For both Janice and I the Kilimanjaro climb, and the whole experience with Tusker and the Tusker people was truly awesome. I have told so many people how impressed we were with Tusker, the climb, the people that helped us so much, but have been remiss in not telling you as well.
We were so impressed, first with the guides Urio and Stanford, their whole approach in making sure we understood what was going to happen and ensuring we were as prepared as possible, was outstanding. Their attention to detail, and in particular the discipline around safety and medical checks was amazing and very reassuring to say the least. I am sure that you know this, but they are so proud of the fact that their medical and safety training is so much better than the other companies, and their willingness to help others along the trail is so refreshing. They love what they do, and that they are so well trained to do it, and it shows.
I must tell you a couple of stories by way of illustration. On the fourth day on the mountain, we were one of the last groups to arrive at Karanga camp, as we had left later that morning, to let the congestion on the Barranco wall clear a little, before we started. As soon as we approached the hut to sign in, the Park guys came running out, excitedly greeting our guides and asking them to bring their medical gear and come with them. It turned out that some porters had found a young child 7 or 8, lightly dressed, lost and unconscious down by the river and had brought him to the hut. He had apparently been wandering around for several days, and was in pretty bad shape suffering from exposure and exhaustion. Our guides worked on him for some time and were able to stabilize him and bring him to the point where others were then able to carry him off the mountain that evening. What we found interesting, was that there had to have been dozens of guides in that camp before we arrived, but they had been waiting for our guys to get there to help, because they knew they were the best.
A second incident occurred when we were descending from the summit back to Barafu camp, we were sitting by the trail having a rest, when a guide came along carrying a woman who had fallen and broken her leg, on his back. We were still a couple of hours from the camp, the guy trying to carry her was exhausted and she must have been in excruciating pain. In any case, our guys who were carrying a collapsible stretcher with us, took charge and got her strapped onto that and organized a group to carry her the rest of the way out.
These were just two of many times on the trail that their willingness to help, and their pride in being able to do so, were so evident. It also made us feel so good, that it was our guys who could and did help, these incidents are very strong memories for us, and they are stories that we have now told many times since.
There is no doubt in our minds we would not have gotten to the summit without these two guides, and we would certainly not have enjoyed it all as much as we did, but for them, they were outstanding.
Similarly, the rest of the crew was great as well. The food was fantastic, our chef Albert did a great job. The camp was always well prepared when we got there, and everything was so well organized. When we approached every camp, at least one guy, sometimes more, would come out and meet us, to see if they could help by carrying a pack or something, the rest of the way. The young man Hamisi, who was with us every step of the way carrying the safety gear was so good, at every stop helping with our packs, getting us a water bottle, whatever he could do.
Thank you also Haley, all the arrangements were great, everything worked like clockwork, including the Safari part of the trip. For all of us, this was probably the most memorable vacation we have ever had, and should we consider another trek, we would not even think of using anyone but Tusker.
Thanks again for everything,
Janice, Duane and Carolynne