Are you about to book your Kilimanjaro climb and wonder what you should look out for in your tour operator? Or are you already about to embark on this once-in-a-liftime adventure, and wonder what you could do to climb responsibly?
There are a few things to watch out for. Safety is one of them. In this article, we’ll explain how we aim to upgrade safety standards, and what you can – or rather MUST do – to make a vital contribution to your own safety.
Why It Matters
Mount Kilimanjaro has its dangers. An estimated up to 10 tourists die on the mountain every year, mostly due to altitude sickness. With the right preparation, this is mostly avoidable. Currently, there is no objective benchmark to measure and compare the safety record and attention of Kilimanjaro tour operators.
How We Care
We only work with KPAP Partner companies. While KPAP does not measure safety criteria, we believe that companies who are committed to fair porter treatment are on average also more likely to be committed to your safety compared to the industry average (especially guides and companies who are not even duly licensed).
To help you better compare offers, we are also making fully transparent the safety standards/equipment included in each tour and rate offers accordingly. For good safety standards at an affordable price, we recommend our so-called Premium packages. If you only want the best in terms of safety standards and don’t mind paying for maximum quality, then we recommend a Luxury package.
How You Can Make a Difference
Your safety should be your number one concern. Kilimanjaro has become so popular over the past decade that many climbers underestimate its dangers. It is imperative that you educate yourself thoroughly and are aware of all risks involved before booking your climb.
Here’s what you can do – and avoid to do – to stay safe during your climb:
- Educate yourself thoroughly about the risks involved, especially altitude sickness
- Contract your climb with a responsible tour operator
- If possible, be willing to pay a little more for a Premium tour that includes a Wilderness First Responder certified guide and emergency oxygen; plus a hyperbaric chamber for overnight stays at Crater Cam
- Always follow the instructions of your guide(s)
- Take your time to ascend slowly during the day, drink lots of water, go on optional acclimatization hikes
- Climb over more days. We recommend at least 7 days (unless you have pre-acclimatized).
- Avoid the Western Breach route which is prone to rockfall
- Report to us any issues you observe
- Share this article to spread the word
- Push beyond your limits. Always remember: Summiting is optional, returning back safely is mandatory.
- Disregard your guide’s instructions to descend, or allow your guide to carry you higher up if you can’t walk yourself
- Choose a shorter itinerary only to save money or time. Taking into consideration the lower summit success chance on shorter climbs, your savings may come at the price of not summiting at all, or severe consequences of altitude sickness if you push yourself too far.
- Contract your climb with a very low budget company. The cheaper the price, the cheaper your operator’s and guide’s attention to your safety.
We hope that this article has provided you with a helpful introduction about safety on Mount Kilimanjaro and the important contribution you need to make to your own safety. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave your comments below or contact us.