My brother, father and I worked with Kambona in 2012 to put together a combined Kilimanjaro climb and safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater. I’m a biologist with a good bit of experience in Tanzania, so I’m picky and I had specific goals in mind for this trip – in short, I wanted an honest and down-to-earth outfitter who would put up with lots of special requests (e.g., a slower hiking pace so we could spend more time looking at plants and birds) and pair us with guides who knew their natural history. Kambona was recommended to me by a knowledgeable friend who organizes high-end adventure travel trips from the US. He had partnered with lots of Tanzanian climbing and safari outfitters, but Kambona was his unambiguous recommendation. This worked out fantastically – our trip was exceptional.
Kambona’s approach to preparation set him apart from the beginning. Kambona skyped with me over half a dozen times in the year leading up to the trip to work on customizing the experience. He spent a lot of time discussing alternative options and making sure our plan would give us the best chance of summiting Kilimanjaro, as well as seeing what we wanted to see on safari. He made sure we had an appropriate 6-month training plan in place for the climb, and helped us choose the right gear.
This paid off in Tanzania. The Kili climb was a huge success – we reached the summit and learned a ton about the mountain on the way up and back. Our climbing guide was Faraja Mwaijande, who has been leading trips regularly since the 1990s, and we took the Lemosho Route, spending 8 days total on the mountain (highly recommended for both acclimatization as well as the additional time in these amazing ecosystems). Kambona put together a very reasonably priced package for what we got – we had a personalized 3-person outfit for about the same per-person price as some of the massive group climbs. The gear and food were very good, and the guides and porters were great companions.
The safari was also a success. Our driver Juma was knowledgable about all of the wildlife at the three parks we visited (long stay in Tarangire, short visits to Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater), and was willing to entertain all sorts of odd requests (e.g., seeking out the best places to see lizards, or drab birds). We spent most of our time off the beaten track (i.e., on the less-traveled park roads) and we came across several pretty amazing animals when no one else was around (e.g., a leopard, and a small group of wild dogs!!!).
Most importantly, Kambona is trustworthy and will do anything to make sure you’re satisfied with your trip. He’s a genuine and incredibly nice person and is easy to communicate with. He has decades of experience in this line of work, and he’s very attentive. If you’re looking for an ultra-luxury trip with expensive silverware, etc., you should probably look at other companies, but if your goal is a personalized experience in the East African outdoors, you can’t do better than Kambona.