ZARA, one of the top three operators in Northern Tanzania. Begun in 1986 by Zainab Ansell as an international travel agency and in 1987 was appointed as an IATA agency. Safari trips, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru climbs commenced in 1987.
Many years of experience in running these trips have now been accumulated and in some years Zara has been the top provider. Zara is mentioned in many publications eg “Kilimanjaro & Mount Kenya” by Cameron M Burns, also on several websites that also provide references to Zara services.
We now have a large fleet of 4x4WD vehicles and over 80 guides working with us. 28 mountain guides are registered to Zara. All of our drivers and guides are experienced and speak English. In addition Zara now own and run two hotels – Springlands hotel in Moshi and the Highview hotel in Ngorongoro conservation area along with the safari Wildcamps in Ikoma, Serengeti and Ngorongoro. This allows Zara to be in complete control of your trek or safari from start to finish, ensuring that you receive the best possible service throughout.
LISTED BELOW ARE SOME OF THE MANY THINGS THAT ZARA HAVE DONE TO IMPROVE THE CONDITIONS FOR BOTH ZARA STAFF AND THE LOCAL PEOPLE:
Mount Kilimanjaro porters society (MKPS)
ZARA tours are proud of the work they do in using tourism to create better livelihoods for their employees, partners and communities. As such Director, Zainab Ansell, set up the Mount Kilimanjaro porters society (MKPS) in 2004 with the purpose of improving living and working condition for the porters (and their families) who climb Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru. This includes:
- Providing free training during the low season, in areas such as health, financial management and investment skills, mountain sickness training skills, environmental conservation education and English courses.
- Assisting porters to open bank accounts. Currently almost 90% of the members of MKPS have their own bank account and card. Wages are paid directly in to their account and this is helping them handle more safely and manage more effectively their money. This has helped porters to pursue their own businesses, afford to build their own houses, pay their bills and take care of their families as well as cover their basic needs of food, shelter, clothes and education.
- Helping provide employment opportunities to porters during the low season, for example environmental initiatives have led to several tree planting projects around Moshi and Karatu.
- Establishing tipping sheets for fairness and transparency to ensure that porters get their tips as agreed by clients. This sheet is signed by clients when the tip is paid and signed by porters when they receive their tips and is monitored by the office.
- MKPS through their sponsors Zara Tanzania adventures and colleagues pay higher wage rates than that which has been proposed by KINAPA and TANAPA.·
- Where required, members are loaned (free of charge) hiking equipment such as sleeping bags, tents, raincoats, waterproof trouser, jackets socks, gloves and shoes for the duration of their trek. The MKPS members have membership ID cards which help identify them and support their equipment requirements. It also helps with monitoring the whereabouts of the equipment at any one time.
- Ensuring that porters carry loads that respond to set standards of a maximum of 20kg per person, MKPS members have their luggage weighed at the base hotel. This means that luggage that is over this maximum may be left behind at the hotel. Therefore, when the porters from the ZARA organised trips arrive at the Kilimanjaro National Park gate to have the luggage weight double-checked before the climb, they will not be over the weight limit.
- MKPS porters and other staff are given 3 meals a day whilst on trek and each MKPS member has been given a bicycle.
For more information on the projects that Zara are currently involved with check the website www.zaracharitytanzania.org