Expedition Kilimanjaro: Group Tour vs Private Tour

If you have decided to climb Kilimanjaro in 2018 – Congratulations! You are about to embark on the most magical journey of your life.

Climbing Kilimanjaro really is just as amazing as you imagine it to be, but like any expedition or adventure holiday, you need to plan it carefully if you are to get the very most out of your trip.  Your first decisions will include choosing a climbing company, deciding when to go, selecting a route to take, and whether to take a private tour or a scheduled group tour. All these elements add up to the perfect trip, and if chosen wisely, they will make a huge difference to the success of your climb.

Private Tour vs Group Tour

The company you choose to climb Kilimanjaro will be responsible for your safety and well-being on the mountain, and for the Mountain Guides, Cooks and Porters that assist you during your climb. If you want to ensure your crew are fairly paid, well fed, and fully equipped for the expedition, make sure the operator you choose is a member of KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project), and check their credentials on the official website.

KPAP accredited Tour Operators may charge you a few dollars more to climb Kilimanjaro than those who are not affiliated with the scheme, but if you want to ensure your porters are being treated correctly, it is a small price to pay.

When booking your Kilimanjaro climb, you have two options, a group tour or a private tour.  While you will trek the same route on both types of tour, there are significant differences between the two, as we outline below…

Private Kilimanjaro Climbs

Years ago, Private Kilimanjaro Climbs were reserved for those with a large budget and deep pockets, but today, they are priced to suit every traveller.  Available for singles, couples, and groups of any size, Private Kilimanjaro Tours offer freedom and flexibility that you just won’t get on a mixed group tour, and so if you are looking for a more personalised experience, this could be the perfect choice for you. Other key benefits of a private tour include:

  • It can start on any day of the year (Kilimanjaro National Park is open 365 days), and so you are not limited to fixed departure dates.
  • Your mountain guide and crew will be able to offer a more personalised service. This is simply not possible on group climbs, when the crew must cater for several different people with several different fitness levels.
  • Want to stop to take pictures? Want to have a rest? Want a snack break? With a private tour, you can stop as often as you like (within reason), and you don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone else.
  • You get to choose the route, the number of days spent on the mountain, and the standard of accommodations pre-and post climb.
  • With a private climb, especially if it is just a small group of close family and friends, there’s a good chance that you will get to know your crew personally – and this will make your Kilimanjaro experience even more special.

Kilimanjaro Group Tours

Climbing Kilimanjaro on a scheduled Group Tour is perfect for single travellers who can travel at any time of the year, and who would rather not climb on their own. Other points to consider about group departures include:

  • If you want to save money, one of the easiest ways to do so is by taking a larger group tour along one of Kilimanjaro’s shorter route such as the Marangu Route. These tours are usually the cheapest when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, but they are also the shortest, and with little time to acclimatize the success rates are low.
  • Group tours work well if all climbers have a similar level of physical fitness and can maintain the same pace. If certain members of the group did not prepare for the climb, it is exceptionally hard to keep everyone together (and everyone happy!).
  • Singles joining a group climb may will have to pay a substantial ‘single supplement’ if they are not willing to share a tent and pre-and post-climb accommodations with another member of the group. Read the fine print – a private Kilimanjaro climb just for you might be cheaper!
  • Your mountain guides will have to stick to the daily itinerary to ensure the group stays together and arrives at each camp on time, this allows little time for impromptu photo stops and breaks.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a life-changing experience and by choosing your climb carefully, you can make sure your path to the Roof of Africa is enjoyable… and most importantly of all – successful!

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