10 Day Tour
Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa (5,896m), and the highest free-standing mountain in the world. While this adventure is all about the journey and hiking/camping your way to the summit, standing on the ‘roof of Africa’ is an exhilarating feeling and a memory that will remain with you for the rest of your life. We will spend 7 days trekking on the Machame route to the summit of Kilimanjaro. We also spend an extra day trekking to allow for better acclimatization and significantly reduce the chances of altitude sickness. The route itself features changing landscapes and sometimes the opportunity to spot African wildlife in the lower areas. In fact, we begin trekking through lush forests and scrublands before heading up into the stunning alpine tundra where the summit of Kilimanjaro comes into view. Summit day is on day six up to Gilmans Point on the crater rim and then up to Uhuru Peak and the roof of Africa.
The majority of a Kilimanjaro climb takes place during the day and it is only the summit attempt that starts before midnight in order to reach the summit at sunrise. On our climb, we will aim to summit Kilimanjaro on full moon. Summiting on a cloudless night is an unforgettable experience as the glaciers can sometimes glitter in the moonlight as we inch closer to the summit. Although full moon is rather bright for sleeping and stars are not as visible, a summit attempt during a full moon can sometimes make the climb easier. For instance, you might not even need to switch on your head lamp as the bright moonlight helps provide spectacular views of Kibo from most of the overnight camps. With this in mind, a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro that coincides a full moon can enhance the experience and open us up to a truly remarkable spectacle!
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), a private transfer will take you to your guesthouse in Moshi. After settling in, we will get together for a pre-climb briefing, equipment checks as we prepare for departure the next morning.
After breakfast at the lodge transfer straight to the machame gate for regsitration. The climb starts from Machame Gate (1,800m/ 6,000ft) and after passing through banana and coffee farms at Machame village, the path follows a ridge through dense montane forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the zone from where 96 % of the water on Kilimanjaro originates. On sunny days, and especially in the dry season, this section is lush and beautiful; it can also be a muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently! We have lunch at ‘Halfway clearing a small opening in the trees and continue climbing steadily. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather close to the next camp near the ruins of Machame Hut (3,000 m/ 9,900ft.). We may get our first look at the glaciated dome of Kibo if the evening clouds permit. Approx 6-8 hours walking. Distance 11km.
A shorter day that begins by climbing up a steep ridge to reach a small semi-circular cliff known as Picnic Rock. There are sometimes great views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good rest point too! The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. We then camp near Shira Hut (3,840 m/ 12,600ft) which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro. Close to the huge volcanic cone of Kibo, the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau, and looking across to Mt. Meru floating on the clouds. Approx 4-6 hours walking, Distance 5km.
A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, leaving the moorland plateau behind to walk on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch at Lava Tower (4,550 m/15,200ft.), we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3,900 m/ 13000ft.) which is sheltered by towering cliffs and blessed with extensive views of the plains far below. Approx 5-7 hours walking, Distance 10km.
A steep climb up the Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Ice fields. We camp at Karanga (4,000 m/ 13,100ft.), the last water point, in a steep valley. The afternoon can be spent resting or exploring the valley to help acclimatization. Approx 4 hours walking, Distance 5km.
After hiking out of Karanga Valley, the terrain changes to scree and we climb steeply to reach the campsite at Barafu (4600 m/ 15,300ft.). The remainder of this day is spent resting in preparation for our final ascent before a very early night. Approx 3-4 hours walking, Distance 4km.
We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 12 midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zigzags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5,735 m/ 18900ft.), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the 1 hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,895m/19,340ft.), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3,100 m/ 10,100ft.) at the edge of Mweka Forest. Approx 11-15 hours walking, Distance 13km.
A sustained descent through lush forest with heavy undergrowth takes us to the National Park gate at Mweka (1,650 m/ 5500ft.) Approx 4-6 hours walking, Distance 10km. After signing out at the gate, we drive back to our guesthouse in Moshi.
Free day to take a day trip or relax after the climb.
Airport transfer and end of trip.