I am planning a hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro and am currently researching locally-based tour operators to hike with. Have any of you ever had experience with: Serengeti Pride Safaris or Mount Kilimanjaro Trails (formerlly KiliSmile Trails)? Any advice, opinions, experience would be greatly appreciated!
I don't have experience with either tour operator. We did a safari in Tanzania in 2012, and our local guide, Victor Bubelwa, was excellent. Victor also leads tours of Mt. Kilimanjaro through his company, authentic-safaris.com/pages/....
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Hi Susan, - let's see what we can find out OK?
Just to let yo
u know why I think I can comment on this, - I am/was a tour director for decades, and have a vast knowledge about tour operators around the world, as well as having led a number of safari trips from the U.S. including a knack for spying bad apples on line......d:o)
OK, Serengeti Pride. I have not worked with them, but they are a good example of how enterprising guides dream of expanding and working for themselves. The owner Lema Peter, appears to be one of those, who managed to get backing and help, as the other co-owner is an American.
When reviewing web sites of tour operators, the "About Us" page is crucial. That is a page where an operator is supposed to explain how long they have been in business, how they started, what accociations they are affilliated with, and any awards received. Of course if the operator has not been in business for a long time, it may be difficult to comply with that.
Serengeti Pride does try to a point, but web savvy is not yet achieved. For instance, once an operator obtains membership in the country's Tour Operator Association, most will shout it out on their pages. I did not see it on SP's pages and expected that theyn were not a member. I then looked at the TATO web page, (Tanzania Association of Tour Operators), and sure enough they not only are members, but they are listed as "hot". I would suggest that no matter who you pick as your operator, make sure they are members of TATO. Here is their site, - click on Members Directory.
Base on that I suspect they are also members of ASTA and AFTA, because the have an American co-owner, but this is not reflected on their pages. However, I see that in lieu of company accolades, the people involved have impressive credentials.
I think they need a new web designer, but I am reasonably sure they are not only legit but likely quite good.
Now as for Mount Kili Trails or KiliSmile Trails, - anytime the About Us page is full of promotional spiel without any indication of who what why, is usually a thinly veiled attempt to avoid telling you that they have nothing to tell you. For one thing, I cannot find eirther name on the TATO list, nor any other affiliations.
If I personally had to choose between the two I would go with Serengeti Pride.
All that said, - understand, I am stricktly going by what I see on their web sites (conmined with a lot of experience), - it is entirely possible and likely probable that KiliSmile will give you a fine safari experience. I am simply musing here.....thinking out loud, if you will.
Hope this helps somewhat.............d:o)
I was climbing Mt Kilimanjaro few times (as I am a tour leader) with Like Kilismile Trails & Safaris Ltd - especially with Hamadi Gao. He is a very good guide who always pay attention to the condition of the clients, what is very important during the trekking, especially the summit attack. He will do everything to help you climb the summit. What is good you can bargain the price - the bigger group, the cheaper.
Here is he on FB:
Best regards & good luck!
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