Let’s face it, it is very intimidating to fly half way around the world to a strange and foreign place and climb one of the highest peaks on Earth. Climbing Kilimanjaro seems like such an unrealistic goal, more of something you would see in a movie versus actually doing it. But thousands of people do it every year. Choosing the right Kilimanjaro operator is key to having a successful and safe climb.
Where to Start?
We recommend doing your homework. Of the more than 200 operators on Mt. Kilimanjaro only about 20 are reputable. But how do you filter the good from the bad? Anyone can set up a nice website, copy and paste content and take bank transfers.
In doing your research, you’ll want to look for company reviews. They can be found on TripAdvisor, Facebook and other media sources. You should be wary of companies with few reviews or possibly fake glowing reviews. Ideally, you want a company with a long history of operations and consistent positive feedback. For instance, Peak Planet has more than 10 years of experience leading clients on Mount Kilimanjaro, and there is no shortage of independent testimonials available for our potential clients to read. Our client satisfaction rating is over 99%. By providing high quality services, we get clients who are referred to us by previous clients and even repeat clients.
In addition to reviews, you will also want to look into the type of equipment used. Many budget operators use worn-out and damaged equipment that shouldn’t be on the mountain. Or worse, they use found materials to build their tents, such as tarps and plastic sheeting for the staff shelters.
We use only brand name, heavy duty equipment on the mountain and we take it out of rotation if it becomes worn or damaged. We want clients to have the best experience possible so we do not cut corners. A company that does not use appropriate equipment is not a reputable company.
Safety is paramount when climbing Kilimanjaro. Many things can go wrong when you are climbing in such an unforgiving environment. Injury and extreme elevation are the most common. Injuries can happen to anyone at any time. Our guides are trained in emergency response procedures and will help get you safely off the mountain if something happens. Many guides on Kilimanjaro do not have any training beyond the basic education provided by park. Reputable companies have advanced training and continuing education so that the guides continue improving their knowledge and skills. Our guides are trained to recognize altitude sickness symptoms and can aid you in safely summiting Kilimanjaro, or if the need arises, they can escort you down from the higher elevations for a helicopter evacuation. We are one of the few operators who enroll our clients in AMREF Flying Doctors evacuation insurance so that we can get injured people to the hospital if the need should arise.
In conclusion, choosing the right guide service is the single most important decision you can make when planning your Kilimanjaro climb. You want the experience to be not only memorable, but safe and successful as well.