Elite Kilimanjaro was born out of an experience shared by Marcus and Amy Wirsig and friends. They made their pilgrimage to Mount Kilimanjaro in January of 2012 to achieve their goal of summiting the worlds tallest free-standing mountain. Along the way, they were confronted with several ugly realities of overseas travel accommodations: itineraries changed and unexpected fees arose. Even though they booked with a US-based agency, there was clearly a lack of communication between the seller and the providers. Despite all of these, the Wirsig’s and their companions still had a phenomenal time. After their trek, they decided that they could offer a better service with a more personal touch. And so Elite Kilimanjaro was born.
In reality, the circumstances that aligned to create Elite Kilimanjaro started churning years before, while Marcus and Amy were undergrads at Missouri State University in 2002. Marcus grew up on a large farm outside of Deepwater, MO, which instilled in him a passion for the outdoors and adventure. However, working on the family farm did not interest him and so he went to school to study Computer and Information Systems/Web Application Development. Amy grew up in a rural area outside of Cameron, MO. She began formal dance training at the age of 3 and continued all throughout her school years. When she wasn’t immersed in dance classes or performances, her family would regularly go on weekend camping trips which she enjoyed thoroughly. Amy continued her formal training and performed on the Missouri State Sugar Bears dance squad while earning her degree in Mass Media. They met at school when Amy was a freshman and Marcus was a sophomore.Marcus proposed while still in school, but they waited to get married until after Amy graduated in 2005.
Marcus had been working with Cerner, a health care information solutions company, throughout school and began working for them full time after graduation, which landed them in Kansas City, MO. Amy worked in ad sales for a Kansas City radio station for a short while before moving on to manage the marketing department of a manufacturing and distribution company. In 2009, Cerner needed Marcus to relocate to one of their Middle East offices in Dubai. Marcus and Amy packed up and moved halfway across the world to Dubai, where they bounced between there and Kansas City for the next five years. The experience of living in a foreign country not only broadened their world view, but it reignited a love of travel and adventure in both of them. Amy had studied ballet and traveled to New York City, London, and Paris to perform while in high school, so being out of the country was familiar and exciting. Marcus had done less world traveling, but they couldn’t resist exploring the region they now called home. Some of the highlights involve jungle trekking and camping in northern Thailand, exploring ancient ruins in Sri Lanka, traveling to Jordan to float in the Dead Sea and wander through the massive village of Petra, exploring the inner-tombs of the Great Pyramids of Giza, visiting the the inside of King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and canyoning and surf lessons in Bali. The love of travel is what brought them to Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2012. Of all the adventures the Wirsig’s have experienced, climbing Kilimanjaro by far had the greatest impact on them. They immediately fell in love with the mountain, the wildlife, and the people. Marcus and Amy became close with the owner of the local Tanzanzian tour operator while in country and kept in touch after returning home. Soon thereafter, they, along with two other companions, brought Elite Kilimanjaro to life.
Now, in 2014, the Wirsig’s have returned to the United States and have a renewed focus on growing Elite Kilimanjaro. Their goal is to help others experience the beauty and majesty of Tanzania, by both climbing Kilimanjaro and exploring the Serengeti on safari. Marcus and Amy hope to continue to travel as much as they can from the States and want to share their experiences and stories. Check out this website for more information about Marcus & Amy Wirsig and Elite Kilimanjaro.