If you have always dreamed of Africa, but you felt as if your budget wouldn’t allow for this exotic locale, then think again! The real beauty of traveling to Africa (besides the heart-stopping landscapes, the friendly people and the breathtakingly beautiful animals, of course) is that you can tailor your visit to be as luxurious or as budget-friendly as you’d like.
When in Africa, it would be remiss to leave this humbling continent without seeing nature up close on a safari. Lake Victoria should also be explored in all of its grandeur, with visits to other natural attractions like Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Bongoyo Island.
However, many visitors arrive in Africa (Tanzania, to be exact) to do one thing and one thing only. They want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. This feat will entail several things, and in no particular order.
- You must be extremely fit. Don’t waste a ton of money to even attempt taming this mountain if you are in no physical shape to do so.
- You must also invest the time. Kilimanjaro can’t be climbed on an idle afternoon, but typically takes five to six days.
- And speaking of investment, you will need the budget. This will include transportation, climbing gear and fees, and don’t expect to cross this off of your bucket list without a decent bankroll to fund this adventure.
But surely there must be a few ways to cut back on the overall cost, right? Let’s take a look at a number of things that might leave you with a bit left over for that safari, after all.
Camping and Climbing Equipment
You will need very specific equipment when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and many tour operators will include this in their pricing. However, some will also offer the rental of equipment as an add-on, meaning that you may actually be able to purchase most if not all of the items cheaper than renting them. When it comes to tents, sleeping bags for Kilimanjaro and other necessities, you may be much better off finding these quality items used online. With this in mind, you can also either choose to dispose of them after your climb or to take them back home for your next big adventure.
While you can’t avoid the price on the flight to Africa, be sure to fly right into Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. From there, take public transportation into Moshi. Since this is a ten-hour bus ride, consider opting for the overnight bus, because this will also save you a night’s accommodation price. There is no need to include expensive airport transportation into your budget, after all.
Negotiate Your Tour Options
When you arrive in Moshi, definitely think about a local guide. Not only will you be helping to boost the local economy, but you will also put some of your hard-earned money back into your pocket. Also really consider any additions that may be offered along with the climb, and decide which are really imperative to your adventure. However, do keep in mind that this is a strenuous, dangerous feat, so never cut costs to go with a less-experienced crew or a larger group.
Know Your Routes
There are many different routes that can be taken up Kilimanjaro, so be sure to do your research before making an uninformed decision. Keep in mind that there are only a few routes that any climber who is not a professional should attempt. The Marangu route is the shortest, as well as the cheapest. The Machame route is next on the list, in both length and price, followed by Umbwe.
Documenting Your Climb
Some companies may also charge for photos, or you may find yourself thinking about purchasing a good camera at the last minute in an expensive shop. Be sure to investigate these options long before you board your flight to Africa. Read reviews on best hiking cameras, best binoculars for African trip and the like, and then make informed decisions on your purchases. Remember that chances are good that you will never have this experience again, so be sure to make plenty of memories.