We can't recommend this company enough. They have been operating since 1930 as a family run business and to me the values they hold currently is likely to be the reason they have been serving the adventurous tourist that wants to ascend Africa's highest peak.
They were recommended to us by a lady who used them to climb Kilimanjaro a few years before that we met in Sri Lanka a year ago.
From the first communication with them via email to the last verbal before we left not one time did we not see or feel that there was 100% transparency and honesty.
We trekked the Marangu Route over a 5 day period. I did ask about doing it in 6 days to help acclimatise but was told not to bother as if you were to acclimatise to the book it would take about 10days. They didn't have to say that as a 6day trek would be worth more to them than a 5. That made us feel that we could trust them.
They supplied documents that told us what to bring and checked the items we brought. Some of ours weren't up to the expected standard or requirement so they supplied us items from their store which I expected to pay hire for on our return only to be told there would be no charge as, I quote, "It's what we do"
We were also advised to leave all passports and cash etc at the hotel in their safe. They said take minimal cash to buy something when you return to the gate if you fancied. Like a coke or something. Some other climbers we talked to weren't given this option so had to take everything with them.
The tipping side of things was all very structured and you were assisted by the hotel. It's basically $100 per climber divided between the crew. We were two so that the amount we had was $200 in the budget. We had a crew of 8 (2 guides, 1 chef & 1 helper, 4 porters). Tbh as the days went on and we saw the work all these guys done we increased our tips to $480 (once it was calculated). We broke the mould a bit with the structure of who got what. But this was based on our feelings of who was there for us more, if you know what I mean. We were worried that we might put noses out of joint with our actions but were told by the hotel to do as we felt was justified and if they compare tips that's their problem. And that tips are an extra as they get their salaries for the work they do. A good way to avoid this is, as suggested by the hotel, keep that part of trip short and sweet. You go have a beer or two in the hotel garden, make a few speeches, and you might get a song.
Most of the crew were fine with their tips. A couple of them asked for more with a few excuses. We held firm as we had given them double what's expected. We told this to the Hotel and they said sorry and apologised but it wasn't their fault. I guess some of the crew thought that we would be even more generous after a few more beers inside us.
Other climbers we met were not given the option of leaving money behind so carried everything with them. I thought that was not good. Also it meant that you could get hassled for tips during the climb. One party we talked to were given a form telling them the expected tip which totalled $580 between two of them! Nearly three times more than the standard. And also that they heard that once the tips had been received items/bags went missing.
If anyone asks me who I’d climb with it would be Marangu, in fact we plan to do then climb again one day along a different route and these will be the guys we go with no doubt!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Marangu Hotel is set on 12 acres of beautiful garden and has been open since 1932. We have been organising climbs of Kilimanjaro, on all routes, for over 80 years. The original farm buildings (now offices and reception) were built in 1907 as part of a coffee farm before being converted in 1932. Guest accommodation is provided in cottages around the gardens, and meals are prepared with vegetables from our own gardens and home baked bread. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Marangu Hotel Moshi, Tanzania - Kilimanjaro