We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

Boston, MA
3 posts
Save Topic
Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

In late August I'm going to climb Kilimanjaro and then do a 5-day safari. Paul Shayo - company name is Trekking Tour Kilimanjaro Company - is one group I'm considering. He's based in Moshi. Can't find much info on him other than posts on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum. Has anyone here had any experience with him for either climbing or safaris?

UK
Level Contributor
3 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

Yes, I used Paul Shayo in Nov 2008 to climb kili.

I would not use him again.

Paul basically contracts out the trips to other free lance guides and porters. The reason we went with his company was after reading some reviews on Thorn Tree, however after meeting Paul you question whether he has ever been up Kilimanjaro at all! He was only interested in the money and once we had paid was pretty disinterested in us or our questions. Paul just did not fill is with any confidence and seemed a little shady, the only time he seemed to pop his head up was when money was around. (this was confirmed come tip time when one of the porters we became friendly with thanked us for our USD35 tip, only did I realise then that Paul had skimmed USD9 of for himself!)

Thankfully our confidence was restored when we met Bariki our guide, he was a charming and pleasant chap who was just concerned with our well being. Next time I would just book directly with the guide and cut Paul the middle man out.

Boston, MA
3 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

Sorry to hear of your experience. I ended up using Paul for my trip in August 2007 (you responded to a pretty old post!).

My experience, as well as the experience of many people on Lonely Planet was the complete opposite of what you described - Paul was constantly engaged with us, and climbed to over 15,000 feet with us before leading a sick porter off the mountain. Before taking the porter down he advised us on what to expect as we climbed. (I've seen numerous pictures of him on the summit - so I know that he's climbed it many times.) When we got off the mountain he was there waiting to congratulate us. When we returned from safari he was there to greet us and make sure that we were satsfied. Then when we flew out of Kilimanjaro Airport he was there to say goodbye to us.

You are the first person I've seen complain about Paul - I'm sorry to hear of your experience. I'd like to think that yours was the rare exception, but obviously only you truely know what you experienced. As an FYI - porters do like to lay the guilt trip on you, so it is possible that this porter was trying to see if he could get a few more dollars out of you. Of course its also possible that there was skimming going on. If possible, always pay the porters directly.

Ironically earlier today I got an emai from a woman in Canada who also used Paul last year (we became friends through Thorntree) - she was forwarding an email from Paul in which he informed her that he'd recently had a son, recalled some of the specifics of his experience with them after climbing Kili, and sent greetings to specific members of her group who he had been fond of. That's the Paul Robert Shayo that I'd like to remember.

London
1 post
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

There must be 2 Paul Shayo's!

The one you are describing above sounds like a totally different man to the one we booked our Kili trip through earlier this year.

I totally agree with the comments made by BradUK & I would not recommend Paul Shayo to anyone else.

Paul did not accompany us on the climb and did not add anything to the experience other than taking our money & making a few phone calls/ emails.

He hardly said a word to us on the couple of occasions we did actually see him & he certainly didn't fill us with confidence or excitement about the climb we were about to make. It's a shame as he probably took the majority of our money & did the least amount for it. I would not be surprised if he was taking a slice of the porters tips.

The equipment he uses is pretty old & shabby too, the tents and more importantly sleeping mats were full of holes. If you do book a climb with Paul Shayo I would suggest you take as much of your own gear as possible. Also, our hotel in Moshi was meant to be included but on checking out we were charged which was very annoying. At least he seems to contract decent guides, our guide was great & really looked after us.

Boston, MA
3 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

Yeah - this is all a bit confusing. Doesn't sound anything like the guy that I used or another 10-12 happy customers on www.lonelyplanet.com used. I remember reading of another guide with a similar name, but I don't remember what the difference was (maybe an extra "s" in the name?). Just curious - what did the Paul Shayo you used look like (tall, short, skinny, fat, average?). Also, what was the name of his company? Regardless of who you used, I hope that you had some positive experiences from your trip.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
38,035 posts
376 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

Shayo is a fairly common name amongst the Wachagga.

One of the best guides I ever had was Evariste Shayo. Sadly he died in 2002 leaving a wife and seven children the eldest was 20.

boston, ma
2 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

We use Paul Shayo in August. At the end, kind of felt you get what you paid for mentality. The equipment was definetly sub-par, they pushed us to combine 2 days into one and we ended up hiking in pitch black with headlights for 2 hours - really unsafe. The guides/porters were friendly and knowledgeble. In busy season, Paul just hires other guides and porter. If I had to do it again, I'd go through a different company.

boston, ma
2 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

We used Paul Shayo in August. At the end, kind of felt you get what you paid for mentality. The equipment was definetly sub-par, they pushed us to combine 2 days into one and we ended up hiking in pitch black with headlights for 2 hours - really unsafe. The guides/porters were friendly and knowledgeble. In busy season, Paul just hires other guides and porter. If I had to do it again, I'd go through a different company.

Ontario
Level Contributor
2 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

I hired Paul Robert Shayo in October 2007 for my group of six, up the Rongai route. I found him on Thorn Tree, and have recommended him to lots of others after me, all have enjoyed his company.

Yes, true his tents are not of the highest or newest quality (although I know for a fact he got new tents in the summer of 2008), but he and his staff are very attentive and caring.

For us, Paul was not a "middle man". He was our Head Guide. Yes, he is quiet, but he's extremely reliable, honest, and knowledgeable.

More importantly, he knew to feed us right, and to set the proper SLOW pace up the mountain to attain best success rates.

For me, success is more important than tent/mattress quality.

Also, any trekker knows to tip the porter/guide/cook directly.

dar es salaam
Level Contributor
11 posts
57 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

There is a posibility that Paul was engaged with other group (double booking)- he sent another person. You will never know because most likely he'll be another Shayo!

Vienna
1 post
Save Reply
10. Re: Anyone use Paul Shayo as a guide?

We used Mr Paul Shayo for our group of 2 in late July 2009 and were satisfied to the full with what we got. We did our research beforehand and got quotes from over 20 operators. Paul Shayo offered a very competitive value for money. He tells you exactly, what is included and what's not. And if you still have doubts, he'll gladly answer all questions on the phone. We met other climbers before our tour in the hotel, who were 100% satisfied too.

It is true, that in high season he can't go up the mountain with every group he's got, but he organized us a very capable, reliable and friendly group, led by our experienced guide Shani Athuman. If you have any doubts about Paul's qualification as a guide, have a look at the guide-register at Machame Gate. I saw it myself and I wasn't too sure, if he has ever been on the mountain, when I first saw him.

If you expect luxury all the way, you might have to go with a more expensive operator. But the most important things on the mountain are Health and Safety and Paul does not compromise on those. We did not have a brand new tent, nor a mess tent. We did not have a portable toilet either. But our food was good and plentyful, we had enough water and our rented sleeping bags were warm.

After all, we trusted Paul and he did not let us down. We recommend him.