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A Travel Filmmaker Shares Stories from Tanzania

Photos courtesy of Marissa Chabria and Brian Rapsey/World Nomads.


A new short film highlighting responsible travel was just released by World Nomads in partnership with OneSeed Expeditions. A product of their annual Travel Filmmaking Scholarship, the film features local Tanzanian entrepreneurs that are directly supported by OneSeed’s local partner Anza, an organization that enables businesses in Tanzania to grow. Last fall, OneSeed Expeditions hosted the scholarship winner, Marissa Chabria of Costa Rica, on an all-expenses-paid trip to Tanzania to complete her own film during the trip.

Hear from Marissa about her experience in Tanzania, what’s it’s like to live and work abroad, and the power of film to tell important stories:

How would you describe Tanzania to someone who has never been there?

I remember reading various articles on what a magical continent Africa was and to be honest I did not understand this until I experienced it for myself. Tanzania is such a mesmerizing country, you can feel its energy as soon as your feet touch the ground. The beauty the country portrays goes from the cultural diversity, to the happiness in the locals and their cheerful spirit, the lush landscapes, the wildlife that makes you feel you’re filming a documentary, the bold and rich sunsets, but mostly, the simplicity in life. You’re able to experience how happy the people are and how welcoming they make you feel into their beautiful country. You can be sure that you’ll feel at home even though you’re away from home. It’s a feeling and energy you experience only in Africa, but specifically in such a magical place like Tanzania.

How did you get your start in travel filmmaking?

I was always interested in creating art at a young age, be it through music or moving images. I had a lot of curiosity for technology and editing softwares, and loved going to electronic stores to have a look at the cameras because it seemed fascinating to me to tell a story through one. I started making videos during my High School Senior Year and then for some courses in college. I became more serious about filmmaking on my first trip to Tanzania, where I remember calling my mom and telling her “Mom, I want to be a travel filmmaker,” and she said “Okay great, what’s that?”. It was there I realized I wanted to become a storyteller to immerse myself in the different cultures and document stories that have a strong impact on a community and that maybe one day, could change the world through social awareness. The most exciting parts about filmmaking are the places you get to see, the people you meet, and the connections and memories you make along the way.

How did filming in East Africa challenge your expectations and what was your biggest takeaway?

Filming in Tanzania was literally a dream come true and there are a number of lessons I learned through this unbelievable and breathtaking experience, but the number one thing I understood on a more profound level, is to never give up because dreams do come true.

In 2017, I went to Tanzania as a volunteer for three months and I absolutely fell in love with the culture, its people and the beauty it has to offer. It became my home away from home and it was a very emotional and spiritual journey for me. Before leaving Africa that year, I promised myself I’d come back some day to this magical place to film a documentary in order for people to witness its culture, and how exotic of a country Tanzania is. Little did I know my promise was actually going to come true exactly a year later with the opportunity of the World Nomads Travel Filmmaking Scholarship. The people closest to me knew what it meant for me to come back, and this time, I would be going back to the place I love the most to do what I love most. Once being there, it was unbelievable to connect with the locals, interview them and listen to their stories. It was definitely one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever been through because there were so many technical concepts I was not aware of and I wanted the outcome to be remarkable, but I had to remind myself that I was an aspiring filmmaker and I was being mentored by a professional who would guide me throughout the whole process.

The editing stage was one of the most tedious yet exciting experiences ever, and I had to surrender to the idea of a slow paced process and fall in love with it. I think one of the biggest takeaways is understanding the importance of having that drive in life and a passion for what you do.

What role has travel played in your life personally and as a filmmaker?

Travel changed my life, both as an individual and a filmmaker. My first solo trip was a volunteer trip where I traveled alone from Costa Rica to Tanzania in 2017 and spent three months volunteering there. It thoroughly changed my perspective on life and redirected my purpose. I decided I wanted to be a filmmaker to bring stories to life and give a voice to people.

Travel changes lives and broadens one’s horizons. When you travel you grow as a person and learn to live the present as it is: no past and no future, just the exact moment you are experiencing. You let go of fears and turn them into curiosities and discover parts of yourself you didn’t even know existed. You develop humility as you realize how big the world is and how small we actually are, you understand and respect other cultures, you connect and meet people who become life-long friends, you collect stories to tell, explore places and landscapes that seem too surreal to be true, and make memories that will last forever. The feeling I get at an airport or when I’ve buckled my seatbelt on the plane is indescribable. It’s like I’m actually able to grasp freedom in my hands. I believe that every trip adds value to your life and you learn something new about yourself.

Do you have any tips for people thinking of traveling to Tanzania for the first time?

I would tell people who are thinking of traveling to Tanzania to have an open mind. I did not get culture shock because some things were similar to my home country Costa Rica, but be open to anything because you might see things you’ve never seen before. I was very surprised by how warm hearted and welcoming the locals are. Be prepared for Africa to steal each tiny part of your heart and make you fall in love with the place. You’ll be amazed by their essence, generosity, happiness and strength. Believe me, you’ll feel at home and you’ll want to come back.

You can hear more from Marissa on the World Nomads blog. The 2019 Travel Film Scholarship contest is now accepting entries! Click here to learn more.


Wilderness Medicine and Adventure Travel Abroad


Skilled mountain guides are the gateway to any successful adventure. Their knowledge of the terrain, local culture, and mountain safety are key to any successful trek. Every country has a unique certification process for mountain guides. Some complete wilderness medicine training as part of their guide certification while others are not required to do so. Organizing group training can be difficult when in-country facilitators require a minimum number of participants or when costs for participants are too high, especially in developing countries.

To navigate these roadblocks, OneSeed has partnered with Backcountry Pulse, a wilderness medicine education company that trains mountain guides all over the world.  

The company’s founder, Rachel Sapp, flew to East Africa to work with our guides in Tanzania, providing a Wilderness First Responser (WFR) certification course. Hear from Rachel about how (and why) she founded Backcountry Pulse, what a typical training looks like, and the importance of diversity in wilderness medicine.

Can you tell us a little about Backcountry Pulse?

Backcountry Pulse is a global for-profit wilderness medicine education company with a philanthropic twist. We offer scholarships to advance diversity and representation in outdoor leadership roles in the United States. Internationally, we train mountain professionals to the Wilderness First Responder level but tailor courses to the environments they work in and practice with the equipment they are using in the field. Since our team is all medical professionals, we are working towards following each international course with a medical stewardship project deemed by local communities and clinics.

What was your background before starting your own company?

My background has been blending roles in outdoor experiential education, climbing/mountaineering guiding, and emergency medicine/mountain rescue for the past ten years. I saw a need for tailored education that could do without the cookie cutter approach. Having a one size fits all approach works well when instructing the general public, knowing every course will be taught the same way every time. For guides, search and rescue companies or professionals in the field, there are standing protocols, specific equipment that are different from company to company. Our courses are taught covering all material required by the scope of practice guidelines for wilderness medicine, but we customize our courses to be the most realistic for each company's situations.


What need is Backcountry Pulse trying to meet? What’s been lacking in the wilderness medicine field?

A big problem we see that is being voiced throughout many avenues of the outdoor industry is creating an outdoor community that is reflective of diverse population that recreates in it. There is great work being done to create a more inclusive outdoors but we really want to see that leading to roles in outdoor guiding.

In the United States, we created the two week D.I.R.E Scholarship program (diversity, inclusion, representation, equality). The program combines wilderness medicine certification, outdoor leadership, risk management, career mentoring, and environmental stewardship.

Can you breakdown the training you facilitated for our mountain guides in Tanzania?  

In Tanzania, we trained, tested, and certified OneSeed’s Kilimanjaro mountain guides with Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certifications. WFR certification is the standard for outdoor guides leading groups in remote environments with evolving weather, limited resources, and delayed evacuation times. OneSeed guides learned to perform an organized and detailed patient assessment for patients with medical and trauma problems. They learned how to write and talk about their findings, treatment, and plan in a collected, organized manner.

We learned basic anatomy and physiology of each organ system in the human body and their functions. We learned how to treat and when to evacuate a multitude of traumatic, medical, and environmental illnesses and injuries and proper ways of lifting and moving patients with suspected spinal injuries. One of our favorite phases of the course was yelling out “hakuna maisha!” in Swahili or “no life!’ when recognizing the signs and symptoms of life threatening conditions.

How will the skills our mountain guides learned make them more effective leaders on the mountain?

A huge focus that was weaved into every aspect of the course is risk management. How do we prevent incidents from happening, or further evolving? We went over good guiding practices and techniques that can be easily integrated in daily practices. Ultimately, hazards in the wilderness are inherent and you can’t prevent everything… that's the nature of work in the outdoors. It’s also one thing to recognize the situation but it’s a whole other skill to react in a way that you can comb through the incident at hand while maintaining strong communication, organization of a team, and empowering and coaching those around you to help. It was incredible to watch how the guides’ leadership, communication, decision making, and teamwork skills evolved over the course. To any prospective climber on Kilimanjaro, take note: THESE are the guides you would want by your side.

Any highlights from the training / trip in general?

Wow, so many incredible moments. From improvising litters and splints, to singing and dancing through patient assessments, to celebrating the experience of learning together each and every day. What an incredible group to have the opportunity to teach to and learn from. If I had to pick only one, it would be the extended evacuation we did from the base of a waterfall through the jungle, ending at a place that would be suitable for a landing zone for a helicopter.

The radio communication, organization of team roles, and swiftness of a perfect patient assessment, treatment, and improvised litter evacuation and carry was rock solid and 100% orchestrated by the OneSeed team. We took a step back and told the guides we would only step in if an unsafe situation was arising. We never stepped in and one of the coolest parts was that the members of the Materuni tribe came out offering help hearing there was a hurt person needing to be carried out at the waterfall. It was amazing to watch the community come together.

Learn more about Backcountry Pulse and training opportunities abroad:

Photos courtesy of Forlulu Events


What Route Am I Trekking on Kilimanjaro?

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is a one of a kind experience that will, quite literally, take your breath away. While the weather can be unpredictable, the air thin, and temps can drop well below freezing near the top - it truly is an ecological marvel and worth every step to get there. Before taking on the highest freestanding mountain in the world, you’ll want to do some research and decide on the right route for you.

Camping along the Lemosho route.

Camping along the Lemosho route.

Lemosho Route:

Newly added to OneSeed’s Kilimanjaro expeditions is the Lemosho Route. This route is approximately 42 miles round trip and is great for trekkers who have some hiking experience. However, those who make the Lemosho Route their first backpacking trip often are successful in reaching the summit with a success rate of around 85% for a seven day trek. The top of Kili can be reached from the Lemosho Route in six days to eight days depending on how much time you want for altitude acclimatization. Lemosho was incorporated to reduce bottlenecking along certain points of the trail. Plan to stay in tents along the trail.

Trip Length: 7 Days
Total Mileage: 42 miles
Summit Success Rate: 85%  
Accommodations: Tent Camping
* View Trip Itinerary

The view from Horombo Hut. Photo credit:  Thorsten Hansen

The view from Horombo Hut. Photo credit: Thorsten Hansen

Marangu Route

The Marangu Route, also known as the “Coca-Cola” route, is the oldest and most established route to Africa’s highest point. OneSeed runs the majority of group trips on the Marangu route and is the only path with mountain hut accommodations the entire way. While it can be completed in 5 days, it is recommended that climbers take an extra day to acclimatize at Horombo Hut. OneSeed tends to have a higher summit success rate than average as we always take an extra acclimatization day during the trek. Many locals prefer this Marangu as it does not require you to hike in any camping gear.

Trip Length: 6 days
Total Mileage: 45 miles round trip
Summit Success Rate: 65%  
Accommodations: Mountain Huts
* View Trip Itinerary

Sara Johnsen - Snapseed (2).jpg

Machame Route

The Machame route is the most popular path to the summit of Kili with about 50% of all climbers choosing to take this trail. Known as “The Whiskey Route” due to its rough and strenuous hiking conditions, hikers on the Machame route should expect steep inclines, longer distances, tent camping, and breathtaking views. While the hiking is more strenuous, the greater elevation loss and gain throughout the trek allows for better acclimatization, thus a higher summit success rate than Marangu. 

Trip Length: 7 days
Total Mileage: 42 Miles
Summit Success Rate: 73%
Accommodations: Tent Camping
* View Trip Itinerary 

All routes leading to Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru peak are incredibly challenging. It is important to remember that weather, altitude, and physical fitness all play a role in a successful summit attempt. Whether you reach the top or not, the experience is incredibly rewarding and you are certain return home with incredible stories to share.

A Guide to Tipping on Your Kilimanjaro Climb


Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is an experience of a lifetime, from the sea of stars at night to the breathtaking sunrise on the mountain summit.

Each group requires a skilled team of guides, porters, waiters and cooks, and because nothing can be stored on the mountain, everything from food and utensils to clothing and sleeping bags are carried up and down by porters.

Travelers often want to know how many staff members to anticipate and how to accurately tip each individual. The chart below should serve as a helpful guide when considering a tip at the end of your trek. These amounts are simply a suggestion, and trekkers are encouraged to tip as they see fit.

PLEASE NOTE: Total staff number may vary due to unforeseen circumstances. The exact number of guides, assistant guides, cooks and porters may change. We recommend bringing a small amount of extra cash in case this happens.

Kilimanjaro 6 Day Trek (Marangu Route)

7 Day Kilimanjaro Trek (Lemosho & Machame Routes)

3 Day Camping Safari


We generally recommend budgeting $60-$100 for your safari based on group size.

For the group of 5 or more travelers, each person should prepare $60 for all three days as shown below:

  • Guide a day $10 for 3 days = $30

  • Assistant guide a day $5 for 3 days = $15

  • Cook a day $5 for 3 days  = $15

  • Total per client  for 3 days  = $60

For the group of clients between 2-4, each client should prepare $100 for all three days as shown below:

  • Guide a day $16.6 for 3 days = $50

  • Assistant guide a day $8.3 for 3 days = $25

  • Cook a day $8.3 for 3 days  = $25

  • Total per client  for 3 days  = $100

*It is customary to tip each individual directly.

Some important things to note:

  • Starting in June of 2019, OneSeed will provide individual envelopes (by request from previous travelers) to make the tipping process run more smoothly. These will typically be handed out to trekkers by the head guide on the first night of the expedition.

  • The tipping ceremony generally occurs on after breakfast before the final descent to the entrance gates at the end of the trek.

  • The Kilimanjaro Porter’s Assistance Project’s (KPAP) recommends climbers give tips directly to each crew member in individual envelopes to ensure that the full amount of tip is received by the crew member.

  • Travelers can tip in Tanzania Shillings (TZS) or US Dollars, though USD is typically easier. Be sure to bring small bills (nothing higher than $20) in order to tip evenly among all staff.

  • It is common to tip the few porters who assist clients on the final summit night an additional $20 total from the group.

  • Regardless of the size of your expedition, we recommend budgeting around $250 - $350 for the trekking portion of your expedition. If you are also doing the group camping safari, we recommend budgeting around $50 - $100.

Still have questions? Email us at or ask your head guide on the trail. Guides are happy to provide you with information on the total number of support staff, names, roles, etc.


Tanzanian Shillings are generally 2,300 Tsh to 1 USD depending on the day of conversion. Click or tap the button below to be taken to an online USD to shilling converter with the most recent exchange rates.


The mistreatment of porters can be a troubling challenge in the climbing industry. We are an approved Partner company with the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project – KPAP – and the International Mountain Explorers Connection – IMEC – Partner for Responsible Travel Program.

We voluntarily participate with KPAP’s monitoring activities and allow KPAP to evaluate the treatment of our porters on all of our climbs. By climbing with us you can be assured that your porters are well taken care of.

KPAP also helps to improve the working conditions of porters by:

  • Lending donated clothing at no charge to the mountain crew for use while climbing

  • Educating the public on porter working conditions and climbing responsibly

  • Providing industry guidelines for proper porter treatment

  • Offering educational classes to porters

A Note on Solo Traveler Fees


We know solo traveler fees are a bummer and trust us, we don't like charging them either. We require the extra fee because it's the best possible way to provide a fair price to all clients. The solo traveler fee covers the increased cost of hotel stay (single vs. double rooms), ground transportation, and the additional guides, porters or cooks needed while on the trail.

The good news? The solo room fee guarantees your very own single/private room while in your host city.

The other good news? We offer a "match pool" so clients have the opportunity to connect and match with other solo travelers of the same gender. Let us know if you're interested and we'll be sure to make the introduction if there's another solo traveler looking to be matched! Simply email and we'll take it from there. If there isn't a match, you'll receive an invoice with your single supplement fee 60 days prior to your expedition. 

You can find your specific single supplement fee by visiting your expedition page on our website.

Training for Your Trek: Quick Tips to Get Ready for the Trail

A frequently asked question here at OneSeed is usually along the lines of, "I'm hiking how much?? How do I train for this??" On a OneSeed trek, you'll be pushing your body to the limit as you hike through some of the most awe-inspiring places in the world. We've included some tips below on how to train for what will be an adventure of a lifetime!

Apparel and Footwear: Before you start training, invest in a solid pair of hiking boots and gym shoes. If your feet are tired and blistered, it will affect the rest of your body and increase the risk for injury. Make it a priority to break in your boots - wear them while you work out or even just walking around the neighborhood!


Sweat!: You want to feel confident going into your expedition so start elevating your heart rate and building muscle! Find a work out routine that works for YOU and stick with it. If you don't like running, don't run, BUT find an activity that makes you sweat and tone. Hiking, running, biking and swimming are all great cardio-boosters but try interval training with activities like yoga and weight-lifting classes as well. Be sure you incorporate squats and lunges into your workouts so you build your leg muscles for the long hikes you'll be accomplishing on the trail. Lastly, don't forget to Stretch! Yoga and pilates classes are the best way to stretch out sore muscles and prevent injuries. 

Hydrate and Fuel: With all of this training, you'll be burning tons of calories! Be sure you're fueling your body with foods that help it perform at it's best and keep you feeling good. Incorporate healthy grains like quinoa, brown rice and wild rice, nuts like almonds and walnuts, fish, lean meats, fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis. And don't forget about water! When you're dehydrated, you feel more fatigued than you actually are, making it easier to trip on the trail and cause injuries. Make it a goal to drink at least 64 oz. of water each day (that's two Nalgenes!) and start each meal with a glass of water.

Get High: Gearing up for a trip above 10,000ft? The higher up in elevation you can train, the better. If you live close to the mountains, push yourself on some high-elevation hikes and train your lungs to adjust to the lack of oxygen. If you don't live in an area where high-altitude trails are available, not to fear! All of our treks factor in rest days in order to acclimate to higher elevation. If you're feeling fatigued on the trail, go slow and take frequent breaks as your body adjusts to the altitude.

See you on the trail!



Quick Tips for Eating on the Trail

When trekking in a remote area, there are certain expectations that will help you make the most of the meals on the trail. Here’s a quick list of things to know about trail food to help you prepare for your expedition.

1) Carbs, Carbs, Carbs. In most of the areas where we travel, the diet is rich in carbs. When you spend 3-10 hours a day hiking, you need carbs for energy, so embrace it! Nepal is known for its dal bhat, Peru for its 3,800 types of potatoes, and Chile is the second largest bread consumer per capita in the world. But guess what? They all make really delicious carbs, so dig in!

2) Eat like a local. They best way to order off the menu in a foreign country is to mimic what the locals are doing. If you’re staying at a teahouse in the Langtang region, ordering a pizza might not be the best option. Pizza with yak cheese isn’t going to taste like is does from your local pizza shop in NYC. Look around you to learn about the delicious local dishes and try sticking to them. It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the country in which you’re traveling. What if you’re craving some comforting American food? It will be there for you to eat the day you get back!

3) Bring reserves. While trekking on OneSeed trips, you’ll be fed three large meals a day but some trekkers like to have power bars or granola bars to munch on while hiking. You can always bring a few just in case you need some extra fuel. (*Note: Customs rarely lets you bring nuts, seeds, or fruit into a foreign country)

4) Be adventurous. Some of the countries where we travel have exotic local dishes that you don’t find everywhere. Push your tastebuds to the limit with new flavors. Try the tongue in Chile or the spicy pickle in Nepal because you never know what you might like.

Food is an essential part of any culture. Be prepared to try new things and expand your tastebuds’ comfort zone. Bon Appétit!

7 Tips to Prepare for Your Trek

Always be prepared! The scout’s motto is simple, but true. Being well prepared for your trek will make your time much more enjoyable, and you can focus on the wonders around you rather than your blistered feet! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your trek.

1.  Buy appropriate footwear and break your boots in.

  • Visit an outdoor retailer and do research to buy the appropriate pair of hiking boots for your feet.
  • Break them in! Showing up with brand new boots for a multi-day trek is an invitation for blisters and pain. Walk the dog in your boots, do yard work in your boots, take them hiking! You want your boots to feel nice and comfy when you arrive.
  • Buy good quality socks (non-cotton, moisture wicking socks such as Smartwool, Thorlos, Darn Tough, Woolrich etc…)
  • Remember: Your feet are your best friend. Happy feet, happy camper!

2.  Get out hiking. Regularly!

  • Start slowly and build your intensity, difficulty, and length of hikes. It is much better to start slowly and increase the difficulty gradually over several months than to wait to the last few weeks.
  • Wear what you will be wearing on the trail, especially if they are new items, so you know how they feel and can adjust anything that is irritating or doesn’t work. This includes your boots and the pack you will be carrying on the trail.
  • Go with a partner or a group. You won’t be able to cheat and going with someone else provides motivation and fun!
  • Cross train too (Bike, swim, run, yoga, stairs, etc). Different types of exercise work different muscle groups and will help condition your body. Strengthening your body can help prevent injuries on the trail.

3.  Learn about the OneSeed Fund

  • 10% of the revenue from your expedition will be loaned to local entrepreneurs via the OneSeed Fund.
  • The loans are extended by our partner microfinance institutions across many different industries such as agriculture, retail, food services and more.
  • Want to learn more about microfinance? Click here.

4.  Don’t bank on your bank.

  • Call your bank ahead of time to let them know about your travel plans.
  • Sometimes, when banks see a charge in a foreign country, they assume it was theft and freeze your account.
  • While you’re on the phone with your bank, ask them about international ATM fees.
  • Be sure to have back-up alternatives such as cash, traveler’s check, and credit cards.
  • Having copies of credit cards and passport information is a great safety net.

5.  Health, safety, and more.

  • Visit the CDC website or contact a local travel medicine office with any questions about immunizations or vaccines.
  • If you have any concerns about your health, contact your physician before you start a training program.
  • Learn more about tips to keep your belongings safe while traveling here.

6.  Insure Your Trip.

  • All OneSeed trips include medical and evacuation insurance for all travelers. This covers you from the moment your expedition begins.
  • We also strongly urge you to purchase the optional cancellation and interruption insurance. This third party insurance covers any injuries, illnesses, or other unforeseeable events between now and your expedition.
  • You never know what life has in store so it is better to prepare ahead of time!

7.  Pack light and early.

  •  Take a look at our packing list now and start to get an idea of what gear you have and what you will need to purchase. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster!
  • Outdoor gear can be quite expensive. Don’t forget that you can borrow from a friend, rent from various outdoor stores, or look online for items on sale.
  • That being said, don’t skimp! Making sure your clothes are built to last is important as you will be hiking outside in the elements for many days on end.
  • To lighten your load, bring travel-sized toiletries.
  • Ziplock bags make for inexpensive, weightless, water-resistant organizers for loose items.
  • Don’t forget to bring an extra outfit for the city. You can leave any extra gear at our partner lodge before the trek.

Happy trekking!