It has long been a goal of ours to spend some time with our guides in East Africa. Meeting our partners face to face always provides great opportunities for training, recruiting new guides, and building on our existing relationships. When a 12-person group from Colorado Mountain College’s Outdoor Studies program booked a tour to Mt Kilimanjaro with guide Dunstan, we realised the perfect opportunity had presented itself. Colin, an active member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, would go along on the tour as an assistant guide, then break off from the group to meet with our guides in Arusha, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Cairo.
Climbing “Kili” appears high up on many people’s travel wish-lists. Africa’s highest mountain (it’s almost 6000m tall) presents a major physical challenge set in dramatic cultural and geographic surroundings. ToursByLocals guide Dunstan is a graduate of Kenya’s National Outdoor Leadership School and has led many adventurous travelers up not only Kilimanjaro, but Mt. Kenya, Mt. Meru, Mt. Rwenzoris and Mt. Elgon as well. After the group from Colorado attempts to summit Kili, Dunstan will lead them around the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Olduvai Gorge as part of their Tanzania tour.
Colin is understandably excited about the upcoming trip. Seeing Africa for the first time will be an adventure, and so will meeting the many guide partners we’ve worked with remotely since 2009. Through phone and video calls, we’ve become close with many of our East and North African guides, and Colin is looking forward to strengthening those relationships in person. In each of the four cities, he’ll spend 2-3 days connecting and brainstorming with our local guides: “We’re going to spend time finding out what works, what doesn't and how we can continue to grow together.”
Bon voyage Colin!