Africa’s tallest mountain could very well be getting a Kilimanjaro cable car in the near future.
Tanzania is currently experiencing a boom in tourism and the country is actively seeking to capitalise on the success to a maximum.
50,000 trekkers climb Mount Kilimanjaro each year and, in a bid to boost tourism in Tanzania, plans have commenced to build a Kilimanjaro cable car on the iconic mountain.
The Kilimanjaro cable car would give those unable to make the week-long trek to the summit the opportunity to experience the mountain’s awe-inspiring beauty. According to the local news agencies, the Kilimanjaro cable car idea is specifically targeting those over 50 and unable to trek at altitude.
However, it will be also be an option for able-bodied tourists.
This project certainly won’t be the first of its kind; with similar projects having been carried out in South Africa, Italy, Sweden and the Himalayas. These projects have acted as a source of inspiration for the Mount Kilimanjaro cable car.
Tourism is Tanzania’s main source of hard income and the installation of the Kilimanjaro cable car could spike tourism numbers as high as 50%.
Feasibility studies are currently being conducted to see if the project is possible as well as exploring business plans, investment sources and potential profits. Reportedly, two international companies have already shown interest in taking on the project; one from China and one from a western country.
The route will run along the Machame Route, known for its spectacular beauty and being one of the absolute favourites on the mountain.
Environmental and Social Impact assessments are being carried out by Crescent Environment and Management Consult Limited, with the goal to have as low an impact on the environment as possible. If the assessments are successful, the plan for a Kilimanjaro cable car is likely to go ahead.
Race to increase profits with Kilimanjaro Cable Car in mind
Compared to the famous Machu Picchu trek in Peru, with its seasonal permit limitation, there are no such limitations on the amount of Kilimanjaro permits available to tourists per year. The limitations that apply regulate the activity of trekkers and tour companies.
Tour operators are charged a licensing fee to operate on Kilimanjaro and trekkers pay a permit fee of around $1000 to the Kilimanjaro National Park to climb the mountain. This makes the costs of trekking up Kilimanjaro quite expensive with tour operator fees ranging from $2000-$4000 per person.
Is it a good idea to build a Kilimanjaro Cable Car?
However, not everyone is happy about the prospect of the Kilimanjaro cable car.
Porter and guide groups have made it clear that they are very much opposed to the Kilimanjaro cable car as it could lead to a decrease in the number of climbers, which would impact the job opportunities of nearly 250,000 porters, their families and entire villages they support.
Another argument against the Kilimanjaro cable car would be that it could detract from the novelty of climbing the mountain, which is a once in a lifetime experience. Isn’t it a challenge worth savouring?
Wouldn’t the summit trekkers of the future have to clarify that they actually trained for months and then climbed the entire Machame Route and did not take a Kilimanjaro cable car? Would they have to document the journey more extensively to prove their achievement? All these questions need to be addressed before the race to secure more money begins.
A petition has been launched to keep Kilimanjaro ‘cable car free’. You can read more about it in this article on Change.org.
Would you take a cable car up Mount Kilimanjaro? Let us know in the comments below.
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