Summiting Kilimanjaro is certainly an achievable goal for many of you out there, and if you’re reading this post the chances are that you’re already seriously considering attempting this, which is certainly the first step to success.
But that’s not to say that climbing Kili is ever going to be a walk in the park. There are a number of things to consider before you book and set off on your trip, and perhaps most important of all those considerations is which tour operator you want to book with. This can play a huge part in whether or not you you have a successful trek and, even more importantly, whether or not you are safe and well looked after on this sometimes unpredictable mountain.
Here are five of the most important things to consider when choosing an operator for your climb
Be wary of rates that seem too good to be true – don’t cut corners
If the rates seem too good to be true, they most probably are. Be very wary of any operators who seem to offer much lower rates than the “norm”. These operators will often be less well organized, will use less reliable and lower quality equipment, and will provide less experienced guides with a less proficient level of English. None of these points are going to work in your favour, especially should you have any problems on the mountain, whether with your health, the weather or anything else.
Another likelihood with the “budget” operators is that they may well not pay or treat their porters fairly. More on this later.
So, be sure to book with an operator that offers competitive rates and provides good equipment, guides and so on. Don’t cut corners here. It’s not worth it. Never compromise when your health and safety are at risk. At Kilimanjaro Experience, this is our mantra, and one that we do everything we can to live by.
Check and then double check the operator’s ratings and overall quality
As when choosing your wine, price shouldn’t be the only marker as to whether an operator will give you the kind of quality you are looking for. You need to look a little further.
Get your detective hat on and do your research. Check TripAdvisor reviews and check online forums. Check testimonials on the operator’s site. But be wary of reviews that seem fake.
Beyond this, it helps if the operator gives you fixed details, brand names etc of the equipment they use, so that you can check the quality of this equipment elsewhere online.
If you are considering booking with us, you’ll also find various articles in the press that support our credentials.
When considering any operator’s credentials, summit success rate is often just as important as their safety and professionalism record. At Kilimanjaro-Experience, we have one of the best summit success rates on the mountain – somewhere in the vicinity of 90%.
If you’re still not convinced, call our consultants and let them win you over with their obvious first hand knowledge and expertize.
Verify the operator’s licences
All tour operators in Tanzania are regulated by the local government and are required to have various proper up to date licences for taking tours in Kilimanjaro National Park. You should be able to ask your operator to provide you with copies of these licences as required.
All the operator’s guides should also be licensed to take tours on the mountain. Again, operators should be able to provide evidence of this if required.
Don’t forget about ethics
A number of operators working on the mountain, even some of the more expensive ones, continue to pay and treat their porters badly. However, anyone that has climbed Kilimanjaro will know full well that these incredible men are absolutely integral to the whole venture. They are the real heroes of this mountain, and at least deserve to be paid and treated fairly for their invaluable service.
So, be sure to book with an operator who puts the porters first. Operators should have a maximum restriction on the bag weight that porters have to carry. At Kilimanjaro-Experience, we ask for your bag to be less than 12kgs.
At Kilimanjaro-Experience, we give a comprehensive rundown on how to tip the porters at the end of your trip.
Still undecided as to who to chose, give us a call and we’ll soon win you over?