Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro is the most recognizable mountain in the world; the place of classic books, movies and legend – exotic, remote, yet an accessible ‘sky island’ floating 19,340 ft above plains of elephants and lions. Few of the world’s great natural wonders offer your adventurous soul the sense of exploration and accomplishment as a week on this mountain. You join a global fraternity of people who journeyed to exotic East Africa to trek the world’s highest freestanding mountain, a peak so classic it has become known as “Everyman’s Everest”; ordinary people accomplishing an extraordinary achievement. You trek up its slope stepping through almost every climatic zone on earth, including a year-round snow-topped crown. To reach Kili’s crest requires not mountaineering courage and crampons, but personal conviction and determination, to step outside your daily life and achieve a dream. No one leaves the mountain uninspired, forever, “Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”
Very Active. May involve strenuous hikes, severe stair climbing, arduous activities, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Tanzania is located close to the Equator. The temperature, therefore, does not vary too much. During our summer months (June through August) it is about 10 degrees cooler, but days will be warm and can reach 80’s and evenings can be cool and can drop to the 40’s in the higher elevations. The program includes some high elevation spots – the rim of the crater is at 7,500 feet. The rainy season is in April/May (long rains) and November (short rains). However, it does not rain every day, or all day, and rainstorms are quickly followed by brilliant sunshine which makes for incredible photographic opportunities. Wildlife viewing is good year-round, however the migration of zebra and wildebeest follows the following cycle:
Zanzibar follows a similar pattern with rains (longer rains in April & May with short rains in November) but it does not rain every day and all day, rather short showers. Being so near the equator, Zanzibar is tropical year round, but in summer (December/January) it’s usually windy, so there are pleasant sea breezes.
Depart New York and land in Arusha the next day. You’ll be met in Tanzania’s fastest growing city to a welcoming “Jambo” from your guide, followed by a drive to your accommodation in Marangu West on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. ‘Kili’, as those who know it affectionately call it, is one of the seven great classic summits of Earth and Africa’s highest – a ‘sky island’; its isolated altitudes have created habitat for strange and unique life forms found only on a few other peaks on the planet, such as the delicate elephant flower and the bizarre Kilimanjaro tree. Next day, hike around the lower slopes of the mountain to prepare for your adventure and have an evening briefing and equipment check. SPRINGLANDS HOTEL. (Meals Aloft, D; B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 3-4 Hours
Habitat: Montane forest
Feel your butterflies swell as you drive through the forest to the Marangu Park Gate. After signing in and preparing the porters, transfer by 4WD to the attractive wooden village of Nale Muru (6,398 ft) where your hike begins on a wide path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before slipping under the canopy of pine forest. All those weeks of preparatory walking now tingle in your calves, the trail tilts up, climbing consistently, but gently over 2,000 ft through the birdsong-filled forest. Kili’s first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone with extensive views north over the Kenyan plains. The Rongai Route is the only northern route and considered the most accessible; a success rate of reaching the summit well over 90%. You will descend down the Marangu Route on the south side of the mountain, so you can see the mountain from many view points. Your first wilderness night is located at an altitude of 10,334 ft. SIMBA CAMP. (B,L D)
Hiking Time: 6-7 Hours
Your morning trek is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave (11,319 ft) with superb views of your ultimate destiny, Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. After lunch, leave the main trail and strike out across the eye-high moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Vistas of the mountain ahead and Kili’s broad shoulders start to open up and you begin to feel the breadth and mass of the mountain. Dine tonight in a sheltered valley in the shadow of giant alpine Senecios (11,811 ft.) Your amazing camp cook will perform magic over the coming days; preparing a variety of soups, pastas, salads, desserts offering a delicious assortment of choices to tempt your diminishing appetite. KIKELEWA CAVE CAMP. (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 3-4 Hours
From today on you’ll be climbing up always up, into thin air, higher than you have ever climbed without wings. A short, but steep pitch up grassy slopes offers superb views of this wilderness area. Bye, bye plants—the vegetation zone ends shortly before you reach camp at Mawenzi Tarn (14,074 ft), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering jagged spires of Mawenzi. Two day’s intentional extra “free-time” is to acclimatize and rest; today’s rest spells tomorrow’s success. MAWENZI TARN CAMP. (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 5-6 Hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
The route to Kibo Camp crosses a stark rocky lunar desert known as the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo campsite (15,584 ft) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. Only a few life-defining grasses and everlasting flowers live here. A bit before you get to the Kibo Huts you will be joining the wide beaten path of the Marangu route, and you will realize just how remote the last days have been. The remainder of the day is spent resting and breathing in preparation for the final ascent. Tonight your campsite is located at an altitude of 15,583 ft. higher than any summit in North America outside Alaska! Drift to sleep in the thin air beneath a crystalline-indigo sky, the Milky Way spilling overhead; tomorrow you stand atop of the African continent! KIBO CAMP. (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 11-15 Hours INCLUDING THE DECENT
Habitat: Alpine Desert Down to Vegetation Zone
It’s summit day! Or should that be morning, very early morning! Just after midnight you rise to a sky dotted by a billion stars. After a light bite you begin the steep, final ascent through scree and snow to the top of Kibo. Just before dawn you should reach Gillman’s Point (18,640 ft) on the rim of the crater – often considered the summit of Kilimanjaro; nothing stands above you on either the African or neighboring European continent. In the chilly dawn air the sunrise from the Point is inspirationally as well as physically and emotionally breathtaking. Time, weather and stamina permitting, your guide may invite you to forge on, around the crater to Uhuru Peak (90 minute additional trek to 19,340 ft). After a rapid descent to Kibo Hut for a bite, rest, collect thoughts (yes, you did it!) and your bag, and continue down 3,000 ft to Horombo Hut for the night. HOROMBO HUT. (B,L,D)
Hiking Time: 5-6 Hours
Habitat: Alpine Forest through Rainforest
Despite being tired, rise early for your last morning on the mountain. Your return passes back through rainforest alive with wildlife, especially monkeys, to the Mweka Gate. It’s a long walk down, remind your knees and feet you are almost home, but the receipt of an official climbing certificate from Tanzanian rangers makes it all worthwhile! You will be escorted back to your hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure to relax poolside and have that much-deserved shower and congratulatory beverage. SPRINGLANDS HOTEL. (B,L,D)
A day at leisure before you transfer to the Airport for your flights home. (B, Meals Aloft)
You made it. You climbed the mountain. It’s now time to discover quintessential Africa with a walk on the wild side. Your safari will hit some of the most awe-inspiring spots, from the unique eco-system of the Ngorongoro Crater – Africa’s ‘Garden of Eden,’ to the roots of modern man at Olduvai Gorge, to the wildlife-rich savannahs of Serengeti National Park where the drama of the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest takes place. Search for elephant and lion, rhino, cheetah and leopard, and delight in the ethnic diversity of this gorgeous land.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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