Arrival day: Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to Arusha town for overnight.
Day 1: Arusha town To Miriakampa Hut. We'll start with 1500 m/4900 ft and will end at 2500 m/8200 ft. 4 hours hiking. Pick up from your hotel in Arusha town and drive to Momella gate. Starting from Momella Gate, the track passes through open grassland with cape buffalo and warthogs. With luck, you may also see giraffe and elephants. Continue a steady climb through montane forest.
You can have your lunch at the famous “Fig tree”. After lunch, the trek continues through less dense forest, where there are lots of birds and monkeys including the black and white colobus. By mid-afternoon, there are the first close views of the towering cliffs and the Ash Cone. Miriakampa Hut, situated in idyllic grassy glade, is reached in time to enjoy the afternoon sun and beautiful views over the surrounding plains towards Kilimanjaro.
Day 2: To Saddle Hut. Starting at 2500 m/8200 ft to 3500 m/11,700 ft. 4 hours hiking. The walk from Miriakampa Hut to the saddle below Little Meru is a steep sustained climb all the way. Starting through beautiful and lush montane forest, the path continues beyond the halfway point of Elephant Back Ridge and carries on uphill through the giant heather and other moorland vegetation to reach Saddle Hut and lunch. In the afternoon, you can make the short climb to the nearby summit of Little Meru (3820 m/12,533 ft) for superb views. It takes about 1 hour to walk up and 30 minutes to walk down. The ascent is 1056 m/3465 ft.
Day 3: Summit and down to Momella Gate to Arusha. Details: 3500 m/11,700 ft to 4566 m/14,980 ft. Down to 2500 m/8200 ft. Addtional 5 hours hiking up. Addtional 3 hours hiking down to. Saddle Hut and addtional 2 hours to Miriakampa Hut. 2500 m/8200 ft to 1500 m/4900 ft. Additional 2 hours hiking to Momella gate. Summit day has an early start at around 12:00 a.m.. There is 1 hour steep climb to Rhino Point (3800 m/12,467 ft), and then the path continues along a ridge of ash and rock to reach Cobra Point (4350 m/14,272 ft).
The summit of Socialist Peak (4566 m) is an hour more on a steep path with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro. Depending on your speed, you can enjoy sunrise at Cobra Point or the summit. The views are stunning: the cliffs of the Crater rim, the Ash Cone rising from the crater floor, Kilimanjaro floating on the morning clouds, and the Rift Valley.
The route back to Rhino Point in the sharp morning light along a narrow ridge between the sloping outer wall of the crater and the sheer cliffs of the inner wall is one of the most dramatic and exhilarating walks in Africa. Brunch and a brief rest is taken at Saddle Hut before continuing the descent to Miriakamba Hut.
- For an easier climb, you can start the trek at 05:00 A.M., hike for about 1 hour, and enjoy sunrise at Rhino Point before going back to Saddle Hut for breakfast and then descending
- In icy conditions or in strong winds, it may be impossible for anyone to progress beyond Rhino Point
- There are two ways down from Miriakampa hut. You can descend the route you came up or walk down the jeep road, which descends to the lower crater floor. You pass through the well-known Fig Tree Arch and can visit an impressive waterfall hidden in a ravine not far from the road.
- A fast descent through open grassland and mixed forest, with good chances of seeing wildlife. This trail has excellent views back towards the crater and over the plains of the National Park. Momella Gate is reached by late afternoon and transfer back to Arusha town.
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