Climbing Kilimanjaro is difficult. Who you choose to book your climb with will significantly increase your chances of safely reaching the summit. When choosing a Kilimanjaro operator, it is important to consider the following factors:
Experience and qualifications of the guides
Look for a company that employs guides who have a lot of experience leading treks on Kilimanjaro, and who have the necessary qualifications and certifications such as Wilderness First Responder (WFA) It is important that the guides are WFA certified, that way if there is an issue on Kilimanjaro they are trained to handle it.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is not easy. It is a 19,341-foot mountain. Failure to adapt to the elevation is the main reason people fail to reach the summit. Make sure the company you choose has a success rate of safely reaching the summit. Ask about their safety procedures and emergency response plans.
Our guides have actually gone out and found lost clients for other trekking operators. Don’t let this be you, go with a company that is responsible and safe.
We have also seen people staggering, stumbling, and alone coming down off the summit. This won’t happen with our clients. We have a 1-to-2 guide-to-client ratio. On summit night, we also send our senior porters up with you. You’ll never be alone and you’ll have at least two of our mountain crew with you at all times.
Consider the group size. Some operators have more than twelve people in a group. That was the case with the person who got lost. The operator booked 30 people in the group. That’s why it was so easy for the client to get lost. It is hard to keep track of so many people. Smaller groups tend to be safer and more enjoyable.
Look for a company that provides a good ratio of support staff to clients, as this will ensure that you have the necessary help during the trek. Again, we have a 1-to-2 guide-to-client ratio. On summit night, we also send our senior porters up with you.
Make sure the company provides good quality equipment and that they have a good reputation for taking care of their equipment. Many operators buy the used gear from the larger, more reputable companies. Or worse they make tents from tarps. Budget operator’s tents will leak when it rains and topple over in the wind.
Reviews and Reputation
Research the company’s reputation and read reviews from past clients. This will give you a sense of their level of customer satisfaction. Be wary of companies that have hundreds of reviews. Most of them were probably purchased and not real.
Compare prices among different companies. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best choice. Make sure the company focuses on safety, experience, and reputation.
There are three levels of operators on the mountain. Luxury, Mid-Range, and Budget.
Luxury is for those who choose to rough it as little as possible. They have matching tents and uniforms. They spend a lot of money on advertising and pass that cost on to you.
Mid-range operators are the operators that most people climb with. They offer services comparable to the Luxury operators without all the glitz and glam.
Finally, there are the budget operators that, as we previously mentioned, skimp on equipment, food, and safety. They also cut corners by not being members of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) or Leave no Trace.
Remember, making the summit of Kilimanjaro is probably the reason you choose to book your climb in the first place. If you don’t choose a reputable operator to climb with you are decreasing your chances significantly. Not only are you risking not making the summit, but you are also risking your life. Choose a Kilimanjaro Operator that is a member of KPAP. Chose one that focuses on safety and increases your chances of making the summit. Make sure they are Kilimanjaro experts so they can focus on you and the work while you focus on having an amazing experience.