Your first night is to be spent at Karama Lodge in Arusha. If you have chosen to be picked-up by us from Kilimanjaro International Airport, your Tanzania Destination driver will be waiting to meet and welcome you and take you to your lodge in Arusha to relax after your flight
After an early breakfast at your lodge (07.00), we depart one hour later and arrive at the Marangu Gate around 11.00, ready for registration and the start of the trek. Excitement builds as the porters load up equipment and you meet the trekking team who will accompany you up the mountain. Starting on the south-east side of Kilimanjaro, at an altitude of 1900 metres and finishing the day at 2720 metres, our total walking time today to Mandara Hut – where we will spend the night – is around 3.5 to 4 hours (excluding breaks), during which we cover just over 8km. We start the walk in late morning, take our picnic lunch at around 14.00, and then continue the walk until we reach the hut at 17.00. Dinner is served at 19.30. Today’s walk, though almost entirely uphill, is a pleasant one, with perhaps the chance to see some blue monkeys or to admire the rainforest vegetation on the ascent. The rainforest is the chief feature of today’s landscape. Look out for the bright red impatiens kilimanjari flower, a symbol of the mountain. At the end of the day, the giant heathers and bearded lichen begin to show themselves for the first time. The Mandara A-frame Huts feature solar-powered lighting. Water is supplied from a stream and there are flush toilets. As you will be sleeping in dormitory-style accommodation with others, bringing some earplugs is advisable
Accommodation: Mandara Hut Meal Plan: Breakfast, Picnic lunch box and Dinner Journey time and Altitude: 4 hours, 2720 m from Marangu Gate to Mandara Hut
Our early 07.00 breakfast prepares us for an 08.30 departure and today our 11km walk will take between 5.5 and 6 hours of actual walking time (excluding breaks) and we will climb a total of 1000 metres to the finishing-point at Horombo (altitude: 3720 metres). On the way we will enjoy our picnic lunch at 13.00, before continuing our climb and arriving at the hut at Horombo around 16.00. Dinner will be served at 18.00. On today’s walk, you will note that the forest landscape is quickly replaced by moorland and heather, as our route takes us past the renowned Maundi Crater. Altogether, the scenery today becomes more barren, but nevertheless some of Kilimanjaro’s iconic plant species can be seen today. Look out for the fascinating giant groundsels, lobelias and proteas. If you are lucky enough to have a clear day, you should get the first chance to see the snow-capped peak of Kibo and also the distinctive Mawenzi peak. Like Mandara, Horombo also consists of A-Frame huts and caters for those on the way up the mountain and those on the way back down. Once again, you will be in dormitory accommodation.
Accommodation: Horombo Hut Meal Plan: Breakfast, Picnic lunch box and Dinner Journey time and Altitude: 6 hours, 3720 m from Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
Today, we ascend a further 1000 metres, cover around 9km and aim to arrive at the hut at Kibo for our overnight stop by around 15.00. Once again, we start early, with a 07.00 breakfast and a 08.30 departure. Where the path divides today, we choose to take the southern (left-hand) route. On this path we take the opportunity to fill up our water reserves at the Maua River, the last useable water supply at a height of around 4,000 metres. At first today’s stage is rather steep, and there is less vegetation, but we are rewarded with our first sight today of some of the famous ‘cones’ of Kilimanjaro. Picnic lunch is once again scheduled for 13.00. After the Maua River, we climb towards the Mawenzi Ridge and across the barren, dry terrain known as The Saddle and head for the huts, which are at the bottom of the Kibo summit. Dinner tonight is at 17.30 and you are advised to get to bed early, in preparation for the midnight departure for the summit. Kibo Huts are made of stone and quite basic
Accommodation: Kibo Hut Meal Plan: Breakfast, Picnic lunch box and Dinner Journey time and Altitude: 4.5 hours, 4000 m from Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
Our schedule for our ‘Summit Day’ is very different. Rising at 23.00, we take our tea and biscuits (23.30) before a midnight departure. Today, we have around 1175 metres to climb, on what will be our toughest day, with around 13 hours of actual walking time and a distance of 21km. Our expectation is to reach the summit from 07.00 onwards. We begin on a rocky path, and then climb via a series of zig-zags which get ever smaller. Our reference points on our ascent today are, first, William’s Point (5131 metres), Hans Meyer Cave (5258 metres) and then Gillman’s Point (5719 metres). The focus today is on walking slowly. On reaching the top, we take time to celebrate the successful climb, take photos and congratulate ourselves, then make the descent to return to Kibo hut for about 11.00 and take a very well-deserved, two-hour rest and enjoy a welcome hot lunch. Setting off again at 14.00, we continue our descent until we reach Horombo for about 17.00. Dinner will be served at 19.00
Accommodation: Horombo Hut Meal Plan: Breakfast, Picnic lunch box and Dinner Journey time and Altitude: 13 hours, 5719 m from Kibo Hut to Horombo Hut
After breakfast at our now-familiar time of 07.00, we take the chance to thank our hard-working guides and porters at the ‘Tipping Celebration’. We depart from Horombo and start our descent down towards Marangu Gate, stopping at Mandara for a hot lunch at around midday. Marangu Gate is reached by around 16.00, and today’s section is around 19km which takes 6.5 to 7 hours of walking time. Having reached Marangu Gate, you will be presented with your certificate, recognising your tremendous effort. We then return by vehicle to Moshi, to the comfort of your lodge, for your overnight stay and some deserved relaxation. Or perhaps, if you still have some energy, you can celebrate your wonderful achievement. After all, you have just climbed Africa’s highest mountain!
Accommodation: Planet Lodge Meal Plan: Breakfast, Picnic lunch box Journey time: 7 hours from Marangu Gate to Moshi
After a good night’s rest at your lodge, you will take breakfast ready for the scheduled check-out by 10.00. (If you wish to remain in the hotel during the day, please advise us of this when you book your trip and we will inform you of the cost for day room which ends at 18:00hrs, and then make the booking on your behalf.) If you have booked a transfer to the airport, you will be collected from your hotel and dropped off at the airport. For those travellers who have booked to go on safari, our Tanzania Destination guide will be meeting you in the evening to provide you with a briefing.