Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget

lemosho route kilimanjaro

High park fees and logistical costs mean there is no such thing as a cheap Kilimanjaro climb. The best way to keep down costs is to form or join a group of four or more like-minded hikers, and to stick to the Marangu Route, which is more popular and busy than the other options, but also less logistically complicated. Even so, a Kilimanjaro climb is likely to seem pretty expensive by my standards. Worthy of consideration as a more budget-friendly alternative, nearby Mount Meru, protected within Arusha National Park, is Africa’s fifth-highest massif, and the three-day hike to its 4,566m summit is not only far cheaper bit it is also far less crowded, offers superior wildlife-viewing, comes with a lower risk of altitude-related sickness, and includes spectacular view to snow-capped Kilimanjaro.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 1

Moshi, arrival
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 2

Find your feet to Machame Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 3

A nice day to New Shira Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 4

Up to Lava Tower and down to Barranco Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 5

Over the great Barranco wall to Karanga Valley
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 6

To Barafu for a few hours rest
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)


day 8

Celebrations
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

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Kilimanjaro routes

Several different routes can be used to ascend and descend Mount Kilimanjaro. All have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for any given individual depends largely on their priorities. Consider, for instance, whether your sole priority is to summit the roof of Africa, or is it equally important to maximise wildlife viewing potential and opportunities for scenic…

Why climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Not only is Kilimanjaro the highest peak in Africa, reaching an elevation of 5,895m (19,340ft) above sea level, but it is also the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, a long-dormant volcano that towers almost 5km (3 mi) above the hot and dusty ash-strewn plains from which it rises. Viewed from the base, Kilimanjaro’s distinctive silhouette is one of Africa’s most breathtaking…

Affordable Kilimanjaro climb

The biggest costs associated with a Kilimanjaro climb are the high park fees and support costs. There is no way around these, but it will help keep things affordable to form or join a group of like-minded hikers, rather that travelling solo or as couple, and to stick to the very busy Marangu Route, which is the only one with mountain huts at every overnight stop, and poses fewer…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in October

Subzero nocturnal temperatures are normal throughout the year at higher altitudes, often exacerbated by wind. Nevertheless, October is a very good month to climb, with relatively dry and warm weather, and it is generally less busy than August or September. The short rains may start to kick in towards the end of the month, but after four months of dry weather, this shouldn’t be a…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in September

Credit: Bookmundi Dry and relatively warm weather can be expected, making September ideal for climbing Kilimanjaro in climatic terms, though extreme cold and possibly high winds are normal in the alpine and arctic zones. September coincides with summer holidays in Europe and North America, so the mountain tends to be very busy. Avoid the Marangu or Machame Routes in preference for the…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in May

Credit: Modern Day Marco May is very wet and although rainfall is lower than April, the ground may be waterlogged and forest trails will still be very slippery. Climbing Kilimanjaro is best avoided in May, though it does have the advantage of being very uncrowded. If you do hike at this time of year, best to choose the Rongai Route, which ascends the dryer northern slopes. Even then,…

Popular Kilimanjaro National Park Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Landscape | Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

For the average climber, Machame is probably the most reliable route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the roof of Africa...

Mountain View | Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (13 days)

Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (13 days)

Summit two of Tanzania's iconic mountain ranges in under two weeks...

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