Wow, what a trip! From start to finish this was really well organised. I loved that Exodus advised who their most recent staff member was who did this trip, a few weeks before we departed. Marta was AMAZING and answered so many of my last minute questions which was really useful. The trip itself was SUCH an achievement. Everyone on our group made the summit which was incredible. I found the hike to base camp ok, so long as I took it slow, but you have to be REALLY motivated and want to make the summit when doing the final ascent. Simply put, it is the toughest thing I've ever experienced mentally, emotionally and physically. In saying that, the guides were INCREDIBLE and worth their weight in gold. They looked after us, provided amazing moral support and were also a physical support on my way back down. You always knew you were in safe and experienced hands which is comforting. The safari after the tour was a great way to wind down and also a cathartic way to process the amazing achievement we all had together, and be able to talk it through with people who knew exactly what we all went through. A great bunch of people in our group from age 21 to 62 and we all got along really well.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
1 - There are many! An overall impression is that I have so much praise for the African Walking Company. All of them were incredible, from the porters who galloped past us as we slowly hiked our way up, having our tents pitched and our luggage in there when we arrived, to our incredible guides who were friendly, funny and knew how to look after us on the mountain to our incredible chef, Milton. He cooked so many amazing concoctions in the middle of a mountain at high altitude, it was just amazing. Every meal was a treat.
2 - And definitely making the Uhuru peak. What an achievement. I was suffering from mild altitude sickness on the summit ascent, and the guides were incredible and looked after me so well. I honestly didn't think I'd make it further than Gilman's Point but they helped me slowly to get to Uhuru and kept a close eye on me. Although I wasn't feeling great, I knew I was always in safe hands and they were just incredible. I look back on that day and still think, how amazing. I can't believe I did it!!
3 - Some of the sunsets and sunrises we saw from Kilimanjaro were just spectacular, and are ingrained in my memory.
4 - And John in our tour. At age 62 he made it to Uhuru. Not only that, but his hiking boots broke on Kili, so he had to continue on in borrowed shoes. Such an inspiration!
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Abraham was our group leader on the Kilimanjaro climb and was fantastic. Managed his team and all of us really well and with good humour. Nothing but praise.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take extra money for personal tips for your guides and porters. I had to borrow money on the mountain from others in our group. The guides are just incredible, and I wanted to give them so much more than I had brought with me, especially the guides that helped me on summit day.
A nail brush is great as your fingernails will get FILTHY!
Lots of loo roll and baby wipes for those charming, in tent 'showers' or wash wash time!
Leave behind ANYTHING you don't need from walking equipment, bags, to leftover medicines e.g. diarrhoea relief, water purification tablets, diamox (if you have it), paracetamol etc. The African Walking Company can use it all!
I took only one pair of walking trousers which were so filthy by the end. Everyone was in the same position, but I would have liked a clean pair to change in to half way through.
The down jacket I hired was SO warm. In fact I was overheating on the summit climb and had to remove layers.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Overall, a great holiday. The only small point I would make was the very early starts every day. Didn't feel like I got a chance to rest fully after the flight from London and every day you're up early. Would have loved a later start (even 10am) on one day, but this is a small point.
The African Walking Company are amazing and I would throughly recommend them.
The tipping guidelines provided once you're in Tanzania were really useful, however I did feel bad tipping our safari driver so much more than our guides as I felt they really deserved more than the guidelines suggested.