Their guides are amongst the finest on the mountain. The level of training that these guys go through is impressive, their experience levels amazing, their social and team management skills remarkable. They have lots of guides and teams who have been to the summit of Kilimanjaro 200-300 times. Even the least experienced head guide will most likely have summited dozens of times as an assistant guide. So you are in great hands.
Trekkers are accompanied by a mountain team made up of a number of expert local staff. Even with just 2 trekkers, there is a huge amount of equipment that needs to be carried by porters. You also need to have a head guide, assistant guide and cook, adding up to around 13 staff in total. If you have 15 trekkers in your group, you will be accompanied by around 45 staff. Kilimanjaro has long been an area where mountain staff have been exposed to severe abuse by employers. The African Walking Company are pioneers in staff welfare on the mountain and were the first company to offer only permanent employment, no casual labour.
They supply all of the camping gear and food needed on the mountain and only use equipment and supplies of the highest quality. There is also a reasonably long list of personal equipment that you will be required to bring with you which, if you do not already own, may cost a considerable amount of money. Please see the section called Kilimanjaro Kit List. Some items can be rented from us, including mountain jackets, sleeping bags and sleeping mats.
Every piece of equipment that is taken on a trek needs to be of sufficient quality. Over the years The African Walking Company have tried and tested many different designs and brands and fine-tuned towards those items which have proved to deliver reliably on the mountain. Maintenance is also a key issue, and have been extremely disciplined on a regimen of cleaning, repair and storage. Their equipment stores in Arusha are run with military precision, so that when they are kitting out each trek we all know for certain that all the right gear is allocated and in a serviceable condition. The consequences of packing or equipment failure once out on the mountain can be extremely serious.
Over the years the African Walking Company have experimented with many different types of tent. It is hard to find tents which are strong enough to survive repeated treks up the mountain. So much so that for the five seasons up to 2008 they actually used tents that they designed themselves and had built specially in Arusha. Since 2008 they have been using Vango Hurricane 300 mountain tents. Although they are designed to sleep three, we only allow a maximum of two clients in each tent. Space inside is therefore reasonable and easily accommodating two large men. These tents have a door at either end making access easy and as both doors have a porch area that is inside the flysheet there is ample room for storing your luggage. On the subject of reliability, the mountain teams maintain the tents and all other equipment extremely carefully. After each trip they get washed and checked and any repair work is done immediately. At the end of each season, there is a total equipment check, where all gear is evaluated, not only for minor repairs but for the general condition and whatever action is needed, we do over the low season.
A trek on Kilimanjaro inherently includes spending a lot of time around camp, up to ten waking hours a day, so it really is preferable to have a communal tent, in order to provide an area for relaxation and meals.
Many trekkers think of a mess tent as a luxury before they hit the hill, but one of the most common comments that we get from them after the trek is how much it was appreciated.
We know that a communal tent has a significant effect on summit success rates, only the hardiest trekkers can get by without one.
The African Walking Company a ridged style mess tents with doors at each end, plus tables and simple chairs, seating four trekkers per table.
Most of the official camping locations on the mountain have rudimentary toilet huts. These are famously unappealing and poorly maintained. We naturally prefer to take a private toilet facility on all of our treks.