Whether it’s learning a new instrument, starting your own business, or scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, there are so many different ways to make this one life count, to pilot your own destiny and experience the raw essence of this world, a culture, and ultimately…yourself.
But as we design our lives to be exceptional, who else is involved in reaching our goals? What resources go into getting us there, to those dreams? As we approach our bucket list these questions become critical. How responsible can I be? Who is being affected by my choices? How am I impacting the local ecology and economy? In the end, it all boils down to respect.
Mount Kilimanjaro: The Roof of Africa
Along with being the highest peak in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on the planet, 19,341-foot Kilimanjaro is wildly popular because it requires no technical gear or climbing experience. It’s the most straightforward of the Seven Summits, and, most importantly, it’s one of the most stunningly beautiful rocks to climb on Earth. Because of this we suggest choosing a trekking operator that prioritizes social and environmental responsibility above all else, and the best way to start is with KPAP-certified companies.
What is KPAP?
Founded in 2003, KPAP (Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project) is a non-profit organization based in Tanzania that ensures all Mount Kilimanjaro porters are treated with respect and dignity. Consider it the gold standard certification for ethical mountain trekking. KPAP started as part of Boulder, Colorado’s International Mountain Explorer’s Connection (IMEC).
“KPAP raises public awareness regarding the proper treatment of porters on Kilimanjaro, assists climbing companies with implementing procedures that ensure fair and ethical treatment of their porters, lends climbing gear to porters and other mountain crew free of charge, and offers educational classes to empower and motivate porters and mountain crew as funding allows.”
Why Does KPAP Matter?
Each year Mount Kilimanjaro attracts nearly 50,000 trekkers (that’s roughly 137 per day!) and generates $50 million in annual revenue for the country. These numbers translate to significant porter staffing, as well as major impacts to the regional economy and ecology.
For over three decades, Easy Travel been organizing treks to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and we are a proud member of an elite group of KPAP-certified Kilimanjaro operators.
Why Select a KPAP-Certified Kilimanjaro Operator?
When you trek Mount Kilimanjaro with a KPAP-certified company, here’s what you’re supporting. KPAP…
- Lends proper mountain gear to porters. For free.
- Advocates for fair wages and ethical treatment
- Provides free educational opportunities for the mountain crew
Accountability: Every KPAP-certified expedition includes a monitor porter who ensures that such standards are being upheld. In addition to carrying gear, these monitors check that all porters aren’t carrying any more than 20 kgs (44 lbs) and that they are being properly fed, housed, and receiving fair and equal pay.
Dignity: As a KPAP-certified operator, Easy Travel is dedicated to treating each and every porter with the uncompromising dignity they deserve. Easy Travel’s unflinching commitment to ethical mountain trekking is one of their many ethical and ecological commitments. Again, it’s all about respect. (Easy Travel Accreditations).
I’m on a Budget. Aren’t KPAP-Certified Operators More Expensive?
Though you might see a slight premium in KPAP-certified Kilimanjaro expeditions, any increase in price travels directly into the pockets of the porters, guaranteeing them fair wages while committing to more-than-adequate gear and provisions along the way. Also, KPAP is a nonprofit and funded entirely from grants and donations. Help support their efforts (Donate Today).
With porters humbly carrying our luggage the entire way (on average, it’s a 3-to-1 porter to client ratio!) this is the least we can do. Here’s a full packing list for hiking Mount KiIimanjaro: (check out our complete Kilimanjaro packing list: here).
Mount Kilimanjaro is an experience that will stick to your ribs forever. It’s not just the summit that’s mind-blowing; it’s the entire process of getting there. It’s the camping, the sunrises, the thin air, and most importantly: it’s the people.
The collective human effort to get you to that summit is substantial, and this is why Easy Travel offers only KPAP-certified expeditions. This ensures Kili ascents will have everyone’s health and welfare in mind: the trekkers, the porters, and the mountain. The result? Easy Travel’s expeditions are nonstop fun, singing and dancing all the way to the Roof of Africa. Call us today and let’s climb a mountain together.
Getting You There?
Easy Travel offers 5-9 day treks up Mount Kilimanjaro, year-round. Our guides and porters have decades of experience and offer safe, enriching mountain experiences for all ages, fitness levels, and goals. Contact us today.