This is a guest post from Tusker climbers RD Jansen who sent us the following letter after their February 2016 Kilimanjaro climb.
Dear Tusker Trail,
Thanks to a great team from Tusker we summited Kilimanjaro on Feb 13, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. and it was wonderful! We had a fabulous trip from first step to last, albeit the last few were bloody painful… yes indeed, the downhill portion was so much more difficult than the climb!
The Kili 360, 11 day Kilimanjaro route was excellent and we were amazed that our sixty year old bodies acclimatized beautifully with not a single issue throughout the entire trip. We kept waiting for the headaches, waiting for the nausea, waiting for the loss of appetite, but all to no avail. We felt marvelous the entire trip thanks to the long acclimatization period. The twice daily health checks, including blood oxygen levels, were most comforting and confirming of what we felt.
Our guide Kombe and his team were incredible in their care of just the two of us throughout. Chef Tosha’s meals were delicious and his banana fritters will be forever in our top ten list of best food ever! The entire crew of 17 were at all times professional, kind and so very helpful to us. Watching them set up and take down camp was like watching a lovely dance as everyone knew exactly what their role was and it just seamlessly unfolded with joy. Your gear was excellent – gaiters, down jackets, sleeping bags, tents, dry bags and those lovely thick sleeping mattresses. What a pleasure it was for us to live daily with really top of the line gear. We followed our guides Kombe and Liberaty’s advice meticulously – we drank the litres and litres of water daily, we output the litres and litres of pee hourly, we ate and ate, we washed and sanitized our hands constantly, and we kept positive even on the days when it rained heavily on the “dry” side of the mountain. Our goal was to enjoy every moment and our mantra for every step was to “walk as if our feet were kissing the earth,” or the mud, or the snow!
We were not hikers prior to this trip but eight months ago we hit the gym and the stair climber became our best friend. We followed the great info you sent us when we signed up a year ago and it worked beautifully to get our legs in shape. The climb was really challenging and going 120 km around the mountain really tested us, but with a positive attitude, incredible support from Kombe, and a lot of pole, pole, we amazed ourselves daily. The climb to the summit was actually easier than some of the first days hikes and we totally enjoyed our 8 hour trek from Kibo Hut to the top. It was absolutely beautiful to climb to Uhuru Peak in daylight and the weather graced us with sunshine and beautiful views. Close to the summit we had the joy of walking in snow with brisk winds blowing across the glacier to give us a little dose of the Canadian winter we were missing.
We could go on and on about what an excellent adventure it was but what stood out in our minds most of all was how safe we felt throughout the entire trip. The Tusker team was exceptional in keeping safety as the priority every single moment yet still making it a joyful and really fun experience. For that we will be eternally grateful.
All the best for your future summits!