I did a Kilimanjaro climb and a safari through Kilimanjaro Sunrise in September of 2022. My father (70yo) also attempted to climb Kilimanjaro, and both my father and mother joined on the 5-day safari.
I was EXTREMELY satisfied with everything about the tours. Our mountain guide, Frederick, was diligent in making sure we were taken care of. I came in expecting a tough climb with only the essential gear and food. So when we found out that we were getting a high-quality tent, a food tent, tons of really good food (including breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks/tea, with fully cooked courses!) we were blown away. My father had some stomach issues and our cook worked with him to try and make mild foods that would be easier on him but still fill him up. Ultimately, the issues were too much and he had to go down early, so our assistant guide, Johnson, helped him get back to the road for a safe pickup.
I am an experienced and fit climber and the starting pace was somewhat excruciating, since they have to be conscientious toward less experienced climbers. But, Freddie worked with me to find a pace that was comfortable. The whole team did what they could to make our climbing experience as smooth as possible. Extra kudos to both Freddie and Hassani, who summited with me. We had a full-moon climb and the three of us went so quick that we were first to summit that day. All of the guides/porters/etc had great attitudes, were incredibly capable, and willing to do whatever they could to make our experience enjoyable. I wish I could remember every person’s name (the two of us had 12 people running our camp) because they were all excellent. I also, strongly recommend the private toilet; it literally saved our butts over the first few days.
On the safari, our guide was Tesha. The vehicle was in excellent shape, and Tesha kept it well stocked with food and drinks. He clearly cared a lot about the condition of the vehicle and kept everything clean and tidy. He also had a lot of experience with the parks and communicated with other guides to give us an excellent experience. Coming from the US, I am used to our national parks where you might see a few ungulates and a bear if you’re lucky. When we got to Tarangire on the first day we were instantly blown away by the shear quantity of wildlife! We were basically taking pictures from the second we got into the park, with only brief breaks for food and restrooms.
Tesha was great at putting us right in the thick of the action. We saw pretty much every big African animal we hoped to see on the entire trip by the end of day 1 (Except a rhino, which we ended up not seeing during the trip. But that’s certainly not within anybody’s control) including a pair of lions bringing down a warthog. As expected, the park roads (and even some main roads, especially from Ngorongoro onward) were pretty rough, but the seats in the Land Rover made the ride pretty comfortable. I will say, the drive to Serengeti was so long it borders on painful. I would recommend people try to fly to Serengeti instead of driving, unless they want to go to Olduvai on their way. But Tesha did what he could with the roads as they are. He also tried to give us more breaks during the day, as my parents were both feeling pretty ragged doing sunrise-sunset in the car.
The accommodations in the parks were fabulous. Each camp was downright luxurious with hot water showers, full beds, even netted porches. I wish we had been able to lounge around them longer, but we only did overnights. I’d strongly recommend spending multiple nights in each park to anyone who has the time. All the camp staff and managers worked hard to keep their camps in good shape and to see that we had a relaxing stay. The food and drinks were generally very good. The only note I have is that the meat in most places tends to be a little overcooked. This may be the way local people prefer it, and it didn’t make anything inedible. But, for people who are picky they might want to talk to the cooks about their food beforehand. That was something we noticed not only at the field camps but also in our lodge in Arusha.
I went into this trip not really knowing what to expect. Needless to say, Kilimanjaro Sunrise’s crew exceeded my expectations. Freddie, Johnson, Tesha, all made our trip one that we will never forget. I also compared their pricing to many competitors. I think for the quality of the trip, their pricing is exceedingly reasonable. I wouldn’t say anything about our trip felt like it was “budget travel”; it really felt very high quality. I will also note that Kilimanjaro Sunrise is part of the Porter Protection union that guarantees fair wages and treatment to their crews. It was really important to me that the company I go with is run ethically and I got that impression from everyone I talked to. I will absolutely be back again, and I strongly recommend KS to anyone who wants to experience the best of Tanzania.