Archive for July, 2014


Dunnagan Already Holds the Kilimanjaro National Park Record for Climbing the Most Summits in One Month

(Kilimanjaro, DUNNAGAN 2Tanzania- July 24, 2014) North Carolina native, Macon Dunnagan, continues to prove that age is not a factor as he plans his 35th climb to the “Roof of Africa”, Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain at 19,341 feet. Recently, he broke a record for making the most Kilimanjaro summits in one month when he climbed four times in 28 days. At 54 years old, he serves as an inspiration for others as he still has climbs scheduled through 2017.

Dunnagan made his first ascent in February 1999 with little hiking and no mountain climbing experience and has yet to look back. He has since become a Kilimanjaro specialist and Expedition Director for Zara Tanzania Adventures, a Tanzanian tour company based in Moshi.

In 2013, the Tanzania Tourist Board named Dunnagan as a Goodwill Ambassador of Tourism for Tanzania. When asked why Dunnagan climbs the same mountain over and over again, he replied “I enjoy taking other people up Kilimanjaro and giving them an appreciation for the mountain, what it is, the environment and the people of Tanzania.”

Summit OVCAIn 2005, his wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she succumbed to the disease in August, 2007. He has since dedicated a number of his climbs to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research and treatments by partnering with Ovarian Cancer “Expedition of Hope.”

Macon Dunnagan has also “tackled” polio, bringing new awareness through his summits, in collaboration with Rotary District 7680’s “End Polio Now.” Though only a few countries still feel the effects of polio, Dunnagan believes it’s important to continue with eradication efforts until the disease is extinct.  He has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for both causes and will continue to do so for as long as possible.

In addition to his mountain climbing skills, Dunnagan is also a published author. Sons of Kilimanjaro is his debut novel and it details the summit of four men up Mt. Kilimanjaro, the individual reasons they have for climbing it and the lessons they learned along the way.
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Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, is focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 28% of the land protected by the Government, the largest percentage of any country in the world. It boasts of 16 National Parks and 32 Game Reserves, 50 Game Controlled Areas, one special Conservation Area (the Ngorongoro) and three Marine Parks. It is home to the tallest mountain in Africa, the legendary Mt. Kilimanjaro; The Serengeti, home to the “Great Animal Migration” that was named the New 7th Wonder of  the World, by USA Today and ABC TV’s Good Morning America; the world acclaimed Ngorongoro Crater, often referred to as the “Eden of Africa” and the “8th Wonder of the World”; Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind:  the Selous, the world’s largest game reserve; Ruaha, now the second largest National Park in Africa; the spice islands of Zanzibar; and seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most important for visitors, the Tanzanian people, with a rich history and diverse blend of cultures, are warm and friendly. Tanzania, an oasis of peace and stability with a democratically elected and stable government, is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Union.For more information on Tanzania

dUNNAGAN 1Photo : Macon Dunnagan (Forefront) atop Mt. Kilimanjaro on his 33rd climb, June 28, 2014

ZARA TOURS, founded in 1987, is currently the No. 1 Kilimanjaro outfitter in Tanzania and one of the largest safari operators in the country. ZARA TOURS owns and operates two hotels and three tented camps, and looking to open two new camps later this Year. Has 88 safari and climbing expert guides who speak English, German and Spanish, and a fleet of fully-equipped vehicles that take tourists on safari adventures or treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro. ZARA TOURS is proud to be known as one of the best operators in the region with a reputation for providing an exceptional, unforgettable and safe experience.


July 26, 2014 at 9:04 am Leave a comment

Zara Tours & the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society Announce Porter of the Year

Zara Tours, currently the No. 1 Kilimanjaro outfitter in Tanzania and one of the largest safari operators in the country, and the Mount Kilimanjaro Porters Society (MKPS) are pleased to recognize Mohamed Chipumbu as the 2013 MKPS Porter of the Year. This annual award is given to the best porter of the year on May 1, as a token of appreciation from Zara Tours and other sponsors.

Zara Tours created MKPS in 2004 to improve the working and living conditions of all porters on Mount Kilimanjaro and other hiking areas in Tanzania. The project is devoted to the local porters who care for and accompany the thousands of tourists making their trek up Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru each year. The MKPS supports the foundation’s 1,025 porters by:

  • Providing free education during low season, including: financial management, mountain sickness education, environmental conservation, English, family planning and health education
  • Making the health and safety of guides and porters a top priority
  • Providing year round employment
  • Preserving the environment through sustainable tourism
  • Supporting the porters’ families, as well as the entire local community

Last year, Zara Tours and MKPS trained 60 porters at the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA)—a skilled labour organization that ensures quality VET that meets market needs. A foundation committed to helping ensure financial stability for its porters, MKPS also worked to open savings accounts for 90% of the program’s porters as a way of getting each porter their salary and tips at the right time and in the correct amount.

For more information about Zara Tours or MKPS.


ZARA TOURS, founded in 1987, is currently the No. 1 Kilimanjaro outfitter in Tanzania and one of the largest safari operators in the country. ZARA TOURS owns and operates two hotels and five tented camps, has 88 safari and climbing expert guides who speak English, German and Spanish, and a fleet of fully-equipped vehicles that take tourists on safari adventures or treks up Mt. Kilimanjaro. ZARA TOURS is proud to be known as one of the best operators in the region with a reputation for providing an exceptional, unforgettable and safe experience.


July 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

An Essential Question: When to Climb Kilimanjaro

Kinapa photo

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro? First time travelers have a lot of questions about what to expect. Whereas, seasoned mountain climbers need some additional information so that they can customize their trek. The good news is whichever category you fall into, this information can be invaluable to you.

If you’re wondering when to climb Kilimanjaro, the answer depends on two things:

1. Your level of experience as a climber

2. Your personal preferences

Knowing a few basic facts about the region can help you set some parameters before you schedule your trip.

Picking a Date: Deciding when to climb Kilimanjaro

Your first step is simple: check the calendar. Due to Tanzania’s proximity to the equator, we have distinct weather patterns that don’t follow the seasons you’re probably used to. Our weather breaks down like this:

  • Dry season
  • Long rainy season
  • Short rainy season

No matter when you visit, Tanzania has a more temperate climate. However, the amount and length of the rainy season can be a safety hazard, especially for inexperienced climbers.

Novice climbers should book a trip in later summer or early fall (August, September, or October). This is the busiest season to hike Kilimanjaro, so if you don’t like crowds, start climbing and training now, before arriving in Tanzania.

All climbers should undergo preparatory training that lasts several months and get them physically and mentally ready for their trek to the Kilimanjaro Summit. That way if you choose to, you can handle a more difficult hike in less favorable weather conditions.

Experienced climbers know that safety risks increase in bad weather. Conditions like snow, extreme cold, mudslides, and rain translate to poor accessibility as well as visibility on the mountain paths. Porters can help make your Kilimanjaro hike a successful one, but it’s the combination of their knowledge and your track record that will help you reach the summit safely.

Peak Dates: Learning the Value of Planning Ahead

Typically, only the most experienced climbers make the trek during the rainy seasons. The first one occurs in November and December, while the second rainy season occurs in the spring. Be sure that your schedule allows for some flexibility.

Certain features of the mountain and community events will draw a crowd, no matter what time of year it is. These include:

  • A trek to witness the summit icecaps
  • Hiking Kilimanjaro by the light of the full moon
  • Charity events sponsored by the local community
  • The type of trek you choose

Dates for these specific activities schedule-out at least two years in advance. Climbs are usually 5 to 9 days long.

Due to the effects of climate change, if you are determined to see the summit icecaps, go as soon as possible; don’t put it off. It has been predicted that the icecaps will disappear by 2050.

Contact Zara Tours for complete details and additional trip planning,

Where’s the Proof? The Picture of a Quality Trekking Company

Trekking Kilimanjaro is a trip that takes several months to plan and prepare for—f a truth that may seem obvious. Travelers should expect to:

  • Get appropriate vaccinations
  • Sort out their travel documentation
  • Select desired tour
  • Follow a suggested packing list
  • Have a skill-based route in mind

These are all good steps, but do you know what’s missing from this list? Choosing your Kilimanjaro trekking companies.

Rating the Importance of the Company you Keep

Tourists who come to Tanzania for the first time are entering an environment they’re not familiar with. Many tour groups fail to realize just how many options there are for Kilimanjaro trekking companies.

Realistically, there are hundreds of companies and independent climbers who will claim to be licensed operators. The danger is they may not be telling you the full truth. At Zara Tours, we believe in clear and honest communication with tourist groups, staff, and porters. This policy has made our company an industry leader in tourism for over 20 years.

Here’s what you need to know:

Independent organizations like the Mount Kilimanjaro Porter Society (MKPS) focus on improving the working life and safety of the porters who trek Kilimanjaro routes, but not every tour company is reputable or trustworthy.

Some guides are left to make their climbs without pay and adequate personal supplies, and they lack the proper clothing and climbing attire. They rely on gifts and tips from various climbing groups to make a living from day to day.

As you may imagine, it’s not a pretty or safe picture for anyone involved. The best way to safeguard yourself and your guides from harm is to choose Kilimanjaro trekking companies that comply with Guidelines for Proper Porter Treatment.

Fair and Equitable Treatment—Where’s the Proof?

One of the frequently asked questions our company gets from prospective tourists is, “Why do you include banking and payroll proof on your corporate website?”

The MKPS was established in 2004 to ensure the fair and reputable treatment of Kilimanjaro trekking companies. The goal is to have every porter that works for Zara Tours receive training, all necessary supplies, and a fair wage for the work they do.

In addition, the MKPS gives each porter their own bank account and helps them learn money management skills. By changing the way these skilled, competent, and valuable workers support themselves, we continue to be a reforming element in the Tanzanian tour industry as a whole. The banking information you’ll see on the website is our show of credibility as a tour company.

When it comes to trekking the mountain itself, you’ll want Kilimanjaro trekking companies that know the best routes to the summit and can match those routes to the skill of the climber.

There are six routes to choose from. The choice of route depends on

  • Experience level
  • Weather conditions
  • Size of the group
  • Goal of the climb
  • Safety and price

Zara Tours porters create a signature, safe, and one-of-a-kind experience for each individual climber.

What Defines the ‘Best” Tours in Tanzania?

People use the word “best” a lot. It is a mark of quality, signifying something special; like gaining a wealth of knowledge or making a difference in the world around you. These same associations can be used when talking about the best tours in Tanzania.

In fact, at Zara Tours, we believe that all of these elements apply to our trips, even if each traveler comes on safari with a specific motivation in mind.

The Tourist’s Perspective of going on Tours in Tanzania

Going on the best tours in Tanzania may start out as a collective goal, but it is the serious traveler who achieves that goal. When they get here, they not only see the beauty of Africa firsthand, they meet like-minded people from all walks of life. It is this combination of shared experience that shapes the kind of trip they will have. There are packages available for every interest and age group. Here are some common ideas:

  • Couples on their honeymoon usually focus on luxury-level tours, unless they both like camping out under the stars. This makes for a more intimate shared experience between two people.
  • Tourists with families or an educational interest will try to experience several things in the duration of a single trip. This could include a shorter tour, a day trip to Kilimanjaro, crater camping, and a Maasai adventure.
  • Tourists with a vested interest in tours in Tanzania can come learn all about sustainable tourism. We offer packages that include a visit to various charity sites that are supported by tourist dollars. This allows people who are interested to see their travel dollars at work.
  • There are also individuals who come to Tanzania with a specific goal in mind. That goal could be to privately experience the best tour in Africa or to participate in a local charity event, like the malaria awareness marathon.

Picking the Best Travel Timetable

Some of these goals can be met on any day at any time; others have to be planned far in advance.

Luxury accommodations need to be booked far in advance. Certain tour sites are inaccessible during monsoon season and direct participation in charity events will require advance notice, registration, and planning ahead. Once you’ve picked a time frame and trip package that meets your goals, spend time on some research about the region you will be visiting.

The best tours in Africa actually start long before you are trekking through the protected plains of the country. They start with why you decided to take this trip in the first place. The Zara Tours website has helpful information about Tanzania as well as packing tips and sneak peeks to help you prepare for your trip. Use these resources and more to learn more about the country you’ll be visiting.

Zara Tours is a dedicated provider of trips that make a difference. Be a part of our next tour and see your goals realized.

July 23, 2014 at 10:58 am Leave a comment


Serengeti Wildcamp

July 14, 2014 at 9:30 am Leave a comment


Ikoma Wildcamp

July 14, 2014 at 9:28 am Leave a comment


Ngorongoro Wildcamp

July 14, 2014 at 9:24 am Leave a comment


Highview Hotel

July 14, 2014 at 9:23 am Leave a comment


Springlands Hotel

July 14, 2014 at 9:22 am Leave a comment


Snow Ice and Savannah

Day by day color-illustrated account of a challenging trek in the Himalayas near Mt. Everest followed by a trek to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, culminating in a six-day photo safari to several national parks and conservation areas in Tanzania. Successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with Zara Tours………..

Read More

July 8, 2014 at 6:52 am Leave a comment


foxnews1Tanzania has been listed on top five of the WORLD’S MOST  “STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL” COUNTRIES TO VISIT. Tanzania packs a lot of game reserve into a land area that is only two-fifths larger than Texas, including the incomparable plains of the Serengeti — 6,000 square miles of savannah teeming with hordes of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras and their predators. Their annual search for new pasture and waters is the large-st remaining unaltered animal migration in the world. Tanzania can also boast Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, whose forest slopes and savannah are a last refuge for many endangered species.

The snowy peak of Africa’s highest mountain looms over a vast savannah as well as mountain forest on its higher slopes and an Alpine desert above them. The park is home to 140 species of mammals, many of them rare or endangered such as the African elephant, and a wide range of flora.

July 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment


July 2014

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