This post is dedicated to the guys who made all of our trekking possible. When we started planning for our trip we thought it annoying that you need to book guides to do everything in Tanzania. Having been there I now understand the need for having people there who know what is going on.
The company that we used for our guides was Tusker Trails. They had already been picked by our climbing partners for the reasons of having the best safety and success record for Kilimanjaro. Having worked with these guys, I can see why. Their key to success is safety, comfort, and food which isn’t unlike my own personal philosophy. Our health was checked twice a day and we were watched like hawks for any signs of problems. We had plenty of food and great tents to sleep and eat in.
Aside from that part of their role, they are also great company and have all kinds of knowledge of the mountain and Tanzania in general. It takes a special person to be a great guide.
Elias in the back. A Tusker senior guide
As an example of the importance of safety, Helene hit a low oxygen point on our final ascent up Kilimanjaro. After a few minutes on oxygen and with a little rest she made it the rest of the way with no issue. Without the guides this would have ended her climb.
This incident was a little more scary since while in camp Stephanie stumbled on a rock and went headlong into a big boulder. It could have been MUCH worse but it really brought home how important it is to have people on hand with the right gear to take care of the unexpected.
This is our entire crew including all of our porters. The idea of needing so many people seemed rediculous to me before we went but they are play a crucial role from guide, camp master, cooks, the guys who put everything up and tear it down, etc… From an economic point of view, this is well paid work for a lot of people. If you want a good laugh, you should hear these guys getting excited while playing cards on their time off – priceless!
Mike striking a pose
One of our guides, Liberaty
I have no idea how these guys make the food that we had with so little to work with.
One parting shot of our main guys on the hike, Elias, Mike, and Liberaty
A Park Ranger from Arusha National Park. Eddie took us for a walking tour through part of the park and made sure that nothing trampled us. He also happens to have been in the Kilimanjaro IMAX movie.
Enock, Eddie, and the really touristy looking guy (me). Enock was our guide for both parks and seems to be able to see anything no matter how far or small it is.