Kilimanjaro is one of the most sought after tourist attraction/destination in the world. At an altitude of 5895 Metres above sea level, you need determination, well-experienced porters and specialist mountain guides to ensure that you Summit at AFRICA’s highest peak and the tallest free Standing Mountain in the world.
In VoyagesAfriq’s recent coverage of Karibu-KiliFair Travel Expo in Arusha -Tanzania, the crew had the privilege of climbing the mountain even at the half altitude at the Machame camp and we had a sit down conversation with Roheel Shah, the Managing Director of one of the oldest operators on the mountain, Shah Tours.
Shah Tours specializes in adventure tours in Tanzania with Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru as the main mountains which attract visitors from all over the world. They also offer the Bush and beach experience where you get to experience the pristine and alluring beaches of Zanzibar or the vast wilderness plains of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater and more.
He touched on several departments of their operations and revealed how Shah Tours have worked and continue to advocate for a better wages and treatment of the mountain porters by voluntarily cooperating with the monitoring activities of the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Below is the extract of our discussion with him.
The company started in 1984, it’s a family company specializing into mountain climbing on Kilimanjaro and Northern Tanzania wildlife safaris. We have a big team of guides and we specialize in all of the routes of the mountain from the non-technical routes which most of our mountain climbers climb on, to the technical approaches on the western breach.
The last decade, we’ve seen a big shift in our client base. Most of them are not extreme mountain climbers and most people have reached an altitude of 5895 above sea level or even close before they attempt Africa’s highest mountain. No one is really prepared for that high an altitude where oxygen is low; maybe around 50 percent above sea level, the journey is long and the temperature descends well below 0.
We keep telling our mountain climbers “pole pole” which is “slowly slowly” in Swahili. As long as you go very slow and you enjoy yourself on the climb, the chances are very high to reach the peak. No matter where you reach on the mountain, it’s still a beautiful trek whether you spend half a day on Kilimanjaro or 7 to 8 days. It’s very scenic and beautiful. We compare this to walking from the equator to the artic in just a few days.
We specialize in the northern circuits of Tanzania for now and other cultural areas around the Kilimanjaro region that are standard drive in and out safaris to see wildlife and scenery.
Tanzania has various safari circuits, which are the north, south, east and west circuits. We believe Northern Tanzania has the world’s most famous parks. It’s very rare that’ll you go home after covering Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and you wouldn’t see the big five including the Buffaloes, Rhinos, Lions, Leopards and the big African elephant.
Aside from the wildlife, Tanzania has very rich culture. We have up to 120 different tribes in the country, most famous of which is the Maasai. Maasai and wildlife live as one in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where they interact with the nature and wildlife as one.
As an old and responsible company we believe the combination of a fair salary as well as keeping transparent tipping guidelines is key, especially when this culture is common for a tour in Tanzania. We are externally monitored for many fair treatment guidelines including a fair living wage, meals on duty, proper sleeping arrangements.
Also a fair distribution of work is a very key point not just among porters, but among mountain guides and among safari drivers as well because it’s not fair to give the job to one person because everyone has a family they need to provide for. We want to make sure everybody is in a safe, fair, friendly working environment which means happy people and successful treks that contributes to everyone’s success and safety.
That dream of conquering Africa’s roof can be made possible with the experts at Shah Tours Click to read more on Shah Tours