I was born and raised in Moshi, the capital of the Kilimanjaro region in northeastern Tanzania. There I lived with my parents and was the eldest child of five. My three sisters are Fatma, Tunu, and Asma, and my brother – who is the youngest – is Salim. My parents ran a small shop and did some housebuilding which provided their income.
Between 2000 and 2006, I attended the Miembeni Primary School and went to the Anamkapa Secondary School until 2010. Both these schools are in the Moshi region. In 2012, I did my first Kilimanjaro walk at 19. My cousin, who was working as a mountain guide, inspired me: I used to watch him as he packed before he headed up for his Mount Kilimanjaro trips. I first climbed as a porter for seven days on the Rongai route. This wasn’t easy because I did not know much about the mountain and was not mentally prepared for the challenge.
I applied to do the National Park training in 2012 and qualified to be a mountain guide. Since then, I have worked as a mountain guide with several companies and increased my experience.
One day, I heard that Easy Travel was recruiting new mountain crew members, and I decided to apply. The interview was a success, and I became one of the company’s Assistant Mountain Guides in July 2022. So far, I can say that it is an exceptionally good company, and I have been very impressed by its experienced and well-qualified guides.
This trip can be the trip of a lifetime because you can enjoy the different climatic zones as you pass through them on your way to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The first is the agriculture zone, where residents cultivate crops such as bananas and coffee. The water coming down from the mountain is collected and used here for washing, drinking, cleaning, and irrigation.
The second zone is the rainforest zone, where trekkers will see many trees and diverse flower species. These include the Impatiens Kilimanjaro, a flower found only on Mount Kilimanjaro. Also, you can see mammals such as blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and birds such as the Turaco.
The third zone is the heath and moorland zone, which is more open, and here trekkers will find plants such as the Erica Arborea, Giant Senecio, and everlasting flowers.
The Alpine desert has no trees or flowers, just a few grasses that can survive at this altitude. It is also snowy sometimes in this zone. Finally, there is the summit zone, where only sand, rocks, and glaciers can be found. This zone does not support any living things.
My favorite month of the year for climbing in August, in the dry season. The weather conditions on Kilimanjaro in August mean there is less possibility of rain on the mountain and clear skies, which allow you to enjoy the views. Also, your clothes and equipment will stay dry at this time because there is no rainfall, so climbing Kilimanjaro in August is very comfortable. During wet conditions, it is not comfortable because everything can get wet, and you will not get the chance to view the mountain scenery or take memorable photos.
The phrases guest should learn.
Pole Pole, which means ‘slowly slowly.’
Asante – which means ‘thank you.’
Karibu – which means ‘you are welcome.’
It would help if you had all the necessary equipment on the mountain. Also, the hikers should listen to their guides from the start of the trek because they have more experience and know the mountain better. They will know what to advise in any situation on the mountain.
I also advise trekkers that they should leave behind any luggage which is not required on the mountain. They should take only what is necessary for the trek so that it will be easy to carry their luggage and their backpack will have less weight. This will help them not to overwork themselves during the climb.
As a guide, I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro more than 150 times since 2012 to the present day. My first experience as a guide was not very hard as I was already working as a summit porter before becoming a guide. Being a guide means taking care of trekkers by giving them enough information about the mountain and ensuring they are always safe. Every trek is a unique experience, no matter how many times we go up the mountain. There are new challenges, new experiences, new memories, and being with different trekkers each time.
The challenges of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are bouts of sickness such as an upset stomach, headaches, vomiting, a loss of appetite, nausea, lack of sleep, or exhaustion. You must overcome these by checking your condition’s seriousness so the guide fully understands and can help. You must drink enough water, eat well, and have enough time to rest when arriving at the camp.The summit day on Mount Kilimanjaro can be challenging with freezing toes, cold weather, and exhaustion. You might be feeling sleepy and experiencing altitude sickness. You can experience sunburn because the direct sun affects your skin if you don’t have the right protection.
The hikers should ascend slowly while on the trip to allow their bodies to acclimatize to the high elevation. This will allow your body to adapt to the environment. Also, climbing high and sleeping low is recommended where possible. It is an effective way to prevent altitude sickness. Drinking enough water – at least 3 to 4 liters daily, even if you do not feel thirsty – is essential.Trekkers must be positive and motivated during the trek and not stress themselves by thinking too much about the summit day because, climbing Kilimanjaro, we must go one step at a time.
I have encountered challenges when there are beginner trekkers who have never climbed before. Sometimes they are very scared. They do not believe they can make it to the top, showing a negative mindset and having no confidence. So as a guide with the crew, we must assist, motivate, and reassure them so that they can achieve their dream by summiting.
Even though we have climbed many times, if we ascend too quickly, we can suffer from altitude sickness, with a headache or stomach upsets. Because of this, trekkers and crew members should ascend slowly up the mountain.
You can also be on the mountain and come across heavy rainfall. Although you have rain gear, your gear and equipment will still get wet. When your shoes or hiking boots get wet, you will feel uncomfortable and cold, especially on the summit day.