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How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

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How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby Roger » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:47 am

Hi All
I would really appreciate your feedback on a few questions relating to how you would choose a Mt Kilimanjaro operator. I will keep it brief.
1. How would you find and choose a Kilimanjaro operator?
2. What are the key factors that would influence your choice of a Kilimanjaro operator?
3. What key information do you want to know about the operator and see on their website?
4. Does a companies position on a google ranking/search influence your choice? If so, why?

Really appreciate your feedback
Roger
Trekili Eco Expeditions
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby adventurer » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:39 am

Selecting a climbing/treking operator from thousands of miles away can be a nerve wracking experience and a crap shoot. It's great to know that one of our fellow SPers has set up shop. Best of luck to you, Sir.
"When you travel, if you avoid the people, reject the food, ignore the customs, and fear the religion..... you might as well stay home"
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:58 pm

I wouldn't go with Trekili Eco for starters.
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby Alpinist » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:58 pm

Price and customer reviews are the 2 most important factors.

Beyond that, what other services do they offer?
-Do they provide a hotel room before/after the climb?
-Do they offer safari tours? (It's convenient to hire a single tour company for both the climb and safari.)
-Do they help with transportation / visa?
-Can you customize your trip (extra days, no porters, hike to the ash pit, etc.)?
-English speaking guides? Any other languages?
-Guides are certified?
-Trained in first aid?
-Google ranking means nothing to me but will likely influence other people perceptions of your company.
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Roger

Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby mconnell » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:12 pm

Alpinist wrote:Price and customer reviews are the 2 most important factors.

Beyond that, what other services do they offer?
-Do they provide a hotel room before/after the climb?
-Do they offer safari tours? (It's convenient to hire a single tour company for both the climb and safari.)
-Do they help with transportation / visa?
-Can you customize your trip (extra days, no porters, hike to the ash pit, etc.)?
-English speaking guides? Any other languages?
-Guides are certified?
-Trained in first aid?
-Google ranking means nothing to me but will likely influence other people perceptions of your company.


Posted customer reviews mean very little to me. Way too many companies either write their own "customer reviews" or the "customer" is a friend of the owner. Unless I personally know someone that wrote a review, I consider the reviews to be just more marketing script.

I agree with the rest.
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby ScottyP » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:08 pm

I have talked to a lot of SPers and have decided that Zara would be my choice next year. Fwiw, scott
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby Cissa » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:03 am

Alpinist wrote:Price and customer reviews are the 2 most important factors.

Beyond that, what other services do they offer?
-Do they provide a hotel room before/after the climb?
-Do they offer safari tours? (It's convenient to hire a single tour company for both the climb and safari.)
-Do they help with transportation / visa?
-Can you customize your trip (extra days, no porters, hike to the ash pit, etc.)?
-English speaking guides? Any other languages?
-Guides are certified?
-Trained in first aid?
-Google ranking means nothing to me but will likely influence other people perceptions of your company.


That and the treatment dispensed to porters, since many companies pay less than the agreed wages and make them work in poor conditions. Zara being the one that has the most complaints.
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Roger

Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:10 am

Pay your porters with a cash tip if you are worried about that. Simple.
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby Woodie Hopper » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:12 am

A friend of mine took his two daughters up the Rongai route last summer with Zara and was very happy with them. I will likely use them as well one day.

Agree with Mrchad regarding tips for the porters. Their life is a hard one.

Woodie
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby UAmatt89 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:48 pm

I've used Zara and they are essentailly a low frills outfitter, just what I was looking for. If you plan to hike the main route and want some luxury be prepared to pay for it. I personally felt awkward using porters to carry my gear and chose to shoulder most of my load up the mountain.
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:51 pm

My Zara trip was pretty nice actually. I wouldn't call it luxury, well maybe I should as we never lifted a finger and had warm water for washing whenever we needed it sitting right outside our tent. Decent food too.

You can likely arrange whatever you like with them. Regardless I found Zara to be reliable and very well priced compared to any equivalent alternatives. Great safari too!
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby Roger » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:20 pm

Really appreciate the replies from Alpinist, mconnell and Cissa, each provided valuable insight based on your experiences and knowledge.
Appreciate additional comments to my original questions from other SP'ers.
Roger
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby Alpinist » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:44 pm

mconnell wrote:
Alpinist wrote:Price and customer reviews are the 2 most important factors.

Beyond that, what other services do they offer?
-Do they provide a hotel room before/after the climb?
-Do they offer safari tours? (It's convenient to hire a single tour company for both the climb and safari.)
-Do they help with transportation / visa?
-Can you customize your trip (extra days, no porters, hike to the ash pit, etc.)?
-English speaking guides? Any other languages?
-Guides are certified?
-Trained in first aid?
-Google ranking means nothing to me but will likely influence other people perceptions of your company.


Posted customer reviews mean very little to me. Way too many companies either write their own "customer reviews" or the "customer" is a friend of the owner. Unless I personally know someone that wrote a review, I consider the reviews to be just more marketing script.

I agree with the rest.

I completely agree about reviews posted on the tour operator's website. I was actually referring to reviews posted on neutral climbing sites like SP where you can usually verify who posted the review.
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby chickentikka » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:45 pm

I think most of the major ones that you will find on google should be ok. Kili is not a big deal truth be told.

I used TEAM Kilimanjaro and was very happy with them. Zero complaints.
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Re: How would you choose a Kilimanjaro climb operator

Postby JHBGerry » Mon May 27, 2013 10:46 am

One of the best Kili operators is Adventure Dynamics, which is based in South Africa. They can take you up any route, and can tailor your package to suit you.

The owner (Sean Disney) has summitted Kili about 20 times, in addition to doing the Seven Summits twice, and both Poles.

The local guides used have a good relationship with Adventure Dynamics, and they are well organised and friendly.

I have no hesitation in recommending Adventure Dynamics. I climbed Kili with them in 2012.

Whilst Kili is relatively easy, Adventure Dynamics has an amazing success rate.
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