Day 1: Shira Gate to Shira Camp. Elevation (m): 1830 m to 3840 m. Elevation (ft): 6000 ft to 12,600 ft. Distance: 18 km. Hiking Time: 5-7 hours. Habitat: Montane Forest. The drive from Moshi to the trailhead takes about 3 hours. We 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 Shira Camp.
Day 2: Shira Camp to Lava Tower to Barranco Camp. Elevation (m): 3840 m to 4630 m to 3860 m. Elevation (ft): 12,600 ft to 12,700 ft. Distance: 15 km. Walking Time: 5-7 hours. Habitat: Semi-desert. 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 4,876 meters. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3,860 meters. 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.
Day 3: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp. Elevation (m): 3860 m to 4200 m. Elevation (ft): 12,700 ft to 13,800 ft. Distance: 7 km. Hiking Time: 4 hours. Habitat: Alpine Desert. After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite.
Day 4: Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp. Elevation (m): 3860 m to 4600 m. Elevation (ft): 12,700 ft to 15,100 ft. Distance: 13 km. Hiking Time: 8 hours. Habitat: Alpine Desert. After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge up the Barranco Wall, through the Karanga Valley (lunch at 4200 m), and the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail.
We continue up to the Barafu Hut. 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.
Day 5: Barafu Camp to Summit to Mweka Hut. Elevation (m): 4600 m to 5895 m (and down to 3100 m). Elevation (ft): 15,100 ft to 19,300 ft (and down to 10,200 ft). Distance: 7 km ascent/23 km descent. Hiking Time: 6-8 hours ascent/7-8 hours descent. Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit. Very early in the morning (midnight to 2 a.m.), 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 (5685 m), 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. It can be very cold at night at these elevations, but it will be quite warm by the end of the hiking day. You will want clothing for both extremes with you. 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.
Day 6: Mweka Camp to Arusha. Elevation (m): 3100 m to 1830 m. Elevation (ft): 10,200 ft to 6000 ft. Distance: 15 km. Hiking Time: 3-4 hours. Habitat: 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, continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Arusha. Don't forget to tip your guides and porters, it is time for celebration!
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Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Mountain Ranger Mountain/Rock Climbing