Kilimanjaro Guides & Porters
The importance of having competent, high quality guides cannot be overstated when it comes to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Ultimate Kilimanjaro® has the best local guides, all of whom are fluent in English and have received extensive training in first aid, mountain rescue, flora and fauna, and history. All of our guides are registered with Kilimanjaro National Park. It is forbidden to climb Kilimanjaro without a guide.
Ultimate Kilimanjaro® Guides
Our Kilimanjaro guides are very experienced, with most having climbed well over 100 times. They are professionals who intimately know the mountain:
- 11 hand selected lead guides, with unrivaled experience and competence. Our guides are among the most talented and respected professionals in the industry.
- 150+ years of combined experience as guides on Mount Kilimanjaro. Our guides are well prepared to handle any situation one can encounter on the mountain.
- 3,000+ successful summits of Mount Kilimanjaro. Our guides are very strong, capable climbers.
- 15,000+ clients led to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Our guides have proven expertise on how to lead clients safely and effectively to the top of Kilimanjaro.
You can expect the following from our Kilimanjaro guides:
- High Safety Standards - Your safety is the highest priority for us. Our clients put their lives in our hands and trust us to keep them safe; we do not take that responsibility lightly. Our guides are certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR), which means they have the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions. They receive annual training in emergency first aid and can prevent, recognize and treat altitude-related illnesses. Additionally, they can identify and avoid potential hazards such as slippery trails and loose rocks. Each client's health is monitored very closely while on the mountain.
- Professionalism - We understand that you have many choices when it comes to climbing Kilimanjaro. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that your expectations are met or exceeded. Ultimate Kilimanjaro® takes pride in the hard work of our staff and we strive to maintain and grow our reputation of excellence. Our guides uphold a high level of professionalism while still keeping the experience fun for the clients.
- Expert Ability - Our guides have been working on Mount Kilimanjaro for a long time. With this training and experience, they are completely acclimatized to high altitude and are adapted to the rigors of mountain life. Climbing Kilimanjaro has become second nature to them. Our guides are tough as nails and can teach you everything you need to know about high altitude trekking.
- Mountain Knowledge - Our guides are knowledgeable about general mountain facts. They can tell you about the climate zones, the altitudes of and distances to campsites, and information about the geology, flora and fauna. These types of facts increase the enjoyment during the trek by giving clients an idea of what they are seeing and feeling.
Our Kilimanjaro guides love working with us because we lead small groups on the best routes.
Our guides can effectively manage our clients due to the small size of our groups. Because each climber generally needs a few porters, each additional client multiplies the number of people under the guide's care. A guide can give more individualized attention when groups are reasonably small. We also lead longer trips, which, due to proper acclimatization, increases the probability of successful summits, which in turn gives a sense of satisfaction to the guides and staff.
There is a better team dynamic with a small group, which not only makes the days on the mountain more fun, but safer as well, when a group works well together. With a small group, our guides can effectively monitor the progress each individual climber and the collective group. Our guides have the opportunity to interact with each climber to assess how he or she is doing, and to ask and answer questions when needed. Our porters can also provide better service by catering to the varied needs of each member.
We have over 1,000 customers per year, which means our guides stay busy throughout the climbing season. Each of our guides climbs Kilimanjaro 20-25 times per year. Therefore, our guides do not need to go outside of their profession to earn a living when they can regularly lead climbs for us. Many guides want to work for us, but we have already our all star team in place. We appreciate that employment with Ultimate Kilimanjaro® is highly sought after. It is a testament that we are doing things right.
We have great clients. Honestly. Our guides tell us that our clients are the best because they come to Kilimanjaro well informed, well trained and well prepared. This means our clients are more likely to be successful on the mountain, and happy clients means happy guides. So just as our clients love our guides, our guides love our clients back.
Ultimate Kilimanjaro® Mountain Crews
Our guides have support teams of assistant guides, cooks and porters that we have assembled personally. We feel having control of our personnel assignments is the best way to make sure your mountain crew complies with our high standards. Through regular interaction, your mountain crew will perform at its best and offer consistent service trip after trip. We like for things to go smoothly behind the scenes so that our staff can focus on our most important asset - the client.
Our porters take care of you. So we take care of them.
Because of our hardworking porters, all you need to do on your climb is walk. Porters carry the tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, food, water, cookware, gas, stoves, medical supplies, chairs, and tables - not to mention your camping gear. It is a tough job and anyone who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro will tell you that their strength, skill and stamina are incredible.
We take porter welfare very seriously and we do our best to ensure that all our staff is treated well. We are a partner company of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP), an independent organization whose mission it is to protect porters from mistreatment on the mountain, and the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) Partnership for Responsible Travel, which recognizes climbing companies with fair treatment practices.
We are one of KPAP's strongest supporters, and we strive to have the best porters through fair and honest treatment of our staff. We ensure that:
Our staff is paid a set wage, which means they do not have to rely entirely on tips for payment.
- Our staff is paid more than the standard compensation on Kilimanjaro.
- Our staff is paid immediately upon completion of a trip.
- Our staff is paid tips in a fair, transparent manner.
- Our porters have the proper gear and equipment to handle the mountain. Their clothing, sleeping bags and tents are sufficiently warm and/or waterproof.
- Our porters are fed three nutritious meals per day, in adequate amounts, of their preferred local foods.
- Our porter loads are limited to 20 kgs. The porter to client ratios we utilize are sufficient to handle the equipment needed. If more porters are needed for a party, we will add more.
Why is it important to climb with a KPAP partner company?
You may be thinking, don't all Kilimanjaro operators abide by the protocols listed above? Sadly, the majority actually DO NOT. Although they claim to care about porter welfare, some of our largest competitors are the biggest facilitators of porter abuse. They force porters to carry more than the stated limit. They feed porters only once a day. They pay their staff half of what ours receive. And though it would be easy to believe that only budget operators are at fault, even popular midrange operators are known to do this! That's why It is very important to only climb with certified KPAP partner companies.
On each and every Ultimate Kilimanjaro® climb, there is a KPAP representative porter staffed among our crew. We do this voluntarily so that everything is constantly evaluated - porter loads, meals, shelters, wages, tipping. We welcome this scrutiny by an independent organization so we know that Ultimate Kilimanjaro® is in full compliance, from the top down. We do not tolerate any deviance, by anyone, from our welfare guidelines.