Climb to the ‘roof of Africa’ and relish the sensation of achieving something remarkable. Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the highest volcanoes and highest free standing mountains in the world. The ascent of the mountain allows you to experience a whole range of climatic zones, from the tropics to stunning glacial regions. With this comes an enormous range of beautiful biodiversity for you to take in. The elegant tailored nature of this trek guarantees it to be an unforgettable experience where no two days will be the same. As well as lodge accommodation at both the start and finish of your trip, you will also benefit from high-end logistics whilst out on the trek, giving your trip the edge over most others. Moreover, the expedition team will go to great lengths to ensure all kit is of the highest specification – creature comforts that can mean a lot at 5,000m+ above sea level.
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Close to the base of Mount Kilimanjaro
On arrival in Tanzania you will transfer to a boutique coffee plantation lodge to relax and unwind after your flight. You will then receive a comprehensive briefing with your Expedition Leader. Dinner is included.
From the lodge, you will make your way to the gates of the mountain where you will register before reaching the start of the trek. This initial part of the climb takes you through unspoiled rainforest, the trails are quiet and the chances of seeing wildlife, such as the Colobus Monkey, are relatively high, while elephants and buffalo are also known to roam the area. The four to six-hour walk through the rainforest culminates at the Big Tree Camp where you will spend the night camping at 2,780m. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Today you will leave the rainforest behind and break into the moorland and heath zone, where the mountain opens up before you in all its glory. On a clear day you can look all the way back over the plains. The six to eight-hour climb to Shira Plateau is a gentle one; the plateau used to be an active volcano but the crater walls collapsed into their own caldera forming the plateau upon which you will spend the night, camping at 3,500m. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
After breakfast, you’ll head away from the path and across towards Shira Cathedral – part of the remnants of the old crater rim of the extinct volcano, Shira. This is not just a valuable acclimatisation walk but there is also an optional chance to scramble up the exciting ridge, which rewards climbers with breathtaking views looking down on the rest of the mountain. In the afternoon you will head back down the ridge to walk to the next camp, Shira Two, where you will camp at 3,900m. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Lava Tower or Barrance Camp
Today, you’ll break the 4,000m barrier and enter a new climatic zone above the vegetation line. Low alpine desert, almost lunar in appearance, is devoid of tropical flora, but still surreally beautiful. Camp today depends on the ground the expedition covers, the weather and the pace of the group. The group may camp at Lava Tower, a great solidified lava funnel that rose and promptly solidified without time to flow downhill. If the weather is good, the eager ones can scramble up the tower. The other option is to trek a little further down at the foot of the Great Barranco Wall. You will camp at either Lava Tower (4,300m) or Barrance Camp (3,960m). Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Your goal today is Karanga Camp, five to eight hours away, high up on a ridge above the Karanga Valley. To reach it, you need to climb the Great Barranco Wall that was formed by a massive landslide 100,000 years ago. It looks daunting, but it is an easy – and very satisfying – trek up the wall into a series of valleys, arriving at Karanga Camp (4,305m) that evening. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Today’s camp, Barafu Camp (4,640m), is not too far, just a four to six-hour trek, at a relaxed pace, up the mountain – arriving in the early afternoon. You will spend the afternoon there, relaxing, enjoying the views and preparing to make the summit the next day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Starting out early in the morning, under the glow of a million stars, you will begin your final climb to the summit. On a clear evening, it’s possible to navigate the route by moon and starlight alone, without the need of a head torch. You may be able to spot the occasional shooting star as you make your way up Kibo, one of three volcanoes of Kilimanjaro, which represents the final summit climb. High up on the mountain, the sun will begin to rise over the extinct Mawenzi volcano, slowly bathing the plains far below in the golden morning light. At last, after a final push up the mountain, you’ll reach Uhuru Peak, 5,895m above sea level, making it the highest point of Africa. After taking in the captivating views from the summit you will make your way back down to Millennium Camp (5,895m), where you will spend the night. The journey down is much quicker and after twelve to sixteen hours of walking, you’ll reach camp with time to sit back, relax and reflect on your incredible journey. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
Your last day on the mountain follows a gradual trail downwards, passing back through the rainforest and arriving back at the gates of the mountain. You will say goodbye to your Porters and head back to the lodge for a bath and well-deserved dinner to celebrate your phenomenal accomplishment. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.
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You will enjoy breakfast this morning before returning home. You could consider extending your trip on a safari for a fuller experience of this region of Africa.
Do I need to be fit and have technical abilities?
You won’t be using ropes and crampons, so special technical skills are not needed to embark on this expedition. You will be in the hands of some of the finest Expedition Leaders who will make the trip as comfortable for you as possible. A lot of walking is involved, the majority of it uphill. Not only that, you’ll be going into a more rarefied atmosphere the further you climb, which makes it tougher. With greater fitness comes greater enjoyment of the trek, so it is worth spending some time working on your fitness before you leave, but you don’t need to be an athlete to go on the expedition. The key to your fitness should be endurance. You will have support every step of the way, even before you depart, you have the opportunity to receive expert advice and a comprehensive personalised training plan should you desire it.
What are the toilet facilities on the mountain?
‘Portaloos’ are carried all the way up the mountain to each of the campsites. This offers you the comforts that are missed on many other mountain treks.
How do you cater on the mountain?
A cook and kitchen team will accompany the group when camping throughout the trip and you will be provided with proper balanced meals to replenish you. These meals will be tailored to your dietary needs.
Will I require any spending money?
Throughout the experience, you won’t need much spending money as the trip is comprehensively covered in the initial cost. You may require money for the very occasional meal not shown on the schedule and any alcoholic drinks. You may also wish to buy some souvenirs or make a satellite phone call home or for work purposes. It will be best to bring your usual currency and this can be changed into local currency soon after arrival.
What clothing/equipment do I need?
The expedition team will give you a full comprehensive kit list when you sign up and be on-hand if you have any questions before the expedition.
Do I need special insurance?
You will probably need to amend your policy if it's not specialist insurance. Do check with your insurer and if they won't cover you, our expedition experts can refer you to specific providers that cover altitude of 5,895m.
Do I need visas?
This is dependent on your nationality, the expedition team can advise you on this upon signing up. British citizens can obtain this in advance from the Tanzanian High Commission.
Do I need any vaccinations?
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide. You should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. Visit www.fco.gov.uk and ask your GP or a specialist clinic.
Is there a minimum and maximum age for this expedition?
The minimum age is 16 years old accompanied by a legal guardian or 18 years old otherwise. As long as you are in good health and fitness, there is no maximum age limit.
Will my mobile phone work?
You will find very little mobile phone reception on the mountain so don’t be surprised if your phone does not work. However, a satellite phone is carried by the team in case of emergencies, but this can be used for a charge.
Do the Porters carry everything for me?
Yes, the Porters are there to make life as easy as possible for you without detracting from the challenge of climbing part of the highest mountain in the world. All you need to carry is a very light daypack, containing essentials such as water, snacks, waterproofs, warm clothing, camera, sun cream.