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Our group of six recently returned from a trip to Tanzania a week ago and I wanted to just give a brief review of the operator we went with for our climb, Mar Tours. This will not discuss the climb in detail, just our experience with Mar Tours.
I would highly recommend Mar Tours as an operator for climbing Kilimanjaro. We were primarily interested in finding a budget operator that did not compromise the quality of their services in order to reduce the cost of their trips. Mar Tours did exactly this as its excursions were relatively cheap in comparison to the other operators we looked at, and it provided excellent service.
During the planning process, our contact Job Baraka, was very quick in responding to emails and answered all off the questions we had with very detailed responses.
For the Kilimanjaro climb, the guides we had, Ramadhan (chief), Michael, Henry, and Arnold (assistants), were fantastic. They made sure we drank lots of water and walked very slowly to help with acclimatization, and were constantly asking us how we were feeling to help make sure we were okay to proceed going up the mountain. Additionally, the food provided on the trek had a lot of variety to it, and we always had more than we could possibly eat. We noticed very few differences between the experience we had with a budget operator and the other people we met on the mountain who had gone with more expensive options.
The porters, cooks, and all support staff were incredible. They were friendly, and skillful and we lacked for nothing. If you needed gear, it was available for a reasonable rate at the main office. All six of us from our group made the summit, and we all agreed that we wouldn't have been able to do it without the wonderful care from our support staff.
If you have any additional questions about Mar Tours, just respond to this post and I'll do my best to get back to you soon.
Climbing Kilimanjaro was a trip of a lifetime for me and it was a daunting process to find a suitable tour guide company with a good rates and a good reputation. My friend and I found narrowed down Mar Tours and Safari by searching trip advisor and reviewing the comments from their past clients.
Booking with Mar Tours was very easy – we sent them an email and Job (the owner/manager of Mar Tours) got back to us ASAP with a friendly Hello! His quick responses back and forth via email with our many questions and concerns made us feel at ease that we picked a solid company.
Job picked us up at the airport, took us to our hotel and thoroughly checked our equipment to ensure we had packed the right stuff and even rented us the things we didn’t have. We were pleased to see anything could be easily rented from Mar Tours should we have needed it.
The next morning, bright and early, Job showed up with a friendly crew of our chief guide, (Manase) and our assistant guide (Ramadad aka Frank) along with our cook (also named Frank) waiter (Richard) and 3 porters!
Considering the price we paid for the trek, we were more than satisfied with our food, accommodations, knowledgeable guides and hardworking porters. We had tons of food each day and felt bad that we couldn’t even finish it all.
While the summit day was the hardest thing we have ever done, my friend and I successfully made it to the top thanks to our amazing and caring guides. Manase and Ramadad assisted us every step of the way, even to the extent of carrying our backpacks and consoling me when I got sick.
All and all, we had lots of laughs and good conversations with our entire team and will forever remember our amazing trek. If anyone we know is planning a trip up Kili we will not hesitate to recommend Mar Tour and Safari.
P.S. For further information the website for Mar Tours is www.martoursandsafaris.com and the facebook page is under Mar Tours & Safaris and don't forget to hit 'LIKE'!
Completely agree with most of the information provided by Kyle on 25 June 2011. Feel like there should be a more recent review on this company because I know first hand how difficult it is to compare Kilimanjaro companies online from the other side of the world! We chose it after reviewing many, based on price (student budget!), and the fact that it was a local company who seemed to have consideration for the wellbeing of their porters.
My friend and I climbed Kili in early Feb this year, and were very happy with our trek. I would highly recommend the Lemosho trek for 2 reasons: firstly, that we were able to trek through such a variety of landscapes in such a short time (rainforest, desert, snow) and secondly because it gave us more time to acclimatise - we felt well the vast majority of the time, which made the experience so much more enjoyable.
My friend and I had been in East Africa for a month prior to the climb, and had become used to ``African time`` and the way that things rarely happen as you are told they will. We were pleasantly surprised that everything ran very smoothly and according to schedule for the entire trek.
Job, the owner of Mar Tours, was very prompt to reply to emails and has been a guide before so can answer any questions. He picked us up from the bus stop in Moshi (we took a bus from Kenya), and delivered us to our hotel (Neneu Hotel - clean and pleasant. Hot water for showers was a bit temperamental). We didn't have all the necessary equipment, so Job took us to hire balaclavas, gloves and walking poles.
Because Mar Tours is a small local company, my friend and I were the only people in our group, which was great because it allowed us to move at our own pace with minimum fuss.
Our guides were fantastic - friendly and helpful, as was our entire team. Food was plentiful and we felt well looked after.
The only thing that I would recommend is to query tips with Job prior to arrival - just so you have a good idea as to what to expect (we found the recommended prices online varied a bit). Our head guide was really good with the tips. (Being Australian, we're unfamiliar with the ins and outs of tipping). He made us write down how much each person was getting, and then announce it to the team ourselves before handing the lump sum of money to him to divide into smaller denominations to give to them individually later. This was great because it made things easy for us but we could also see that there was going to be accountability for him to his crew.
It is worth noting however that we did end up with one extra porter than we had initially agreed on. Make sure you clarify crew numbers with Job as well.
Overall, the service provided was better than anticipated, and it was good to be able to support a local company which was reliable
Climbing Kilimanjaro is a fantastic experience, and I would thoroughly recommend Mar Tours who are a local business run from Moshi offering good service and competitive prices. Job, who runs the business, was very responsive to all of our questions leading up to the trek. All 5 of us in the group got to the top and our 3 guides were excellent, as were the cook and porters. We chose the 6 day Machame route, which while busy, does offer a very scenic route up the mountain with plenty of time to acclimatise to the altitude. Tanzania is a fantastic country with very friendly people and I'll be returning one day.