Climbing Kilimanjaro with Dad

A test of strength and grit followed by an accomplishment you’ll never forget – could there be a better bonding activity between a father and his son or daughter?

We’ve happily facilitated countless treks that have turned into special moments between fathers and their children. For Father’s Day, we’re highlighting just a few with quotes from the trekkers themselves.


Tom Rohrer and His Son Harrison

Kilimanjaro with father son duo

Our experience in Tanzania was simply spectacular. Our trip up Kili was far more beautiful and rewarding than I ever could have imagined. We all learned so much on our trek up. As I mentioned before, Deo Francis (guide) was amazing. My son peppered him with questions about all things Africa and he answered them all with remarkable depth and a terrific sense of humor.

I look forward to joining you on more adventures in the future. Thanks again for an experience of a lifetime!  Harrison and I could not have been more pleased with our experience. – Tom 


Jeff Maggioncalda and His Daughter Julia

trekking with my dad up kilimanjaro

Years ago, out of the blue, my daughter told me that she wanted to climb Kilimanjaro with me. Last Christmas I surprised her when I said we were going to climb it in 2015, though I had no idea at the time how I was going to make this happen.

My main criteria were: (1) safety, (2) summit success, (3) beauty and (4) comfort. It took only modest effort to learn that the 9-day Western Approach with Thomson was the best choice given those criteria, and our experience on the mountain exceeded my already high expectations.

Our 12-guest group of strangers were supported, educated, and entertained by a staff of over 60, including 6 guides and 51 porters.  We bonded from the outset. The guides and other staff were as much a part of the team as the guests.

We all felt proud that we were part of a team that made it to the top! And my daughter, Julia, and I shared an experience that we’ll never forget. – Jeff 


Larson Wade and Her Father Boyd

hiking with my dad

I spent my spring break in Tanzania, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with my father. Everyone asked us how we got the idea to do something so “random.”  Well, my dad and I have been trying to think of a fun and special trip we could go on together, and over fall break I got the idea to climb a mountain.

Little did I know that when I suggested this to my dad, he would actually agree. Within about three weeks, he told me that all of the flights were booked, and we would be departing for Tanzania on March 8th.

As March 8th speedily approached, I grew more and more anxious. If there were ever two people to go almost completely unprepared to Mt. Kilimanjaro, it was me and my father.

Wednesday morning, we left the outskirts of Arusha and drove to the base camp of Kilimanjaro. I began to realize how real this was. The months leading up to this trip, it really just felt like an idea and now it was my reality.

Lucky for me, I was surrounded by the most caring people. Matthew, one of the porters, whom my father and I both came to love dearly after only spending six days with him, kept taking water bottles out of my backpack for me, hoping that lightening my pack would make this brutal climb easier for me. My dad saw how weak I was and took my backpack for me about half the way up the wall, which honestly probably made a difference in my making it or not.

Finally, we made it to the top and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I just burst into tears, partially from excitement and relief that I made it and partially from the -20 degrees. I realized how soon I would be returning to the reality of my life and I’ve never been so devastated. If I could have stayed in Tanzania forever, I promise I would have, but that was not possible.  – Larson 


Tony Marshall and His Son, Brother and Father

dad son and grandfather climb kilimanjaro

A lifelong dream was fulfilled in spectacular fashion with the help of Thomson Safaris and their first-class guides and service.

Three generations of my family; my son, brother and nearly 70-year-old father were seeking expertise and comfort at a relatively modest price in order to achieve a successful summit.

Without the help of the Thomson Safari guides, (Edward, Mr. Minja, and Gaudance), it’s unlikely that my father would have summited. My family is forever grateful to yours for an epic journey. – Tony 


John Thelen and the Family

climbing kilimanjaro with my grandfather


It was great being with my sons. We helped each other. At altitude, everyone needs a little help.

Going up the last day, I was right behind Andrew (guide). When he took a step, I’d take a step. He knows all about altitude and the rest step. I copied him.

My son was having trouble. I didn’t know this, but he was saying ‘if my father can take another step, so can I.’ I was saying the same thing about Andrew! – John 

John Thelen, at 82 years old, was our oldest summiteer. Read about his story here.


Lauren Boitano and Her Father Frank

summit with my father on kilimanjaro

On Thursday, January 17, 2013, my father, Frank, & I accomplished a goal we’d been preparing ourselves for the past year (a goal my dad had been dreaming about for over 15 years!) when we reached Uhuru Peak, the 19,341 foot (5,895 meter) summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

I am SO proud of my dad, myself & everyone else on Team Tembo (“tembo” means “elephant” in Swahili) for having the strength (both mentally & physically) to reach the summit. And the fact that I got to share the entire adventure with my 65-year-old father makes it that much more special.

Dad – I’ll never be able to thank you enough for bringing me along on this trip of a lifetime & taking such great care of me when I was sick in order to help me get better & continue trekking to the summit. You’re an absolute ROCKSTAR for seeing this dream through! I love you with all my heart & I cannot wait to continue celebrating with you in New Orleans this weekend! – Lauren