This road has been safari, but now I am headed up a mountain
We woke early and made sure our bags were completely packed. Kimambo always outdoing himself, we ate breakfast and packed up sack lunches. We needed an early start from Lake Natron to return to Arusha and to the Airport Planet Lodge so Melissa could make her flight home. We actually made it in plenty of time. The washed out, pit holed, rough roads were no match for Daudi’s skilled hands at the wheel. We said our goodbyes and were left at the lodge for showers before our transfers.
I cannot say enough about how awesome Dorobo Safaris was in planning this trip. This company was recommended to Melissa and I by our professor, Dr. Rudnick, who used them during her own field work in Tanzania. We are ever grateful for that recommendation. Mike was a wealth of knowledge and insight. We did not work with the other brothers, but I suspect they are all cut from the same quality cloth. He helped plan a flawless trip to combine geology, anthropology, and tourism. His wife, Lisa, was the coordinator behind our meals. She has great taste! Kimambo was a superstar as our chef and camp staff. He kept a tight ship and was so friendly. I was glad we bonded over elephants being both our favorite animals. I showed him all the photos I had taken during our game drive. Daniel, our Lake Natron guide, was awesome. He had an endless supply of patience and encouragement, and was keen on experiencing our geological explorations with us. And lastly, but not least, our guide, driver, companion, and animal encyclopedia, Daudi. He was a phenomenal guide. This trip would not have been as rich without him. He worked hard to make us happy and help us accomplish our every desire. We only have the best thoughts and sentiments toward Dorobo Safaris. We highly recommend them for anyone planning an excursion to Tanzania. They were stupendous and pivotal to the success of this trip. I hope I have the opportunity to work with them in the future.
Their reputation and long list of top clientele speaks volumes of its own. But I confidently would like to promote them as well.
Dorobo Safaris: http://www.dorobosafaris.com
Like a whirlwind, our trip was over. Melissa headed to the airport, and I was picked up by a driver from Kessy Brothers Tours Ltd. and taken to Moshi. Cheating a little, I will talk about this company now, using hindsight, since I was already on a plug for Dorobo.
I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro using the Kessy Brothers Tours company. They were recommended to me through friends of my sister. Contacts she made in Guinea during Peace Corps. I will admit further encouragement was that this company’s prices are easily well below most other companies. Internet searches suggested the risk with cheap companies is that you miss out on quality food and the expertise of other companies. But that is just not the case here. I had an exceptional guide, Penieli Samuel Urio. He has summited Uhuru over 100 times and counting. He knows everything to expect and is very diligent to safety and acclimation. I also had a great cook, Betos. He served me three massive meals a day, always striving to cater to my tastes. He checked in with me frequently to make sure I was happy. I also think he was possibly worried that I was not well, since I found myself completely unable to finish any of the three three-course meals he prepared for me all six days. His skills over a camp stove are impressive, but I just cannot fit that much food into my body. Maybe if he only fed me cookies… I then had a personal attendant, Joshua. He served me all my meals and setup my eating blanket in my tent. He always had a smile and tried to teach me fun sayings in Swahili. My favorite was a response to mambo, how are you? It went poa kachizi kama ndizi ndani ya fridge, crazy cool like a banana in the fridge. And then there were three other porters, Godiliza, Daniel, and Jofray. All distinct in looks and personality, they brought their own bonus to our crew.
From observing various companies while on my hike, I will say the main difference is that we were probably more minimalist. I ate in my tent, rather than have a separate food tent with chair and table. I used the camp pit toilets rather than have a dedicated porter responsible for carrying around and cleaning one for me. And let’s be honest, I would not have been able to handle such unnecessary extravagance. Otherwise, I was safely brought up the mountain, and summited Uhuru Peak. I highly recommend Kessy Brothers Tours for any Kilimanjaro hike. I suspect the logistics change slightly when dealing with additional hikers, the number of guides and porters definitely increases.
Kessy Brothers Tours: http://www.kessybrotherstours.co.tz
After arriving to their office in Moshi, we settled all the logistics for the next day. They provided me with the gear I was missing and introduced me to my guide. And then I was whisked away to Sal Salnero Hotel to repack, shower, rest, and prepared for my Mt Kilimanjaro trek.