Kilimanjaro, the “Mountain of Greatness”, is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. While you may have your own reasons for wanting to climb Kilimanjaro, one thing is common among all those who visit – the desire to stand on the highest peak of Africa. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a demanding, challenging feat. Yet, despite its immense height, Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed successfully by any reasonably fit person. No technical skills are necessary, making Kilimanjaro the highest, most accessible, “walkable” mountain on the planet.
On your way up, you will traverse several different ecosystems – walking through rain forests as well as alpine meadows, through rocky ravines and past lunar landscapes to the spectacular summit of Africa’s highest peak. The towering snow-covered cone rising majestically from fertile green foothills is definitely something worth experiencing. For those still entirely unacquainted with the mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro is a volcano situated quite close to where Africa’s three main tectonic plates meet. This classic trek follows the most popular route to Mont Kilimanjaro and is the only one serviced by mountain huts that provide protection from the elements. This exhilarating six-day climb is fully supported by a team of experienced professional mountain guides and porters.
Meeting at Kilimanjaro airport. Transfer to the hotel and check-in.
Hiking time: 5h
Distance: Approximately 8.1 km
Habitat: Mountain forest
The drive from Arusha to the Kilimanjaro National Park gates takes about 2h. The journey takes us through the village of Marangu, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. Porters will be seen arranging and loading their packs containing food, water, cooking gas as well as your personal equipment.
Our professional guides will be available to assist with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the Park gates and ascend along a cleared ridge trail through the rainforest. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are to be found.
Your first overnight stop will be at Mandara Hut, consisting of a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing.
Hiking time: 6h
Distance: Approximately 11.6 km
From Mandara Hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. It is well worth a short detour to scramble up the rim of the Maundi Crater for your first really impressive view of the Kibo Crater. On a clear day, Kibo will glimmer in the distance, showing off her majestic glaciers in the morning sun. Once you are in the open moorland you will get a chance to see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular plants – the endemic giant lobelia which can grow to 3 m in height, as well as the giant groundsel (Senecia Kilimanjari), which can reach heights of 5m! After about 6 hours trekking from here, you reach the Horombo Hut.
Hiking time: 3h
Distance: Approximately 5 km
Horombo Hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau. Horombo is normally bustling with hikers, guides and porters, permeated with adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here. This extra day and night at Horombo is meant for additional acclimatization. A day here provides an opportunity for you to acclimatize to the altitude gradually, to help maximize your chances of climbing all the way to the summit. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatization. Retire to bed early and get your last good night’s rest.
Hiking time: 6h
Distance: Approximately 9.6 km
Habitat: Alpine desert
After breakfast you will continue your ascent into the Alpine desert habitat. Situated in the barren Alpine desert is Kibo Hut, a house built of stone blocks.
The summit is now a further 1195m up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski pole and thermal clothing for your summit bid. This should include replacing your headlamp and camera batteries and making sure that you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing, it would be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed early, around 7pm, and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 hours to descend to Horombo
Distance: Approximately 5.4 km ascent and 15 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit
You will wake around 11.30 in the evening, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5681m), which is located on the rim of the crater. From Gillman’s Point, it is normal to encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru Peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend taking photographs there, before the 3-hour descent back to Kibo Hut. After a short rest you will gather all the gear you left behind for the ascent and will head down to Horombo Hut (3 hours) for your overnight stop. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly short compared to the ascent. Later in the evening you will enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned night of sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Hiking time: 6h
Distance: Approximately 19.7 km
After breakfast you will continue your descent, passing the Mandara Hut, down to the Marangu gate. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. The climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) will be issued green certificates, and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) will receive gold certificates. You now drive back to Arusha for a long-overdue hot shower, dinner and celebration!
This is the day we make the long drive through northern Tanzania. Our destination is the National park Lake Manyara – a place that is hard to believe exists. After checking in, we will make a short trek along the rim of the crater. This is the Africa from stories and films, but it not a place for just any person. Accommodation at safari lodge.
The safari ride in the Ngoro Ngoro crater will begin at dawn. We can expect to encounter the “great 5” as well as many other magnificent African animals. Experiencing the African wilderness within arm’s reach is guaranteed. In the afternoon we will return to Aruhsa. We can make a stop to get gifts and souvenirs for family and friends back home. Overnight stay at the hotel.