MtKilimanjaro Travel Guide
MtKilimanjaro
Climb MtKilimanjaro
Email our kili experts!

A few Common Kili Scams


PorterHard times always bring out the creativity in man. Necessity is the mother of invention. There are a slough of offers across the internet for cut price Kilimanjaro climbs being tendered by the lower two-thirds of climb market in Tanzania. This is the strata that caters for the bulk of the venture climb traffic.

This dovetails very neatly into the need for cheap climb options. Without these many would be unable in this economic climate to climb. However if a trip is offered below cost, and if economic survival is the key, then corners will be cut, and here are a few ways this is being achieved.

    Short trips

This is a trick that has surfaced and submerged often over the years. Currently it is back at the surface and breathing new life into the ailing bottom feeders who have always occupied the fringe of respectable Kili business. It is very simple, and here is how it works:

You pay for an 8-day trip and upon check-in at the national parks gate, usually with connivance of one of more TANAPA officials, your operator pays for only a 6-day trip. The crew are then under instructions to ensure that as many members of party as possible succumb to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) within those 6-days, which can be achieved in any number of ways, particularly among novice climbers. These are then hustled off the mountain which allows the outfitting company to retain the parks fees, not only for those paying packs themselves, but also the porters and guides for whom fees will also have been charged but not paid.

The obvious way to guard against this is to make sure that the correct monies are paid at the gate and the correct registration completed. This not easy, particularly if a TANAPA official is in on it, but it is a precaution.

It is also worthwhile – particularly if you have been given younger guides whose attitude is less one of professionalism than random teenagers taking any job they can – not taking as rote everything you are told. The signs of this type of guide are usually that they remain plugged into their MP3 player or transistor radios from beginning to end, have no particular answers to any queries, and are more interested in what kit they can beg from you than your well-being or enjoyment.

If you find yourself with this type of guide you need to take more control of your circumstances. If you are suffering obvious health problems and your guide’s advice is go, go, go! … then pause and assert your status as a paying client and lay down the law. Do not be coerced or bulldozed into side excursions that you do not feel fit for, and do not adhere to any suggestions of short cuts, truncated days or any other creative route finding that strays from the written itinerary.

    Short Staffed

A very common sight on the final stretch of the climb are climbers clearly on their last legs, fading in and out of consciousness, retching and weaving, but being pushed forward by their guides. This might on the surface seem inspirational, but is in reality extremely poor practice. Here is why:

It is essential when setting off from Barafu Camp towards the summit to have with your group enough personnel qualified or experienced at high altitude to ensure that everyone has a shot of getting to the summit. Out of a group of ten packs it is possible that half might drop out at various stages and need to be escorted down by someone who knows what they are doing. The remainder are then able to continue up with another guide, usually the lead guide, who also knows what he or she is doing.

If a group of 10 packs is sent up on the last 6-hour slog to the summit with just one, or maybe two guides, obviously, in order that the whole group are not forced to return alongside the first casualty, the ailing member is put under enormous, and extremely dangerous pressure to continue. It is usually a very irritated party of climbers that has to return short of the summit thanks to the incapacity of one, or maybe two climbers.

Any climb outfitter worth its salt will provide a ratio of guides-to-climbers of three packs to one guide. Usually this is arranged so that the party is led by a ‘lead’ guide whose age and experience is sufficient to undertake the task. He will be supported by an assistant guide, or two, who are licensed, but gaining experience under the tutelage of the master.

Supporting these will be a clique of porters with ambitions to go through the licensing system who usually undertake the tasks of cook, camp manager and quartermaster, with the capacity to escort injured or weakened members of the climb party down if necessary, and otherwise to stand in as emergency guides in a crisis.

It is worth remembering the bulk of the porters you will have on your trip are part of the bottom rung of the climb fraternity, and for the most part they are an itinerant workforce with little mountain experience who do a trip or two when they need the cash and otherwise are lowland farmers or share croppers accustomed to the steppe. These are not men capable of any degree of professional mountaineering, and very much bring up the rear.

Another point worth remember is that there is a local industry is second hand kit, and your guides and porters will have their eye on what your might be relieved of from the onset. Requests for kit and tearful distress at low tips are a common feature of Kili, arm yourself with fore-knowledge, and do not give away kit you do not want to give away just because your petitioner looks like he might need it. Chances are he intends to sell it.

>>Here are some more common scams...

So these are just a couple of popular scams, let me know if you have experienced any others and I would be happy to compile a rogues gallery of naughty boys that do this kind of stuff.



By Peter Baxter | Permalink | 25 comments | June 29th, 2009
Tags: Expedition Companies, Mountain Guides on Kili, Mountain Warnings on Kili, Planning, Random
Related posts

Comments

By Mt Kilimanjaro | July 1st, 2009
Corner

So sad to here that there such people who do scam tourist and their fellow guides and porters. Climbing Kilimanjaro is not an easy task and I don’t think I will be happy if I get scammed after this hard work.

Corner
By DG | July 28th, 2009
Corner

We just did this climb in mid June. Didn’t hear of any scams and our guides and porters were excellent. My only suggestion is to work with a reputable company. We worked with Africa Travel Resource who works with the African Walking Company who leads the climb. The guides and porters are treated well and apparently have to carry less weight than other companies.

Corner
By gretchen | November 7th, 2009
Corner

Is anyone out there looking for a small group to join in Feb. 2010? Three of us – USA, machme route, Feb. 21-27. Any advise on companies too!
Please help us find a good one. Thanks!

Corner
By Rich | November 12th, 2009
Corner

I was actually thinking of that very same date. Feb.21-27. I think it coincides with the full moon. I’ve been looking at Mountain Kingdom and trying to find more info/references, but it’s not easy. Althought their contact has been helpful. I was leaning to the Lemosho route since it is more beautiful and has less people, but I read that the Machame is good too. I’m out of florida. As a single, I’d probably be looking to join a group.

Corner
By David | November 14th, 2009
Corner

I have booked for Feb. 21-27 on the Machame route with Zara tours. They are a bit more pricey than most but their reputation seems good. I am single, so I am also looking for people to join

If you want a really good guidebook on the mountain, check out the book by Henry Stedman.

Corner
By Mugo | November 24th, 2009
Corner

Dear Gretchen,

I have 4 of my best friends from USA who will be climbing Kili come Feb,2010 using the same routes.The Tour Leader of that group is called Tom,email tvos1@me.com.They will be climbing with the Africa Veterans guides who are very experienced in Kili Climbing.You can contact them for more info about the exact dates.

Corner
By Mugo | November 24th, 2009
Corner

Please read my respond to Gretchen and see whether you can join this group traveling with africa veterans.Contact this people for the prices and let them know that you have been referred so that they will not over charge.

Corner
By Rob | November 25th, 2009
Corner

We leave Germany tomorrow heading to Kili to start climbing Saturday. We used kilimanjaro-shah which many of my friends have used in Djibouti and Germany as well, with no problems. We are paying $1550 for the climb (to include an extra altitude aclimation day) and a two day safari. We will summit on the 2nd, full moon as well.

Best of luck to you all.
Rob

Corner
By Caroline | November 25th, 2009
Corner

We are planning a trip for the last week of June and the first week of July. Does anyone have recommendations on which tour groups to use?

Corner
By Alicia | November 27th, 2009
Corner

Gretchen,
I am a single climber who is looking for a group to climb Kili with. February 2010 would work great for me and was wondering if your group had room for one more. I am from the US but just recently took a job in KSA. Please let me know soon for I would like to start booking my trip soon. lucygrl@msn.com
Thanks, Alicia

Corner
By Martin | November 27th, 2009
Corner

I stumbled on expeditionkilimanjaro.com and booked my Kili climb with my girlfriend for Feb 12, 2010. I found the website VERY informative and even got into very good contact with the organiser, a well-known internet personality, Ramon Stoppelenburg. All doubts disappeared when he told me what and how everything is organised before and during the trek. Fantastic! Looking forward to a true adventure!

Corner
By Carrie | December 13th, 2009
Corner

Hi, I’m planning a climb to Kili in June/July 2010. I’m from Malaysia and am looking for a group to join with as I’m a singele climber. Also, appreciate if anyone can advise a good and reputable tour company which is not too expensive.

Cheers Carrie

Corner
By Lorraine | December 20th, 2009
Corner

Hi,

I’m looking to climb Kili in October 2010, with my Cousin. We’re UK based, we’re in our late 50′s but don’t let that stop you getting in touch, Cousin Di, has done, High Road, Hymalaya by bike …. Any information re best operator would be most welcome, and suggestions re best route, we really want to make it to the top.
Thank you

Corner
By Clive | December 21st, 2009
Corner

Hi All,

I am planning on climbing Kili in 2010 using utilising the Umbwe route via the Western breach either in March or September – Quite a tough route but want really want the challenge. I have been toying with a company called dovesafaris.com who offer this route at a competitive price but have been unable to uncover any reviews of the company. If anyone has any information or can recommend a reputable operator I would much appreciate it. I will be travelling alone (aged 49 – One of my tick list challenges before I reach the big 50) so if anyone else fancies the challenge and wants to hook up please let me know.

Corner
By Michael M. | December 21st, 2009
Corner

I climbed Kilimanjaro successfully in October 2009. If you care about porter treatment, look for a company that is part of the Kilimanjaro Porters Association.

We booked through peakplanet, who uses African Walking Company on the ground. We had one guide per three clients, and plenty of porters, who carry LESS than the recommended weight. I can’t say enough about the high quality service we received. I’ll always remember this trip.

Corner
By Lisa | January 1st, 2010
Corner

Hi, i’m wanting to climb kilimanjaro in Sept/Oct 2010 but have never done anything like it before. I’m 22 and reasonably fit and healthy, I train most days in the gym but I was wondering if anyone could provide me with useful training tips to prepare for the climb? I was also wondering how I would go about organising the trip… if there is anyone that would like to put a group together, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please let me know, thank you.

Corner
By Rob | January 2nd, 2010
Corner

Hello all,

I am about to book my trip for an 8 day trek via the Lomosho route, heard this is a really scenic route. I plan to try to take in the September 2010 ful moon on the 23rd. Does anyone have any advice or is planning this trip too?

Corner
By Paul | January 3rd, 2010
Corner

Hi Lisa,

I’m looking to do the Rongai route with a couple of friends in September 2010, you are welcome to join us if you would like. We are still sortign out the details but I can send you some info on what we are doing through if you like.

Corner
By Abs | January 4th, 2010
Corner

Hi everyone,

I am planning on taking a sabbatical from work this year, and have decided to climb Kili towards the end of March 2010 via the 7 day Machame route. This is the fist time I am doing something like this so am pretty nervous and had a couple of questions. I wouldn’t say I am in the best shape of my life but have 3 months to improve my fitness – any ideas on training regimes? Also with so many websites offering the trek – your recommendations would be appreciated.

Many Thanks to you all.

Corner
By Danny | January 5th, 2010
Corner

Hi Everyone,

I have a 7 day Umbwe Route trek booked for the first week of June through Bush 2 Beach Safaris if anyone wants to join. Its about $1600 and here is the plan:

Day 1 – 01st – Familiarization day gear check and walk
Day 2 – 02nd – Climb day 1
Day 3 – 03rd – Climb day 2
Day 4 – 04th – Climb day 3
Day 5 – 05th – Climb day 4
Day 6 – 06th – Climb day 5
Day 7 – 07th – Climb day 6
Day 8 – 08th – Climb day 7

Corner
By Sarah Fisher | January 10th, 2010
Corner

With so many companies it was hard to make a choice, but after doing the research into many we went with ultimatekilimanjaro on their 8 day Lemosho route. Fair price and good service. My advice to anyone thinking about climbing is to choose a reputable company that has good references. This is not the place to experiment!

Corner
By Ladan | January 20th, 2010
Corner

Great information venue! What’s the best season to climb Kili? How does one get from Dar El Salam airport/city to any of Kili’s entry gates? How far is it? Thanks.

Corner
By Rich | February 3rd, 2010
Corner

Is anyone familiar with Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing? A reasonable price, they have the itinerary I’m looking for (14 day combo climb/safari), but I can’t find any information on them.

Corner
By Robert Modu | February 9th, 2010
Corner

Me and My Wife, wants to climb Mt Kilimanjaro on August 2010, we would like to have a group of people to join.

Corner
By ceccaldi | February 10th, 2010
Corner

hi,
we gonna climb the kili in august with 3p.Machama mweka route who can give us info about a guide.
thx

Corner

Mt. Kilimanjaro News



Read more archives

RSS Feed Subscription

 

Reader Comments

Climb Kilimanjaro on Add Adventure Trips to Kili Trek for Trip of a Lifetime
If you travel all the way to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro its worth taking atleast a few days ontop...

Shu on Historic Kilimanjaro
Hi Angie...Climbed Kili in September 2010 and had the most incredible experience of my life. Went wi...

Catherine on Historic Kilimanjaro
My brother is planning to climb kilimanjaro with this company http://www.footlooseadventure.co.uk/ki...

angie on Historic Kilimanjaro
Hi Eric, I'm glad you summited with no problems! Way to go!! My boyfriends trek also had rather b...

eric on Historic Kilimanjaro
climbed it this past June with no climbing experience. We had amazing guides though! @Angie-it is ...