This is the sixth year OAC will bring a team of climbers up Kilimanjaro. Along with sending an experienced mountaineer from the OAC team to guide this trip, we have established an alliance with our Tanzanian guides who run our base of operations in Arusha. Our guides are extremely experienced and are delightful human beings. They know every step of the way and will give you the confidence and pace needed to maximize both your enjoyment and effort.
Our chosen route, the Lemosha Route: After careful consideration of the pros and cons of each route up the mountain, we choose to take a rather unique approach that offers several distinct advantages, and definitely is the most beautiful route up. We trek the Lemosho Route which effectively combines the best of the Shira Route with the most scenic section of the Machame Route. The Lemosho Route starts at the Londorossi gate found on the northwest edge of the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park, and avoids the crowds at the start of the Machame gate. The "standard" schedule for most people who climb Kilimanjaro takes 5 days on the Marangu (Coca Cola) route, and only encompasses one section of the mountain, and has become quite crowded. We have lengthened our itinerary to include seven days. This gives us two extra days to acclimatize to the altitude. Last year we had 11 out of 12 trekkers summit, and the year before was 100%. There is only a 20% success rate for climbers who take five days.
Any reasonably fit person has a great chance of reaching the roof top of Africa with the itinerary we have designed! The Lemosho Route may be a little more strenuous and longer than some of the other routes, but the extra hard work will pay off with better acclimatization and less crowded camps. We have designed our itinerary to include 4 nights above 12,000 feet with two relatively short hiking days in between, thus allowing your body to rest and adjust to the altitude.
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) and purchase your tourist visa ($50 cash) and go through customs before collecting your luggage. You will be met at the arrival hall by our staff who will escort you to the Moivaro Lodge outside of Arusha, Tanzania. The Lodge lies 7KM from the center of Arusha and sits on a 40 acre coffee plantation complete with beautifully laid gardens and walk ways. From the main building you get an incredible view of Mt Meru, the second tallest mountain of Tanzania. The restaurant and bar are under a classic African thatch roof which is tastefully complemented by a peaceful setting for the swimming pool, just a short walk across the manicured lawn in the center of the property. The rooms are set within quaint cottages each with its own veranda and private bath. You will love this start to your stay in Africa! (D, elevation 4920 feet)
You have a choice of visiting the town of Arusha which is culturally and shopping wise very interesting, or you may choose to do an introductory game drive to the nearby Arusha National Park.
If you opt for the game drive, you will picked up by a comfortable safari vehicle and drive one hour to the Arusha National Park. This is a beautiful, but relatively small park at the base of Mt. Meru with incredible views of Kilimanjaro. You will enjoy the lush forested foothills and the open, grassy calderas which offer perfect viewing of Cape Buffalo and other herd animals, such as elephant, zebra, giraffe, impala, sable, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthog. The forest is also a favorite habitat of the blue monkeys, baboons, and Colobus monkeys. Overnight back in Arusha at the Moivaro Lodge. (B, D, elevation 4920 feet)
Today we begin our climb! Day packs and poles ready! After a hearty breakfast we drive approximately 2 hours up to the town of Londorossi at the edge Kilimanjaro National Park. We begin our 7 day trek at an altitude of 7,380 feet. We will stop for lunch on the trail about an hour or two into the ascent. We will have a gradual ascent to our first camp in the montane forest about 2-3 hours after the lunch stop. With luck we will see the white faced Colobus monkeys and signs of elephant and other forest wildlife on our hike up to through the temperate rain forest.
We use the best 4 season tents available and every dinner meal is served in our spacious Mountain Hardware Space Station. This deluxe dome provides a comfortable, spacious, warm refuge from the elements outside, as it gets cold quickly when the sun goes down.
Many people start the climb from the crowded Machame gate and compete with many other groups for the first nights camp at Machame camp. By starting our climb on the Shira side of the mountain we avoid crowds and have a better chance of running into wildlife , enjoy better views of the mountain and enjoy the peace and quite of the Forest Camp. (4-5 hrs hiking, camp at 8,692 feet)
The porters wake us every morning with hot tea and warm water for washing face and hands.
After breakfast at 7:00am we begin our hike. It will be an easy hike from the Forest Camp to the lunch stop. Mount Kilimanjaro is actually three volcanoes grown together, with Shira being the western shoulder of the overall mountain. So today we are really climbing Shira to get to the base of Kibo. After lunch, we hike mostly uphill for long steep stretches until we arrive at the Shira ridge. Then, the last hour will be an easy walk across the vast, open Shira plateau. At this point we will get our first clear view of the top of the central mountain, Kibo, straight ahead of us! After we hike across the plateau we reach the Shira Camp. (6 hours hiking, camp at 12,595 feet)
We ascend out of Shira Camp at a nice slow pace as this is the highest we've been yet. Kibo is in front of us throughout the hike. After a lunch stop, we detour up a steep slope to the impressive Lava Tower, a tall, black volcanic mass of rock. Some choose to scramble to the top, being rewarded with beautiful views. Or, you may opt to rest and relax! On the steep hillside above us we can see the Western Breach trail which goes directly to the Kibo Glacier. After admiring the Lava Tower, we descend down to a cold glacial stream, refill our water bottles, and continue on and around the mountain. At this point, we are continuing to circumambulate Kilimanjaro and view this beautiful mountain from many different angles. After hiking across a sparse lava field, we descend to the beautiful Barranco Camp. There is another cold stream flowing through this scenic valley with the impressive Barranco Wall on the opposite side. (4-6 hrs hiking, camp at 12,956 feet)
Wake up to hot tea and breakfast and immediately make our assault on the steep Barranco Wall, fondly called "the Breakfast Climb" as it is our first challenge of the day. We will see Kibo from a new angle and have a nice, fairly short walk through high desert terrain and over several ridges to the Karanga River Valley Camp. We camp beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. This is a “short” day of hiking so one may choose to do a hike up to the scree field and then "ski" back down or just rest in camp with a good book. (3-5 hrs hiking, camp at 12,998 feet)
After climbing out of the Karanga Valley, the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Hut, our highest camp yet, at 15,980 feet. From this dry camp (there are no nearby streams) we will be making our ascent to the top. There are actually two camps and the lower one is packed with tents and people as it buzzes with the excitement of the summit attempt. We will camp at the higher one as it is quiet, cleaner and gives us a 900 foot advantage over the lower camp which will be welcome when we start hiking in the middle of the night! We are able to do this because we carry our own portable toilet system which is one of the requirements for camping at the upper Barafu camp. This may seem trivial, but really is a significant advantage on summit day! We plan to arrive early in order to adequately rest before our 11:30 pm wake-up call. (3-4 hrs hours hiking, camp at 15,980 feet.)
Day 8 - Summit Day!
3,360 feet up, 9,172 feet down…3.12 miles up, 7.5 miles down! Rise and shine at 11:30 pm! Dressed in our warmest gear and with plenty of water (4 liters each), snacks, and headlamps we meet in the dining tent for some tea and cookies. We begin climbing by starlight using our headlamps, the local guides always reminding us to go polee-polee (slowly-slowly). This portion of the climb is as you might imagine the most demanding. This is the marathon day. The steepest section arrives just before Stella Point. We ascend to the rim of the Kibo Crater between the Rebmann and Ratzel Glaciers, @ 4-5 hours; the last section before the rim can sometimes be snow-covered and a ski pole or stick is useful for balance. From here another hour leads to Uhuru Peak, (Freedom Peak) at 19,340 feet, the highest point on the continent of Africa. After watching the sunrise and snapping plenty of photos, we descend back down to the Barafu Hut for a rest and lunch. We then continue down the Mweka trail (used for descent only) through the giant heather zone to arrive near sunset at the Mweka camp. This is a festive and very dusty camp on the edge of the rainforest where you might want to have a little extra money handy because beers and sodas may be purchased here. (10-12 hours hiking, camp at 10,168 ft.)
Four hour hike down the Mweka trail through the rainforest. Arrive in the village of Mweka where there is plenty of wood curios, batiks, T-shirts, and souvenirs for sale. We have a delicious hot lunch in the village then get on the bus for an hour-long drive back to the Moivaro Lodge, which will feel like a welcome, clean sanctuary. After showers and resting, a delightful feast awaits us and we celebrate our accomplishment! (B, L, D)
You will leave Arusha for a fabulous East African Safari or if you have to leave, transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport and fly home. (B, L, D)
We are picked up in comfortable safari vehicles and drive two hours to Tarangire National Park. This park is the most famous park in all of Eastern Africa during the dry season. Thousands of animals migrate from the dry Maasai Steppe to the Tarangire River in search of water. Lion and other predators follow the herds and can be found through out the park. The park is approximately 2600 sq Km. We will have lunch at the Tarangire Safari Lodge and then do an afternoon and evening game drive. We spend the night in the park at the Tarangire Safari Lodge. The lodge is located on a ridge with one of Tanzania's most spectacular panoramic views. While relaxing on the patio you can observe a variety of animals passing below, including herds of up to 300 elephants. Accommodations are tents complete with beds, electricity, bathrooms, and solar heated showers. Also there is a swimming pool for cooling down after a day of game viewing. (B, L, D)
A day to explore Tarangire National Park and overnight at Kikoti Camp. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we leave for Lake Manyara – a place with panoramic views across the volcano-studded floor of the Great Rift Valley. Overnight Serena Ngorogoro Crater (B,L,D)
Descend into the Crater and enjoy a full day game drive. Overnight Serena Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast we start our drive back to Arusha, stopping to take photos of Massai villages and a visit to the Reptile Farm. We arrive in time to catch your flight back home or continue on to Zanzibar. (B,L)
Days 14-16 – Zanzibar Option:
Relax on the most beautiful white sand beaches imaginable on the exotic spice island of Zanzibar. This is the perfect way to end your incredible stay in Tanzania!
Member: $3600 (14 day package with Kili climb and safaris)
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