Welcome to one of the best Kilimanjaro tours you can undertake. The trek uphill is one of the most thrilling yet satisfying treks of your life. Kilimanjaro is known as the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. But unlike its other scalable counterparts around the world, Kilimanjaro does not require any intense fitness skills. With a positive attitude and a body that adapts well to altitudes, you can scale this dormant volcano and tick it off your bucket list. We begin our journey at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Participants are picked up from the Airport. Most participants opt for the Roads & Journeys pick up and we will assume the same in your case. In case you do not want the Roads & Journeys pick up, you will have to make your own travel arrangements. From here we have about an hour and a half drive to Arusha. This city is the base for trekkers who will carry on to Mt Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru which is Tanzania’s second highest peak. Many travellers use it as a warm-up for scaling the mighty Kilimanjaro. Here you will be welcomed by our guide who will transfer you to the Outpost Lodge. Once you have settled in, our tour coordinator will have a short climbing briefing session with you in the lodge. Feel free to ask him whatever you need to know about the trek and the region you will be going past. Take this time to also get acquainted with the others on your trip. After a delicious meal, tuck yourself in for the night and gear up for the beginning of the trek the next morning.
Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft) to Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft)
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Elevation Change: +3117ft/+950 m
Estimated Distance: 4.35 miles / 7 km
Habitat: Montane Forest.
We will be departing from Arusha at around 8 am to Marangu Gate for the Mountain Climb Registration. It will easily take an hour or two for registrations, so take the time to get acquainted with the trail you will be following and gear up. Once you begin the trek, you’ll be walking down a narrow trail within a breathtaking rainforest for most of the hike. The path is fairly steep and leads steadily uphill, but you won’t feel the strain as the environment surrounding you is distracting enough. For a while the path will follow a little stream and you will also pass a couple of picturesque little waterfalls. After this is when you will arrive at your lunch stop at the Kisamboni picnic area, which marks day one’s halfway point. From here it is another hour and a half to Mandara Huts. As you near the huts, you will notice the vegetation changing around you to open moorlands. The Mandara Huts are a group of woodens huts in the forest clearing. Once you have settled in, you have the option of relaxing the rest of the day or taking a short 15 minute walk to Maundi Crater. The Maundi crater is a small depression formed as a result of the volcanic activity that was present on the mountain. Even till today, vegetation does not grow to its full capacity within the area as compared to the surrounding area. On a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of the Mawenzi Peak, the third highest peak after Kilimanjaro. Rest the night away.
Mandara Hut (2,743m/9,000ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation Change: + 3379ft/+1030 m
Estimated Distance: 6.84 miles / 11 km
After breakfast, we will be leaving the Mandara Hut and Kilimanjaro forests to our destination for the day – Horombo Huts. Unlike the trek on the previous day, most of this day’s hike will be through the Kilimanjaro moorland, a rocky landscape with desert-like plants. The most noticeable attraction, apart from the Kilimanjaro peak, are the giant senecios and lobelias growing in the region. These flowering plants, part of the sunflower family, are native to the higher altitude zones of ten mountain groups in equatorial East Africa. This day will feel particularly long and the altitude can come with its share of sickness. So make sure to drink plenty of water and eat well even if you don’t feel like it. We will stop for a picnic lunch at Kambi ya Taabu. From here, the Horombo Huts are about an hour and a half away. If the day is clear, you will also get to enjoy beautiful views of the Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. You may even be able to see Moshi way below you, as well as the Pare mountain range. The Horombo Huts are the busiest place on Kilimanjaro as trekkers who climb Kilimanjaro via the Marangu route stay here on the way up, on the way down, and if they choose to take an extra day to acclimatize. Also, climbers who ascend via the Rongai route also descend via Marangu and spend a night here. We will mostly arrive at the Horombo Huts by around 3 pm in the afternoon. Spend the rest of your day relaxing and bundle up for a cold night.
Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Mawenzi Hut (4,600m/15,100ft) to Horombo Hut
Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
Estimated Change: +2395ft/+730 m
Estimated Distance: 4.35 miles / 7 km
This extra day and night at Horombo is ideal for the body to acclimatize. A hike towards Mawenzi, passing through Zebra Rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1.5 hours down), is strongly recommended as it will further assist with acclimatization. Marangu is the route with the lowest success rate. The acclimatization day will increase your chances to reach the summit.
Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft)
Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation Change: +3018ft/+920 m
Estimated Distance: 7.46 miles
Habitat: Alpine desert.
Another big day lies ahead of you today. Hopefully you are well rested and don’t exhibit signs of altitude sickness. After a quick breakfast, we begin our ascent into the Alpine desert. As you keep walking uphill, you will notice the vegetation gradually become scarcer. You will pass several water streams up until you reach a signpost that says “Last Water Point” at 4200 m/13780 ft. Fill up all the water bottles you have and all that you need until your return back to Horombo Hut in two night’s time (unless you are willing to buy Mineral water at Kibo hut). This is also the point to take a break before you further ascend. The path then leads uphill onto the “Saddle”. This is a barren plain of Alpine desert between the two main peaks of Kilimanjaro – Mawenzi and Kibo. Post lunch, it is another two-three hour stroll to Kibo Hut. It is here that you begin to feel the lack of oxygen. But the surroundings now are absolutely divine. It’s easy to admire the open and windswept landscapes. The summit is now a further 3921ft /1195m up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Go to bed around 1830hrs and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.
Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Hiking Time (Ascent): 6-8 hours / (Descent): 5-6 hours
Estimated Distance (Ascent): 4.35miles /7 km / (Descent):7.46 miles /12km
Elevation Change: Gain; +3757ft /+1145 m/Loss; -7136ft/-2175m
Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit
Around 11.30 pm, you will be woken up to get ready for the climb to the summit. Make sure you are geared up for the rain and cold. Carry enough water and make sure you have installed new batteries into your head torches and camera. Wear fresh and dry clothes. After some tea and biscuits, you’re all set to embark on the trek of a lifetime. As you start ascending up the side of the Kibo peak, you will be heading up a steep slope that doesn’t seem all the strenuous due to the many switchbacks. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer point (17225ft/5250m), also a good resting spot. Note that you don’t spend too much time at any of the break spots in these temperatures as the cold begins to get unbearable. The next section of switchbacks is the most exposed, and if it happens to be a windy night you’ll feel it badly. Another couple of kilometres later, you will start noticing rocks on the path, breaking your steady rhythm and requiring bigger steps. Some are also a bit slippery and you have to watch your step. The path then zigzags up to Gilman’s point (18639ft/5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. Getting to Gilman’s point is a big achievement in itself and the park authorities will reward you with a certificate, even if you decide not to continue along the crater rim past the glaciers to Uhuru Peak. It is another hour and a half or so along the crater rim to reach Uhuru Peak. From Gillman’s Point you will normally come across snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (19341ft/5895m), the highest point in Africa. The first part of the rim walk is the easier part, but once you pass Stella Point the path leads uphill again. The path may not look steep, but by now every step uphill can be a battle. And before you know it, you’ve reached the summit. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend there. Make sure to quickly take photographs before the 3 hours descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest, you gather all the gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours trek) for your overnight stay. Later in the evening, you will get to enjoy your last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.
Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Elevation Change: -6161. 42ft /-1878 m
Estimated Distance: 11.20 miles /18 km
Habitat: Montane Forest
After breakfast, end the trek by descending down to Marangu Gate. Thankfully, your last trek on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, where you get to pass through Kilimanjaro’s beautiful cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent as the trail can be a slippery one. At the Marangu Gate, you will sign your departure and collect your summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (18652ft/5685m) are issued with silver certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (1 9341ft/5895m) will receive gold certificates. Our vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Arusha, your Kilimanjaro holiday coming to a memorable end.
Depart to Airport. Return home with loads of wonderful memories!