What to look for in your Kilimanjaro trek package
So, you’ve found a suitable company for your trek. But before signing on any metaphorical dotted lines, you need to be absolutely sure just what you’re paying for. In other words, you need to ascertain what is and isn’t included in the price of the trek.
So don’t just ask your company what you are getting for your money’ ask what you aren’t getting. In other words, what you will need to pay out of your own pocket, in addition to the basic trek price. Because once you have this information, you’ll have a good idea of the overall cost of the trip.
Your trek package must include the following items:
- All park fees and any accompanying taxes. These fees are for both yourself and for your porters and guides. Because park fees are a considerable part of the cost, so these should always be included.
- The wages (and food) of your porters, assistant guides and guides
- Food and water for the entire trek. This is another essential item. You need to know exactly how many meals per day you get. Normally your crew will serve you three main meals per day plus a snack. Whenever I’ve trekked, this ‘snack’ has typically consisted of hot drinks with popcorn and biscuits. You will find that your crew will serve will these to you upon arrival at camp.
- Transport to and from the park at the beginning and end of the trek.
- Hire of camping and cooking gear. If you want to use your own kit, you should try persuade the agency to reduce their price by a small amount.
- Equipment hire. Your trek operator will have torches, ski poles, spare water-bottles available for rent. There will be a small surcharge for these, but make sure that whatever you agree is included in the contract.
- Any free night’s accommodation. Most companies will offer you two free nights accommodation – usually one for before the trek, and one after.
What else should be included – and what shouldn’t be
Climbers who book their trek before they arrive in Tanzania should make sure their contract includes transfers from and to Kilimanjaro Airport.
The tips, on the other hand, that you dish out to your crew at the end are usually not part of the package. But this is a whole other subject – please see our tipping advice page for an introduction.
For those negotiating with their Tanzanian operator face-to-face
The agency needs to include in their contract with you everything that they’ve said they will provide. This is important because, as you are probably aware, a verbal contract is simply not worth the paper it isn’t written on. The trekking companies all have standard contracts which should include most of the above. But they probably won’t include specific things such as the hire of any equipment or any free nights’ accommodation that you have managed to negotiate into the package. So make sure these are written in as well.