Your trip begins with an arrival flight into Kilimanjaro Airport. We provide a group transfer to a comfortable lodge. Rest amidst a working organic coffee and tea farm on the fertile slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. All meals on your own.
We’ll start our climbing orientation just after breakfast this morning. The rest of the day is for exploration and adventure. Beautiful views of Kilimanjaro’s peak shine through on clear days. We stroll next door to see the terroir and organic cultivation at Machare Estate tea and coffee farm. Kilimanjaro has a perennial spring like climate, altitude and rich soil. Taste the difference with a proper cupping of many varieties of teas and coffee. After lunch, we’ll stretch our legs on a walk to a nearby waterfall. The meandering trails pass coffee trees and streams under shady glades of magnanimous hardwoods. All meals included.
After an early breakfast, drive to the Londorossi Gate to register with park authorities. We meet our support staff at the Lemosho trailhead (7,000') and begin our trek to the "Roof of Africa." Our path starts off in the lush Afromontane forest. It contains some of Kilimanjaro's most exquisite and diverse flora. This part of the trail is also rich in bird life and abounds in White Colobus monkeys. The trail winds up to Forest Camp (9,000'), our home for the night. All meals included.
Driving and park formalities: 3 hours; Hiking: 4 miles, 3.5 hours; elevation gain: 2,000'.
Hiking: 5 miles, 5.5 hours; elevation gain: 2,500'.
Today we hike to Moir Hut. The trail has a gentle ascent across the Shira Plateau towards Kibo's glaciated peak. In the distance, the Shira Cone rises over 600' above the plateau. It is Mount Kilimanjaro's oldest cone with only its western and southern rims remaining. Our camp (13,800') is at the base of the Lent Hills. It's a lesser known area of the traditional Lemosho Route, and excellent for acclimatization. All meals included.
Hiking: 8 miles, 6 hours; elevation gain: 2,300'.
We depart the moorland zone and enter the alpine desert zone. From the Shira Plateau, our path heads southeast to Lava Tower (15,190'), a prominent rock feature known as the "shark's tooth". Little flora and fauna can survive the extreme temperature ranges and conditions that typify the alpine desert zone. We spend some time here to further acclimatize and enjoy a hot lunch. The views over the savannahs far below and up to Kibo's western breach are outstanding. Next, we descend into the Barranco Valley. Here the conditions are perfect for the giant lobelias and senecios, which appear to be conjured up by Dr. Seuss. We stop for the night at Barranco Camp (13,000'). Hiking high and sleeping lower aids in our acclimatization. All meals included.
Hiking: 5 miles, 6 hours; elevation gain: 2,590'; elevation loss: 2,190.'
Today we continue our hike on the Southern Circuit to Karanga Camp (13,106'). We begin the day at the crux of the trek, the Barranco Wall, an 800' cliff we must hike up and over to get to Karanga Valley. Luckily, it looks much harder than it actually is! It takes about 1.5 hours to negotiate the Barranco Wall. At the top we enjoy a well-deserved rest with lovely views. The trail becomes easier, undulating its way to Karanga Camp. Sunset can be spectacular here with views of glacial valleys and ice fields towering 3,000' high. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 miles, 4.5 hours; elevation gain/loss: 1,000'.
From Karanga Camp, we hike uphill through a sparse landscape. We pass Barafu Camp and continue on to the perfectly positioned Kosovo Basecamp (15,980'). We arrive in the early afternoon, giving us time to rest before our summit attempt. At this point, we have traversed Kilimanjaro's Shira Plateau and the Southern Circuit, taking in views of Kibo from many different angles. After a light dinner and pre-summit talk with our guides, we turn in early to sleep and regain our energy. All meals included.
Hiking: 3.5 miles, 5 hours; elevation gain: 2,825'.
Our guides wake us before midnight for a light snack before our summit attempt. By the time we reach Stella Point (18,800') it will be below freezing. We'll hit the trail before 1am in hopes of reaching the summit at sunrise. Starting off, the trail climbs a steep scree slope. We place one foot in front of the other, focusing on steady breathing. With the black starry sky above us it takes approximately 5-6 hours to reach Stella Point on the crater rim. From here it is another hour to Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro (19,340'). The views across the plains of Africa, and the well-deserved sense of accomplishment make it all worthwhile.
Most climbers find the descent no easier than the ascent. Fatigue and steep scree force us to maintain our concentration. We descend to either Millennium Camp (12,500') or Mweka Camp (10,200'), stopping at Kosovo Camp for a brief rest and refreshments. All meals included.
Hiking: 10 to 12 miles, 15 to 17 hours; elevation gain: 3,360'; elevation loss: 7,000' to 9,000' (varies depending on camp location).
Another long downhill hike today, but our spirits are up with the satisfaction of yesterday's climb. At Mweka gate we receive certificates and bid our climbing team farewell. We transfer back to our lodge in Moshi. It's a welcome treat to take a hot shower, sip a cold drink and commemorate the climb with a celebration dinner. All meals included.
Driving: 2.5 hours; Hiking: 7 to 9 miles; elevation loss: 5,000 to 7,000' (varies depending on camp location).
The day is free for shopping in Moshi or relaxing at the lodge. A day room is arranged for late check-out, and we provide one group transfer to the airport. Or, continue the adventure on our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.