Great questions to make you safe and savvy

One way to be a well-informed and competent Kilimanjaro climbing consumer is to know some very savvy questions to ask. By inquiring into these key areas, you not only ensure a great climb for yourself (and your group) but also the best possible environment for the porters who will return the favor by working hard to make you happy.

The best way to ensure that your climb is supported by well cared-for staff and porters is to require that they are a Kilimanjaro Porter’s Assistance Project Partner Company. Also you might want to see this article for more information:

How to Choose A Guiding Company

So you’ve decided to climb Kilimanjaro. How to know you’ve got the best group to get you safely up and down the…

Here’s what to ask:

  1. Are you a KPAP Partner Company?
  2. If they say yes, check on the IMEC website. Here is the most recent list of actual Partner companies.
  3. If the climbing company or organization claims to be affiliated with IMEC, again, check with the IMEC website. KPAP is the sole Tanzanian organization affiliated with IMEC.
  4. It’s possible that your climbing company may claim to be a member of a union or association. That’s fine, but please keep in mind that KPAP is the only independent Tanzanian organization that specifically monitors the key aspects of porter welfare in the Kilimanjaro area. What distinguishes them from membership organizations is that KPAP is independent and provides objective monitoring to determine if their Partner Companies are meeting minimum standards on every single climb on the mountain.
  5. You might wish to contact KPAP directly at You can ask specific questions about the Partner Companies.
  6. When you get a climb price, you need to know what you should bring as the suggested tip amount. That is a part of your overall climb cost.
  7. This tip amount depends on the size of your group and the number of days, so again, please kindly plan to bring enough money for adequate tips. Prior to your arrival, your climbing company should provide you with the number of crew (guides, cooks and porters) and what their tipping recommendations may be. You are both welcomed and encouraged to bring more in case you are particularly pleased about the performance of your crew.
  8. In order to ensure both a transparent and fair tipping practice, when you descend and it’s time to provide the tips, please consider tipping directly to each individual. If you give the money directly to the guides, please ensure that the amount for the porters is announced both in English and Swahili. This ensures that the porters know what their tips are, and that those who can’t speak or understand English are included.
  9. If you like the idea of women porters, consider asking the company if they have a policy for hiring female porters. This is a growing part of the community, as women often have to provide for their families as the sole income earner. Women have been climbing on Kilimanjaro for years and are just as competent and strong as the men. It’s a great way to support inclusion.

This list of questions is an excellent guideline no matter where you climb. IMEC was founded to better ensure quality of life and safe conditions for porters all over the world, in places where exploitation can be far too common. Your commitment to ensuring porter welfare by demanding to know conditions and tipping procedures and the like well beforehand communicates clearly to those climbing companies that you expect that those who support you are equally well-supported, as appropriate for local conditions. This ensures that you and I are welcomed visitors to these incredible areas, and that our dollars go a long way towards benefitting the communities that do a great deal to change our lives.

Summitting Kilimanjaro is one of the most incredible experiences you can have. I’ve done it myself, and I can speak for what it’s like to be surrounded by a joyful and competent crew. The guide/cook/porter team I went up with(KPAP Partner Company ETrip Africa) had been together for some six years, which speaks to how they’ve been treated as well as how well they’ve been managed. I strongly advise that you ensure the best chance of a successful summit as well as a fun time up and down the mountain by ensuring that your company is a KPAP Partner Company, that you get to know the remarkable people who are sharing your journey, and that you tip well for a job well done.

It’s worth it.

Photo by Tom Cleary on Unsplash