MEET OUR Mountain Guide:
Kester Elpiha Mushi

Tanzania - kester elipha mushi standing - kester mushi
Position: Mountain Guide
Date of Birth: 14th August 1996
Place of Birth: Moshi, Tanzania
Language Spoken: English and Swahili
Number of years in the travel industry: 6 years, two years as a porter, and four years as a guide
Number of years working with Easy Travel: Since July 2022

About Kester

I was the youngest child of three and lived with my parents, sister, and brother. I attended the Nkwarungo Primary School from 2004 until 2010 and then the Nkwamwasi Secondary School from 2011 until 2014. While studying in school, I dreamt of being a tourist guide one day because I always wanted to learn new things and interact with people from different parts of the world. By being a guide, I knew I would have the opportunity to do that.

After finishing my early education, in 2015, I went to the Naura Training Centre and took a tour guiding and hospitality course, which I completed a year later. In 2017, I did my first Kilimanjaro hike as a porter and did several more hikes until 2019. At that time, I decided to go to college again to increase my knowledge about the mountain. As a result, I obtained my mountain guide license in 2019 and started to work as a guide from then until now.

All the time I worked as a porter and then as a guide, I heard many people say that Easy Travel was the best company to work for, which became my goal. In June 2022, I got a phone call from a friend who told me they were recruiting, and I applied immediately. I got the position, and I found out that it was true: they are indeed one of the best companies in how they treat their staff and because they provide the best service to the trekkers.

Favorite Park in Tanzania

My favorite park in Tanzania is Kilimanjaro National Park. The park provides job opportunities to locals, such as chefs, porters, and guides for each trip.

Favorite Route

My favorite route is The Machame route which takes seven days

Favorite Food

My favorite food is bananas with beef. Where I was born in the Kilimanjaro region, and this is one of our main meals because many people plant bananas. Some families eat this food every Sunday!

Favorite Hobby

My favorite hobby is playing football, which is a good way of staying healthy and fit. It allows me to meet with my close friends and have fun.

Favorite TV Show

My favorite TV show is Money Heist because people use a lot of energy to make their plans work, and at the end of the day, they try to have a better life.

Favorite Singer/band

My favorite singer is Don Williams. I have enjoyed Country Music ever since I was young. Don Williams is one of those singers that can make you love Country Music because of the messages he delivers in his songs.

14 Questions and answers with Kester Mushi 

Kilimanjaro is very famous all over the world because of its beauty. It’s a mountain covered in trees – in some parts – and with many different amazing landscapes. The highest zone is covered by ice and glaciers. It is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the tallest mountain in Africa. Landscapes change and are different throughout the mountain due to the historic eruptions. Some landscapes which amaze every trekker are the Lava Tower, Mawenzi peak, Kibo peak, and the Karanga Valley.

My favorite route is the Machame, taking seven days. This is because it is one of the best routes for allowing trekkers to acclimatize well while hiking. They will hike high and sleep low, so the body adjusts and adapts to the altitude more easily. Apart from good acclimatization, it offers fascinating landscapes such as the Lava Tower, the Barranco Wall, and the Karanga Valley.

Easy Travel is the best choice for trekkers to climb Mount Kilimanjaro because of their great service. The best equipment, such as high-quality tents, is provided to ensure that the crew and trekkers can sleep comfortably. The food provided is excellent and sufficient for trekkers and crew alike. The company has friendly, experienced, and knowledgeable porters and guides. For transportation, Easy Travel has very well-maintained and super-clean vehicles that take you to the mountain and back. Lastly, the crew is paid well, which helps them to take care of their families.
My favorite month of the year to climb Kilimanjaro is in November. This is because the weather is ‘friendly’ and there is less chance of rainfall. The winds are less fierce, too. When the weather is good, trekkers get better views as there is less fog. If you take the Machame Route, then on Day 2, at Shira Cave, trekkers can see beautiful sunsets. On Day 4, at the top of the Barranco Wall, there is always a good view of the mountain and the forest. Trekkers will experience a high summit-success rate on the mountain during the dry season.
My favorite part of Mount Kilimanjaro is the summit. This is because, after reaching the summit, it is the final destination, and trekkers see their dreams come true. The summit is 5895m above sea level. Sometimes people dream for ten years or more of arriving at this point, and then the dream becomes true! You cannot stay in this zone for too long because of the low oxygen levels. After taking pictures, you can look around for 15 to 20 minutes before returning to the base camp for safety.
What people do not expect about Mount Kilimanjaro is how beautiful it is. They are stunned by the formation of the rocks, but perhaps the most amazing thing is how guides and porters work hard together and cooperate to make sure the dreams of the trekkers come true. Some trekkers wonder how porters can carry heavy luggage of up to 20kgs and still walk so fast to the next camp. These guys can pitch the tent at the public campsite even if it is snowing. Some trekkers carry many snacks, as they do not expect adequate food on the mountain. But soon, they wonder how the crew cooks fresh, tasty food on the mountain!
My favorite part about the culture in Tanzania is that the people are humble and friendly, even though there are more than 120 tribes. We Tanzanians live peacefully; we do not fight. I consider Tanzania a peaceful country. Each tribe in Tanzania has its tribal language, culture, and customs. Most tribes have an individual tribal dress, from which you can easily identify, even if you meet them outside their native area. 

Hakuna Matata,which means ‘no worries.’

Pole pole,which means ‘slowly, slowly.’

Rafiki, which means ‘friend.’

Our guests will be surprised to learn that I am a descendant of the Chagga Tribe. The Chagga are found on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro and are mostly involved with agriculture and livestock. The crops they mainly plant are bananas, coffee and maize, and they use water from Mount Kilimanjaro for irrigation and domestic uses. They live within family groups; their main meal is bananas with beef. I am always happy to show guests my culture and teach them about my language and people.

I will advise others to prepare well for all weather conditions, such as rain, wind, cold, and sunshine. The altitude changes may affect trekkers, so I recommend they walk at the right pace and pack altitude pills. Challenges you face will not be permanent, so you must be patient and have a positive mindset toward anything and everything.

Bring the appropriate rain gear, including trousers and a jacket. Warm clothes are recommended for chilly weather. To train your body, try to practice on mountains and hills near your home as this can help you be physically fit, and your body can get used to the altitude before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

As a mountain guide, I have climbed Kilimanjaro more than 40 times. I have trekked all the various routes, but I prefer the Machame route most of the time. It is always the best in the dry season because everyone can walk confidently and think about the hike, not the harsh weather conditions. During this time, I teach trekkers not to give up and to think positively! Doing this helps them to make it to the top.

The challenges of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro are:

Cold: the weather may change, often at night, on the way to the summit, or at high altitudes.

Rain: the weather may be bad, with heavy rainfall, especially in the wet season. This is not safe and can be life-threatening.

Altitude: when the body gets to higher altitudes, sometimes it reacts, and a person may get altitude sicknesses such as a headache or vomiting.

Lack of proper mountain gear can make everyone uncomfortable if they do not have the correct gear to protect against rain or cold. If the clothes get wet, and you do not have another set, it won’t be easy to go to the summit.

A slow, steady pace is recommended because it allows the body to relax and get used to the altitude.

I normally advise you to ensure that your food intake is enough, with healthy and digestible food. Ensure you eat sufficient food, even if you have lost your appetite. The body needs a lot of fluid during the hike because you lose a lot of water. Take altitude pills so that they can help the body to adjust to the high elevation. Make sure you get enough time to rest when arriving at the camp. Make sure you dress in warm clothing before you sleep because it is better to feel warm than to feel cold on the mountain.

One challenge is heavy rainfall, which is sometimes unpredictable and cannot be controlled. It can come with strong winds, and the rain causes the path to be wet. This can mean that the hiking boots and equipment get wet. This is why it is better to trek during the dry season.

High winds may occur at high elevations, in exposed/open places, or the summit zone. I have faced high winds, which cause damage to the tents, and high winds make everyone very cold.


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