by Team Kilimanjaro August 08, 2012
Team Kilimanjaro far exceeded my high expectations.
We just returned from our climb with Team Kilimanjaro in June 2017. I had high expectations for our hike and attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro with Team Kilimanjaro since TK came highly recommended from a friend who climbed with them two years ago – the recommendation was so strong I didn’t even research or consider another outfitter and guide team. However, my high expectations were exceeded thanks to the outstanding crew led by the incomparable and outstanding chief guide Faraja Mwaijande. It’s no small thing to put effectively put your well-being and health in the hands of strangers, albeit capable and experienced strangers; however, when Faraja told us during the pre-climb meeting he has summitted the mountain more than 400 times, any lingering anxiety about trip safety and comfort evaporated. Faraja was essentially the trek CEO, managing logistics, the route (Lemosho, which had to be adjusted when a bridge washed out), and the crew, and kept an attentive but respectful eye on my husband and me as we adapted to the challenges of invigorating daily hikes (including a couple of extra acclimatization hikes) and thinning oxygen. Faraja also has an excellent baritone singing voice which he busted out (leading the entire crew) a couple times when he could tell we really needed a pick-me-up. But as Rome wasn’t built in a day, it wasn’t Faraja alone that got us to the summit, safely and comfortably. We covered every inch of the climb with assistant guide Frank Leonard (with over 100 summits to his name) who was very attentive and knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor, and probably kept me from breaking my ankle on the descent when he caught me more than once as I started to tumble. Abdala Mbega was also extremely helpful and served multiple roles on the climb, and was on the small team (with Faraja and Frank) who led us on final summit, motivating us all the way to the top, and then got us back down quickly and safely when I got a mild cause of altitude nausea. But that’s not all! We were so well fed – 3 hot meals a day, on a mountain, plus afternoon tea. And the food was great, thanks to chef Leopard Amon. I still don’t know how he managed, it but it was all very strategic – each meal was multiple courses, meant to keep you fueled, warm, and hydrated, but also very, very tasty which is important because you tend to lose your appetite as you ascend. Between the great food and the toilet tent (expertly managed by Peterson Kimaro), it was a much more comfortable camping experience than I was expecting. We weren’t able to speak too much with the porters due to language, but they were extremely friendly and helpful – we were able to bridge the language gap a bit with our little bit of Swahili and their broader familiarity with English. The only thing I would have done differently is to bring our own sleeping bags – the ones we rented from TK were a little long in the tooth. I think the TK website recommends bringing your own, but I must have missed that part. However, the crazy thick and very comfortable sleeping pads TK provided made up for the too old and beaten up sleeping bags.
To sum up, I strongly recommend climbing with TK for their superior guides (you can a book your climb with our guides and chef!) and crew and for the good value and flexibility TK offers – I was amazed to find we could book a private climb (just my husband and me) for less money than group climbs offered by some other outfitters who don’t appear to offer private climbs at all, let alone at the good value of the TK package. Also, since we wanted to go on safari after the climb, it was very convenient to book the safari through TK. The TK safari was also an outstanding experience due in large to part to our fantastic guide Innocent, but I’ll cover that in a separate review.