Why Should You Care About Porter Welfare?
IF A KILIMANJARO OUTFITTER’S STAFF ARE TREATED WELL, YOU WILL BE TOO.
How are the mountain crews treated?
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.
Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project (KPAP) is the watchdog.
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 small portion comply with IMEC’s Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment.
The reason for operators resist KPAP initiatives is due to the greater expenses an operator will incur. The higher cost for running a climb means their retail prices must be higher too, which makes them harder to sell.
Sorting Through the Best Kilimanjaro Companies
The best companies on Mount Kilimanjaro are KPAP members.
These are the companies that not only have pledged to abide by a higher standard of care for their staff, but have proven it by allowing themselves to be evaluated by an independent organization. So it is important that one of your criteria in choosing a company is that it is a KPAP member.
Now, the drawback is that nearly all of the better KPAP companies are expensive operators charging $4,600 to $7,000 per person. And as I noted before, the extra luxuries are not worth the premium.
So are we forced to spend a lot of money to get good quality service?
There is a company that offers high quality service at a reasonable price.
Fortunately for us, there is ONE EXCELLENT mid-priced operator in this select group of companies. It’s one of the most reputable, well reviewed companies on the mountain today that has a long track record for professional service and safety.