Boy Scouts Stand on the Roof of Africa

November 15, 2018  By: Gretchen

The team at AAC was privileged to plan a climb and safari for a large, multi-generational family and friends group, including a number of Boy Scouts from Troop 613 in Colorado. A total of 19 travelers visited Tanzania, with 9 of them climbing Kilimanjaro, and everyone enjoying some time on safari.

To ascend Kilimanjaro’s slopes, we paired the group with guide Pendaeli ‘Penda’ Lauwo, grandson of the Chagga tribesman who led the first European up Africa’s highest peak back in 1889. (If you’re wondering about the math, Penda’s grandfather, Yohana Kinyala Lauwo, was 18 during that climb and lived to be 125 – he passed away in 1996). They were also accompanied by a staff of porters and cooks to help them up the mountain. The climbers felt like they became part of a Tanzanian family over the six days of their climb on the mountain’s Rongai route.

Not only did this group enjoy exploring Kilimanjaro’s various ecosystems as they climbed, they stayed active between hikes, playing frisbee, bocce and even flying a kite – something the local Tanzanians hadn’t seen before. While we recommend clients do additional acclimatization hikes to help their chances of success, being active at altitude is another great strategy.

After experiencing the Rongai route, the group thinks that everyone should choose it. It is a 6-day/5-night climb on one of the less traversed parts of the mountain. They found their camps to be very quiet and the hikes to be uncrowded. It is also a great choice for travelers coming overland to climb the mountain via Kenya.

Some of the group’s other highlights of their time on Kilimanjaro include storytelling and singing each night by the campfire (because that’s what Boy Scouts do), marveling at the sparkling night skies (one of the climbers is an aerospace teacher), and enjoying the wonderful meals from chef Godwin (who could imagine having fresh pineapple and avocado while climbing the continent’s highest peak?).

After their time on Kilimanjaro, the group was back to 19 and they headed out on safari. They loved seeing all of Africa’s animals together in their natural habitat. Their guides and scouts Mbise, Melvin, Ethan and Jafar worked hard to show them Africa’s best, and they felt cared for and exhilarated to experience everything Tanzania had to offer.

The group invited Penda to visit them in Colorado, and he accepted, arriving just this week. Now the Scouts and their parents and friends get to guide him – taking him up Pike’s Peak, going to a hockey game, visiting museums and maybe even heading to the mountains for a day of skiing! We look forward to hearing about his visit.

After all was said and done, they have this advice for travelers:

"Go to Africa. And use AAC! They listened, knew what our requirements were and put together the most beautiful journey we could have imagined at the most reasonable price."

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