At this stage, you need to drop any preconceptions you may have about authorities, regulations, standards, a duty of care and all such first world conventions. Regulation is still in its infancy and life is cheap in Africa. Just because an operator on Kilimanjaro has to be approved by the Park Authorities before they can get on the mountain, don't make the mistake of assuming that they are decent operators.
From around 400 licensed operators on Kilimanjaro, there are less than 20 that operate with the levels of professionalism that most customers might consider sufficient. Generally, these companies offer medium and high specification climbs. The biggest complaint from trekkers is the apparent lack of control demonstrated by the park authority. The most common issue is the lack of facility provision and maintenance on the mountain. But the thing that really upsets trekkers the most is the appalling conditions which some porters have to endure whilst on the mountain, with low-quality operators loading them with far too much weight and not providing sufficient clothing or food.
The fact that the park authorities seem to be failing to prevent this abuse is something which really upsets both ourselves and our customers. Unfortunately, this lack of control and the ruthless cut-throat competition that it encourages makes it very difficult for even the most responsible operators to conduct treks to the standards that one experiences in other major trekking destinations around the world.
You will hear it time and again, that old chestnut of an excuse "this is Africa, what did you expect". You will not find Tailormade Africa or our partners The African Walking Company using such excuses. There are so many different ways that the local operators use to cut the price of the trek that it is practically impossible for a customer to detect before booking.