Mariana Arnoldi at the top of Kilimanjaro

Good morning, Gerry,

     I would like to share a few thoughts this morning, on “the day after”. I don’t really know where to start, as my heart is so full of our Kili-experience that I tend to get emotional just by thinking back. From the very first moment I realised that we are not just “tourists”, but a person, someone with a name.

     I have a close friend who did a 5-day hike (with another company) some years ago, and she tried to prepare me as much as possible for what to expect, but you took me by surprise and outperformed my very highest expectations. There are so many things that deserve to be mentioned, but what surprised me the most was definitely the attitude and spirit of the whole team who assisted in going up the mountain. The way in which they were there to help, congratulate, encourage and assist us, left me without words. They are the most sincere people I have ever met. Their sense of responsibility and friendliness were something that really stood out.

     Apart from all the above, there are certain things which are really worth mentioning: 

1) The fact that there was a personal porter available for each of us to carry our daypacks. Apart from saving energy, we could freely use our cameras and just enjoy a leisurely hike. 
2) The fact that there was a hot lunch prepared for us in a tent, made us feel superior compared to other groups. 
3) The fact that the toilets were set up at each camp site, even at lunch, meant a lot for (especially) me (trust me on that one….). 
4) The welcoming singing and dancing of the crew, the hi-5’s we received after every day’s hike – that is the one thing that still brings tears to my eyes and will for ever be one of the most enjoyable memories. 
5) Coffee/tea/wash water etc. at out tents in the morning – who would expect that? First class service! 
6) The group leader (Hosea)’s and others’ concern about our health. 
7) The showers!! (you are the best) 
8) The quality of the meals (I wanted to steal Manuel and bring him back home). 
9) The porters. On difficult days, one of them (Edward, who carried my duffel bag) even took off my gaiters and shoes at the tent, tried to clean them the best he could and even put some rocks under my feet so that my socks don’t get dusty. That kind act filled me with appreciation that is difficult to explain to anyone. 
10) Every personal porter who walked with us every step of the way, who had a water bottle ready whenever we stopped for a break, who even sometimes told us where to put our feet or with which hand to grab a rock.

     I could go on much longer, but I will suffice with this. You have very strong leaders among your staff, and it is good for us to know that you look after your people, you pay them well and is concerned about their health too. We would have loved to give so much more, for it is clear that there are certain needs, but I hope that by telling people about your excellence, we could bring more people to make use of your company. I have no doubt in my mind that you are the best. You made absolutely sure that our Kili-experience was something to be cherished for a lifetime.

Kind regards,

- Mariana Arnoldi (Pretoria, South Africa)