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Mt Kilimamjaro

CLIMBING MT KILIMANJARO

Marangu Route – 5 Days

Summary
Famously known as the coca cola route Marangu route is the most popular route among trekkers to the Roof of Africa. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route, but more so, perhaps the fact that it is possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days, thereby getting to the summit one day earlier compared to the Shira or Machame route. This is not always the best way, due to a shorter acclimatisation period. The Marangu route does however offer you the option of spending an extra acclimatisation day on the mountain.

This extends the route into a 6-day trek, greatly increasing your chances of success. Shared hut accommodation on the Marangu route forms one of the main differences, compared to the other routes. It offers you the relative luxury of being able to sleep in huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are also sold at all the camps on this route. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals.

Day 1: Marangu gate (1700m) – Mandara Hut 2740m – (5,500ft to 9,000ft)
After breakfast and briefing, drive to the Marangu village and proceed to Kilimanjaro National Park Gate (45 minutes), register at Kilimanjaro National Park Authority offices and commence the climb. Walk through the rainforest to the Mandara hut located at 9,000 ft / 2,740 m. A side trip to Maundi Crater is a good way to see the surroundings including Northern Tanzania.

Day 2: Mandara Hut (2,740m) – Horombo Hut (3700m) – (9,000ft to 12,100ft)
In the morning around 8:30 a.m after breakfast starting trekking to Horombo hut. After about 1 hour, you will leave the glades of the rainforest and follow an ascending path on the open moorlands to the Horombo hut. The view of Kibo summit and Mawenzi are both stunning and shinning in clear days. In most cases giant lobelias and grounsels are found on your way. Horombo hut is a point were most of the climbers uses it for acclimatization whereby they spend an extra day. Spending an extra day give a wide change for successful summit the roof of Africa.

Day 3: Horombo Hut (3700m) – Kibo Hut (4700m) – (12,100ft to 15,400ft)
In the morning after breakfast the trek will take us to the last watering point, walking onto the saddle of Kilimanjaro between the peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi. Vegetation begins with upper heartland but then disappears into desert like structure. At Kibo you will have your dinner, take a nap and at the middle of the night around 23:30 hour prepare for summit climb.

Day 4: Kibo Hut (4,750m/15,580ft) to Summit (5,895m/19,340ft) to Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,145 meters, 3,760 feet Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters, 7,140 feet Around midnight, awake for the final ascent to Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. The hike begins with a demanding five hour hike to Gillman’s Point on the crater rim. Although this is considered to be the easiest of the three crater ascent paths, it is still extremely difficult. The first major rest stop, William’s Point, lies at 5000 meters and is approximately a two hour hike Kibo Hut. Continue on for thirty minutes before beginning the rocky switchbacks that will continue to Gillman’s Point (5,681 meters). The hike from Gilman’s to Uhuru Peak is a gradual climb and as far as hikes go, not very difficult. The altitude, however, makes the hike long and tiring. The crater rim hike takes approximately two hours. Upon reaching Uhuru, take photos of your guide and group at the peak before beginning the descent to Horombo Hut. On the way down from the summit, you will see all of the magnificent views you could not see on the way up. Stop for a short break and snacks at Kibo Hut before continuing on to Horombo Hut. Reach Horombo Hut in the afternoon and enjoy your last night on the mountain.

Day 5: Horombo Hut (3,720m/12,200ft) to Marangu Gate (1,800m/5,905ft)
Elevation Loss: 1,920 meters, 6,295 feet After breakfast, finish the trek with a descent to Marangu Gate. Your last hike on Kilimanjaro is a beautiful one, passing through Kilimanjaro’s cloud forest. Watch your step during the descent, as the trail can be slippery. Our vehicles will be waiting at Marangu Gate to take you back to Moshi.

Machame – 6 Days

Summary
This is probably the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. All your equipment and supplies are porter and a cook prepares all your meals. Where accommodation on the Marangu route is in huts, the Machame route offers strictly tents only. This makes Machame(also referred to as the “Whiskey route“)better suited to the slightly more adventurous hiker, however rewarding him with a scenic splendor such as not seen on the Marangu route, from late afternoon sunsets at Shira, to the misty revelations of Kibo at the great Barranco wall, the Machame route is normally completed in a minimum of 6 days. There is an added benefit to this, as you are afforded the most valuable commodity on the mountain – acclimatization. The Machame route takes you high to Lava Tower (4630m)on the day 3 and brings you down by nearly 700m for an overnight at barranco Camp (3950m). This is the secret to successful acclimatization.

Day 1: Arusha – Machame Gate
We will pick you up from your hotel in Arusha at 0800 and drive to the Machame Gate. After registration and clearances, begin your trek through a spectacular forest area, reaching Machame Camp after 6 or 7 hours. There you will have dinner and overnight (2,700M- 8,856 Ft). Meal Plan: {L, D}

Day 2: Shira Camp
After a short descent, you will begin your trek towards Shira Cathedral. Continuing on, you will pass by a superb bivi cave, just before arriving at Shira Camp, at 3,700 meters (about 12,136 Ft), where you will have dinner and overnight. Today’s climb is about 5-6 hours. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 3: Baranco Camp
Trek from Shira camp to Baranco Camp. You will have dinner and overnight at Baranco Camp. Baranco is 3,950 M, about 12,950 Ft). Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 4: Barafu Hut
Trek from Baranco Camp to Barafu Hut (4,550 M, about 14,920Ft) where you will overnight before your ascent to Uhuru Peak. (5,896 M, about 19,340 Ft). Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 5: Uhuru Peak
Shortly after midnight, arise and begin the final ascent to Uhuru Peak. You will then begin your descent to Mweka Hut, 3,100 M, about 10,170 Ft), where you will have dinner and overnight. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 6: Descent to Mweka Gate
After completing your descent to Mweka Gate, you will receive your Summit Certificate and transfer back to your hotel. Meal Plan: {B, L}

Lemosho Route – 7 Days

Summary
The Lemosho route is one of the newer routes on Mount Kilimanjaro. The route begins in the west and rather than simply intersecting Shira Plateau (like Machame), Lemosho crosses it from Shira Ridge to Shira Camp. Climbers encounter low traffic until the route joins the Machame route. Afterwards, Lemosho follows the same route through Lava Tower, Barranco and Barafu, known as the southern circuit. The trail begins north of Shira, also on the western side of the mountain. But unlike the Shira Route, where for the first day you walk on a wide 4 WD road, Lemosho is a narrow wilderness trail right from the beginning, passing through pristine and remote rainforest with good chances of seeing wildlife.

Day 1: Arusha – Londross Gate
We will pick you up from your hotel in Arusha at 0800 and drive to the Londross Gate to obtain permits and clearance After registration and clearance, begin your trek trek to Forest Camp where you will have dinner and overnight (3-4 hours of trekking). (2,650 M). Meal Plan: {L, D}

Day 2: Forest Camp – Shira 1 Camp
Trek from Forest Camp to Shira 1 Camp, 4-5 hours of trekking, where you will have dinner and overnight. 3,610 M). Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 3: Shira 1 Camp – Shira 2 Camp
Elevation Gain and Loss: 880 meters, 2,900 feet. Today you have a 3-4 hour trek from Shira 1 to Shira 2 Camp where you will have dinner and overnight. (3,840M). Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 4: Shira 2 Camp – Barranco Camp
From Shira 2 Camps, trek about 6 hours to Barranco Camp (3,950 M) for dinner and overnight. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 5: Barranco Camp – Barafu Camp
Today you will trek from Barranco to Barafu Camp. You will have dinner and overnight at Barafu (4,550 M). Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 6: Summit Climb – Uhuru Peak
You will rise shortly after midnight to begin your final ascent to the top of Kilimanjaro. You should reach the summit by sunrise after about 4 hours and then descend to Mweka Camp 3,100 M (4 hours) for dinner and overnight. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}.

Day 7: Mweka Gate – Arusha Hotel
Today it will be about 3-4 hours to reach the Mweka Gate where you receive your Summit Certificate and drive back to Arusha and your hotel. Meal Plan: {B, L}

Rongai Route

Summary
The Rongai Route is the only route that appraoches Kilimanjaro from the north, near the Kenyan border. Rongai’s ascent profile is very similar to that of Marangu. It is one of Kilimanjaro’s easier routes. The climb to the top is gradual and steady. However, unlike Marangu, this route has low crowds and passes through remote wilderness areas. It is probably the only route where seeing wildlife in the first days is possible.

Scenically, Rongai is beautiful because it travels through an unspoiled rain forest and remote wilderness area. However, it is not as scenically varied as Machame, Lemosho and Shira. Rongai is ideal for those who are not confident in their ability to hike over steeper paths, those who want to avoid traffic, and those who want to enjoy a quieter hike. It is also preferred when climbing during the rainy season because the north side of the mountain receives less precipitation.

Day 1: Arusha – Marangu Gate
We will pick you up from your hotel in Arusha at 0800 and drive to the Marangu Gate to obtain permits and clearance. Depart from Marangu and drive to Rongai Gate (1,800 M) where you begin your trek of 3-4 hours today, ascending to Cave Camp at 2,750 M. for dinner and overnight. Meal Plan: {L, D}

Day 2: Kikelewa Camp
Today you will trek 3-4 hours again before reaching the Kikelewa Camp at 3,500 M. where you will have dinner and overnight. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 3: Tarn Hut Camp
Hike to Tarn Hut camp today where you will overnight at 3,850 M. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 4: Kibo Hut
You will trek to Kibo Hut today, about 4-5 hours, 4,700 M, from where you will begin your ascent to the summit. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}

Day 5: Uhuru Peak
Shortly after midnight, you will arise to begin your ascent to the summit, reaching Uhuru Peak by sunrise. You will descend to Horombo Camp for dinner and overnight, 3,820 M. Meal Plan: {B, L, D}.

Day 6: Horombo Camp – Marangu Gate
After breakfast, depart Horombo Camp and descend to the Marangu Gate in about 5-6 hours to collect your certificate and be met by the vehicle to return to your hotel. Meal Plan: {L, D}.

Shira Route

Summary
The Shira Route is a difficult route that begins in the west, at Shira Gate. What is unque about Shira is that the first section of the trail is not hiked, but rather driven. Therefore, climbers using Shira will miss out on hiking up one of Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones, the rain forest. An off road vehicle transports climbers to the Shira gate, located at 11,500 feet, where the hike begins to Simba Camp. This is a sizable altitude gain for someone who slept at Moshi or Arusha on their previous night. Complications from altitude can occur due to failed acclimatization.

The route takes six days minimum to complete, although seven days is recommended. The descent is down Mweka, in the south-east. Because the starting point is far from Moshi and Arusha, it is more expensive to climb this route due to the added transportation cost of getting climbers to the gate. Scenicaly, Shira is beautiful because it crosses the spectacular Shira Plateau, and then combines with the Machame route to share its viewpoints around the southern circuit. Shira has low traffic until it combines with Machame.

Day 1: Londorossi gate – Shira camp (3600m) (Hiking time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Moorland)
The day of walking that begins from Londorossi National Park gate (2,250 m.) through farmland and plantations, and continues climbing steadily on a broad track through shrub forest and stands of giant heather to reach the rim of Shira Plateau (3,350 m.) The views across the surrounding plains open out as we climb and the area is home to a variety of game including buffalo. Our first camp is in the centre of the plateau at “Shira One” (3,550 m.) [3-4 hours walking]

Day 2: Shira two camp (3840m) (Hiking time: 5-6 hours, estimated distance: 5km)
After breakfast continue hike east across the Shira Plateau past the Shira Cathedral towards Shira Two camp. We only gain 700 feet in elevation – this allows us to acclimatize slowly to the altitude. The views of the plateau are nothing less than spectacular. Overnight at Shira two camp 3850m

Day 3: Barranco (3950m) (Hiking time: 5hours, estimated distance: 6km)
Today is the last of the “easy days”. It is about a 7-hour superb hike. We pass the Lava Tower, around the southern flank of Kibo, and slowly descend into the spectacular Barranco Valley, interspersed with giant lobelia and senecia plants. After arriving at our most spectacular campsite, everyone stands in awe at the foot of Kibo Peak, looming high above, on our left. Our camp is only 465 feet higher than where we were last night, but during the day, we will have climbed to just over 14,000 feet. This is one of our most valuable days for acclimatization.

Day 4: Karanga Valley (4000m)(Hiking time: 4 hours, estimated distance: 4km)
On the eastern side of the valley, across the stream is the Barranco Wall – a 950 ft. barrier of volcanic rock. Although it is tall and looks steep, it is very easy to climb. This is our first challenge of the day. The views from the wall are nothing less than magnificent. The rest of the day is spent skirting the base of Kibo peak over our left shoulder. We descend down into the Karanga Valley, where we rest up for the night before the tough climb up to Barafu Camp.

Day 5: Barafu (4600m) (Hiking time: 3.5 hours, estimated distance: 4km)
First thing, you will be making a steep hike out of the valley. The air starts getting quite thin, and you will be running short of breath. It is a tough, but rewarding uphill to the rocky, craggy slopes at the camp. Barafu means, ice in Swahili, and it is extremely cold at this altitude. So, go to bed early because we will be waking you at midnight for the final leg to Uhuru Peak.

Day 6: Summit Uhuru peak (5895m) – Mweka camp (3100m) (Hiking time: 7 hours, estimated distance: 5km)
We will start our ascent by torchlight around midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5,735 m.), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m.), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3,800 m.) Millennium. Most of us will be too tired to notice the beauty of the forest surrounding. We spend our last night on the mountain at Mweka Camp.

Day 7: Mweka Camp 3,100 m/10,170 ft to Mweka Gate 1,980 m/6,500 ft to Arusha (890 m/2,920 ft) 15 km, 3 hours Forest
After a deserved strong breakfast it is a short scenic 3-hours hike back to the park gate. Please all tips to porters and guides is given once all crew and the clients gears reached the mweka gate safely, but remember to tip your staff at the gate. At Mweka Gate, you can sign your name and add details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Climbers who reached Stella Point are issued green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak receive gold certificates. From the Mweka Gate, you will continue down to the Mweka Village, possibly a muddy, 3 km, 1 hour hike if the road is too muddy for vehicles. In Mweka Village a delicious hot lunch will be served after which you are driven back to Moshi for an overdue hot shower and comfortable night in a nice hotel in Moshi