31 independent reviews for Kilimanjaro climb, Rongai route4.5 star rating

These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through responsibletravel.com. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.

Marleen James review 31 Aug 20114 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It's hard to choose. Reaching the top? Even the tipping ceremony was wonderful, but the last day of the trek was probably the best. Beautiful surroundings and walking easily down hill with new friends knowing that Kilimanjaro had been achieved.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go slowly (pole pole) right from day 1. This helps your body to get ready for the hard summit day... and really believe that you can reach the top.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


40 local people were employed in getting us to the top providing income for skilled and non skilled people. After every camp all litter was picked up and carried with us and by staying on the trail the impact on the mountain was kept to a minimum

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


4 stars. It has been an amazing adventure, but it has also been the hardest thing I have ever done. Our group had marathon runners and 'iron man' people in it and we all agreed on that. Having said that, I could not have asked for better guides/cook/porters/weather and the hotel we stayed in before and after the trek was wonderful.

Jasmin Roman review 22 Aug 20114 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The entire trip was truly a once in a lifetime adventure - every day was exciting.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Learn some Swahili. Be prepared with extra toilet paper and underwear/socks.
Try to keep in mind leaving behind things you don't need (i.e., your hiking boots, extra clothing).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Unfortunately, Kilimanjaro isn't terribly strict w/ a pack it in, pack it out regulation. That being said, I think we did a good job re: a low environmental impact. And we did use a group that is part of the KPAP.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic!

Mussarat Khan review 12 Jul 20112 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the summit.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


NB:-
Make sure you read all the small print, such as you are not covered for falling ill (Operator never mention this)
You do not need a yellow fever jab which cost 45.00
Take plenty of toilet roll
Do not be pressurised to provide tips (you are under immense pressure to provide)
Do not book with this operator (they let me down on a number of issues including contacting me back when I needed support and advice. Refused to ring me back despite spending nearly £2,000 on this adventure.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes my adventure benefited local people.
However the environment was not protected as everywhere you went there were bits of litter, toilet roll everywhere.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


7/10

Lorraine Scott review 31 Oct 20105 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Most memorable will be reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro, not without the expert help from the guides, especially Dae. The team were fantastic, helpful, professional, considerate, and made everything as comfortable as possible, they were brilliant.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do exactly what it says on the can .....follow all instructions and you'll be fine. Practice putting your equipment and clothing for Kilimanjaro climb in and out of your bag, Make sure you know where everything is when you might need it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Local people were employed to take gear up the mountain, so they had employment. Disappointed that the amount of money going into the country for this purpose does not seem to be used to improve the 'drop toilets' and better equip some of the porters.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, no faults, everything went as expected, if not more.

Matthew O' Grady review 2 Aug 20105 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The staff and guides which made getting to the top of Kili possible. They were fantastic. Very well organised, happy, knowledgeable and we became great friends.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To do what the guides recommend, get to know them, and enjoy whatís to come because the guides and staff and the personality of the mountain. Donít go over board with the gear that you bring, a lot of people take too much with them.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes I feel it benefited local people as we stayed in the hotel (a local business) and spent a lot of money. I would like to thing that the environment was taking care of and well respected.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


5 star trip... loved every second of it.

Craig Lewis review 5 Mar 20105 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable was meeting and making friends with our fellow trekkers, and sharing their highs and lows during the trip.
The most exciting part was reaching Uhuru Peak with my wife . I cried like a baby as I approached the sign. There were tears from everyone. Brilliant.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Prepare yourself properly. Physically and mentally. Summit night you will battle with both of these.
The toilets are a bit grim so you have to be prepared to put up with the sights and smells of the toilet tent.
Listen to your guides as they are very experienced.
We all got sunburned on the backs of our hands during the trip very badly . This was due to holding walking poles.
Try to protect your hands either with total sun block or a pair of thin silk gloves.
Get sun block on at midnight on summit night. It sounds stupid but the glaciers and surface snow will burn you badly.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I suppose it did as the hotel used local produce to feed it's guests.
Also guests buy lots of souveniers from local people and visited the local village attractions such as the waterfall and the museum.
It was sad to see how the everyday person on the street has to live. Between the airport and the hotel you can really see how hard it is for the Tanzanian people to scrape together a living.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was the hardest thing we have ever done, much mentally tougher than we thought. But reaching the summit was worth all the struggle. A true adventure and a great life experience.

Katharine Clark review 26 Feb 20105 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Getting to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro! The guides were just fantastic and there is no way that we could have done it without them. From singing to wiping my mouth when I puked up everywhere!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Not many - I guess read up on it if you can. Research the altitude sickness just so you know what might be coming.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. Even though their pay is minimal we provided 40 porters with work. It must be one of the better paid jobs in the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


11 out of 10. Fantastic. Couldn't have enjoyed it more!

Catharine Gidney review 8 Oct 20104 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Actually reaching the very top, Uhuru Peak, of Kilimanjaro.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


For the Kili trek, I would recommend taking a nail brush (you won't believe how filthy your hands and nails get), aluminium drinking bottles as they can be used as hot water bottles at night and hiring a down jacket, sleeping mat and sleeping bag from the company as they are all good quality stuff and saves having to pack them.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, the porters are paid a fair wage and what gets carried up gets carried down too.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent!!

Simon Mitchell review 7 Oct 20104 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The sense of achievement and team unity when reaching the summit.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for a very dusty environment and to ensure you listen to the advice from the guides.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent. Well organised with great interaction from all involved designed to give you the best experience.

Janice Drew review 22 Jun 20104 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The guides, porters and fellow travellers.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Speak to someone who has participated.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent

Alan Gibson review 24 Jan 20103 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching Gillman's point, seeing the sunrise and the rays bounce off the clouds below.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Bring waterproof clothing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We provided employment and also supplemented this by good tips. We were also careful not to leave any litter, although an earlier group left a trail of sweet papers behind them.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was everything I expected of it. Rental of plastic waterproof trousers for 25 dollars) was very expensive; one could have bought a pair cheaper. Also the 1/2 Safari to Arusha was a rip off at $110, with no lunch and only approx 30 mins drive from the airport.

Read the operator's response here:

We welcome feedback from our travellers and are glad to hear this passenger enjoyed this trip. Unfortunately this passengerís luggage did not turn up and they had to rent clothing from a shop for their climb. $25 for waterproof trousers is a standard price for hiring such equipment locally. They were helped to rent the clothing they needed but had to pay the going price from the shop which was not affiliated with our services and so outside our control.

The costs for the half day Arusha safari are primarily made up of park fees and vehicle hire. Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park, and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the late afternoon, where there is the largest concentration of giraffe of any other park in East Africa. As it is an easy 60 kms from Kilimanjaro International Airport it can easily be visited in the course of a half-day outing.

Stephen Tinney review 2 Nov 20095 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the top of Kilimanjaro after an exhausting trek through the night. To see the sunrise from the highest point in Africa is something that I will never forget

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go for it!! As long as you are prepared and you don't come down with altitude sickness, the summit of kilimanjaro is achievable. Listen to the advice of people who have done it, and don't be put off by any of the negative stories you may hear. Whilst you're there think positively, and convince yourself that you can do this. All this worked for me and the reward of getting to the top and watching the sunrise is priceless

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, I felt that the guides and porters were treated well, and they spoke freely of the education programmes our travel company ran for them

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


One of the best things that I have ever done. Just fantastic

Nick Pellatt review 21 Oct 20095 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Naturally, many moments were memorable; Summitting via Gilmans Point was a great acheivement, the views from campsite early each morning, laughing and joking with the guides ... and of course, the first beer back in the hotel.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Pack a bandana to cover your mouth, even better, a H1N1 medical mask ... the amount of dust was unexpected, and it starts from day one. Other than that, just keep an open mind, listen to the guides, and enjoy every second ... its over quicker than you expect!

Do make sure you are fit ... the climb up isnt very hard due to the slow pace, and this doesnt require much in the way of leg strength or conditioning, however ... it is much harder to come down again...and this was when I noticed that I could have been better prepared.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


In terms of providing employment, yes, it does benefit local people in terms of the people employed for the trek. I would also assume all foodstuffs were produced and purchased locally as well. In addition, the guides kept reminding us to 'leave only footprints'.

One thing that I feel would benefit local people more, is increased levels of interaction with foreign visitors. The only downside to the trip was the fact we didnt interact much with the locals. The hotel was very european, as was its food ... and we spent too much time with each other, rather than with our guides. I can understand this is likely to be common place on trips of this nature, but greater interaction between guests and guides (eating together for example) would surely lead to a greater understanding, and perhaps benefit all parties.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It really was a fantastic experience, and I am worried now as I dont know how to top it. I would 100% recommend Kilimanjaro to anyone ... and this recommendation is also extended to all parties involved in organising the trip

Matt Wilkinson review 17 Sep 20095 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing sunset from Gilman's point on the crater rim of Kilimanjaro - it was, however, hard to tell if the breathtaking views were solely down to the unsurpassed natural beauty and grandeur of the mountain, or were a function of a lack of oxygen!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take plenty of socks, chocolate and Kendal mint cake!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Truly superb.

Nicos Kountouris review 11 Aug 20095 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Summiting Mount Kili and enjoying the breathtaking views from that height. The communal tent where the "Dirty Dozen" enjoyed the meals. The camaraderie between 12 strangers and our guides.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Pole-Pole... Walk slow, take in everything slow, drink plenty of water and keep eating even if you don't feel hungry. Take SNIP pills with you, the combination of paracetamol and caffeine makes headaches disappear. Consider aspirin or diamox for altitude adjustment. Take sufficient layers of clothing with you on summit day. Since you will be off at midnight, it is chilly out there! Maintain a positive attitude and don't hesitate to ask the guides for support, they are amazing people!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, because a team of 40 people supported us, meaning that they and their families were earning a living. Also, courses on various skills are given to them on days when they are off the mountains, meaning that they attain more skills which may help them also in the future...

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Exceptional from all aspects. Organisation, leadership, skills, friendliness, supplies, everything! I already miss Africa if that counts for something and what I feel about the experience and the wonderful people involved. One last thing. Don't be cheap. Put maximum tip for the tipping ceremony. When you witness what these people do for you, you will want to share as much as you can with them. Also, any equipment you give them will be highly appreciated. I personally gave away most of my stuff and I am pretty happy that some people back there will have something from me to use and remember me and my appreciation of them...

Elizabeth Underwood review 13 Feb 20095 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching Uhuru Peak on Kilimanjaro, the weather was perfect.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Definitely walking poles and the pee bottle, both are invaluable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes on both counts.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Overall it was a super experience, there were some things that could have been better, but nothing that made me want to complain. The only let down is that it is over now and normal life resumes.

Claire Millett review 9 Mar 20094 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most exciting was naturally reaching the peak at Uhuru! But the stunning views of both peaks after a night's snow fall, and the sunrise over Mwenzi on summit day will stay with me forever!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


1) Make sure the hose on your water is very well insulated (even the insulated camel backs still froze on summit day) and/ or have a flask type bottle for summit day.
2) Make sure you have enough dollars to tip the guides and porters - they are incredible!!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - the porters and guides were all locals and the food was locally sourced.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Absolutely fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone. It's hard work, but I'd never climbed any sort of mountain before and I managed it!!

Dawn Piper review 9 Jan 20094 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Making it to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


It's colder than you can ever imagine, buy the best thermals money can buy!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent.

Harvey Maycock review 19 Sep 20085 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The final ascent to the summit of Kilimanjaro - absolutely gruelling but so worth the exhileration of reaching the top and seeing the views!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


You WILL get altitude sickness - the ascent feels like a 5-day hangover. Take plenty of headache pills - you will need them.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes - all local guides, local produce, etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Brilliant!

Andy Brown review 28 Jul 20085 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the summit was truly breathtaking not only because I was totally exhausted but because the scenery was absolutely spectacular! The photos, camaraderie and the sense of achievement was amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The food is great, far better than you might imagine but bring plenty of snacks, not just for the summit night but to keep you going. Big tip... Mars Bars freeze even under multiple layers of clothes, wine gums and jelly babies have much more calories and just get a little chewier!!!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes as a whole, I tried to get to know each of the guides on a personal level and this made a real difference to me.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic, the group I was in was really well balanced a total mix of backgrounds and ages. This diversity made for interesting conversation and a better experience.

Christine Gausden review 29 Dec 20084 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro on Christmas morning.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for basic conditions & cold nights.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Not really - that said it was great to interface with the local guides & share a mix of experiences.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent.

Liz Hoof review 5 Mar 20084 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Without doubt, all 6 members of our group reaching Uhuru summit together after an arduous ascent during which we had all encouraged and cajoled each other on when things got difficult. The final ascent is very tough but, as we all agreed, no pain, no gain. The support and input from our guides, Abraham, Menesh and Godfrey, was invaluable. They really made the trip a fantastic experience.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


i would definitely recommend use of Diamox - all but one group member took it, and the person who didn't (who was probably the fittest member) suffered the most side-effects of altitude sickness. Also - for girls in the group- i would suggest an ample supply of Pampers baby wipes and panty liners so that you can at least try to keep fresh. Although bowls of water for washing were supplied daily which the blokes used for a strip wash outside the tents, this is not always practical and i certainly preferred a more discrete wash in the privacy of the tent.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely. Initially we all felt guilty that a group of 6 trekkers required a team of 26 (guides and porters) but soon realised that for most of them this was their only opportunity for paid work, and that our tourism benefitted not only the individual porters but their families as well. Impact on the environment was kept to a minimum; all rubbish was removed and our group left no trace at our campsites that we had ever been there. Full marks all round to the local company. Only quibble is that we donated some clothes (cagoules, boots etc.) to the porters on the final day, anticipating that some items at least would go to the least-well equipped porters, especially after being told that 3 porters with other companies had died from exposure some weeks previously. The good stuff was picked over by those higher in the support group, and the most needy only got a few sweets etc. I suppose that that is just the way that they deal with such things, but it seemed unfair at the time.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent - but don't underestimate the effort involved. A fews days rest afterwards on Zanzibar was well deserved.

Richard Hill review 24 Feb 20075 star rating

Just got back from a holiday of a lifetime to Kilimanjaro. It was a fantastic experience and met some really nice fellow travellers. Tanzania was certainly an eye opener and was far more poverty stricken than I thought at first, but the people were really nice and friendly. I didn't meet any beggars and I can only describe the people as proud.

The highlight was the actual summit attempt which was the hardest but most rewarding thing I've ever done.

My top tips for other travellers would be to take some extra gear to donate to the porters who work very hard and are in need of clothing etc. I would also recommend taking pencils and writing pads for the local children.

***** I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on. How ever, this operator hopeless and I would definitely not travel with them again. Every single letter I got from them was wrong. No one in there office knew any info whatsoever.

Mike Cook review 15 Oct 20074 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Making it to Uhuru Peak.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take ear plugs and a good sleeping mat.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic.

Adrian Grinsell review 15 Jul 20065 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The most memorable part of the trip was the sense of achievement at the summit that this was something worth all the effort and planning.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


I would recommend the Rongai route ,you get to see much more of the country. There is a sense of isolation that doesn't exist on the more popular routes and our party really bonded together. Although the Rongai route is a challenge the altitude profile is better giving more time for acclimatization and increases the chance of succeeding to the summit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We were helped on the trip by guides and porters from the Chagga tribe and they would have struggled for employment without the trekking . The African Walking Company took great care of their workers with each mans load carefully weighed to ensure they were not overloaded .These checks took place every day before we set off Because we were off the beaten track we were really careful to avoid leaving any trace that we had been there. Everything had to be carried up and everything had to be carried back down.

4. Any other comments?


I had a wonderful time on Kilimanjaro. It was literally breathtaking and there were just amazing views everywhere. ***** it was hard to believe the scenery, the guides, their singing to keep our spirits up and the camaraderie of the group. It was simply unforgettable.

Jon Secrett review 3 Mar 20065 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Memorable bit - It was all fantastic but the lasting memories were the first sight of Kilimanjaro and the Mawenzi peak, the feeling of exhausted elation when we reached the summit and the great people I met.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Tips - make sure you book one of the quieter routes up the mountain. The more popular routes are pretty busy and you could feel like just another tourist. The quieter routes are off tracks without signs pointing the way. There are less people and it feels like more of an adventure.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Locals - Yes it did benefit the locals. Our guides and porters were all from the local area and were a great source for inspiration and advice. Impact was minimised of course but as with any destination, the more people there are then the greater the impact. (choose a quieter route!!).

4. Any other comments?


An absolutely excellent trip. This operator and their agent in Africa came up trumps with a well run, well organised programme with great people from start to finish. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants the challenge of high altitude trekking with excellent guiding and service through out. 5 stars, 10 out of 10, 100% etc etc. It really was fantastic! - don't believe me, then try it for yourself!!!

Peter Dawson review 25 Oct 20064 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


After climbing from midnight to 9.00am - to actually reach Uhuru Peak, and look out at the world from the very roof of Africa!!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Get as fit as possible and take loads of wet wipes - toilet facilities are challenging!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?



Definitely. For example the porters told me they would otherwise not be employed. Guides Porters and visitors were all scrupulously careful about leaving the environment as we found it.

4. Any other comments?


I'd rate it highly, Kilimanjaro fully lived up to expectations.

Yolanda Claasen review 23 Sep 20064 star rating

We had a fantastic time, thank you. Our feedback is included below.

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Firstly, our praise and thanks go to the four guides/assistant guides from the local company: Justin, Remi, Gerald and Iningo. They were excellent, experienced, provided support, advice and good humour on the hike. Special thanks to Remi who left the group to lead us on a night hike from Kibo Hut to Horombu Hut (necessitated due to altitude sickness). He even played tour guide to us on the extra day we had at Kibo Hotel, taking us to Chagga Museum. We are grateful for his help and assistance in getting us down the mountain safely and giving up his free time to take us on a local tour of the village around Kibo Hotel.

Secondly, compliments to the chef(s). The food was better than we could ever have imagined! Hygiene was key to the chef, and we can happily say that no one on the trip got sick from food.

Thirdly, the porters amazed us with their ability to carry heavy loads, leaving camp after us, run past us shortly afterwards, and have everything set up and food ready once we arrived at the next camp site. Amazing!

Fourthly, transfer from the airport to Kibo Hotel, transfers to/from the mountain, and camping equipment used, have all been satisfactory.

Last but definitely not least, accommodation at Kibo Hotel was of a poor standard. If one travels to a third world country, one would expect to pay third world prices. However, we were charged $64 for a room for one night!! This is absolute extortion of tourists and we would definitely dissuade friends from going there.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Do read up on altitude sickness and its effects beforehand and be sensible and wise to know when to turn around. You can always attempt Kilimanjaro another time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Difficult to tell how the mountain tax of $640 is applied to benefit local people or to minimize impacts on the environment. Some sections on the Rongai Route was littered with toilet paper and this should be cleaned in addition to educating hikers not to leave anything behind. Maybe introduce a fine?

4. Any other comments?


Also, thanks to Paula Mason, Senior Web Travel Consultant, for booking the trip for us and providing information when requested.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you very much for this feedback. With regards to the 2 points raised:

Firstly the Kibo Hotel. Is an old colonial farm dating from late 19th century converted into a hotel in mid 20th century. It is a tourist class hotel with private bathrooms, a restaurant and bar, tv and internet both available centrally, and with spacious rooms. The fittings are old but work. It is currently our best choice in Marangu, as we have so many guests passing through to Rongai climbs and most of the other hotels are much smaller or already owned by competitors. Choice may improve in Marangu in a year or so, as building is taking place but at the moment we are trying to manage the standards. I believe that $64 per night for a double is reasonable Ö.Considering that this is less than GB £20 sterling per person. When visitors are staying somewhere with western facilities that they cannot then expect to pay local guesthouse prices (which would be $5 per person for a very small room with no furnishings, a shared toilet, no shower or restaurant or bar etc etc.

Kili Park Fees. There may be little physical evidence of spending on Kili itself in terms of buildings. However, there are considerable hidden services (rescue vehicles, anti poaching units, huts with wardens on Marangu route, the entrance and exit gates to name a few). There are cleaning crews but it seems that they were not so active on Rongai at the particular time that these clients climbed. This is a rare issue on Rongai or Marangu but more often about the western routes because of the numbers using Machame. The other point is that the better known parks (Kili & Serengeti) need to subsidise the lesser known parks, especially in the south and west that only receive a very few visitors each year and make huge losses. Nearly 25% of Tanzania is controlled as national parks, conservation areas, game reserves, forest reserves et al, so this has to be funded from somewhere. No doubt that the facilities on Kili itself could be better and it is something that that operators in the area are working hard to rectify. I hope this answers some of your questions. We are always grateful for comments to improve our trips

Stuart Dodds review 9 Sep 20064 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The briefing at dinner prior to the final assent of the mountain starting at midnight was a moment full of nerves, excitement and anticipation - brilliant.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


ipod's don't work after day two due to the temperature and watch out that your camera does not freeze at the summit.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It was good to be paying and tipping the porters. The mountain had bits of litter on it - I think that one porter should be taken on each trip just for picking up and burning litter found anywhere on the trip. This would only cost $55 which would be less than $5 per person.

4. Any other comments?


4 stars very good.

Susan Shakespeare review 25 Feb 20061 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Walking with the Tanzanian guides.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't go with this operator.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes.

4. Any other comments?


To try to ascend the summit and fail is one thing but to be told that you cannot even try, although you have no altitude sickness is unbearable.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for the feedback. We are obviously very disappointed by Ms Shakespeare comments; however we do feel that our guide, Michele Cohen, made the correct decision to stop her from ascending on summit day.

Michele is a highly skilled guide, with experience on some of the worlds highest mountains (e.g. Aconcagua and Cho Oyu), as well as Kilimanjaro. She has worked for us for over 5 years and received favourable comments from all our clients who have been lucky enough to trek with her. Her role on this departure was to assist our local guides, whilst providing expert guidance and ensuring their safety.

The final ascent is a tough walk, perhaps one of the most difficult many of our clients will experience as they ascend at night over 1000m (at altitude) on difficult rocky terrain. Although our guides are there to help and assist, every client must be confident in their own physical fitness in attempting this. In this case Michele felt that Ms Shakespeare would jeopardise her own health and safety, and that of other members of the group if she were to ascend. This was a hard decision to make, but it is a decision that our guides are employed to make using their knowledge and experience of high altitude mountaineering. It should also be noted that it was supported by other members of the group.

Zoe Sarah Thompson review 12 Jul 20055 star rating

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Standing at the top of Mt Kilimanjaro, watching the glaciers glow in the sunrise and knowing that I had done something amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


You need more specific information about Kilimanjaro; what to pack needs to include dust masks and wet wipes and toilet paper. Don't hire things through the local walking companies they are poor quality, often damaged, bulky and heavy. Rent from a reputable local supplier or buy.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes I did feel that the holiday 'gave something back'. There was however a lot of pressure to give more charity to the guides which I felt was unprofessional - avenues should be made for customers to donate formally and visibly to a local charity; guides should be made aware of this and should be encouraged to be professional about payments and tips.

4. Any other comments?


5 stars. Well done. With the one exception that there was little flexibility on the parts of the organisers when alterations to plans had to be made - which was disappointing.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for the feedback from Ms Thompson. I am pleased that she had a good holiday and that she felt that it 'gave something back' to the local community, however I am obvioulsy concerned that she felt pressurised to give money to charity.

We have a very open policy towards tipping and hand out notes to all clients prior to the climb detailing a recommended breakdown. The tipping is then done in front of all the porters and guides so as not to create problems, however I am confused as to the comments about pressure to donate to charity.

We have set up a charitable project for providing English language education for our porters and guides during the rainy seasons, but it is certainly not something that we pressure our clients into donating to. Apart from this I cannot think of any other charity that would be mentioned locally, and certainly nothing that any of our staff would mention to clients.

I have checked all other comments from the trip and spoken with our local partners in Tanzania about this and can honestly say I cannot work out what charitable donations clients were pressurised into. We have reiterated to our local staff that tips and donations to the porter school are optional and that no client should be pressurised into any donation.

With regards to the equipment (point 2) we have recently purchased new down jackets and sleeping bags for hire locally, although they can be bulky they are exceedingly warm and perfect for the job. All old equipment has been donated to our summit guides and porters for their use on the final ascent.

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5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really
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