Strongly Recommended: Group excursion (8-day Lemosho Route, 2-day safari to Tarangire and Ngorongro Crater)
Don’t think twice before choosing Bless Africa for your Kilimanjaro climb. My friend, who had previously summited Kilimanjaro, referred me and 8 friends to Bless Africa and I’m so grateful he did. Below are my top reasons (in no particular order) for choosing Bless Africa:1. HIGHLY EXPERIENCED GUIDES: Our head guide had summited Kilimanjaro nearly 100 times and had an over 90% success rate guiding others to the peak. Our 3 assistant guides had similarly summited dozens of times and had seen it all. They knew exactly how to pace our group, sustain our morale, and respond to signs of altititude sickness. I knew we were in good hands and guaranteed to make it to the summit thanks to their excellent experience, support, and sincere desire to see us succeed. (Thank you Danny, Light, Jo, and Kifaro – we wouldn’t have made it without you!)2. LOCAL FAMILY BUSINESS: Bless Africa was started by 2 former Tanzanian porters/guides – also a lovely married couple – Gody and Saumu (who was the first woman certified to guide tours up Kilimanjaro). The family business touch was evident at every turn. Gody personally picked us up at the airport, and both Gody and Saumu visited us before and after our trip to wish us well and invite feedback. They were also incredibly responsive as we prepared for our trip. Saumu responded to all my emails within 2 hours and also set up a WhatsApp chat.3. CARING GUIDES AND PORTERS: Kilimanjaro is definitely a physically and emotionally challenging endeavor, so the sincere care our guides and porters showed for our morale and welfare was critical. On summit night more than ever, my whole group recognized how lucky we were to have chosen Bless Africa. Our guides and porters sang to us and flitted around shouting encouragement, while also monitoring our health and morale, for six hours straight. There were hundreds of people summiting but I didn’t hear any other groups receiving the same support. We were also woke every morning by Joseph and Ombedi (our wonderful waiters) with hot tea and coffee, and every morning and night given a basin of hot water to wash ourselves. These little joys add up when embarking on one of the most physically trying experiences of your life.4. FAIR TREATMENT OF PORTERS: Gody and Saumu’s reputations as former porters and guides precede them. Bless Africa, therefore, attracts the best porters and guides who know that Bless Africa will pay and treat them fairly. I can personally attest I saw porters from other groups not properly equipped for the climb, but Bless Africa’s staff all had hiking boots and warm attire. They also enforced a transparent process for tipping whereby we announced the tips out loud to everyone and passed around a paper with the amounts written out to ensure every porter and guide understood and received 100% of their intended tip.5. AMAZING FOOD: John and Peter, our chefs, cooked better meals than I cook at home! We looked forward to every meal and were fed more than we could handle, ensuring we were strong and healthy for each day’s hike. Can’t tell you how much the food boosted our morale!6. WOMEN GUIDES AND PORTERS: We had both a female guide and a female porter which seemed to be a real rarity on the mountain. Saumu makes an effort to bring women into the business, which makes Bless Africa stand out from other companies.7. KNOWLEDGEABLE SAFARI GUIDES: We used a 2-day safari to adjust to the time difference and saw hundreds of elephants, 8 lions, 3 black rhinos, a leopard, a cheetah and her cubs, dozens of giraffes, and hundreds of zebras, wildbeests, and baboons. The guides’ love of animals was infectious; every question we threw at them, they answered with great detail and passion.8. COST EFFICIENT: My group and I did a cost comparison between Bless Africa and about 6 other tour groups. Bless Africa offered the lowest price (4 guides, 2 cooks, 26 porters). Gear rental was quality and also very affordable.