Location, History, and Highlights
Mount Kilimanjaro, located in northern Tanzania, is 3 degrees south of the equator. Kilimanjaro’s mountain formed as a result of the collision of tectonic plates that allowed molten rock and lava to reach the earth’s surface during the creation of the Great Rift Valley. Kilimanjaro has 3 dormant volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Mt Kilimanjaro’s last eruption occurred 150,000 years ago. Its snow-capped mountain rises 19,340 ft above the savannah plains below. While being Africa’s tallest mountain peak and the highest free-standing mountain in the world, it is also the worlds most walk able high mountain. Visit Mount Kilimanjaro and you are guaranteed exotic wildlife, scenic views, wilderness, and the opportunity to experience time and space away from the crowds .
Many people list a Kilimanjaro safari as a lifelong dream adventure. Mountain climbing in Africa doesn’t get any better than Kilimanjaro safaris, as it is the highest peak in the African continent (19,340 ft elevation). When climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, there are several routes to its summit on Kilimanjaro tours. Listed below are several 7-9 day routes to its summit. These route itineraries allow climbers time to acclimated themselves to Mt. Kilimanjaro’s elevation. A 7 day ascent allows you a great chance of successfully making it to the roof of Africa! It also gives the climber time to see all of Kilimanjaro’s main areas while on the mountain climbing tour. Kilimanjaro’s highlights include rain forest, Shira plateau, glacial valleys, alpine deserts, views of Kibo and possible views of Kibo Peak and its caldera and ash pit glaciers. If you are looking for a great mountain climbing adventure that does not compromise safety, then climb with Tanzania Roadside Expeditions!
Rongai Route (7 day)
Rongai Gate – Rongai Cave (Simba Camp)
Altimeter: 6,398ft – 9,300ft | Distance: 4 miles | Trekking Time: 3-4 Hours
Day one begins with a 4 hour drive from Arusha to the village of Nare Moru where the Rongai Route trek starts. The trail begins along a wide path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes and then enters a pine forest. The route then begins to ascend gently through the beautiful forest. The forest begins to thin out as it reaches the Rongai cave ( Simba Camp), you camp for the first night on Kilimanjaro Rongai.
Rongai Cave – Kikelelwa Cave
Altimeter: 9,300ft – 11,811ft | Distance: 6 miles | Trekking Time: 6-8 Hours
Your morning’s walk is a steady and gradually ascending trek to the Second Cave camp where you will stop for lunch. You will then leave the main trail and cross the moorland on a smaller path towards Mawenzi Peak. The Kikelewa camp is situated in a sheltered valley near the Kikelelwa cave.
Kikelelwa Cave – Mawenzi Tarn
Altimeter: 11,811ft – 14,160ft | Distance: 4 miles | Trekking Time: 3-4 Hours
Day Three is a short, steep climb up a grassy slope, when you reach the top you will be rewarded with an amazing view of Kibo and Mawenzi Peak. The vegetation will diminish as you enter the barren alpine desert zone. Mawenzi Tarn camp is situated directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi Peak. The afternoon can spent relaxing in camp or exploring the area around Mawenzi.
Mawenzi Tarn – Kibo Hut – Mawenzi Tarn
Altimeter: 14,160ft – 15,430ft | Distance: 4 miles | Trekking Time: 3-5 Hours
Day four is an acclimatization day, with a short trek up to the Kibo hut and then back to Mawenzi for a second night.
Mawenzi Tarn – Kibo Hut
Altimeter: 14,160ft – 15,430ft | Distance: 5 miles | Trekking Time: 5-6 Hours
From Mawenzi you will again cross the alpine desert zone of Kilimanjaro and the saddle between Mawenzi Peak and Kibo to reach the Kibo Huts at the bottom of Kibo’s crater wall. The afternoon is for resting and preparing for the climb to the summit.
Kibo Hut – Uhuru Peak – Horombo Hut
Altimeter: 15,430ft – 19,340ft – 12,205ft | Distance: 14 miles | Trekking Time: 11-14 Hours
Summit Night! You will be woken at around midnight, for light breakfast before setting off into the night. You will ascend over scree and rocks until you reach Gillman’s Point at the crater rim at dawn where you will rest briefly before continuing to the summit Uhuru Peak. This is the most challenging part of the Kilimanjaro Rongai route trek for most climbers with the highest chance of suffering from altitude sickness. Take in the view from the summit and ensure you have taken plenty of photographs before starting your descent to Kibo Hut where you will rest and eat Lunch. You will then trek across the saddle to Horombo Hut for your final night on Kilimanjaro.
Horombo Hut – Marangu Gate
Altimeter: 12,205ft – 6,046ft | Distance: 12 miles | Trekking Time: 5-7 Hours
After your final breakfast pack your bags and descend through the moorland zone to the Mandara Huts. You will stop for and then continue down through the rainforest until you reach the park gate in the early afternoon. You will then drive back to your hotel in Moshi, for a celebratory drink and shower!
6 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 5 evening meals are included.
Machame Route (9 day)
Kilimanjaro Machame route is a 7 day trek starting at Machame gate and ascending via Stella Point. There is a night time ascent to the summit. The trip is fully supported with spacious guest tents, mattress and pillow as well as a mess tent with lightweight tables and chairs and all cutleries. Our trips also include a toilet tent in camp and most importantly, knowledgeable professional guides that go through bi-annual training. Our logistics team at our base monitors your trip from start to finish.
Day 1 – Arusha
On arrival you will be personally met by one of our representatives and transferred to Arusha to a hotel. In the afternoon there will be a full briefing with the climbs Manager and your guide. Dinner is included at your hotel.
Day 2 – Machame
After breakfast you will depart by vehicle to Kilimanjaro. At the gate your crews finalizes packing and after finishing with formalities you will start hiking from Machame gate (6000ft). This day hiking is through mountain rain forest to Machame camp (10000ft) and on route you have a picnic lunch. Look out for pretty endemic flora and a gradation of forest zones!
Overnight Machame Camp (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 3 – Shira
From Machame camp you hike through heath zone to Shira Camp (12500ft). The first section is relatively steep and altitude is gained rapidly. Picnic lunch is taken on the trail. The zone you pass through is known as the heath zone where attractive Helichrysum and lobelia plants become apparent. Various geologic features can be seen from lava tubes to glacial valleys.
Overnight at Shira Camp (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 4 – Barranco
This day is trek high sleep low. You ascend into alpine desert and for those that are feeling strong you can even head up to Lava Tower (15200ft) before descending to Barranco camp (13000ft). Lunch is taken as picnic lunch on route. This is long day but note that, the next time you head to this altitude is in two days’ time – great acclimatization day!
Overnight Barranco Camp (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 5 – Karanga
From Barranco camp, famous for its’ giant groundsels (Senecio species), you ascend the Barranco wall and hike glacial valleys to Karanga camp (13,500ft). This day is a relatively short day hiking and lunch is taken at Karanga camp. In the afternoon a walk can be taken with your guides for great views of the Southern walls of Kibo and deep glacial valleys – acclimatization walk.
Overnight Karanga Camp (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 6 – Barafu
This day is another half day ascending to Barafu camp (15,200ft). Once again lunch is taken in camp allowing plenty of time to relax before the summit bid. Desolate alpine desert and at times strong winds rip over this camp and yet in the evening splendid views of Mawenzi peak are the norm. A relatively early dinner is taken before heading to rest for the evening.
Overnight Barafu Camp (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 7 – Mweka
Most people depart just before midnight for the final summit bid. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach the summit and by dawn as the first rays of light start to appear, most arrive at the rim (Stella point- 19,000ft). Ascending from Stella Point affords a relatively short final section to Uhuru peak (19340ft) the roof of Africa! What goes up must come down and your goal today is to reach Mweka camp (10000ft) on your way down the Kilimanjaro Machame route.
Overnight Mweka Camp (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 8 – Arusha
After breakfast you descend once again through mountain rain forest to Mweka gate 5600ft around mid-day. After saying farewell to your crew, you will be picked up (by a car) and transfer back to your hotel for a well-deserved shower!
Overnight at the Hotel in Arusha (breakfast – lunch – dinner)
Day 9 – Depart
This day a day room is held to allow you to relax and check out later in the day. A vehicle is on hand to transfer you to the airport to connect with your international flight, or you may connect with further programs (Eg. Extension to a Safari or Zanzibar for Beach Holidays).
7 days plus 2 days spent at Hotel/Lodge
Umbwe Route (7 day)
This route is the hardest but most spectacular and direct way to reach Uhuru Peak. It follows a forested ridge to the moorlands, and then traverses below the Southern Ice fields to reach the Barafu Route which is followed to the summit. An early start is made on the summit day to reach Stella Point, on the Crater Rim at dawn. Uhuru Peak lies a further 50 minutes along the rim.
Accommodation on the mountain is in tents which the porters will pitch for you; you will need a sleeping bag, warm clothes and walking poles. This is a steep, tough and in places slightly exposed trek within the limits of a fit individual used to walking in mountain areas. An extra day can be added to our itinerary to explore or relax along the route, (best taken at the Karanga Camp/Barafu Camp. An extra day is needed for acclimatization and exhaustion releasing
Arrive at the Hotel in Arusha/Moshi (B&B). Drive to the Umbwe Gate at 6,000ft (1,800m ) from where a forestry track leads through natural rain forest to a narrow and steep forested ridge and the first campsite by some rock overhangs at 9,646ft (2,940m). 5-6 hours hiking time.
Continue till the forest ends and the path continues along a spectacular ridge with superb views of the icy Breach Wall above and the Great Barranco gorge below. The Baranco Canyon where the campsite is located at 13000ft (3940m) provides the best scenery surrounded by Indigenous giant ground sells. 5-6 hours hiking time.
Scramble easily to the top of the Great Barranco and then a traverse over screes and ridges to the Karanga Valley campsite (13,123ft / 4,000m) beneath the icefalls of the Southern Glaciers. 3 hours hiking time.
The trail ascends a ridge to a campsite by the Barafu Camp (15, 200ft / 4,700m ), an airy location with little vegetation (3hrs). This day we eat a full hot lunch at the camp.
Start just after midnight for the ascent of the screes leading to Stella Point (6 hours, 19,000ft / 5,791m ). From here a further 50 mins leads to Uhuru Peak (19,340ft. / 5895m ). Descend to the Barafu Camp for a rest and brunch before continuing down to camp at Mweka Camp at 10,000ft / 3,048m. Those with energy on the summit may wish to descend to the Reutsh Crater and visit the dramatic ice pinnacles of the Eastern Ice fields. 11-14 hour total walking time.
A 3-4 hour descent through beautiful mountain rain forest brings you to the Mweka Park Gate
(5,600ft) / 1,707m) . Drive back to the Hotel in Moshi/Arusha (B&B).
Day room use, early dinner and transfer to the airport/ an extension to Wildlife safari or Zanzibar Beach holiday. Day room use at the Hotel in Arusha (breakfast – lunch)
6 days plus 2 days spent at Hotel/Lodge
Lemosho Route (8 Day)
Day 1: Trail Head to Forest Camp
This route starts on the western side of Mt Kilimanjaro. After breakfast,your guide will come to the hotel with the company car and load your gear before leaving at 8:30 AM. You will meet your guide to begin your ascent around noon from base camp ( 7,500 ft). Beginning your climb, you may hear and see colobus monkeys , blue monkeys, Bush hyrax, and birds like Turaco, silvery-cheeked hornbill, and a lot of flycatchers. At the forest camp ranger hut (9,000 ft), you will locate your tent. After dinner your guide will share the plan for your hike beginning the next day, wake up time, and what to wear, as he will everyday .
Day 2: Forest Camp to Shira One
6:30 wake up. After 1.5 hours of hiking through the one forest, you begin seeing the giant heather. You will have lunch at Shira Ridge (10,500 ft) and like along its ridge transversing it at 11,600 ft. before heading through the heath and moorland Shira Camp where you will be able to see Mt Kilimanjaro’s snow cap.
Day 3: Shira Camp to Moir Hut (13,400 ft, 6-7 hrs)
En route to Moir Hut, you will have lunch at the former Scott Fischer Camp(12,800 ft) and enjoy the view of Kibo, one of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s 3 peaks. The day’s hike takes you through the plateau covered with moorland and heath while gradually climbing up the steep. To your southeast you will see geological features that appeared after the collapse of Shiva Peak.
Day 4: Moira Hut to Great Baranco Valley (13,100, 6-8 hrs)
Following breakfast at 8:45 AM, your hike will cross the Alpine Desert prior to descending to Baranco Valley where there is the Tundra Alpine with Giant Senecio’s. You will continue to acclimatize yourselves while hiking to Lava Tower (15,100 ft) prior to your descent to Branco Camp.
Day 5: Baranco Camp to Karenga Camp ( 13,500, 3-4hrs)
This day will involve a short but steep up and down hike. It will begin with a short hike followed by a view of different on Kibo Peak as well as a view of Moshi town and its surrounding plantations. Proceeding, you will cross Karenga Stream and continue on a short hike to acclimatize.
Day 6: Karanga to Barafu Camp (15,100 ft, 2.5-3 hrs)
This will be shortest climb day of your entire ascent, prior to your night summit. You will have beautiful and clear views of the Kibo Peak summit. At Barafu Camp, you will prepare your gear and what you will wear when beginning your summit that night.
Day 7: Summit Day (19,340, 6hrs)
Your ascent to the summit begins at 11PM. After hiking in the dark for 5 hours, you will arrive at Stella Point. After a hot drink, you will see a radiant sunrise on the east side if the summit. You will enjoy taking pictures and rest up before your descent to Barafu Camp and then continue to Mweka Camp overnight (10,000 ft).
Day 8: Mweka Camp to Base Camp ( 4-5 hrs)
After breakfast, you will hike through the dense mountain forest until arriving at the sign out hut and receive your certificate, prior to arriving at your hotel for showers, beer, and wine.
8 days plus 2 days spent at Hotel/Lodge
Marangu Route (6 Day)
This route starts on the Eastern side of Kilimanjaro. Accommodations will be in dormitories.
Marangu Gate (6,000 ft) to Mandara Hut (9,000 ft)
After breakfast at the hotel in Arusha, your duffle bags will be loaded into Tanzania Roadside Expeditions vehicle and be transferred to Marangu Gate. The drive is through a s open land savannah,maize, banana and coffee plantations to Marangu Park Gate (6,000 ft). Your guide will do some park entry formalities before you get introduced to the climbing crew team. Our climb begins as we enter the mountain rainforest on the well maintained trail. On the trail, it is possible to see black and white colobus monkeys and tree hyrax. We arrive at Mandara Camp late afternoon and have dinner and stay there overnight. Hiking time: 3-4 hours.
Mandara Hut (9,000 ft) to Horombo Hut (1,220 ft)
After breakfast at Mandara Hut, we pack and hike for 1.5 hours to the Heath Zone. The heath zone has gorgeous colorful birds and flowers, sunbirds, and blooming protea and lobelia’s. After 3/4 of our days journey, we have lunch. At this point, you will see stunning views of Mawenzi Peak and Kibo Peak. We continue on the hike for about 2 more hours. We arrive at Horombo Hut (12,205 ft) in the late afternoon. After a long rest, we have dinner and stay overnight. Hiking time: 5-6 hours.
This is a leisurely day designed to help build your body and get rid of any accumulated exhaustion and get adjusted to the altitude. After breakfast, we pack and start the hike on Moorland and Heath Zones through the upper Mawenzi Route to Zebra Rocks for just 1,000 ft and have lunch. Afterwards, we we descend back to Horombo Hut for rest, dinner, and overnight sleep.
Horombo Hut ( 12,205 ft) to Kibo Hut (15,403 ft)
After breakfast, we pack and start the hike through Heath and Moorland Zones. As we arrive at Maua River marsh areas, you will see gorgeous giant groundsels. We continue with the hike at Moorland Zone passing the last water and enter the Alpine Desert Zone at the saddle between Kibo Peak and Mawenzi Peak for lunch and rest. After lunch, we do 2 more hours of hiking along the exposed desert as we arrive at Kibo Hut ( 15, 430 ft). Before dinner, there is a briefing about how to dress for the next day while summiting. Afterwards, we have an early dinner and stay overnight.
Kibo Hut (15,403 ft) to Summit (19, 340 ft) and descent to Horombo Hut (12,205 ft)
At midnight, you are woken up, have a light breakfast, and start the final push to the Summit. You must dress warmly to protect yourself from wind and rain from head to toe as you go through the harsh weather of the Summit in the frozen Tundra Zone. You will need to use your headlamp. The trail switches back and forth as it zigzags on our route up on gravel stones. The temperature will plummet to freezing (0 or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit) on this steep and strenuous climb. We go at a slow but steady pace with many stops to drink water. We arrive at Gillman’s Point (18,600 ft) by dawn when the sunrise appears to the East. Climbers feeling strong enough and less affected by altitude symptoms can continue from Gilman’s Point to the Summit which will take about 2 hours. These climbers will hike along the crater rim and arrive at Uhuru Peak ( 19, 340 ft). Uhuru means “freedom” ! Climbers will have the opportunity to take pictures and will descend along the same route to Kibo Hut for brunch and a long rest. Afterwards, we pack, get more water and descend through the saddle Alpine Desert, Moorland, and Heath Zones to Horombo Hut ( 12,205 ft). Hiking Time: 12-14 hours.
Horombo Hut (12,205 ft) to Marangu Gate (6,000 ft)
After breakfast, we pack, tip the climbing crew team and descend through Moorland and Heath Zones to Mandara Hut ( 9,000 ft) to rest, eat lunch, and afterwards descend through mountain rainforest to arrive at Marangu Gate ( 6,000 ft). You need to register into the Kilimanjaro guest book the highest point you reached. If it is Gillman’s Point you will be awarded the green certificate. The climber’s who reached the Summit of Uhuru Peak receive the golden certificate. Your duffle bags will be loaded into Tanzania Roadside Expeditions company vehicles and you will be driven to your hotel in Arusha for shower, dinner and overnight or transferred to the airport for your flight back home. Hiking Time: 5-6 hours.
6 days plus 2 spent at Hotel/Lodge
What to Bring
- T-shirts (synthetic materials are best as cotton retains moisture)
- Waterproof thigh-length jacket (Goretex or similar)
- Gloves (waterproof warm outers + thin liners)
- Warm hat (or balaclava) that covers the ears
- Waterproof walking boots (well broken-in)
- Waterproof outer trousers with a warm mid-layer (fleece or down)
- Warm long-sleeved shirt
- Warm walking trousers (not jeans!)
- Thermal underwear
- Walking socks (several pairs)
- Walking shorts
- Trainers or soft shoes for relaxing
- Glacier glasses (or good quality sunglasses preferably with side shields)
- Personal first aid kit & essential medications
- Wet wipes
- Warm sleeping bag (3/4-season)
- Sleeping bag liner
- Trekking poles (they are available locally)
- Small towel
- Head Torch/ Head Lamp and spare batteries
- Spare plastic bags
- Water bottle(s) (minimum 6.3 pint or 3 liters capacity)
- High factor sunscreen and chap stick
- High energy snacks, dried fruit, nuts, and sweets
- A small bottle of cordial or squash concentrate (to liven up the flat taste of boiled water) or electrolytes
Tipping is an accepted part of life in Tanzania, and you will be expected to tip to reward the climbing crew appropriately to keep them motivated to work at their highest ability. You will be briefed on arrival as to when and how much is appropriate, however, depending on the size of your group you should budget on a personal contribution of around $100-$150 for your trek guides, cooks and porters who accompany you on the trek. This does not include the company group leader naturalist guide. Our naturalist guide receives $50 per client. He is the most highly trained person on the trek team.
- Trained Kilimanjaro guides
- All relevant Kilimanjaro Park fees & rescue fees
- Emergency medical evacuation
- All accommodation as described in the itinerary
- Transfers as described in the itinerary
- Drinks on the hike (potable water, tea, coffee & hot chocolate)
- International flights
- Entry visas
- Items of a personal nature
- Alterations to this itinerary (i.e. if different accommodations and services are provided then the price will most likely vary up or down)
- Airport departure taxes (unless stated)
- Beverages in hotels (except those in your personal safari vehicle)
- Hospital bills and international evacuation in the event of an emergency