Donate Gear

Porters: The Heart and Soul of the Trek

porter Anyone who has climbed a mountain or is researching climbing Kilimanjaro knows that the porters are the heart and soul of the trek. But the truth is Kilimanjaro porters are often impoverished Tanzanians who depend on this labor-intensive employment to feed themselves and their families.

Porters can be severely underpaid and many climb Kilimanjaro without adequate clothing, footwear, or equipment. Some porters have warm clothes but refuse to wear them for fear they will get lower tips if clients think they are better off.

Like climbers, porters can suffer from altitude sickness and hypothermia. In fact, two weeks before my visit in September 2002, three porters died of hypothermia when a late season storm hit Mount Kilimanjaro.

Porters Assistant Project

climbers donating gear to porter assistant projectThe Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project recognizes the value of the demanding labor these porters perform and is committed to improving the working conditions of the porters on Kilimanjaro. You can bring old jackets, boots and other warm clothing to donate to the Porters Project.

It’s also important for you to know that it’s in the best interest of everyone for the porters to have adequate protection from the elements.

If you feel a porter is not well protected, you need to bring this to the attention of your lead guide and warn him that tips will be lower if the porters are endangered. By supplying warmer clothes and adding a financial incentive for porters to dress appropriately, we hope to ensure the safety of everyone on the mountain.