It is estimated that around 50,000 people attempt to Climb Kilimanjaro each year, and so there is plenty of work available for Kilimanjaro Porters, but sadly, these hardworking individuals are often overworked, under paid, lacking essential high-altitude hiking gear, and under fed by unscrupulous climbing companies who are prepared to cut corners to offer cheaper climbs.
As anyone who has climbed Kilimanjaro will know, the Porters really are the unsung heroes of the mountain, and without them, many of us simply wouldn’t make it to Uhuru Peak. Not only do they carry all our camping gear, food supplies, cooking equipment, and personal luggage, but they also collect fresh water each day, set up our camps, and do everything they possibly can to make our stay on the mountain comfortable… but many of them receive just $5 or $6 per day.
Since 2003, the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), a legally registered Tanzanian not-for-profit organization, has worked tirelessly to improve the working conditions of Kilimanjaro’s porters by implementing a Partner for Responsible Travel Program, which encourages Kilimanjaro Climbing Companies to voluntarily participate in KPAP’s monitoring and adhere to its Porter Treatment Practices.
These practises include porter treatment guidelines and tipping recommendations that, when combined, ensure that Kilimanjaro’s porters earn at least 28,000 Tanzanian Schillings per day (approximately US $12.50), that they are provided with 3 meals per day, and that they do not carry loads exceeding 20kg. Porters must also be provided with proper shelter and sleeping equipment, and they should be outfitted with proper gear for hiking at altitude.
One would think that this would be standard practice for any Kilimanjaro Climbing Company, but unfortunately, there are many companies out there, both Tanzanian and International, that are prepared to pay peanuts, provide their porters with just one meal per day, and advise unsuspecting tourists that tips are already included in their climb in a bid to sell cheap expeditions.
There is no such thing as a cheap Kilimanjaro Climb, and so if the offer you’ve received looks too good to be true, you can pretty much guarantee that your porters are being underpaid and unfairly treated.
In a bid to put a stop to this, KPAP has recently launched a brand-new website where those who have already climbed Africa’s highest mountain can complete a Kilimanjaro Climbers Survey. The more feedback they receive, the more they can do to stamp out the unfair treatment of Kilimanjaro’s Porters, and highlight those companies that are responsible for it.
So, if you’ve ever climbed Kili, please pop on over to the KPAP website and complete the survey today!