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The History of Snowcap Ltd and the Rongai Route

Kenneth Salakan

Kenneth Salakana – The Managing Director of Snowcap Tanzania Tours

The company’s founder, Justin Salakana, started this business in 1991 with the dream of providing employment to the youth of Rombo District where he was born and raised.  His vision was to bring tourism to the district by providing an alternate mountain climbing route that would complement the excursions offered in districts to the south.  But first he had to overcome the objections of the Tanzanian National Parks Service whose mission is the protection of the ecology of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a World Heritage site.

Mr. Salakana had in mind the rehabilitation of a route that had not been used commercially, but had been the site of a mountain school of Outward Bound, based in the border town of Loitokitok.  Special permits issued by the Tanzanian government had been required for the use of this route and the infrastructure was in very poor condition.  Finally in 1991 his petition was granted when then Prime Minister and Vice-President of Tanzania Hon John S. Malecela approved his request and thus the Rongai 5 day (later 6 day) Route was born.  Within a short time, Mr. Salakana and Mr. Tony Tschank  (a consultant to German GTZ projects in Loitokitok Kenya) worked jointly to develop the route.

Mr. Salakana and Mr. Tschank benefitted from the interest of angel investor, Mr. Manfred Haeupl, a young employee of Hauser Exkursionen (Germany) who was visiting East Africa at that time and was searching for an alternate route to Uhuru peak for his European clientele.  With an introduction to Mr. Salakana, Mr. Haeupl proceeded on a 5 day climb on the Rongai route and upon his return to Munich he provided the financial assistance to ready the route for commercial use by rehabilitating the school hut, clearing paths, building campsites and toilets, and removing years of rubbish and debris.  Today the beautiful Rongai route is one of the most popular paths to Uhuru peak with high rates of success for those who attempt the 6-day ascent.

Mr. Salakana has retired though he keeps an interest in the company which is run by his son Kenneth and an expert team of Snowcap staff. Snowcap Tanzania Tours makes your dream come true.

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