Kilimanjaro is permanently snow capped and Africa's highest mountain set in the northern part of Tanzania. It offers one of the best opportunities in the world to climb a peak at a high altitude without the need for technical climbing ability. The trek takes you through well-defined altitudinal vegetation zones, from semi-arid scrub to dense cloud forest. To top it all off, you will also experience the exciting game viewing in Kilimanjaro National Park.
You will be accommodated for 5 nights at several campsites in Mount Kilimanjaro. This package also includes 2 nights' stay at a hotel before and after the program.
Mandara Hut is a collection of basic, A-frame mountain huts with bunk beds – quite adequate for your needs – where you will inevitably meet up with fellow trekkers who are bent on the same goal.
This is another collection of buildings similar in style to those at Mandara Hut which offer shelter and basic accommodation to those on the mountain.
Kibo Hut is located at 4,705 meters altitude. It's a dry-stone-walled hut with dormitories and restricted facilities.
In the morning, you will drive about 2 hours through Kilimanjaro surrounded by semi-tropical foothills to Marangu area which is situated on the south-eastern side of the mountain. As you drive, there is usually some admirable views of the snow-capped peak of the mountain.
On arrival at Marangu Gate, you will meet your team of guides and porters, pick up any last-minute supplies for the trek, and head to the entrance of Kilimanjaro National Park to register for the climb.
From the cluster of buildings at the gate, it is some four to five hours' walk through patches of coffee plantation and dense rain forest to Mandara Hut. The forest teems with brightly-colored bird life, colobus, and other varieties of monkey.
The flora includes numerous mosses, lichens, and flowers, as well as delicate orchids. If the skies are clear, you may have fine views over the town of Moshi lying at the boundary of the plain far underneath.
The second day in the mountain begins with a steep climb all the way through the last envelope of rainforest, while this soon gives way to rolling alpine pasture scattered with giant heather.
Once you depart the forest covering, you will see the Kilimanjaro twin peaks – snow-covered Kibo and rocky Mawenzi – which lie straight in front, dominating the skyline. You will also see them when you cross a zone of an open heath with stunted vegetation, before emerging onto bleak moorland.
Today, you will gain roughly 1,000 meters in altitude, and your walk can take from five to seven hours – depending on your pace. Tonight, you will stay at Horombo Hut.
The third day provides you an opportunity to get to adapt yourself more and more to the altitude. Statistics show that an adaptation day like this effectively doubles the chance of making it to the summit, so make sure this time is well spent.
The day will not exactly be wasted as there are a few walks you can make in the surrounding area of the hut – the most popular of which is to the base of Mawenzi Peak, the spectacular eastern summit of Kili. It takes four to five hours and will get you to reach the altitude of 4,600 meters before you return to the hut – this will stand you in a good stead later on. The overnight stay will be at Horombo Hut.
The countryside will become more rocky and uneven as you leave the everlasting flowers and other bizarre alpine plants behind. You can see giant groundsels and lobelias appear in the sparse moorland.
Today’s trail to Kibo will take around five to seven hours. You will skirt Mawenzi Peak and cross a stark, almost lunar landscape onto “The Saddle”, a broad tundra desert between the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo.
From there, you will get to see unbelievable views of the upper reaches of the mountain before arriving at Kibo Hut (4,705 meters). Tonight, you will prepare for tomorrow’s final beating – the summit - repack to leave any unnecessary items with the porters; you need to summon all your energy to get to the summit so there’s completely no point in carrying anything you don’t need.
An early night's rest is imperative as you must make a midnight start in order to reach the summit in the morning before the cloud cover settles, and then have time to get back down to the hut. The overnight stay will be at Kibo Hut.
This day will be long and demanding. The guides will wake you soon after midnight and you will start out in darkness, zigzagging up a long scree slope by the light of your torch in the extreme cold. At this time of day, the scree is still frozen – which makes it easier to walk on.
After roughly two hours, you should reach Hans Meyer’s Cave. The gradient gets steeper and three hours on this is the hardest stretch of the ascent, you should reach the crater rim at Notch.
Afterward, it’s a short scramble to Gillman’s Point (5,685 meters) in time for the crack of dawn. Your reward is the dramatic spectacle of the sun rising over the ice fields and craggy peaks of Mawenzi – the profusion of colors and shapes make all the suffering seem worthwhile. For those who still have the energy and drive, it takes another couple of hours along the crater rim to reach Uhuru Peak 5,896 meters.
Your fall (approximately 3 hours) retraces the route back down past Kibo Hut to Horombo Hut for a well-deserved rest. The overnight stay will be at Horombo Hut for 1 night.
The pace quickens as you continue your triumphant way back down across the alpine meadow and past Mandara Hut through the rainforest to Marangu Gate where you board the vehicle for the journey back to Arusha.
Your safari trip and trekking will take place in Mount Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania.
You will be served daily meals on a full-board basis which include breakfast, lunch (hot or picnic), and dinner.