Bramwel Safaris Travel Operator #tanzania #kilimanjaro #africa #safari #zanzibar

Bramwel safaris
We came across this group through google as well as tripadvisor for it’s ratings and reviews. When I travel, I rely heavily on word of mouth, Google search, trip advisor, travel sites (lonely planet, Conde Nast, fodor’s, etc). Climbing Kilimanjaro has been on my bucket list for the last 4 years. So, it was important to me that I have a travel crew who is accommodating and flexible and professional. Bramwel Safaris is just that. William helped us create a personalized itinerary with all the things we wanted to accomplish. First of all, we were interested in climbing the Lemosho route for Kilimanjaro. Secondly, I was amazed that we could get a personalized trip for such a reasonable price. William answered all of our questions leading up to the trip itself. We took care of our international flights to and from Tanzania while he handled all other transfers for us. In addition, we were interested in doing a safari after our climb and he was able to set us up with a detailed safari itinerary in the  time we planned. Lastly, after the safari, we wanted some R&R in Zanzibar. And he easily arranged this for us as well. Now, this is all pre-trip. When it came time for the actual trip itself… Weather would prove difficult and we had a full day delay in Amsterdam. Yet, we kept William updated with our updated travel plans and he accommodated the changes to the start of our climb with ease. His professional demeanor is top notch. I can’t say enough about him or his team at Bramwel Safaris. Originally, we were planning on doing an 8 day Lemosho route climb, however, given the travel delay… And our lost bags for another day… We quickly discussed options and his team took us on a waterfall hike (Materuni waterfall — highly recommended) which was stunning to help pass the time while waiting for our bags. Finally our bags arrived and we were ready to start our climb. We met with our climbing team (Mussa-guide, Abu-assist guide and porters) and after they deemed us “fit” we decided on a 6 day Lemosho climb with overnight stay in the Crater. It was incredible. Every step of the way, Mussa and Abu made sure we were feeling well.
After our climb, William stayed in contact with us in starting our safari. We opted for a 3 day safari and we couldn’t be happier. Our driver Elly is incredibly knowledgeable and led us to all the sights for the animals. We located the Big 5 and then some!
Our Zanzibar flights were arranged by William and he took care of all the details. Basically, we’re getting a car to discover the island as well as snorkeling and doing a tour.
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the flexibility, personalization, and professional demeanor of Bramwel Safaris. Because of this outstanding company, we had an incredible trip that went above and beyond our expectations. Thank you a million times over!!

Africa: Kilimanjaro, Tanzanian safari, Zanzibar #africa #kilimanjaro #tanzania #safari #zanzibar #beach

Mon, Feb 16

9:50a KLM601 AMS → LAX 11:50A = 11H

1525P DL4504 LAX → SAN 16:17P

Highlights from the trip:

  • The 6 day climb up Kilimanjaro and the killer headache at crater camp.  The last day descent was treacherous on the knees!
  • Amazing safari! I’ll never forget the cute lil ecosystem of Ngorogoro crater.
  • Gorgeous beaches and fantastic pier of Nungwi, Zanzibar.

Things I would do differently:

  • Bramwel Safaris tour operator did an amazing job with the trip.  Not sure I would change anything!

Keypoints learned:

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro is tougher than you think (the last day is pretty rough!).
  • The Tanzanian people are incredibly generous and kind.  Wonderful hosts!
  • Don’t be scared to travel outside your comfort zone.
  • Pack minimally but purposefully.
  • Go with your gut.  Travel with people who are good travel companions or meet people who enjoy your company.
  • Regardless of the travel mishaps (delays, baggage issues, travel partner issues, etc.), enjoy the journey.

Here’s another 35 year old gal’s trek up Kilimanjaro

Zanzibar heading home #nungwi #zanzibar #africa #beach

Sun, Feb 15

15th – Zanzibar -> Arusha

Satellite Track My Journey

Leave the beach behind to Stone town and proceed to Zanzibar airport in time for your:

12:30pm flight to Kilimanjaro (Direct 1 hour flight) (PW 722), Relax at the Airport while

waiting to connect with your at: 9:30pm – Complete 

Stone Town, Zanzibar UNESCO World Heritage Site

21:50p KLM567 JRO → DAR 22:50P


23:59 KLM567 DAR → AMS 7:35A (Mon) = 9H 36M

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 15
Heading back to the states. It’s been a nice vacay.  Ready to get back to work and to just life in general. It’s true you can only depend on yourself for things. Happiness, love, career, these are things that are innately within your own power. I keep learning the tough lesson that if I had this or that or a circumstance was a certain way that things would be different. I think I’m finally starting to learn. Sometimes it takes a journey to figure out a lesson.

Serengeti to Zanzibar #tanzania #africa #safari #zanzibar #beaches

Wed, Feb 11

11th– Serengeti/Ngorongoro (B, L, D)

Satellite Track My Journey

Wake up very early and move with the breakfast box, lunch and show your final respects to Serengeti (for this time) with a game drive this will be the last moment with your new fried (guide/driver) and he transferred you to Seronera airstrip for your afternoon flight to Zanzibar – Complete.

11th – Stone town (B, L, D -> Nungwi)

Your flight to Zanzibar gives you a great retrospective of the land you have visited. The turquoise bird view of Spice Island will not disappoint you either Meet and greet your Bramwel Safaris staff at the airport who will transfer you The Z – Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Stone Town, Zanzibar

The Z Hotel

The Z Hotel

Stone Town, Zanzibar

Tripadvisor Attractions for Stone town

Tripadvisor Restaurants for Stone town

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 11
Left early (6:30a) to see the animals. The evenings and mornings are cold.
Serengeti center (seronera):
Impala, CHEETAH!, lovebird, hippos,  tiny crocodile on Seronera River, banded mongoose, maribu stork, hammerkop nest (huge 100kg nest), dik dik, catfish, black faced monkey and fight, rock hyrax, Nile crocodile, cheetah and her cubs, cheetah count total: 5 cheetahs and 3 Cubs, leopard in tree,
The big 5: leopard, elephant, lion, water buffalo, black rhino — complete!

Serengeti #tanzania #africa #safari

Tues, Feb 10

10th– Serengeti (B, L, D)

Satellite Track My Journey

Adventure continues with a full day of game drive in order to discover more wonders of the Serengeti. The presence of wildlife is manifested at each glance. Picnic lunch is prepared to maximize game viewing. At the end of the day you will return motivated to your camp for dinner and rest –a m a z e d .

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 10
Woke up today with a cold and just general ick. Below are the places we went and the things we saw.
Ngorogoro crater rim:
Giraffes, black long-tailed monkey, black backed jackal,
Serengeti:
Gazelles, wildabeast, ostrich, zebras, lions, lilac crested , grant’s gazelle, red buck, elephant, spotted hyena (largest of hyenas), hartebeest, topi, baboons, sausage tree, black faced monkey, water buffaloes, dik dik. No cheetah or leopard to be found today. Bummer.
Tried Tusker and Serengeti beers. Both light lagers. Tonight we’re staying in tented camp in the Serengeti center.  The place is amazing! A real toilet in the middle of nowhere!

Serengeti National Park: Ndutu #tanzania #africa #safari

Mon, Feb 9

9th– Serengeti (B, L, D)

Satellite Track My Journey

After Breakfast move toward Serengeti National Park passing through Ndutu and southern part of Serengeti. Picnic lunch is served on the way. When you reach Serengeti you will game drive en-route to katikati tented Camp and settle into the wild. Continue with another game drive before you return to your lodge to watch the African sunset until dinner and fall the sounds of nature–w i l d .

Migration Map

Katikati tented camp

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 9
We left Arusha and our very cute Karama lodge & spa and headed for Lake Manyara and Ngorogoro Crater. We saw a giraffe eating from an acacia tree (“cloud tree”) and Baboons at entrance to Lake Manyara
At Ngorogoro conservation area, we saw:
Baboons, Masai kids, eland (largest of all antelopes and gazelles), tawny eagle eating prey, helmeted guineafoul, Thompson gazelle, ostrich, wildabeast, golden jackal, zebras and calves, water buffalo, blue heron, warthog (Pumba), hippos (and mating!), pride of lions, black rhino and baby, kori bustard (largest flying bird), gray crowned crane (national bird of Uganda), blacksmith , sacred ibis, female water buck, and elephant. It was such a lucky viewing day!!
After the drive thru the crater, we checked into the Ngorogoro sopa lodge which was a really nice welcome. We had a view of the terrain from our room!! It was spectacular. Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.

Day 8: Arusha to Ngorongoro Crater #kilimanjaro #africa #tanzania #lemosho #serengeti

Sun, Feb 8

8th– Arusha ->Serengeti (B, L, D)

Satellite Track My Journey

Wake up very early at 6:00am Leave the city behind and start a long journey towards Ngorongoro Conservation area, it is time for the World Heritage Site – Ngorongoro Crater.  You will descend into the caldera floor that represents 260 km2 of paradise on earth. The game drive aims to satisfy your senses and complete your wildlife safaris for this time After full day of game drive, transferred to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge for dinner and overnight stay – r o o t e d .

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 8
Camping in the crater was one of the toughest nights out camping. Staying overnight at 18,000 ft definitely can inflict some altitude sickness upon you. We had moderate headaches all throughout the night. Every movement from taking out our sleeping bags, to rolling overdid dinner, to just getting changed made us out of breath SpO2 was 74%.  After getting thru the night, we made about a one hour fast descent down to Barafu hut. Our appetites didn’t quite recover and neither did our headaches. Still we headed down to the High but where we finally got rid of our headaches and kept going beyond the Mweka hut onto our final destination of the Mweka gate. Our knees were completely shot. The downhill mileage was really a lot for one day. We took pics with our team and headed into Moshi to stop them off. Now we’re headed to Arusha where we will embark on our next journey with a safari tour!

Day 7: Lemosho route to Arusha #kilimanjaro #africa #tanzania #lemosho

Sat, Feb 7

7th–Mweka Gate -> Arusha (B)

Satellite Track My Journey

Day 6: Mweka camp (3100 m) – Mweka Gate (1980 m). Hiking time: 3 hours

Your Kilimanjaro experience ends at Mweka gate. Thank the people who made it all possible and say ‘fare well’ (for this time) to newly found mountaineer friends. Sign out of the national park with your certificate before heading to Arusha for the best shower of your life at Karama lodge & Spa – u p l i f t e d .

http://www.teamkilimanjaro.com/tipping.html

http://www.climbmountkilimanjaro.com/on-the-mountain/tipping/

Lemosho Route Little used and more remote than other routes. The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are rich in buffalo, elephant and other big game animals.

  • Day 1: Londorossi Gate (2100 m) – Mti Mkubwa camp (2750 m). Hiking time: 3 hours
  • Day 2: Mti Mkubwa camp (2750 m) – Shira 2 camp (3840 m). Hiking time: 6/7 hours
  • Day 3: Shira (3840m) – Lava Tower (4630m) – Barranco camp (3950m). Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Day 4: Barranco camp (3950 m) – Barafu camp (4550 m). Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Day 5: Barafu camp (4550 m) – Uhuru Peak (5895 m) – Mweka (3100 m). Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka
  • Day 6: Mweka camp (3100 m) – Mweka Gate (1980 m). Hiking time: 3 hours

‘ A variation on the Lemosho Route inserts two extra days in the itinerary for acclimatization and also to avoid having to climb up to the summit in the dark.

  • Day 4: Barranco (3950 m) to Karranga Valley (4000 m). Hiking Time 4 hours. This segment takes you up the infamous ‘Barranco Wall.’
  • Day 5: Karranga Valley (4000 m) to Barafu camp (4550 m). Hiking Time 3 hours
  • Day 6: Barafu camp (4550 m) – Uhuru Peak (5895 m) – Crater Camp (5640m). Hiking Time about 8 hours
  • Day 7: Crater Camp (5640 m) – Mweka (3100 m). Hiking time: 7/8 hours to descend.

Karama Lodge & Spa

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 7
Today we made the long treacherous most difficult ascent to Uhuru Peak. Don’t let anyone tell you this trail is easy. Loose rock,gravel, and sand  quickly want to swallow your feet at every step.  That is what welcomes you from Barafu base camp to Uhuru peak. We started our journey at around 9am where most other companies started theirs at midnight in the dark. I can’t imagine doing this steep ascent in the dark. We started a little later because we wanted to camp in the crater.  We finally reached Stella Point where there’s the start of a beautiful view of a glacier.  After addition of extra layers, we slowly made a more gradual ascent to Uhuru peak. I was definitely having a mild headache despite taking diamox 250mg Po bid and drinking plenty of water with electrolyte solution (and having to pee every 2-3 hours!).  There are some beautiful glaciers to appreciate on the way from Stella Pt to Uhuru peak. Sadly, they’re slowly receding. On the way up I kept thinking about that poem “The Road Less Traveled”by Robert Frost. The only part I could remember was: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference.” At the same time I was reflecting on my own life and decisions I had made. I’m incredibly lucky to be where I am today and to have the most amazing support.  I want to continue traveling that road less travelled.
Once we reached Uhuru Peak it was such a joyous and bittersweet occasion. A long and arduous journey with an amazing reward for our efforts. We were at the Roof of Africa and truly taking in all its splendor. I couldn’t have been more proud of our team who helped us reach this magnificent peak. Every step brings you closer to your goal. Pole, pole = slow, slow in Swahili. The Tanzanian people are incredibly gracious and showed us such great hospitality. Their kind souls and sense of community are easily evident the first day you meet them. Hakuna matata!!!  After we reached the peak, we headed down to camp in the crater. There was quite a bit of snow all around so we got down quickly by sliding on our butts on the snow. It was actually quite fun!

Day 6: Lemosho route #kilimanjaro #tanzania #africa #lemosho

Fri, Feb 6

5th–Mweka Camp (B, L, D)

Satellite Track My Journey

Day 5: Barafu camp (4550 m) – Uhuru Peak (5895 m) – Mweka (3100 m). Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka

It is as if all the tiredness disappeared once you reached the peak. Feel proud, think of loved ones, print memories of a lifetime in your head and on your memory card. Descent route leads back to Barafu camp, where you have a rest, before continuing all the way to Mweka Camp. Your lungs will welcome every breath of air, rich in oxygen, and you will start to realize what achievements you have been through – a c c o m p l i s h ed.

Barafu Hut on Descent

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 6
Woke up this morning at 8am. I slept horribly and B had a headache. It got better as we got things ready and headed from Barranco camp to tackle the Barranco Wall. This has been the best part of the trail so far!  It was steep but had a nice combo of climbing as well!! We passed thru the semi-desert area and steep descent into Karanga Valley before having lunch at Karanga camp. After lunch we headed up the slow steep ascent that seemed neverending towards Barafu Hut where we stay the night. Most of the other companies start heading up to Uhuru peak (aka summit) at midnight. We get up at 7a and hit the road by 8:30am to hit Uhuru peak (Uhuru means freedom in Swahili).  It’s supposed to be a 6 hour ascent to the top.  Hopefully after we summit, we will head down to the crater rim for lunch and then head further to the crater floor to setup camp. I pray neither of us get sick. Tomorrow will be bittersweet.

Day 5: Lemosho route #kilimanjaro #africa #tanzania #lemosho

Thurs, Feb 5

5th– Barafu Camp (B, L, D)

Satellite Track My Journey

Karanga camp offered you a great interval and it is time to approach the Barafu summit camp.

Karanga Camp

The trek is relatively short,allowing you to rest and eat at the campsite while preparing yourself mentally for the pending task. Make sure you eat and drink properly – p r e p a r e d . Summit night –Uhuru Peak.  All the research, planning, booking, imagining, excitement and training will climax in your attempt for the Uhuru Peak summit. You will need all your mental and physical abilities for the steep ascent to the ‘roof of Africa’. Boost your energy level from the stars. Let the moon shine your path. Feel connected to everything around you and instead of seeing the mountain as an obstacle, become one with it. The first rays of light will give you that extra push you need at Stella Point and the reward that waits at Uhuru Peak will not be disappointing, perhaps rather life changing – e l e v a t e d .

As you know, there is minimal wifi on the mountain, so this post is posted on the proposed date of the climb (as well as subsequent posts).  I will have an update below for when we return with added tidbits.

Images above are from Google Images

**Update to go below**

Feb 5
Woke up at 6 am again and saw the stunning view of the glaciers. It’s so incredible to see the sunrises and sunsets of the mountains. Nature never ceases to amaze me.  We hit the trail around 8:30a or 9am towards Lava Tower. The scenery changed from semi-desert to desert climate. The plants became fewer and fewer as we ascended 2000m. As vegetation went away, there was more of a rocky desolate surface. We hit Lava tower around 1:15p and had a nice snack there and then continued our way to Barranco camp. It is a steep initial descent with large and small rocks and ice. After the initial descent there was a 2000m gradual descent back into the semi-desert climate. Our knees took a beating today. We used our walking poles heavily and still had heavy quads and sore knees. Upon arriving to Barranco camp, we were greeted with a close up view of the glaciers and the Barranco wall (we’ll tackle that tomorrow).  Stunning. Today, the gear we needed: glove liners, fleece, shell, walking poles, sunhat, sunglasses, snacks. The stars here are incredibly beautiful in the darkness.