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Natural Attraction Safaris

Arusha, Tanzania
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About Natural Attraction Safaris
Want to conquer Kilimanjaro? Come face-to-face with a lion? Witness the great migration of the Serengeti? We are a small, locally-owned safari and mountain climbing company. Coming up through the mountain chain, starting as a porter and working his way up through camp positions until he became a guide, Dismas is committed to treating all porters, guides and staff in a fair and ethical manner. We are pleased to offer mountain climbing trips on both Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, as well as wildlife safaris in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, Tarangire). We are happy to provide day excursions in and around Arusha, as well. We work hard to design travel experiences specifically to meet each group's needs and work hard to make sure each client will be satisfied with their once-in-a-lifetime trip.
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Sarah Woodard wrote a review Jan 2021
Brooklyn, New York46 contributions4 helpful votes
+1
My friend and I climbed Kilimanjaro with Natural Attractions in December 2020. I had been overwhelmed with the number of hiking companies there are out there, and they honestly all say the same thing which makes the decision even more difficult. After summiting the mountain (thanks to this crew!!!!!), I am 100% satisfied with the decision to go with this company and am recommending them to anyone who will listen. After climbing the mountain with Dismas and his incredible crew, I was able to compare my experience to other people’s, and truly think this was the highest level of comfort, safety, and experience for the dollar value. They were flexible and totally tuned in to our needs, making adjustments and improvements to plans in order to ensure that we made it to the top (which we did!!) and back again safe and sound. Here’s my take on each of the areas that were most important to me: Safety This was my friend and my first time going to really high elevations. I know I have a hard time with elevation and can get altitude sickness, plus I have bad circulation to my fingers and toes which is a huge issue at high, cold altitudes so safety was a prime concern. I always felt so safe and cared for. Every single evening we did a health check where our vitals were taken. This included specific questions to help them assess how our bodies were holding up, as well as scientific measures including heart rate, blood-oxygen level with a pulse oximeter, and blood pressure. The team took these to heart and made slight alterations to our plans based on how our bodies were doing, in order to ensure we would adapt to the altitude safely. We felt comfortable saying everything we were feeling, and Dismas and his crew took it really seriously, understood any implications, and were completely selfless when it came to keeping us warm and safe - carrying our backpacks, giving us their gear when we didn’t pack right for that day’s hike, and more. Experience and knowledge We asked our guides and porters how many times they’d summited or climbed the mountain, and most people were above a hundred, doing it for 10+ years, or simply “more times than I can count” — which means MANY! The team knew the route inside and out, had taken all the safety and guide courses necessary (many of the porters had as well), and we heard plenty of interesting stories about past experiences. This company’s guides and porters have honestly seen it all, I would feel comfortable in any situation knowing they’ve probably experienced it before and know what to do. Food This one might sound silly, and it’s less important than others, but after the trip I can not believe how much this added to the quality of the trip! I had spoken to 5-10 friends who climbed Kilimanjaro, and they all said to bring snacks, because the food would be bad and potentially there wouldn’t even be enough. They went with many different tour groups but it all sounded the same… dry chicken, pea soup, porridge… We had the exact opposite experience with Natural Attractions! The food on Kilimanjaro was UNBELIEVABLE. It was almost silly how good it was. We requested a vegetarian menu, and ended up with delicious and varied vegetable soups every day, grilled cheese, pizza, curries, stews, fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs and omelets, south asian salads, crepe, veggie burgers and fries…it was borderline embarrassing how well we ate on the trip. The chef deserves a James Beard award for high-elevation cooking, and we said and meant it - he should have a cook book. He even made the most moist, delicious spice cake we’ve ever had…with frosting and our names on it… AT 13,000 FEET. Business integrity Google “how are porters treated on Kilimanjaro” and you will understand why this was important to us. The cheapest companies are cheap because they don’t pay fair wages to their crew, and the porters are the unsung heroes who do all the work. We wanted to make sure we worked with a respectable company. By the end of our trip we felt comfortable asking questions abut this topic (you spend a LOT of time together and get comfortable fast!) and had been gaining information without trying throughout the hike, and when Dismas made this company it was clear that he wanted it to be different from the others when it came to how the crew would be treated (and clients for that matter) and paid. He also talked about many things that I think show integrity: the way the company takes care of their own, making sure they have proper gear and loaning it out or giving it to porters who don’t have it - this can be very expensive if you’re just starting out. The team also is treated like family - it seems everyone is mentored and pushed to be the best version of themselves and pushed to follow additional education and certifications (such as becoming a guide themselves) if it feels right for them, and gaining experience on the job. Comfort and gear This is something I didn’t really think about before getting on the mountain and seeing what other people had. I just assumed everyone had the same gear, or that it would at least be sufficient. Well, it is clear that that is not the case. Some companies use 3-season tents, I have friends whose sleeping bags weren’t a cold enough temperature rating…the list goes on. We felt silly with how nice our experience was. We rented sleeping pads and sleeping bags, which were not brand-new, but were perfect for the cold nights. I do a lot of backpacking and have never had a blow-up pad, plus a therm-a-rest pad. That felt like true luxury for me! Our tent was Mountain Hardware which is one of the brands that can withstand the cold and wind at the top of the mountain, our kitchen tent was huge and had a real table and chairs and lantern, and a toilet tent is included which sounds silly to seasoned hikers but my gosh it was so nice, especially if you are a woman. The public restrooms are not the nicest places but on top of that, they’re rarely close to your tents because the camps can be large, and you don’t want to be set up near a high-traffic area like a bathroom. Crew This is last because it was something I didn’t think of when researching companies, but they really made our trip what it was. Everyone was highly experienced, but on top of that, every single person on our 14-man crew (1 guide, 1 assistant guide, 1 chef, 11 porters) was delightful. They were all kind and funny, respectful and hardworking, social but polite and giving us space if we wanted it. These 14 people carry massive weight the same distance and height that we do - but way faster and often ON THEIR HEADS. They were all completely professional and just lovely. You will be with these people for a minimum of 6 days (we did 8), so at the end of the day, the people you’re with every day really make a difference. I don’t think Dismas and Natural Attractions hires bad apples, and if they do, I don’t think they get invited back on additional treks. 

All in all, I can’t recommend this company enough. I don’t have a single bad thing to say, and after comparing them to everyone else on the mountain, I honestly don’t think there’s a better team or company out there.
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Date of experience: December 2020
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Jordan V wrote a review Jan 2020
3 contributions
Dismis was our lead guide when our small group of four hiked Kilimanjaro. It was a trip I'd planned for awhile, and I came in with high expectations - they were exceeded ten-fold! Dimas was profession with the crew, personable with us. He was mindful of our goals but also of safety and mountain ethics. Dismas also added so much to the trip with information on the ecology of the mountain and the Tanzania/East Africa environment, insight into the operations and other crew members and stories of trip on the mountain and parks. Cannot recommend highly enough!
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Date of experience: February 2019
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Paul M wrote a review Jan 2020
Boulder, Colorado2 contributions
I fully agree with every review I've read on this site. Of all the wonderful guide/porters on our trip in September/October, Dismas was my favorite. He's easy to talk to and has a great sense of humor. He's the reason why I think the best part of Africa is it's people. Thanks Dismas!
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Date of experience: October 2019
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Emily B wrote a review Dec 2019
3 contributions
Dismas was our lead guide on an 8 day 12 person group up the Lemosho route on Kilimanjaro through another tour company. From the pre-trip briefing the night before we started I knew that we were in good hands with Dismas, he was informative, experienced, compassionate and entertaining. Dismas would educate, share funny stories, sing and most importantly check in with us to make sure that we were all feeling ok. We had bad weather on our summit day and Dismas did everything he could to keep up our morale and even went out of his way to entertain us. All of our guides were great, but Dismas was our favorite. We were unable to have him as our safari guide, as we booked the trip with a different tour company. Our safari guide that we did have was terrible, and we would have all loved to have someone as knowledgeable and friendly as Dismas.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Anis H wrote a review Dec 2019
Chicago7 contributions5 helpful votes
My wife and I hiked Kili with Dismas as our primary guide and without any hyperbole, he is one of the finest guides we've ever had. It was a truly unique experience b/c not only was Dismas knowledgeable, extremely helpful and conscientious, but the level of personal care and attention for his clients is unmatched. In particular, I had a serious bout of altitude sickness and his patience, motivation and support was incredible. The entire team at Natural Attractions exudes positivity, a love of Tanzania and authenticity that you can only get from a local business. If Kili/safari is on your bucket list, Dismas is the person to help you on a trip of a lifetime. After our trip we can sincerely say he was more than a guide, he's a friend.
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Date of experience: January 2019
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