by Team Kilimanjaro August 08, 2012
Wonderful Experience! Could not have been better!!!
We were a large group, which meant a large support staff. Our Chief Guide, Jonas Gerald did a fantastic job ensuring that everything ran smoothly throughout our ascent up the mountain (via the TK Rongai Route). The assistant guides were fantastic - Samwel Minja, Yusuph Omary and Ismaili Mohamed. All very experienced and incredibly knowledgeable. They were a professional, friendly, fun group that was easy to talk to and to spend seven days with in close quarters. The cook, Danny Peter was awesome - accommodating a member of our group that had dietary restrictions with fantastic alternatives. "My" porter, Godfry, would always greet me at the camp site with a HUGE smile - he would run over, take my backpack and show me to my tent. The wait staff, Chas and another who's name I unfortunately cannot recall, made meals fun - always smiling, having us guess the soup of the day or whatever the main meal was to be.
I just can't say enough about the entire support staff - all THIRTY TWO of them!!! I do credit Jonas for keeping the entire operation running smoothly, the logisitics of organizing such a team so successfully is incredible. I also credit Jonas for ensuring that our entire group made it to the Uruhu summit in good health and spirits! We had several "summit porters" in addition to the assistant guides that helped us to Uruhu - I am not sure we would have all made it without their encouragement and support. I was specifically assisted by Assistant Guide Yusuph, who carried my bag from Huntman's (?) cave to the summit; Assistant Guide Sam and summit porter Omari Benjamin who helped me quickly "ski" through the scree on the way down the mountain.
As for the equipment (tents, sleep pads, bags, summit jackets, etc) - it was top notch, although there was an occasional ornery zipper on the supper tent :). The sleeping tents were large, spacious, the sleep pads thick and cushy. The jackets, gloves, sleeping bags all very warm and clean.
I should mention that there was an issue with one of our group member's luggage (thanks Ethiopian Air for mishandling). Team Kilimanjaro worked hard to find the bag for us. Although it was never located, we were able to outfit the member with extra rented equipment AND extra clothing that was provided by one of the assistant guides (Sam) and Jonas. Incredible kindness on their part!
Forgot to mention - before we made it back to Kibo Hut when descending through the scree, our wait staff was waiting for us with large cups of super refreshing mango/guava juice - I didn't see any other company waiting on their climbers with such a treat! It was a nice surprise. Also, I will never forget having to repeat Jonas with "uh-huh, uh-huh" many times throughout the day so he could take pictures for the Team Kili blog site, which was a great way for friends and family to check in on all of us!
Bottom line - If you are thinking about tackling Kili, I don't think that you can go wrong with Team Kilimanjaro!!