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“7 day Lemosho with Topi Adventures - LOVED IT!”
Review of Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro
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Overnight tour to Amboseli National Park
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Reviewed January 5, 2013

My husband and I reached the Kili summit, Uhuru Peak via the 7-day Lemosho trek (which turned out to be only 6 days, I’ll explain later) with Topi Adventures in Dec 2012. Our experience with Topi Adventures was fantastic, unforgettable and I am still missing the mountain!!

Emanuel, the local company owner was so prompt in answering all of our questions via email prior to arrival and gave us a very informative briefing the day prior to our departure. Elly, his brother was our mountain guide.

We paid $1500 per person which included 3 nights stay + breakfast in Park View Inn, Moshi (2 prior, 1 after the climb), transfers to and from Kilimanjaro airport, wages for guides (x2), porters/cooks (x8) and finally all park fees. Additional costs $60 for a private portable toilet and $20 each for mattresses.

- Day 2: Walking through the forest from Mti Mkubwa Camp to Shira II Camp was simply beautiful.
- Day 4:
* The Barranco Wall: Lots of fun monkey climbing up this section. Ditch the walking sticks and just be prepared to scramble. Watch out and give way to the porters.
* Also Christmas day: We brought with us some gifts for each of the crew members which we distributed on Christmas day. It was so adorably cute to see their response! Our waiter Teaday didn’t even want to open the package – he just wanted to take it back to Moshi to show it off to his friends.
- Playing cards with our guides and the cook in their tent one afternoon whist it poured outside. We swapped card games – they taught us something similar to UNO and we taught them spoons. Only beer was missing from this picture. ;)
- Getting to know our guides really well and learning the porter’s names and joking with them along the way.
- Elly – yes, our main guide was a highlight. Elly was our motivator and pace setter which I know helped us to reach the summit and return in such good time despite the very icy conditions on the descent. We left Barafu (base) Camp at 12:30am, reached the summit at 6:20am and were back in our tents for a quick nap by 9:15am. During the whole trek and especially the ascent, Elly would listen to my breathing to see whether I was coping– if not, he’d slow it down to allow us to recover. I can honestly say he was 100% attentive to our physical state and his assessments were spot on each time. I did not have to ask him to slow down / speed up even once throughout the entire trip. He is a wonderfully warm and genuine person who is passionate about the mountain and really loves his job. I believe it makes a huge difference to the experience if your guide loves the mountain. To Elly: You were a wonderful mountain guide. We feel you have such a kind and generous heart and we were so touched that you take care of your crew and look out for their health during the trek and also their long term futures. We have every confidence that you will achieve the your goal in establishing your own business and we wish you all the best.
- Abel our assistant guide. What a kind hearted soul. I know he will soon be a guide himself! He actually carried my pack when I got tired on the summit and held onto my husband’s arm to steady him as he was dizzy and kept swaying and straying off course. On the last day, even though we were running back to the Mweka gate, Abel ran even faster ahead of us to catch the gate office before they closed so we could have our certificates!
- Summit day:
* We had ideal weather conditions– clear, light winds, lit by a full moon so that headlamps weren’t even needed, and for once – no rain no snow!! We planned the trip specifically around a full moon and it was hauntingly beautiful. We really enjoyed the first 4 hours of the 6 hour hike to the summit and kept mentioning how serene and calming it is to see snow covered mountains in moonlight. The last 1.5 hours before reaching Stella Point I must say were tough. It’s steep, you’re tired, the air is even thinner and at this point I was freezing. BUT hang in there, because the walk between Stella Point and Uhuru peak is like a walk in the park. Gradual incline – and if your guide has timed it correctly, you’ll be walking that part just as the sun comes up which really lifts the spirits. Sunrise is really beautiful up there.
* This day was epic! Normally after descending from the peak you hike to and stay overnight at another camp site at a lower elevation and hike back to the gate the next day. Upon reaching Mweka Camp after descending from the summit, the heavens opened up – it had already been raining non-stop on our way to Mweka Camp but this rain was different –this was like monsoonal rain. We asked the crew if rather than camp at Mweka they would like to continue on and do the last 10K and go home (unanimous yes). We all literally RAN the last 10k,laughing all the way from Mweka Camp back to Mweka Gate cutting short the 7 day Lemosho into a 6 day Lemosho. This meant a massive elevation loss of 4,395m over a distance of 28km (Barafu Camp 4,600m up to Uhuru Peak 5,895m down to Mweka Camp 3,100m and down again to Mweka Gate 1500m). The porters were laughing and smiling all the way because we had just tipped them prior and we were laughing because we’ve never ran through a constant river of water whilst monsoonal like rains are pummelling down on your head. It was certainly an experience I will never forget!
- Lastly, being told by the crew that we are the strongest/fastest Chinese people they’ve seen and how surprised they were at our general pace and that we made the summit. We were also told we were ‘kitcher’ or a little crazy for doing the summit and getting off the mountain on the same day. I took it as a compliment. 1 point for Asians! WOOT

-Incessant rain every day of the trek. My advice to you if it rains – just suck it up princess. You can’t change the weather but you can choose to still have a good time and make the best of the trip.
- Mud.
- Wet mattress. If there’s one suggestion I would make to the tour operator is to always put the sleeping mattress in a water proof bag – a big plastic bag tied with elastic will do.
- Nausea because of either AMS or Diamox or possible food poisoning from eating a local dish in Moshi that looked like a cow’s junk. Serves me right for ordering something off a Swahili menu and not asking what it was.
- Some other Mzungu leaving me a ‘surprise’ in our private toilet.

- Dry sack/zip lock bag everything. You never know when it’s going to rain and if it does unless you get a reprieve with a few hours of sunlight you won’t be able to dry anything.
- After dry sacking all your personals, bring a couple more thick garbage bags to give to the tour operator in case they don’t have a waterproof bag for the mattresses.
- Change to new headlamp batteries for summit night. You’d be surprised how much they drain over the course of the trek.
- Listen to your guide. If he tells you to eat, do it. I lost my appetite on the mountain but if I didn’t force myself to eat I’m pretty sure the summit experience would have been a whole lot worse.
- Get a private/portable toilet
- Diamox. I’ve had AMS before and it’s not worth it.
- Tip generously. The porters can sometimes earn as little as $6USD per day, the guides are often not much better off so prepare in advance the tips in denominations that will allow you to make the correct distribution to each person. The day after we arrived back in Moshi we hung out with some of the crew – the living conditions here are tough - remember that when you tip. For reference, my husband and I gave over double what is expected for a group of 2 and team of 10 (email me if you want the exact figures and breakdown). However it wasn’t out of obligation – we got to know the crew well and we wanted to bless these individuals and express our gratitude for hauling all our crap up the mountain!
- Training. For the 4 weeks leading up to the trek here was my weekly training regime. I’m glad I trained because I never thought “I can’t go on” and also I didn’t experience any soreness during or after the trek. I ran twice (6k – 8k, 5min 45sec pace), cycled once to/from work (36km return), did 1 stair training session by walking briskly up and down “The 1000 steps” 3 to 4 times (it’s a walk in Mebourne, not really 1000 steps, more like 770 or something like that) and sometimes threw in a short mountain biking stint. Personally I believe it’s the stair training which helped me the most and enabled us to still run the last 10k to get off the mountain after climbing the summit and feel only mildly stiff the next day. For reference, at the time we trained/climbed kili I was/am 33 years old, 148cm, 43kg, female.

16  Thank travelMonki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 2, 2013

I would just like to commend Soul Adventures for their outstanding service and dedication on Kilimanjaro.Myself and a group of friends climbed the Machame route in December 2012. Here is some suggestions that I can offer that may help your decison to climb Kilimanjaro.
Make sure that you ahve the correct high altitude clothing. The final summit day was very very cold. Luckily Darren from Soul Adventures was pretty thorough in this regard and ensured we were adequatley kitted out. We saw some pretty miserable people on the mountain who were suffering from the cold, especially their hands.
Make sure you start your training for Kilimanjaro at least 3 months before you go. Although we all made the summit, one of the guys did suffer quite badle on the final night from pure exhaustion. Something that could have been eliminated from proper training. Once again, thankyou to Darren from Soul Adventures for an amazing experience!!

4  Thank Glen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Can't speak highly enough about George, Kabacha, Andrew, Rachidi and the lads at Kilimanjaro Brothers. A Tanzanian owned and operated tour company infused with the spirit of Tanzania made the arduous climb via the Lemosho route a pleasure (as much as trekking Kili can be). From meeting us on the bus upon arrival in Moshi to the lei at the Kili park gate, the level of service and detail, whilst also respecting your privacy and the national park, was outstanding.

Prior to booking we have a number of doubts including them being a newer Tanzanian company (unknown), their prices being lower than other tour groups (fearing that there was a corresponding reduction in the value they offered) and also the need to pay cash. In turned out that being an entirely Tanzanian company has its advantages; it meant lower prices and a more intimate Tanzanian adventure and a tight and harmonious group. The only slight negative from the trip was the need to pay in cash which meant for an inconvenient number of ATM visits the night before departure. We made George aware of this and trust that he will find a solution in early 2013.

George (the trip organizer and company Director) is a unique character, who we were later to learn was the son of a Maasai Chief turned urban and a veteran of over 100 summits. His infectious spirit ran through one of the most harmonious group on the mountain contributing to the feeling that you weren’t just a tourist, rather a part of their culture.

All the lads on the climb were extremely friendly with plenty of character. From cool (kichizi kama ndizi) Kabacha to the very smooth Andrew, the ever-happy Rachidi and the porters, there was always a “Mambo (poar)” and hot drink on offer! My colleagues got quite fond of (a.k. addicted to) the Africafe instant coffee though I would content that altitude affected their cerebellum (and several thousand sensory neurons!) and thus their ability to taste!

There is a business-side of the trip of course… In total the tips cost us about $195ea (14 people - Head guide, 2nd guide, Cook, Cook’s assistant and 10 porters) extra but the tips depend on a number of factors including amount of people in your group (we had four) versus the amount of guides/porters/cooks. Keeping it simple if you stick to this:
• Head guide - $US15-17.50 per day
• 2nd Guide - $US10-12.50 per day
• Cook - $US10-12 per day
• Cook’s assistant - $US7.50 per day
• Porters – $US5-6 per day
• Plus a 15,000TS ($US10) bonus for those that make the summit with you and any other bonuses you feel appropriate

All in all it was a cracking experience with a great group… asanta sana Kiliminjaro Brothers.. upendo!

*More detailed breakdown of tips*

We paid as follows (based upon feedback from George) for a seven day trip with four people:
Head guide – 210,000TS (about $US135) or 52,500TS (about $US35) each which worked out about as follows:
7 days x $US17.50 per day plus a $US10 bonus for summit day.

2nd Guide – 160,000TS (about $US100) or 40,000TS (about $US25) each which worked out about as follows:
7 days x $US12.50 per day plus a $US10 bonus for summit day.

Cook - 130,000TS (about $US82.50) or 32,500TS (about $US20) each which worked out about as follows:
7 days x $US12 per day

Cook’s assistant – 110,000TS (about $US70) or 27,500TS (about $US17.50) each which worked out about as follows:
7 days x $US7.50 per day, plus a $US10 bonus for summit day, plus a ‘likeable and underpaid assistant’ bonus of $US7.50

Porters – 65,000TS each porter (about $US42) or 15,000TS (about $US10) each for each porter which worked as follows:
7 days x $US6 per day… then x 10 porters ($US420 for all 10 porters).

13  Thank Todd0000000001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2012

I did my climb about a week ago with a local Moshi company called Kilimanjaro Heroes Adventures. These guys used to work as guides for a long time for bigger companies such as Zara and then (quite recently) decided to form their own company. Because of them being one of the less known tour guides I got the pretty luxury and unexpected (because no one else had booked them for the same time as me) opportunity to have a private climb (it was only me, guide Mwinyi, one cook and two porters) for I'm sure the best price compared to everyone elses. I chose the most budget option with no extras such as a dining tent with a table etc., although I think they also offer these options for a bit more money. The food was simple, local, nutritional, exactly as I wanted, yet there was so much of it I had to return it to the guys and felt so bad for it. :) They kept looking after me like a princess and worrying I don't eat and sleep too much. But most importantly (at least to me) on top of the professional attitude was the interaction with my guide Mwinyi - during our climb we talked so much about our cultures form politics to music, even tv shows and films, he told me so much about the plants on the mountain, the way people live in Tanzania, his dream to go traveling in the world etc. Basically I felt more that I've hired a friend for a week rather than a guide. :) The guys were all good friends between them as well and I could hear them laughing and conversing in their tent all the time: the fact that they were also having a good time made me very happy. I know my money went directly to the locals as well as I gave them good tips personally. I really feel like these guys' need a voice out there to get more well known as they are such aspirational young men that, as my guide said on the first day: "Just want to make every customer very very happy". They definitely made me happy :). Thank you Evarist, Mwinyi, Dixon, Laurent and Damas :)

10  Thank ElzaZvaigzne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 23, 2012

We climbed with Team Kilimanjaro in June 2012 on the Machame Route. The mountain is downright amazing - every day was so different and we were lucky to meet so many different people. We were among the few that decided to do a day ascent rather than the night ascent and we feel it was a good decision - we had the summit to ourselves for about 30 minutes before the next group caught up to us and it was so amazing to make it to the top and have time to take in the moment amongst ourselves. It's really a matter of preference - some people insisted on seeing the sunrise and didn't mind climbing in the dark and sharing the summit.

Team Kilimanjaro was good on the mountain - we had two guides, Simon (lead) and Ibrahim (second in charge). To be honest Simon wasn't that great and was very aloof but Ibrahim was amazing - you could really tell he loved the mountain and loved being a guide. The porters were also amazing - it's incredible how much they do on a daily basis and they were always smiling and offering to help.

Overall, Team Kili was very good even though there were hiccups along the way - we were one of first groups to arrive on day one but second last to leave - the payment card the guides use to pay at the gate had no $$$ on it and no one wanted to tell us why we weren't allowed to climb. I would ALWAYS recommend going with a reputable company - even though I can pick on a few hiccups that happened along the way, travelers have to understand it is Africa and it is bound to happen with any Company. HOWEVER, where the established companies really set themselves a part is in the day to day interactions on the mountain. We met two Canadians who fell sick on the mountain but their guides didn't speak enough English to tell them whether they could continue or not. They asked if our guide could help them assess if they had the flu, altitude sickness or something else. Also, their food was also downright terrible while ours was amazing.

All in all, Kili was amazing. Can't wait to return again in 20 years. =)

2  Thank looseendsmakeknots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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