Summiting Kilimanjaro is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for most travelers. To make it to the top, you’ll have to put in long hours of training, spend thousands of dollars, and take a lot of vacation time. It’s not a journey you can (or should) attempt alone, and it would be heartbreaking to travel all that way and not reach your goal. That’s why choosing the right tour company to climb Kilimanjaro is the most important part of your trip.
All companies featured on this list are approved partners with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), which monitors the treatment of porters on the mountain to ensure that they are paid fairly, do not carry excessively heavy loads, and are provided with comfortable accommodations and three meals a day during the trek.
Wildland Trekking aims to get guests away from the crowds on Kilimanjaro’s slopes, and starts their trips on the Rongai Route before merging with the more popular Marangu Route. Wildland’s 10-day journey includes plenty of time for acclimatization, which is crucial for hiking at high altitudes.
As Wildland says, “It takes a team, not an individual to reach the summit of Africa,” and the company truly values and invests in its porters.
Exodus Travels offers trips on two different routes on Kilimanjaro, the scenic Rongai Route and the slightly longer Lemosho Route. (Pick the Lemosho Route for the best chance of success—Exodus Travels has a 96 percent summit rate on this trail).
Spend summit night under a full moon by choosing one of Exodus’ full moon departure trips, or opt for a woman-powered trek with an all-female crew trip.
Abercrombie & Kent
Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) boasts an incredibly high summit rate, with 97 percent of clients making it to the top. (The average success rate on Kilimanjaro is 60-70 percent.)
The secret to A&K’s success lies in its preparation. Every climb will feature first-rate safety and emergency equipment (including oxygen and a portable altitude chamber), proper nutrition in the form of fresh food, and comfortable campsites complete with private toilets.
Every A&K guide on its Kilimanjaro trips are certified Wilderness First Responders—and most have completed over 200 summits.
Every year, MT Sobek operates an annual Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness First Aid training in Tanzania to ensure their guides are prepared for anything on the mountain.
When you are focused on the summit, you might forget to consider the scenery along the way. Fortunately, MT Sobek has done the research for you, and follows a unique trail over the Machame Route, through the Great Barranco Valley, and over the Western Breach for some of the most beautiful views on the mountain. This path also allows for plenty of time to acclimatize (including spending the night in Kibo’s crater before making the summit push), contributing to the company’s 98 percent success rate.
Not a fan of camping? Sign up for Intrepid Travel’s Marangu Route trip, which overnights in mountain huts along the way instead of tents. Machame Route treks are also available, as are trips that combine Kilimanjaro with a relaxing safari.
Intrepid Travel operates with a strict ratio of one guide for every two clients.
Ultimate Kilimanjaro helped Anne Lorimor become the oldest person in the world to climb Kilimanjaro—so the odds are good that they can help you reach the top as well.
The company has been leading trips up the mountain for over 15 years and leads over 150 climbs annually.
Pristine Trails Adventures & Safaris
Pristine Trails Adventures & Safaris is locally-owned. Owner Edward Lyimo was born and raised in Tanzania and worked at another tour company before deciding to start his own operation. Under the “Pristine Promise” all guides have extensive experience (and are Wilderness First Responder certified). Guides and cooks are re-trained each year during the low season.
Guests will sleep in roomy Mountain Hardwear tents during the trek, atop local-made sleeping mats that will increase their comfort levels.
Leave Kilimanjaro better than you found it on a trip with World Expeditions. This eco-minded company asks its guests to pick up 10 pieces of litter each day of the trek, helping to keep the mountain pristine.
World Expeditions has been offering Kilimanjaro treks for over 25 years, and is one of just a few companies that offer trips up the less-crowded Shira Route and Northern Circuit.
Kilimanjaro trips are expensive, but budget-minded travelers can find some good deals with G Adventures. G Adventures hikes are a little more basic than the others on this list (you won’t find private toilet tents on these expeditions.) However, G Adventures’ summit rates are still very high, varying from 90 percent to 96 percent depending on the route.
There are lots of Kilimanjaro trips to choose from with G Adventures, including tours that combine Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and Zanzibar.
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