Porter Welfare:
Why you should care

A good indicator of a quality company is how well it treats its employees.

This is true not only in the United States and western countries, but it holds true for companies all over the world. Poor treatment of Kilimanjaro crews is a huge problem on the mountain. Everyone who climbs Kilimanjaro needs to know what is invisible to most tourists - what happens behind the scenes.

Porters are often underpaid, or not paid at all. They don't always have the right clothing for the extreme temperatures. They don't always have the proper shelters. They don't always get fed adequately. Logically, this is moreso a problem with low budget operators, who skimp on costs to keep prices low, but not necessarily.

How can you tell that a company treats its staff well?

Luckily, there are independent organizations who look out for the porters on Kilimanjaro. The Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project (KPAP) and the International Mountain Explorer Connection's (IMEC) Partnership for Responsible Travel are organizations that monitor companies on Kilimanjaro to ensure that staff are treated properly - in terms of pay, food, clothing and shelter.

To be recognized by KPAP and IMEC as a partner company is quite a statement, considering that there are several hundred companies on the mountain, yet ONLY A FEW DOZEN comply with IMEC's Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment.

Below is the list of US partner companies:

  • Alpine Ascents
  • Deeper Africa
  • Global Adrenaline
  • Global Alliance for Africa
  • International Mountain Guides
  • Kiliwarrior Expeditions
  • Mountain Madness
  • Peak Planet
  • Summits Africa
  • Thomson Safaris
  • Tusker Trail and Safari
  • Wilderness Travel
  • World Expeditions

These companies are the best companies on Mount Kilimanjaro.

You can't go wrong by going with any one of these operators. They all run high quality, safe tours with experienced and knowledgeable staff.

The drawback is that nearly all of them are expensive operators charging between $3,500 to $6,000 per person. And as I noted before, the extra luxuries are not worth the premium.

But fortunately for us, there is ONE mid-priced operator in this select group.

Who is the best guide company on Kilimanjaro?