Mair James review 25 Feb 2012
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Making new friends and climbing the Lava Tower.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Positive attitude is essential. Bring snacks, plenty of food but nice to have
home comforts and to share with guides and porters.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
No, not really.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Excellent experience but very tough.
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for your comments and I'm pleased you had a great trip. The departure that you went on had 10 other clients and therefore a staff of over 30 people supported them from Porters to a senior guide. This provides a vital source of income to the local communities based around Marangu and further afield and we have been involved in a number of initiatives over the last 5 years. I can assure Ms mair that she directly contributed to the local economy both on the mountain and at her hotel beforehand.
We have recently teamed up with the Kilimanjaro Guide Scholarship Foundation (KGSF). By working with KGSF we hope to enable many of our guides to further their education on a three month scholarship during the long rains. KSGF (in conjunction with the Bridge Institute of Business Studies in Arusha, Tanzania) have created a special course that can run through the rainy season. This course is applicable to guides and porters and will enable them to improve their future career prospects. The scholarship allows the recipients to continue working during the remainder of the year and the course consists of four sections: tour operations and administration, social anthropology and history, tourism geography, and wildlife knowledge.
In 2010 three of our guides successfully undertook this course at the Inter-Continental Training College in Arusha. Our Base Manager in Arusha, Richard Marsden, gave his comments:
'I have just had a debrief with Makeke, Mussa and Matthew. The 3 courses: Tour Operations & Administration, Tourism Geography, and Wildlife Studies had a written exam of 2.5 hours, whereas the course Social Anthropology & History was a more informal oral exam.
The parts of the course that were relevant for Kilimanjaro guides were many, helping them understand more about tourists and how they book trips, and then how to describe in greater detail the geology, animals, culture and services of Kilimanjaro. In addition the courses widened their views outside of Kilimanjaro, to many other areas within East Africa. All 3 guides thought the course very useful and are happy to have participated in it. The one comment they made is that in the 3 months it was only possible to cover a small portion of Wildlife Studies both because this subject is very large, and they did not have a field course to assist them. In conclusion the 3 guides and myself thank you for the sponsorship and believe it would be a useful course to offer in the future.'