There’s only one Mount Kilimanjaro. One Uhuru Peak. And with over 35,000 trekkers climbing its slopes every year, companies like Thomson bear a huge responsibility to be responsible stewards of the mountain.
And every year, Thomson steps into that responsibility with confidence. All Thomson head and assistant guides are trained in the principles of Leave No Trace, a set of ethics that promote conservation in environments like Kilimanjaro.
Working within these guidelines, your guides and porters minimize their environmental impacts and set a standard for other trekking operations to follow.
What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace is a multifaceted set of education and skills that help people care for the outdoors. It offers seven key principles that serve as a framework for reducing human impact in places like Kilimanjaro.
Thomson rigorously adheres to these principles:
- Thomson guides and porters are veteran trekkers and know how to respond to any scenario. All mountain guides are internationally recognized Wilderness First Responders (WFRs).
- Thomson treks are meticulously planned, requiring no resources taken from the mountain.
- Porters are provided with trash recovery equipment to ensure nothing is left behind.
- Thomson only treks on designated, marked trails on Kilimanjaro, minimizing the impact of human activity.
- Campsites only use solar power, and they are set in areas that minimize impact to the vegetation, soil and wildlife.
- Eco-friendly, portable, pump-flush toilets are provided at every campsite.
- Thomson porters don’t build campfires. They cook all nutritionist-designed meals on propane stoves carried up the mountainside.
- Wildlife on Kilimanjaro is present but elusive, especially in the rainforests that cover the lower slopes. Thomson guides know to keep their distance and to avoid interfering with animals in their natural habitat.
Recently, more than 50 Thomson porters received Leave No Trace training, learning environmental practices they can apply on the mountain. Thomson also expects to train a couple porters further, so they can teach other porters how to clean and leave their environment clean.
This training means that Thomson porters are better suited to sustain the environment that matters so much to them and their livelihoods.
Kilimanjaro Clean Up
Of the 35,000 trekkers who climb Kili every year, unfortunately, not everyone throws their trash away properly. Litter accumulates on the slopes, and risks making the trekking experience less enjoyable for everyone.
So, every year, when Kilimanjaro authorities asks for help cleaning Kili, Thomson volunteers.
This year, with full funding for food, transport, tents and salaries, eight Thomson porters spent four days cleaning trails and shielding the ecosystems in Kili’s five climate zones from human residue and debris.
Their participation in this annual cleanup is important and necessary work. It’s one small way to leave a positive impact on Kili’s environmental legacy for generations of trekkers.