MEET OUR Mountain Guide:
Musa Ismail Muya

Tanzania - musa ismail muya standing - musa muya
Position: Mountain Guide
Date of Birth: 4th November 1988
Place of Birth: Tanga, Tanzania
Language Spoken: English and Swahili
Number of years in the travel industry: 8 years, two years as a porter, and six years as a guide
Number of years working with Easy Travel: Since July 2022

About Musa

I was born in the Bombo Hospital in the town of Tanga in the Tanga region, a coastal region of Tanzania. In Tanga, I lived with my parents and my three elder sisters. First, I went to the Maweni Primary school from 1996 until 2002 and then progressed to the Makongo Secondary school from 2006 until 2009.

I moved to the city of Arusha for my further education. I enrolled in a course to study for my Animal Health and Production certificate at LITA Tengeru from 2011 until 2012. (‘ LITA’ stands for Livestock Training Agency.) I then got my diploma in the same subjects at the LITA Madaba from 2014 – 2015. To earn some money and to get some experience, I was climbing as a porter at this time. From 2016 to 2018, I went to the College of African Wildlife Management for a degree in wildlife tourism. I then took a short course to be a mountain guide and successfully got my license. After that, I started to climb the mountain as a guide.

While I was working with various companies, I would meet one of my friends who was also trekking. He told me about Easy Travel, who I always wanted to work for but had never had the opportunity to. Once I heard that they were recruiting, I applied and got the job. I live in Moshi with my wife and son, Maher, who is now six months old.

Favorite Park in Tanzania

My favorite park in Tanzania is the Kilimanjaro National Park. It forms its weather patterns, which makes it difficult to predict. It has different zones compared to other places.

Favorite Route

My favorite route is the Lemosho route; I walked for over eight days.

Favorite Food

My favorite food is rice with fried fish, one of our main meals. 

Favorite Hobby

My favorite hobby is playing football. I play during my free time or in the low season (when it’s rainy) to keep my body fit.

Favorite TV Show

My favorite shows are on the National Geographic channel. I learn a lot about the distinctive features, environments and also about nature in general. It helps me be familiar with things related to my profession.

Favorite Singer/band

My favorite singer is the Lebanese -Swedish singer Maher Zain. He sings songs that teach you about how to live, how to treat people equally, and how you can help others through charity.

14 Questions and answers with Musa Muya

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a lifetime trip because Mount Kilimanjaro is 5895m above sea level and is the highest freestanding mountain. It is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Kilimanjaro has three peaks, called Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo. Each peak is of different age, depending on the various volcanic eruptions that have taken place. Shira was formed 800,000 years ago, Mawenzi was formed 500,000 years ago, and Kibo was formed 300,000 years ago. Kibo is the youngest but is the highest peak of all. Kilimanjaro has unique features such as the Lava Tower, the Karanga Valley, the Shira Plateau, and the peak called Shira Cathedral or Barranco Wall, all the famous landscapes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The mountain tends to change, as the weather makes it very unpredictable. For example, it can be sunny but suddenly change to windy or rainy. Climbers are always advised to have the appropriate gear to cope with any changes in the weather. It is a unique mountain with five zones from the bottom to the top. Each has its characteristics: the cultivation zone, montane forest, heath and moorland, Alpine desert, and Arctic zones.

My favorite route is the eight-day Lemosho route. This route is particularly successful in acclimatizing trekkers because you go high and sleep low, which helps your body adjust. It is favorable to young or elderly trekkers because it does not have steep gradations of the path. It has short distances between camps compared to the other routes. All three peaks are nearby when you are trekking, so you have super views.
Easy Travel provides the best service, particularly as good food supplies and a skilled chef are provided to make hot, fresh food available to trekkers and crew alike. Good-quality equipment, such as spacious and comfortable tents for trekkers and crew, is also provided. Easy Travel has a well-trained, motivational mountain crew who ensure the safety and care of the trekkers. They are knowledgeable about the mountain, culture, and Tanzania in general. Easy Travel teaches the mountain crew to be honest and do the right things toward each other. Easy Travel also provides comfortable transportation for the crew and trekkers. The staff is paid a good salary, allowing them to make a living and care for their families – so they are motivated!
My favorite month of the year for climbing Kilimanjaro is August. This is because it is during the dry season, and there is less chance of rainfall compared to other months, such as April. Rainfall can cause slippery trails and causes the equipment to get wet. Any rainfall makes treks uncomfortable. In August, there are good views due to the sunny and dry daytime. You can take great pictures and enjoy nature. On dry and sunny days, the luggage becomes easier to carry compared to the wet period, when it causes the luggage to be heavy.
My favorite part of Mount Kilimanjaro is the Arctic zone. In my opinion, this is the most important because it is when climbers accomplish their main objective for traveling to Tanzania, namely climbing the mountain. I give all my attention to the trekkers to ensure they are assisted and cared for until they reach the top. There are glaciers at the top, unlike any other part of Tanzania. It is the coldest part of the mountain. Though it is close to the equator line, there are still glaciers and cold at the top of the mountain.

They do not expect Mount Kilimanjaro will be cold. They expect that due to the reputation of Tanzania as a hot country, Kilimanjaro will not be cold. They do not expect to see permanent glaciers at the top – this is unique within Tanzania.

The climbers pass through different vegetation zones unique to Mount Kilimanjaro. The weather changes can be unexpected. This can pose a challenge anytime, so you must be prepared for the weather changes.

Guests might expect only average food, but with Easy Travel, guests are provided hot, fresh, and tasty meals three times a day.

Guests do not expect how efficient and experienced the mountain crew is in carrying heavy luggage despite the difficulties faced on the mountain. Porters can carry up to 20kgs and still walk quickly.

There are more than 125 tribes in Tanzania; however, each tribe has its own culture, tribe, and traditional customs. Though each tribe is different, we all communicate with each other by using the Swahili language, which is what unites us. It helps us to live in peace and to share all our different ideas. It also reduces conflict between tribes. We are humble, honest, friendly, and welcoming if you compare us to many other countries. This is the best thing about the culture in Tanzania.

Jambo, which means ‘hello.’

Pole Pole, which means ‘slowly, slowly.’

Karibu, which means ‘welcome.’

I am a Muslim who follows Islamic beliefs, and among the rules of this belief, I am required to fast during the holy month of Ramadhan. So, during Ramadhan, I would fast even when I had a trek on the mountain. This means I would not eat or drink water from dawn (4:50 am) until sunset (around 6.50 pm, depending on sunset time). This is sometimes challenging, but I still make it to the top. Guests are surprised to know that I am fasting while climbing the mountain.

Climbers must have the proper weather gear when packing for the trek. Gear for the wind, such as a wind jacket and ski trousers, are essential, as is gear for the cold such as a thermal fleece, a down jacket, warm hat, socks, appropriate hiking boots, and gloves. It would help if you packed a sun hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for the sun. For the rainy period, you must pack a raincoat or poncho. A backpack, duffle bag, sleeping bag, snacks, refillable water or camel bag, headlamp with enough batteries, medication recommended by your doctors, and walking poles are all required.

Physical preparation is important for all climbers. They must train with exercises such as hiking short hills or mountains, walking, jogging, and running. Mental preparation is also important because it allows climbers to be prepared for the challenge. They must have a positive mindset.

A medical checkup is particularly important. This will help you understand your body, and the doctor may advise you if climbing is advisable depending on your health.

I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro more than 60 times as a guide. I have learned different things from trekkers from so many different places worldwide. I have learned to be with different people and how to treat them equally, and I have faced challenges and learned how to face and solve them.

There are challenges you can face on the mountain, such as the following:  High Altitude Sickness – you can develop this at high elevations. It is known as pulmonary edema when the lungs are full of water. This causes trekkers to have difficulty with breathing, and the oxygen levels decrease. You feel a cracking noise when inhaling. The only way to solve this is to go down to a lower elevation.

Communication – trekkers often fail to share their medical background with guides. This causes a challenge when a trekker gets affected by the altitude at high elevations, with symptoms that are sometimes noticeable but difficult to diagnose. Sharing information with the guides helps the trekker and the guide plan the climb well so that you can summit.

Whether – this can be a challenge if it becomes windy, cold, snowing, or heavy rainfall occurs. Without the right gear, this can be a challenge.

I would advise everyone to drink enough water, at least three or more liters a day. This will help to prevent dehydration and help relieve headaches. 

Eat enough food to recover the energy lost on the mountain. The energy you get from eating protein or carbohydrates gives your body energy so you can make it to the top. 

The trekkers’ pace always matters during the climb. Trekkers must walk slowly, as this helps to preserve their energy. If you walk fast, you use up your energy; your body does not adapt to the elevation, and the oxygen levels decrease on the mountain. This causes difficulty in breathing.  Having enough time to rest or sleep when arriving at the camp is important. This will help relax your body and muscles and help you recover energy for the next day. 

Always having a positive mindset is crucial, even when facing challenges. Trekkers must listen and follow the instructions from their guides or leader. This will help you to make it to the top.

I have faced some challenges on the mountain as a guide.

The harsh, cold weather is challenging, even when the trekkers have enough gear and equipment. It would help if you coped with the cold because it is only temporary, especially on the summit day.

Rainfall can occur, and this causes a challenge; the trails or pathways can be slippery, which may slow down the climb due to the necessity to walk slowly and carefully.

Altitude sickness is another challenge that trekkers face. Pulmonary edema can cause trekkers not to reach the top and be required to return to a lower elevation.


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