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Ways to Experience Mount Kilimanjaro
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Reviewed December 25, 2015 via mobile

I just did a climb with Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures - I highly recommend the crews from Kilimanjaro backcountry adventures trains & hires - they are all hard working locals and would go beyond the call of duty - especially my guide Nasooro Zingondo Mawala and I also highly recommend you to do the Massai village & rice farm tour with Abdul Hemedi's brother A Juma Hemedi if you have a day free before or after the climb. The experience is so raw and genuine. I saw a goat giving birth, met the Massai tribe leader with 4 wives and 50+ children's & grandchildren (??) Below are more details of my experience with them and in Tanzania :)

Value for money - I felt I was in control of the cost and I had the freedom to decide how much tips I give depending on the service I got because the fixed costs were little. At first I couldn't believe how slim Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures profits are when I did the research, I only paid $1,500-$1,800usd for the Kilimanjaro trip, which includes Abdul picking me up and dropping me off at the airport as well as accommodating me in his parents home in a very untouched village for 3 nights before and after the climb. To be honest, I was afraid the service and staff maybe substandard because the quote they gave me was much cheaper than other vendors. So I had backup plans, but I was very impressed with Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures. I later found out most people book through agencies from their home country which charges a hefty commission and pays unfair wages to the guides, the cook & the porters. You must know life is tough in Tanzania and porters are unsung heroes who risks their life carrying your stuff which you might not even use just to feed their families & good educations for their kids.

Mr. Guide - Nasooro - what I love about being on the mountains is that everyone's personalities comes out, what their values are, what they are made of and most importantly whether they are genuine or not. I'm not a big chatter and I liked how Nasooro made me feel comfortable hiking together in silence and when we chatted the conversations were real, genuine and he shares about his personal stories as a painter, as a porter, as a rice farmer and his dream to become a math teacher with me. You know when someone is real or not when you ask them detailed questions whether they listened to you and how they answer your questions.

Professionalism - from the beginning to the end all processes were very transparent and honest by staff members from Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures. They took me to local market to shop for food on day one, took me to bank to transfer money for the national park passes (I only had to pay $300usd as deposits prior to my departure), they even took me for a walk on the local streets and made me felt safe. I can only say honestly is a two way street, you can't demand but you can ask if you know what you want and trust people when they are trying to help you.

The summit day part I - ascending - I think one of the reason I succeeded the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is because Abdul advised me to start in the morning at 4am rather than the usual midnight. The temperature is slight warmer, you can see where you are going and take plenty of pictures on the way up (you might be too tired on the way down). Nasooro was very patient with me and I would have probably given up before reaching Gilman's point if he didn't stay with me. For me it was witnessing a miracle for myself. I think a lot of people cannot articulate well their 'real' purpose when they decided to climb Kilimanjaro, it exists somewhere in the subconscious. Well I hope they find it on the way up there :) I know this is what happened with me, with every step you take it hurts and you need to take thousands of steps. So you ask yourself a thousands times 'why', 'why' and 'why'. For me, I did it because I like pain :) I like pain because sometimes pain is a great teacher in life :) So with good advice from Adbul, patience from Nasooro and the assistant guide I had time to enjoy the process of the climb and succeeded.

The summit day part II - descending - Nasooro going beyond the call of duty - did I mention it was also very tough on the way down? Because I did the climb in the morning so by the descending time, it was snowing and sunny on the way down - so the snow made it a bit more poetic but challenging in the same time. We also ran out of water as I was taking way too long. We made an executive decision to send our assistant guide down first to notify others so they can start moving on to the next site rather than waiting for me. Nasooro really took up the challenge and responsibility to do whatever it takes to get me down. You think you might want to give up on the way down, but for me I thought about giving up on the way down but Nasooro took my arm tightly by his and reassured me every step of the way "you are not sick, you are just tired". I'm sure I felt sick but maybe my sense of good humour masked my sickness :p

The crew - like I said I paid a really budget price by going through a local company managed by Abdul's Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures - so I felt more comfortable financially and could afford to pay fair wages to the crew via ways of tipping on my last day if I felt it was the right thing to do. The Chef Wahabi made me really good food every night, he even made me noodle soup (I'm Asian so I miss noodle soups) on my summit day, he prepares fresh chilli for me lunch & dinner (I'm addicted to fresh chilli), and one night I asked if I could have dinner with them. So I did! It was a truly enriching cultural experience, I ate with my hands sharing big plates with my crew (nothing to worry about if you had all your travel vaccinations), language wasn't really an issue because it was just fun watching eachother and your guide can translate for you anyway if needed. For them it was overtime work - they usually play card games to kill the night but they decided to spend their free time with me. I really felt we were a team and treat eachother with respect and dignity.

Scenery - the term "poly poly" means you have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and take photos. I like "small" things in nature, the tough but small flowers, insects including ants @ work, see the world from the little things in nature gains you perspectives :) anyway, plenty on Google regarding sceneries if you want more.

Abdul's village - I thought it was very brave of Abdul to accommodate me in his parents home for 3 nights before & after the climb. I could have being a disaster :p Please, if you are still reading by now, GO STAY at Abdul's family home!! Forget about hotels and expensive restaurants!! You don't get someone like Abdul who's willing to open up and share his village and culture. Of course very little English there but it's about the time you learn to communicate via other means like what the guide,chef and porters often have to do. It's about trust :)

Juma a.k.a AT & Massai village & rice farm tour from Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures - Abdul's brother Juma is also a very famous Kilimanjaro mountainguide - known at "AT" online - he's been up the summit more than 399 times and still counting. I couldn't believe he took me to walk around his village to take photos and even visited his rice farm (it was such a laugh when his fellow farmers come to say hello to me). A very humble person who has been through a lot in his life. If you ever get the chance to meet him, just be open and relax and let him show you the way in his rice farm and he will also take you to a Massai village as part of the tour (btw, do you know where your rice come from?)

Abdul's wife & parents & sister - Abdul's parents were adorable, they really treated me as part of their family. They cooked for me, gave me a room for free for 3 nights, washed all my clothes and even took one of my flat shoe for repair as it was falling apart!!! I wish I knew more of their local language because I felt for them, especially for Abdul's wife who works hard and mostly in silence (women don't have much say in Tanzania).

Keep up with the good service @ team in Kilimanjaro Backcountry Adventures!!

Go and do the Massai village & rice farm tour with AT if you have a day before or after your climb! — with Zingondo Mawala and 2 others.

Date of experience: December 2015
5  Thank diorshan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2015

Ascend Mount Kilimanjaro with Kilipaa Tours! We climbed Kilimanjaro with Rayson Mawenya now Kilipaa Tours, in January of 2014. Rayson has a 95% success rate getting climbers to the top of the mountain. We did the Lemosho route in 9 days, 8 nights. It was a spectacular route, that gave us time to acclimatize, for the final assent from Barafu camp (15,295') to the top of Uhuru Peak (Kilimanjaro 19,341'). Rayson Mawenya is an amazing guide and leader. He takes the time to ensure that each member of the group makes it to the top!

Date of experience: January 2015
1  Thank Y5679OVjohnb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2015

This is a once in a lifetime experience; tough but gives a very good sense of achievement. It's not for the weak hearted, but highly recommended for those who love adventure. However one must be properly warmly dressed and well kitted. Very cold

Date of experience: December 2015
Thank Mwikali2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 20, 2015

I was there in June 2015. The climb up was quite tiring but thanks to training in my country's hill and high rise building stairs, I could manage. Moreover, the guide walked really slow and thus, it was not so exhausting. We also had a great scenic view as we trekked. Don't forget your moisturiser and sunblock as there is not much trees and vegetation. The view on top is filled with glacier and it is breathe-taking. You would never regret such a climb!

Date of experience: June 2015
1  Thank Gideon_Lam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2015

is The tallest Standalone Mountain in the whole world -Kilimanjaro,in the whole world its true mountain bold standing alone in Africa ,even the Everest is in range of mountain,its signifies, hope for Africa and the World ,

Date of experience: January 2015
1  Thank hengdy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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