Your Crew: Trekking Guides
If portering is the first step on the career ladder of Kilimanjaro, then it is the Kilimanjaro trekking guides who stand proudly on the top rung. Ornithologist, zoologist, botanist, geologist, tracker, astronomer, chef, butler, manager, doctor, linguist and teacher, a good guide will be all of these professions rolled into one. With luck, over the course of the trek they’ll also become your friend.
Assistant guides on Kilimanjaro
The metamorphosis from porter to guide is a lengthy one. Having served one’s apprenticeship by lugging luggage as a porter, a few lucky and ambitious ones are eventually promoted to the position of assistant guides on Kilimanjaro. These gentlemen are probably the hardest working people on the mountain. While they still essentially remain a porter, in that they have to carry their fair share of equipment, they are also expected to perform many of the duties of a fully fledged guide – including, most painfully of all, the escorting of trekkers on that final, excruciating push to the summit.Their reward for all this effort is a slightly higher wage than a porter (Ts54,000-60,000 per six-day trip), a commensurately greater proportion of the tips – and, perhaps most importantly, the knowledge that they have taken that first crucial step towards becoming a guide, when they can leave all this hard graft behind and wallow in the privileges that seniority brings.