Kilimanjaro Climb & African Safari
The summit on Mount Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak and stands at 5,895m or 19,341 feet. This is a longer, more remote route on Kilimanjaro, with fine panoramas northwards to Mount Kenya.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeTrekking
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
Mount Kilimanjaro is situated in the Northern part of Tanzania, in the Kilimanjaro National Park. It covers an area of 100 kilometers long and 65 kilometers wide. The mountain is a dormant volcano which is comprised of three volcanic cones, Shira, Kibo (on which Uhuru summit stands) and Mawenzi. Kibo is classified as dormant but not extinct. The last major eruption from Kibo occurred 360,000 years ago. The last volcanic activity happened 200 years ago and resulted in today’s ash pit (visible from Uhuru Peak). Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world. By free-standing, or non-massif, we mean it is not part of a mountain range.
The summit on Mount Kilimanjaro is called Uhuru Peak and stands at 5,895m or 19,341 feet. To put this in perspective, Mount Everest, stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) – just over 2,950 meters higher. But here’s an interesting Kilimanjaro Fact: Both Everest Base Camp’s – South and North – are below the summit of Kilimanjaro; however, most climbers take upwards of 8-10 days to reach EBC. On Kilimanjaro trekkers on fast routes reach the summit within 4-5 days. The rapid ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro makes it a difficult and rather dangerous mountain to hike due to the risks of Altitude Sickness.
Approx. 35,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro every year. The chances of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro is highly dependent on the number of days taken to trek the mountain. The more days the higher the probability of success as your body has more time to adapt and acclimatize. Here are the success rate figures as published by the Kilimanjaro National Park. These numbers are admittedly quite old and success rates are most likely higher as route configurations have improved and the number of people taking 5 day treks has plateaued.
- All climbers, all routes 45%
- All climbers, all 5 day routes 27%
- All climbers, all 6 day routes 44%
- All climbers, all 7 days routes 64%
- All climbers, all 8 day routes 85%
Arrive JRO Airport, transfer to Moshi (815m / 2675ft) 45 km/1 hr
On arrival at Kilimanjaro International (JRO) Airport you will be met by our local representative and transferred to the Hotel in Moshi. Group Hotel would be simple yet spotlessly clean, offering good food and would have areas where guests can relax before or after their climbs. In the evening we will have an exhaustive briefing on all the aspects of the climb.
Overnight at Springlands Hotel or similar on Bed & Breakfast basis.
Moshi (915 m/3,000 ft) to Londorossi Gate (2,250 m/7,380 ft) to Lemosho Glades (2,000 m/6,560 ft)to Mkubwa Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft)
Drive from Moshi or Arusha to the Londorossi Park Gate. From here follow a forest track in a 4WD vehicle for 11 km/7 mi (45 minutes) to Lemosho Glades and a possible campsite. From the Glades, walk for 3 hours along beautiful forest trails to the Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite. Dinner and overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Mkubwa Camp (2,750 m/9,020 ft) to Shira Camp 1 (3,500 m/11,485 ft)
The trail gradually steepens, enters the giant heather moorland zone, then crosses the Shira Ridge at 3,600 m/11,810 ft. and drops gently to Shira Camp 1 located by a stream on the Shira Plateau
Dinner and overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Shira Camp 1 – Hira Camp 1 – Moir Camp (13,800 ft. / 4,205m)
Trek across the Shira plateau, east toward Kibo’s glacier peak. Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet. We immediately veer away from the tourist trails toward the northeast edge of the Plateau to reach Moir Camp. The trek is about 4-5 hours over easy terrain. Moir camp is an isolated and seldom used camp affording views over the Shira Plateau.
Dinner & Overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Moir Camp – Buffalo Camp (13,200 ft. / 4,025m)
Begin the morning trek heading out of the moorland and into the stark alpine desert, on a steep ridge off the main trail, and begin our venture on the Northern Circuit Route. The total trekking time is about 5 – 7 hours. From the Pofu Campsite you will enjoy a magnificent view into Kenya’s wild lands to the north.
Dinner & Overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Buffalo Camp – Kikelewa Caves Camp (11,800 ft. 3600m)
Proceed onward through valleys and over ridges through the alpine desert and moorland, continuing our circuit to the east, enjoying a vast mountain wilderness to ourselves. Trekking time today is 5 – 7 hours.
Dinner & Overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Kikelewa Caves Camp – Mawenzi Tarn Camp (14,160 ft./ 4,315m)
Trek 3-5 hours steadily upward to reach a placid mountain tarn (lake) at the foot of the majestically rising steep ridges of Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro second highest volcano. The camp here is nestled along the tarn in a protected alcove with magnificent views towards the steeply rising rocks of Mawenzi.
Dinner & Overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Mawenzi Tarn Camp – Outward Bound Camp (15,585 ft. / 4,750m)
The trekking time today is 5 – 7 hours, though a relatively easy hike across the wide saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The trek takes you across the massive saddle- the crossing is impressive and the landscape spectacularly stark. The temperatures turn cold as you near the foot of Kibo, reaching Outward Bound Camp after 5-7 hours of trekking. Prepare all your gear for the day ahead, and turn in early to rest. A resupply of fresh food and supplies will reach camp on this afternoon.
Dinner & Overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Outward Bound Camp – Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft./ 5,895m) – Millennium Camp (10,200 ft./ 3,110m)
A midnight wake-up call is the start of a long trek. You begin trekking at 1am up the winding path of endless switchbacks. It is a steep and demanding climb and we will be walking slowly in the light of our headlamps on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s point (5,685m), a convenient point to rest for a short time and enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. From your camp to the rim of the crater (Gillman’s Point (18,750ft. / 5,712 m)) to Uhuru Peak, the trekking time is about 7 – 8 hours. You will stop at Hans Meyer cave on the way, the famous place where Kilimanjaro first western climber described in his journals. Once you arrive at Gilman’s Point at the edge of the crater, the trail to the summit is less demanding, and is reached after a further 1½-2 hours along the snowy crater rim (depending on the season). After a short time at the summit, re-trace your steps back to Gilman’s Point, then summon your strength again for further descent to Mweka Camp for the night.
Dinner & Overnight at Campsite. (B,L,D)
Mweka Camp – Mweka Gate (6,000 ft. /1,830m)
Descend straight to the gate (2-3 hours), where you’ll have lunch and will be awarded climbing certificates. Overnight at Springlands hotel or similar; bed and breakfast
Important: This day-to-day schedule should be taken only as a general guide. Although we do a lot of research on our itineraries on a regular basis, it is not possible to guarantee that any of our trips will run exactly according to the proposed itinerary. A variety of factors, including adverse weather conditions and difficulties with transportation, can lead to enforced changes. The trip leader will make any changes that are necessary.
Flight back home
After breakfast transfer to the JRO airport to board the flight back home. (45km/1hr)
Check out time is 10:00am
We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.
In wilderness, commercial agreements between service provider and client require a depth of understanding that is more than what is routinely attached to similar agreements elsewhere. In the outdoors, we have to balance pursuit of stated objective and risk. We try to overcome risk and deliver the objective promised in the agreement between client and service provider. But that does not mean that we ignore risk altogether to chase an objective. We wish you to be informed on what makes a trip safe for you and everyone else.
Please take a few minutes to read the following:
The nature of wilderness
By definition wilderness implies remoteness. It means that response to any accident or mishap takes time. Timely intervention is a life saver. Working back from this, it becomes imperative that any commercial adventure in wilderness be conservative in terms of the risk it courts. Yet adventure means there will be risk. The way out is to manage the risk involved in such a fashion that a safe experience is provided. There are a few things that the client can do.
Prepare in advance
Commercial expeditions entail strain even if others are carrying your load and doing the team’s work. Prior physical conditioning – particularly of the cardiovascular sort contributing to improved endurance – helps. Please invest time and effort for that before embarking on the trip. It will help you in the field.
Be honest, speak up
We encourage clients to be honest about how they are feeling on expedition days; voice any personal difficulties they may be experiencing. This helps the team make relevant decisions for clients’ well being, something crucial when venturing into altitude. Not all of us are meant for altitude. If your physiology rebels, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Speak up. Make sure that your disclosures about self are not biased by an objective you are feverishly trying to achieve like getting to the summit of a peak or crossing a high pass at any cost. Don’t let summit fever and similar instances of extreme personal ambition, consume you. It puts you and your support team at risk. Stay with the team’s assessment of risk. Go with the resultant decisions. If you think you have a point to make by all means do so. We will hear you out. But risk assessment and decisions, will be by the team leaders as the onus of a safe expedition primarily rests with them.
Let the leaders work
You may be familiar with rivers, mountains and altitude. We don’t wish to question that. But there are reasons why many of us choose to go as clients. One of them is that our primary vocation is something else, while those working in the mountains as guides have chosen to make that their primary vocation or at the very least, dedicate time to it. More than us, they are in the mountains. They are alive to it. That’s why we entrust our passage to them. So, please let them work free of interference. Please don’t influence their judgement. Your expedition needs their best work and best judgement. In any expedition, leadership style will vary with the risk being tackled in a given situation. There will be times when we can travel easy in a very consultative fashion. There will be times when that is not advisable and a more directive style may be adopted by your guides. Please comply.
Be open to alternatives
We can set up the best safety systems possible, checking and double checking to make sure that nothing is left to chance. But we don’t control or totally overcome variables like weather and terrain / river conditions. They impact expedition’s progress. If team leaders review / alter plan citing concerns on any front, we request that it be respected and not viewed as money’s worth denied even if it dims prospects for achieving an expedition’s original goal. Such challenges are frequent in the outdoors. Seasoned trekkers and climbers, when they realize that a particular objective does not seem achievable on a given trip, learn to be happy with other pursuits to compensate – like staying camped and enjoying the mountain environment or attempting more doable hikes from wherever they are. We request you to stay aware of these possibilities. Be open to them. Decades ago when exploration and first ascents were happening in the Himalaya, the explorers / mountaineers / hikers devoted months to their work. Committed outdoorsmen still do. They wait out unfavourable circumstances by having a lot of time and patience. Time is what the modern world does not have even as the mountains remain the same, posing the same challenges; the same risk, the same unpredictable circumstances. An exceptionally lucky circumstance may deliver success. But luck isn’t commonplace. We should be mentally prepared for the above mentioned alternatives.
If you don’t achieve your objective it isn’t the end of the world. Be patient, another chance will emerge. There is a simple reminder, climbers often tell their colleagues leaving for a summit: “ the mountain will always be there; make sure you are there.’’
In other words – be safe.
Our expedition trips are designed for energetic and flexible people who have the spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Previous experience in the outdoors and camping helps, though is not a must. These trips are participatory in nature, and everyone is expected to pitch in, set up and break down their own tent, clean their own dishes. Look up our trip grading before you sign up.
Grading of Trips
We have graded our trips in four different categories and you should choose one that suits you the most. Grading of each trip has been done keeping in mind a lot of factors like the trip duration, the altitude, the terrain, the no. of hours of activity everyday, temperatures and conditions encountered, and the level of fitness needed. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more.
- Easy : Most of our camp based trips, with easy activities, that are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding whitewater trips with easy support and myriad options.
- Moderate : Active trips involving hiking over reasonable terrain, within vehicular access, upto elevations less than 4000 meters, or trips with long walking days, multiple rafting days, wilderness camping. Includes more demanding whitewater trips with Class III rapids.
- Demanding : Hiking and trekking to elevations exceeding 4000-5000 meters, away from vehicular access, over multiple days. Encompasses demanding whitewater with Class IV rapids.
- Challenging : Our most demanding trips include climbing at high elevations in excess of 5000 meters, in remote and extreme conditions with no access to roads; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips, and demanding whitewater trips with Class IV-V rapids.
The Next Step
Ready to go? Email us at [email protected] to book your place and we will guide you through the booking process. Please sign and scan/email us your booking form and inform us about the status of your payments at the time of confirming the trip (Booking form and Payment details below).
Why travel with Aquaterra Adventures?
We are a pioneer in active adventure travel, and run the most number of rivers in India, having opened them up over the past several years. We set the standard and have a strong reputation for excellence. We have a lot to live up to and we ensure we provide the safest, quality trips for our guests.
Should you wish to contact any of our past guests for a trip reference, write to us.
In remote regions, we often use local suppliers who provide services that may include vehicles for transportation, equipment, logistical support, hotels, guest houses etc. We do not own or operate these independent services or suppliers. We work with them as they share our commitment to service and quality.
- Twin Share accommodation for 2 nights a Hotel in Moshi on Bed & Breakfast basis.
- Twin Share Accommodation in 3-man tents with foam sleeping pads for 6 nights on the mountain.
- All meals on the mountain starting from lunch on Day 02 till lunch on Day 08.
- National Park fees, VAT, Camping fees
- Portable Toilet Tents and a PAC (Portable Altitude Chamber)
- Full board camping arrangements on the mountain with a large mess tent, tables & stools
- Aquaterra Trip Leader assisted by certified, experienced, English-speaking guides
- Porters’ salaries
- Rescue fees (required by the national park)
- Sleeping Bag
- Personal climbing equipment
- Items of personal clothing
- Lunches and dinners at the Hotel in Moshi as indicated
- Air Fares, Visas, Insurance, Airport taxes, laundry, phone calls, alcohol, cigarettes, drinks, souvenirs and other expenses of a personal nature.
- Tips for guides, cooks & porters
- Any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control
Booking conditions: All bookings are subject to availability of space at Camp. We book space on a 100% advance. All payments by wire transfer, cash or cheque/draft in favor of “Aquaterra Adventures (I) Pvt. Ltd.”
Tips & Gratuities: Our recommendation is a minimum 5-10% of your trip cost for tips to be distributed amongst the team that makes your adventure safe and successful. This includes drivers, guides, cook, kitchen team, porters and horsemen. Of course, this remains a personal choice.
In case of cancellation made in writing more than 60 days before trip date, the booking fee of 20% will be retained and the balance refunded. For cancellation between 30 and 60 days before trip date, 50% of the balance will be refunded; for cancellation less than 30 days before trip date, there will be no refund.
The highland areas of East Africa, including the part of Tanzania which we will be visiting have a pleasant, temperate climate throughout the year with a long rainy season from mid March to June and a second, shorter rainy period from October to late December. The maximum daytime temperatures that we will encounter at the foot of Kilimanjaro at the time of this departure will be around 25- 28ºC/77-82ºF, dropping to 15ºC/60ºF at night. At 3000m or 10000ft, daytime temperatures are 15ºC/60ºF. Above 4000m or 13000ft, the night-time temperatures will fall below freezing and it will also be no more than 10ºC/50ºF during the day, although in the heat of the sun it will feel warmer than this.
Keep it light – although what you carry with you is a very personal decision. Some of our guests love to travel as light as possible while others are only happy when they have countless bits of equipment for every possible eventuality, most of which will never be used. The list we send out covers all essentials that you must carry.
What you are expected to carry during the day on the trail is a day pack – to carry the things that you will need throughout the day, such as your camera, extra batteries, water bottle, packed lunch, sweets, rehydration powders, waterproofs, toilet paper, a fleece or a jumper.
A good pair of boots is very important: Wear thin cotton / nylon socks during the day, thick woollen ones would give you blisters – need to be worn only at the campsites to keep your feet warm. Few things will make you more miserable during the trek than blisters. And blisters are almost certain to occur if your boots are not broken in. If you are buying new boots buy them as soon as you can and wear them as much as you can before the trek.
While walking the body heats up and all we need to wear is a T-shirt & cargos/ trousers. However all our warm clothes will come into play in the mornings / evenings when we aren’t doing much physically. A good base layer which could be a thermal top (polypropylene), with a T-shirt on top will keep you warm and dry. Mid layers provide insulation so anything that is warm will do e.g. a medium thickness woollen jumper or a mid-weight fleece top, along with another lightweight fleece top will suffice. If you really feel the cold, substitute the thinner layer with a down jacket. The outer layer is the final layer between you and the elements and must be capable of keeping out the wind, rain, sleet and snow. Any good waterproof, windproof jacket would do the job. Leg wear in the form of thermal long johns are invaluable. A good sun hat is very essential. Sunglasses which offer 100% UV protection are necessary to combat strong sunlight and snow reflection.
A good quality sleeping bag ensures a good nights sleep after a long day outdoors. Do not compromise on your sleeping bag – err on the side of carrying a warmer bag, than carrying a light one which may give you many sleepless nights. We provide rubber mattresses to sleep on, if you have your personal thermarests or inflatable mattresses, please carry them along.
Carry any and all personal medication that you may need, and it’s an absolute must to let us know well in advance should you be suffering from any particular ailment.
It’s best to carry your belongings in a large, tough duffle bag or a big rucksack. Pack similar things such as clothes, washing things, camping equipment etc. in separate sacks or polythene bags so they are easier to pull out when needed. Your main duffle bag should be a tough one as it will be with the porter, not the best place to be for a fragile backpack. The packed weight of your duffle bag whilst on the mountain should be no more than 12kg (26.4 pounds). It is possible to leave extra clothes and other items not required on the trek at the hotel. Bring a second smaller duffle bag for this purpose. While trekking you will need to carry a small daypack large enough for your camera, water bottle, packed lunch, a warm layer and wind/rain jacket.
A day on a trek normally begins with tea at 6 am after which you are expected to vacate your tent so packing can begin. After a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and porters given their loads, we start the day’s walk. Lunch, at about 11 a.m., usually takes an hour or so and we aim to reach our overnight camp by 3 or 4 p.m. This leaves plenty of time for exploring around camp and for catching up on your diary or for reading. Dinner is served in the mess tent and is a three course meal. This is a great time of day for relaxing and for discussing the events of the trek so far. On some days we will only be walking for 3 to 5 hours, whilst on the longest day to the summit of Kilimanjaro we can expect to have a 12-15 hour day. You will sleep inside tents. Foam mats are provided for you to sleep on and are placed under your sleeping bag. If you have your personal mat / thermarest / inflatable mat, please carry it along.
Our group would be led by a highly experienced ATA mountain guide with the help of first-rate local guide who would have considerable experience of leading on Kilimanjaro. For a group size of 16 we would typically have an ATA trip leader, a local lead guides, 4-5 assistant guides (who would be setting up the camp and helping the cook too), 1 cook and 3 porters per person.
On the trek, the food is a mixture of local and European, all purchased in Africa and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. The emphasis is on a high carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible especially at high altitude. This is a fully inclusive package and all meals (except lunches/dinners at the hotel in Moshi) are included in the trip price. You might want to carry your favorite snack or some power bars with you for the long trekking days. We will provide you safe drinking water throughout the trek – it will be boiled with a dash of iodine.
The entire crew moves together in a totally self-contained manner like a tightly knit unit. All food, water and shelter, is carried on the trek. This is why we need to use discretion while packing – see the guidelines above on packing.
The principal difficulty for anyone aspiring to climb Kilimanjaro is the mountain’s great height, rising abruptly from the plains. In high mountain ranges, acclimatization is normally achieved by approaching the ultimate objective by crossing a series of ridges, gaining height gradually. This is not possible on a free-standing peak such as Kilimanjaro. However, this is not something that you should worry about unduly. The human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of barometric pressures and there is plenty of oxygen even at the highest point of our trips. However, the process of physical adaptation or acclimatization does take time and the most important rule is to gain height slowly. If you have suffered serious problems at altitude before, you should seek the advice of your doctor or a specialist.
First Aid accompanies each Aquaterra trip. All trip leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. It is advisable to have your own personal first aid kit consisting of a broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea. It’s also a good idea to have a roll of toilet paper accessible should you need to go.
Portable Altitude Chamber (PAC):
On our climb we will carry a PAC, otherwise called a Hyperbaric Bag. This is an artificial pressure chamber, which simulates the altitude at significantly lower elevations with an increase of air pressure in the chamber. We use the PAC bag in the event we have an altitude emergency, where immediate descent is difficult if not impossible due to hazards of weather, lack of manpower, difficult terrain or darkness.
PAC technology buys time and can stabilize or reverse severe symptoms of AMS before (or while) descent is being undertaken.
Toilets on the mountain:
We will carry with us portable chemical toilets and toilet tents to minimize the environmental impact of our group.
Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more. As the duration of the whole trip is fairly short one needs to be in good physical fitness at the time of landing in Tanzania. Training for at least three months before the climb is highly recommended. People with poor fitness levels would find this trip extremely tough or even impossible. A document on training suggestions would be sent to people booking for the climb.
The official language of Tanzania is Swahili, which is used for teaching in primary schools. The second language is English, and this is taught in all secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You will find that a lot of people speak English, so you will not have any problems buying souvenirs or ordering in restaurants etc.
A valid passport is required with 6 months remaining validity at the time of travelling. All nationalities need a visa for entry into Tanzania for which you will need to contact the Tanzania Embassy in your home country.
Joining arrangements and transfers
You MUST provide our office full details of your flights, so that we can arrange your Kilimanjaro Airport transfers. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your joining instructions 3 to 4 weeks prior to departure.
Additional amounts should be carried to cover miscellaneous expenses, including tips. There will be opportunities to buy soft drinks and beers. Souvenirs can be bought in a number of places, some of which will accept credit cards. If you are intending to buy expensive items, you should budget accordingly. Your travel money should be carried in the form of cash. It is best to change your money at the airport on arrival. Sterling, Euros and US dollars are all readily exchanged for Tanzanian shillings, but US dollars in small notes can also be used in emergencies where change facilities are not available. Tips to trek staff can be paid either in Tanzanian shillings or in US dollars, or a mix of both. Credit cards can be used to purchase some goods and services.
Reference Books and Maps
It is a good idea to do some reading about the country you will be visiting, its customs and people. The following books are recommended.
- East Africa. Lonely Planet.
- Guide to Tanzania. Briggs.
- Trekking in East Africa. Else.
- Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro – Climbing Guide.
- Kilimanjaro – Map and Guide. Wielochowski.
- Trekking map of the National Park area with the surrounding countryside, plus a series of more detailed maps of the Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. The main map has contours at 100m intervals and shows physical features such as scree, glaciers, cliffs, and different types of vegetation. Main routes to the summit are marked.