Tanzania: Mount Kilimanjaro Trek

August 18 - 27, 2018

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

John Muir

At 19,341 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak in Africa, a lone sentinel rising above the plains below. Kilimanjaro is one of the most accessible Seven Summits (highest peaks on each continent) and one of the most amazing adventures in the world. In addition to the optional add-on of a Serengeti safari, we are not exaggerating when we say you will have two of the most awe-inspiring vacations of a lifetime all rolled into one trip.

For the climb we have local guides to lead us, porters to carry our tents and other gear, and cooks to keep us nourished. We take the Lemosho Route, which, although it is longer (and we add in an extra day of acclimatization), it also has a higher summit success rate than other routes. Early in the morning of the seventh day of trekking, we rise to climb to the summit and enjoy an amazing view from the highest point on the continent of Africa — we have planned this trip to summit during the full moon! We start and end our hike with a hotel stay in Arusha, one of the gateway towns for those tackling Kilimanjaro.

Immediately following the climb you have the option of joining us on a five-day safari. We’ll visit the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park and the Serengeti ecosystem, where we can see lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhino, and dozens of other animals. It is possible to join us for the Kilimanjaro climb, the safari, or both.

Video by Zephyr Alumnus and High Roller, Rollin Bannow

Overall Tour Rating

Details

  • Dates: August 18 - 27, 2018
  • Cost Per Person: $3,900
  • Optional Single Supplement: $600
  • Private Tour Minimum: 2
  • Activities: Trekking
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Guides: TBD

Other Info: This trip has a minimum of 2 and maximum of 14 participants.
At 10 participants, an American Zephyr guide will join the group.

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL COSTS:
- Sleeping bag rental - $75
- Private portable toilet rental (we HIGHLY recommend this) - $200 per group
- AMREF medical air evacuation service (we HIGHLY recommend this) - starting at $49 per person (https://flydoc.org/maisha-air-ambulance-cover/)

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Trip Highlights

  • Astounding scenery while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet), the highest peak in Africa, and one of the most accessible of the Seven Summits (highest peaks on each continent)
  • Focus on the wonder and beauty Kilimanjaro has to offer while our local guides lead us, our porters carry our tents and other gear, and our cooks keep us nourished.
  • Our trek up Kilimanjaro doesn't require any mountaineering or rock climbing experience, and, other than a good pair of boots, proper clothing, and perhaps trekking poles - no high altitude gear such as ice axes or crampons will be required.
  • Opt in to join us for a five-day safari through the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park and the Serengeti ecosystem immediately following the climb.
DAY 1:

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport at any time today and you’ll be greeted and shuttled to our hotel in Arusha, one of the two base towns for Kilimanjaro climbs.  Most travelers arrive on a KLM flight from Amsterdam that arrives in the evening, so you’ll probably go straight to bed after a long travel day.  If you prefer to arrive one day early, we can arrange an extra night’s stay and airport shuttle at an extra cost.

DAY 2:

After breakfast, we drive two hours to the Londorossi Gate entrance of Kilimanjaro National Park and then another 45 minutes to Lemosho Glades and the start of our trek. This first day we hike through the rain forest for three hours to our campsite, where we learn our camp routine that will stay with us for the remainder of our trip. Elevation Change: 7,742 feet to 9,498 feet. Campsite: Mti Mkubwa

DAY 3:

We hike through the remaining rain forest toward the giant moorland zone, an area with grasses and cactus-like plants. Our lunch stop is the beautiful valley just outside the Shira Crater.  After lunch, we cross into the Shira Caldera, a high altitude desert plateau that is rarely visited.  Shira is one of Kilimanjaro’s three volcanic cones and is filled with lava flows from Kibo Peak. The crater rim has been decimated by weather and volcanic action. Today you’ll get your first close views of Kibo – the dramatic summit of Kilimanjaro. Elevation Change: 9,498 feet to 11,500 feet. Campsite: Shira Camp I

Day 4:

After breakfast, we continue our hike east across the Shira Plateau past the Shira Cathedral towards Shira II Camp. This camp is large and exposed with beautiful views of the town of Moshi and the Heim Glacier. This is a relatively easy day designed to allow us to adjust to the altitude. Elevation Change: 11,500 feet to 12,500 feet. Campsite: Shira Camp II

DAY 5:

The grade is gradual as we make our way up to Lava Tower but we gain quite a bit of altitude, reaching 15,190 feet. We then descend steeply down to Barranco Camp. This policy of “hike high and sleep low” helps us with acclimatization as our bodies adjust to the higher elevation during the day, making it easier at our lower campsite. The camp is in the beautiful Barranco valley with large lobelia and senecio trees dotting the landscape. Elevation Change: 12,500 feet to 13,044 feet. Campsite: Barranco Camp

Day 6:

We start the morning with a climb up the great Barranco Wall, with some parts requiring a bit of scrambling over the rocks. Then it is about a two-hour walk down to the Karanga Valley where we have lunch.  After a rest we continue to Barafu Camp.  We again hike high and sleep low.  While the overall elevation gain is only about 2,000 feet we will actually climb more like 3,700 feet since we climb up the Barranco Wall, hike down into the Karanga Valley, and then back up to Barafu Camp.  We are now sleeping higher than any mountain in the Continental U.S.  Tonight we will have an early dinner, then hit the hay to get a full night of sleep before our summit attempt  tomorrow! Elevation Change: 13,044 feet to 15,331 feet. Campsite: Barafu Camp

DAY 7:

This is the longest day of the trek by far. Today we rise before the sun and after a hearty breakfast, begin climbing with our headlamps.  Before too long, we will be walking as the sun rises, with stunning views of the jagged Mawenzi Peak. (Many other groups will have started at midnight to try to see a sunrise at the top but we feel this is not worth the lost sleep, colder weather, and crowds all going at the same time. The clouds often obscure a sunrise anyway!) The path up to Stella Point on the crater rim zigzags back and forth along a gravel path. This portion takes about six to seven hours and is the most grueling aspect of the trip for most climbers.  By the time we reach Stella Point we very well may have the mountaintop to ourselves, and will continue another hour up to Uhuru Peak, at 19,341 feet our goal for the trip.  After a few victorious photos and (with luck) a glorious view, it’s time to make our way back down to Barafu Camp via a more direct trail for another early dinner and a blissful night of sleep.  Zephyr specifically adds a second night in Barafu Camp (most other groups have to descend an additional three to five thousand feet below Barafu camp after summiting, making an already difficult day brutal and potentially dangerous). Elevation Change: 15,331 feet to 19,341 feet to 15,331 feet. Campsite: Barafu Camp

DAY 8:

Today is all downhill, but is not an easy day, as we descend over 5,000 feet and our knees will be talking to us.  By the time we reach camp in the early afternoon, our lungs will feel like we have an abundance of oxygen!  Tonight we will celebrate during our final dinner on the mountain. Elevation Change: 15,331 feet to 10,065 feet. Campsite: Mweka Camp

DAY 9:

Enjoy your last views of the mountain as you once again descend through the moorland and rain forest zones on your way to Mweka Gate. The path can be muddy, especially if it has rained recently – your trekking poles will again be very helpful today.  At the gate, you will receive your completion certificate if you made it to Stella Point or Uhuru Peak. If you are a beer drinker, you will find that bottle of Kilimanjaro Beer waiting for you at the bottom is one of the best you’ve ever tasted! Then it’s back to Arusha for a shower and a celebratory dinner at our hotel. Whether you made it to the top or not, the trip will be exceptional and worth celebrating! Elevation Change: 10,065 feet to 5,380 feet.

DAY 10:

This is a free day to rest and explore Arusha. The KLM flight to Amsterdam leaves in the evening and we will provide you with a shuttle to the airport.  If you choose to join our post-climb safari (which we highly recommend), we will depart this morning for the bush.

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Trip Accommodations

Nights 1 & 9 >> Planet Lodge / Arusha, Tanzania

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport any time on Day 1 and you’ll be greeted and shuttled to our hotel, Planet Lodge, a comfortable hotel located in Arusha, one of the two base towns for Kilimanjaro climbs. You'll love returning here after your climb for a hot shower and celebratory dinner!

Nights 2 - 8 >> Camping

Your tent and group camping equipment will be provided for you as we make our way to various campsites throughout our climb. You can bring your own sleeping bag, or rent one for $75)

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What's Included

  • A Zephyr American guide accompanies trips with at least 10 participants; all trips will have a Tanzanian guide or guides, porters, cooks, and camp staff.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay the optional single supplement to have your own room/tent for the duration of the trip.
  • All of your meals are included once you meet your guide on the first day.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All group camping equipment including tents and sleeping pads are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED: Beverages or desserts when dining out, gratuities to your guides and trekking staff, sleeping bag rental, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.

Weather

The main rainy season is March to May and the secondary rainy season falls during November and December. These times should be avoided. January, February, and June through October are all feasible months to climb Kilimanjaro. January and February are warmer and usually have less crowds, but we also run this tour in the summer months since it is drier and many people cannot get work free in the early part of the year.

What to Expect

As on all of our adventures, we want to ensure you have the best experience possible – which is why we like to set expectations appropriately for every trip.

Visiting a Developing Country

Tanzania is a developing country which means life is taken at a slower pace. It also means no internet. We highly recommend taking this rare chance to disconnect and give your brain a little peace and relaxation!

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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