Let’s face it, it is very intimidating to fly half way around the world to a strange and foreign place and climb one of the highest peaks on Earth. Climbing Kilimanjaro seems like such an unrealistic goal, more of something you would see in a movie versus actually doing it. But thousands of people do it every year. Choosing the right Kilimanjaro operator is key to having a successful and safe climb.
Where to Start?
We recommend doing your homework. Of the more than 200 operators on Mt. Kilimanjaro only about 20 are reputable. Of these reputable operators, there are two types – the luxury operators and the mid-level operators.
Peak Planet is considered a mid-level operator. We are based out of the United States and work with local operators who are skilled at climbing the mountain. They focus on that aspect and not booking trips. They are well trained with many years experience climbing Kilimanjaro. Some have been doing it for more than a decade.
In doing your research, you’ll want to look for company reviews. They can be found on TripAdvisor, Facebook and other media sources. Peak Planet’s client satisfaction rating is over 98%. We have had several repeat clients or clients referred to us by previous clients. You can read their testimonials or watch their videos.
In addition to reviews, you will also want to look into the type of equipment used. Many budget operators use worn-out and damaged equipment that shouldn’t be on the mountain. Or worse, they use found materials to build their tents, such as tarps and plastic sheeting.
We use only new or almost new equipment on the mountain and we take it out of rotation, if it becomes worn or damaged.
Safety is paramount when climbing Kilimanjaro. Many things can go wrong when you are climbing in such an unforgiving environment. Injury and extreme elevation are the most common. Injuries can happen to anyone at any time. Our guides are trained in emergency response procedures and will help get you safely off the mountain if something happens.
Altitude is the biggest culprit when it comes to issues on the mountain. With every day you add to your climb your success rate goes up by 20%. For example, six days on the mountain, like the Rongai 8-Day route has only a 50-60% success rate. Whereas, the Lemosho 10-day (8 days on the mountain) route has an over 90% success rate. Our guides are trained to recognize altitude sickness symptoms and can aid you in safely summiting Kilimanjaro, or if the need arises, they can safely export you down from the higher elevations for a helicopter evacuation.
In conclusion, choosing the right guide service is the single most important decision you can make when planning your Kilimanjaro climb. You want the experience to be not only memorable, but safe and successful as well.