Archive for July 23, 2014

An Essential Question: When to Climb Kilimanjaro

Kinapa photo

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro? First time travelers have a lot of questions about what to expect. Whereas, seasoned mountain climbers need some additional information so that they can customize their trek. The good news is whichever category you fall into, this information can be invaluable to you.

If you’re wondering when to climb Kilimanjaro, the answer depends on two things:

1. Your level of experience as a climber

2. Your personal preferences

Knowing a few basic facts about the region can help you set some parameters before you schedule your trip.

Picking a Date: Deciding when to climb Kilimanjaro

Your first step is simple: check the calendar. Due to Tanzania’s proximity to the equator, we have distinct weather patterns that don’t follow the seasons you’re probably used to. Our weather breaks down like this:

  • Dry season
  • Long rainy season
  • Short rainy season

No matter when you visit, Tanzania has a more temperate climate. However, the amount and length of the rainy season can be a safety hazard, especially for inexperienced climbers.

Novice climbers should book a trip in later summer or early fall (August, September, or October). This is the busiest season to hike Kilimanjaro, so if you don’t like crowds, start climbing and training now, before arriving in Tanzania.

All climbers should undergo preparatory training that lasts several months and get them physically and mentally ready for their trek to the Kilimanjaro Summit. That way if you choose to, you can handle a more difficult hike in less favorable weather conditions.

Experienced climbers know that safety risks increase in bad weather. Conditions like snow, extreme cold, mudslides, and rain translate to poor accessibility as well as visibility on the mountain paths. Porters can help make your Kilimanjaro hike a successful one, but it’s the combination of their knowledge and your track record that will help you reach the summit safely.

Peak Dates: Learning the Value of Planning Ahead

Typically, only the most experienced climbers make the trek during the rainy seasons. The first one occurs in November and December, while the second rainy season occurs in the spring. Be sure that your schedule allows for some flexibility.

Certain features of the mountain and community events will draw a crowd, no matter what time of year it is. These include:

  • A trek to witness the summit icecaps
  • Hiking Kilimanjaro by the light of the full moon
  • Charity events sponsored by the local community
  • The type of trek you choose

Dates for these specific activities schedule-out at least two years in advance. Climbs are usually 5 to 9 days long.

Due to the effects of climate change, if you are determined to see the summit icecaps, go as soon as possible; don’t put it off. It has been predicted that the icecaps will disappear by 2050.

Contact Zara Tours for complete details and additional trip planning,

Where’s the Proof? The Picture of a Quality Trekking Company

Trekking Kilimanjaro is a trip that takes several months to plan and prepare for—f a truth that may seem obvious. Travelers should expect to:

  • Get appropriate vaccinations
  • Sort out their travel documentation
  • Select desired tour
  • Follow a suggested packing list
  • Have a skill-based route in mind

These are all good steps, but do you know what’s missing from this list? Choosing your Kilimanjaro trekking companies.

Rating the Importance of the Company you Keep

Tourists who come to Tanzania for the first time are entering an environment they’re not familiar with. Many tour groups fail to realize just how many options there are for Kilimanjaro trekking companies.

Realistically, there are hundreds of companies and independent climbers who will claim to be licensed operators. The danger is they may not be telling you the full truth. At Zara Tours, we believe in clear and honest communication with tourist groups, staff, and porters. This policy has made our company an industry leader in tourism for over 20 years.

Here’s what you need to know:

Independent organizations like the Mount Kilimanjaro Porter Society (MKPS) focus on improving the working life and safety of the porters who trek Kilimanjaro routes, but not every tour company is reputable or trustworthy.

Some guides are left to make their climbs without pay and adequate personal supplies, and they lack the proper clothing and climbing attire. They rely on gifts and tips from various climbing groups to make a living from day to day.

As you may imagine, it’s not a pretty or safe picture for anyone involved. The best way to safeguard yourself and your guides from harm is to choose Kilimanjaro trekking companies that comply with Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment.

Fair and Equitable Treatment—Where’s the Proof?

One of the frequently asked questions our company gets from prospective tourists is, “Why do you include banking and payroll proof on your corporate website?”

The MKPS was established in 2004 to ensure the fair and reputable treatment of Kilimanjaro trekking companies. The goal is to have every porter that works for Zara Tours receive training, all necessary supplies, and a fair wage for the work they do.

In addition, the MKPS gives each porter their own bank account and helps them learn money management skills. By changing the way these skilled, competent, and valuable workers support themselves, we continue to be a reforming element in the Tanzanian tour industry as a whole. The banking information you’ll see on the website is our show of credibility as a tour company.

When it comes to trekking the mountain itself, you’ll want Kilimanjaro trekking companies that know the best routes to the summit and can match those routes to the skill of the climber.

There are six routes to choose from. The choice of route depends on

  • Experience level
  • Weather conditions
  • Size of the group
  • Goal of the climb
  • Safety and price

Zara Tours porters create a signature, safe, and one-of-a-kind experience for each individual climber.

What Defines the ‘Best” Tours in Tanzania?

People use the word “best” a lot. It is a mark of quality, signifying something special; like gaining a wealth of knowledge or making a difference in the world around you. These same associations can be used when talking about the best tours in Tanzania.

In fact, at Zara Tours, we believe that all of these elements apply to our trips, even if each traveler comes on safari with a specific motivation in mind.

The Tourist’s Perspective of going on Tours in Tanzania

Going on the best tours in Tanzania may start out as a collective goal, but it is the serious traveler who achieves that goal. When they get here, they not only see the beauty of Africa firsthand, they meet like-minded people from all walks of life. It is this combination of shared experience that shapes the kind of trip they will have. There are packages available for every interest and age group. Here are some common ideas:

  • Couples on their honeymoon usually focus on luxury-level tours, unless they both like camping out under the stars. This makes for a more intimate shared experience between two people.
  • Tourists with families or an educational interest will try to experience several things in the duration of a single trip. This could include a shorter tour, a day trip to Kilimanjaro, crater camping, and a Maasai adventure.
  • Tourists with a vested interest in tours in Tanzania can come learn all about sustainable tourism. We offer packages that include a visit to various charity sites that are supported by tourist dollars. This allows people who are interested to see their travel dollars at work.
  • There are also individuals who come to Tanzania with a specific goal in mind. That goal could be to privately experience the best tour in Africa or to participate in a local charity event, like the malaria awareness marathon.

Picking the Best Travel Timetable

Some of these goals can be met on any day at any time; others have to be planned far in advance.

Luxury accommodations need to be booked far in advance. Certain tour sites are inaccessible during monsoon season and direct participation in charity events will require advance notice, registration, and planning ahead. Once you’ve picked a time frame and trip package that meets your goals, spend time on some research about the region you will be visiting.

The best tours in Africa actually start long before you are trekking through the protected plains of the country. They start with why you decided to take this trip in the first place. The Zara Tours website has helpful information about Tanzania as well as packing tips and sneak peeks to help you prepare for your trip. Use these resources and more to learn more about the country you’ll be visiting.

Zara Tours is a dedicated provider of trips that make a difference. Be a part of our next tour and see your goals realized.

July 23, 2014 at 10:58 am Leave a comment


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