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Experience an incredible adventure in African highest point and world's highest free-standing mountain, Kilimanjaro. You will be taken on a longer and more scenic way so you can experience the southwest and south sides of the mountain. It might not be easy, but don't let your fear hold you back. Your safety and comfort are foremost as you bring your dreams to life and craft them into lifelong memories.
Along this journey to the top, you will stay at Machame camp, Shira camp, Barranco camp, Barafu camp, and Mweka camp. Tents and foam sleeping pads will be provided.
Your day will start with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 50-minute drive from Moshi to Machame Village where your guides and porters will prepare your equipment and supplies. You will receive a lunch pack, and you can also buy mineral water in the village. The lithe road is very muddy so it may be impossible to drive from the village to the Ivlachame Gate. In this case, it will take you an hour to complete the muddy 3-kilometer walk to the gate.
After registering at the park office, you will start your ascent and enter the rainforest immediately. Heavy rains on this side of the mountain often transform the trail into a soggy, slippery experience, so good footgears, trekking poles, and gaiters are useful. You will enjoy a welcome lunch stop halfway up and will reach the Ivlachame camping area in the late afternoon. Your porters will arrive at the camp before you and will erect your tent before you arrive. In the evening, the porters will boil drinking and washing water while the cook prepares your dinner. Night temperatures can drop to freezing at the Ivlachame camp.
You will rise early at Ivlachame camp, and after breakfast, climb for an hour to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours through a gentle moorland. After a short lunch and rest, you will continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira Plateau where you will be able to see Kilimanjaro's great Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. Sometimes, the walls of the Western Breach are draped with extensive ice curtains. After that, you will be in the west of Kibo on the opposite side of the mountain from the Iviarangu route. After a short hike west, you will reach the Shira campsite. The porters will boil drinking and washing water before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will be colder, with temperatures dropping below freezing.
After breakfast, you will hike east up a steepening path above the highest vegetation toward Kilimanjaro's looming mass. After several hours, you will walk through a rocky landscape to reach the prominent landmark called Lava Tower at 4,630 meters / 15,190 feet. This chunky remnant of Kilimanjaro's earlier volcanic activity is several hundred feet high, and the trail passes right below it.
For extra credit, the surefooted can scramble to the top of the tower. After a lunch stop near Lava Tower, you will descend for 2 hours below the lower cliffs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall to Barranco camp at 3,950 meters / 12,960 feet. There are numerous photo opportunities on this hike, especially if the walls are festooned with ice. Barranco camp is in a valley below the breach and Great Barranco Walls, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for your dinner. On this day, you have to be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness.
After spending a night under the imposing Great Barranco Wall, you will climb this awesome obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley and goes over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka route, which will be your descent route. You have now completed the south circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles.
For now, all eyes will still be on the summit, so you have to turn left and hike up the ridge for another hour to the Barafu Hut. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley. There is no water at Barafu camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for ice. The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, windswept ridge, so you have to make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. You also have to prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb. This should include replacing your headlamp and camera batteries. To prevent freezing, you have to consider carrying your water in a thermal flask. You will go to bed by 19:00 and try to get a few hours of precious sleep.
You will rise around 23:30, and after some steaming tea and biscuits, you will shuffle off into the night. Your 6-hour climb northwest up through heavy scree between the Rebmann and Ralzel glaciers to Stella Point on the crater rim will be the most challenging part of the route for most climbers. At Stella Point (5,685 meters / 18,65011 feet), you will stop for a short rest and a chance to see a supremely sanguine sunrise.
At Stella Point, you will also join the top part of the Kiarangu route, but you will not stop here too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. Depending on the season and recent storms, you may encounter snow on your remaining hike along the rim to Uhuru Peak. On the summit, you can enjoy your accomplishment and know that you are creating a day that you will remember for the rest of your life.
After your 3-hour descent from the summit back to Barafu camp, you will have a well-earned but short rest to collect your gear, and then hike down a rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest to Mweka camp (3,100 meters / 10,17011 feet). This camp is in the upper forest, so you can expect mist or rain in the late afternoon. After that, your dinner and washing water will be prepared, and the camp office sells drinking water, soft drinks, chocolates, and beer.
After a well-deserved breakfast, you will take a short, scenic, 3-hour hike back to the park gate. You should not give your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely, but do remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates.
Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak will receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3-kilometer, 1-hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In the Mweka Village, you will be served a delicious hot lunch after which you will be driven back to Moshi for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night in Zara Tours' Springlands Hotel or similar hotel.
You will be taken to the top of Kilimanjaro through the Machame route.
All food and drink provided on expeditions are fresh. The chefs will prepare delicious meals with fresh, local ingredients. These meals are nutritious and calorie dense, specifically designed to sustain your pleasure while on adventures. They also will cater to all special dietary requirements so you can choose to eat based on a typical, vegetarian, or gluten-free menu.
Gluten-free breakfast might consist of porridge, eggs, bacon or sausage, fresh fruit, and coffee, tea, or hot chocolate to drink. For lunch and dinner, you might get vegetable soup, rice / potatoes / pasta, meat and veggies in a mystery sauce, and fresh fruit. There will also be some post-trail snacks such as freshly popped popcorn or freshly roasted peanuts, as well as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. For typical and vegetarian menus, you can see the examples of what you might eat during your safari below.
Your typical menu will consist of a bun with salami and cucumber, green pepper, carrots, and fruits for your lunch. Your dinner will include soup with bread, fried beef with roast potato, rice, carrots, cabbage, and fruits as well as tea or coffee. If you are vegetarian, you can eat vegetable soup with toast, spaghetti / fried potatoes / vegetable sauce, mixed salad / fruits, and tea / coffee.
Your typical menu for breakfast will include oats with milk / boiled egg / Spanish omelet / fried egg with bacon, and bread with tea or coffee. Your dinner will consist of spaghetti with meat sauce / fish with rice, and tea or coffee. For vegetarians, breakfast will include fresh fruits / porridge / toast with jam, honey, or butter, as well as tea / coffee / milo. Lunch will consist of tomato sandwich / bread / biscuits / fruits / tea / coffee/ popcorn, while dinner will include fresh vegetable soup / sandwich / pancake / plain chips/ eggplant vegetable/ fruits as well as tea / coffee / milo.
Your typical menu for breakfast will include boiled egg / Spanish omelet / fried egg with bacon, bread with tea or coffee, and fruits. Your lunch will consist of boiled egg, salami sandwich, cheese, and fruits. Your dinner will consist of beef goulash with beans, bread with tea or coffee, and fruits. For vegetarians, breakfast will include fresh fruits / porridge / toast with jam, honey, or butter, as well as tea / coffee / milo. Lunch will consist of cucumber sandwich / carrots / biscuits / cakes / fruits as well as tea / coffee/ milo, while dinner will include vegetable soup / mushroom soup with toast, rice / vegetable sauce, green vegetable / fruits, as well as tea / coffee / milo.
Your typical menu for breakfast will include tea or coffee and biscuits, orange squash, or soup. Your lunch will consist of French toast, macaroni with meat sauce, and bread with tea or coffee. Your dinner will consist of roast chicken with vegetable fried rice, green pepper, carrots, pancake with honey, as well as tea or coffee. For vegetarian, your breakfast will include fresh fruits / cornflakes / toast with jam, honey, or butter, and tea / coffee / milo. Your lunch will consist of plain chips / French toast / fruits, and tea / coffee / milo. Meanwhile, your dinner will be comprised of vegetable soup / mushroom soup with toast, macaroni / vegetable sauce, fruits, and tea / coffee / milo.
Your typical menu for breakfast will include oats with milk, boiled egg, Spanish omelet, fried egg with bacon, as well as bread with tea or coffee. For vegetarian, your breakfast will include midnight light tea with biscuits, while your lunch will consist of orange squash / tomato sandwich or spaghetti mixed with vegetable sauce / vegetable soup /tea / coffee / popcorn / biscuits. Your dinner will be comprised of vegetable soup with pancake, rice mixed with vegetable / vegetable sauce, fruits, and tea / coffee / milo.
The best option to reach Moshi / Kilimanjaro is by a flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Upon your arrival, you can take Zara Tours' shuttle from the airport to Moshi at an extra cost amounting to 20 USD one way.
If you are coming from Nairobi, you can take a bus shuttle that connects Nairobi and Moshi. The cost is 40 USD per person each way. It will take approximately six hours, leaving Nairobi at 08.00 a.m. every morning.