If portering was an Olympic endurance event, the trekking porter would win all the medals for their weight-lifting skills. Celebrate and admire these incredible athletes of the mountains. Watch them in action, appreciate the balance, strength, endurance and their good nature, then try picking up a load yourself!
Portering is an important part of the economy in many popular hiking destinations. If you are off trekking in places like the Himalayas, Mt Kilimanjaro or shorter treks like on the Inca Trail in the Andes, employ porters, support the tradition and take good care of them. At Intrepid, we follow strict guidelines in how we recruit and care for porters. You can play an important part in this…
1. Travel with a responsible travel company like Intrepid, that is committed to respectful and fair working conditions for all porters – appropriate training for the crews that manage the porters, suitable protective clothing and equipment, adherence to weight limits and other safety considerations, and the payment of fair wages, meeting or government regulated requirements
2. Learn some of their language and get to know them. A friendly relationship between travellers and the crew will make the journey smoother and happier for all. They may be shy to begin with, but by interacting with crew members you will help enhance their language skills, improve their service skills and you will learn more about their lives and culture.
3. Tips from trekkers are recommended for good service, but guides and porters know they are discretionary and will not hassle you for them. Tips should be distributed to each recipient personally and not just via one person such as the guide. Tipping is best done after a trek, back in a secure environment.
4. In Nepal, Mt Kilimanjaro, Inca Trails in Peru and on Mt Kinabalu, there’s the opportunity to donate clothing and trekking equipment for the benefit of the porters and crew on future trips.
5. Get behind the great work of organisations that help protect porters and ensure they have positive working conditions.
Intrepid Travel is a proud partner of The International Mountain Explorers Connection and their Partnership for Responsible Travel Program. For more information see Intrepid’s Porter Policies.
To learn more about the life of porters through their eyes, check out the book Cameras of Kilimanjaro, that features 104 pages of colour photographs taken by the porters who work on Mt Kilimanjaro.
* photo by Emilia Peters – Intrepid Photography Competition