About Chacha Tours Africa
Chacha Tours Africa
After guiding groups of climbers to the summit of Kilimanjaro for 12 years, Philemon “Chacha” decided to pursue his dream of owning his own business and started Chacha Tours Africa.
Chacha was born and raised in Arusha, Tanzania. As a small boy he would see the guides and porters returning from Kilimanjaro and he dreamed of becoming a guide. When he turned 18, Chacha was hired as a porter and he realized quickly that his dream of being a guide was going to be extremely difficult. His first day as a porter was so hard that he wasn’t sure if he was going to make it to the first camp. “Carrying all that weight was a shock to my feet and legs.” After his first trip Chacha worked hard at building his leg strength and it took him 4 years to save up enough money to pay for the schooling to become a guide.
In guiding school, students have to pass an English Language exam and learn about all the different animals in Africa. Even though elephants, rhinos, and leopards have nothing to do with climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Chacha spent 8 months learning everything about the flora and fauna of Tanzania. The last 4 months of school were spent learning about mountaineering, how to deal with high altitude sickness, and how to make people feel comfortable on the mountain.
For the next 12 years, Chacha worked for a company that guided clients to the top of Kilimanjaro. During the busy season he would be finishing bringing a group of clients down the mountain and start climbing with a new group of clients on the same day. Chacha says, “Being a guide on Kilimanjaro is difficult work, but I love it… I enjoy meeting people from around the world and I enjoy the adventure.” Being a guide on Kilimanjaro is a good paying job for Tanzania, but it took him 12 years to save up enough money to start his business.
In 2015, Chacha met Brad Wolfe when he guided to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro via the Lemosho Route. When Chacha said that everyone would be hiking “pole, pole” (Swahili for slowly, slowly) Brad told Chacha that he did not want to walk slowly. Chacha talked with Brad and tried to explain why walking slowly would help with high-altitude acclimatization. Brad explained that he was experienced at high-altitudes and mountain bikes at 13,000 feet and had climbed a 19,700 ft mountain before, so Chacha arranged for another guide to keep pace with him at his own risk. Brad’s ability to walk quickly at high altitudes impressed Chacha and they kept in touch after the trip.
Chacha learned that Brad owned a business in the United States and asked questions from time to time about how to start and run a business. Brad was happy to mentor Chacha in pursuing his dream of owning his own business, but it became clear that Chacha would need more than a mentor. Brad said, “there are huge obstacles in business that residents in Africa have a very difficult time overcoming. They can’t process credit cards, they can’t get access to debt, and raising capital is virtually impossible.”
Chacha asked Brad if he would be his partner in 2017 and Brad flew to Tanzania. Brad said, “I knew that Chacha was a trustworthy guy that could handle everything about climbing Kilimanjaro, but I wanted him to prove to me that he could take me on a proper African safari in the Serengeti.” Chacha of course put on an amazing safari and they signed the paperwork to join forces.
Chacha handles all the tours and day to day operations and Brad handles the back-end boring business things. Brad says, “When you go on safari or climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Chacha Tours Africa you can trust that you will be in the best hands. Chacha knows everything about Tanzania and he can handle any issue that arises. I trust Chacha 100%, he is the most honest person I have ever met.”
Philemon Joseph "Chacha"
Philemon Joseph Chacha was born and raised and still lives in Arusha Tanzania. He started working as a porter on Mount Kilimanjaro when he was 21 years old. Even though he had always wanted to work on Kilimanjaro he was shocked at how difficult it was to carry heavy bags up the mountain. Chacha always wanted to become a guide and it took him 5 years to save up enough money to pay for guiding school. After one year at guiding school, Chacha led his first climbers to the summit of Kilimanjaro at the age of 27. From the year 2010 – 2016 Chacha worked as a freelance guide and helped clients to the top of Kilimanjaro over 200 times.
For 7 years Chacha saved enough money to start his own climbing business. It was a huge risk and extremely difficult, but he always dreamed of owning a business where he could treat the porters and guides with the upmost respect. Chacha also has 3 children that he hopes will help with the business as they get older.
Chacha loves climbing Kilimanjaro, but he also loves wild animals. At mountain guiding school, part of the curriculum is to learn about all the wild animals of Africa, the Serengeti, and Tanzania’s other National Parks. Chacha used to go with friends on safari so he would get the necessary experience and training on how to lead a proper wildlife safari.
Chacha loves leading climbs up Kilimanjaro and driving the bumpy road while on Safari. Chacha’s favorite animal is the cheetah because it is such a beautiful looking animal. His favorite thing about being a tour guide is learning about the cultures and customs from different countries. He says, “I have always wanted to travel the world, but I am African, so this is the next best way for me to see other countries.”
Brad lives in Boulder, Colorado and owns an environmentally friendly lawn care business that he started in 1997. He loves to travel and has been to over 30 different countries in the world. He has been to Africa 5 different times and enjoys volunteering at wildlife rescues including a rhino orphanage in South Africa and an elephant rescue in Zimbabwe.
When Brad isn’t traveling, he can be found on his mountain bike or backcountry skiing. Brad has a great eye for photography and the majority of the photos on this website were taken by him. “Chacha tours is a fun business to work with because it is a mix of all my passions… the great outdoors, photography, Africa, travel, and wildlife. I am excited to share all that Tanzania has to offer with countless people from all around the world.”
About Our Safari and Kilimanjaro Guides
Godfrey was born in Arusha near Mount Meru the place where the Masai tribe lives. In fact, he is a Masai, but if you were to ask a “real Masai” they would say he isn’t a very good one. Godfrey doesn’t wear the traditional clothing and he doesn’t eat the traditional foods.
Godfrey has always loved animals and it shows in his work. His knowledge and ability to spot wild animals is unbelievable. As a teenager Godfrey enrolled in the Tourism University in Arusha. This is where he learned about all the wildlife, animals, and National Parks of Tanzania. He also studied French and is one of the best French speaking safari guides. Godfrey works with Chacha Tours Africa and if he is available, he will sometimes freelance with tour operators that require a French speaking guide.
Godfrey loves being a safari Guide and if the customer wants a full day of searching for animals, he will get up early and stay out late. Godfrey’s favorite animal is the lion and his favorite thing to see is any animal trying to hunt.
In Swahili Mwita means, the one who calls or summons. The reason we call him this is because he is always the guide who is leading the dancing and singing of the porters. He was born in 1977 in Mara region, near Lake Victoria. George and his father moved to Arusha when he was a young boy and this is where George saw all the climber coming and going from Kilimanjaro and he knew that this is what he wanted to do.
At the age of 21, Mwita started working as a Kilimanjaro porter and climbed for the first time. George enjoyed learning about new cultures and he worked as a porter for 12 years. As he got older, he realized that his knees and back couldn’t carry the heavy gear (20 kilograms) up the mountain as easily and this is when he decided it was time to save up enough money and go to guiding school.
George is well known in the climbing community as being one of the best leaders of singing and dancing. Many companies hire George to teach their guides how to lead a proper pre-climb song and dance. George loves it when clients call him Mwita and when they join in the singing and dancing. George is a kid a heart and when it snows, he enjoys playing and rolling around in the snow. George is known as a fast hiker and if there is a very fit and strong climber, we will always send George with them at a slightly faster pace.
Daudi is well known for his positive and can-do attitude. He is such a kind and genuine person and even under the worst of weather conditions he is always smiling. Daudi was born in 1984 in Arusha and he is a member of the Masai tribe. As a young child his neighbor worked as a Kilimanjaro porter. He would enjoy listening the to the stories that his neighbor would share with him about the customers and the mountain. Every time his neighbor would come back from a trip he would go over to his house for dinner and ask about the weather, if the customer made it to the summit, which route they hiked and if there were any issues with altitude problems.
When Daudi was in his young twenties he worked as a school teacher, but he always longed to lead climbs on Kilimanjaro. During a longer holiday period from school he asked his neighbor if he could join him on a climb and work as a porter. Daudi immediately fell in love with climbing and he left teaching to train as a full-time mountain guide. In 2017 Daudi completed his mountain guide school and became a guide for Chacha Tours Africa.
Jackson Nyamabe Sikimay was born on December 03, 1992 at Bigegu village in the Mara Region of Tanzania. Jackson started climbing with Chacha Tours Africa in 2014 and worked as the head porter. His job was to manage the meals and gather hot water for washing. He enjoyed meeting people from all across the world, but he always dreamed of working with computers.
In 2016 he decided to enroll in a 2-year program at the Information Communication Technology school in Arusha. He graduated in March 2018, and started working with Chacha Tours Africa managing the website development and information systems. Jackson is one of the reasons that Chacha Tours is able to stay ahead of the technological advances that usually are only available to African companies years after they have reached Europe, the US and other developed countries.
At the top of Kilimanjaro a client said "I feel an exhausted, I feel like a 2 out of 10! Chacha how are you feeling?" Chacha's response... "Brother, I am feeling a 10 because we made it!"