Day 1: Arrival - Arusha. Travel from Nairobi to Arusha on board a Shuttle bus or pickup from Kilimanjaro Airport – transfer to a hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 2: Machame Gate (1490m) - Machame camp (2980 m). Hiking time: 7 hours. Distance: About 18 km's. Habitat: Montane forest. Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame village (1490m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. You will receive a lunch pack and you can also buy mineral water in the village. Depending on the condition of the road, it is possible to drive from the village to the Machame gate, but if not, the muddy 3 km walk will take about 1 hour to complete. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately.
There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about half way and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon. Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) will have erected your tent on your arrival. In the evening the porters will boil drinking and washing water and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite.
Day 3: Machame camp (2980m) - Shira camp (3840m). Hiking time: 6 hours. Distance: About 9 km's. Habitat: Moorland. You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 840m. The porters will boil drinking and washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.
Day 4: Shira (3840m) - Lava Tower (4630m) - Barranco camp (3950m). Hiking time: 7 hours. Distance: About 15 km's. Habitat: Semi desert.
The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4630m after about a 5 hours walk. Lunch is served in a designated area before ascending the rocky scree path to Lava Tower (4630m). Definitely, the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start to feel symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches.
After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for the preparation of your dinner.
Day 5: Barranco camp (3950m) - Barafu camp (4550m). Hiking time: 7 hours. Distance: About 13 km's. Habitat: Alpine desert. After spending a night at the Great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out easier than what you anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you reach Barafu Hut. The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for "ice" and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night.
Totally exposed to the ever-present gales the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. The summit is now a further 1345m up and you will make the final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski stick and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep
Day 6: Barafu camp (4550m) - Uhuru Peak (5895m) - Mweka (3100m). Hiking time: 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 7/8 hours to descend to Mweka. Distance: About 7 km's ascent - 23 km's descent. Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit. You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This 6-hour walk to Stella point is for many climbers, mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5685m) 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 will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue.
Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life. The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared.
Day 7: Mweka camp (3100m) - Mweka Gate (1980m). Hiking time: 3 hours. Distance: About 15 km's. Habitat: Forest. After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 3-hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! You now drive back to Arusha for a long over due hot shower, dinner and celebrations!! Overnight at a hotel.
Day 8: Arusha – Lake Manyara National park. Depart Arusha in the morning for Lake Manyara. Afternoon game drive, dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge/ campsite. Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, incredible bird life, and breathtaking views. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay this park a visit. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world a fact that makes for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.
Day 9: Serengeti National Park. After breakfast depart for Serengeti passing through Olduvai Gorge, the site of Leakey’s family discovery of fossils of human and animal ancestors dating back to almost two million years. Meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge/ campsite.
Day 10: Serengeti. Full day in Serengeti plains in search for wild game you might have missed the previous game drive. Morning and afternoon game drives. Meals and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge /campsite. Serengeti is easily Tanzania’s most famous national park, and it’s also the largest, at 14,763 square kilometres of protected area that borders Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Park. It is the Migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June.
So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back. The Wildebeest travel through a variety of parks, reserves and protected areas and through a variety of habitat. Join us to explore the different forms of vegetation and landscapes of the Serengeti ecosystem and meet some of their most fascinating inhabitants.
Day 11: Ngorongoro Crater. After breakfast a 4wheel drive vehicle will take you 2000ft down to the crater, enjoy picnic lunch at the crater, ascend back to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge /campsite for dinner and overnight. The Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Eden’ and the ‘8th Natural Wonder of the World,’ a visit to the crater is a main drawcard for tourists coming to Tanzania and a definite world-class attraction. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is home of Ngorongoro Crater. It was formed some 2.5 million years ago from a volcanic mountain sinking due to inactivity, and was initially thought to be higher than Tanzania’s famous Kilimanjaro.
The crater has evolved into a unique and integral part of Tanzania’s eco-system. The crater is actually a caldera, measures 22.5 km’s across and the rim walls stand 600m high. Views from within and from the rim are breathtaking (as can be seen from the picture). The crater houses 30,000 animals, and a large variety of birds, which rarely move from the area due to the availability of water through wet and dry seasons
Day 12: Arusha - Nairobi. Breakfast then drive to Arusha town – Board an afternoon shuttle bus to Nairobi – Drop off at the airport to board your home bound flight.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Wildlife Viewing