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Beware, Beware, Beware, Beware!!!: Tanzania/Kilimanjaro Tour Company


Jan 4th, 2014, 10:20 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Beware, Beware, Beware, Beware!!!: Tanzania/Kilimanjaro Tour Company

Kilimanjaro requires climbers to have a team of people with them including a guide, who they must agree to listen to and sign an agreement and pay an astronomical fee to climb Kilimanjaro. I wanted so badly to summit Kilimanjaro so I spent thousands of dollars to travel to Tanzania and paid the fees necessary to climb. My guide, who I found out during the climb had not even finished guide school and therefore was not even a professional guide was my leader. Why aren’t you making sure that real professional guides are guiding people? I guess it does not really matter because you have my fee of over $700 for a climb permit and do not issue refunds.

I climbed very slowly, because my climbing style is slow and steady therefore I am always the last person to reach each point. On summit day again I was last on the mountain I did not mind but my guide and chef, who were climbing with me became very agitated at my slow pace. The guide offered to carry me to the top of the mountain but I refused, I told him I came to climb Kilimanjaro not to get carried up the mountain. He repeatedly asked me over and over again and complained about my speed being really slow. I told him that I do not care if he does not like how slow I am climbing because I have the right to climb at any pace I would like, after all I paid for the climb and I am paying them as well. Put simply they work for me, so my money my way!

At 5:45PM I approached Gilman’s Point and the guide came up with a story about the mountain closing at 6P. I had never heard anything about a mountain closing time. I have never climbed a mountain so I did not understand why the mountain closed. I asked how can a mountain close? The guide responded after 6PM the plateau of the mountain Gilman’s Point area and higher Uhuru Peak (The Top Of Africa) the air gets so thin it cannot support life and therefore a person would not be able to breathe. I seriously doubted what he said was true, so I continued to question the guide about how and why the mountain closes at 6PM. I did not want to risk my life and I had signed an agreement stating that I would follow the guide’s orders, so I followed my guide as be descended from the mountain feeling very disappointed.

The next day as I continued to descend the mountain the guide and chef again complained that I was walking too slow and offered to push me on a stretcher. They said the cost of using the stretcher was $300 dollars! I said HELL NO, I will walk! They continued to complain about how slow I was walking which made for a very unpleasant experience. Throughout the entire ascent they attempted to bully me and swindle money out of me. I got so tired and angry with them trying to swindle $300, then $250 then $200 out of me, that I told them I would climb down the mountain myself. I told the guide and chef who were climbing with me to shut their mouths and they did.

As we continued to walk, there was a stretch on the side of the trail, they offered to push me, and I said I am not paying for a stretcher. (Usage of stretchers is actually included in the climbing fee, which I did not know at that time). It is you who do not like my pace; I have no problem with it. If you want me go faster I am willing to be pushed on a stretch but I am not willing to pay anything for that. They become so agitated by my slow pace they agreed to push me for free. By the time we arrived to Horombo Hut they were very tired. We rested there for about half an hour.

As I ate the guide told me that he and the chef were very tired from pushing me on the stretcher because it is very difficult. I know for sure that it was difficult because they were sweating a lot. They said that they had some friends who were porters from other companies who had agreed to help push at a cost of $150; I said no I will walk. Then the price went down to $100, again I said no, then the price went down to $50 I again said no, finally the price went down to $30 and I agreed. $30 is a fair amount to give four porters to carry me over the very rocky terrain between Horombo and Mandara Hut. Unfortunately, the guide never gave the porters the $30. The porters asked me to buy them candy bars and coca-cola for carrying me, once we arrived to Mandara Hut. I replied I gave the guide money for you, he is holding out on you guys. The guide never gave the porters anything he pocketed the money and shared it with his brother who was the waiter.

From Mandara Hut we were driven by in a truck to the entry gate, arriving a little after 6PM. I changed in the bathroom; there were no other climbers anywhere. When I came out of the bathroom I was ganged upon by the four members of my climbing team and two other men. The guide told me that Tanzania tipping policy required that I tip them $450. I said HELL NO! He pleaded we do not get paid; the company only pays our park fees and food while we are on the mountain. I replied then you need to get another job. They surrounded me and behaved in an aggressive manner, I held my ground and stated that there cannot be a tipping policy because majority of people in Africa are too poor to tip and therefore do not tip. I told them the conversation was over and I was not going to tip them $450, I would tip them $150 which is the amount I had decided upon.

The guide continued to try to force me to tip and I refused and told him to call the tour operator. I spoke to the tour operator on the phone who advised me that they do not get paid; the company only pays park fees and food while they are on the mountain and told me to tip them $450 because they did a good job. I replied they are supposed to do a good job and I am not tipping them $450, he hung up and said I will see you tomorrow. The guide continued to insist upon a $450 tip and I held my ground. Then as we were arguing a man who had just finished a day climb on Kilimanjaro innerved and defending me by stating she can tip whatever she want she is not required to tip anything. The conversation about the tip then ended with the group began to gang up on him. They threatened him and behaved in an aggressive behavior. Luck for me we road back to Arusha a two hour ride along very dark roads together, and we protected each other from these aggressive, lying people. I was happy that he was their because how could I a woman have possibly fought off six African men, anything could have happened.

When we arrived back to Arusha it was very dark they handed me my bag and tired to rush me out of the van. I said I need to make sure nothing is missing from my bag, they insisted everything was there. I said no I need to check. They continued to insist that that everything was there. I asked them to turn on the inside car light and they said it does not work. I told them I was going to make sure that nothing was missing and I had a list of what I put in my bag which they did not know. I had seen them stealing from people’s bags along the trail so I knew that my stuff was likely to come up missing. They then began to act as if they did not understand English. That was until I reached over and took the keys out of the ignition so they could not leave. I told them I was going to call the police have all of you arrested.

The inside car light that they claimed was broken was all of the sudden no longer broken. They turned on the light I went through my bag and several items were missing. I told them to give me my stuff, naming each thing that was missing. They shrugged their shoulders as if they had no idea what I was talking about. I told a person who was walking past to call the police. Then all of the sudden they began taking my stuff out of their pockets and out of their bags. There was no reason for my stuff to have been in their bags or pockets those things belong in by bag. Clearly they intended to steal from me. I am sure they get away with a lot of stealing because most people do not keep a list of what is in their bag and do not insist that any missing items be returned.

The following day I was given my certificate of accomplishment. The certificate was not much of a certificate it was just a cheap plain piece of typing paper with several ink splatters, it looked very unprofessional. I later found out why my certificate was so rinky dink. It was a fake! I did not know that until I added people to my social network that I had met on the mountain and they had pictures of their certificates all of which were identical to each other’s minus the personal information name, date, and guide name of course. Mine looked similar but there was no stamped certificate number or certificate number at all, no park warden signature or director general signatures or areas for either. My certificate was just a replica of a certificate and a very poor quality replica at that.

Later that same day I spoke to the Tour Operator ABRAHAM SHAIDI, remember this name ABRAHAM SHAIDI! Did I say ABRAHAM SHAIDI yeah remember that name ABRAHAM SHAIDI. He is a crook and a pervert! He does not pay his workers which is why they were begging me for money, despite the fact he is required by law to pay them. That explains the aggressive behavior my climbing team exhibited when trying to secure a tip from me. Not only does he not pay his workers he propositioned me! This big, old obese, man if you can call him that while wearing his wedding ring offered to take to Zanzibar and said he would pay for everything, plane tickets, resort suite cost, food, beverages, transportation. I refused! Trying to be as nice as possible I told him he needs to stay in Arusha and work and I will be fine going to Zanzibar alone. He kept asking me and I was utterly disgusted. I refused but he continued on about how he would pay for everything. Yuck! HELL HELLHELL MotherF’ing NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

He retaliated against me for refusing his offer. I flew to Zanzibar took a taxi to the resort that I had paid him to book for me. When I arrived they were sold out and I had no reservation, during the peak of tourist season. He had booked me in a room took my money then, called the resort back, to cancel my reservation and book another person in the room I had paid for, took money from them, then called the resort back cancelled their reservation after taking their money and the cycle continues. This guy is a CROOK!

A few months later after Skyping with a man that I had met on the mountain, I asked him if he knew about Kilimanjaro closing at 6PM and he had never heard of any such thing. He asked his friend who I had also met on Kilimanjaro if it was true. His friend is a mountaineer and not just any old mountaineer he is a Guinness Book of World Record holding mountaineer, and had summited Kilimanjaro many times.

I am pissed I mean really pissed I was robbed out of my summit opportunity. I choose to climb Kilimanjaro to challenge myself. I did not reach the peak not because I was too lazy, too tired or even sick but because I was lied to about the safety conditions. I just want to warn everyone to NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER , EVER, EVER book with ABRAHAM SHAIDI!

Outsourcing is very common amongst tour companies. So when you book PLEASE make sure you ask your booking agent the Tanznaia/Kilimanjaro tour operator’s name. ABRAHAM SHAIDI owns a company called Sandland Tours and Safari, the web address is http://sandlandsafaris.com/. But BEWARE he also does business under other names.

I am going for the figurative kill ! I will be traveling back to Tanznaia where I will be hiring a lawyer to recoup my climbing expense and I will climb with another company. I also intend to go to police to make a report, press charges and remain in Tanzania until the trial takes place, so I can testify about this theft and yes this is indeed THEFT! I will make sure these thieves are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I was cheated out of summiting Kilimanjaro because of lies and that is not right. People please BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE!

Below I have provided links about other complaints about ABRAHAM SHAIDI!

JLHopkins is offline  
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Jan 4th, 2014, 11:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Sorry about all those problems and disappointments.
What have you learned from this that will help you, me, and others when choosing a tour Company??

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Jan 5th, 2014, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,481
Yes, sorry you had so much trouble and there are lessons in here for others. This is a one-sided rant, but it appears Mr. Shaidi should be avoided.

Regarding the 6PM time, which figures prominently in your account: if you were still climbing and would not summit before 6PM then indeed it was time to descend. Becoming benighted in the open on a big mountain is not a good situation. The guides were correct in trying to turn you around, even if they were wrong about the reasons.

Well, hopefully you will have a better outcome upon your return.
Nelson is offline  
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Jan 5th, 2014, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Entire situation is terrible and can't imagine how you felt with no one on your side or with whom to team up and argue your case. However, important that all national parks close as 6pm where you have to be back at your lodge/camp or in tents for the night.

Also, I note you mention you paid $700 for this climb? Is that true? If so, well that is way way way too cheap regardless which route you were taking. At minimum the price is around $1500 person. What research did you do on this tour operator prior booking with them? Did you contact others who have climbed with them? Were there any issues?

Regarding returning to Tanzania to find an attorney and attempt to sue - don't bother. Waste of your time and money, sorry to tell.

Overall a terrible experience and though many of us have a bucket list of things we'd like to accomplish, maybe climbing Kili isn't the right one for you. But this is an excellent heads-up for others.
sandi is offline  
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Jan 7th, 2014, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
That sounds truly disappointing and frustrating. But as Sandi says, $700 sounds really cheap. Buyer beware. The cheapest price often suggests something is not right. Good sound research is very important for such a trip - not just searching the internet and finding what seems to be a bargain and going with it. Good warning for all of us travelers. Better luck next time - you should keep climbing Kili as a goal and go for it again!
Cateyes555 is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2014, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 622
$700? Heck, aren't the daily permits $100 alone? You always want a business to offer a reasonable price for a product or service, otherwise you are paying the price for such a 'good deal'.
andybiggs is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2014, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 7,633
I think putting your energy towards your next attempt to climb will bring you great satisfaction. Not knowing Tanzanian law, I don't know how likely it is efforts made at restitution will be able to actually bring results.

It is terrible to be taken advantage of. This happened to me years ago under much different circumstances. My husband and I lost a lot of money to a dishonest contractor. Despite winning a settlement judgement at arbitration we were never able to collect as the contractor disappeared. It took us years to be able to repay the money we ended up needing to borrow to cover this loss. If it had not been for bank loans and generous loans from family, we would have lost our house. At some point we had to just get over the anger at this injustice as we needed to move on.

Fortunately, you did survive this ordeal and it sounds like you will be able to make the attempt to climb again. I certainly would let others be aware of your dissatisfaction with this company but then focus on the thrill you will experience at the summit.
KTtravel is offline  
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Jan 13th, 2014, 10:25 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
I have feeling JLHopkins has "left the building". He has not answered my question. JLH simply wanted to vent and run. He doesn't need to be bothered by questions or discussion. A bit of a selfish attitude IMHO.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
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Mar 17th, 2014, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 3
I have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

It is very common for locals to join up to these sites, pretend that they were clients of the competitors and post articles which cry out about how badly their competition treated them. They also do the same and write glowing reviews of their own business.

There are 4 giveaways.

First, they usually only have one or two postings.

Second, they always claim to be from the U.S. or the UK.

Third, they disappear after making the posting.

Fourth, they can't spell and their puctuation is terrible, despite the fact that they have an English sounding name.

I would take this 'review' with a grain of salt. If Ms. Hopkins wishes to reply, I will be more than pleased to discuss the more technical obvious discrepencies with her rant.
Marsha411 is offline  
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