Day 1: Arrival in Tanzania
If you have chosen to be picked-up by us from Kilimanjaro International Airport, your driver will be waiting to meet at the airport and take you to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha to relax after your flight. Your Kilimanjaro guide will meet you at the hotel for gear check and climb briefing. It is good time to interact and know each other before your hike.
Day 2: Machame Gate – Machame Camp
Machame Gate to Machame Camp
Elevation (ft): 5,400ft to 9,400ft
Distance: 11 km
Hiking Time: 5-7 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
In the morning, we depart from our base hotel at approximately 8:00 AM for the Machame village where you begin the trek. From the park entrance gate (Machame), you will walk for about two to three hours through a dense forest of fig and rubber trees, begonia flowers, and other tropical vegetation. A stop for picnic lunch will be made halfway to this evening’s campsite. As you continue your ascent, you will find that the tropical forest has given way to tall grasses and giant heather. You will be walking on a ridge, to the left of which is the Semira stream, and on the right, the Weru Weru. Depending on the pace of the climbers, arrival at Machame Camp is usually between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Your camp is set up near some old metal huts, which were once used for shelter. This initial stage of the climb is tranquil and relatively easy. There is no point in rushing to get to the camp, as there is little to do there. Guides tend to recommend a slow ascent, even at this point, for gradual acclimatization. Do not try to keep up with your porters, who will usually bind ahead. Instead, take time to admire the beauty of the rainforest.
Day 3: Machame Camp – Shira Camp
Machame Camp to Shira Camp
Elevation (ft): 9,400ft to 12,500ft
Distance: 5 km
Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
On this and subsequent mornings, wake-up call is at around 6:00 AM. You will be greeted with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, and weather permitting, by a fabulous view of Uhuru peak. Today’s trek takes you up a steep track through a savannah of tall grasses, volcanic rock, and bearded heather. You will encounter giant groundsels as you hike through a ghostly landscape of volcanic lava, caves, and foamy streams.
Lunch will be taken just below the Shira Plateau, about three to four hours from Shira Camp. The hike to the next campsite takes approximately six hours and you should arrive between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Most climbers tend to pace themselves, walking slowly and resting about every half-hour.
Day 4: Shira Camp – Barranco Camp
Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp
Elevation (ft): 12,500ft to 13,000ft
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 6-8 hours
Habitat: Semi Desert
The entire Shira Plateau greets you this morning with sweeping vistas across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A steady walk takes you up to the pass at Lava Tower (15,000 ft), where you stop to have lunch. Crossing the Bastains stream, you will begin to descend towards Barranco Camp. The descent takes you along an immense canyon called Grand Barranco. Along the way, you will see numerous waterfalls, which are fed, by streams coming from the mountain, converging here to form the Umbwe River. Your camp is set at almost the same altitude as the night before. Today’s trek lasts for about six hours and arrival at camp is between 4:30PM and 5:30PM.
Day 5: Barranco Camp – Barafu Camp
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
Elevation (ft): 13,000ft to 15,000ft
Hiking Time: 8-10 hours
Habitat: Alpine Desert
This morning you begin your hike to Barafu Camp via Karanga Camp, which is on the same altitude as Barranco Camp.
You will encounter a bit of a climb at Barranco Cliff and spend the rest of the trek climbing up and down the slopes of the mountain most of the way to camp. The climbing is not considered difficult and you should arrive in time for lunch (approximately 1:00PM) having trekked for about four hours.
In the afternoon you have to hike in the Karanga Valley where giant senecios and lobelia grow; then continue with the scenic climb to Barafu which is mostly on a moraine with a view of Mawenzi peak towering majestically to the right, and overhead, Kibo peak seemingly just out of reach. The alpine desert terrain encountered at this point is mostly a mineral environment with few lichens and mosses. Climbers arrive at Barafu Camp at around 3:30PM. Climbers who choose to ascend the peak will go to bed very early this night, as the next day is the longest one.
Day 6: Barafu Camp – Summit- Mweka Camp
Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut
Elevation (ft): 15,300ft to 19,345ft (and down to 10,000ft)
Distance: 5 km ascent / 12 km descent
Hiking Time: 7-8 hours ascent / 4-6 hours descent
You will be awakened at midnight and after a light breakfast, start climbing at around 1:00 AM. It is at this stage that the climb becomes much more difficult. Here, very few will not be suffering from altitude sickness in some form or another; and climbers should carry as little as possible on this portion of the climb. Temperatures will range from -4° to 5° Fahrenheit. Making your way up a path that is flanked by the Ratzel and Rebman glaciers, you will climb for about six hours before reaching the edge of the crater, between Stella and Hans Meyer points. Another hour of climbing brings you to the summit. Uhuru stands at 19,340 feet and is the highest point on the continent of Africa. The track around the edge of the crater is rocky and icy. Concentrate on your feet, and follow your guide very closely for this portion of the journey.
The descent is no easier than the ascent. You will reach Kibo Hut after about three hours (around 11:30 AM). Climbers will be given the opportunity to rest and have some refreshments before continuing on to Mweka Camp for the night. Arriving into camp at around 5:00PM, you will have trekked a total of thirteen hours today
Day 7: Mweka Camp – Arusha/Moshi town
Mweka Camp to Moshi/Arusha
Elevation (ft): 10,000ft to 5,400ft
Distance: 10 km
Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
Habitat: Rain Forest
On the final day of the journey, climbers descend from Mweka camp to the base. The descent to the gate will take approximately 4 hours and climbers usually arrive before noon. Upon arrival at the gate climbers will be rewarded with certificates attesting their success at climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and then get transferred back to your base hotel.
Day 8: Departure (Kilimanjaro International Airport)
Your trip in Tanzania is now over. After a good night rest at your hotel, there will a breakfast ready according to your request while a scheduled check-out in most hotels is 10.00am. (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. If you have booked a airport transfer to the airport, you will be collected from your hotel and dropped off at the Kilimanjaro International Airport if you wish airport transfer arrangement; your airport transfer driver will meet you at the hotel. However, those travellers who have booked with us to go on safari, your Visa Expeditions safari guide will be meeting you in the evening for safari briefing.