My wife and I, along with 8 friends, recently spent two weeks seeing Tanzania with Chief’s Tours. Adidas was there to greet us at 10:00 PM on a Saturday night when we got off the plane, and only stepped up the service from there. He arranged for a driver to pick us up the next morning and take us to relax with plenty of drinks and our own cook at some local hot springs, then gave us a thorough briefing and gear check before setting off the next day to climb Kilimanjaro on an 8-day trek of the Lemosho route.
The climb could not have been smoother. Our guides (Emmanuel, Emanuel 2, Mohammed, and Niklaus) were experienced, knowledgeable, and a pleasure to spend our eight days with. The staff of cooks and porters were equally professional. They took special care of my wife and me who have very specific dietary restrictions. Actually, they were much more accommodating of our diets than Delta/KLM was, and the food was outstanding! Ask Mateo to make you his lentil “Amaze-balls” (my term, not his). There was never a point on this trip where I felt the least bit hungry or unsatisfied. When it came time for our summit day, our lead guide, Emmanuel Washington, really put his 189 summits worth of experience on Kilimanjaro to good use. He told us exactly when to wake up, when we would get started, and how long our group would take it to make it to the rim at Stella Point by sunrise. He absolutely nailed it! We hit Stella Point just as the first rays of light hit the horizon and were rewarded with the most amazing sunrise I’ve ever seen. Emmanuel then took a camera from one of our group members and ran around (at 19,000 ft remember) taking photos of everyone in the group making their way along the rim the rest of the way to the summit!
Our guides were also accommodating when a couple other members of the group and I wanted to take a couple side trips along the way and climb Shira Cathedral and Lava Tower. They went above and beyond the whole time.
Following the climb, we went on a four-day safari. This was initially an issue because we needed to do laundry following our climb in order to have clothes for the safari and our hotel wasn’t going to be able to get it done in time. Another group member emailed Adidas hoping he’d know of a laundromat where we could take our clothes that evening. Instead, one of his employees came to our hotel within 30 minutes to get all of our laundries. It was dry cleaned and delivered to us at our first safari stop over five hours away the next morning!
The safari itself was incredible. Our driver, Arnold, knew right where to take us to see all of the animals. We had incredibly close encounters with elephants, lions, hippos, warthogs, giraffes, etc. He even got us within just a few feet of a pride of lions feeding on a wildebeest! Accommodations on the safari were the first-rate, especially considering that we went with the mid-tier option. I don’t know what’s included when you option up from mid-tier, but it would have to be pretty impressive to beat our experience.
We had a day in Moshi after our safari was over and figured we would just walk around and shop a bit. We went to breakfast and were then pleasantly surprised to see our mountain guide Emanuel waiting to greet us in the hotel lobby. He had come to walk with us around Moshi and make sure we made it to all of the best places. He even walked us to a small village of artists hidden within a park in the middle of the city where my wife and I got our favorite new painting. We would never have found that place on our own. Adidas then arrived to see us off to the airport in plenty of time for our flight back to the US.
Like I said before, if you’re going to Tanzania and not booking your activities through Chief’s Tours, you’re doing it wrong.