A friend and I are planning a trip to Africa in October and are keen to do the hike up Kilimanjaro. The only thing putting us off is the prices we have seen quoted by different companies on the internet. As a result we have decided it may be better to arrive in Tanzania and begin looking at tour companies for the trek once we are on the ground as this cuts ou the middle man.
Can anyone offer some advice as to whether this is a good idea and will save us money, or if we will end up paying a similar amount as quoted by various companies on the internet.
Also, if someone can recommend a tour company they have used which was good value that would be much appreciated.
For all potential replyers: please genuine advice and no spam (first time users adding a company's name will be deleted).
In general: just PM Alex so he can decide for himself whether or not it is something of value.
your idea is good and sound you may avoid some wrong proses of spending money.
But im not advice you on that way, if that good we may not even contact those tour operators online. first of all contacting direct a tour company, reduce some amount you may or ieither spent when u go straight by you're self. and being sure that you're going to do hike or climb, its better to contact aT Tour Operators.
Myself i have been Tanzania several times, once i have done to Kilimanjaro and twice i went to Selous Game reserves and Serengeti.
So it depends on you're budget , I used Wildness Safari (T) Ltd. i can not write much about their service but i can asure you that, one of the best tour operators in Tanzania.
you can contact them.
All the best
I am currently living in Tanzania & hoping to make the climb soon myself. Our thoughts are similar as far as showing up & seeing what happens. If time is not a concern, make your way to Arusha or Moshi, this will give an opportunity to inspect the gear & provisions of the operators. Trekking & Safari offers abound in the streets of these towns, gear, provisions, & ability to communicate with guides will be what sets the operators apart.
Tanzania has some fairly high park fees & with the case of Kilimanjaro last I checked they charge a separate fee per day ($60 USD) & per night ($50 USD), a rescue fee ($20 USD) plus entry fees for your support team. Safe to assume that the first $500 - $650 USD of your cost will go to the park & not the operator. After that expect to support the salaries & expenses of the 3-5 man team that is carrying your food & gear for the week. Easy to see how this adds up quite quickly. Good luck.
Thanks HillBilly, yea seems to be the consensus. Please let us know how you get along with your trek once you get there, i.e. how much it ends up costing you, whether there is much competition amongst tour companies or much room for people to join upon arrival, and whether you can recommend the company you end up using.
Hope you make the summit!
Couple more questions if you don't mind....
Was thinking about your post, and it seems possible that you're just cruising around Africa on you own accord without an organised tour (correct me if I am wrong in assuming this). This is pretty much what I ahve in mind, however do have one concern about arriving in Tanzania with such an idea.
Most of the Visa information I can find for Tanzania states that you need to show evidence of a return or onward ticket. Tanzania is my first port of call and I plan to spend 4 -5 months in the East and South of Africa before flying to Thailand, most probably from Jo'Berg.
Did you have a return or onward ticket when you arrived in or crossed a border into Tanzania? If an onward ticket, was it onward from Tanzania or from another country in the region. I can book my flight to Thailand before getting to Tanzania, but would prefer not to as this gives me the flexibility to stay longer on the continent if I am really enjoying it. And if I do need to have onward ticket, do you think it would be sufficient to show evidence of a ticket which fly out of South Africa, as opposed to Tanzania (i.e. will they presume that I will be making my way to South Africa and hence leaving Tanzania).
You may have no idea about the answers to these questions, but I just thought as you were winging it to Kilimanjaro you may also be winging it around the rest of the country and may have had a similar dilema when entering Tanzania.
i found these visa requirements on the Tanzania tourist board site:
Foreigners seeking to enter the United Republic of Tanzania should be in the possession of valid passports or any other travel document. The passport or any other travel document is to be presented to the Immigration Control Officer at any entry point, such as Border station, Airport or Harbour. The travel document must be presented along with one of the following:
A valid visa or
A residence permit or
N.B: A visitor must also present an onward or return ticket together with proof that he/she has sufficient funds to support himself or her self while in Tanzania.
As far as getting the best travel deal i think its best to get a comparison of various tour operators.We travelled as a team of 4 to the maasai mara,samburu,mt.kenya and the Kenyan coast.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Just to re-inforce the idea, DEFINITELY wait until you are there to book. There is no need to book in advance and its going to cost you at least 200 usd more if you book in advance. A climb can be organised with many of the hundreds of companies in Moshi/Arusha with a few days notice.
You should be looking at spending around 1200 usd. The cheapest you could get it would be just under 900 usd but dont go for it. Either you are doing a 5 day climb instead of 6, in which case you hugely increase your possibility of getting altitude sickness, or your porters are not being paid in order to cut costs (they would sometimes take a job if there are no others going in the hopes of getting some tips). Park fees are 60 usd per day, and camping fees are 50, so with six days that comes to 660 usd before any food has been bought or transport paid for. So, if you are getting it for less than 9000, question where the costs are being cut.
Besides that, just go to the towns and drop into a few places, there are so many companies. Ask to see their equipment first, I have had friends get good deals only to sleep in a tent at 4000m that didnt close properly!
And I would recommend altitude sickness tablets. Around 70% or more climbers get some form of altitude sickness, many of whom are either too sick to make it to the top or make it but dont remember. Taking the tablets greatly reduces the chances of getting AS or at least lessen the effects (I didnt even get a headache, I attribute that to the pills and taking 7 days to climb and thus aclimatising well).