Fredy Minja
By Developer
Published March 17, 2023

MEET OUR Mountain Guide:
Fredy Fokas Minja

Tanzania - fredy fokas minja standing - fredy minja
Position: Assistant Mountain Guide
Date of Birth: 14th August 1973
Place of Birth: Arusha, Tanzania
Language Spoken: English and Swahili
Number of years in the travel industry: 11 years, seven years as a porter, and four years as an Assistant Mountain Guide
Number of years working with Easy Travel: 4 years

About Fredy 

I was born in the Mount Meru Hospital in Arusha in 1973. I am the middle child of five siblings. My parents were teachers in primary schools, and we lived on Sanawari Street in Arusha City. My education began at the Sanawari Primary school in 1982 and lasted until 1988. In 1989, I attended the Enaboishu Secondary School for my ‘O’ level education and completed this in 1992. Afterward, I joined the Arusha Technical College and studied electrical installation and welding from 1994 until 1996.

Between 1997 and 2011, I worked as a welder in Arusha. During that time in 2002, I got married to my wife, Rosemary, and we had two children together. Fokas is the firstborn; he is 21, and my daughter Frida is now 19.

From 2012 onwards, I started to climb the mountain as a porter to earn more money to support my children’s education. I worked as a porter with various companies for six years until 2018. I knew about Easy Travel through my neighbor who worked as a porter there, and I submitted my application in 2018. The company accepted me as a porter. I received my salary on time, which is not always the case with other companies. In 2019, I enrolled at Mweka College on their mountain guide course. I could only afford to apply for this course thanks to the money I had received from working as a porter at Easy Travel. I passed my examinations, and the Government awarded me a license. Easy Travel registered me as a guide in July 2019.

Favorite Park in Tanzania

My favorite park in Tanzania is Kilimanjaro National Park because climbing the mountain is good exercise for the body. You see different flora and fauna from the very start of the trek until the last day. 

Favorite Route

My favorite route is the eight-day Lemosho route.

Favorite Food

My favorite food is rice with beans because it’s affordable and gives my body good energy.

Favorite Hobby

My favorite hobby is watching and playing football because it is a good way of exercising and keeps my body fit. I also enjoy watching matches.

Favorite TV Show

My favorite TV shows are on the Tanzania Safari Channel or TBC, as I learn more about Tanzanian wildlife and nature, as well as the news in Tanzania and worldwide.

Favorite Singer/band

My favorite band is the late Bob Marley and the Wailers because of the strong, real-life messages they send.

14 Questions and answers with Fredy

Climbing Kilimanjaro is the trip of a lifetime because it is the world’s free-standing mountain. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a unique experience any climber would love to accomplish. 

Easy Travel is the best choice for trekkers to climb Mount Kilimanjaro because of the excellent service provided to trekkers. It provides balanced and healthy food for its trekkers and crew, great quality equipment such as tents and mountain gear, and a very experienced, understanding, and professional crew of chefs, porters, and guides.
It is possible to trek Mount Kilimanjaro all year round, even during the off-season rains. However, certain months are characterized by colder weather, rain, and potentially more snow on the summit. My favorite month of the year to climb Kilimanjaro is August because it is not as cold as other months. It is quite busy because of the summer holidays in Europe and North America. As a dry month, August has the best weather conditions. There are clear skies, magnificent views, and little to no rain. 

My favorite part of Mount Kilimanjaro is Uhuru Peak. This mountain is the tallest in Africa, capped with snow and ice despite its location at a tropical latitude close to the equator. The views from Kilimanjaro are very interesting for different reasons. You must pass through incredibly diverse vegetation zones to reach the icy summit. The mountain rises from the hot, dry savanna through the rainforest and hard scrublands (a plant community characterized by vegetation dominated by shrubs) to a rocky and icy summit at 5895m or 19340 feet above sea level. Uhuru Peak is my favorite part because I like the challenge. The highest Alpine desert and summit zones are harsh and difficult environments.

People usually don’t expect to find so many people trekking Mount Kilimanjaro yearly. People do not expect that there are three volcanic cones (Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo) even though it is a dormant volcano. There are 140 varied species of mammals around the mountain. People are amazed that the mountain is capped with snow and ice, despite its location at a tropical latitude close to the equator.
My favorite part of Tanzanian culture is the painting culture, especially the Tingatinga style that originated in East Africa. Tingatinga is one of the most widely represented forms of tourism-oriented painting in Tanzania and Kenya, our neighboring country. Tingatinga is traditionally made on hardboard, engineered wood using several layers of paint that make for brilliant and highly saturated colors. Usually, the paintings are quite small so that they can be easily transported, and they portray subjects intended to appeal to European and American visitors. The drawings are naïve, almost childlike, typically in bright colors with little or no perspective. Also, the drawings are caricatures in a simplified or exaggerated way. There is also an element of humor!

Pole Pole, which means ‘slowly slowly’ and which, is used when trekking the mountain. To reach the summit, we have to walk slowly slowly.

Jambo, which means ‘how are you?’ You can reply with ‘jambo’ since the culture of Tanzania of greeting others is very important. Some people can also say ‘Mambo,’ which means ‘hi,’ and you can reply with ‘Poa,’ which means ‘cool.’ Asante, which means ‘thanks.’ It is very important because we use it in every situation while trekking the mountain.
Both my wife and I are from the ‘Chagga’ tribe, and we originate from the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Guests can learn many things about the tribe from me, such as our main food is a banana called ‘Kiburu.’ The alcohol drunk by the tribe is called ‘Mbege,’ which is millet and banana fermented. You can learn how the Chagga people live in remote areas, often consisting of a small farm with cattle and a house. They live with their cattle inside their home. I love to share many details about my culture with all the trekkers. 

I would advise all trekkers to prepare properly for the trek. My advice is to have a full medical checkup with your doctor to learn about any medical issues affecting your body. This is so that you should be aware of any health conditions that might prevent you from trekking.

Practice making your body physically fit by walking, jogging, and hiking. Also, prepare mentally by having a positive attitude; believe that you can achieve your goal of reaching the summit, despite the challenges you may face.

Preparation of equipment is important such as having the appropriate gear for rainy weather (e.g., a waterproof poncho), proper hiking shoes which are waterproof with a good sole, a proper bag with a liner inside, down jackets, windbreaker jackets, thermal clothes like a woolen hat, a balaclava, a good mattress as well as a good sleeping bag. Also, you should carry your first aid kit and a proper reusable water bottle.

As a guide, I climbed Kilimanjaro 43 times. I have trekked on all the routes of the mountain. These include the Machame, Marangu, Rongai, Umbwe, and Lemosho routes. The key is to be positive, drink at least 3 liters of water daily, walk slowly, and listen to the advice from your guide. Most trekkers learn from my experience and succeed in making the climb. After the summit, they appreciated the advice I shared.
The first challenge is the unpredictable weather conditions that may cause you to suffer from a headache, flu, stomach pain, dizziness, or muscle pain – this is fairly normal. You may develop mountain sickness, requiring a trekker or crew member to go back down.

To prevent altitude sickness, I must advise hikers first to take altitude pills to help the body adapt to the elevation. Remember that these pills can have side effects like vomiting, allergic reactions, or nausea. Hikers must drink more than 3 liters daily because water gives them oxygen and helps them cope with the mountain’s altitude. Take proper rest when you get the chance at the camp because we recover the energy needed for the next day. Rest also allows your digestion to settle down. It would help if you walked slowly without rushing to ensure you do not overwork your body.

My challenges as a mountain guide when climbing Mount Kilimanjaro include tiredness. Sometimes I feel tired. I can get a headache due to a lack of oxygen while climbing. Digestion slows down when trekking, so I sometimes experience stomach pain and diarrhea. To overcome these symptoms, I drink water, take painkillers, and take early rest when arriving at the camp.


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