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What to consider when planning a trek on Kilimanjaro

Jul 4th 2014 at 2:24 AM

Scaling the highest peak of Africa is a life-altering experience. Nestled in the confines if Tanzania is eastern Africa, MountKilimanjaro stands proud at 5,895 meters. It is a dormant volcanic mountain with three volcanic cones, namely Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. While the last volcanic eruption is dated to have occurred about 200,000 years ago, geologists say the volcano is only lying low and may erupt in the future. However, for now, Kilimanjaro offers some of the most exciting trek paths for the adventurous souls.

For those who enjoy conquering mountain peaks, Kilimanjaro gives that fabulous high. However, Kilimanjaro can be climbedonly with a licensed guide. Most tour service providers are associated with guides who are eligible to guide you through your trek up Kilimanjaro. Since the climb takes an average of five days, these guides organize camps along the path to make your stay comfortable. What’s more, they also help you through the acclimatization process and ensure your body adjusts seamlessly to the higher altitudes.

There are seven trekking routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The cost to climb Kilimanjaro can range anywhere between $750 and $5,000 per person. However, the most decent budget ranges between $2,000 and $3,000. The no-frills budget that tilts towards the lower priced trek packages usually take you through the smaller routes. These are usually four night and five day packages along the Rongai or Marangu routes. The other routes include Machame, Mweka, Shira, Lemosho and Umbwe. Of these, trekkers swear by the breath-taking beauty that one gets to witness along the steep Machame route. Most of the other paths for trekking along Mount Kilimanjaro take an average of six to seven days and the cost includes staying at camp-huts, food, drink and entertainment. There are several shacks that sell food and drink along the trek paths for trekkers to refresh themselves.

For those planning to travel the Umbwe route, it is advisable not to opt for those low budget tickets that some tour operators try to sell. This route is tough and is best suited for climbers acclimatized to mountain climbing. Besides, one needs a day to acclimatize to the weather and high altitude. Hence, when deciding on your budget, it is best advised that you research on and decide the best route to travel through.

There are several fees that you need to consider when planning a budget for the climb up Kilimanjaro. An entry fee is charged for those entering the park to start the trek and will vary for adults and children. This fee is charged on a per day basis; hence you will need to pay for the number of days your trek is expected to last. Most trekking operators include this fee in the overall budget they present to you and take care of getting you the entry ticket. Even the guide and porter fees are managed by the tour operators. However, it would be generous on your part to pay them a tip of about $50 for the guides and $15 for porter.

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