Day 1: To Mti Mkubwa Camp (2250m to 2790m, 7380ft to 9160ft). About 2.5 miles/3-4 hours. After breakfast and briefing, drive to Londorossi Park Gate (2250m / 7380ft, 2.5 hours). From here a forest track requiring a 4WD vehicle leads to Lemosho Glades (2390m / 7830ft, 11km, 45 minutes) and a possible campsite (park fees are not paid to camp here). Walk along forest trails to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite.
Day 2: To Shira 1 Camp (2750m to 3500m, 9160ft to 11,500ft). About 5.5 miles/5-6 hours. After breakfast, we continue as the trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed then it gains the Shira Ridge at about 3600m / 11,810ft and drops gently down to Shira 1 camp located by a stream on the Shira Plateau.
Day 3: To Shira 2 Camp (3500m to 3850m, 11,500ft to 12,600ft). About 2 hours. After breakfast, a gentle walk across the plateau leads to Shira 2 camp on moorland meadows by a stream. A variety of walks are available on the Plateau making this an excellent acclimatization day.
Day 4: To Barranco Hut (3840m to 3860m, 12,600ft to 12,700ft). About 5-6 hours. From the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east, 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 4876 meters / 15,997 ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 3860 meters / 12,664 ft. 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 5: To Karanga Hut (3860m to 4200m, 12,700ft to 13,800ft). About 3-4 hours. After breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley (4200m / 13,780 ft) campsite.
Day 6: To Barafu Hut (4200m to 4600m, 13,800ft to 15,100ft). About 3-4 hours. After breakfast, we leave the Karanga Valley and pass the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue to the Barafu Hut, which is located ant an altitude of 4600 meters (15,092 ft). 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 7: To Summit and Mweka Hut (4600m to 5895m (and down to 3100m), 5,100ft to 19,300ft (and down to 10,200ft)). About 7-8 hours up / 4-5 hours down. Early morning, we continue our way to the summit of Uhuru Peak at 5985 meters (19,636 ft). This part of the climb takes about 6 hours. 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. At Uhuru Peak, we 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 at 3100 meters (10,171 ft). This part of the descent takes about 5 hours. You will want gaiters and trekking poles for the loose gravel going down. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep. Beer and soda may be available for purchase at the Mweka Hut -- the only place on this route.
Day 8: To Moshi (3100m to 1680m, 10,200ft to 5500ft). About 4-5 hours. After breakfast, we continue the descent down to the Mweka Park Gate. 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 Mweka village to drive you back to your hotel.
Note: You can start your trek on any day of the year.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking