-Donna Hidalgo –Canada

After intensive research we decided to go with ClimbKili as our outfitter for climbing Kilimanjaro via the Machame route. Booking was easy and questions were answered promptly. They send you a very good information packet prior to the climb which proved to be very helpful. You can also rent equipment from them (we rented sleeping bags and trekking poles). Transfers were smooth, there were no logistic issues when we arrived (except for a slight oversight on a safari we booked in advanced, to be reviewed separately). We had our team meeting debrief the day prior to leaving for our hike on schedule. We were lucky enough to be grouped with 6 other individuals from different backgrounds. We ran into many larger groups during our trek and considered myself lucky to be in a small group since you're guaranteed to get to know everyone intimately including the porters and guides. The hike for me was tough, I was likely the weakest link in the group but no one made me feel rushed and I always felt encouraged along the way. The highlight (second to reaching the summit) for me was the crew (guides and porters), so friendly and always made us feel at home. They reminded me that they were there for us, to help us as much as they can. Emanuel was our lead guide and I can honestly say that if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have made it to Uhuru. He helped me both physically and mentally. Summit night was very cold and he even lent me one of his layers, he will go the extra mile to make sure the trip was a success. He is very good at what he does and both my husband and I trust him completely. Veda and Chichi, other guides, were also always there, you can sense they kept a close watch on you and making sure we are doing fine. I was worried about altitude sickness but I somewhat left that at the hands of the guides, as long as you listen to your body and communicate how you are feeling to them, you will be fine. My advice is to listen to your guides, make sure you eat (even if you lost your appetite), drinks lots of water, look down, and of course, pole pole. The rest of the crew was icing on the cake, from the 'waiter', Joseph, who took care of us while on camp, to the chef, Magambo who always had a big smile. In the end, we all made it to the top, and we celebrated accordingly with traditional songs, at one point, even the park ranger joined us. What fun it was! In my opinion, what makes a trip great is not the trip itself but the connection you make with strangers who end up being friends. Making it to Uhuru was emotional and life altering but thanks to our new friends, Emanuel and the crew, they made this challenging feat fun and unforgettable.
donna (2)