At 5,895 metres it is the tallest mountain in Africa, and therefore it is included among the 7 Summits. The Seven Summits are the tallest mountains on each of the 7 continents.
Kilimanjaro is also known as the rooftop of Africa. Standing on the highest point - Uhuru Peak gives you a feeling of being on top of the world.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the most challenging and yet rewarding bucket list tasks you can do.
However, if you are organizing a group tour to climb this majestic mountain, then there are some things you should know.
These include ethical considerations, preparing for the high altitude and choosing a group tour to climb with.
We cover all of this and more below.
Organizing a group tour to climb Kilimanjaro
You can choose between opting for an open group tour or private tour when climbing Kilimanjaro. An open group tour is one which is arranged and created by the tour organizer. Anyone who has booked with the tour company in question can join .
These types of tours often have a fixed schedule and are not as flexible as private tours.
On the other hand, a private tour is limited to you and whoever you have booked your tour with. The major benefits associated with these tours is that you already have a ready made group of friends to travel with. For example, when you book a tour via WiGo Trips, you will be joining a group of like-minded people who have similar interests to you.
Find out more about the tours organized by our ambassadors by checking out our blog: ‘Why WiGo? Adventures With a Purpose’.
Preparing For The Altitude
At 5,895 metres the altitude on Kilimanjaro certainly packs a punch. Failing to prepare adequately for the high altitude can result in severe health problems. It also reduces your chances of making it to the summit.
This is because of a condition known as altitude sickness. In its mildest form, altitude sickness is characterised by shortness of breath, headaches and nausea. However, without adequate treatment, it can quickly result in a more severe form of altitude sickness which can cause fluid build-up in the lungs, fatigue, dizziness and confusion.
When climbing such a high mountain, almost everyone will be impacted by altitude sickness in some way. Most people just get mild symptoms. However, if your symptoms get progressively worse, you should descend immediately. This is because the best treatment for altitude sickness is descent. Always seek out medical treatment if your symptoms get worse.
However, to prevent altitude sickness from becoming more severe, you should choose a route that lasts at least between 7-9 days. Shorter routes of 6 days or less will increase the likelihood of being severely impacted by altitude sickness. Choosing a longer route that allows you to spend more time on the mountain will help your body to get used to the high elevation, and therefore you will acclimatize better to the altitude. You should also stay hydrated throughout your journey.
Choosing Ethical Kilimanjaro Tours
Another safety consideration is ethics. It’s an unfortunate fact that a great majority of the budget tour companies do not treat their porters fairly. Porters help carry luggage up the mountain on behalf of tourists.
They often fail to equip porters adequately for the cold temperatures and they are also underpaid. This is because the only way budget tour companies can keep costs so low is by exploiting those who work for them. In the most extreme cases, some porters end up dying as a result.
Now at this point, you may be wondering how that impacts your tour. The truth is you rely on porters to carry your luggage, prepare your food and make a judgement as to whether you are well enough to scale Kilimanjaro’s lofty heights.
However, if porters are underpaid, they are unlikely to do as good a job if they are hungry, cold and paid significantly less than the porters on the other tours.
It also means they may have more of a financial incentive to encourage you to keep climbing Kilimanjaro even if it puts your health at risk. This is because the mountain crews get paid more money in tips if more people make it to the summit.
This is not such a major problem with ethical tour companies. This is because ethical tour companies pay their porters well, and their guides have the correct training to recognize the symptoms of altitude sickness and take the appropriate action.That means their primary motivation is your health and safety, not their compensation.
How do I know whether my tour operator is ethical?
When it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro, who are these companies or organizations?
Well, the only truly independent organization is the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP).
KPAP is a non-profit organization actively monitors the treatment of porters and ensures that they are treated and compensated fairly. To check whether your Kilimanjaro tour company is ethical, be sure to ascertain whether they are a member of KPAP and are included on their list of Kilimanjaro Partner companies.
You can double check a tour company on their list of partner companies on the International Mountain Explorers Connection website.
How to Find Your Travel Buddies
At WiGo Trips, we always bring you the best tours. Our ambassadors aims to book tours that will give you the best experience. In addition to looking out for the most ethical and sustainable tour companies or organizations to book our group trips with, we also put you directly in touch with the most awesome travel buddies ever!
WiGo Trips consists of an eclectic team of charismatic ambassadors who organize tours all over the world. We utilize the services of dozens of tour companies to bring you the best possible experience.
Not only will you be in the safe hands of our experienced and knowledgeable ambassadors, you will also be joining a group of like-minded explorers. Simply download the WiGo Trips app, and then filter for tour groups based upon age, interests and location. Then choose a tour you want to be part of and watch the magic unfold.
Our unique platform was created to put the magic back into travelling. It is sure to make you fall in love with travel all over again.
You can use our WiGo Trips app to find the tours which suit you and experience the beauty of the world with your brand new travel friends. So whether you’re climbing Kilimanjaro, or taking a safari tour across Africa, you’ll never need to be alone - we’ve got your back!
Janine Griffiths | Journalist
Janine is a copywriter and marketing strategist from England, with a background in journalism. She has represented many major brands throughout her career such as HSBC, Prudential and BIM. She runs a popular travel blog called janinesjourneys.com and has made has previously worked for major regional newspapers in the UK such as the Guardian, Yorkshire Post and the Shropshire Star