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    Kilimanjaro Trekking (5,895 metres)

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Mount Kilimanjaro / Routes & Descriptions

Choosing a Kilimanjaro route, which will satisfy your personal requirements as well as contribute towards your eventual summit success, is important. Factors which should be carefully considered includes:

  • A Kilimanjaro routes comparison in terms of a of an authentic wilderness experience
  • -Kilimanjaro routes distances and trekking costs for each route
  • -The Kilimanjaro routes success rates and best possible summit prospects
  • -The possibility of additional days for a safer extended acclimatisation on each trekking route

Below follows a brief summarised comparison and itineraries of all the current Kilimanjaro routes. For more detailed information regarding each of these Mount Kilimanjaro routes, including routes distances and route success rates, please refer to our detailed and comprehensive routes descriptions under the main link bar above.

  • MACHAME ROUTE
  • UMBWE ROUTE
  • MARANGU ROUTE
  • RONGAI ROUTE
  • SHIRA ROUTE

The seven day Machame variation is the ideal schedule for this route. On the 7 day Machame route, the trek from Barranco to Barafu is broken up into two days, allowing for a short day just prior to the summit attempt. This is important because summit day begins very early, around midnight, so climbers are sleep deprived going into the toughest day on the mountain. By having a short day beforehand, climbers can be better rested.

DAY 1: The drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain.
We now leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the 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

DAY 2: After breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the little valley walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route now turns west onto a river gorge. Time for rest, dinner, and overnight at the Shira campsite.
Machame Camp to Shira Camp
•Elevation (ft): 9,400ft to 12,500ft
•Distance: 5 km
•Hiking Time: 4-6 hours
•Habitat: Moorland

DAY 3: From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth." Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 16,000ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 13,000ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and overnight. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.

•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

DAY 4: After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day meant for acclimatization.
Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp
•Elevation (ft): 13,000ft to 13,100ft
•Distance: 5 km
•Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
•Habitat: Alpine Desert

DAY 5: After breakfast, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.
•Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp
•Elevation (ft): 13,100ft to 15,300ft
•Distance: 4 km
•Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
•Habitat: Alpine Desert

DAY 6: Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek.
At Stella Point (18,600 ft), you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all they way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
•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
•Habitat: Arctic

DAY 7:
•Mweka Camp to Arusha or Airport
•Elevation (ft): 10,000ft to 5,400ft
•Distance: 10 km
•Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
•Habitat: Rain Forest
After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).

From the gate, you continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Arusha or drop off at the Airport.
End of service with many thanks Touch Africa Adventures!
Price is $ 1705 USD per person 2 people private tour

Price includes:
Transport from Arusha to the gate and back
Three meals a day
Drinking water
Park fees
Six porter’s salary plus their park fee
Chef and guides salary plus their park fee

Price excludes:
Tips and all not mentioned in the above itinerary

This route is the hardest but most spectacular and direct way to reach Uhuru Peak. It follows a forested ridge to the moorlands, then traverses below the Southern Icefields to reach the Barafu Route which is followed to the summit. An early start is made on the summit day to reach Stella Point, on the Crater Rim at dawn. Uhuru Peak lies a further 40 min. along the rim.

Accommodation on the mountain is in tents which the porters will pitch for you; you will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough and in places slightly exposed trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day can be added to our itinerary to explore or relax along the route, (best taken at the Barranco Hut).

ITINERARY

Day 1: Transfer to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m. from where a forestry track leads through natural rain forest to a narrow and steep forested ridge and the first campsite by some rock overhangs at 2940m, (5-6h).

Day 2: Continue till the forest ends and the path continues along a spectacular ridge with superb views of the icy Breach Wall above and the Great Barranco gorge below. The campsite is not far from the Barranco Hut. (5-6h, 3940m.).

Day 3: Scramble easily to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over screes and ridges to the Karanga Valley campsite (3h, 4000m.), beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers.

Day 4: The trail ascends a ridge to a campsite by the Barafu Hut, an airy location with little vegetation (3h, 4600m.). Day 5: Start just after midnight for the ascent of the screes leading to Stella Point (6h, 5725m.). From here a further 40mins. leads to Uhuru Peak. Descend to the Barafu Hut for a rest and brunch before continuing down to camp at Mweka Hut at 3100m, (11-14h total walking time). Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Icefields.

Day 6: A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful forest brings you to the Park Gate. Drive back to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha.

This is the easiest route to the summit of Kilimanjaro, sometimes called the Coca-Cola Route. The Marangu route takes you at a gentle pace through forests, moorlands and then across The Saddle, a high-altitude desert separating the main summit, Kibo, 5896m, from craggy Mawenzi, 5149m, to Kibo Hut. From here an early start is made for the ascent to Uhuru Point (the highest top of Kibo). The path zig-zags up steep scree which is easier to climb when frozen. The views from the crater rim at Gillman's Point at dawn can be spectacular. Uhuru Peak lies a further 1h30min. around the rim.

Accommodation on the mountain is in comfortable huts. You will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a tough walking trip but within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day for acclimatisation to the altitude is recommended at Horombo from where there are various walks to enjoy.

ITINERARY 5 days

Day 1 : Drive to Kilimanjaro National Park Marangu Gate, Hike to Mandara Hut
Visiting: Arusha or Moshi to Kilimanjaro
After breakfast and briefing, drive to the Kilimanjaro National Park Gate (about 1 hour), register and commence the climb. Walk through the rainforest to the Mandara encampment. A side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings including Northern Tanzania and Kenya. In the rainforest, look for towering Eucalyptus trees, bird life, and Colobus monkeys.

  • Elevation: 1860m/6100ft to 2700m/8875ft
  • Distance: 8km/5mi
  • Hiking Time: 3-4 hours
  • Habitat: Montane Forest
  • Meals: LD
  • Budget Lodging: Mandara Hut

 

Day 2 : Hike Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut
Visiting: Kilimanjaro
You leave the glades of the rainforest and follow an ascending path on the open moorlands to the Horombo encampment. Views of Mawenzi and the summit of Kibo are amazing. Look for giant lobelias and grounsels. You may begin to feel the affects of the altitude.

  • Elevation: 2700m/8875ft to 3700m/12,200ft
  • Distance: 12km/7.5mi
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: Heathland
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Horombo Hut

 

Day 3 : Hike Horombo Hut to Kibo Hut
Visiting: Kilimanjaro
Ascending, we now pass the last watering point, walking onto the saddle of Kilimanjaro between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Vegetation begins with upper heathland but then disappears into "moonscape". Dinner, rest, and prepare for summit climb.

  • Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 4700m/15,500ft
  • Distance: 9km/5.5mi
  • Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Kibo Hut

 

Day 4 : Hike Kibo Hut to Summit, and down to Horombo Hut
Visiting: Kilimanjaro
Very early in the morning (midnight to 2am), commence the climb to the summit on steep and heavy scree or snow up to Gilman's point located on the crater rim. Continuing, we now ascend to Uhuru Peak, which is the highest point in Africa. There are unbelievable views at every turn. Have your picture taken at the summit to show your friends and family. From here we descend, stopping for lunch and a rest at Kibo before continuing on to the Horombo encampment.
The beginning of this climb is done in the dark and requires headlamps or flashlights. It will be very cold until you start descending, so you will need all of your warm layers. This is by far the most difficult part of the trek with many switchbacks. Going slowly "pole pole" and an optimistic attitude will get you there!

  • Elevation: 4700m/15,500ft to 5895m/19,340ft
  • Down to 3700m/12,200ft
  • Distance: 6km/4mi up / 15km/9mi down
  • Hiking Time: 6-8 hours up / 15km/9mi down
  • Habitat: Alpine Desert
  • Meals: BLD
  • Budget Lodging: Horombo Camp

 

Day 5 : Hike Horombo Hut to trail head, drive to Moshi
Visiting: Kilimanjaro to Moshi
After breakfast, a steady descent takes us down through moorland to the Mandara Hut. Continue descending through lush forest path to the National Park gate at Marangu. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy).
A vehicle will meet you at Marangu village to drive you back to your hotel in Moshi (about 1 hour). Don't forget to tip your guides and porters. It is time for celebration!

  • Elevation: 3700m/12,200ft to 1700m/5500ft
  • Distance: 20km/12.5mi
  • Hiking Time: 4-5 hours
  • Habitat: Forest
  • Meals: B

This remote and less frequently used route is the second easiest route to Kilimanjaro. The approach to the mountain is from the less-forested north side and the descent is by the Marangu Route. There are several variations, the one described below is a longer route taking in Mawenzi Tarn. The second day on this variant is quite long and could be broken up into two days walk allowing more time for acclimatisation. The ascent to Uhuru Peak is almost the same as for the Marangu Route from the Kibo Hut.

Accommodation on the mountain is in tents (even on descent) which the porters will pitch for you. You will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas.

ITINERARY 6 days

Day 1: Drive round Kilimanjaro to the Rongai Gate (3-4h, 2100m.). Walk through the rain forest to Camp 1 (4h, 2800m). Day 2: Walk up through giant heathers and moorlands to Camp 2 - near Kikelewa Cave (6h, 3600m).

Day 3: Walk towards the jagged pinnacles of Mawenzi and camp by the Mawenzi Tarn Hut, the last section is fairly steep, (4-5h, 4330m). Day 4: Gain The Saddle and walk across this desert of scree to a camp not far from Kibo hut (3-4h, 4730m).

Day 5: Very early start for the summit on steep scree up to Gillman's Point (5h, 5681m) on the crater rim. Continue around the rim to Uhuru Peak (1h30min, 5895m). Descend to our camp for brunch and a rest and then walk down to Horombo Hut. Total walking time about 12h.

Day 6: Descend to Marangu gate, 5h. Drive back to the hotel in Arusha or Moshi

This route is sometimes used to drive up to a high altitude on the Shira Plateau. The roadhead at about 3600m is about 6-7 hours drive from Moshi (depending on weather conditions, if it is wet the track beyond the Londorossi National Park gate, 2250m, could become impassable.)

There are campsites at the roadhead and the Shira Hut, 3840m, on the Machame Route is just 1 hour's walk away. This route is not recommended for walking as it simply follows a road. Beware of starting your ascent of Kili by driving here, you will probably suffer from altitude sickness unless you are already acclimatised.

 

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