Joel, Emily, Natalie, Jeremy, Luke and Mikhail, USA
We did the 6-day Rongai route and 5 of our 6 members made it to the summit. One of our team members had struggled with altitude in the past and still managed to make it to 18,000 feet with the support of our guides.
We have nothing but positive things to say about the company we used--Majestic Kilimanjaro. The company is a partnership between an Australian couple and a Tanzanian guide, Tumaini. All of the profits stay in Tanzania, which can't be said for most of the larger companies you'll see advertised. The Australian couple's profits go to a local orphanage that we visited during our time in Arusha. Additionally, Majestic provides its porters with real meals (not just porridge) and pays the porters even if they suffer from altitude sickness or are injured.
Those were the reasons that we chose Majestic originally, but I would recommend them because of the amazing service that we received. My husband was delayed in America (and then Istanbul) because of airline issues and wasn't able to make it to Arusha until a day after our climb started. Tumaini still found a way to send a guide and porter to meet my husband and reconnect him with the group at our second camp. The only additional expense to us was the cost of transporting my husband from the airport to the starting gate. I don't think many companies would have gone above and beyond like this. Additionally, when my uncle was having difficultly with the altitude, one of our three guides stayed behind with him and let him take as much time as he needed on summit day.
We always felt like our guides had our best interests in mind and did everything in their power to help us succeed. Tumaini, the owner of the company, was actually one of our guides and his summit with us was his 130th time! The support staff was also fantastic. Between the hot water for washing twice a day, the tea or hot chocolate in bed every morning, and the private toilet, we were completely spoiled. We also ate like kings, even at the top of the mountain. It gets more and more difficult to eat the higher you climb and having a fantastic cook who is constantly bringing you new things to try (like hand-cut french fries, empanadas,Tanzanian "pizza," and traditional soups and stews) really helps. And nothing is more inspiring than seeing your porters running ahead of you carrying huge backpacks, cooking stoves, and tents, as you struggle to keep walking with your little day pack.
No matter what company you choose, I would highly recommend climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. This was a fantastic, life-changing experience for every member of our team. Every day you see a new beautiful sight, challenge yourself, and bond with your team. I saw many families with teenagers making the climb and it seems like a brilliant way to reconnect (in a place without cell phones). I can't wait to come back with my sons when they are older!
Natalie on behalf of her group.
Visited August 2014
You can read Natalie's full review here
Majestic Kilimanjaro's sleeping tents