I receive emails from prospective clients who want to climb Kilimanjaro and they want to climb for under US $1000. I explain to them that this physically can’t be done without drastic consequences for the local people who work on the mountain. After informing prospective clients of this fact I tend not to get any repeat emails from them and I can only imagine they trail the internet until they find a mountain outfitter that will attempt to guide them to the summit for under US $1000.

Many issues affect the local people who work on Kilimanjaro; many are underpaid, many are not properly clothed for the environments in which they operate, they are not given somewhere adequate to sleep during an expedition, they carry loads up the mountain far above the weight set down by the park authorities, many have to pay for their own transport to and from the mountain and a percentage have to pay for the food they eat on the mountain.

The responsibility for the unfair treatment of the people who work on Kilimanjaro falls at the feet of those who pay to climb the mountain and the outfitters who organise treks and climbs on Kilimanjaro. Rules are now in place to try and protect the people who work on Kilimanjaro but many outfitters are either not aware of the rules or are unwilling to abide by them. In many cases those who pay to climb the mountain are either unaware of the issues affecting the people who work on Kilimanjaro or are not willing to sacrifice an extra few hundred dollars for the peace of mind in knowing that the people who are supporting them on the mountain are being well treated.

The Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) has made a big difference to the lives of those who work on Kilimanjaro. They have fought to bring in a minimum wage of 8000 Tanzania Shillings, equivalent to US $5.00 per day, for the porters of Kilimanjaro. They have also been at the forefront of setting a limit for the weight carried by porters on the mountain and have educated over 9000 porters on issues affecting them in their daily lives.

At Lava Expeditions we believe in ethical tourism and the benefits it can have for everyone. We have witnessed firsthand many of the issues affecting the people who work on Kilimanjaro and we believe that companies should take a more ethical approach to the way they operate on the mountain. At Lava Expeditions we pay our mountain staff nearly double the minimum wage set down by the park authorities and we will be donating 5% of our annual net profits to the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. These are but a few of the ways Lava Expeditions is showing its commitment to Kilimanjaro and the people who work on the mountain. The benefits of being an ethical company are felt by everyone, from the people who make a living from the mountain to the many tourists who come to climb Kilimanjaro every year.

Lava Expeditions wants to be at the forefront for change on Kilimanjaro and we hope that by being an ethical company we will be far ahead of our competitors when it comes to a more ethical approach to operating on Kilimanjaro. Our overall ethos at Lava Expeditions is to support the local populations and environments and to offer our clients safe and affordable adventures at altitude.

Author's Bio: 

The Kilimanjaro Climbis something you will never forget and the Kilimanjaro trek a huge achievement in itself.