After intensive googling and emailing and phone calling, I decided to go with the reviews on tripadvisor and book everything with "Sirikwa African Adventure", I am glad I followed the reviews.
First thing to mention is, ALL our checked luggages were delayed by two days, just in time to screw our climbing! Oinoth was able to help us out in renting/lending everything from thermo pants to trecking boots. This is the basis for our successful climbing. Thank you, Oinoth!
And also, the warning on internet is true: WEAR your trecking boots and jackets on board. They DO screw up checked-in luggages.
The 6 days kilimanjaro climbing via Marangu route was kind of a tough one, mainly due to the rapid increase altitude. Although taking altitude-sickness pills, two out of four of us showed a headache, as well as lost appetite. Needless to say, less rest and less food, plus intensive schedule, all became difficult.
On the plus side, the organization of the climbing by Sirikwa African Adventure crew, our guides, our cook Nick , Porters ,With all the encouraging and support,and pole pole slogan we finally made it to Uhuru peak at 9:50am, possibly the latest of the day:)
A bit of hint : The Kibo camp is a crowded and noisy place, with only limited water supply (all carried by porters from lower camps). So grab ANY CHANCE to sleep when you can, regardless of time. We planned to take a longer nap, rescheduled our dinner, however the noisy roomates and other climbers dinning right outside the room made it impossible to sleep at all. Needless to say, without proper rest, the final ascending just becomes more difficult.
Another thing to mention is that, despite the negative reviews on internet about how tour guides under-tip the porters, our crew was quite fair on this point. During the final tipping day, each porter stood in one line, and we got to tip each one of them (quite generously, indeed, after that much experienced, 50$ no longer seems that much to you...) .
Followed by the climbing we took a 3 days safari to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and Tarangire. The driver Paul was very experienced, without whom we couldn't have been in time to watch the extra-rare black rhino. The cook, Isack, was also wonderful, even treated us a roasted beef special for my friend birthday.
The most special and hence unforgettable experience, however, was the last two days we spent at the orphanage as short-term volunteers. Oinoth, the director of Sirikwa African Adventure has devoted so much into the orphanage, we could see happiness on the faces of the children. If it's possible, we shall return, not only to safari in Serengeti, to climb Kili again in rain season, but also to spend more time with the children. They are the true future of this continent.
May we also suggest , if possible, plan a few extra days to spend at the orphanage: no payment, but will help a lot, as there is always loads of work with all the children there.
Thanks to all our crew, who jointly gave us the wonderful experience. And especially to Oinoth, who made it possible despite the delay of gears, and even kindly invited us to his place for late-hang around before the mid-night flight back.
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