- Embark on a multi-day hike up Mount Kilimanjaro
- See unique wildlife as you hike through different ecosystems
- Snap photos at incredible viewpoints throughout the trek
- Enjoy panoramic vistas from the Kibo summit of Kilimanjaro
|Day 1||Arrive in Arusha, Transfer to Moshi||Moshi|
|Day 2||Pre-Climb Briefing, Optional Activities||Moshi|
|Day 3||Transfer to Kilimanjaro National Park, Hike to Machame||Kilimanjaro National park|
|Day 4||Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp||Kilimanjaro National park|
|Day 5||Shira 2 Camp to Barranco Camp, Stop at Lava Tower||Kilimanjaro National park|
|Day 6||Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp||Kilimanjaro National park|
|Day 7||Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp||Kilimanjaro National park|
|Day 8||Barafu Camp to the Summit, Descent to Mweka||Kilimanjaro National park|
|Day 9||Kilimanjaro National Park to Moshi||Moshi|
|Day 10||Moshi to Arusha, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Arusha, Transfer to Moshi
Welcome to Tanzania! Located in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, this country is known for its vast wilderness areas. Famously, it's home to the Serengeti ecosystem, where millions of plains animals migrate around its fertile savannas. You'll arrive in the northern city of Arusha, and even from here, you can catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro, the mountain you'll conquer during this unforgettable trip of a lifetime.
At 19,341 feet (5,895 m), Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's tallest mountain and the largest free-standing mountain in the world. It's a dormant volcano that last erupted around 360,000 years ago. In more recent times, it's been celebrated in lore and literature to the point it has taken on almost mythic status—everyone recognizes the iconic snow-capped table of Kilimanjaro. And in the time since the mountain was first summited in 1889, it has become a bucket-list destination for both pro and amateur hikers worldwide. Now it's your turn.
Upon arrival at the airport in Arusha, a personal driver will be waiting to transfer you a little way east to the town of Moshi. Located at the foot of Kilimanjaro at an altitude of around 3,120 feet (950 m), this will be your base for the ascent up the mountain. It's where you'll prepare, meet your guide, and ultimately embark. After checking in to your hotel, you should take a stroll around town, as Moshi is a lovely place in the heart of Tanzania's coffee country.
Day 2: Pre-Climb Briefing, Optional ActivitiesIn the morning, you'll meet your mountain guide for a pre-climb briefing and equipment check. Besides the requisite camping gear, make sure you have your trekking boots and poles, gloves/mittens, a water bladder/bottle, a neck gaiter/scarf, beanie/hat, and headlamp. Also, you should carry a medium-sized daypack with a capacity of around 25-35 liters. In it, pack your sunscreen, sunglasses, food, water, valuables (passport, money, etc.), and extra layers of windproof/waterproof clothing.
Day 3: Transfer to Kilimanjaro National Park, Hike to MachameAfter breakfast, depart Moshi with your guide and drive into Kilimanjaro National Park. This 45-minute trip is a scenic excursion in its own right, as it passes alongside charming mountain villages. Once in the park, you'll have some time to mill about as you wait for your permits to be issued. There will be a lot of other hiking groups doing the same as they wait to embark, so feel free to strike up a chat.
The first day of trekking, however, is a breeze. Enjoy the beautiful rainforest scenery as you hike up winding trails. As you do, your guide will reveal insight into the exotic flora and fauna you pass. Common animals include aardvarks, mongooses, and black-and-white colobus monkeys. Note that the trail can be muddy and quite slippery at these lower elevations. The hike ends once you reach Machame Camp, which sits at 9,950 feet (3,050 m). Here you'll make camp for the night.
Distance: 7 miles (11 km)
Ascent: 4,002 feet (1,220 m)
High point: 9,950 feet (3,050 m)
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Machame Camp to Shira 2 CampAfter a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, you'll break camp and continue the ascent. Today will take you up out of the forest into another ecological region. Temperatures will drop, and you'll feel the cold more acutely. There are stunning panoramic views as you hike up to the rim of Shira Plateau, which stretches 8 miles (13 km) to the west of Kibo, and sits at an altitude of around 12,500 feet (3,810 m). Your destination is the Shira 2 Camp, where you'll overnight.
Distance: 3 miles (5 km)
Ascent: 2,493 feet (760 m)
High point: 12,500 feet (3,810 m)
Day 5: Shira 2 Camp to Barranco Camp, Stop at Lava TowerAfter breakfast, depart Shira 2 and head up along the trail into Kilimanjaro's Alpine Desert. This eco-zone gets its name because it's generally barren, rocky, and devoid of plant life. To arrive there, you'll follow an ascending path that crosses the Lava Tower Camp (15,091 ft/4,600 m), where you'll stop for lunch. The camp is famous for its giant monolith comprised of dried volcanic rock that rises 290 feet (90 m).
Distance: 6 miles (10 km)
Ascent: 623 feet (190 m)
Descent: 2,877 (877 m)
High point: 15,944 feet (4,860 m)
Day 6: Barranco Camp to Karanga CampToday's route begins with crossing the floor of the great Barranco Valley and then ascending to the Barranco Wall. This sheer rock formation rises from the side of Kilimanjaro 843 feet (257 m), and you must scramble over it. Though it requires no technical rock-climbing skills, it does take more than a bit of agility and strength.
Distance: 3 miles (5 km)
Ascent: 164 feet feet (50 m)
High point: 13,250 feet (4,050 m)
Day 7: Karanga Camp to Barafu CampAfter breakfast, you'll hike up to Barafu Camp. This point sits at 15,330 feet (4,673 m) and is the endpoint of the Southern Circuit trek. As always, be mindful of the daily change in altitude.
Distance: 2 miles (4 km)
Ascent: 2,232 feet (650 m)
High point: 15,419 feet (4,700 m)
Day 8: Barafu Camp to the Summit, Descent to MwekaPrepare yourself for a hyper-early start between midnight and 2 am. This final push to the summit is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. You'll ascend through heavy scree up to Stella Point, on the crater rim. This is one of the three summits of Kilimanjaro and sits at 18,885 feet (5,756 m) between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. Once here, you'll take a break to enjoy the most magnificent sunrise views of the trip.
After enjoying the incredible panoramic views, you'll begin the steep descent down to Mweka Camp. This is the fastest route down the mountain, and we recommend using gaiters and trekking poles to contend with the loose gravel and ashy terrain. You'll stop at Barafu Camp for lunch and a brief rest on the way down. A much longer and well-deserved rest awaits you at Mweka Camp (10,039 ft/3,060 m), where you'll spend your last evening camped out on the mountain.
Distance: 3 miles (5 km) up, 7 miles (12 km) down
Ascent: 3,920 feet (1,195 m)
Descent: 9,199 (2,804 m)
High point: 19,340 feet (5,895 m)
Low point: 10,137 feet (3,090 m)
Day 9: Kilimanjaro National Park to MoshiAfter breakfast, you'll make your way down to Mweka Gate on the last leg of the hike. This is the exit point of Kilimanjaro National Park and thus the end of the circuit. There will be a bit of fanfare to commemorate the experience, as once you arrive, you'll receive a certificate of completion. Then you'll transfer back to Moshi, where you'll overnight.
Distance: 6 miles (10 km)
Descent: 4,685 feet (1,427 m)
High point: 10,137 feet (3,090 m)
Day 10: Moshi to Arusha, Depart
Well, you've conquered the mountain and made incredible memories. Now it's time to bid Africa a fond farewell. After breakfast, your driver will transfer you to Arusha and the airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!
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