9 Questions You Should Ask Before Booking Your Kokoda Trek
Here’s how you can save yourself time and, most importantly, choose a trekking company that meets your unique needs. If you begin your research with these questions it will help you find the right trekking company for you.
1. What direction does your trekking company walk in?
Why should you ask this question: If history is one of the main reasons you are trekking Kokoda it will be important to you that the direction of the walk runs logically in the way the events occurred.
Important to note: from the company’s point of view it is much easier and economical to run the trek from south to north so a lot of companies will run it this way.
2. Does your company observe the Sabbath?
Why you should ask this question: If you are passionate about the welfare and rights of the local guides (sometimes known as porters), then knowing that they are able to practice their religion and not work on a Saturday is something you would be interested in.
3. Does your company have an operations team on the ground in Port Moresby?
Why you should ask this question: 99% of the time everything works perfectly on a Kokoda trek, but if something goes wrong and an evacuation is required it is essential to have a team in Port Moresby. This team will assist you when you are back in Port Moresby while your guide and fellow trekkers are completing their journey.
4. What meals will you be preparing along the Kokoda Track?
Why you should ask this question: The difference in the quality of food is one of the big discrepancies between trekking companies. You need to check if you will be eating dehydrated food and two-minute noodles every day, or if there will be fresh and nutritious food served to you. You do not want to be trekking Kokoda without nourishing food.
5. Does your company provide for dietary requirements?
Why you should ask this question: If you are vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free or have an allergy this will be paramount in your decision making.
6. Does your company provide free training walks before the trek begins?
Why you should ask this question: If you are feeling uncertain about your fitness it is great to be able to go on a training walk with a Kokoda guide, you will get real feedback on where you are at with your training, if you need to ramp it up or if you are on track.
7. How is your company benefiting the people of Papua New Guinea?
Why you should ask this question: If sustainable tourism is important to you then this is a question you should be asking of any company that you travel with. Drill them about it, it is important.
8. Could I speak to the owner of the company on the phone if I wanted to?
Why you should ask this question: If supporting small and local businesses is a priority for you then this can be a really great question.
9. What are your terms and conditions?
Why you should ask this question: The last year or so has proved that we literally have no idea what is around the corner. Be aware of the terms and conditions, read them, and ask questions about them.
Trekking Kokoda is a life-changing experience, you will return from your trip with a new perspective on life and a large appreciation for what the men who fought along this track went through and sacrificed. It is important to do your research and to understand why companies charge different prices for Kokoda Treks. Having great food and ethical practices can be more expensive. Check-in with yourself to find out what your priorities are when you travel and ask the above questions accordingly.