When my husband and I decided that we would climb Mount Kilimanjaro followed by a short safari at the Ngorongoro Crater we quickly realised that this trip required considerably more planning and expertise than our usual overseas adventures. There are so many different companies that offer Kilimanjaro climbs and Safaris in Kenya and Tanzania that it was hard to know which one to choose!
We wanted to book through a company who charged a reasonable price and who were local- so that we could be sure that our money would stay in country and benefit the local people. We chose Tro-Peaks Adventures and I’m so glad we did! Below is my review of the trip and the service.
Tro-Peaks Adventures are a small company based in Moshi, Tanzania. They create tailor made tours involving mountain climbing, safaris, beach holidays and day trips on either a group tour or private tour basis. The company is managed and directed with two native Tanzanian tour guides and organisers- Daniel and Thomas- who both have many years of training and experience in the Tanzanian tourism industry, including mountain climbing. Daniel and Thomas are very hands-on (unlike some company directors/owners that I have worked with!) and this was an aspect that I particularly liked. They accompany the tourists on the mountain climbs and organise all of the tours themselves- so you know that you’re in good hands!
Tro-Peaks Adventures is an officially registered company as a tour and safari company with the Tanzania government under the country law. The company has an excellent reputation in East Africa in organising trips includin climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru, and Mt Oldoinyo Lengai, lodge wildlife safaris, tented wildlife safaris, walking safaris, hotel accommodations, beaches and transfers.
Knowledge and Expertise
All of the staff accompanying you on your trip, whether it be climbing one of the mountains or spotting wildlife on a safari, are well experienced. When we climbed Kilimanjaro we had a team of ten staff for just two of us! The team was led by Daniel (one of the company owners), Ben was our assistant guide and then we had a cook, a waiter and six porters. Daniel has been undertaking mountain climbs since the early noughties and Ben had almost as much experience. Their knowledge was second to none and they took safety very seriously- we had our oxygen levels and pulses checked each day and on the summit night we were monitored very carefully to check that we didn’t show any signs of altitude sickness, which luckily we didn’t!
I have read some comments online that some companies offer tours for a cheaper price because they have cheap/sub-standard equipment- tents with holes in etc! You don’t have to worry about this with Tro-Peaks adventures. They have everything you need (and more!) and everything is in good condition. When we arrived in Moshi Daniel came to the hotel to discuss the trip and he checked that we had all of the appropriate equipment (seriously, packing for this trip was by far my most stressful packing experience yet-I will write a post on this shortly!). We didn’t have any walking poles or rain trousers (and it was rainy season), so Daniel fetched us some free of charge- brilliant service.
There are strict rules in the national park imposed by the Tanzanian government and Tro-Peaks ensures that all requirements are met (not always the way in developing countries in my experience). The porters carry no more than the maximum allowance and sleep in adequate tents etc. All of the staff seemed very happy throughout the trip and many of them are working towards becoming an assistant guide.
The food was excellent- I absolutely did not expect to have a three-course meal three times a day, nor did I expect a hot lunch every day. The food was well thought through, with lots of protein and carbs to provide you with the energy needed to climb the mountain and there were unlimited snacks, tea coffee and Milo!
If you have done any research on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro you will probably have read that the success rates are not generally that high- different sources quote anything from 40-80%, depending on which route you take. Tro-Peaks claim to have a 98% success rate for reaching Uhuru Peak, which is incredible. The statistician in me, however, would like to see some evidence of this.
The safari part of our trip was fantastic too. We got loads of safari tips and our guide was knowledgeable and well-informed. We saw lots of wildlife, including a lion kill a warthog right in front of us! We also learnt a lot, such as the difference between a cheetah and a leopard.
When we returned from our climb we were due to go on safari the next morning. However, my husband woke feeling unwell. Tro-Peaks were super flexible and advised us to have a rest day and to go on safari the following day, which we agreed was a good idea-luckily our itinerary allowed for this. That evening Daniel came to the hotel to check everything was ok and I informed him that my husband would need some antibiotics as I thought he had picked up a bug somewhere. Despite it being almost 9pm Daniel took me into Moshi town to a chemist so that we could buy the required medicine, which luckily worked- I should be a Doctor, oh wait- I am (you can read more about my PhD here)!
The following morning my husband was starting to feel better so we left for the safari. The after-care didn’t stop there though- Daniel phoned twice during the two day trip to see how he was feeling and came to visit us again at the hotel on our return. He really did go above and beyond and we were really grateful- Daniel to the rescue!
Alongside taking excellent care of their customers, Tro-Peaks invests in the local community. This is something that I personally look for when choosing a tour operator. I hate giving my hard-earned money to the big conglomerates, where very little of it actually reaches the local community, so when I came across this local tour operator I knew it was a good decision to book through them. Tro-Peaks Adventures provides employment to numerous local citizens who help run the mountain climbing, wildlife safaris and walking into sensitive and attractive areas, eco/cultural tours and coastal holidays, allowing your money to help enhance the Tanzanian economy. They also partner with the Tanzania Educational Advancement through Export Marketing NGO (see- TEATEM) who aid local schools to improve the education in the community.
We booked the tour a year in advance and despite it being so early communication was generally pretty good. Shortly before our departure we did have a lot of questions about packing lists etc (did I mention packing was a bit stressful!?) and Daniel was great at answering all of our questions and putting our minds at rest. The only negative I would say is that it could sometimes take several days to get a response, but I guess this is a result of them being so hands on- there is no internet signal up the mountain, trust me- I know!
Because they are a local company their prices are far more competitive than some of the international tour operators. The park fees are really high and then they need to pay all of their staff and overheads etc so taking this into consideration I think that the price we paid was really competitive and it was the cheapest that we found. They require an initial deposit via bank transfer which is slightly annoying as it incurs significant fees to make an international transfer, but this is something I’ve encountered many times before so is perhaps unavoidable. Transferring money to an African bank account did make me slightly nervous (although there was no need to be nervous!), so I would suggest that they implement on online booking system or use PayPal to put others’ minds at ease when making payment.
Overall we had a fantastic trip with Tro-Peaks Adventures and we really couldn’t have asked for any more. From their competitive prices, to the level of professionalism and expertise, to the camaraderie and the effort that they put in when my husband was unwell- the service was second-to-none throughout. I would not hesitate in recommending this company for your Tanzanian adventures. For more information on climbing Kilimanjaro check out my YouTube video below or read about my love-relationship with the Mount Kilimanjaro!
Do you have any questions or comments about Tro-Peaks adventures? Feel free to leave your remarks in the comments box below!