Team Kilimanjaro Hot
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.
Kilimanjaro Tour Operators
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!!
Kilimanjaro Tour Operators
One year on...Kilimanjaro
It has nearly been over one year since I signed up with Team Kilimanjaro to climb Kilimanjaro and safari across the Tanzanian plains. I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences on both adventures but I really want to send through my comments on the professionalism and experienced your guides that lead us to summit at Uhuru Peak.
We had two guides, John and Alex and a team to get us up that mountain. I honestly don't think I would have made it up their without our guides, porters and cooks. They made it fun, enjoyable, educational and thoroughly an experience that I will take to my grave and beyond.
I cannot recommend this company and team enough. Every family member and friend that I can or wants to speak about attempting the climb I always recommend this company to them!
Kilimanjaro Tour Operators
Team Kilimanjaro surpassed expectations
I am really pleased that I chose Team Kilimanjaro for our climb. We started off on the wrong foot when British Airways lost one of our bags packed with climbing gear. Our guide John Naiman helped us with a problem that became more complex than expected. I was very impressed by John. Every step of the climb was perfectly coordinated. The extraordinary quality of the meals cooked by William was completely unexpected. The group of cheerful and friendly porters was stimulating and constantly rewarding.
I am 52 and I developed left knee pain on my way up. I discussed my problem with John who was well aware of my limping at the end of the second day. I mentioned to him that I would take a strong anti-inflammatory and that I expected to be better by morning time. The medicine helped by reducing the pain. I thought that I might have a chance to keep going and that I would quit whenever I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew for sure that it was going to be almost impossible to come down. I discussed this with John who was always very encouraging and said “hakuna matata” almost every time we spoke. He mentioned to me that he was going to take an experienced porter to carry my backpack and help me on the way down. Our guide was always calm and when options were proposed by me or my son; he always listened, thought about them and came later with a proposal. My pace was slow. John decided to leave early from School Hut to compensate for my pace. We left an hour earlier and made it to Uhuru peak on time. Our progress downward from Gillman’s Point to Kibo Hut was the hardest. Manasa helped me on the way down. I was limping and going very slow when I arrived to Kibo Hut. John encouraged me to keep going to Horombo where there was a stretcher provided by the park. We spent our last night there and in the morning I was told that everything was ready. Three men provided by the park and two members of TK carried me down, while my 18 year old son ran down with one of the porters.
I am the CEO of more than one company and I recognize organization and leadership. I believe that companies and individuals who make the difference are the ones who manage and succeed beyond the expected routines. Team Kilimanjaro and my guide John just did that.
Kilimanjaro Tour Operators
We would like to highly recommend team kili. Jonas, Jackson and the rest of the team were incredible. They made us feel welcome right away. Keres made incredible for and alouise was so friendly. They supported us so well and we felt like everyone truly cared about our summit experience. On the summit night our guides also sang in Swahili and we had Amani with us to help with a day pack as well as Jackson and Jonas. The three of them sang so beautiful. We will never forget our summit night. Jonas went above and beyond to be sure to share knowledge of the mountain and the animals and plant life. He also took many memorable photos. We can't recommend team kili strongly enough. Thank you to Jonas, Jackson, Amani, alouise, Benjamin, Keres, Jacob, ernesti, Danny...the list goes on. What an incredible team. Jonas watched our health closely and they all made us eat eat eat. A trek like this is challenging physically and mentally and the altitude risk is scary. However, with a team like team kili you can relax and enjoy the mountain knowing you are in good hands.