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Climb Kilimanjaro Without A Guide – Is It Possible?

Mark Whitman

Unfortunately it is not possible to climb Kilimanjaro without a guide.

In 1991 the Tanzanian government and Kilimanjaro National Park Authority changed its policy towards unsupported treks on Mount Kilimanjaro.

In short the regulations require that all trekkers are accompanied by a registered and licensed guide.

Trekkers need to register with the Parks Authority before beginning their hike, and need to sign in at each camp along their chosen route.

Trekkers need to stay on official Kilimanjaro routes and are prohibited from using bivouacs or caves for shelter. Wood fires are also prohibited.

The last two regulations necessitate proper camping with adequate camping and cooking gear. For this reason the standard Kilimanjaro trek includes not only a registered guide, but Kilimanjaro porters to carry tents, gas, food and a trekker's gear (see: Kilimanjaro gear list).

Hence, without proper planning and permission it is not possible to climb Kilimanjaro without porters as well.

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The average ratio of trekkers to support crew are: 1:4, 2:8, 3:12, 4:16.

Some tour operators offer lite versions where support crews are smaller and trekkers are required to carry more of their own gear (up to 12kg).

Trekkers also need to pay pretty hefty park entrance fees to climb Kilimanjaro. Depending on which route you choose and the number of days on the mountain, the fees range from $800-$1200 (including 18% VAT tax).

The combination of having to take a guide with a full support crew (incl. a cook), along with having to pay a park entrance fee means that the average 7-day Kilimanjaro trek costs between US$2,000-US$3,000 (incl. transfers). Tour operators who offer treks under US$1,500 are most likely cutting corners and not paying their staff a fair wages (see our guide on how much it costs to climb Kilimanjaro).

Tags: can you climb Kilimanjaro without a guide, climbing Kilimanjaro without a guide, can you climb Kilimanjaro on your own, climb Kilimanjaro without a guide, climbing Kilimanjaro alone

Mark Whitman

Hi, I'm Mark! Welcome to Climb Kilimanjaro Guide - the Web's No.1 Trekking Guide to Mount Kilimanjaro. This site is your one stop shop for everything Kilimanjaro. To date over 5 million people have visited Climb Kilimanjaro Guide, many of which have gone on to summit Kili! I hope you find all the answers you are looking for, but if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below!

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    1. Hi Mark, the park fees for Kilimanjaro are approx. $900 pp for a 7/8 day climb. In addition to this a guide will charge about $15-$20 per day. Not sure what your plans will be for food or camping gear, but the weight per climber can easily exceed 35kg when you factor in your personal hiking kit too, making porters a very good option. Here the cost ranges from $7-$10 per day. I think the cheapest you could sensibly do Kilimanjaro on with just a guide and maybe two porters is about $1200 pp. This excludes all transport / hotels pre and post. Hope this helps.

      1. Hi,

        Thank you for the interesting information about the Kili climb. Me and a friend, being experienced hikers, are searching for options to do the climb with a guide and a porter or two for the guide, but no porters for us. As you mention here, that seems to be possible option but it has been hard to find information about someone actually doing the climb this way. I was wondering if you could help us with two small questions:
        Have you any experience in doing it without porters for oneself? Do you know of any companies or guides that offer this option?

        Best regards,

        1. Hi Anna, Unfortunately I have never climbed Kilimanjaro without porters and I don’t know any companies that offer this type of service (although I’m sure there must be). There are some local operators who may offer a cut down / lite service with some porterage, but again I don’t know there names. My advice would be to approach as many operators as possible and ask whether they could taylor a tour with limited porterage. All the best!

          1. Hi again,

            Thank you for the fast response and advice. We will contact some operators and continue our search for a different option on Kili.

            All the best,

          2. Hello Anna,

            I was wondering whether you found any success in your plan? I was thinking of doing the same thing, but as you said, information is limited. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

          3. Hey Anna!
            I am wondering the same, whether you found a way to climb Kili as you wanted to. Any advise will be much appreciated. Thanks!

  1. Hi guys,
    2 friends of mine and myself would like to climb Kilimanjaro with a limited crew : 2 guides + 1 or 2 porters.
    We’ve planned to do it on mid of November 2016.
    Can you me provide me any contact who can help us to tailor our trip?
    Thanks in advance !


    1. Hi Mathieu, I’m not aware of any operators who can provide a cut down support team, there may be some local operators who could tailor a trip like this for you, but unfortunately I don’t have any one on hand to recommend. Hope you manage to find a suitable solution.

    1. Hi Michael, The Kilimanjaro National Park regulations stipulate that you have to have a registered guide with you at all times in the park.

  2. how many person climb kilimanzaro every year and what is the sucsses rate
    how much is cost per person all enclusive

    1. Hi Gajendra, there isn’t super accurate data on total trekker numbers a year, but we estimate that it is around 35,000 people a year. It could be as high as 50,000 though. Success rates vary by route and length. The longer routes that spend more time on the mountain have higher success rates than the shorter routes. For example, the 7 day Machame or 8 day Lemosho has a success rate over 80%, whereas the 5-day Marangu is probably closer to 65% or 70%. Hope that helps!

  3. Hello
    Please i would like to do the trekking solo by my self witout any porter or cooker..for me it’s not about reach the summit just to do it alone it’s possible by the government for 3 to 4 day by shortest road

    1. Hi Ali, unfortunately it is not possible to hike Kilimanjaro without a guide. Some operators offer trimmed down services that don’t include porters, but this means carrying most of the gear yourself. In terms of the shortest route to the summit, the 5-day Marangu is your best bet. This route has hut accomodation so you can definitely do it just with a guide.

  4. Hi Mark,
    We are a family of 2 adults and 4 children (ages 14, 12, 11, 9). Our family have done a lot of treking and our children have had experience with all that’s involved in multi day treks. Among others we trek to Annapurna Base Camp over a year ago (12 days) and we all had an amazing time!!
    Anyway just checking about prices for our family. We understand that we need to have a guide. However we are all use to carrying our own gear (tents, food, bedding, etc). Therefore do we need a porter? Also does the park have prices for children? Would there be a guide you know who would take just our family at a family rate? If for some reason one of our family members get effected by altitude then we all won’t continue. Thanks so much for your help!!!!
    Jane Cann

    1. Hi Jane, sounds like you have an amazing bunch of kids and you guys are amazing parents! There aren’t many tour operators who offer a cut down service on Kilimanjaro. Almost all include the full service with porters. You might need to shop around if you only want to take a guide, but unfortunately I don’t have anyone to recommend. You might need to also wait until your youngest is 10 years old, as that is the minimum age on Kili. Kids do get cheaper permits so make sure to let your tour operator consists of 4 kids. Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks Mark!!!
        Yes, they are a great bunch of kids. Our youngest turns 10 in Decemeber and we were thinking about doing the climb in March next year. I’ll have a look around. Thanks again for you time.

  5. I will spend 2days in Moshi so I want to go for one day track to Mandara hut..I suppose to find guide also?snd how much it normally cost?

    1. Hi Bella, unfortunately you do need a guide if you want to enter Kilimanjaro National Park. Some companies arrange walking tours in the park.

  6. Mark, my husband has some neck and back issues and we are considering either the Lemosho or Machame Routes and I am wondering if you have experienced the ride to Londorossi Gate. I heard it was a tough road and ride. Is it worth going out to Lemosho or is the trek similar as Machame with regard to difficulty. Lastly, do you recommend going from Barranco to Barafu in one day? We are trekking with an experienced hiker that lives in Denver and he wants to skip the Karanga camp and I’m a bit concerned since we live at sea level. Your advice is much appreciated.

    1. Hi Angie, The road to Londorossi is a little bumpy, especially if it has rained. The Lemosho has a slightly higher and wilder start than the Machame. Less people do the Lemosho so the trail is also quieter. But on day 3 the two routes merge. I’m a big fan of the 7 day Machame, although this stops at Karanga camp for the night. The 6 day stops at Karanga for lunch but then continues on to Barafu. I have done both the 6 and 7 day version and I would say the additional day stop at Karanga really helps, especially if someone in your party is not feeling well. I hope this helps!

  7. Ok, so what about for the endurance athlete?

    I live at 7,000 ft of elevation. I don’t need to acclimatize. I’ve ran to the summit of Mt Whitney and down round trip in 7 hours and 20 minutes. I don’t need to spend 7 days going up and down on relatively non-technical trail. I don’t need someone to carry my food, tent, water. I’m perfectly capable.

    I understand that guides are required. Is there any way to get a guide that would be willing to do this more as a fast-pack?

    I’m sorry. This isn’t meant to sound condescending. It’s frustrating to see something become so expensive when I have experience backing my capabilities that I can just go out and do on a weekend on my own. And honestly, I don’t want someone cooking for me.

  8. I have a question about being able to climb the mountain on your own without the need of a guide. Was it possible to climb on your own back in 1994 if you were part of the military?

  9. Hello, we would like to do a one day hike from Marangu to Mandara hut. Can we find a guide in Marangu? Thank you!

  10. Are there other treks in Tanzania that don’t require a $900 park entrance fee? I’ve trekked in Nepal and was wondering if its possible to trek from village to village someone where in the country? Thanks

  11. Do you think less expensive options might just not be paying as extensively for US marketing? I hate to assume their salary svelte is too blame.

  12. Hi mark. I want to climb with my son we both are experienced hikers. Looking to go in September. Looking at an eight day hike. Lemosho route. Any recommendations on tour operators. Or the best way to go about making plans. I am from the USA. Thanks

    1. Hi Henry, there are a few guides who will take you on a self-supported hike up Kilimanjaro. I’m not personally aware of any, I recommend reaching our to a few operators to see if they offer “lite” versions.

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