A friend and I are planning on going to Kilimanjaro, mainly for two reasons; the sheer spectacle and the achievement. We're both keen walkers but Britain has become small so we're looking further afield. We have looked at Team Kilimanjaro as a potential guide as they offer a route called TK Rongai which appears less commonly used. Our girlfriends have decided to wait for us in Zanzibar or Pemba which is nice of them. We will join them after finishing.
We're keen to avoid statistics concerning completion and while we clearly want to reach the summit we don't want to be among the masses so are going out of season in August (in August as my friend works shifts for Honda in Swindon and this is the close down period). We have a budget for the trek (excluding flights) of £2k and we plan to use the clinic in London (can't find the name) that puts you through a series of tests to judge your ability to acclimatise to the altitutde. We don't want to rush so are planning on taking an eight day trek.
Has anyone used Team Kilmanjaro or even their TK Rongai route, if so would you recommend it?
Failing that, what would be the best tour to pick?
What is the clinic that performs the tests I mentioned?
Are there packages including flights that I have so far overlooked?
Is August a good time to go (I believe this is outside the rainy season)?
Will our girlfriends be safe in Zanzibar or Pemba for the time we are away?
Alternatives to Zanzibar?
Any other relevant advice for preparation, things to avoid, things not to miss.
Any advice is welcome.