area:

Long rains: End of March through May
Short rains: November
April and November usually have the highest rainfall, although this can vary.
The rainy season begins around mid-March and typically extends well into May. During this time, conditions can be wet, stormy and muddy on Kilimanjaro, particularly along its southern face.

Best route
Which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro?
There are 7 main Mount Kilimanjaro routes which lead to the summit, Uhuru Peak, one of which starts on the Northern side of the mountain and the rest on the Southern side. After making the decision to climb Kilimanjaro, you’ll need to choose your route.

1. Northern Circuit Route
2. Lemosho Route
3. Shira Route
4. Machame Route (“Whiskey” Route)
5. Rongai Route
6. Marangu Route (“Coca-Cola” Route)
7. Umbwe Route
The one question we are asked more often than any other is “which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro”. And the answer depends on what you want. Here are our winners

Highest success rate and overall best route to climb Kilimanjaro
If you want the highest chance of summiting the best route to climb Kilimanjaro is the Lemosho route and Machame route over 7 or 8 days – excellent acclimatization and an easier summit night make these winners by a long way. And as reaching the top is the most important thing for most of our climbers we make this our overall winners as best route to climb Kilimanjaro.

Most scenic route to climb Kilimanjaro
The Lemosho route approaching from the West wins hands down for the best views with spectacular vistas in all directions.

Quietest route to climb Kilimanjaro
If keeping away from the crowds is your top priority the Rongai route has to be your choice as the best route for your Kilimanjaro climb. But be warned the success rate is lower.

Most challenging route to climb Kilimanjaro
If you are looking for an adventure and a really unique wilderness experience the crater camp option is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro for you- less than 1 % of climbers get to do this and all our climbers who do it rave about it.

Our summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each route is below

» Machame route – from USD 2,400
Highly recommended, best success rate.
Allows “walk high, sleep low” for better acclimatization.
Stunning scenery climbing through five diverse climatic zones.
Ascent and descent is via different routes.
Fully catered camping.
» Lemosho Route – from USD 2,400-2570
An excellent route to climb Kilimanjaro by with a high success rate.
Allows climbers to “walk high, sleep low” enabling better acclimatization.
Remote and spectacular approach with dramatic gorges and views of west Kilimanjaro.
Shira route offers higher start point therefore is less good for acclimatization.
Fully catered camping.
» Marangu Route – from USD 2,350
Shortest route to the summit which means less time to acclimatize.
Much lower success rate.
Dormitory style accommodation which can be noisy.
Less scenic due to ascent and descent on same route.
» Rongai – Route from USD 2590
Only northern approach route to Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit.
Offers a true wilderness experience on the early stages of the climb.
Very tough final summit night.
Less natural acclimatization with no opportunities to “walk high, sleep low”.
Fully catered camping.
» Umbwe Route – from USD 2590
Steep, short route with very low success rate.
Poor acclimatization due to rapid ascent.
Very remote and quiet for the first two days.
Fully catered camping.

Which route is best to climb Kilimanjaro?
When you are planning your Kilimanjaro climb there are 6 factors that you need to take into consideration in deciding which is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro for you.

Difficulty of the summit night
How busy the route is
What are the accommodation options
What is the success rate
Acclimatization on Kilimanjaro
When climbing to altitude the golden rule is walk high and sleep low. Following this rule minimizes the risk of altitude sickness and improves you chance of summiting. The best routes to climb Kilimanjaro for acclimatization are the Machame and Lemosho routes as these naturally allow you to walk high and sleep low.

Difficulty of the summit night
The toughest summit nights are on the Rongai route and the Marangu route: they reach the crater rim of Kilimanjaro on the North, opposite Uhuru Peak and more than 2 hours from the summit itself. The best routes to climb Kilimanjaro to avoid this are the Machame and Lemosho routes as they reach the crater at Stellar point less than an hour’s walk from the summit. An extra hour on what is already a very long day is often the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

How busy the route is
The amount of climbers on the mountain varies a lot depending on the season and on the day of the week but even taking this into account if you want to have the mountain more to yourself the best route to climb Kilimanjaro is the Rongai route. This route starts in the North and is used by a lot less climbers than the very popular southern routes.

Accommodation on the climb
The only route that you do not have to camp on is the Marangu route so if you hate tents this is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro for you. Be warned though the huts are very basic and noisy.

Kilimanjaro Routes Safety
We consider all of the routes except the Arrow Point route to be relatively safe if walked sensibly. We do not offer climbs on the Arrow Point route as the risk of falling rock is unmanageable . This is definitely not the best route to climb Kilimanjaro.

Which route has the highest Summit Success rate
As a result of the better acclimatization offered and the easier summit night the best route to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of summit success rate is the 9 Day Northern Circuit route ,Lemosho route over 8 days followed by the Machame route over 7 days.

We operate group climbs starting every week through the year with different routes each week. If you are looking for a particular route you can see when we are running that route below.

Travelers planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro frequently ask how long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? It takes about five to nine days on the longer routes to reach Mount Kilimanjaro Summit Uhuru peak and descend to the Finish point. The more days you spend on the mountain acclimatizing, the better your chances of reaching the top. Trekkers who spend only 5 days have the lowest Summit success rate.

Trekkers who spend 8 or 9 days have a much better chance of summiting. Read more about the best routes to climb Kilimanjaro and the days they take.

Factors affecting how long it takes to climb Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro is a “walk-up” mountain, meaning there is no technical climbing involved. How long it takes to reach the summit is largely dictated by how well you are able to acclimatize to the lack of oxygen at altitude.
The main reason why climbers fail to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro is simply that they have not acclimatized to the altitude.
How badly do you want to get to the summit? If you’re serious about completing the climb, the main factor standing in your way is acclimatization.
The good news is that going slow and taking your time, allows your body to gradually adapt to the lack of oxygen.
The more days you spend on the mountain acclimatizing, the better your chances of reaching the top. Trekkers who spend only 5 days on Kilimanjaro have the lowest success rate, while those who spend 8 or 9 days have a much better chance of standing on the Roof of Africa

The Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines for the Prevention of Acute Altitude Illness says that co

controlling the rate of ascent, in terms of the number of meters gained each day is a “highly effective means of preventing altitude illness”.

A slow and steady ascent gives your body time to adjust to the altitude, and while physical fitness does not seem to have an effect on how well you acclimatize, you’ll build-in enough time for rest and recovery after the day’s hiking.

It’s difficult to get up to date data from the Kilimanjaro National Park, but in 2006 estimates of the success rate based on the number of days spent on the mountain were clear. At that time:

  • 27% of those who opted for the 5-day trek made it to the summit,
  • 85% of trekkers who spent 8 days on their climb were successful.

Those numbers have no doubt improved since then thanks to better guides, improved gear, and a better understanding of how to successfully hike the trail. But, they give you an indication of the importance of taking your time on the mountain.

Being very fit does not correlate with increased ability to acclimatize. Being physically fit will make the trekking easier, reduce fatigue and stress, but it won’t help you acclimatize.

According to Dr. Hackett from the Institute for Altitude Medicine, says physical fitness will give you no protection from altitude sickness. Sometimes, many young, fit people will push through the discomfort, ignoring important symptoms.

How long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on each route?

There are a total of six different routes you can use to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

The shortest possible way to the summit is by the Marangu or the Umbwe Route. These routes can be completed in 5 days (but we don’t recommend it for most hikers).

The longer treks, Lemosho, Machame, Rongai or Northern Circuit route take 6-10 days.

The main reason you’d want to take a longer route is to give your body time to acclimatize to the altitude, but there are other considerations as well.

Unless you are very fit, covering the same amount of ground in a shorter time-frame can increase your chances of fatigue and injury – and compromise your enjoyment of the environment.

Bigtime Kilimanjaro recommends Trekkers who have a flexible schedule to consider a longer route or build-in one or two acclimatization days and have an easier time reaching the summit.
Each route is varied in the duration on the mountain, the types of accommodation, the level of difficulty, the type of scenery, and other factors.
The table below lists each route, sorted by the number of days usually taken on each route.
Route Number of Days Route Length
Marangu Route 5 64 kilometers (40 mi)
Umbwe Route 6 37 kilometers (23 mi)
Rongai Route 6 or 7 65 kilometers (23 mi)
Machame Route 6 or 7 49 kilometers (30 mi)
Lemosho Route 7,8 or 9 66 kilometers (35 mi)
Northern Circuit 8 or 9 66 kilometers (35 mi)
Time Table

You can climb Kilimanjaro in 5 or 6 days but is it worth the risk?

You can definitely climb Kilimanjaro in five or six days. Most clients we’ve spoken to are attracted to the shorter routes for these reasons:

  • Cost savings
  • Lack of vacation time
  • Don’t want to hike for so many days

In all Bigtime Kilimanjaro combined years of experience as mountain guides and trek organizers, we encourage a longer, steadier climb as it’s safer, and increases our clients’ summit success rate dramatically.

Additionally, giving yourself time to enjoy the unique mountain environment, with adequate rest and recovery, will make for a much more enjoyable experience.

These are the questions we ask and encourage you to ask yourself:
How would you feel if you scheduled a route with the minimum days, only to have to turn back on day 3 because the rate of ascent was too quick and you did not have time to acclimatize?
Wouldn’t you rather add a couple of days to your trip to give yourself a better chance of summiting and to take it easier on your body?
Were the ‘savings’ you got for not taking additional days worth the cost of cutting your climb short, not making it to the summit, or worse still, putting your health at risk?
When is it a good idea to opt for a shorter Kilimanjaro climb?
If you’ve recently been to high altitude. If you’ve climbed Mt. Meru or Mt. Kenya successfully, for example, you will have an element of pre-acclimatization and can get away with a shorter route.
If you’re a very experienced climber and have been to extreme altitudes before (>18,000ft) and are confident of your ability to acclimatize.
It’s an undeniable fact that longer routes increase summit success rates.

How long Does it take to descend Kilimanjaro?
It takes around two days to descend Kilimanjaro from the Uhuru Peak Summit to the Finish point. The descent can take up to 5hrs to reach to Camp for overnight and the following day 4hrs to 6 hrs depending on the route and trekkers experience.

Quick Facts: Fastest times to the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro by elite athletes

Current record holder:
Karl Egloff, a Swiss climber made it in 4 hours, 56 minutes. He’s gone on to break records on Aconcagua, Cotopaxi and others. You can read more about his intense training and pre-acclimatization program here.
Other notable times:
Fastest woman Kristina School Madsen (from Denmark): 6 hrs. 52 minutes Mweka route
Simon Mtuy from Tanzania holds the record of the fastest unaided attempt. He carried all his own gear, including food and water, 9 hours 19 minutes on the Umbwe route.
Kilian Jornet, the previous record-holder made it in 7 hours, 14 minutes.
How long will it take YOU?
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime experience: you’ve trained for it, paid for it, don’t compromise your safety or chance of success.
Got questions? Leave us a comment, send us an email or hit the live chat button.
Ready to choose your route? Or wondering when is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?





What is the cost of Kilimanjaro including, flights, tips, you health, park fees etc?



The average cost to climb Kilimanjaro is $2000 to $6000, the price varies from cheap, budget operators to large Western travel agents selling outsourced climbs at an inflated price. There are various, unavoidable fixed costs to any tour operator and if a climb seems too cheap, you’ve got to ask yourself why.



Where are they making ‘savings’ (read: compromises) and what impact might this have on your safety and comfort on the mountain? What about your crew? Staff expenses are the main way that cheap operators cut costs, by not paying a proper wage, and providing little (or no) equipment and gear. This won’t make for a happy team and gives rise to welfare issues.



All tour operators on Kilimanjaro need to be licensed and registered by KINAPA, the National Parks Authority. However, travel agents worldwide can sell treks up Kilimanjaro that they outsource to local operators.
You want to find a balance between “too cheap to be safe” and “overpriced”.

The Human Cost of Cheap Kilimanjaro Operators
Every year, people die on Mount Kilimanjaro, many of these are porters, which you won’t find reported in the Western press.
Guides & Porters
At Bigtime Kilimanjaro climb we take our responsibility to our guides and porters very seriously. There are countless reports of porters not being paid a living wage, of them having little to no cold-weather gear, inadequate food, and sleeping in crowded, uncomfortable conditions. The Tanzania Porters Organization was set up to counteract this unethical treatment and we aim to exceed their guidelines.
Having a high guide-to-client and porter-to-client ratio means that porters are not overloaded, carrying more weight than they should be, in an attempt to keep prices low.
Sleeping conditions, adequate gear, and food are just as important for porters. Our guides perform the same health checks for the porters every day, to ensure no one is suffering from altitude sickness or other complaints.
When you see how hard your porters work, you’ll be thankful that you climbed with a company that makes it our mission to ensure staff welfare.
Your Safety & Well being
Climbing Kilimanjaro is tough. And it can be dangerous. For your safety and comfort, at the very least, you’ll want:
Well trained, experienced English-speaking guides who know what to do in an emergency
Proper procedures in place
Well maintained, good quality equipment
Nutritious, varied meals that are tasty
Safe drinking water
The Real Costs of Climbing Kilimanjaro
For any trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, there are various fixed costs to any operator:



Kilimanjaro National Park Fees
Kilimanjaro National Park imposes fees on both visitors and crew. These can be broken down into the following:
Conservation Fees – The Kilimanjaro authority collects fees per day you spend inside the park. Example On an 7 day Machame climb, the conservation fees total $490 ($70 x 7 days).
Campsite Fees on Machame route, Lemosho route, Rongai route , Northern circuit (or huts on Marangu route) fees – $50 to $60 per night per person. Example On a 7 day Machame climb, the camping fees are $300 ($50 x 6 nights).
Rescue fees – $20 per person per trip (this doesn’t include helicopter rescue, and we don’t rely on the National Park rescue service)
Guide & Porter Entrance Fees – $2 per staff person per trip
Taxes & VAT – 18% of services.  The Tanzanian government charges 18% VAT to all Kilimanjaro operators.
The cost to an operator can easily be around $160-200 per climber, per night, in Park Fees alone. So if it’s too cheap, where are they making savings?
Staff Wages
Staff wages amount to around $80-$150 per climber per day depending on the group size.
Staff wages are a considerable cost and making savings here directly takes money out of the pockets of the lowest-paid people on the mountain. Making sure the porters and guides have proper gear and training is a significant cost to any Kilimanjaro reputable operator.
Every year we hear stories of unscrupulous operators relying on the high unemployment rate in Tanzania to staff their climbs with desperate porters who agree to work for no salary, in the hope of a tip at the end. (see Kilimanjaro Porters)
Food, Water and Transportation cost
Food shopping costs about $10-$20 per climber per day includes food for staff and Transportation costs are about $100 per Kilimanjaro trip depending on the route choice
While the cost of food in Tanzania is not high, it still has to be carried up the mountain, stored in safe and sanitary conditions and prepared by well-trained mountain chefs. On the longer routes, we may need to resupply with fresh produce a few days into the trek.
We don’t compromise on food quality to save money. We understand different dietary requirements and how to fulfill them.
Gear and equipment on the mountain takes a battering. You want to be sure that your operator maintains all gear to a high standard, replacing it frequently. When you choose a climb, you want to be sure you’re getting:
Solid, well-maintained 4-season tents, suitable for mountain conditions.
Proper dining tent with table and chairs
Toilet and toilet tent (if applicable)
Spare gear in case of damage
You’ll also want to know that your crew are have proper trekking gear and sleeping conditions.
Guide to Climber & Porter to Climber Ratio
Bigtime Kilimanjaro is a specialist outfitter dedicated to leading clients on Mount Kilimanjaro. We provide one professional, trained mountain guide for every two climbers. This ratio allows for safe monitoring of all our climbers and good management in and around camp. We’ve seen groups of 8 climbers with one guide, which might save money but possibly at the higher cost of safety.
When you see the amount of equipment that needs to be carried up the mountain, from the tents to the kitchen equipment, toilet facilities and food you’ll realize why we need a very large team of porters.
There are strict weight limits imposed by the National Parks Authority on how much an individual porter is allowed to carry. This is quite often ignored, in an attempt to cut costs, and results in porters being overloaded. As part of our commitment to porter welfare, we strictly limit the loads they carry.
Usually, there are around 3-4 porters per climber. This ratio varies depending on the route and the length of the climb.
Your Safety
Guide Training
Experience is important, but so is training. Your guide needs to know how to conduct daily health checks, recognize the early signs of altitude sickness, and know how to use everything in their medical kits.



Top-quality guides know their worth and don’t come cheap. An attempt to save money by employing untrained guides can be catastrophic in the event of an emergency.
Medical Kit & Evacuation Procedure
Essential, well-maintained safety equipment, and proper processes in place in the case of an emergency:
Pulse Oximeter for daily monitoring
Training in the use of the Lake Louise Scoring System for Altitude symptoms
Emergency oxygen & how/when to use it
Stretcher for evacuation if a climber can’t walk
Medical kit, replenished regularly
Knowledge of when to call for helicopter rescue and how to stabilize a patient before they arrive
A note on Teamwork
Teamwork is very important, particularly in the case of an emergency. Building a team of porters and guides who all work well together ensures the efficient running of the camp, and in the event of an emergency, a well-rehearsed evacuation procedure.
Your Comfort
The quality of equipment and food has a big impact on your comfort, and enjoyment of your climb. If you can’t sleep because you’ve got an old tent that leaks and the food you’ve eaten is sub-standard and unappetizing, this will compromise your chances of summit success.
Days on the trail can be tough, and part of your recovery is being able to relax and be comfortable in camp. Camping needn’t be a hardship, but it starts by investing in the right equipment and gear.
Environmental & Personal Impact
With the rise in tourism on Kilimanjaro, there’s also the environmental impact. All rubbish has to be carried off the mountain, and this comes at a cost. Part of a well-run operation is educating the crew about conservation and having rigorous policies about reducing waste and “leave no trace” principles.
The increase in popularity of climbing Kilimanjaro has brought opportunities for employment to the area, but with this has led to some unscrupulous employment practices. A happy crew equals a happy climber.
Kilimanjaro Route Choice Cost
There are seven hiking Kilimanjaro routes  that lead you to the summit of Kilimanjaro Uhuru Peak. The route you choose will also affect how much your climb costs. Longer routes, with more days on the mountain, increase your chances of summit success by having a better acclimatization protocol. Some people try to save on the cost by opting for the shortest route possible.
If your goal is to reach the summit, then you need to give your body a chance to adapt to the altitude and acclimatize properly. It’s not much good if you’ve booked a five-day climb and have to turn back on day 3 with altitude sickness.
For this reason, Bigtime Kilimanjaro does not offer the five-day Marangu route, as for most hikers it gives insufficient time for acclimatization and as a result, has a much lower summit success rate.
Bigtime Kilimanjaro climb recommends 6 days as a minimum, but 7-8 days on the mountain gives you the best acclimatization protocol and offers the highest chance of a safe and successful summit.
Route Duration Description Success rate
Lemosho route 7-8 days Arguably the most beautiful route to ascend Kilimanjaro. It’s popular, but not as crowded as the Machame route. High
Machame Route 6-8 days The most popular Mount Kilimanjaro route. Very Scenic Route and has acclimatization advantage, hike high sleep low. High
Marangu Route 5-6 days The only route on Mount Kilimanjaro that  has hut accommodation. Not very scenic. Low
Rongai Route 6-7 days Rongai route ascends Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. It’s the easiest route and best during rain season. Medium
Northern Circuit 9-10 days The newest and longest Mount Kilimanjaro route. It’s very scenic, and is one of the least crowded routes. High
Umbwe Route 5-6 days The shortest, steepest and hardest of all Mount Kilimanjaro routes. For experienced hikers. Low

Ultimately, who you climb with is your decision, we hope we’ve given you enough information to make an informed choice and an understanding of the costs involved. Why “cheap” often comes at a very high price in terms of your safety (and the safety of your crew).  We at Bigtime Kilimanjaro have worked hard to cost our Kilimanjaro climbs competitively without compromising on safety and comfort for all involved. And we recognize that without the dedication of our crew, we wouldn’t be on the mountain at all.

Importance of Kilimanjaro full moon dates

Don’t miss the experience of a lifetime, summiting Mount Kilimanjaro during a full moon, seeing the glaciers glittering in the moonlight… simply stunning! Many climbers choose the full moon to coincide with their Kilimanjaro climb as when there are clear skies the bright full moon gives them enhanced visibility. It is a very popular time to climb and gets booked up early, see below for full moon dates.

Click here for our 2024 Kilimanjaro Full Moon Dates

The full moon on Kilimanjaro occurs about every 29 days, so you have 12 times in a year to witness the full moon. That’s one opportunity every month to witness this beautiful celestial event from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The majority of a Kilimanjaro climb takes place during the day and it is only the summit attempt that starts before midnight in order to reach the summit at sunrise. A summit attempt done during a full moon could make the evening climb easier, since you might not need to switch on your head lamp in the bright moonlight.

Planning a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro to coincide with the full moon dates detailed below, could further enhance the whole experience, as the bright moonlight would provide spectacular views of Kibo from most of the overnight camps.

Kindly note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided in any of the above Kilimanjaro Full Moon dates tables. Although every effort is made to achieve accuracy in these moon calendars, users may use these dates strictly at own risk and are therefore strongly advised to confirm the accuracy of the details at own arrangement, before traveling.

So for the best prices to climb Kilimanjaro please do enquire now


Safety on Kilimanjaro – Our Number one priority

One of the Seven Summits, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa, and at 19,341 ft, the summit falls into the “extreme altitude” mountaineering category. It’s one of the few mountains of this size that requires no technical skill to reach the summit.



It should not be underestimated. Trekking at altitude in a remote location can be dangerous, and every year it’s estimated over 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain and sadly, some never return to their families.



Key factors affecting your safety on Kilimanjaro:



  • Altitude sickness and altitude-related complications
  • Remote location
  • Experience and training of your guides
  • The right equipment for dealing with an emergency
  • Robust monitoring and evacuation processes and protocols



How We Work to Keep You Safe on Kilimanjaro



Staying safe on Kilimanjaro starts with understanding the risks and knowing how to mitigate them. We ask all our climbers to fill in a comprehensive medical questionnaire, and in the case of some pre-existing conditions, we may ask for confirmation from your doctor that you are fit to climb. Your guide will need to know any existing medications you are taking (including over the counter) and whether you are taking Diamox to help acclimatization.



Read our guide to Kilimanjaro altitude Sickness: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment



Guide Training



You need to know that your guide has the proper training to know how to detect the early signs of altitude sickness, and what to do about it. Our guides undergo Wilderness First Responder training, which teaches essential skills for managing medical conditions in remote locations.



We’ve partnered with the Sentinel Outdoor Institute, a high-altitude medical training organization who run in-depth training courses in Tanzania to ensure our guides are kept up to date with emerging medical protocols.



Carrying emergency equipment is useless if your guide doesn’t know how to use it.



A note on guide-to-climber ratio



It’s our mission to ensure a safe and successful summit for everyone. We have a guide to climber ratio of 1 to 2, so for every two climbers, we have one trained mountain guide. This allows for more careful observation and evaluation of the group’s condition.



Daily Health Checks & Monitoring



Communication with your guide is important. If you’re feeling under the weather, have a headache, nausea or any other symptom, you must tell your guide. While hiking, your guide will be keeping a lookout for any early signs of trouble:



  • Are you having difficulty on the trail, stumbling or very tired
  • Are you eating well, or is your appetite diminishing
  • Do you keep stopping to catch your breath, and having difficulty breathing
  • Are you drinking enough water
  • Any signs of erratic behavior or confusion



Daily Health Check



Every day, you’ll have a one-to-one meeting with your guide for a comprehensive health check-up:



  • Using a pulse oximeter to measure your blood oxygen saturation and resting pulse rate, using this data in combination with:
  • Symptom picture, using the Lake Louise Scoring System to determine whether you are showing signs of altitude sickness
  • Self-assessment questions to determine how you are feeling



Constant monitoring prevents a mild case of altitude sickness from escalating into an emergency.



Read more: Pulse Oximeter & Daily Monitoring to Detect Altitude Sickness



Emergency Oxygen & Medical Supplies



Our team carries a comprehensive medical kit, including bottled oxygen, and portable stretcher.



  • We carry supplemental oxygen for emergency use only.
  • The only cure for acute mountain sickness is immediate descent to a lower elevation.
  • In the case of an injury that prevents a climber from descending on foot, we carry a portable stretcher.
  • Oxygen can be administered to alleviate AMS in combination with immediate descent.
  • We carry a first aid medical kit to treat minor injuries



Helicopter Evacuation on Kilimanjaro



In the event of an emergency, we use Kilimanjaro SAR, a search and rescue service that operates out of Moshi. Within 5 minutes of a distress call, a helicopter will be dispatched to the nearest landing point and the patient can be airlifted off the mountain and taken to hospital or the High Altitude Medicine Clinic.



Read more: Kilimanjaro Helicopter Rescue



Other Important Safety Aspects on Kilimanjaro



It’s important that you take responsibility for your safety, including:



  • Don’t ignore symptoms. If you have a headache, loss of appetite, nausea or any unusual symptom, tell your guide immediately
  • Don’t try to “push through”. Mild signs of altitude sickness can often be successfully treated without evacuation, but ignoring them can be dangerous
  • Keep an eye on your team-mates. If you see someone struggling or behaving erratically, tell your guide
  • Follow your guide’s instructions at all times.



Equipment & Gear



Trekking on Kilimanjaro takes you through five major climate zones, from the warmth of the low slopes to the bitterly cold, sub-zero temperatures at the summit.



In addition to the medical and emergency equipment, the quality of kit used in camp is also an important consideration. Weather on any mountain can be unpredictable, and keeping safe, warm, and dry at night is imperative to the health of any climber.



  • Rugged tents suitable for changing mountain conditions, that stay dry even in torrential rain
  • Comfortable waterproof dining tent with table and chairs
  • Sanitary toilet facilities



Arriving for a Kilimanjaro climb without proper cold-weather clothing, adequate hiking boots or a sleeping bag appropriate for expedition conditions is asking for trouble. We’ve put together a comprehensive packing list for Kilimanjaro explaining what you need and why.



  • If you haven’t got the right boots, you can easily turn an ankle or injure yourself on the rocky trails
  • Without effective rain gear, you’ll get soaking wet and quickly turn hypothermic
  • If you don’t protect yourself from the sun, you can end up with a nasty case of sunburn or sunstroke
  • Never stay in wet clothes
  • Our Kilimanjaro packing list details everything you need to bring to be properly prepared



Hygiene, food & water safety



There are no showers on Kilimanjaro, and we recommend you bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat. A combination of being tired from hiking, altitude, and dietary changes can make you more susceptible to traveler’s diarrhea or other ‘stomach bugs’.



During the day:



  • Eat regularly, even if you think you’re not hungry, this keeps your energy levels up
  • Drink plenty of water, dehydration will quickly lead to fatigue and can compromise the acclimatization process



We go to great lengths to ensure your food is prepared safely, to avoid gastrointestinal problems. We boil, filter and purify all drinking water, including the water used to wash food products.



By providing private toilet tents for our climbers, we avoid the unsanitary conditions found in some of the public facilities at the campsites.



Physical Preparation



Safety begins at home, before you arrive in Tanzania.



  • Medical check-up from your doctor, discussing any existing medical conditions or medications you’re taking
  • Kilimanjaro Recommended vaccinations and for the areas you are traveling to
  • Consider taking Diamox to help acclimatization, discuss this with your doctor for any interactions with existing medications
  • Arrange your travel insurance for Kilimanjaro Climb – it’s mandatory to have comprehensive travel insurance to cover emergencies



You should have a good standard of fitness in order to hike over rugged terrain for multiple days. While it’s not technical, the hiking is tough and exhausting. Start your fitness program well ahead of your climb, follow our complete guide to training for Kilimanjaro.



Prepare, Prepare, Prepare



We take your safety very seriously and don’t believe in leaving anything to chance. Emergencies can and do occur, due to the nature of the remote, high-altitude environment. Climbing Kilimanjaro with an operator who has well-trained guides, robust safety procedures, and good quality equipment reduces the incidence and severity of any issues that arise.



You can prepare yourself by being fit, bringing the right gear, and taking adequate precautions on the trail.

What is the Weather on Kilimanjaro?

The weather on Mount Kilimanjaro can vary from very hot to extremely cold within the same day although it does not experience wide temperature changes from season to season. Instead, the temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro are determined more by the altitude and time of day.

At the base of the mountain, the average temperature is around 21 to 27 °C and at the summit, Uhuru Peak, the night time temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius). Like all great mountains, Kilimanjaro creates its own weather which can be extremely variable and difficult to predict.  Hikers need to be prepared for warm, sunny conditions, and rain, wind, cold, and even snow.

Even though the best time to climb Kilimanjaro coincides with the “dry” seasons, rain, and snow are possible at any time of the year. As you get higher up, the temperatures can vary dramatically, one moment you can be trekking in baking sunshine, the next you’ll be layering up against a bitter wind.

Standing at 19,341 ft above sea level, Kilimanjaro is big enough to create it’s own weather systems. Being on the equator means the trade winds (sometimes called ‘monsoons’) that move across the ocean, drawing moisture upwards are interrupted by the mountain. This causes the wind to push up towards the summit, cooling as it goes, bringing rain and snow.

Is there snow on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro?

The long rainy season between March and May is a result of the trade winds from the south-east. These southerly winds from the Indian Ocean are laden with moisture, bringing rain to the lower slopes and snow on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro summit. During this season, the southern slopes get the most rainfall.

The ‘short rains’ in November are from a dryer wind coming from the northeast. As it hasn’t traveled across an ocean, the rains are shorter and less intense than during the long rains. Most of the rainfall during this season falls on the more northerly slopes.

Kilimanjaro Temperatures

Mount Kilimanjaro doesn’t  experience wide temperature changes from season to season due to it’s proximity to the equator, Instead, the temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro are determined more so by the altitude and what time of day it is. At the base of Mount Kilimanjaro where the the climb starts, the average temperature is around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius). From the base when you ascent, the temperatures will decrease as you go through  mountain’s 5 ecological zones.

At the Summit of Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak, which lies in the arctic zone the night temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius). Therefore, we recommend that you should always be prepared for wet and cold nights so please bring the necessary gear at all times. Read more about what you need to carry on your day pack on Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro Weather through the Climate Zones

As you make your way higher up, you’ll notice the weather changing through the climate zones.

Cultivation Zone:

Altitude: 2,600 to 6,000 ft (800 to 1,800 m)
Precipitation: 20 to 70 in (500 to 1,800 mm)

Surrounding the base of Kilimanjaro is the cultivation zone. Comprising mostly farmland thanks to the fertile volcanic soil, this area gets plenty of annual rainfall. Mostly temperate conditions, you’ll mostly be passing through this region on your way to the trailhead.

Forest Zone:

Altitude: 6,000 to 9,200 ft (1,800 to 2,800 m)
Precipitation: 79 to 40 in (2,000 to 1,000 mm)

We start our climb in the montane forest, a tropical rainforest that serves to absorb most of the moisture coming off the mountain, forming underground streams and springs. Conditions are usually warm and humid, with mists forming under the dense canopy. Thick cloud cover is not uncommon, and it can be muddy underfoot.

Heath/Moorland Zone

Altitude: 9,200 to 13,200 ft (2,800 to 4,000 m)
Precipitation: 51 to 21 in (1,300 to 530 mm)

After hiking through the forest, you’ll emerge from the trees into the Heath and Moorland Zone. The dense tropical forest gives way to tall grasses and giant heathers, and you’ll be more exposed to the wind and rain.

Temperatures can remain warm throughout the day but drop significantly at night. The humidity lessens, the trails are dryer, and generally, it’s a more comfortable hiking experience. Rain tends to be minimal, although it can occur pretty much anywhere on the mountain.

The sun’s rays can be harsh, so you’ll need your sunscreen, and temperatures at night can be bitterly cold.

Alpine/High Desert Zone:

Altitude: 13,200 to 16,500 ft (4,000 to 5,000 m)
Precipitation: 10 in (250 mm)

Climbing higher still, we’ll enter the High Desert Zone, arid, with only small, hardy plants surviving at an altitude where wind speeds continue to increase and there is little rainfall.

Day time temperatures can still be quite warm, but in the evening the mercury drops quickly, with conditions getting much colder. Here, it is not uncommon to be camped well above the clouds, which makes for an enchanting sight on a clear, starlit night.

The views are far-reaching and dramatic, the trails dustier, and the air much thinner.

Arctic Zone:

Altitude: 16,500+ ft (5,000+ m)
Precipitation: 4 in (100 mm)

Above 16,000 ft is the Arctic or Summit Zone. With very little rainfall (most precipitation falls as snow) this barren desert is characterized by huge rocky outcrops, volcanic scree, and glaciers.

Known as “extreme altitude”, this region has approximately 49% of the oxygen at sea level. It’s a bleak, inhospitable place.

It’s very cold here, with blustery winds and nighttime temperatures well below freezing. As you set off for your summit attempt, there may be ice and snow underfoot, it’s bitterly cold, even at midday and the sun’s radiation is harsh.

Sunscreen is essential on any exposed parts of your body, the dry air will dehydrate you quickly, and you’ll need warm layers to keep your core temperature up.

Read more about Kilimanjaro altitude here.

Kilimanjaro Weather Variations

The weather varies based on the time of year you visit Kilimanjaro. During the months of April and May, it’s much rainier on the mountain than it is during the dryer season of June to October. January through March tends to be a bit colder.

Kilimanjaro Weather Chart

Kilimanjaro Weather Forecast

Thu84°F59°FPartly cloudy skies. [details] Fri81°F59°FMostly cloudy skies. [details] Sat86°F64°FMostly cloudy skies. [details] Sun84°F59°FConsiderable cloudiness. [details] Mon82°F59°FConsiderable cloudiness. [details] Tue81°F59°FMostly cloudy skies. [details] Wed84°F59°FPartly cloudy skies. [details]

Kilimanjaro Weather Month by Month

The Long Dry Season: June to September

The long dry season is a great time of year to climb the mountain. Temperatures are a little colder than the short dry season (January and February) but overall conditions are excellent with very little chance of precipitation.

The Short Wet Season: October to December

The short rains come between October and December. The timing of this season is a bit less predictable than during the long rains. We don’t recommend climbing once the rains have set in.

The Short Dry   January to February

This is a popular time to trek Kilimanjaro. Especially during late January and into February, temperatures are generally a bit warmer than between June and October. Though this can vary from year to year.

The Long Wet Season: March to May

Towards the end of March, when the trade winds blowing across the Indian ocean come in contact with the mountain, the long rains begin. We don’t offer climbs during this season as the rain can be heavy, making the trails wet and dangerous.

Kilimanjaro Weather on the summit

Most trekkers start their climb to the summit at around midnight. It’s bitterly cold, often with snow or ice on the trail. We aim to get to Uhuru Peak at sunrise, as mostly the skies clear and you’ll be treated to vast panoramic views of Mawenzi and out over the African plains. At the summit, Uhuru Point, the night time temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius). Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s great height, the mountain creates it’s own weather.

Read more about the trail conditions, sleeping on the mountain or the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.


In our all inclusive Kilimanjaro climb packages, we aim to offer the best combination of low prices and great quality for you to climb Kilimanjaro. We certainly do not offer the cheapest prices for a Kilimanjaro climb but we do believe we offer the best prices.

And if you compare what we include with the cheapest operator companies you will nearly always find the cheaply priced Kilimanjaro climbs turn out to be more expensive than you think.

All inclusive Open group prices to climb Kilimanjaro

Our prices for open group Kilimanjaro climbs in 2021 and 2022 are set out below. For prices for private and tailor-made climbs please contact us directly with your specific requirements.

  • Marangu route– 6 days from USD 2450
  • Machame route – 7 days from USD 2540
  • Lemosho  route– 7 days from USD 2590
  • Rongai route –  7 days from USD 2630
  • Lemosho  route– 8 days from USD 2670
  • Northern Circuit  route –  9 days from USD 2999

We are also happy to accept payments in Euros and US Dollars and can accept payment by credit card or bank transfer.

What is included in our prices to climb Kilimanjaro?

We are 100% straightforward in explaining our costs for a Kilimanjaro climb and include in your price pretty much everything except items of a personal nature. The only extras you have to pay are the evening meal at the hotel before and after the climb and tips for your crew.

This is what we include in our best prices to climb Kilimanjaro

For your safety as you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Qualified guides that have been carefully selected and trained by us
  • Minimum of 1 guide for every 2 clients
  • National Park Fees and Rescue Service Prepaid
  • Chief guide carries a Pulse Oximeter, used to take blood-oxygen level readings of clients twice a day
  • Emergency oxygen provided on every climb (for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid)
  • Complete First Aid kit (for use in emergencies only)

For your health as you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Complimentary 3 liters of mineral water (per hiker) for the first day on your climb and 3 liters of purified water per person per day from night 1 on wards
  • Lashings of healthy tasty food
  • Twice daily health checks by guides
  • High summit success rates and client satisfaction

For your comfort as you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Complimentary meet and greet on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport
  • One arrival & one departure private Airport transfer per group between Kilimanjaro Airport and your hotel in a private vehicle with driver
  • Return transfers between the hotel to the start / finish point of a climb
  • Best premium hotel included as a standard option
  • Hotel accommodation includes storage facilities for excess luggage during hikes
  • Superior quality camping equipment (tents, sleeping mats, – not applicable on the Marangu route as all meals are served at the camps in designated dining halls
  • Table and chairs provided on all climbs
  • Mess tent on all climbs
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as hot drinks on the mountain
  • Food of premium quality and of a bigger variety on the mountain
  • Hot lunch is prepared at the lunch stop and served with table, chairs (and inside mess tent in case of bad weather), except on day 1 of the hike where climbers are provided with a packed lunch. (Not applicable on the Marangu route as all meals is served at the camps in designated mess halls)
  • Sleeping mattress (not applicable on the Marangu route)
  • Water for washing up daily
  • Porter to carry your duffel bag, with maximum weight of 15kg / 32 lbs, from one camp to the next camp
  • Kilimanjaro National Park certificate for your successful summit attempt

And for being responsible about your Kilimanjaro climb

  • We are a member of  Leave no trace
  • Fair and ethical treatment of porters
  • Complimentary Flying doctors membership (Emergency Helicopter evacuation in case of emergency – T & C’s apply)
  • We support the local schools, orphanages, Support local entrepreneurs etc
  • Salaries paid to the mountain support crew as per KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park Authority) guidelines.
  • Members of Kilimanjaro Guides Association (KGA) and Tanzania Porters organization (TPO)

And to be straight-forward, the only things we don’t include in our prices to climb Kilimanjaro are:

  • Airfares and departure taxes
  • Personal gear
  • Tips for guides, porters and cook
  • Entry visa for Tanzania
  • Vaccinations
  • Travel insurance
  • Dinner in the hotels before and after the climb

So for the best prices to climb Kilimanjaro please do enquire now

Great Value

Quality services at the best prices make our adventures great value for money. Having essential items like Accommodations, experienced guides, National Park fees, meals, all ground transportation, sightseeing and entry fees included in the trip cost allows you to better budget for your big adventure.

Our excellent safety record, outstanding service, and commitment to responsible and sustainable travel practices guarantee you unsurpassed value for money.

  • Your tent is set up with you personal pack inside
  • Your dining tent is set up and ready for meals when you are.
  • Your continual health monitoring
  • B24×7 Support, On and Off the mountain.
  • We build more acclimatization time into all our treks. It’s the single biggest factor in summit success
  • You may want to bring some older items of warm clothing as gifts for your guides and porters.
We Create Excellent Adventures!

Bigtime Kilimanjaro climb trips have been featured in the world’s most prestigious travel guides, blogs, and newspapers including: Today, Explore Magazine, Outpost Magazine, Tripadvisor, Fodor, Lonely Planet and more.

International  Flavour

Our travellers come from all over the globe. When you join one of Great Kilimanjaro Trek’s small group adventures, you can expect a fun mix of nationalities to share the trails with – Typically leading to plenty of interesting conversation and lots of laughs!

Contact Bigtime Kilimanjaro and start planning your adventure now.


Kilimanjaro Trekking

Starts $2,240

Per person

Kilimanjaro 0848 Ppbigtime

7 Days Machame Route

starts $2,370

Per person

Treking On Kilimanjaro Plateau Between Clouds And Snow Bigtime

8 Days Lemosho Route

starts $2,150

Per person


6 Days Marangu Route

Starts $ 2,699

Per person

Kilimanjaro4 Fluorescence Of Africa

7 Days Umbwe route

Starts $ 2,699

Per person

Kilimanjaro5 Fluorescence Of Africa

6 Days Machame Route

starts $2,330

Per person

Machame Hut Camp3 Bigtime

7 Days Rongai Route


Enjoy Adventure at Mt. Kilimanjaro

Meet our best trekking Guides