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Is This A Joke? Tanzania Plans To Build An Extraordinary Mount Kilimanjaro Cable Car

Mark Whitman

Africa’s tallest mountain could very well be getting a Kilimanjaro cable car in the near future.

Tanzania is currently experiencing a boom in tourism and the country is actively seeking to capitalise on the success to a maximum.

50,000 trekkers climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year and, in a bid to boost tourism in Tanzania, plans have commenced to build a Kilimanjaro cable car on the iconic mountain.

The Kilimanjaro cable car would give those unable to make the week-long trek to the summit the opportunity to experience the mountain’s awe-inspiring beauty. According to the local news agencies, the Kilimanjaro cable car idea is specifically targeting those over 50 and unable to trek at altitude.

However, it will be also be an option for able-bodied tourists.

This project certainly won’t be the first of its kind; with similar projects having been carried out in South Africa, Italy, Sweden and the Himalayas. These projects have acted as a source of inspiration for the Mount Kilimanjaro cable car.

Tourism is Tanzania’s main source of hard income and the installation of the Kilimanjaro cable car could spike tourism numbers as high as 50%.

Feasibility studies are currently being conducted to see if the project is possible as well as exploring business plans, investment sources and potential profits. Reportedly, two international companies have already shown interest in taking on the project; one from China and one from a western country.

The route will run along the Machame Route, known for its spectacular beauty and being one of the absolute favourites on the mountain.

Environmental and Social Impact assessments are being carried out by Crescent Environment and Management Consult Limited, with the goal to have as low an impact on the environment as possible. If the assessments are successful, the plan for a Kilimanjaro cable car is likely to go ahead.


Race to increase profits with Kilimanjaro Cable Car in mind

To climb Kilimanjaro, trekkers need to go with a licensed mountain tour operator who takes them up one of the approved routes on the mountain.

Compared to the famous Machu Picchu trek in Peru, with its seasonal permit limitation, there are no such limitations on the amount of Kilimanjaro permits available to tourists per year. The limitations that apply regulate the activity of trekkers and tour companies.

Tour operators are charged a licensing fee to operate on Kilimanjaro and trekkers pay a permit fee of around $1000 to the Kilimanjaro National Park to climb the mountain. This makes the costs of trekking up Kilimanjaro quite expensive with tour operator fees ranging from $2000-$4000 per person.

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Is it a good idea to build a Kilimanjaro Cable Car?

However, not everyone is happy about the prospect of the Kilimanjaro cable car.

Porter and guide groups have made it clear that they are very much opposed to the Kilimanjaro cable car as it could lead to a decrease in the number of climbers, which would impact the job opportunities of nearly 250,000 porters, their families and entire villages they support.


Porters carrying gear for hikers on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Another argument against the Kilimanjaro cable car would be that it could detract from the novelty of climbing the mountain, which is a once in a lifetime experience. Isn’t it a challenge worth savouring?

Wouldn’t the summit trekkers of the future have to clarify that they actually trained for months and then climbed the entire Machame Route and did not take a Kilimanjaro cable car? Would they have to document the journey more extensively to prove their achievement? All these questions need to be addressed before the race to secure more money begins.

A petition has been launched to keep Kilimanjaro ‘cable car free’. You can read more about it in this article on Change.org.

Would you take a cable car up Mount Kilimanjaro? Let us know in the comments below. 

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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. Really?! 250,000 porters?! If that number is correct, then there must be no wilderness experience there now, so there’s not much to be lost by adding a cable car to the summit.

  2. Dear Mr. Whitman
    To introduce myself to you I am a Tanzanian having worked in the civil service for thirteen years and in the private sector for forty years. I am also the founder Chairman of the Tanzania Association of Tour Operators based in Arusha Tanzania.
    Most likely you are aware of an attempt by an investor and the government to have Cable Cars on mount Kilimanjaro. I and a host of tour operators, mountain guides, porters, cooks, and the public at large are against this idea as we are of the opinion that Kilimanjaro must be kept pristine. If you share our point of view you would be doing us and this conversation minded nation a great service. I need you to voice your staunch opposition to this destructive project to the Minister for Tourism and the Minister for Environment to voice your opposition to this mischievous project.
    I take this opportunity to thank you in advance. Any additional support you can come up with will be highly appreciated.

    1. I have been very vocal in local circles against cable-cars on Kilimanjaro I am badly in need of some support from external sources to build up support for my idea. Could you assist by drumming up some support from your end?

      Many thanks, Best regards, and stay safe.

      Merwyn Nunes

        1. Hey am also against about this distractive idea to our Kilimanjaro mountain environment we need a sustainable tourism and not destructive one. Thanks I am Joseph a student from sokoine university of agriculture indeed I study bachelor of tourism

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