Arrive at the Kilimanjaro International Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the Springlands Hotel in Moshi for your overnight.
Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 50-minute drive fromMoshi to the Machame Village (1,490 m/4,890 ft) where your guides and porters prepare and pack your equipment and supplies. You will receive a lunch pack,and you can also buy mineral water in the village. If the road is very muddy,it may be impossible to drive from the village to the Machame Gate, and in this case, it will take you an hour to complete the muddy 3 km walk to the gate.After registering at the park office, you start your ascent and enter the rainforest immediately. Heavy rains on this side of the mountain often transform the trail into a soggy, slippery experience, so good foot gear, trekking poles,and gaiters are useful. You will enjoy a welcome lunch stop halfway up and will reach the Machame camping area in the late afternoon. Your porters will arriveat camp before you and will erect your tent before you arrive. In the evening,the porters boil drinking and washing water while the cook prepares your dinner.Night temperatures can drop to freezing at the Machame Camp.
You rise early at Machame camp, and after breakfast, climb for an hour to the top of the forest, then for 2 hours through a gentle moorland. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira Plateau where you will be able to see Kilimanjaro’s great Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. Sometimes, the walls of the Western Breach are draped with extensive ice curtains. You are now west of Kibo on the opposite side of the mountain from the Marangu Route. After a short hike west, you reach the Shira campsite. The porters will boil drinking and washing water before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will be colder, with temperatures dropping below freezing.
After breakfast, you will hike east up a steepening path above the highest vegetation toward Kilimanjaro’s looming mass. After several hours, you walk through a rocky landscape to reach the prominent landmark called Lava Tower at 4,630 m/15,190 ft. This chunky remnant of Kilimanjaro’s earlier volcanic activity is several hundred feet high, and the trail passes right below it. For extra credit, the sure-footed can scramble to the top of the tower. After a lunch stop near Lava Tower, descend for 2 hours below the lower cliffs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall to Barranco Camp at 3,950 m/12,960 ft. There are numerous photo opportunities on this hike, especially if the walls are festooned with ice. Barranco Camp is in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Walls, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for your dinner. On this day, be careful to notice any signs of altitude sickness.
After spending a night under the imposing Great Barranco Wall, you climb this awesome obstacle, which turns out to be easier than it looks. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you can now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley and goes over intervening ridges and valleys to join the Mweka Route, which will be your descent route. You have now completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. For now, all eyes are still on the summit, so turn left and hike up the ridge for another hour to the Barafu Hut. The last water on the route is in the Karanga Valley; there is no water at Barafu Camp, even though Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice.” The famous snows of Kilimanjaro are far above Barafu Camp near the summit of the mountain. Your tent will be pitched on a narrow, stony, wind-swept ridge, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents. Prepare your equipment and warm clothing for your summit climb. This should include replacing your headlamp and camera batteries, and to prevent freezing, consider carrying your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed by 7 PM, and try to get a few hours of precious sleep.
If you arrive at the Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Moshi or Arusha. We recommend at least one rest day before starting your trek. If you are transferring from Nairobi, this can act as your rest day. If you have time, enjoy a guided walk through the local rice fields and rainforest, do a little shopping in the town of Moshi, relax at the swimming pool, or get a massage.
Your guide will provide a briefing the evening before your trek, and you must separate one bag for the trek from your other luggage. Rental equipment is available. Extra luggage can be stored in a locked storage room at your Moshi hotel at no charge.
The next morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast before last-minute trip preparations at the trekking office. Depending on the route you take, the drive to the trailhead can take up to one hour and can be very bumpy.
Once you reach the park gate, climbers are requested to make their final preparations for the climb and sign the national park registration book. Porters will be seen arranging their packs containing the food, water, and other equipment. Make sure that you have all your day pack items with you as the porters travel very quickly. Your guide will be pleased to assist with any additional information.
The average hiking day begins between 8-9am and is about 5 to 6 hours, walking very, very slowly. The distances you will hike each day are very moderate so as to acclimate a little at a time. Your guides will repeat over and over, "pole pole" (po-ly, po-ly), which means "go slowly" in Swahili.
The terrain lower down is absolutely gorgeous and fascinating. Higher up, the views are vast. There is little to do at the camps themselves, so take advantage of the slow pace to absorb the scenery and take every photo opportunity.
The hike to the summit starts around midnight depending on your route and speed of your group. You will go as high as you feel fit. Some people stop at the crater rim, and others continue to the very highest point on the mountain. Your guides will then take you down as quickly as possible to minimize any altitude problems. You will continue past your last campsite to the next one for overnight.
You can add an extra day at the Horombo Huts (3,690 m/12,100 ft). You can spend a full day and a second night at Horombo. On this day, you can either rest at the huts or take a stroll up to the Mawenzi basecamp then return to the Horombo Huts. This extra day will help your acclimatization, and further your understanding of the mountain’s weather and altitude. After your pause, you will continue up to the Kibo Huts on your fourth day for your midnight start to the summit.
The local currency is Tanzanian shillings. U.S. dollars, Euros, and credit cards may be accepted by larger stores and hotels, but the exchange rate is better with shillings. ATM's are only available in larger towns like Moshi and Arusha. Yahoo Currency Converter
A local guide is required to hike Kilimanjaro. We have guides that speak English, Spanish, French and German. Porters will also go on the trip to carry your luggage, food, and other equipment. You will only have to carry a day pack with your daily essentials.
Tips for guides and porters on Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru:
With the exception of airfare, all Zara trips include all transportation costs and arrangements within the destination country. This includes all transfers and the equipment for all activities listed.
Kilimanjaro Climber’s Packing List Notes
Clothing You want your inner layer to be wicking – no cottonYour next layer should be insulating and warm, and your top layer should be water proof but breathable.You will need clothes for hiking during the day, lounging in the evening, and for sleeping.Layers are important as temperatures vary greatly.Kilimanjaro may be near the equator, but it gets cold up there!
Cold Weather Accessories
Gifts for Guides, Porters, Locals
Packing for your flight to Africa
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