Of recent there has been information circulating in the social media originating from the which is a Tanzanian online newspaper. Briefly the article was trying to quote some of the officials from Tanzania National Parks saying that Mount Kilimanjaro is currently overwhelmed by thousands of people and thus threatening the natural feature’s ecological balance.
Tanzania National Parks would like to clarify on this incorrect information as follows:
In 2011/2012 Kilimanjaro National Park recorded a total of 57,456 tourists, being the highest number the park has ever had in the recent years. Contrary to the reported information and with reference to the current Limits of Acceptable Use as per the current General Management Plan of Kilimanjaro National Park, the mountain has never reached its maximum number of visitors allowed to hike per day. During this year of record of 2011/2012, the average number of climbers in all the six routes of Marangu, Machame, Mweka, Rongai, Londorosi/Lemosho, and Umbwe was 45 climbers per day while the number which could be afforded as per the General Management Plan was 78 per route making a shortage of 33 climbers per route in all the six routes.
Despite the fact that Mount Kilimanjaro has never reached the maximum allowed number of visitors per day, the park still has taken stringent measures to ensure its clients are having services which are of good quality and of the required standard such as:
i. Trash Management
• Kilimanjaro National Park has in place a strategy known as Trash in Trash out (TITO) whereby trashes produced by all climbers are taken out of the park on their exit.
• In order to control waste products, use of plastic bags, small and disposable plastic water/juice bottles is strictly prohibited in the mountain.
• Use of properly made kit bags for carrying client’s stuff to the mountain
• Providing to tourists when entering the park informational brochures detailing on the dos and don’ts while climbing the mountain
• Giving out conservation education to stakeholders including guides and porters through various meetings arranged by the park.
ii. Mountain Facilities
The Park management has been taking very serious measures to ensure that toilet facilities are improved all over the mountain. In doing this, the park is currently under the move to demolish all temporary toilets and replace them with big and modern ones. A total of 59 modern toilets have been built in different mountain stations so far.
• Modern Mountain Huts
Currently mountain huts are offered to climbers using Marangu route. The huts are in good condition with solar systems, beds and mattresses. The bed capacities at each station are as follows, Mandara 84, Horombo 230 and Kibo 58. Alongside these huts, the park has built Permanent Dining Hall and Kitchen structures thus rendering service provision to clients easy and of good quality.
A very good trail network has been established in all six climbing routes thus makes it easy for climbers to trek from one point to the other. These trails are always maintained and therefore are in good condition throughout the year.
• Rescue Services
Rescue service in the park is done by our well-trained rescue rangers located in all stations from an altitude of 3500m Above Mean Sea Level. These rangers are equipped with first aid facilities such as oxygen cylinders, stretchers, Gamow bags and radio communications systems.
The park also has established road networks to Shira II and Horombo stations. These roads are used for evacuation of casualties from mountain to the Hospital for treatment.
Park rangers are deployed in all mountain stations for security purposes. These rangers are well trained in executing their duties and are also armed.
Conclusively, as our mission stands: “To sustainably conserve and manage park resources and their aesthetic value, for the benefit of present and future generations of mankind, as well as efficiently provide high class tourism products and services,” Tanzania National Parks through Kilimanjaro National Park will continue to work tirelessly in ensuring that this mission is attained.