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Ann Harris Davidson–US

Ann Harris Davidson–US

There is not enough room to document all the positive things that there are to say about using the professional trekking company Climb Kili for a safe, successful summit of Kilimanjaro. Our initial research, along with conversations with friends and acquaintances who had successfully climbed Kilimanjaro, had led us to contact Climb Kili.
Climb Kili’s first-class service started from our first contact with this company, through its office in the U.S.A. (when we had previously been unable to get the hike that we wanted from two other operators). Tiffany Watson of the U.S.A. Climb Kili office was readily available, responsive, and patiently answered all our queries, assuring us that we could have the expedition route that we wanted, on the dates that we wanted, and at the price that we were prepared to pay. Tiffany was so helpful that we signed on to use Climb Kili following our first conversation with her.
We signed up to do the 8-day Lemosho Route, with the final night at the high Kosovo (“Upper” Barafu) Camp. Our group consisted of five people who happen to have been born in five different countries on four continents — in the U.S.A., in Zimbabwe, in Swaziland/eSwatini, in Australia, and in China. Then, our ages and age range (a 71 year-old man, with four women aged 69, 67, 65, and 17 years) could have posed challenges for successful summiting but the Climb Kili guides were completely unfazed by having four senior citizens to the guide to the summit.
Our lead guide was Goodluck Minja; he was endlessly supportive, positive, cheerful, helpful, collaborative, professional, and safety conscious. Additionally, and perhaps most crucially, he led an amazing team of similarly hard-working, kind, solicitous people. His assistant guides were Junior Ramson and Gaudrence. (It was Junior who led me and my Australian friend up the final fearsome slope to Stella Point and on to the Uhuru summit just as dawn was breaking on July 18th, 2019 — and we are 67 and 65 year-old women.)
Goodluck’s other support team members were all equally fabulous. Elisamehe, the chef, produced hot three-course, three-star meals at all the camps (all the way up to Kosovo Camp at 16,000ft / 4,877m), including a different soup every day (vichyssoise, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, carrot, etc.). Michael served the piping hot meals to us in the mess tent. Benson kept the zippers on our tents working in freezing temperatures. Ladslaus needs special mention, as he hauled, set up, and maintained the private, chemical toilet that we were able to use at every camp. Nelson, Pascal, Ali, Mohammed, and all the other porters did a mind-bogglingly difficult job with grace and good humor. They ran ahead of us up the steep climbs, carrying the tents and all the gear (including our sleeping bags and other essential gear, leaving us only having to carry a day pack with our water, snacks and necessary clothing) on their heads and backs (along with their own gear) to set up the camp for our arrival.
Goodluck was also flexible enough in his planning to split our group into two groups for the final push to the summit — to increase summit success by recognizing that there would likely be differing speeds as we headed up that final steep climb in the dark. So, one group of three set out from Kosovo Camp at around 1:00 a.m. and the remaining two members left at 2:00 a.m.
It was an experience of a lifetime. I had done it to honor my parents, who died 30 and 50 years ago, after having spent nearly 30 years (1939-1968) in remote parts of Africa, in British government service, working to improve the health of Africans. Thus, I am so very grateful that Climb Kili made my ascent to the summit possible and I strongly recommend using Climb Kili (and, specifically, Goodluck Minja and his team)