Pre-booking a Kilimanjaro Climb
As we have explained, you can climb Kilimanjaro for much less than what expensive climb operators advertise on their websites if you follow the directions outlined. But even so, there are many people who may want to pre-book a climb due to the inherent risks of finding a guide and company in Tanzania.
Quality of climb may be compromised
The chances of ending up with a terrible guide and company are much higher if you try to arrange your climb in Tanzania than if you pre-booked with an operator.
Let's face it. The top operators on Kilimanjaro have plenty of clients. They won't discount their price for you and they don't have availability. Their climbs fill completely several months prior to the start date and their staff is assigned work regularly. The reputable companies are well organized and do not want to try to assemble a team and gather supplies to do a last minute climb because it may jeopardize the standards of their service.
The companies that are willing and able to take you up the mountain immediately, at a discount, tend to be the more desperate, mediocre operators. Mediocre operators tend to agree to everything the client requests to get you to pay upfront. Then to make up for the low price, they have cut lots of corners with supplies and service or they will demand more money once the climb has begun or threaten to stop the trek. Be very careful when dealing with tour companies in country. There are lots of scams that target tourists on the mountain.
Pre-booking is convenient
Most people who visit Tanzania do so on a holiday and their time is limited. In these situations, it may be worth it to book ahead of time to eliminate the stress of trying to organize a climb upon arrival. With most operators, your entire trip can be booked through them, from the airport transfers, to hotels, to rental gear, and safaris. You can pay up front so you do not have to carry excessive amounts of cash on your trip. (Only pay up front to reputable climb operators, with an established history of service and honesty.)
There is value for the convenience and the peace of mind, knowing what dates you will climb, and that you will be taken care of once you are in country. Most people book their trips six to twelve months in advance. And once a climb is booked, they only need to focus on preparing for the trip. Even if you pre-book a trip, there is plenty to do - training, obtaining visas, assembling gear, getting vaccinations - in preparation for your Kilimanjaro climb.
If you don't mind the uncertainty surrounding the quality and safety of your climb, then a last minute arrangement to climb Kilimanjaro can certainly save lots of money. If not, pre-book your climb with a good company and enjoy your holiday.
Best of luck!