A fantastic trip which fulfilled a dream, a great group, great guides and porters and a real sense of achievement upon reaching the summit, Uhuru Peak. The safari was an excellent chance to relax and recover whilst being spoilt by viewing some of the most magnificent animals in the world.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Sunrise at Stella Point is a memory which will stay with me forever, as well as looking up and seeing that famous Uhuru Peak sign in front of me. We had perfect weather conditions and the photos we captured are amazing. Also though, to share the trip with some genuinely lovely people was great and although not everyone made it to the top, the team spirit was there till the very end.
As for the safari, does it get better than a cheetah just a metre away or a male lion within touching distance?!
- What did you think of your group leader?
Florence was our group leader and he certainly is an inspirational man, great people's skills and a fantastic leader on the mountain, we were in good hands with Florence. I was fortunate not to need one to one assistance from any of the guides but consequently didn’t get the chance to get to know some of them like the others did. I am sure though if I'd needed it, they would have been there for me, like they were for others in the group.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Plan and prepare well. Don’t under estimate this mountain, it is a trek which any reasonably fit person can do but make it easier on yourself by getting that backpack on and hiking lots before you go, gym work is fine but it doesn’t beat getting out hill walking with your equipment. Speaking of which, make sure you have the right gear, borrow if you can’t afford it but don’t skimp on less than adequate sleeping bags / jackets etc. A good night’s sleep is essential and freezing to death won’t help with this. On the summit day I wore 6 layers on the top and 3 on the bottom but because the 3 of us walking together kept a good steady pace, I was a bit too warm! Take a decent lip balm and high factor sun cream. Jelly babies got me to the summit (they don’t freeze and don’t melt!). A small karabiner to hang my camera on from my waist band was my most treasured item, having it to hand at all times was ideal (except on summit night when it needs to be buried under layers). Trekking poles also highly recommended, essential for me on the descent. Also, drink as much water as you possibly can from day 1 and listen and take advice from the guides, they know their stuff!
Binoculars for safari are really useful, open sandals are fine and small canvas bag or similar is ideal so backpacks can be kept in the back of the jeep with other luggage, leaving more room for moving around the vehicle when spotting those animals!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Above all, if summiting Mount Kilimanjaro is a dream of yours, then book it now and go for it - you won’t regret it I promise! If you have the funds and time then adding the safari is ideal, it gives you time to relax and enjoy Tanzania and stops your family and friends seeing you fresh off the mountain! I've travelled with various companies too and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending Exodus to book and travel with. Organisation, from office staff to the leaders, both on the mountain and the safari, couldn’t be faulted.