Gurleen ‘Twiggy’ Tirwana (USA/India) Kilimanjaro 2008/9
Thank you for a very well organized trip and excellent company. It rarely gets better I imagine.
Bob Holdsworth (USA) Kilimanjaro 2008/9
…thank you fro everything. It was a fantastic trip. I enjoyed getting to know you and the others. I especially appreciate your passion about Africa and your knowledge. It truly made this more than a ‘hiking’ trip.
David James (USA) Kilimanjaro 2008/9
…this trek was much more difficult than I imagined. Even with that ignorance, I did not think we would all make it to the peak (including myself at times). Knowing now how tough it actually is, physically and mentally, I really am impressed with every one of you. Early in the trip Peter, Oskar, Joe and I talked about pluck or grit. All of you have it. Anyway, I just wanted to express how much fun I had and to let you know I enjoyed meeting ‘all ya’ll’. I cannot help but have a smile on my face when thinking or talking about this trip.
Joe James (USA) Kilimanjaro 2008/9
I can say that I went for many reasons. I went looking for answers. I can honestly say that the trip changed me. There is something about Africa. My understanding prior to arrival was limited to what I had read in books, but for years, Africa had been on the forefront of my desired destinations. And to test myself and experience a climb to the rooftop of Africa was something I simply had to do. As you know all too well, an expedition like this is an ultimate test of one’s self. It sharpens you, physically, mentally and spiritually. Standing atop the summit, I was as emotional as I have been in a very long time. A true feeling of triumph rose above the exhaustion and fatigue as it only can after completing an undertaking such as this. I will never forget looking around at where we were with one arm around my Brother and saying to myself. ‘I did it’. Three words that I have said many times before, but never with so much emotion behind them.
It will be something I remember forever. I thank you, as you made that happen. I am certain that we will have more travels and adventures together. Until then, let’s stay in touch and I look forward to catching up with you soon.
Robbin Jordan (USA) Kilimanjaro 2008/9
All I can say is THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I had an amazing time. The group was wonderful. And I am so pleased that we debunked the theory that we would lose our sense of humor by day 4. As a group, we kept both our humor and our spirits high. It was a pleasure to be a part of such a great group of people on an amazing journey.
You did an excellent job of keeping the African snafu factor to a minimum and I have no complaints. I will cherish this experience forever.
Steve Morgan (U.K.) or what’s left of him:
First went on a walk into the mountains with Pete Baxter. Having had a very pleasurable but untaxing experience I stupidly requested something ‘more hectic’, (as Pete seemed quite laid back). Do not be mislead by Mr. Baxter’s unassuming nature, behind that quiet exterior dwells a maniacal adventurer seemingly born a nerve ending in his entire body. After two torturous days (but highly enjoyable) days in the Haroni River Gorge: I felt as if I had been mugged! You have been warned!
Eric Harris (Scotland):
Pete’s walking tours are all that you need
The sights that we have seen have been such a treat.
Fantastic country and plenty of food,
Great walking trails and the stories were good.
Haroni Gorge has left me speechless,
No snakebite, mosquitoes and no sign of leeches.
Soaked to the skin while crossing rivers,
Over our heads but nobody shivers,
Four days of walking and three nights in a cave,
The greatest feeling to get back to Heaven [lodge].
Great value, great company, great days, great fun. Strongly recommended. Not for the fainthearted!
George Thorn (RSA):
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Saw the food at the start and I thought ‘Oh shit!’. I don’t like soup and I hate sardines. That turned out to be the best part of the trip. Eating as one is supposed to eat. Just to fill the stomach. Nothing excessive but magic. Sitting around the paraffin stove waiting for the food to heat up with 1/5 of a loaf of bread in my hand. That is back to basics but excellent. The nights were another highlight. Sleeping in the dry and hay covered caves. The best was the last 2 days plunging through the water. Wet everywhere. Swimming through rivers — not cold at all. Even with my new Caterpillar boots. The best as that we went astray from the original path. Had to bundu bash over huge rocks and down deep ravines with Pete calmly leading or letting us take the next gully. An excellent trip with a real easy going guide.
James Woods. (USA):
Pete led us into the mountains. We climbed trough passes in which others have lost their souls. We floated our packs across rivers that turn most walkers away. In four days and three nights we saw a side of the Chimanimanis that evades most hikers even in the depths of their dreams. What we saw, what we felt, by their very nature escapes my ability to describe with words. Indeed my memory of the trip exists more in notes of music and shades of colour than dry strings of letters my hand might attempt to record. Pete helped us feed the rat of our souls. That part of us that craves the edge of our comfort zone……that always needs to be pushed beyond. Pete led us into the garden of the gods. Images of this trip will haunt my memory. They will require me to return.
Ciaran Costello (Irish, by the grace of God):
This was a few days of soul destroying and harrowing experiences. Not walking, but climbing up and down mountains. And no , it’s not fun, but God Damn no one said it was going to be easy. Yes, this is character rebuilding stuff, this is why you’re here, so get your boots on, pack several changes of clothes, lots of cigarettes and something to smoke, and maybe something strong to drink, and get up there! This will be a few days which will be hard to forget.
All that effort was worth it for seeing the best scenery/landscape of my life so far. All in all a fabulous experience which does wonders for your self belief.
Beth Dykstra, Washington State, USA:
Skin reddened by unrelenting sun
Grasses and shrubs prick and raze
A well trained plant spits it’s poison
For more blisters and reddened flesh
Ankles twist into sucking black mud
Knees tumble into slick and hardened clay.
Drink freely from the springs that give these mountains their power and life
cool your aching flesh and battered bones
in clean, clear pools — daring the waterfall
to push you into a new waterfall of reality
share a bed under a rock overhand with
colourful slugs and other new friends.
And ever changing landscape with a full moon
To light your imagination.
Thank you Pete, for sharing your gifts and your spirit that lives in the Chimanimani Mountains.
Hamish,: 3 day trek into the Haroni Gorge. Not for the faint hearted:
This was a trip into a fantastically beautiful landscape, and one that probably would have killed me if we hadn’t taken Pete to guide us. At the end of a relatively un-taxing first day we were up on The Saddle and staring into a gorge deep enough to dwarf the Zambezi at Victoria Falls. Shit! It was then we knew that this trip was going to be a bit different!
Day two was deconstruction time — utterly challenging with its steep ascents, nerve wracking descents, skin scraping bush and unyielding primal forest, intense heat and no prospect of a cold beer anywhere less than two days walk away. On the way there was plenty of time to admire the landscape — one that is totally untouched by man other than Pete and a few poachers and the odd mug like me. Time to swim, smoke and plenty of time to get totally exhausted. I’ve walked in the Himalayas and can honestly say that this trip was more personally rewarding. Thanks Pete for sharing your own personal wilderness paradise with us. I’ll be back…
……what you call moderate walking is considered heavy duty mountain climbing back in Germany.
Rafid Elmanahi, New York USA:
I went on a 3 day Mozambique hike with Pete and Ed. We slept in caves, got dirty, muddy, wet, cold. Sore, saw magnificent views, joked, laughed, ate, drank, swam in rivers, pondered life without any other human contact, and had an all round great time. Peter’s knowledge of the bush and survival techniques are astounding; and what a feeling of accomplishment when you look back at the mountains you have conquered…….!
Pete is a brilliant guide, he puts a name to every butterfly, bird and all other beasts.
Talia & Aya, Israel:
After a lengthy preamble in Hebrew advising other Israelis how best to cut a deal……. Ed and Peter — Thank you very much. We had a wonderful time!!!
Comments after the Death Walk phase of Chimanimani Bushwalking Co when my own aches and pains began to cry out in sympathy with the clientele:
Jerome & Ellen (Netherlands) 16th July 2001:
Expectation: Nice weather, peaceful nature, neat place to be and nice hiking.
How it was: Beyond any imagination only Pete forgot the liquor.
(Bushwalking Code 229 subchapter 36: No booze on the trail! At any cost avoid spoiling the religious experience of the first cold beer out of the cooler at the end of the trip.)
Thanks Pete for all the laughs and tears.
Gert van Gerner & Karin de Goede:
We can recommend Peter Baxter as a very professional guide with a very good sense of what his clients are looking for. He is very relaxed, never dominant and very respectful to local people. We did a well-organized four days hike with Peter in the remote Chimanimani mountains between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. A great experience that we will never forget.
Gary Broadhead: Yorkshire, UK:
I travelled with Pete in 2002 from Johannesburg through Kruger National Park, into Mozambique, the Bazaruto islands, Zimbabwe and finally Victoria Falls. I sat in the front seat most of the way along with Pete, who of course was driving. We had long conversations about many subjects and I found Pete to be most informative. He was also very thorough with safety, making sure nobody went off the road in Mozambique because of the landmines! His knowledge of the areas was very extensive and any questions that you had were always answered to the best of his knowledge.
Eugen Goldfract & Family from Haifa, Israel:
We reserved our visit to Chimanimani Natural Park in Zimbabwe with Mr. Peter Baxter by internet, for August 2004. We arrived in Chimanimani at noon and received a call in the evening from Peter’s wife and proposed us a few options for the next day visit to the mountains. We choose the most suitable alternative for us, and the next morning Mr. Peter Baxter arrived at our hotel, for our trekking tour. He is an experienced tour guide, knows the surroundings and planed our visit according to our requirements, even taking a stick to help my wife going up the mountain. He also brought lunch and water for all of us for the day. During out tour we have a highly interesting conversation with Peter and he has a vast knowledge of African history and the actual situation in Africa, including culture, politics and environment. In our opinion Mr. Peter Baxter is a highly talented tour guide, with large knowledge of the African continent and he is explaining it in a clear way.
Dave Kelly from Scotland.
Steve Brown from Harare, Zimbabwe.
John & Ren Harrington from South Africa.