We planned the Kilimanjaro hike to celebrate my husband's milestone birthday. We can now say we could not have created better memories than this trip to Tanzania with Tanzania Joy Tours! After having visited 31 countries, hands down this was the best in experience for all 4 members of our family. We analyzed why this trip was the best? Tanzania is a very beautiful country, some of the scenes you will see on the hike and safari will blow off your mind as beauty of nature is at its finest. Added to that, it was the people of TJT that made the huge difference to make it the best experience.
Emmanuel-fantastic owner that we kept reaching out to on WhatsApp every time we had a question or concern before the trip. He built our confidence in the hike every time we panicked and reached out to him with concerns before we started our trip.
Ringo - our superstar Kilimanjaro guide
Modi- our assistant guide
Nassari - our fun and full of energy Safari guide
13 person staff that supported us so we could succeed in reaching the summit
Our trip started with our suitcases not arriving due to the mess up by airlines. We wondered how we would do without our shoes and gear that we had been preparing in and our energy bars and hand warmers. Between Emmanuel and Ringo they prepared a plan B for us within 5 minutes. Ringo took us to rental place and guided us on what basics to rent. We found shoes that fit us perfectly and mittens/jackets, gore tex pants balaclavas etc to fit our need and they were clean and didn't smell. The plan was for Emmanuel to go to Moshi airport the next day to collect the suitcase when KLM was scheduled to deliver it. He said they would hire a porter to get our suitcase to our camp y end of day2 at Shira Camp and they did as promised and did not charge us extra for the porter.
We started our 7day Machame route with Ringo without whom we would not have made it to the summit. My husband felt altitude sickness and threw up from Day2 for rest of the hike and was barely able to keep his food down. Ringo motivated him and he took care of him as a parent to ensure we were successful in getting to our goal each day. Ringo is knowledgeable and dissuaded us from taking Diamox proactively due to its side-affects and we are glad that he did that. Ringo evolved the plan seeing our progress and abilities each day to make it a best experience for us. On the summit day he had Modi our assistant guide and Patrick as the sumit porter which was a very good decision as they provided valuable support. It would not be complete if I didn’t say how awesome our cook Thomas was, making tasty hot vegetarian meals. On a side note a few friends warned me about losing their valuables on the hike and the trip, Ringo ensured that our belongings were packed safely after we left the camp each morning. We did not lose anything on the trip. We were so pleased with the support team we tipped them double to express out gratitude.
Our kids arrived a day before our descent to Moshi. Emmanuel made arrangements to pick up our kids from Arusha airport and get them settled in hotel. The next day morning we called Emmanuel to request if he could take the kids for coffee plantation tour, Materuni falls as we were going to late due to slower descent. He sent Nassari to hotel to pick up kids and they ended up having a blast visiting coffee plantation and plucking, roasting and grinding and drinking the coffee. They also had a wonderful cultural experience of having lunch at a local home and hiking up to Materuni falls. We felt we could depend on Emmanuel like a family member.
We did a 5 day safari covering Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. Nassari was our tour guide for safari and he is very entertaining and full of life, which is what one needs to enjoy the safari. He took special interest in showing us the big 5. At one spot that he stopped the lions were sunbathing and lazing around, he made sound to get their attention and then came up to the vehicle and sat next to the tire. Our safari experience was full of fun memories, I fondly say we created our own Gods must be crazy episode. Our vehicle got stuck in mud for 4 hours in Serengeti and there was no cell reception for a while and once reception was better Nassari had 4 friends in 4 vehicles come to rescue us from mud. The excitement of getting stuck and efforts to get us out one has to experience to understand it and laugh at it. Safari was way too fun for our boys, the terrain, the close encounters with animals. Ngorongoro is our favorite for its lush green crater and thousands of animals in it. We saw hundreds of wild zebras running in the crater.
I had mentioned to Nassari that I would like a few branches of sisal plant to take back home. He remembered it all through safari and on the last day before crossing into Kenya we stopped at a village and asked the owner of the yard and cut a few branches of sisal. He went the extra mile so I could leave Tanzania fully satisfied.
Our accommodations in Simba Lodge, Acacia Luxury Camping in Serengeti were excellent, the food and scenery was splendid at both these places and I am glad Emmanuel made the best choices for us based on my conversations with him before booking.
It has been a month since our ascent to the roof of Africa and we still say it was the best travel experience ever. That combined with fun safari has been a great way to end the decade for our family. My only negative after this trip is, worrying about how to top this experience. We still talk about Ringo, Nassari and are sending our kids to hike Kilimanjaro with Ringo as we know he will be their parent on the mountain.
I promised Emmanuel and Ringo that in 2020 I would send 20 from my circle to hike with him, and do safari. Please join in my circle and be part of the 20 and book with TJT.