Author: Ashley Riggs
Date of Trip: July 2007
Went to Tanzania, Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on a safari. Climb and safari was incredible! We did a 6 day/5 night hike of the Machame Route up to Uhuru Peak. The daily hikes were beautiful and not as tough as I expected. It only got tough on the summit day due to lack of oxygen. Every penny, the challenge of the summit, and the pain of my knees going down the mountain was worth it. After climbing, we went on a four day safari that included Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Lake Manyara. We spent the first and only day in Lake Manyara and it was a great start to the safari. Saw tons of animals very close up and this was the cheapest park to get into. We spent 2 days in the Serengeti and it was amazing. Even though it was the dry season, we saw every animal including leopards and cheetahs. It was amazing! Our sunrise safari was incredible with the sun coming up and so many animals out and about in the morning. Ngorongoro Crater was my least favorite. It had been so built up about all of the animals that we would see, and it by far had the least amount of animals and the proximity of seeing the animals was further away then the other two parks and it was one of the most expensive.
All in all it was a great trip that I would recommend anyone and everyone to do. Once in a lifetime trip that is well worth it. However, our trip was soured by the touring company that we hired, Black Mamba, which is based out of Arusha. Long story short, when we got to the base of Mt. Kili to start our climb after driving 2 hours to get there, our guide tells us the owner, Leonard Lomayani, did not give him enough money and that he needed $300 from myself and my friend in order for us to climb. We thought it was a bit shady, but we were at base camp with few options and Leonard said he would pay us back. Long story short, not only did we not get our money but the same thing happened at two of the parks we went to for the safari. Each of us ended up having to give him an extra $385 in order to do what we had already paid him up front for. Leonard and Black Mamba are extremely manipulative, lying crooks. Beware! Do not want this to happen to anyone else. If I had to do it over again I would go with an American based company or one of the bigger more popular companies based out of Arusha, Tanzania. This was a smaller company that is small for a reason…..they do not practice good business, are dishonest and manipulative.