What signs do you need to look for when choosing a tour operator to take you on a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro? It’s a hugely important decision, so do your research well and early, says our expert, Safari Wanderer.
There’s no reason why a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro should be dangerous, but choosing a bad operator could make it exactly that. This decision is probably the most important one when you’re doing your planning. After all, your operator will be responsible for your safety on the mountain, your comfort and your chances of reaching the summit. So, you need to make sure that they measure up on a number of fronts.
Some people are more comfortable booking with an operator in their own country – but why? Many of the foreign-based operators actually use local trekking agencies to provide the guides on the mountain, so booking with a Tanzanian operator for your Kilimanjaro trek means that everything is controlled and managed by them locally. And in this day of internet, e-mail and Skype, you can ask a Tanzania-based operator all the questions you want, whenever you want. Search out a good, Tanzanian operator to take you to the summit!
Plan ahead, book ahead
Book your Kilimanjaro trek well in advance and you will benefit from the advice of your Kilimanjaro operator. A good operator will be able to advise you on important matters such as getting fit, sourcing the right equipment, what to bring in your daypack. And by planning ahead, you will have time to do some practice walks, trying out your boots and specialist clothing.
Read the reviews
However good your operator claims they are, you can get extra comfort from using the feedback given by those who’ve climbed with them before you. Don’t just spend a few seconds on this: read the reviews in detail. Have any concerns been expressed by visitors about safety, the food or the quality of the tents on their Kilimanjaro trek? What are people saying about the quality of their mountain guides? How do they treat the porters? Remember that climbing Kilimanjaro is a serious exercise and a poor quality operator who doesn’t pay attention to these matters may not get you to the top in comfort – or at all! If you don’t like what you read, if you have concerns, then it’s simply time to move on and find another operator.
Read The Operators Website
A good operator has to care about your safety on the Kilimanjaro trek, and they will want you to be prepared before you arrive. Check their website pages carefully – they should have something called ‘Trip Notes’ or something similar, giving you detailed information on how to be ready for your climb-of-a-lifetime. Are their mountain guides experienced and trained? Ask yourself: if the operator hasn’t prepared this information for its future visitors, is it likely to be your best choice to take care of you on the climb itself? On the other hand, if the information is helpful and comprehensive, then it is probably good evidence that they are professional. Enjoy your Kilimanjaro trek!