Don't Just Take Our Word...
The reviews / feedback given on this page will hopefully provide more insight into personal experiences of travelling with Original Tanzania. Every tour really is unique and, in most cases, completely tailored so as to adapt to individual wishes and / or activities our visitors decide they'd like to include once they arrive in Tanzania.
The Hurd Family (UK) - 16 day / 15 night tailored itinerary to include Northern Parks and Zanzibar
“Mind blowing Safari & Beach adventures with Original Tanzania"
We booked our safari adventure with Original Tanzania as a once in a lifetime holiday experience to celebrate a 40yr milestone birthday. This was a lifelong ambition of mine, my husband had visited Kenya many years ago and my 13yr old stepson was a perfect age to have his mind completely blown...
The three of us had detailed communication with Sarah and Elias about our best options, must see places, preferred modes of transport and accommodation and they came up with a stunning itinerary to maximise our time in the North of Tanzania before flying to Zanzibar for a relaxing luxury week on the tropical sands.
Original Tanzania were recommended to us by friends who had experienced their Kilimanjaro treks and Safari so to hear Elias' first hand experiences of various lodge accommodation and National Parks got us really excited and looking forward to our trip. All of our questions were answered in detail and we were given plenty of useful hints and tips prior to departure.
We were met at Kilimanjaro airport by our guide Deo at an ungodly hour & taken to our hotel in Arusha. After a lazy morning acclimatising Deo met us again and took us into Arusha for a look around and for some haggling at the local Masai market.
Early next morning we were on our way! Our private vehicle was fully kitted out with plenty of room, a fridge, a ton of bottled water and USB phone/camera charging points, and so we set off on our adventure.
Deo was a fantastic guide, he and our son hit it off straight away. He was very knowledgeable and patient which paid off for us getting the best views and photos of all the wildlife. We also had a good giggle along the way!
We visited Lake Maynara, the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park. All of the accommodation chosen for us was spot on with each being very different from the last but still providing us with exactly what we wanted at the end of each day. The food and service were great. My son has a nut allergy and each lodge was pre-warned, very accommodating and each morning he had his own specially prepared lunchbox to take out with us. My personal favourite of all the accommodation being Kati Kati tented camp where we experienced lions and elephants and god knows what wandering through camp at night - amazing!!! We were all completely blown away by the variety of landscapes, the number of animals we saw and how close we got to them. Only missed out on the elusive Mr Rhino..
At the end of our safari we were due to fly from Arusha to Zanzibar. Our flight was overbooked, however Deo had stayed with us until check in and the internal flight operator had arranged for a group of us to be transported to Kilimanjaro airport for a later flight. All we needed to do was ask Deo to contact Original Tanzania to let our pickup in Zanzibar know we would be late. Despite this hiccup, it was easily and painlessly resolved and as soon as we were in wi-fi reach Elias contacted us directly to make sure we were OK.
On arrival in Zanzibar we were met by our driver and a guide who gave us lots of information about tours and sights and activities in Zanzibar along with his number should we wish to organise anything. Our beachfront hotel was rustic yet charming and we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery and took a well-earned rest after the full on, non-stop week in a truck.
We loved Tanzania and its people and would not have changed a single thing about our trip. We would like to thank Elias, Sarah and Deo for providing us with such a memorable and amazing experience and also for their little personal touches which made it an extra special holiday.
Vicky and Dan (USA) undertook the 7 Day / 6 Night challenge of Mt Kilimanjaro - Rongai Route - June 2015 and 5 Day / 4 Night Safari
We were totally satisfied with the booking process – Sarah was extremely responsive and helpful. She absolutely went above and beyond and that made us feel very confident in her and in Original Tanzania. I was very impressed when she even took the time to write my dad a long and thoughtful email about safety in Tanzania and East Africa given the recent issues with Boko Haram. Our correspondence to plan for the trip spanned over several months, and throughout the process I really appreciated Sarah’s patience with us.
Overall our safari experience was excellent – the itinerary was great and the accommodation was very impressive. We were very comfortable, and especially at the safari lodges, felt quite pampered! Sopa Lodge was our absolute favourite and had the best food that we had on the trip.
The Kilimanjaro climb was the most amazing thing I’ve done in my life to date. We loved pretty much every minute of it, and we cannot speak highly enough of Filbert. He absolutely went above and beyond our expectations, and we felt incredibly safe and confident in his abilities all the time. He was really knowledgeable about the flora and fauna on the mountain, and could tell me about any of the plants that I pointed out. Dan even asked him about some rocks (I didn’t follow the conversation) and he was able to discuss those with Dan too. One experience that was particularly impressive was on the fourth day there was a climber from another party that was really sick and his guide sought advice from Filbert about what to do. After that we knew for sure that we were in exceptionally competent hands! The most impressive thing about Filbert’s leadership skills was how he encouraged the team and did as much as he could to help their careers too. He gave Benny, our assistant guide, many step‐up opportunities to take charge of leading us. We even overheard him encouraging the porter who served us meals to practice speaking with us so that he could improve his English. Filbert’s thoughtfulness and clear leadership abilities were so impressive and I would absolutely encourage any of my friends considering climbing Kilimanjaro to work with Original Tanzania and request Filbert specifically.
Another thing to mention is that we were impressed by what we could see of the standards of living for our porters. As far as we could tell, they all seemed to have proper footwear and clothing, and seemed content. In contrast, we saw porters from other groups who were wearing t‐shirts while walking towards Kibo camp (while I was wearing three layers), and weren’t even wearing proper hiking books but sneakers.
Tanzania is a gorgeous country! Apart from the spectacular flora and fauna, it was especially amazing to see the Masai villages and their huge herds of cattle!
We felt that Original Tanzania offered good value for money in an industry where the price standards are quite high. This trip was a “once‐in‐a‐lifetime” experience that doesn’t come cheaply, no matter who you hire to guide you.
Emily Pitts (UK) undertook the 7 Day / 6 Night challenge of Mt Kilimanjaro - Rongai Route - Dec. 2014
“Kilimanjaro Rongai Route 7 Days with Original Tanzania"
Over Christmas 2014 I went on a 7-day trek up Kilimanjaro via the Rongai route with Original Tanzania, who are a company based in the UK and in Tanzania. Elias and Sarah run the company – Elias is Tanzanian and an experienced Mountain Guide and Sarah is British. This put me at ease, as I felt that I could ask anything and would be given a straight and honest answer from people who know first hand what it’s like to climb Kili.
Originally I planned to do another route, but was advised by a seasoned Kili climber and a friend in the UK that the Rongai route was a good route to take up Kili. Sarah and Elias at Original Tanzania were really helpful and enabled me to make the change at very short notice without any issue at all. I was really pleased I took this route. There were a great deal fewer people on it compared with other routes and it was nice to experience a little solitude in a place where I had expected masses of people. The walking was sedate and I enjoyed it a lot. Being on my own with the guide enabled me to ask as many questions as I wanted and we exchanged a lot of information about our respective countries’ cultures.
For this route I had a guide, a cook and six porters. It seemed like a large team for a small person, but it was great because I felt confident that the porters weren’t carrying more weight than they should. I also know that Original Tanzania pay their staff fairly in accordance with Tanzanian guidelines and the staff all seemed happy. We had a lot of fun and laughter along the way.
My guide was called Filbert and I can say that he made this trip. His care and consideration made my summit possible. He was superb, knowing exactly when to give encouragement and when to tell me to get moving. Without Filbert there is no way I would have summited – it truly was the most difficult physical endeavor I have ever done and I am so appreciative of his genuine support and lovely sense of humour. We had a great time.
Original Tanzania did a top-notch job of staffing this trip – every bit of feedback I gave during the trip was immediately taken on board. For example one evening I went to bed at 8pm and the porters were talking, which kept me awake. I fed this back and after that they were quiet – getting sleep is one of the key elements to achieving the summit, from my experience. The porters worked so hard. They deserved a lot more in tips than I could afford at the time. That would be my main piece of advice: however much you think you can afford in tips for your team, see if you can give a little more, as it is really valued, in my experience.
Upon my return to Honey Badger Lodge after the summit, one of the porters agreed to show me around Moshi, for which I gave him a tip of $10. The trip into town was a wonderful thing to do after summiting and I felt it gave me a safe and easy way to see the town without the stress and hassle involved in trying to catch a bus on my own with a plane to catch in the afternoon. He has stayed in touch on Whatsapp! He also helped me to sort my airport transfer.
Having come from Mozambique where food had been difficult to find in a few places I was really surprised at the fabulous quality and great variety of food I got from the cook, Mchomi. My favourite were some tasty banana fritters, which he managed to knock up throughout the entire trip of 7 days. There was loads of fresh fruit and vegetables and also lots of meat (which I had requested – I’m a bit of a meat head!). This surprised me, as I thought the food would deteriorate as the trip progressed. It didn’t – it was consistently tasty. What was amazing was that I had trouble with gluten after the first day and the guide spoke to the cook to see if it could be adapted. Miraculously a low gluten meal appeared and continued for the rest of the trip. The food you’re eating can make such a big difference to your trip, so this was great.
My dates and times for this trip were very specific and I decided that I wanted to go with a reputable company with a face rather than a large company. I was surprised that the cost wasn’t much more than I would have paid had I gone with a large group. I ended up doing the whole trip on my own with my ‘crew’. I am a very sociable person, so it surprised me that I loved having time to myself to contemplate the journey and to get lost in my own thoughts. I highly recommend it!
Logistics & Communication
Sarah and Elias have been absolutely A1 throughout the whole trip, being on call via email and phone whenever I needed it. This is another aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Of note was their attention to making sure I had the right gear. Elias went through everything with a fine tooth comb and gave me superb advice specific to me – he was very knowledgeable, but also didn’t want me to pay for things if I didn’t need them. I felt that I could trust him from the start and it turned out to be true throughout the trip. At the end I realised that I had made a mistake with the transfer cost and didn’t have enough money for the transfer to the airport. They immediately spoke to Honey Badger Lodge and agreed to pay it upfront for me, so I could repay in the UK. What great service is that!!
All in all an amazing experience - the most difficult trip of my life so far, with wonderful memories and some great pictures.
Walter Mairinger (Austria) experienced a 4 day / 3 night Safari and 7 Day / 6 Night Rongai route on Mt Kilimanjaro - Jan 2015
"Great Safari Adventure and life-time experience on Kilimanjaro"
Me and a friend did get in touch with several companies for the Kilimanjaro trek and OT offered the best value for money. Another reason for going with them was the effort and patience they had with us. Sarah, our main contact at OT, was very helpful and always very fast with her responses.
I ended up booking a Safari (4 days - 3 nights) with them since I had more than one week of free time before the trek started. I did Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater and ended up with an amazing experience. The driver, Issack, did a great job and we saw the big five and millions of other animals. I could not ask for a better adventure. The equipment was great, even during rainy days and our car did not break down compared to many others which we saw along the way. Issack and Mgosi were great company and tried to help wherever and whenever possible.
Since I requested about volunteering as well, yet did not have time to spend more than a couple of days volunteering, Sarah had the brilliant idea to put me in a hostel which normally hosts only volunteers. I ended up with long conversations with the responsible of the projects/organizations and the volunteers and were able to visit an orphanage for one afternoon. And, as cliché as it might sound, it was most likely the most fun afternoon I had in Arusha.
The Kilimanjaro hike was also well organized with great experienced guides and porters. We had a great time the whole week and successfully reached the top of Africa! The food and tent was perfect and the guides were able to help us in any situation. Even my friend who had troubles coping with the altitude from the 3rd day on was able to reach the top and this is very much due to the experience of the guides - Ally and Rama. Thank you so much again!!
So if you are planning on going to Tanzania for Safari or any other activity, Original Tanzania will definitely provide you a great experience all along the way.
Ella and Ivan Mihov (USA) climbed the Machame Route (6 days 5 Nights) on Mount Kilimanjaro August 2014
“Original Tanzania - An Amazing Tour Company for your Mt. Kilimanjaro experience”
My wife and I went with Original Tanzania on the 6 day Machame Route up Mt Kilimanjaro. The trip was such a magical and wonderful experience, we could not have asked for anything more and this was due to the Original Tanzania team. The trip started with a personal welcome when Elias and Sarah picked us up at the airport. The service we received from Original Tanzania was superb and we would gladly recommend them to our family and friends. A few specific items to highlight:
1. The whole trip was organized around our specific preferences and we were able to customize the itinerary. Elias and Sarah were a pleasure to deal through this process and made great recommendations that suited us.
2. My wife is gluten-free so Elias and the chef made delicious gluten-free meals all along the route. The Chef, Chumbe, even learned how to bake a gluten-free cake just for us;-)
3. We felt completely supported and in safe, experienced hands. On the day of the summit, my wife had trouble with acclimatization so one of the most experienced guides stayed with her while I summited. I knew she was in great hands and Ali took exceptional care of her and made sure she was alright.
4. There were small touches that we didn’t expect but ended up making our experience delightful – e.g., an awesome welcome gift, a bowl of warm water at the start & end of every day to rinse up, a warm and joyous farewell from the entire crew.
5. Lastly, the guides – Elias and Ali – were very knowledgeable and a pleasure to be around. We ended up having great conversations, even when hiking for 12 hours a day. It would be a delight to see them again and reminisce about the experience.
We ended up also going on safari, and to Zanzibar but our Kili experience remains my favorite part of our honeymoon. Thank you to the Original Tanzania team.
Robyn / Mike / Brian and Chris (USA) travelled the Northern Circuit on a tailored tour with longer time spent in Serengeti - June 2014
Safari means “journey” or “trip” in Swahili. A journey indeed – beyond visiting The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, we were also able to plan day trips and set up pick-up/drop-off at the airport w/ the same company, Original Tanzania. I'm not sure I could have been any more pleased from the beginning e-mail correspondence with Sarah to our full two weeks with our incredibly knowledgeable tour guide, Sylvester and chef, Mgosi. Considering your guides are with you for a good portion of your trip - from airport pick-up to your safari which can include 10 - 12 hours a day w/ them, to day trips in town, e.g. Kilimanjaro day hike, Hot Springs, etc - they can really make or break a trip that most of us save up for quite a long time. We were able to develop a relationship and share an openness with questions. This helps to create a more unique and better learning experience, not only concerning wildlife, but also the culture. One of our guides, Mgosi, even called us one evening that we weren’t with them just to ensure we made it home safely. The company also set up every hotel, campsite, etc. Sarah was our contact person w/ O.T. She was extremely patient w/ our many questions and took the worry out of the planning of our once in a lifetime African journey.
Prior to travelling to Africa, I was a bit nervous and endlessly searched the internet for information regarding others' experiences. Upon returning I wrote an article/story regarding our vacation for anyone else travelling here and looking for info. The link for that is here: http://lefthandedleo.com/2014/07/08/off-the-beaten-path-tanzania/ Everyone at Original Tanzania definitely helped to make our trip one to remember for the rest of our lives. So much so that I wanted to tell anyone who is contemplating a company - this one will NOT let you down! Have fun wherever your travels take you!
Thank you once again Original Tanzania for helping to give us one of the most memorable experiences of our lives!
Jean-Francois and his son (from Belgium) - Tailored tour to include Northern Circuit Safari, Mountain Trekking at Oldonyo Lengai, Cultural coffee and and waterfall tour, Lake Natron and Mount Kilimanjaro - Feb 2014
“Kilimanjaro and safari with Original Tanzania”
My son and me did the 6 day Rongai route with Original Tanzania established in Moshi. We booked directly with them through the internet. We enjoyed having a private trek (we were only 2 climbers) which allowed to enjoy the nature at every moment and to have a lot of discussions with the crew. The good feeling of the guide allowed reaching the summit in very good condition. A great, great experience.
As Original Tanzania suggested, we did a (private) safari before the climb instead of after. So, you are not too tired at the start the Safari. After a coffee tour and the waterfalls in the Materuni Chagga village, we went to Lake Natron where we climbed the Ol Donyo Lengai (with amazing sunrise at the summit) and met the Maasai people. After this we visited the north and center Serengeti, the Ngorongoro and Tarangire National Parks where we had a lot of early morning game viewing. The nature is yours… We saw the Big 5, the Ugly 5! and the others.
We recommend the Original Tanzania team, in particular if you prefer a tailor made itinerary or if you want to feel the nature, the people and the Tanzanian culture.
Joffre and Greetje (from Belgium) - booked a Safari covering the Northern Circuit in December 2013
The safari was great, definitively we think it is something you have to do at least once in a life time. I don't know how lucky we were, but it was an exciting experience. In general the service was very good, you did a fantastic job. We were happy to discover that you were so friendly and helpful. During the safari, Pascal was excellent! The food and the cook (whose name I cannot recall but I remember his popcorn!) were also good. Car, tents and camping sites where also fine.
And then there is of course the value for money issue. We still think that the prices are high, but it is clear to us that there is nothing you can do about that. Tanzania is just expensive for the tourist (park entrance fees, camping fees...). Within this context, we think that what you offer is a good deal, and we have already recommended you to our friends and family.
It was a pleasure to meet you guys!
Christophe De Ridder (from Belgium)- Charity Volunteer - climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in August 2013 with a friend and the Original Tanzania Team
"We had a great time up the mountain. Of course because of the beautiful vegetations and views, because of the experience the mountain provides you. But also because of the Original Tanzania team with whom we reached the top. The guide (Pascal) is extremely experienced and will make sure everybody can reach the summit on their own tempo, He's been climbing the mountain with the same team for the last couple of years, which means that they work perfectly together (unlike some other organisations we saw). They made our experience better than we ever imagined..."
Verity Quaite - Day Trip from Moshi to explore the Materuni Waterfalls and Coffee Tour - September 2013
We really enjoyed the waterfalls and coffee tour - we were impressed initially at how easy it was to book and that we could be accommodated at such short notice. We feel that the price was reasonable and competitive.
We were really impressed with our guide, Pascal. He was friendly, very informative but also not too in your face. Our guide on the coffee tour was also interesting and even though we don't like coffee, we really enjoyed Oscar's! Also, the packed lunch was the best I've ever had!!
Thank you for a very enjoyable trip - if we're ever back in Tanzania we won't hesitate to use you, and would be happy to recommend you.
Brian Andrus, based in Tanzania, Safari - Northern Circuit - June 2013
The safari with Pascal was fantastic! Everything went exactly as we had hoped for, and we really enjoyed the time. Pascal really had great knowledge of the animals we saw, and kept us interested and entertained- we did manage to see the leopard!
We were very impressed with the meals, and were not expecting to be able to enjoy them at a nicely set table with so many extras provided. The food was all well prepared.
Although I'm sure it is much busier during high season, we appreciated the extra space and opportunities that this time of year allowed us with fewer people in the parks; It really seemed to be great timing.
I was very pleased with our safari - especially with the most important aspects of it (the game drive, food, equipment, guide knowledge) and I will recommend your company to anyone.
Alice Holman, based in Tanzania working for an NGO - Safari - Northern Circuit - June 2013
We’ve just returned from our 4 day safari and had a brilliant time! On our guide Pascal’s advice we went for ‘Tarangire National Park, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater’ which was a great combination, we saw so many different animals (29 lions all in all!) and the variety of landscapes was stunning. The team – Pascal, Sipi and David were fantastic, they thought of everything and made every effort to ensure we had the best experience possible. The food was delicious – thank you David! Sipi and Pascal were excellent tour guides; they knew the best routes to take and were full of interesting animal facts. Following the wildebeest migration was a big highlight for us. We really appreciated the personal touch that went into our safari as, without even asking, they listened to passing comments we made and adjusted our trip accordingly and were always happy to stop for us to take photos – despite us asking every minute or so! They really tailored our safari according to what we wanted to see and where we wanted to go and that made all the difference to our overall experience. Would definitely recommend Original Tanzania and hope we can go on another trip in the not-so-distant future!
Lucy James, UK, took the Machame 6 day route up Mount Kilimanjaro with 3 others and the Original Tanzania Team
Climbing Kilimanjaro has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far and was made special every step of the way by the team of staff provided by Original Tanzania. I really do not feel I would have made it to the top without the encouragement constantly being given by the guides. They truly were amazing people with an extensive knowledge and understanding of the mountain and its history.
I particularly liked the way in which we were briefed every evening on what to expect the following day. This was particularly valuable the night before the summit when nerves and anxiety are starting to take over. The guides made us feel safe and secure throughout the ascent and descent as they were continuously concerned about our welfare at all times.
The team of porters and cooks were first class - I genuinely could not believe the quality of the food they produced and the wonderful way in which they looked after us. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when they provided us with a freshly baked cake to celebrate having completed the summit!!
This trip was one of the most incredible experiences of my life but I genuinely believe that the team at Original Tanzania are the ones who made it that way for me and I would highly recommend them to anyone thinking about tackling Mt. Kilimanjaro. They will truly create an experience that you will never ever forget.
Original Tanzania provided a very competitive price and top quality support along with amazing staff, extreme flexibility and the most important thing, in my opinion, a sincere desire to help us in everything. It’s difficult to imagine how it could have been better!
Alice, France - Two Week Tour including Trekking, Safari and Eco-Tourism
Alice Fougeras and her father travelled with Original Tanzania for a period of just over two weeks and Alice has kindly provided the following feedback in her own language (French) which is also translated to English below:-
"Pour la préparation de notre voyage en Tanzanie, durant l’été 2010, l’équipe d’Original Tanzania nous a concocté un trajet sur mesure, adapté aux lieux que nous souhaitions visiter, nos envies dans le type d’écotourisme, du temps qui nous était imparti et de nos finances.
Nous avons donc pu visiter le parc national du Serengheti, où nous avons dormi en tente individuelle au beau milieu des animaux, le cratère du Ngorongoro avec toutes ses espèces qui cohabitent, le lac Natron et sa magnifique et impressionnante population de flamands roses, puis l’ascension du Mount Meru où nous avons traversé les cultures de café et franchi des rivières et cascades, en finissant le séjour par le cultissime Mont Kilimanjaro.
L’équipe des guides était formidable, veillant à prendre soin de nous en terme d’hébergement, d’utilisation de matériel fiable et efficace (tentes, véhicule 4X4…) de sécurité, d’aide dans les taches de la vie quotidienne, d’accompagnement dans les épreuves physiques, et facilitant le contact avec les populations locales notamment les Masai.
Une des choses qui nous a le plus marqué chez eux est aussi leur connaissances de la faune et de la flore qui nous entouraient, avec à l’appui les jumelles pour observer les espèces en temps réel et les ouvrages pour découvrir leurs histoires.
Ils sont d’un très grand professionnalisme et méritent toute notre confiance, car ils nous ont apporté entière satisfaction lors de ce séjour. Nous les recommandons fortement aux futurs explorateurs de la Tanzanie, qui souhaitent la découvrir avec de façon authentique, simple, nature, remplie de partages et d’échanges humains."
"To prepare for our trip to Tanzania in Summer 2010 the team at Original Tanzania put together a tailored trip taking into account the places we wanted to visit, the type of ecotourism we wanted, the time available to us and our budget.
We were therefore able to visit the Serengeti National Park where we slept in individual tents right in the midst of the wildlife, the Ngorongoro crater with all its different wildlife, Lake Natron with its fantastic, impressive population of pink flamingos. Then there was the ascent of Mount Meru where we trekked through coffee growing areas and crossing rivers and waterfalls, and the culmination of the stay, the iconic Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The team of guides was fantastic, taking care of us in terms of lodging, use of reliable and effectiveequipment (tents, 4x4 vehicles etc.), safety, help with day to day tasks, support with physical activities and facilitating contact with local people, notably the Masai.
One of the things which most impressed us was their knowledge of the surrounding flora and fauna and, with the help of binoculars, we were able to see all species in their natural habitat and learn about their background from the guides.
They are extremely professional and we have complete trust in their abilities as we were completely satisfied with our stay. We strongly recommend them to future explorers who wish to discover Tanzania in an authentic, simple and natural way, filled with shared human experiences."