What to look for in your trek package
So, having done all the necessary research,, you’ve found a suitable agency offering the trek you want for the required duration at an acceptable price. Before you sign on any metaphorical dotted lines, however, you need to be absolutely sure that you know what you’re paying for. In other words, you need to sort out exactly what is and isn’t included in the price of the trek. Don’t just ask what you are getting for your money: ask what you aren’t getting too – ie what you yourself will need to pay out of your own pocket. Once you have this information you’ll get a good idea of exactly how much extra you need to pay in addition to the basic cost of the trek.
The following is a brief checklist of items that should be included:
l All park fees (see p000) and any accompanying taxes for both yourself and the porters and guides.
l Hire of porters, assistant guides and guides, their wages and food.
l Food and water for the entire trek. Get a breakdown of exactly how many meals per day you will be getting: normally trekkers are served three main meals per day plus a snack – typically a hot drink with popcorn and biscuits – upon arrival at camp at the end of the day; see p000 for more details on food on the trek.
l Transport to and from the park at the beginning and end of the trek.
l Hire of camping and cooking gear. If you have brought your own gear, you might be able to persuade the agency to reduce the cost of your trek, though it will be only by a small amount.
l Hire of any equipment – torches, ski poles, spare water-bottles etc – that you don’t want to bring with you. There will probably be a small surcharge for these – just make sure that whatever you agree is included in the contract.
l Any special dietary requirements or other needs, all of which should be stipulated in the contract.
l Any free night’s accommodation at the beginning or end of your trek that the trekking company has agreed to cover.
In addition to the above, clients who are booking from abroad and have agreed that transfers from and to Kilimanjaro Airport are included should again make sure that’s stipulated in the contract.
Please note: items that are rarely, if ever, included in the package include cigarettes, all drinks except water and hot drinks that accompany meals (and any other beverages that the crew give to you to help you get to the summit or celebrate once you get there) and the tips you dish out to your crew at the end.
One final note: if you’re already in Tanzania and dealing with the companies face to face, then you need to make sure that everything the agency has said they will provide, including everything listed above, is specified in a contract. This is important because, as you area probably aware, a verbal contract is simply not worth the paper it isn’t written on. The trekking companies all have standard contracts which should include most of the above but will not include specific things such as the hire of any equipment you need or any free nights’ accommodation that you have managed to negotiate into the package. These will need to be written in as well.