Climb Kilimanjaro, Rongai Route

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2016: 24 Dec
2017: 7 Jan, 4 Feb, 18 Feb, 4 Mar, 20 May, 10 Jun, 24 Jun, 1 Jul, 15 Jul, 29 Jul, 12 Aug, 26 Aug, 2 Sep, 16 Sep, 23 Sep, 7 Oct, 9 Dec, 23 Dec
2018: 20 Jan, 3 Feb, 17 Feb, 3 Mar
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Climb Kilimanjaro, Rongai Route

Environment

By choosing this route not only will you avoid the crowds on the busy Machame and Marangu routes but also help to limit the over exhaustion of the mountain’s natural resources.

On Kilimanjaro, like any other mountain, we do not believe in taking shortcuts. Without compromise, all cooking is on kerosene stoves rather than wood fires and all rubbish is carried off the mountain. Unfortunately it is possible to cut corners on Kilimanjaro by rushing the time spent on the ascent to save on expensive park fees and porter fees. It is our careful attention to the treatment of our local staff that makes us stand out from other tour operators. We pay one of the highest salaries in full immediately on exit from the National Park and ensure that they are well supplied with food, fuel and tents.

The natural landscapes we explore are some of the richest, often most challenging, yet at the same time some of the most fragile environments on earth. With education, experienced leadership and appropriate equipment and techniques, it is possible to travel responsibly through these regions. For us, it is critically important that such wilderness travel experiences do not diminish the natural values of the environment.

Our environmental sustainable principles: True sustainability is a guiding aspect in all aspects of our business planning and operations. Specifically our tour operations should be managed in a way where the natural and cultural values of the host region are undiminished in the long-term.

Where possible, we engage in partnerships with local environmental groups and/or land managers to actively campaign for conservation or promote environmental protection and/or rehabilitation.

Our Responsible Travel Guidebook: Our philosophy since 1975 has been to leave only footprints and take only photographs. To reiterate this, every customer who travels with us receives a copy of our award-winning Responsible Travel guidebook. This detailed book outlines our environmentally sustainable principles, and outlines how each customer can minimize their impact while travelling.

Global Warming and Carbon Balancing: The root cause of Global Warming is society's dependence on emission creating fossil fuel. Planting trees is not going to reverse this trend or cancel our carbon emissions very quickly or effectively. We believe the way to reduce these dependencies is to create clean energy production. Therefore, we support renewable energy projects like wind and solar power, and we are aligned with Climate Friendly, the gold standard setter in effective, meaningful action addressing climate change. So, while we believe that tree planting can play a small role in greenhouse gas abatement, we have gone the extra mile in promoting a longer term solution. Is this cheap? No. Is it responsible? Absolutely!

Community

Our aspiring young porters are trained and empowered with the skills that they need to develop to become guides themselves and this includes current work towards setting up a language school. Our young guides in the making we call Summit Porters and have made use of their eagerness to gain high mountain experience by sending them up for training while at the same time co-ordinating a very much needed cleaning effort on the high reaches of the mountain where the local park rangers are ever more reluctant to venture.

Our responsible travel principles: Our company aims to maximise the positive benefits of tourism for host communities. This includes training and employment of local staff, using local suppliers and assisting in the development of sustainable local businesses.

We actively minimise the negative effects that tourism can have by ensuring that tourism does not divert resources away from local communities or drive up prices on local resources.

We provide opportunities for real cultural exchange, where locals and visitors alike can share and learn from each other in an environment of mutual respect.

We contribute to the welfare of the host community. This is epitomised in our Community Project Travel program where we organise for our travellers to spend time in disadvantaged villages upgrading basic facilities such as health, education and water access.

We strive to educate our travellers about the destination and its local cultures as well as providing guidelines on appropriate behaviour to minimise impact.

No local payments policy: Local cash payments are becoming increasingly popular with many operators in the adventure travel industry. This policy seems to benefit the tour operators more than the local economies or the travellers, as it avoids local taxes and transfers the costs and risks of cash handling onto the travellers. In accordance with our Responsible Travel practices, we have chosen a policy of not asking for such payments.

Reviews of Climb Kilimanjaro, Rongai Route

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 07 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro! Absolutely awesome, it is one massive challenge but worth every step!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you take it seriously! Several people had not done adequate fitness training ie hillwalking, running, endurance training. Yes it is a walkable mountain but when you consider altitude, cold, camping and long days, you need to be fit. DRINK LOTS OF WATER at least 3 - 4 litres a day! Layers, layers, layers YOU will be cold, hot, cold, hot make sure you have the right gear.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Local people do benefit by tourists coming to climb Kili, jobs are created but competition is fierce, they also rely on our generosity to supplement there income. It is important to book with a company that values, appreciates and pays well and follows appropriate guidelines to ensure the welfare of porters. Every effort is made not to impact on the environment, eg educating tourists to take all rubbish off the mountain and the use of chemical toilets at camp sites.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


An amazing experience, as I celebrated my 50th birthday at the summit with Hashim, the guide that supported me throughout the summit night, ensuring my safety. I have some brilliant photographs and met some lovely people!

Reviewed on 26 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching Uhuru Peak. This was most memorable.

Reviewed on 14 Sep 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the Uhuru peak on Kilimanjaro, although utterly exhausted at the time.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Need to be fit. Come prepared for all conditions - heat, cold, altitude, dust.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, tourism is clearly an important aspect of local economy. In that sense it appeared to be a win/ win situation. I wonder at the longer term erosive effect of thousands of people trekking up the dusty crater sides. I am not sure what could be done about this.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. It was difficult to foresee exactly how things would be, but in general it was an enjoyable challenge and very rewarding in meeting other like minded people as well as the kind and hard working porters and guides.

Reviewed on 20 Jan 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Doing the climb! Unfortunately, I didn't make the summit, but it was a truly amazing 6 days.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do your research so you know exactly what you are doing, and what you will need. Don't skimp on equipment/clothing and listen to all the advice from your guide. We found the info given by the booking operator before the trip was extremely detailed. The only thing to note was that their guidance on tipping the guides was a bit outdated. The local operator gave us an extensive briefing on the first day, and a guidance sheet for tipping (based on ranges) before the trip which we used. The team you walk with are AMAZING - they totally deserve to be given the market rate for tips and it's really important to get this right. In addition, at the end of the walk, it is usual for walkers to 'donate' any unwanted gear to the team. Please do this - the local people don't get given proper kit or equipment. They depend on second hand donations. Give it all away to people who will really benefit it. Given that the booking operator uses the best local operator in Tanzania, I'd say that this is a really excellent package.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we camped all the way, and the emphasis was on leaving no environmental trace. Moreover, we were creating jobs / work for a team of 20 local people. (Note this is why the tipping is so important - i suspect the base wages aren't much and they rely on tips).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was truly truly amazing. It's really hard work. Be under no illusions - you sleep in a tent, up a mountain for 6 nights. You stink, you are tired. But, it is worth it. In terms of comfort, this local operator offers the best in making this experience comfortable - they have good equipment, good sleeping mats, amazing hot food, and fantastic good humour.

Reviewed on 19 Oct 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Inevitably it was standing at Uhuru Peak with the hard work over. Also the camaraderie of the great group of people and guides we shared the experience with. The guides were also very helpful and caring in looking after those who were ill or suffering from the various affects of altitude. After six dusty and dirty days on the mountain I have to say that the hot shower back at the hotel was actually a highlight too!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The trek itself is relatively easy until summit night, although be ready for a very dusty and dirty journey and the nights camping are bitterly cold. Everyone's body can react differently to being at altitude but for me the summit night trek was more mental than physical. The extreme cold is pretty wearing so be ready to tough it out and don't think beyond the next step you are taking. Just plod on. Your drinking water will probably freeze and you will wish you had doubled your six layers of clothing to about twelve. Don't scrimp on that extra layer you will probably need it as you don't walk fast enough to generate much heat yourself.

As far as training and preparation is concerned if you wish to replicate the conditions our group experienced on summit night then the next time you have a thumping headache or hangover open up the freezer and stick your head in it for six to seven hours whilst drinking some dirty, icy water from a plastic tube. If you survive that you'll be about ready.

One other point is not to hang around in Nairobi, if you go via that route, unless you have an interest. There isn't that much to see, the traffic is dreadful and the Riverside shuttle to Arusha and on to the hotel is a long journey. It took eleven hours for us and then we had to go straight in to a trek briefing on arrival as we were so late. If you can get to the trek hotel earlier I would do that so you don't feel so rushed.

I got my visas before I left but this didn't save any time at the border on either side as others hadn't. In the case of Tanzania it was cheaper to buy it on the border than in the London consulate.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes; the guides and porters were extremely efficient and friendly. Talking to them gave us an understanding of their own domestic arrangements and although it is a tough life they get fairly well paid by local standards. Our trekking group was very clean leaving camp each day and there was a genuine awareness about maintaining a clean environment on the mountain.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


First class; a very good operator and local agent to travel with.

Reviewed on 08 Oct 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There was so much excitement it's difficult to know where to begin - being bumped off the connecting flight from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro, despite having confirmed flights, boarding passes and allocated seats; the stunning terrain on the Machame route (changed at the last minute because the Rongai Route was closed) the great food (how do they manage that?), the wonderful organisation and support by the guides, the extraordinary challenge of the 'final ascent' setting off at midnight after only 3 hours sleep, in temperatures below zero. Each person competing with the mountain, not each other - the support was tremendous - everyone willing everyone else to succeed - not just in our group but everyone on the mountain that night. If only life was like that! Watching the sun rise and finally, of course, the exhilaration of standing on the roof of Africa...

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Keep checking out the flights with Precision Air - or go a different route (I believe KLM fly directly to Kili).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes. Every time we stopped for a 5 minute break, the guides got us to check that we hadn't left any litter behind etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was excellent. I would give it 5 stars but the statement beside the 5 star doesn't express my sentiments!

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