Kilimanjaro porters are the hardest workers on Mount Kilimanjaro, the support crew of the tourists who climb the mountain. You will need them. Porters are the people who help carry your luggage (apart from your day bag) on your ascent to the summit.
Including other things like camping tents, food, water, medical kits, gas cylinders, chairs, tables, camping toilets and any other equipment/supplies needed while on the mountain. They carry the heavy loads so that you can walk lightly up the mountain and enjoy your trek to the summit, Uhuru peak. A maximum of 15kg per porter.
Before you start your ascent to the top, you will meet your support crew, that is the porters and your guides. The number of porters and guides per group depends on the size of the group and varies from one Kilimanjaro climbing company to another.
Let us look at what the Kilimanjaro porters do:
- The porter’s main responsibility is to carry all the equipment and supplies required for the whole team. Your luggage excluding your day bag, cooking equipment, food and water, medical kits, stretchers among others. Including their own luggage.
- They set up and break down campsites. The porters go before you to set up the campsite, prepare meals before you get there and the next day break down the camp, pack up and set off to the next camp to do the same.
- They are responsible for purifying the water that used on the camps during the climb. For cooking, cleaning and drinking. They boil water for drinking and make sure every mountain climber has enough water as it is important to stay hydrated.
- They help the cooks to prepare and serve food during meal times and after clean the dishes.
- They help distribute supplies to all the climbers at the campsite ensuring that you have all you need for a pleasant night at the camp, like providing warm water for the cold nights.
- They can provide basic first aid in cases of injury while on the mountain and if altitude sickness kicks in, both your porters and guides come together to your rescue.
Kilimanjaro porters are your support system on your ascent to the mountain summit. They do everything necessary to make sure you have a comfortable and enjoyable climb in the harsh conditions on the mountain. You only have to worry about your mission of making it to Uhuru peak.
Guidelines like provision of appropriate gear, fair wages, maximum weight limits, accommodation and meals facilitation are put in place by Kilimanjaro Guides Association (KGA) and Tanzania Porters Association (TPA) to protect the porters’ welfare.
Some porters are freelancers, they show up at the gates of different routes hoping to be hired, they don’t have the luxury of health care provision porters under contract with Kilimanjaro tour operators get and they are victims to some budget operators who pay them unfairly for their service.
You can show appreciation to your porters by tipping them at the end of climb when you are back at the base of mountain.
Tips always come inform of money, am importance source of extra income but porters will also appreciate if you give them some mountain climbing gears like clothing, hiking boots, trainers, jackets and the like as some do not have proper clothing for the harsh conditions on the mountain thus affecting their well-being.
These could be some extra hiking clothes you have back at home and no longer use them, you can pack them and give then to your porters at the end of the climb. Always make sure you personally give your tip to the porter him/herself.
Endeavor to book with Kilimanjaro tour operators that have trained and skilled guides and porters to ensure a safe and enjoyable climb for both you and your support crew. The kind that practices responsible tourism and fair treatment.
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