WHAT SOME OF OUR CLIENTS HAVE SAID
I am co-founder of World of Difference (www.makeaworldofdifference.org), a non-profit foundation whose mission is to build schools for the underprivileged children in East Africa. These Foundation expeditions for building schools have taken me to East Africa annually for the past 22 years, with only one exception (2008 when the violence in Kenya precluded me from participating). I have known Bryson Mandari since 1994. As part of these expeditions we offer a side trip to participants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Over the past 15 years since I have known Bryson, he has guided all of our Foundation participants who desired to make this climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro. I am estimating that number to be around 225 people. Additionally, Bryson has facilitated expeditions and Kilimanjaro climbs for many of our personal friends and professional associates from the United States who desired to climb the mountain but who were not affiliated with the Foundation. I am estimating Bryson has taken at least 100 of our friends and associates to the summit of Kilimanjaro (in addition to the 225 people associated with our Foundation). Bryson has taken me personally (and members of our Foundation) to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro a total of 8 times. I have had first hand exposure to his leadership abilities, his interpersonal skills, and his commitment to seeing to it that members of the climbing expedition make it to the summit. Bryson will go out of his way to ensure that the participants have the most phenomenal experience of their lives and that they make the summit. Everyone LOVES Bryson Mandari. He is extremely personable, speaks excellent English, and is trustworthy. He will ensure safety of all those he leads up the mountain. Bryson also hand picks his assistant guides and porters and makes sure that only those most qualified participate on these climbs. The gear that the porters carry to the last base camp is safe in their care and Bryson will ensure that happens.
I HIGHLY recommend Bryson Mandari to you if you are planning to make a climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro. Bryson has several hundred climbs to the top of that mountain under his belt and is recognized by the Tanzanian government as one of the most capable and competent guides on that mountain. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about Bryson or have questions about climbing this mountain. I will be happy to accommodate your questions and help you better understand why a climb up the slopes of Kilimanjaro without Bryson is not really worth the time and money.
Tanzanian mountain guide Bryson Mandari has taken 307 Americans to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. More than half of those hikers (153) hve been from Utah--and most of them are Mormon. As a result, this Lutheran East African is a vocal and ardent cheerleader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. Mormon adventurists refer each other to Mandari because he's and experienced guide who has respect for the LDS culture and beliefs. "He's a deeply religious fellow," said Paul Barker, who recently climbed with Mandari. "He is, in fact, a devout Lutheran. Our church is not in Tanzania." But Barker said Mandari's spiritual nature, sense of humor and gentle personality puts him on common footing with most LDS hikers. In his journal, Barker wrote: 'Bryson our guide was a master of not only the physical aspects of the ascent but knew how to encourage those that were struggling. He called out to Joe Deluca, 'J.D., I love you.' Then he would sing the Kilimanjaro Song." In his personal journal, John Evans, a stake president from Irvine Calif., wrote:
Aug. 25, 2005--Bryson is our head guide. He calls me Babu (pronounced: BAAH-boo)-- "grandfather"in Swahili. A name of of honor in their large families. On the steep trails the sound of boots clomping up, poles jangling with each placement in a rhythm, everyone breathing in a rhythm. Dust kicking up around the dirt-caked boots, clomp, clomp, clomp, poles, clank, clank, clank, "pole, pole" (guide Bryson, says, meaning "slowly," and pronounced "POL-ay"). Bryson sang in Swahili, "Jambo Bwana," a trail song. At the tower Bryson and Nico and I were standing alone. Nico said to Bryson, "Mr. John is a man of God." Bryson asked what church. When I said "Church of Jesus Christ," he said, "You mean 'of Latter-day Saints,' the 'Mormons'? They are the best people." They both commented, noted, no coffee, smoking, alcohol, etc. Bryson said that he had taken many Mormons on Kili. He estimated 400. One comes back every year. Rick Nelson, a doctor, to do volunteer work for children in need. He is from Provo.
Mandari also helped DeLuca, a hiker from Missoula, Mont., summit Mt. Kilimanjaro and descend again after DeLuca slipped on a loose rock and tore the meniscus in his knee on the third fay of the climb. DeLuca said Mandari didn't physically carry him along but encouraged him with words and made every effort to make the climb possible for the injured man. "Going uphill was easier because I could walk on my toe but coming down was harder," DeLuca said. "Every step on my heel hurt. Because of him, I had a great trip. I think about that trip every day of my life. I had walking sticks but Mandari walked with me, made sure taht I stayed up with the group." said Barker, "This guy is incredible. He's a great motivator." Mandari has been a guide in East Africa for 15 years. He started as a porter for $8 a day plus tips. He then worked for BikeHike Adventures for several years before going out on his own. He has summited Kilimanjaro 489 times and the neighboring peaks, Mt. Meru--a strato volcano that rises to 14,980 feet-and Mt. Kenya, numerous times. When he was a young man, he climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 21 hours, setting a record in 1998. The average trip to the top and back takes about a week. He has a 90% success rate in Mt. Kilimanjaro. "This mountain is no walk in the park. It is 19,340 feet," Barker said. "You go from the jungle and the rain forest to glaciers of ice." As the 2006 group summited, Barker wrote: "Arm in arm we arrived just behind Bryson. It was one of the greatest emotional and even spiritual highs on my life arriving with my two sons who I truly love. We embraced and then embraced Bryson." Via e-mail, Mandari described Mormons as "very co-operative and honest.
He said many of his customers encouraged him to start his own tour company, which he has done. It is called Bryson Adventures & Safaris. He's hoping word-of mouth will help his business in this tough economic time.