A Day in the Life of a Kilimanjaro Guide

June 10, 2013 at 5:19 pm Leave a comment

Before embarking on a mountain trek, few tourists have heard of the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS). However, after their hike concludes, every tourist is aware of the vital role a porter fills on a trek or safari tour. MKPS provides the resources for the Kilimanjaro Guide Services.

These include:

  • Adherence to guidelines
  • Banking and money management
  • Trained staff
  • Supplies and clothing
  • Tip distribution
  • Low season work and education

A porter is an invaluable member of the climbing team, the community, and the country as a whole. They provide knowledge, comfort, and entertainment on every trip visitors take through Tanzanian Mountain ranges; it’s everything a Kilimanjaro guide experience should be.

The Adaptation of Tradition

Porters are a staple of the African tourism industry. As that industry has changed, so have the individuals that are involved in it. The formation of the MKPS reflects this change.

Traditionally, porters were low-income workers who trekked the mountainside under the weight of heavy baggage and worked to provide for the basic needs of tourists. They relied on their knowledge of the terrain and field medicine while hiking. This picture is still true today, but look close-up and you can start to see the difference that MKPS makes.

Sustainable tourism strives to remove the negative impact of tourism, so that the natural wonders are there for future generations to enjoy. This mission extends to Kilimanjaro guide services. The MKPS makes sure that each porter receives a fair wage, but the provision extends beyond wages. The porters no longer have to supply their own gear or carry excessive amounts of weight. All of their gear is provided and, in accordance with the Tanzania National Parks Act, they have a baggage limit of 25 pounds. This limit insures their safety and includes a 5 pound allotment for their own gear.

Additionally, each porter has specific responsibilities at the camp sites. It is no longer on one person’s shoulders to perform all of the necessary duties. The changes don’t end there. They continue even when the porters are not working.

Unlocking Potential

The MKPS places a strong emphasis on education: both financial and practical. Porters continue their education in the low season. Topics include:

  • Bank account setup and usage
  • Financial management
  • Health education
  • Environmental conservation
  • English language courses

They’re able to put this education to good use by investing in start-ups, homes, and environmental improvements. Not only can they provide for their families, but local projects like tree planting in the low season improve the community as a whole.

The MKPS is a hands-on example of sustainable tourism in action. It brings a continued, positive impact full circle; from the individual, to the environment, to the entire community.

This is just one area Zara Tours and Zara Charities are involved in. To find out more about our organizations and how you can help, visit our website. Learn more about how sustainable tourism transforms lives.

Zara Tours boasts the most experienced Kilimanjaro guides

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Entry filed under: Climbing Kilimanjaro, Hiking Kilimanjaro, Mount Kilimanjaro Porter Society (MKPS), Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zara Charity, ZARA Tanzania Adventures. Tags: , , , , .

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