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Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

Calgary, Canada
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16 posts
14 reviews
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Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

Hello everyone!

Kili can be a budget buster but it's one of those 'must do's' for most of us as well so here are some tips to finding the best deals without compromising quality of the tour companies. The most important piece of advice is to wait till you arrive in Moshi or Arusha before booking anything. Have your list of reputable companies and contact them asking when they have groups going to climb Kili. If you are happy with the date and route they are taking make sure you specifically ask HOW MANY PEOPLE are in the group. This is your tool for negotiating a better price. I was able to find a group of 9 people going on a 6 day Machame Route for $1,200 each person all inclusive with a reputable company excluding tips. I met a few groups who arranged that same trip prior to arrival in Tanzania and they were charged $1800 per person. Opting out on extras such as airport transfer (you can get a shuttle for 10,000 Tsh but they're not easy to spot, you have to go looking for them at the Kilimanjaro airport parking lot) and expensive hotels (you can find decent rooms yourself for $10-$20 /night) will bring the price down considerably.

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM:

Another thing that isn't advertised that every one should consider is supporting a company that treats their porters fairly. I was informed by a european Kili guide that there is an NGO in Moshi called Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) They have been working hard trying to give porters a voice in this industry. You would be surprised to find that most of the trekking companies do not give them adequate pay, food or even shelter on the mountain. This NGO tried implementing through the help of the government, a partnership program that would recognize the tour companies who are complying with the standards they've set. Unfortunately politics have got in the way and many of the big tour companies with financial influence within the government managed to ban this organization from the park and forcing them to take down their list of companies still adhering to the standards of being publicly displayed. I managed to get the list, updated as of Feb 14, 2014 so here are the companies still abiding by these standards set out from KPAP:

MOSHI:

AFRICAN SCENIC SAFARIS- www.africanscenicsafaris.com

AMAZING USAMBARA TREKKING - www.amazingusambaratrekking.com

GLADYS ADVENTURE - www.gladysadventure.com

MOUNTAIN KINGDOM SAFARIS - www.mksafaris.com

REAL LIFE ADVENTURE - www.reallifeadventure.com

TREK2KILI - www.trek2kili.com

ARUSHA:

AFRICAN ZOOM - www.africanzoom.com

BIG EXPEDITIONS - www.bigexpeditions.net

DIK DIK TOURS - www.dikdik.ch

DUMA EXPLORER - www.dumaexplorer.com

EAST AFRICAN VOYAGES - www.eastafricanvoyages.com

FAIR TRAVEL TANZANIA - www.fairtraveltanzania.com

GOOD EARTH TOURS AND SAFARIS - www.goodearthtours.com

NATURE DISCOVERY / THOMPSON TREKS - www.naturediscovery.com / www.thompsontreks.com

SUMMITS AFRICA - www.summits-africa.com

Please show your support by considering these companies for your trip first. If you contact them, please mention that you considered them because they are associated with KPAP's Partner Program to help reinforce how important fair treatment to the porters is for us as a customer.

Contact info for KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project):

Karen Valenti - Program Manager

www.kiliporters.org

+255754817615

Headquarters are located behind The Coffee Shop and Glady's Adventure in Moshi.

GIVING AWAY CLOTHING TO PORTERS:

Many people generously give away their used gear to the guides and porters after completing their trek. But the they often sell that gear for money instead. Another alternative to consider is to take all your used gear to KPAP headquarters where they have implemented a lending program for porters to use the equipment free of charge.

GEAR FOR KILI:

Most companies will lend you gear for free or a fee but you can also find rental trekking gear at:

Gody Camping Equipment Hiring in Arusha: Godfrey - +255754374227 / +255782374227

Located just around the corner from the info centre near the clock tower

Gladys Adventure and Safaris in Moshi.

Or KPAP may lend you equipment in exchange for a donation to the organization.

Ponchos are highly recommended over a rain jacket as well as gaiters.

Hope this helps!

Safe Travels,

Haroula

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,485 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

The most important thing to consider when climbing Kilimanjaro is your own personal safety. People die on that mountain every year and if you choose a company which is more interested in your getting to the summit than your personal safety you have not made a wise choice. When you climb the most important thing will be for you to be able to come down to the foot of the mountain. Not all are all that considerate of your personal safety; but you will have to be.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
16 posts
14 reviews
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2. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

I appreciate you taking the time for your feedback but I don't think you read the whole post Karl, as your missing some key points I've made including sticking with reputable companies, especially those few who have chose to continue to abide by the standards set by the KPAP. There ARE GOOD COMPANIES with good reputations that can give you good deals. I am not one to go with some no name company off some tout on the streets. I have done a lot of research and had a list of companies with many positive reviews from online travel forums and sites such as TripAdvisor before approaching them individually. Kili is not to be taken lightly, it's a dangerous climb even for experienced climbers and finding a tour company with experience and a good track record is key for a safe and successful climb. That being said, some really good deals exist among these companies! I just wanted to share with everyone how it can be done.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Level Contributor
12,485 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

I read your entire post. Safety is never emphasized enough for these climbs, and most disregard it until they are in trouble on the mountain. There are sufficient posts on here which verify that. Some recent posts, within the past several months, indicate that there have been several who have died recently, one on the way down after summitting. When one gets in health trouble on the mountain, then it doesn't matter how the operator treated the porters and guides or whether they summitted or not or whether they came there and selected their operator or did in via the internet, or anything else other than getting them to some safe place where they can be treated and brought back (and one needs to realize that most hospitals there are sub-standard to usual Western standards and most lack basic equipment and medicines). One can never emphasize safety enough, and whenever there's a post about climbing Kilimanjaro I always emphasize safety on TA; even if it dissuades someone.

Arusha, Tanzania
3 posts
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4. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

Yes Karl,

safety is important during climbing kili. Most important safety to check is altitude sickness. Experienced mountain guides know symptons of mountain sickness and furthermore they know its danger. so it is important to make sure tourists make enough research before booking a kilimanjaro trek. It involves also testimony from past clients.

Sydney
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195 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

By way of update, KIPAP in no longer the authority on porter protection on Mt Kilimanjaro. The Tanzanian Porters Organisation (TPO) is the new governing body to which KIPAP will come under.

As always check that the respective organisation you are considering has a TALA A licence in the name of the company (they must give you copy of the document) if its not in their company name then dont use them as they sub contracting out to others on a voucher system that the TPO is trying to disolve (with some difficulty).

Check that the company pays at least 15,000 tsh per porter/per day which is the mandated minimum amount. Some big companies are paying half of that and somehow get good reviews on TA.

Sydney
Level Contributor
195 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

Sorry all, typo

Its the Tanzanian Porters Association (TPA) who is the governing body. They will also have a web site soon and there is discussion on whether they will also have a section where they name companies who are non compliant with the minimum mandated requirements, wages, conditions, safety, food, porter carrying weights, warm clothing. TPA will accompany treks and take feedback from porters, guides and trekkers as sadly the porters themselves can be threatened with no job if they also speak out.

Edited: 15 February 2014, 11:22
Arusha, Tanzania
3 posts
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7. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

Congratulations Hooley2u for Good Kilimanjaro climb reviews

Here is additional reputable Kilimanjaro trek companies:

MOSHI

Tusker Trails - http://www.tusker.com/

Kilimanjaro Safari Holidays - http://www.kilimanjarosafariholidays.com

Zara Travel - https://www.zaratours.com/

Keys Hotels - Enjoyable cheap accommodation and Kilimanjaro climb packages - http://www.keys-hotel-tours.com/

IN ARUSHA

African Environments - Premier Trekking and safari company - http://www.africanenvironments.com/

Jungle Adventure Tanzania Safaris - http://www.junglesafaristanzania.com

8. Re: Climbing Kilimanjaro on a budget and responsible tourism

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