I have just arrived home after an ultimate Kilimanjaro experience that was life changing. We had Kilimanjaro’s Number one Guide leading the way which was a great privilege. Firstly, if you are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro do it with Ian Taylor Trekking. The difference in quality, guides, service, food, and tents is notably better.
Kilimanjaro is on the Bucket List
It has been my dream to climb Kilimanjaro since I was a small child. My uncle came here 20 years ago and remember seeing the pictures from his adventure and it inspired me to make this journey. I actually think I will be back to have this experience again over the next few years.
Before the trip, I wasn’t sure 8 days was necessary, but Ian really advised taking more time for better safety. After climbing Kilimanjaro, I have to say having more days on the mountain offered our whole team the opportunity of the summit. More than that it gave our staff an easier ride to the High Camp and made for an overall better experience.
Along with that we had more time to experience each part of the mountain without having rush through the whole experience. The Lemosho route over 8 days was the best trek I have ever been on. The scenery, grade of the trail in the early acclimatization period was perfect for easing our way into the trip. Day 3 crossing the Shira Plateau gave us that additional acclimatization that made all the difference.
We watched a bunch of other groups coming from Big Tree Camp 2,800m/ 9,200 feet to Shira 2 Camp 3,900m/ 12,800 feet and get altitude sickness and have to be evacuated out of Camp. It is quite aggressive to jump up to almost 4,000m/ 13,000 feet from sea level after one nights sleep. We witnessed a bunch of other people very sick in Shira Camp 2 and Barranco Camp 4,000m/ 13,000 feet. No wonder the success rates are around 60% on Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide
Athumani, what can I say about this amazing guy. His leadership, information, support, and friendship were invaluable throughout the whole experience. He is also known as AT Kilimanjaro, Captain or King of Kilimanjaro was inspiring. In 2019 he was voted Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide and It is well deserved. His reputation on the mountain was well known by all the other teams. Athumani was vital in my success on Kilimanjaro and can’t thank him enough for helping me reach my goal.
I have to say hydration was extremely important. Next to oxygen, water is the most important substance that our body needs to survive. Water makes up 60% of our body weight, and blood is normally about 94 percent water when the body is fully hydrated. Now, I am pretty sure that this is no surprise to any of you out there. However, I can’t tell you how many times I have been out backpacking, hiking or mountaineering with folks that just don’t give proper hydration the attention that it deserves. Read more.
We were extremely lucky to have 4 person Mountain Hardwear tents for 2 people. You could also have your own tent for an additional fee. These tents were much bigger than the other tents I saw on the mountain. These tents had more space than 2 or 3 person tents I saw on the mountain. We also had a Mountain Hardwear Dome tent which could fit up to 20 people with comfortable camping chairs.
Our food on Kilimanjaro was first class. I watched other groups with boxed up and bagged up food. We had three, three course meals each day but fresh fruit, the best soups I have ever tasted and amazing meals throughout the whole trip. The varity of food was amazing and there was so much food available to us. The chefs are fully sponsored by Ian Taylor Trekking, meaning all their college fees were covered. Over 20 other staff members have had their college fees paid by Ian Taylor Trekking. Some to become chefs, Guides and Safari guides. Read more.
The Dream Team
We were treated to the best crew on the mountain. It was great to see all the staff had proper trekking boots and access to the gear needed for the trek. Ian has a store of gear that the staff can access for each trip. The kit is being replenished continually which is great. You can leave any gear you want for the crew at the hotel reception with Athumani’s name on it. The team is full of wonderful people from Richie, to Saide. We were treated to songs at dinner time and real friendship as this team worked extremely hard to move us up and down the mountain. The Dream Team are truly inspiring!
The Summit Night
The summit night is more challenging than I expected. You need to follow Ian’s advice on training, making sure you have the correct leg strength and endurance for this challenging night and day require. Most people going to the summit were under prepared. I saw six or seven guides assisting people upwards, the trekkers all looked in bad shape. I saw one guide carrying four backpacks of the clients he was leading up the mountain. People were coming down wasted and totally not prepared for the steep terrain and lack of oxygen. Pretty sad!! Read more.
Clean up After Yourself
I watched our guides bring down bags of rubbish from the route to the summit. There were hundreds of hand warmers spread across the mountain. I also saw a lot of Juice boxes, tissue, red bull cans, energy gels packets just left right on the trail. This is an absolute disgrace.
Also, just off the trail there is so much toilet paper spread across the whole mountain. Please, please bring zip lock bags and pick up all your tissue paper and add to the trash bag provided at the dining tent each day.
Train for the Downhill
Do not underestimate the downhill challenge. From the summit at 19,341 feet you trek down to 5,500 feet at Mweka Gate over a 29 hour period with rest at Mweaka Camp 10,170 feet. This is extremely demanding and requires excellent and specific preparation.
I feel like most people train for the uphill but training for all the downhill is extremely important on Kilimanjaro. Your quads and upper calves are going to be under a lot of pressure so get after the training and preparation. Read more.
Kilimanjaro’s Number 1 Guide
Athumani is the Number one Guide of Kilimanjaro. The Dream Team are the best crew for this adventure, but the role Ian and Laura play is so important. They make sure this ship sails perfectly. Thanks to Ian Taylor Trekking for producing such great material, for developing a service that is second to none. I have to say thank you for making my experience a once in a lifetime experience. I can not thank you enough.
Susan Munroe, Kilimanjaro 2023.