I'm planning to climb the Kilimanjaro in September. I'll arrive on the 29th of August, stay in Moshi for two or three days, then start the hike. What I'm wondering now is whether I should book the tour in advance or whether I can just walk around in Moshi, check some agencies and decide spontaneously.
My main concerns are:
- Will there be available places if I book two or three days before the tour starts? Or are the tours usually booked out by then?
- How likely is it to fall for a scam when looking for tour operators?
- Is it cheaper to book in Moshi directly than booking in advance? And closely related to the point before: how can I distinguish between a good priced offer and a scam?
EDIT: After some research, I decided to book the trek in advance. As this is rather a gut feeling I don't feel this would qualify as an answer. I'll extend the question by the information I gathered instead:
- Tanzania has risen the tourist VAT by 18% by the 1st of July, this means prices are generally higher (1, 2).
- Prices from different travel agencies range between 1500€ and 2000+€
- wikitravel.org states (emphasize mine):
You can either organize your trek up the mountain from your home country through a travel agency, but you'll pay a lot more for this convenience, or, if you've got a bit of time, hop on a plane and save some money by organizing it in Arusha, Moshi or in Dar. Be advised that there are as many incompetent and dishonest trek organizers as there are good ones. Ask around to make sure your guide will deliver on his promises.
I'll happily gather some information locally and post an answer if this question hasn't been answered until my return.