Kilimanjaro Guides / Porters / Cooks / Support Staff
Guides, Assistant guides, and Porters (Support personnel)
Kilimanjaro is a challenging mountain not to be taken lightly. If you plan on reaching the summit you are going to need help. For this reason it is compulsory for any climbers to be escorted by guides on all the available routes. These guys know their stuff and can mean the difference between making it and having to turn back disappointed. All our guides are registered with the Kilimanjaro National Parks Board and are highly skilled and fully qualified in their trade. We regularly assess our guidesí safety record, their levels of experience and their interaction with our climbers.
Most first-time climbers donít fully comprehend the value of their guide, assistant guide and team of porters. These guys, coupled with tremendous mental determination are the most important assets to your success.
The best guide and assistant guide combination will consist of 2 guides with different but complementary characters. There will be the organizer and disciplinarian (usually the assistant) and the social host and manager (usually the head guide). The assistant guide usually leads and keeps the pace of the climb, whilst the leader follows from behind, motivating the back-markers and dealing with any problems.
Your guide is the proverbial wise sage on the mountain who will encourage you as he steers you towards the summit and safely back down once youíve made it. Always listen to his advice and trust his guidance.
It takes a unique and very special blend of characteristics to make a good mountain guide.
Our guides are all qualified and licensed, which means they have been trained in all facets of mountain guiding. All of our guides meet the following minimum requirements:
∑Must have at least 5 years mountain experience, whilst working as a porter and assistant guide.
∑Must be a real people-person, capable of hitting it off with a wide range of climbers and able to generate an atmosphere of excitement within the group, whilst also commanding sufficient respect to ensure that his orders are always obeyed to the letter by clients.
∑Must be an excellent team manager - the best teams, including the porters, always operate together as a unit.
∑Must be a good motivator - capable managing his team into an efficient and happy operation.
∑Must have excellent communication skills with a good command of the language of our clients. The biggest single cause of accidents on the mountain is bad communication.
∑ Must know what to do in extreme conditions and under extreme circumstances.
∑ Must be trained in the management of altitude sickness.
We only employ the highest quality and best paid guides on the mountain, ensuring that you will always be in the hands of the best available guides in Tanzania. Unlike some of the greedy operators out there, we also ensure that each of our guides is properly equipped with proper mountain clothing and gear.
Support staff ratios
Two of the most important aspects of your safety and comfort during the climb are good personnel to climber ratio and the assurance of top quality support equipment. All climbs will always include a team of mountain guides, cooks and porters, typically mixed as follows;
∑2 climbers: 1 guide, 1 assistant guide, 3 - 4 porters and 1 cook
∑3 climbers: 1 guide, 1 assistant guide, 4 - 6porters and 1 cook
∑5 climbers: 1 guide, 2 assistant guides, 6 - 8 porters and 1 cook
The amount of guides depends on the route you take. Camping routes require far more equipment, and therefore more porters.
The porters are vital to the success of the climb as they help to make your trip as comfortable as possible. Their multiple roles include carrying your extra baggage and the supplies needed for the duration of the climb, securing a suitable camping site and setting up your tent before you arrive, and boiling water for washing and drinking purposes. They work together as a team and are a good bunch of guys to have around. These are probably the toughest people you will ever encounter.
Our cooks are fully trained and will prepare surprisingly good quality meals for you. The cook is an integral part of your success - he will control and monitor your diet on the mountain, making sure that your intakes of carbohydrates are sufficient. He will also ensure that your meals have a high-energy content and are easily digestible at high altitudes.
You will need to monitor your own liquid intake and remember to carry some of your favorite high-energy snack bars in your daypack.
Weight limits for Porters
In addition to the gear climbers will need to carry themselves, each climber is allowed an additional maximum load of 15 kg, which will be carried by one of the porters. As they prefer to carry their loads on their shoulders and heads it is advisable to pack this part of your luggage in a soft, yet durable, waterproof duffel bag.
Unlike some of our competitor we limit the load each porter carries. Your entire experience is dependent on your porters. If they have problems with being overloaded this may cause real problems with your trip. We do everything possible to ensure the health of our porters.
While tipping is not compulsory, it has become part of the climbing tradition to show your gratitude towards your support personnel for their hard and demanding labor. It is also the best way of ensuring that your support team goes out of their way to look after you.