You've accepted the challenge, and now you're off to Tanzania to conquer Kilimanjaro, the most formidable mountain in Africa. Its snow-capped table is famous the world over, and it will take you multiple days of ascent before you can plant your flag atop it. No doubt it's hard work, but rest easy knowing that, even though this behemoth dominates the landscape, almost anyone with grit and determination can reach the top.


  • 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

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
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  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Arusha, Transfer to Moshi

Arusha City
Arusha, Tanzania

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 Activities

Pre-climb briefing & Afternoon Relaxation
After the pre-climb briefing, relax during the afternoon
In 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. 
The ascent up Kilimanjaro will take six days, and during the hike, you'll pass through five climate zones as you ascend Kibo, the tallest of Kilimanjaro's three volcanic cones. Know that weather conditions on this mountain run the gamut. It's warm and humid in the forests of the lower slopes, while the glaciers and snow of the summit zone make for a bitterly cold environment. Expect sun, wind, and rain on this multi-day hike.
Despite Kilimanjaro being a relatively easy hike (the trails aren't steep), there is the risk of altitude sickness. To reach the summit from the starting point means an elevation gain of over 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in just a few days. It's therefore imperative you don't push yourself too hard. Your guide will be there every step to ensure you acclimate properly to the altitude. 
After your prep, you can spend the rest of the day relaxing. Perhaps enjoy an optional activity, such as a cycling excursion or coffee tour. If you are a coffee lover, you'll want to opt for the latter. After all, Tanzania is the third-largest coffee producer in Africa, and this bean is its largest export crop. It's a great opportunity to sample this country's deservedly famous robusta and arabica roasts

Day 3: Transfer to Kilimanjaro National Park, Hike to Machame

Kili trek
Off to Kilimanjaro
After 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. 
Eventually, with permits in hand, you'll be ready to hit the trail. The starting point is the Machame Gate, which sits at 5,720 feet (1,740 m). This is the most popular of all seven Kilimanjaro hiking routes and is typically completed in around six days. It offers some of the best views and interesting ecology.

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.
Hiking duration: 5-6 hours
Distance: 7 miles (11 km)
Ascent: 4,002 feet (1,220 m)
High point: 9,950 feet (3,050 m)
Plan your trip to Tanzania
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Shira 2 Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro
After 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.
Hiking duration: 6-8 hours
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 Tower

Kilimanjaro's Lava Tower Camp
After 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).
Shortly after leaving Lava Tower, you'll arrive at a junction that leads up to the Arrow Glacier (15,944 ft/4,860 m). From there, it's a descent to Barranco Camp (13,066 ft/3,983 m), where you'll overnight.
Hiking time: 6-8 hours
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 Camp

Trek to Karanga Camp
Trek to Karanga Camp on Kilimanjaro
Today'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. 
The hike continues on the South Circuit route, leading to the Karanga Valley. Your destination is Karanga Camp (13,250 feet/4,050 m), where you'll break for dinner and overnight. 
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
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 Camp

Kili Barafu Camp
Barafu Camp, Kilimanjaro
After 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.
Once here, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of both Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. This camp is situated on an exposed ridge, so you should familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark. Try to get as much rest as possible, as you'll need to wake around midnight to begin the final ascent to the summit. 
Hiking time: 4-5 hours
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 Mweka

View of the Uhuru Peak at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
Prepare 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.
Then it's another hour hike from Stella Point up through constant snow to Uhuru Peak. It will be a hard slog, but once you arrive, you can content yourself with the knowledge you're standing at the highest summit of Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft/5,895 m). This is the highest viewpoint in all of Africa (hopefully, you didn't forget your camera). 

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.
Hiking time: 7-8 hours up, 4-6 hours down
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 Moshi

Back to Moshi
After 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.
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
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

Goodbye, Kilimanjaro

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!

More Great Tanzania Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Tanzania? Check out these other Tanzania itineraries, with outdoor adventures, beach vacations, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of Hiking Kilimanjaro - 10 Days
Map of Hiking Kilimanjaro - 10 Days