That summit day is no joke, and there were certainly points in time I did not think I was going to make it, but we did!
The staff was wonderful. They went above and beyond in every way possible, and I cannot recommend them enough. All three of our guides truly cared about us and about our success. I had heard that some guides don’t actually try to get their groups to the top because they don’t get paid any more to do so, but I felt it was the complete opposite with ours—they pushed us and helped us take our time and were patient with us so that we could make it to the top. Seraphine was with Tim, Emma, Ben and I most of the time on summit day, and he made sure we were drinking water, he checked on us to make sure we looked ok, and he encouraged us to keep going when we all wanted to stop at Stella Point. The guides also knew we couldn’t make it down to the last camp on summit day, so they changed camp sites so we could sleep a little bit because they knew how exhausted we were—they changed plans after evaluating us, and I think that shows how much they monitored us. I think it took a few days for the group (guides, porters, and hikers) to warm up to one another, but I think that was due mostly in part to the language barrier, although I was very impressed with the language proficiency of our guides and even a good amount of porters. We interacted with Douglas the most, and he was wonderful. He took great care of us and never complained when we forgot to give him a water bottle to fill or when we weren’t quite ready for our coffee in the morning when he was. I hope one day he becomes a guide because he would be great at it. The hotel staff in Arusha was wonderful, especially Stella. We also loved all the hotels we stayed in, although Acacia Farm Lodge was by far the favorite. Benny was also great on the safari. He found lots of animals for us and had a good network of associates with whom he could get information about other animal sitings, allowing us to see even more. I did feel like we left a little early some days, but I also understand there are constraints with the national parks.
Overall this was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful I was able to go.