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Katherine Smoots–US

Katherine Smoots–US

I am not quite sure where to find the words and how to adequately convey our thanks and appreciation for one of the most amazing and incredible experiences our family has ever shared together!   It was ABSOLUTELY EXTRAORDINARY!

We are back home now in North Carolina, and still trying to process our wonderful adventure and time in Tanzania with ClimbKili. From the first email inquiry I sent last December, to the hugs and tearful goodbye at the Summit Lodge, you and your staff were outstanding! Thank you for the excellent communication, your prompt and quick responses to the answers to our many questions, your flexibility as we arrived a day later than we anticipated in Arusha, the material you supplied to ensure we understood all details and most of all, for arranging for our family to have the absolute best team of guides and porters possible.

From our drivers (thank you Emmanuel, Gideon and Simon) to the ClimbKili staff we met in Arusha (thank you Dinah!!) to our fabulous porters (Wilson Ali, Anton, Innocen to name a few and I’m sorry I just can’t remember everyone’s names, but I will hold all of their smiling faces in my heart) our cooks (Justin and Florian) to the Summit Lodge staff to the most outstanding guide, Herment Mosha, and his team of Raymond and Godlev….we won the lottery!!!!  Herment’s knowledge, expertise, and support was second to none. I credit Herment, Godlev and Raymond and the whole team for getting our entire family to Uhuru…all the way to 19,341 ft. physically (safe and healthy) and mentally (in positive, happy spirits.)

We loved the Summit Lodge in Arusha…the entire staff could not have been more engaging and accommodating! Dinah welcomed us and made us feel so comfortable right away…the meals were absolutely delicious and rooms were wonderful, complete with hot water (desperately needed for showers upon our return from the climb!)  And thank you for the wonderful birthday celebration for our middle son, William, on May 22! The staff had decorated his bed with colorful pompoms and surprised him with a delicious birthday cake following dinner!

I really can’t say enough wonderful things about Herment and his team. We knew we were in the best hands possible after meeting him at the Lodge! I have a bad left knee (no cartilage) and Herment did everything to support me, holding my arm as we descended (going down is hardest for me) the Lava Tower in the rain, carrying my daypack all the way up to Uhuru on Summit night and back down to Mweka Camp that day and leading me step by step down the rocky descent to the exit. I am eternally grateful that his support allowed me to reach the Kilimanjaro Summit with my family! Herment was kind, patient, encouraging, knowledgable (I learned so much about the land, the mountain zones, Tanzania’s history, wildlife, vegetation and new Swahili vocabulary from him) and truly vested in my family’s health, safety and helping us achieve our goals. (I told Herment, Godlev and Raymond I knew they were such good fathers…I could just tell from their gentle, compassionate and kind spirits.)

Herment’s entire team was exceptional. The morning songs were incredible…so happy and inspiring and totally motivating. We treasured those mornings and hearing those voices on the mountain…and we miss them all so much. Hot tea in our tents, popcorn snacks, hot soups and delicious meals at every turn…we had more than enough and appreciated all the hard work, the effort, the energy and the positive attitudes of our “ClimbKili family!”  And thank you as well, for an unexpected treat on May 25…my birthday…when Justin surprised me with a birthday cake on the mountain and our whole 21 member team surrounded us in our dining tent to sing “Happy Birthday!”  There will never be another birthday like that one!

And I would be remiss, if I didn’t thank you for arranging for Steven Silaa to be our Safari Guide!! Our three day safari (with flight to the Serengeti) and visit to the Ngorogoro Crater and Tarangire National Park was tremendous. Steven was simply awesome!  Patient, knowledgeable and so accommodating! He welcomed us to the Serengeti with an up close viewing of a male lion right off the bat! Cheetahs, mama leopard with cub, lions, zebras, hyenas, zebras, giraffes, 2000 herd of migrating wildebeests, ostrich, gazelles, rhinos, buffalo, hippos, monkeys…I think we truly saw it all! Our accommodations were lovely (we particularly enjoyed the Ngorogoro Wildlife Lodge) and we loved our time in the LandCruiser with Steven!

We had an amazing adventure and have already shared photos and stories with so many friends at home…and have actually passed along ClimbKili’s name to a couple of friends who are seriously considering doing this trip…we’ve told them that you are the absolute BEST and are the only ones to travel with!

We truly had a amazing experience and thank you all for making this a dream come true.

With much gratitude,

Katherine Smoots