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Interview with BootsnAll’s Safari & Mountain Guide

At the age of 17, Nickson Moshi from Marangu village in East Africa, Tanzania, began as a porter on Mt. Kilimanjaro. He started carrying up to 35 kilos a trip, for more than 3 years as a porter. Since Nickson was personable, friendly, and had a good command of English, he then began as assistant guide for Kibo Hotel and Marangu hotel. After another 2 years assisting a head guide, Nickson became a head guide and was officially trained in 1991. He went on to work for Thompson Safari, Wildebeast Safaris, and Come to Africa Tours. Now he has started his own company is both head safari and mountain guide for BootsnAll World Adventures.

How long have you been a guide?
I have been a head guide for 12 years, having been on the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro more than 300 times. I have also been on so many safaris, I can’t remember how many.

How old are you? Do you have a wife and children?
I am 32 years old, and I have a wife and three children. My wifes name is Mary, and my first born is Siangicha, second born is Rickson and third is Harson.

Where were you born? What languages do you speak?
I was born in Marangu as part of the Chagga tribe. I speak KiChaggo, Swahili and English.

What are your favorite animals on safari?
My favorite animal is a giraffe, because they are curious animals and the sight of them is always grand. It’s amazing to watch a giraffe run.

What is your longest safari trip you have been on?
Four years ago, I took three clients on a one month safari through Kenya, Tanzania and Zaire. The clients were scouting out places to take their friends in the future.

How many times have you been to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro?
I have been to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt Meru, Mt. Kenya and Oldonyo Lengai. My favorite is Mt. Kilimanjaro because I was born on the slopes.

What is your favorite route?
My favorite route is the Machame route on the Western Breach. It has the best scenery, good camping and great sunsets and sunrises.

What is the most number of people you have taken to the top?
I took one group of 40 clients to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We had 120 porters, 5 guides, 10 assistant and 4 cooks.

Why do you like to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?
Because it’s my home and it’s a really nice place. In my heart, I love to climb mountains, see good views, exercise and meet people from all over the world.

What is your favorite park for safari?
The Serengetti is by far my favorite park. It has the most amount of wildlife and all kinds of animals, everything from wild dogs, to lions, to leopards and cheetahs.

What type of food do people eat on their climbs?
I have really good professionally trained cooks who use potatoes, soup, rice, chicken, beef, fish, to make some amazing dishes. Clients are consistently happy!

What type of equipment do you have?
For clients I have Mountain Hardware and Kelty tents. I also have mess tents, tables, chairs, and separate toilets.

What type of clients do you like?
I like people who are curious, love to climb the Mountain, and want to learn about my culture. If you have a good attitude, an open mind, and are patient with the country and the people, you will have a wonderful time.

How many porters are typically on your trips?
We usually have three porters per person and have assistant guides for every two people.

How do you feel about safety?
I take pride in making sure my clients are always safe. In more than 12 years, we have had only a few very small problems.