Rising from the savannah of East Africa to the staggering height of 5895m, not only is Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa but it is also the tallest free-standing mountain on earth. Conquering its unmistakable snowcapped peak has been the dream of keen trekkers as well as seasoned mountaineers for decades.
And rightly so, as Mount Kilimanjaro showcases some truly unique features. Its lower slopes are dense with lush forest yet the mountain is surrounded by vast expanses of dry savannah; its caldera is covered with ice yet this dormant volcano is situated near the Equator. There is no doubt that the views from its top are the greatest reward of all. From Kilimanjaro's summit it is possible to observe the curvature of the planet and on a clear day the views stretch as far as the plains of the Masai Mara.
However, Kilimanjaro has much more to offer than just its awe inspiring views. Embarking to an expedition to the roof of Africa is the equivalent of travelling on a trip from the Equator to the Arctic as the landscape varies from bushland to tropical forest, from moorland to heath and alpine desert.
Based upon our experience with high altitude trekking and acclimatization, we strongly recommend the 7 Day / 6 Night Macchame route as it not only allows you to acclimatize better to the sudden increase in altitude but also increases your chances of successfully summiting Kilimanjaro and reaching the fabled Uhuru Peak.
Best Time : January to March and June to August
Duration : 10 Days
Max. Altitude : 5895 m
Commences At : Arusha
Ends At : Arusha
Habitat: Rain ForestThe drive from Moshi to the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park Gate takes about 90 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. We now leave the park gate and walk through the rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge. Lower down, the trail can be muddy and slippery. Gaiters and trekking poles are a good idea here. We continue a short distance until we reach the Machame Camp.
Habitat: MoorlandAfter breakfast, we leave the glades of the rain forest and continue on an ascending path, crossing the little valley walking along a steep rocky ridge, covered with heather, until the ridge ends. The route now turns west onto a river gorge. Dinner and overnight at the Shira campsite.
Habitat: Semi DesertFrom the Shira Plateau, we continue to the east up a ridge, passing the junction towards the peak of Kibo. As we continue, our direction changes to the South East towards the Lava Tower, called the "Shark's Tooth". Shortly after the tower, we come to the second junction which brings us up to the Arrow Glacier at an altitude of 16,000ft. We now continue down to the Barranco Hut at an altitude of 13,000ft. Here we rest, enjoy dinner, and stay overnight. Although you end the day at the same elevation as when you started, this day is very important for acclimatization and will help your body prepare for summit day.
Habitat: Alpine DesertAfter breakfast, we leave Barranco and continue on a steep ridge passing the Barranco Wall, to the Karanga Valley campsite. This is a short day meant for acclimatization.
Habitat: Alpine DesertAfter breakfast, we leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the South Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Here we make camp, rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be seen from this position.
Habitat: ArcticVery early in the morning (midnight to 2 am), we continue our way to the summit between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers. You head in a northwesterly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. From Stella Point, you may encounter snow all the way on your 1-hour ascent to the summit. At Uhuru Peak, you have reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. Faster hikers will see the sunrise from the summit. From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon.
Habitat: Rain ForestAfter breakfast, we continue the descend down to the Mweka Park Gate to receive your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. Gaiters and trekking poles will help. Shorts and t-shirts will probably be plenty to wear (keep rain gear and warmer clothing handy). From the gate, you continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet you at Mweka village to drive you back to hotel in Moshi.
This format is an ‘Expedition- Style’ format of trekking prevalent in Africa. The entire expedition will be completely self-sufficient with a separate Kitchen Tent and Staff, Dining Tent, Toilet Tent and 3- Man Dome shaped tents in which trekkers will be accommodated on double occupancy. For the 7 Days / 6 Nights, life will be simple as you follow the trail, and nights will be beautiful, as you fall asleep listening to the sounds of Africa. On landing at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be transferred to the hotel in Moshi Town. We will be spending two nights here to ensure that you completely recover from your travel journey before we head to Kilimanjaro and enter the national park at the Machame Gate. Feel free to leave any additional luggage at this hotel, as we will be coming back here after the trek for one night, before you continue onward with the rest of your journey either back home or to a Safari adventure.
You need to be in good physical shape to trek especially on Kilimanjaro. Though distances are not much, it is important to understand that on Kilimanjaro, every day involves substantial height gain. It’s a challenging trek and does demand good physical fitness and some bit of prior trekking experience. Please refer to our physical fitness document for more details on this topic.
One needs to fly into Tanzania and reach the Kilimanjaro International Airport located between the city of Arusha and Moshi Town. There are regular International connections flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. On your arrival at the airport, you will be picked up and driven directly to the hotel in Moshi Town where an Adventure Pulse representative will greet you. We plan to spend two days at Moshi Town, before we move on to Machame Gate on Day 3 for the actual leg of the trekking expedition. After the 7 Day / 6 night Trek, we exit from the Mweka Gate and make our way back to the hotel in Moshi. The next day, you will be transferred back to Kilimanjaro International Airport where you can catch your International flight back home.
Any kind of climbing equipment or gears are not required for this trek. For list of other things and warm clothing to carry, please refer to our link - List of things to carry for the trek. You do need to make sure you have adequate warm clothes and very good Rain Gear as we do expect rainfall on this trail.
While on the trail, most days there is no network but at each of the Campsites, there are specific points where one can access network especially if you have your international network and roaming activated. Please check with your service provider for roaming availability in Tanzania.
We at Adventure-Pulse consider acclimatization as one of the most important aspects of trekking / climbing a mountain and spend enough time to do that. We move up the mountain slowly giving enough time to our bodies to acclimatize. Each day, we monitor each trekkers SPO2, Blood Oxygen Saturation, with a portable Oximeter, to ensure they are acclimatizing well. Our senior guide will keep monitoring the team on a daily basis to ensure that there are no problems along the way. Kilimanjaro is notorious for steep trails and fast altitude jumps often leaving climbers exhausted.
Meals will be as close to home cooked food as possible with both Vegetarian & Non Vegetarian options available. Breakfasts will consist of bread, honey, jams, tea and coffee along with eggs, etc. For lunch there will be sandwiches, fruits, pancakes, boiled potato or boiled eggs as part of your full packed lunch. Dinner will usually be a soup followed by lentils, vegetable curry, with pasta, spaghetti etc... Our endeavour will be to try ensuring a daily variety in the food that we prepare so we keep the group's appetite up along with their morale.
Regular shower facilities will be available in the hotel, but while we are higher up on the trek, shower facility is not available for the trekking period.
The Adventure-Pulse staff and guides carry a fully equipped medical kit with necessary medicines and an Oxygen meter. As a standard practice, we check oxygen levels of all our clients twice a day and take necessary precautions if any irregularity is found in the oxygen reading. In case the problem persists, the client is sent down with a qualified guide. In case of an Injury where the trekker is not in a position to walk down, our staff will guide and if necessary carry you down. Each campsite has an exit out of the national park to the closest road head where a vehicle and a doctor visit can be organized in Moshi town.
Adventure-Pulse usually plans all it treks during the most favorable season on the mountain, but having said that, weather is always an unpredictable factor. We usually look at weather reports before leaving for the trek. In case the weather is unfavorable, we could delay it to the next day depending upon the Itinerary. A buffer day/s is always built in the itinerary as contingency if we get hit by unfavorable weather conditions. In the worse situation, we may have to turn back midway, but safety is always a priority which cannot be compromised on.
Extreme temperature variations, high altitude, snow glare & proximity to sun are certain factors which necessitate the need to for proper mountaineering equipment. In order to enjoy your experience in the mountains, we have recommended that you carry the following with you.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a physical undertaking, so you should prepare yourself accordingly with a good 3 - 4 months training program. Being in good shape is important in many respects. Obviously, strong, conditioned legs make it easier to walk uphill and downhill for sustained periods of time. General aerobic fitness allows the body to function efficiently with less oxygen. And a fit body is more likely to withstand the stress of consecutive days of hiking and camping. Finally, a positive mental attitude can work wonders for you when fatigue and doubts arise. How hard is it to climb Kilimanjaro? That's a difficult question to answer because some people don't train much and fare very well, while others engage in a disciplined training program and succumb to the altitude in a few days. We've heard marathon runners tell us that climbing Kilimanjaro is the hardest thing they've ever done. The best advice we can give you is to train adequately, as described below, and get yourself in the best possible hiking shape. Our goal is to climb to the Summit at 19,340 feet and walk on broken glacial moraine all the way into Base Camp at 15,748 feet. You will spend 6-7 days in a land where life is simple, trails are steep and the air is thin. We recommend the following schedule to the participants.
One of the best exercises that you can do to prepare for Mount Kilimanjaro is hiking. You should start with shorter time intervals, a slower pace, and no weight (in your day pack) and then gradually increase all of the above as your fitness level improves. Remember that on Mount Kilimanjaro, you will walk slowly for prolonged periods and carry probably no more than 2-3nkgs in your day pack. Therefore, in your training, it is better to increase the time interval/distance and keep a slow pace than to shorten the time interval/distance and increase the pace. Try to train three times a week, for at least one hour per session, at a minimum. Please remember, Consistency is the Key here. Do not do anything to exert yourself or something that will increase chances of Injury. Running / brisk walking 4-5 kms for 5 days in a week is far better than running a 20 km on one day of the week and injuring your Knee / Ligaments in the process . If you can be consistent with above mentioned schedule, The Kilimanjaro climb though physically challenging, will become a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you. Feel free to call us or mail us in case you want more details on how to prepare for this trek!