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.
We depart after breakfast and drive to the park headquarters. There is the normal hustle and bustle of hiring porters, signing in and beginning the climb. The actual hike begins at the park gate (6,000') as we hike 5.5 miles up to Mandara hut (8,860'), near the upper edge of the forest line. The hike takes about 4 to 6 hours- a good time to start using your walking sticks. Our path starts off in a bamboo rainforest (keep your eyes open for blue monkeys) then opens up to hillsides of heather and temperate forests. If time and weather permit, a short walk from Mandara to Maundi Crater is worth it. Lodging here, as well as at Horombo, is in wooden A-frame huts or stone buildings that sleep 4 to 12 people. All meals included.
Hiking: 5 miles, 3.5 hours; elevation gain: 2,760?.
Our destination today is Horombo Hut at 12,340'. It takes 6 to 8 hours to cover the 8-mile journey and altitude gain may slow the group down. The trail is strenuous but not technical. We often get our first views of the Kibo summit today far in the distance as we pass from forest into high moorland. We also pass beneath the impressive, rocky southern face of Mawenzi - one of the three volcanic peaks that make up the summit of Kilimanjaro. All meals included.
Hiking: 8 miles, 6-8 hours; elevation gain: 3,280?.
Today is for acclimatization. Choose to hike up towards Zebra Rock, an aptly named geologic formation before returning to Horombo camp. The landscape has unique flora such as the odd-shaped giant groundsel. The trail offers inspirational views of both Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. Birdlife is also abundant in the Horombo area. If you're feeling fatigued at this point, you can choose to spend the day resting at Horombo. Afternoon rains are common, so plan to be back inside the lodge with a cup of tea and good book by 4pm. After the rain passes, sunsets are beautiful and the black night sky sparkles with stars. All meals included.
Hiking: 4 miles; 4 hours; elevation gain: 1,276?
Today is another long hike, this time up to Kibo Hut (15,520'). Although shorter in distance, this usually takes 7 hours because it is steeper and the altitude slows everyone down. Our route climbs the Saddle, a wide, flat plateau with the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi looming overhead. The views here are fantastic! The last part of the trail passes across the plateau before the final ascent. Kibo Hut is a stone hut with rooms that sleep 10 to 15 people in bunk beds. We have a light dinner and a pre-climb talk with our guides before turning in early to rest. All meals included.
Hiking: 5.7 miles, 7 hours; elevation gain: 3,280?.
Our guides wake us before midnight for a light snack before our summit attempt. By the time we reach Gillman's Point (18,640'), it will be below freezing. We'll hit the trail by 1am, starting the hike on a steep scree slope. We place one foot in front of the other and focus on steady breathing. With the black starry sky above us, most climbers will arrive at Gillman's point in time to see the sunrise. The views from the top looking down on the plains of Africa make it all worthwhile. Some climbers decide they have reached their goal and head down from here, a legitimate summit. Others continue to hike 2 to 3 hours to the true summit, Uhuru Peak (19,340'). The descent from Gillman's point is rapid, taking about 2 hours. We take a short rest at Kibo Hut before descending to Horombo Hut for the night, arriving in the late afternoon. All meals included.
Hiking: 3.5 miles ascending; 9.5 miles descending, 10-16 hours; elevation gain: 3,165? to 3,820?; elevation loss: 7,000?.
Another long downhill hike today, but our spirits are up with the satisfaction of yesterday's climb. At Marangu gate we receive certificates and bid our climbing team farewell. We then 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.
Hiking: 12.5 miles, 5 hours; elevation loss: 6,040?.
The day is free for shopping in Moshi or relaxing at the lodge. We provide airport transfers to the airport. Or, continue the adventure on our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.