Why Wanderlust

A Letter from Our Founder

Dear Fellow Adventurers!

Living life on the edge and adventuring came quite naturally to me from my early years. My parents recall that I, aged 5, had climbed 7,000ft Adam’s Peak, a holy mountain in my native Sri Lanka, barefoot all the way. As a teen, I greatly admired my late grandfather for his daredevil personality. He walked miles for his work as a village headman, traversing the hills, paddy fields, country roads, literally anywhere and came unscathed. A man in his late 70’s, he often ran up the hills behind our home chasing me and my brothers late for homework. On the other hand, my dad instilled in me the value of hard work, discipline and team spirit, giving 100% or nothing was his mantra. My mom, the ever more amiable, thought me to be humble, respect other cultures, religions and all people.

These early mentors have taught me life-altering lessons and instilled in me the true adventurous spirit. So, I went away adventuring, far and wide, found places and great outdoors, engaged with people from all walks and got the bug – the thrill of just exploring. Each opportunity became different and I learnt more about living life through my adventuring than any grad school can ever deliver.

about-me

I created Wanderlust simply out of these inspirations and to celebrate the wonderful early memories. Wanderlust today is a result of sheer passion, sharing life adventures and “a hobby that went hopelessly out of control”.

My love affair with Kilimanjaro began more than 15 years ago, having climbed it on all of its eight official routes since. It never ceases to fascinate me. However there’s more to it than that. There’s the journey. Not only the journey up to the top, but the journey within that counts.

I’ve made countless friends who have helped me to nurture Tanzanian culture, their lifestyle and eventually do business. That’s why every Kilimanjaro trip we run combines endless enthusiasm for adventure, fun and also give back (see Our Social Responsibility), by way of dedicating time with local communities and working with grass root NGO’s.

That way, while we create the excitement of adventure for our clients, we also pave the way for them to bring home lasting memories, so that their grandchildren could go back one day and engage with those communities with happiness and share the joys of adventure.

Pri-signature
Priyantha Amarasinghe
Founder & Wanderlust Traveler

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” ~ Alan Keightley

Top-7-Reasons-to-climb-Kilimanjaro-1

Why do more than 50,000 people attempt to climb the world’s highest free standing mountain each year? Here’s what we think are the top seven (and good) reasons why climbing Kilimanjaro is so popular it has become known as “ Every man’s Everest”:

one-imgTechnically Kilimanjaro is the easiest mountain of the Seven Summits to climb. The Seven Summits are the highest peak on each of the seven continents. You do not need previous experience of mountain climbing or any special technical skills. The youngest person to have reached the summit was six years old, and the oldest was aged 86 years. This does not mean that it is safe to climb Kilimanjaro. On average 5-6 people lose their lives every year trying to reach the top, primarily due to altitude sickness. In September 2010, the 22 year old Spaniard Kilian Jornet set the record for the fastest ascent. He spent 5 hours, 23 minutes and 50 seconds to reach the summit.

two-imgKilimanjaro is geographically remote, yet easy to reach. The mountain is located in Tanzania, just South of the Equator. Kilimanjaro is a designated national park and all tour operators that arrange trips to the mountain are subject to strict rules and regulations to keep the nature clean and protect the sensitive flora and fauna. It is a requirement that all waste should be taken down from the mountain. There are seven different routes to the top, but despite the high number of people on the mountain every year, the National Park has managed to preserve the beautiful wild nature.

three-imgKilimanjaro is one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. A snow-capped mountain, close to the Equator, with lush green forests, surrounded by dry African savannah and its wild life. An ascent of Kilimanjaro takes you through all climate zones from tropical to alpine climate in a week, showcasing dramatic changes in vegetation from day to day. The remoteness of the mountain has fostered a breeding ground for strange and unique life forms that are found only a few other places on the planet, such as the unique elephant flower and the bizarre Kilimanjari tree.

four-imgKilimanjaro is a study in climate change. In his book “An Inconvenient Truth” Al Gore showed pictures of the rapidly shrinking glaciers on the peak of Kilimanjaro. Experts have calculated the glaciers to be about 11,700 years old, but unfortunately it is expected to melt away over the next 20 years. A team of researchers is constantly monitoring the ice melt, to better understand how climate changes are affecting our planet.

five-imgThe high number of tourists that are trying their luck on Kilimanjaro every year, contribute to a thriving local economy. On an annual basis the tourists generate about US$ 20 million for the local economy. Tourism provides many local jobs and the money ends up in the pockets of guides, porters, kitchen helpers, hotel staff, local food producers, merchants, equipment shops and hotel operators.

six-imgKilimanjaro has also inspired an entire continent into a fight for freedom. Kilimanjaro belongs to Tanzania, the first nation in Africa that achieved independence from a colonial imperialism. During the colonial period, the country was called Tanganyika and during the independence struggle in 1959, the President to be Julius Nyerere said: “We will light a candle on top of Kilimanjaro which will shine beyond our borders and give hope where there is despair, love where there is hate, and dignity where before there was only humiliation. ” The highest point on Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak. “Uhuru” is Swahili and means “freedom”.

seven-imgMany climb Kilimanjaro to challenge themselves or to live out a lifelong dream to climb Africa’s highest mountain at nearly 6,000 meters. Other people ascends the mountain to mark an important life changing experience or to draw attention to a worthy cause or to raise money for charity. Amongst others, Bernard Goosen ascended Kilimanjaro in a wheelchair in 2003 and 2007, to show the world that disability need not be a limitation to reach the summit of Africa’s highest mountain.

Go Before the Glaciers are Gone!

Kilimanjaro climbing experience is so unique because its summit is surrounded by beautiful glaciers with massive blocks of ice. These glaciers are something you do not want to miss. The geologists claim the glaciers have existed here for more than 12,000 years. The expanse of ice used to be much larger than what you see today, however, due global warming and the climactic changes, the ice has been vaporizing at a rapid rate. Some estimate the ice cap will be completely gone by the year 2050 or even earlier. So if you are contemplating to climb Kilimanjaro, do yourself a favor and do it sooner rather than later.

Kilimanjaro is a place where many people find inspiration for a new beginning and get more zest for life. When you stand on top and look out over Africa you see the world in a new and different way. What before seemed impossible in your life suddenly becomes manageable and achievable.

Understanding The Kilimanjaro Eco System

According to NOVA of PBS Television, the most-watched prime time science series, ecologically, Africa’s tallest peak is aptly referred to a world in miniature. On what other mountain can you journey from dry fields and farms into steaming jungles, then up through exotic heaths and moorlands to an alpine desert and finally a glaciated summit? Each of Kilimanjaro’s distinct ecological zones has its own climate and a coterie of flora and fauna. Beginning with the band of rain forest that girdles the mountain’s base starting at about 6,000 feet, this microcosmic Gaia gets gradually drier, cooler, and more inhospitable to plants, animals, and people as one ascends to the sparkling summit at 5895 meters?
To get a sense of what distinguishes each climatic zone, see the diagram below. By the end, if nothing else, you’ll know what kinds of preparation you need (and clothes to bring!) for an ascent of Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro

10-Reasons-to-climb-kili-with-Wanderlust
Most Kilimanjaro climbs today increasingly lose the element that makes it special – the real authentic style of a mountain adventure away from your comfort zone. We believe that your time travelling away from home is precious and that by committing for a Kili adventure away from that comfort zone, you deserve more by way of a true adventure, long anticipated, once in a lifetime experience. Therefore, choosing the right outfitter is the single most important element in your trip planning. Wanderlust Adventures truly believes in delivering the finest mountain experience possible. And, we guarantee it.
one-img

Our Commitment for Authenticity and Encompassing Range of Depth

Wanderlust Adventures really makes an effort to design Kilimanjaro climbs and safari itineraries that are encompassing, uniquely different and take you to places where few others go. Too often the promises made by mainstream travel aren’t kept – how often have you read that you’ll get to ‘meet and immerse with the locals’ and been disappointed in the brief encounter that’s delivered, and that you’ll give back a little to support a local community to discover it’s little more than a mere touristic enterprise?
Wanderlust founder has spent years in the field to change this enterprise-style business and provide its travelers with powerful real life experiences. Our itineraries are our personal favorites where we have had a chance to explore them before you. For us, sharing them with our guests is the most exciting part of our work. For us this is real adventure – exciting, unknown, rewarding and utterly captivating.
two-img

Trips Designed and Lead By True Adventure Leaders

Despite all the talk and intricate details written on myriad pages and the nitty-gritty that goes into creating a superlative adventure, we know a successful trip can only happen with outstanding trip leaders at the helm. We mean a leader who has been there and done it all. They are involved in every step of our business – right from the destination planning and the research stage, first-hand experience on finding ideal local providers to suit our style of trips, from talking to clients imparting their first-hand knowledge to finally being there with you on the trip – is what we believe as true trip leaders. Our Adventure Leaders are enormously dedicated and excited about the trips they run.
three-img

Private Trips & Small Groups are our Specialty – Low impact and More Personalized Attention

We cannot imagine running a more intimate and personalized adventure with a group of 20 or 30 strangers. Can you imagine the bottle necks large groups create on the trails…… to the summit of Kilimanjaro or trying to walk without disturbing the wildlife on a walking safari? Or the large number of people that create an impact on trekking in the endangered sites? We care much about protecting these sites we visit and the pristine nature of the wilderness areas we explore in our trips. Our trips therefore, starts from minimum of 2 persons a departure and groups are always 16 travelers maximum, by far the smallest groups in the adventure travel industry.
four-img

A combination of Safe, Remote luxury and Authentic style in Accommodation

Most companies to choose to offer large international hotel brands and lodges that cater to mass tourism. These are a no-no on Wanderlust trips. At best, we stay local, live with the locals, support locally-owned hotels, camps and safari lodges wherever possible. That is another way of giving back and supporting the local economy grow. We, on the other hand, recognize that good adventure experiences also require us to be careful about where we stay, even if they are remote and cost more, for practical reasons, a combination of comfort and luxury also helps us reach our adventure goals!
five-img

We Only do Kilimanjaro & Tanzania

We are not a do-it-all travel company. We are a company obsessed with Mt Kilimanjaro. We just do what we know best, all centered on providing exciting adventure, nothing more. Yet many of our trips to Tanzania focus on special elements and features that align with many individual interests, hobbies and likes.

Our founder has a life long affinity for Mt Kilimanjaro. He has climbed all of its seven official routes to the summit, spent years testing its pro’s and con’s and wants to help our clients to achieve theirs. Wanderlust’s Kilimanjaro product was born out of this personal interest. Our hands-on expertise can pay off hugely for would-be climbers.
six-img

Most Trips Inclusive of Air Travel & Land Only Options

Most operators leave flights excluded in trips and require guests to book their own airfare, offering little guidance in negotiating the complicated web of flight options in traveling to Africa. Since we know that “going it alone and meeting up there” are a pain and can result in ‘find your own way disaster stories” we hear often, we prefer to arrange all flights in our trips. This is part of our commitment to your peace of mind. However, for those looking to find their own way to the starting point of our destinations, we also offer `Land Only` prices in all trips.
seven-img

Our Philosophy on Quality & Value

We are a far cry of the mass outfitters and tour operators that sell hundreds of trips. Our limited departures and the exclusive nature give our travelers the confidence to make plans with us knowing that their expectations will be met and that the fees we charge reflect the exceptional quality of the experience provided. And, our promise: your adventure will exceed your expectations!
eight-img

Your Trip is a go and price is guaranteed!

If you’ve ever experienced the disappointment of having the price of your long-awaited adventure changed or increased at the last minute because the tour company didn’t have enough buffer to cover the unexpected increases like exchange fluctuations and hikes in supplier rates. When we design our trips, we take all these facts into consideration. It is also our promise that should the prices go down due to high demand in sales or exchange gains, you will be the first to hear from us with the savings passed on to your overall trip price.
nine-img

We Make a Difference – We give Back More…

At Wanderlust, we firmly believe that responsible tourism can be an extraordinary tool to connect people across borders and cultures. Our commitment to responsible, low-impact tourism goes back many years of the adventure filled careers of our Founder and his trip leading team. It has since become part of our trip planning that we actively support a variety of conservation and cultural groups in Tanzania. We actively support number of grass root level organizations dedicated to improve lives of the local people and help us see the lives of the impoverished through their work.
ten-img

Wanderlust Operations Are 100-Percent Carbon-Neutral

We know our guests care deeply about our planet. So do we, and when you travel with us, we will offset 100 percent of the carbon emissions from your trip. But we’re not just pursuing a trend here. In an effort to change the way the entire travel business operates in Canada, we are now considered one of Canada’s few carbon-neutral adventure travel companies. Many others may follow suit, and even if you do not select Wanderlust for your next Kilimanjaro or Tanzania safari trip, we encourage you to choose a 100-percent carbon-neutral travel company.

Effecting Change for the Porters of Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro-Porter-Assistance-ProjectWanderlust Adventures is an active member and a supporter of International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC), a Boulder, Colorado based nonprofit organization. Through its affiliation with Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) in Moshi, Tanzania, IMEC’s focus is improving the working conditions of the porters on Kilimanjaro. These organizations monitor and support porters with the initiatives like:

  • Lending donated clothing at no charge to the porters who carry loads on Kilimanjaro
  • Providing FREE classes for the benefit of the porters, such as English, First Aid, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Money Management and Porters Rights
  • Educating the public on the porter working conditions and providing Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment

Ensuring Proper Porter Treatment

International Mountain Explorers Connection believes that companies who value and treat their employees with respect should be recognized for their conscientious operations. IMEC, through KPAP, monitor the practices of tour operators to ensure that they are providing for proper porter treatment.

Wanderlust and its local partners has been recognized as one of these superior outfitters and qualified as a Partner for Responsible Travel that adheres to IMEC’s guidelines that include:

  • Pay the above minimum wage salaries to porters as outlined by the Porters Unions.
  • Make salary payments within 2 days after the descent of a climb.
  • Implement a tipping procedure to ensure that the porters receive the full amount of tips intended for them.
  • Supply the appropriate number of porters so that porters carry no more than the park regulation weight of 20kg for the company load.
  • Provide the porter with 3 meals per day and cover food costs for the crew.
  • Furnish adequate tents and ground sheet.
  • Ensure that porters have the proper gear for the climb.
  • Assist with the descent of an ill porter and provide for medical treatment as indicated.
  • Safeguard fair assignment to climbs without any payment of bribe money.

By booking your Kilimanjaro climbs with Wanderlust, you’re guaranteed ensure that your climb’s porters are given the treatment they deserve and fair labor practices.

Kilimanjaro Climber Survey

Wanderlust Adventures and its local operation in Tanzania works closely with KPAP and IMEC to ensure that every step is taken to improve the working conditions of the local porters and guides.

Please help us to help our valued crew members by completing the climb survey implemented by KPAP and let us know how you feel about the treatment and welfare of porters on your trip and any suggestions where we could improve working conditions for porters. Go to Survey

Cameras of Kilimanjaro
Photographs By The Porters of Mount Kilimanjaro

1684485-641572cb44b2372c1547ad12b0ff9acf

Cameras of Kilimanjaro by Helen Oslerras of Kilimanjaro is a hard cover book of photographs taken by the porters who work on Mount Kilimanjaro. The book contains 104 pages of full color images as well as interviews with the porters, facts on porters working conditions and information on the mountain itself.

All profits raised from the sale of this book through Wanderlust Adventures will be donated to the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance
Project.

See a Preview of the Book. Click HERE to buy the book

Our Commitment To Make a Difference

Wanderlust Adventures is committed to maintaining total integrity in the business, abiding by our core values and ensuring that we’re fulfilling our very existence. This means we run our business in a responsible manner in every possible way, building in the principles and internationally accepted sustainable practices and provide our travellers with programs that combine true life experiences.

Our Social & Economic Responsibility

When you travel with Wanderlust, you become an integral force for change as a large part of your tourism dollars help transform the local communities, creating jobs and improving livelihoods. Your presence therefore as travellers becomes a powerful incentive for communities to empower, persevere and thrive.

Our commitment therefore is to ensure what we earn are distributed in a way that is beneficial to everyone – our customers, ourselves, our employees, local hosts and their communities and other stakeholders. Thus, achieving social and economic growth for everyone involved in the process.

Here are some of the steps we take to achieve a sizable part of these goals:

  • Always employ local guides and staff, therefore contributing directly to local employment and ensuring competitive local remuneration.
  • Using locally owned ground transportation and accommodation.
  • Buying locally produced food and drink and recommending our clients to eat at local restaurants Travel as locals element into our trips where ever possible.
  • Investing our time and money in projects which support the local economy through temporary and permanent employment,as well as contributing to the local infrastructure.
  • Purchasing souvenirs directly from local artisans
  • Careful management of energy and water resources
  • Offering real life experiences which promote cross-cultural understanding
  • Avoiding the exploitation of the vulnerable section of our world – including women, children, porters, animals and endangered species and the natural habitat

For several years we have identified specific projects where, as an adventure travel provider, we are in an ideal position to actively help some of the less fortunate, whilst also encouraging them to protect the very environments, their people, the nature and wildlife that we so enjoy seeing. All our adventure projects in Tanzania are chosen carefully, with input from the local community, our founder’s visionary ideas, partners and of course our clients.

We do not work with large NGOs and charities and create mega fundraisers. Instead we incorporate site visits that feature specific projects we support. This enables our clients to see in their own eyes what really works and how these projects are funded efficiently. Wanderlust’s local team in Tanzania ensures that all get delivered to the projects on the ground.

We encourage you to learn about some of the NGO’s and community partners we actively work with and diverse range of projects these unique organizations undertake.

Arusha-Childrens-Trust-logo-TanzaniaArusha Children’s Trust is a small educational charity run by British-born Ishbel Brydon, a teacher by profession, who has been living in Tanzania for more than 20 years.
The Arusha Children’s Trust is non-religious and non-political. It does not impose or promote western values but presents information that facilitates the development of knowledge to enable young people to make decisions which will improve the future for themselves and their communities.

Managed personally by Ishbel and run by unpaid volunteers, ACT provides educational materials, classroom furniture and sports equipment for the schools in the tribal communities in Arusha, near Mount Kilimanjaro. It builds new classrooms and teachers’ houses and sends teachers on training courses.

ACT has built and furnished a community centre in a Maasai village near Arusha and the local community run a kindergarten for 100 children aged 4 to 6 years. ACT pays the teachers’ salaries and provides the children with porridge every day. The charity sponsors ex street boys of Arusha in full-time secondary education and seeks financial help from donors to ensure they achieve their goals. ACT believes that education is the key to a better future for the children of Tanzania.

All our clients on Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions and wildlife safari adventures, get a chance to visit the ACT projects in Arusha, meet the children, caretakers and get involved.

WAP-logoWanderlust Adventures supports the programs of World Animal Protection (formerly known as WSPA – World Society for the Protection of Animals) that promote a vision for a world where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended. By working to support their projects, we protect the world’s animals. Every day, in every country, millions of animals are suffering.And the more people who know about the work of WAP, the more animals we can reach. Animals play a vital role in communities worldwide, and we must move quickly to protect animals affected by disasters, animals farmed for food live in conditions that cause suffering and stress, to protect and save wild animals and to keep wild animals in the wild, where they belong and ending wild animal abuse for entertainment. Every day, wild animals are enduring lifelong misery for tourist entertainment. Seeing wildlife on holiday should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to share with friends. But behind the scenes, animals endure lifelong misery in attractions such as lion parks, elephant riding attractions and tiger venues.(Wanderlust Adventures itineraries neither offer Elephant back safaris nor include visits to institutions where animals are held in captivity for visitor entertainment).

Neema-house-logoWanderlust’s NGO partner, Neema House Arusha in Tanzania is a rescue center for orphaned, abandoned and at-risk babies. Babies come to Neema when hospitals and police stations call asking for help with babies who have been abandoned or orphaned. Babies have been left on the roadside, on porches, in yards, left alone in houses and even in latrines. At Neema House they have all found love and care. With a staff of forty full time Tanzanians there is twenty-four hour care, seven days a week at Neema.A brainchild of the retired US missionaries Michael and Dorris Fortson, since its inception in 2012, eighty-nine babies have been helped by Neema House, sixteen babies have been adopted and seventeen have been returned to an extended family member. Today, volunteer on-site directors who do not take a salary for their work and over sixty unpaid volunteers from all over the world have come to Neema to hold the babies and their lives have been changed by the experience. Wanderlust’s Kilimanjaro clients are offered a chance to visit the home in Arusha during the pre-climb acclimatization stays in Arusha. Visit Neema House for further information.

Mom2mon-Africa-logoMom2Mom Africa is a project undertaken by Canadian, Alison Fraser to raise awareness in her local community about the challenges that young women face in Africa to receiving a quality education. Alison was inspired by stories from a good friend living and teaching in Tanzania at the time.
She decided to hold a small backyard fundraiser with friends and family to help send a young woman
(Wanderlust’s Tanzania Director, Rob Chekwaze’s sister), back to school. The fundraiser was a financial success. However, what really inspired Alison was the response from those who attended the event. People were inspired and wanted to do more. Subsequent fundraisers saw greater attendance and the response to the project was overwhelming. What started several years ago as a project to send a young woman back to school is now an organization that funds the educational needs of more than 74 boys and girls, supports the education of CHETI School teachers and inspires global awareness in all involved. Visit Mom2mom Africa for further information.

Wanderlust Adventures supports and works closely with adventure travel industry’s leading contributors. We’re affiliated with some of the world’s top entities and organizations, this way we stay on top of our game and run our adventure trips at the highest standards.

Wanderlust Adventures with its focus entirely on Tanzania, its natural wonders, the wildlife and their conservation, blended with expedition-style personalised adventure, attention to detail and itineraries that stretch the imagination, has given the adventure and consumer media a lot to rave about. We’re proud of promoting Tanzania as our core adventure product and one-of-a-kind adventures we lead in that country, and honored by the accolades the Canadian and global press continues to rain on our adventures.

This is your chance to meet, share the fun and joys of adventure with Wanderlust Founder, who brings more than 35 years of adventure experience! After all, strong relationships with our past and present travelers, suppliers and connections always inspire us at Wanderlust. Priyantha founded Wanderlust Adventures in 2014 after having traveled to every corner of the world and worked in the industry for many years developing and leading trips. The trips he developed and there were many, he always escorted them. His premise to his clients was, the person who has developed the trips from scratch, is with you every step of the way.

The Founder Led trips is a great way for our founder to keep abreast and focused in our business and stay connected with a close-knit group of clients, who’re mostly past clients who keep coming back, and also bring together like-minded active people with a passion for exploration and physically rewarding adventures.