Even if you are a confident and competent climber with plenty of experience it would almost certainly be a step too far to consider a solo climb to the summit of what is often described as the rooftop of Africa.
Using a reputable Kilimanjaro tour company is not only the best option in terms of getting the best out of your experience and maintaining a good level of safety throughout your journey; it is also not permitted to attempt the climb without the necessary guides and permits.
You may not want to go in a tour group, as such, and it is still feasible to plan what could be considered the nearest thing to a solo climb. That would involve arranging a private tour along with an experienced and accredited guide so that you can meet the legal requirements for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Here is a look at what you need to know and what your options are if you would like to get the best out of your trip to conquer this amazing summit.
The advantages of joining in a group
As a starting point, it is well worth emphasizing that it often pays to consider your options carefully when contemplating and planning this sort of adventure. Who you travel with in order to meet the legal requirements for tackling Kilimanjaro will have a fundamental impact on your safety and enjoyment throughout the trek.
A tour company like Nature Discovery sets the sort of standard you should be looking for when choosing your partner for your proposed trek. They have the ability to organize your safari as well as your Kilimanjaro trek, and they are the recommended Tanzanian partner for a decent number of trekking and safari agents around the globe. Certainly, someone like that would be a good starting point when doing your research and deciding who to use when organizing your trip.
In terms of whether you opt for a group tour rather than going solo with the help of a guide there are a number of pros and cons attached to the idea of joining a Kilimanjaro group tour.
One of the primary advantages of traveling with a group tour is that you spread the cost of your trip across a number of fellow adventurers. The cost per climber can be substantially reduced when you travel in numbers and that could be crucial if you have a more limited budget.
Another key point to consider would be the fact that it can often happen that you form meaningful bonds and develop a trusting relationship with other climbers as a result of your shared experience.
If you are an experienced climber, which is why you were maybe considering a solo climb in the first place, you may well enjoy the chance to provide moral support and inspire those around you while being part of the group.
Can you make changes to your climb requirements?
If you are still minded to try and take the solo route by relying on the services of an experienced guide in a private tour you do have some potential options to customize your trip.
The overriding factor that you need to keep in mind is that there are certain safety and medical requirements that need to be adhered to regardless of how many are traveling in the trekking party.
Supplies of emergency oxygen and the provision of a dining tent are the sort of things that are covered in the cost of a group experience and these become less expensive when shared across a number of people.
The bottom line is that there is less flexibility in terms of what you have to pay for and what’s included in your package when you make a group booking. The regulations imposed by the Kilimanjaro National Park do have a degree of flexibility built in. That means it is potentially possible to downgrade your requirements to a certain extent if you book a fully customized private climb in a small group.
Will it cost more to join a group as a solo traveler?
You will discover that it is standard practice to charge a mandatory single traveler supplement when you decide to join a group tour.
The reason for this is primarily due to the fact that your tent won’t be shared and that means the cost of this can’t be split. The supplement will also cover the expense of accomodation before and after your climb, which is also not shared.
Why would a private tour be a better option?
There are a number of distinct advantages attached to the option of choosing to take a private tour to climb Kilimanjaro.
A plus point is your ability to create a schedule that is tailored to your requirements. That sort of flexibility is not possible when you join a group tour. There are obviously cost implications attached to having that degree of flexibility but if you have the budget you can set the agenda and enjoy the climb to the top at your own pace.
It is also worth remembering that as well as the increased cost of taking a private tour rather than a group option there is also the factor of not having the sort of bonding experience that can often be integral to a challenge like climbing Kilimanjaro.
You will have your own reasons for deciding to travel solo when attempting to climb Kilimanjaro but, ultimately, you need to be mindful that it is not possible to actually be completely alone. This is because you will be required to have the assistance of guides and porters along the way.
There is also the physical aspect of trying to ascend somewhere as challenging as Mount Kilimanjaro alone. All the equipment needed to complete the task means you simply would not be able to do this by yourself, even if you were allowed to do so.
The best way forward when planning your adventure would be to talk to a trusted tour company who can guide you through all of the options so that you can make an informed decision.