Day 1: The National Park Gate (1830 meters) lies at the edge of Marangu, which is an attractive village with many small coffee and banana plantations. After completing the entrance formalities, we climb up through attractive and unspoilt forest to reach the clearing containing Mandara Huts (2700 meters). The volcanic remains of Maundi Crater are nearby and make a good afternoon excursion. An alternative is to rest and enjoy the beautiful forest. There is a rich birdlife at the huts and monkeys are often seen as well (3-5 hours walking).
Day 2: The first part of the walk is a steep ascent through forest, but the path soon open out into grassy moorland and, in clear weather, there are good views of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. We climb steadily through the moorland zone, containing giant heather and occasional stands of groundsel, to eventually reach the hut complex at Horombo (3720 meters). Sunrises and sunsets here are often very spectacular, the site is close to the glaciated dome of Kibo and there is a real sense of being above the clouds (5-7 hours walking).
Day 3: We climb very gradually towards the lunar desert of the Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The terrain changes to scree and there is a palpable sense of high altitude wilderness. We usually reach Kibo Hut (4750 meters) at the bottom of the crater wall by midday and the afternoon is free (to contemplate the summit ascent!!!). The remainder of the day is spent resting and eating in preparation for the final before a very night (5-6 hours walking)!
Day 4: We will start our ascent by torchlight at about 12:00 a.m so that we can be up at Gillman's Point by sunrise. The initial climb is steep over loose volcanic scree, but there are some well - graded zig - zigs ad a slow but steady pace will have us up to Gillman's Point (5685 meters) in about five or six hours. We will rest there and spend some time taking in the sunrise. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5895 meters) passing close to the spectacular glaciers that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent is surprisingly fast and we return to Horombo for the night (11-15 hours walking).
Day 5: We retrace our steps with a pleasant moorland walk to Mandara and then a lovely forest walk to the National Park gate. The greenness and lushness of the forest is quite a stunning contract the summit day, and it really makes you realize how varied Kilimanjaro is (5-6 hours walking).
Price: USD 1200 per person.
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Africa Tanzania Outdoor: Mountain Ranger Mountain/Rock Climbing
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