I spent two years planning and preparing for our families’s climb. In my research for a climbing company, Kiliwarriors stood out almost immediately for a number of reasons. I felt that the “all-inclusive” package was perfect for us. We did not have to purchase items, such as sleeping bags and trekking poles, that I knew we would most likely not have much use for in the future. Having personal porters was important for us since none of us has hiking experience and although we are all fit, not having a heavy pack on our backs all day made all the difference in our success. Also, I appreciated that tips were already figured in the price as I knew that the subject would have distracted and made me anxious, even during the climb. Finally, it was important to me that Kiliwarriors is not a fully foreign run company, but that Wilbert, as a Tanzanian, is a co-owner.
The physical comforts on our climb really exceeded my expectations in so many ways. The sleeping bags with the pallets were really comfortable! I slept like a baby in those tents. The toilet tent was easier to use than I imagined and we were all so grateful to have it, even at lunchtime. Pure luxury. The food that we were served also greatly exceeded all of our expectations. We loved the popcorn and hot tea and hot chocolate ready for us in the afternoon after a long hike. The soup each evening before dinner was always delicious…my kids have never eaten so much soup! The fried chicken, fish and grilled cheese and tomatoe sandwiches were a personal favorite. the fact that fruit was served at each meal was impressive. We all ate very well. Also, the one “shower” that my daughter and I each managed to take (due to weather) on the third day made us feel human again…clean hair!
Finally, our group of porters became so special to us. I don’t want to start naming people because I know I will forget someone. Wilbert of course was just an amazing guide. We met him for the first time at the NYC Travel show the year before and seeing his smiling face at the Kilimanjaro airport airport when he picked us up after an 18 hour flight was just the beginning of our bond with him. He was both warm and professional at the same time. I felt so safe placing my family (husband, 18 year old son, and 22 year old daughter) into his obviously capable hands. The whole group really became so special to us. Seeing their smiling faces each afternoon as we entered our camp and the song and dance greeting gave us the feeling of coming home each day. It was especially moving when we got back down to Barafu after all four of us had successfully summited to the Roof of Africa. I was exhausted from the eight hour climb up and the 2 hour climb down, but seeing all of their faces and hearing their enthusiasitc congratulations made me feel so proud and also lucky that they were they ones who guided us up. We couldn’t have done it without them.