I stumbled across REI’s Adventures website today announcing one of their Kilimanjaro and safaris in Tanzania. See REI’s Kilimanjaro Prices. The total cost for the trip, assuming you an REI member, is $5394, because you have to pay for the park fees separately.
REI, just like many companies, is not based in Africa nor do they have an actual company there. They are partnering with another company, which I think is Tusker Trails or Abercrombie & Kent, and then selling the trip for more because they have the audience. If I calculate the total cost of this trip, if you were to buy it when you arrive, it is about $2500, give or take a few hundred dollars. The value that REI brings is they already have the contacts who can set up the trip and give you a good experience. If you were to arrive in Tanzania and try to orchestrate this exact trip, you are bound to chance. You might find someone who could do it for cheap, be a great guide, and have good equipment, good vehicles – or you might find hook up with a local Fly Catcher, and the trip could be ruined. It all comes down to your patience level.
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My only qualm is that REI Adventures should be doing a Machame route camping trip, instead of the Marangu route, staying huts. I think the average REI attendee would be more a camper on the mountain and want a little bit more action vs. the lame, flat Marangu route. The cool thing about REI’s trip that I have not seen before is they have a great cycle trip on Day 13, which starts on the edge of this amazing sheer cliff, that is actually part of the Great Rift Valley.
Don’t get me wrong, REI does a few good things on their trips in Africa to help make it a little better. I have seen their trips before. The question is, do you have money to pay for this trip, or could you arrange on your own? That’s something you need to decided for yourself.