Vicki and Alun Cooksley on the Top of Kilimanjaro

Dear Gerry,

When I decided I wanted to go to Africa to celebrate my 50th birthday, my husband said we had to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. I agreed, tentatively. Then a friend told me about Kiliwarriors. Upon learning what they had to offer, especially personal porters and showers (what girl could go more then a few days without washing hair?), the prospect became more attractive and I was able to look forward to the experience. The reality far surpassed any expectation and then some. It truly was one of the best and most amazing experiences of my lifetime. 

The team (we had 30 to support us 4) was so friendly and so supportive. I do not want to name names as I know I will miss someone. Everyone was important and appreciated and we could not have succeeded without all of them. Their guidance (polepole) and encouragement never left any doubt we would make it to the top. Everyone made the experience special and enjoyable. Yes, there are several individuals we interacted with closely and daily and they will always be remembered as dear friends. The food was delicious and exactly as needed each step of the way. Hot tea in bed in the morning and hair washing made it that much more comfortable. Porters made it easy. They carried all supplies, including all of our stuff (clothing, sleeping bags, tents, and day packs) and had it all set up for us upon our arrival, with everyone smiling, welcoming and high fiving us at every camp. And following the carefully and slowly placed footsteps of our leaders up the mountain made it possible. 

We saw others on the mountain who did not succeed. I suspect in many cases they went up too fast. The slower, overall 9 day, approach to climbing Kili, I believe, guaranteed our success. We did several smaller steps up the mountain, as well as some climb high and sleep low days. We also did use altitude drugs and this probably helped. Not one of us 4 (age range 50-70) felt ill at any stage and we all summited strong and feeling great. Also of note, a great thing about Kiliwarriors was, unlike most of the other companies, on the night before summit, we sleep at high Barafu (aka Kosovo) which allowed more acclimation - especially as we again hiked high and slept low - then those who sleep down at Barafu. Of further note was the fact the Barafu camp people leave at midnight and, in my opinion, have a horrible climb between Barafu and Kosovo in the middle of a dark and cold night. We departed at 5 am, heading up terrain we had hiked the afternoon before, and experienced a brilliant sunrise very early in to our climb and were able to enjoy our summit experience in the light and warmth of the sun. Definitely a more enjoyable approach. 

Climbing Kilimanjaro was one of the best experiences of my life, and this was entirely because of Kiliwarriors and the people I climbed with - friends old and new.  I also speak for my husband and friends and say we will all be forever grateful to have used this company to help us fulfill this goal in the most comfortable and supportive manner possible.

After the climb, Kiliwarriors then took us on a 4.5 day safari through Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro crater, and the Serengeti. This was a dream come true for me. Our eagle-eyed and knowledgeable guides were able to locate every type animal possible, especially the cats! The accommodation was beautiful, comfortable and unique. Food was delicious. A perfect adventure and follow-up to Kili and I highly recommend this not be missed. 

Asante sana Kiliwarriors!
You are the best. 

Vicki Whyte & Alun Cooksley (Alberta, Canada)