Arrive in Moshi and make your way to the hotel. Attend a pre-departure meeting with your guide scheduled for the evening.
Hiking Time: 4-5 hrs Total Distance: 8km Starting Altitude: 3000m Final Altitude: 3840m Habitat: Moorland After breakfast, we drive approximately 2.5 hours to the Shira gate of the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park (2400m). After registering at the gate office, and a stop for lunch, we continue driving up through the montane forest to start today's hike across the Shira plateau, west towards a river gorge, and finally you will reach the Shira 2 campsite. Here, in good weather, you will have views of the distant Kibo peak, your ultimate goal. You will be feeling the affects of the altitude this first evening, having gained almost 3,000m today alone.
Hiking Time: 7-8 hrs Total Distance: 15km Starting Altitude: 3840m Final Altitude: 3950m (via 4630m) Habitat: Montane Semi-Desert Today we turn east and continue to climb “pole pole” (slowly, slowly) through increasingly rocky and barren terrain. We have lunch and ascend the rocky scree path to the Lava Tower (4630m). The trek now starts to become more difficult, as the trail steepens, and most hikers start to feel the affects of the altitude, such as weakness and lack of breathe. From the Lava Tower, we descend steeply for 2 hours down more than 600m into the Great Barranco Valley. This descent affords fantastic views and some great photo opportunities of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. You will also feel here the clear benefits of this acclimatization day as we lose altitude down to the camp. Barranco Camp is set on a col (flat area) enclosed on three sides by the Breach Walls, and the Kibo massif itself. Hanging glaciers glint in the sunshine above amidst the eerie landscape of plants such as the giant groundsels, and the uniquely endemic Giant Lobelia. This is definitely the toughest day so far, but incredibly beautiful.
Hiking Time: 4-5 hrs Total Distance: 8km Starting Altitude: 3950m Final Altitude: 3900m Habitat: Alpine Desert Today we tackle the Great Barranco Wall – an imposing face above your camp. A steady climb up the eastern wall takes us just below the Heim Glacier, where we may have some awesome views of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our trail continues down into the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley, where we finish this acclimatization day at Karanga Camp at 3900m. (Hiking time: 4-5 hrs).
Hiking Time: 4 hrs Total Distance: 4 km Starting Altitude: 3900m Final Altitude: 4550m Habitat: Alpine Desert We begin the day trekking through the alpine desert of the Karanga Valley. Our porters will stop to collect water along the way, as there will be none further on. Here the temperature will grow colder as we follow the trail climbing through this empty and dry landscape up to the Barafu Camp.
The two peaks Kibo and Mawenzi can been seen from our camp, at 4550m. Barafu is the Swahili word for "ice", and the camping area is on a ridge in a narrow and exposed flat area. Here there are ever-present powerful winds blowing down from the mountain peaks. In preparation for your final ascent the same night, you will familiarize yourself with the terrain before dark, and prepare your equipment and thermal clothing for the summit attempt. Sleep may be difficult, but you will lie down after dinner to rest for the 1345m final ascent. (Hiking time: 4 hrs).
Hiking Time: 7 hrs to summit, 7-8hrs descent Total Distance: 7km to summit, 23km descent Starting Altitude: 4550m Summit Altitude: 5895m – Uhuru Peak Final Altitude: 3100m Habitat: Stone Scree, ice capped summit, Alpine desert Today you will be woken in time to leave camp at around 12am and after a warm drink and a light snack, you will begin the most difficult though most rewarding day of the trek – your hike up to the top of Africa. Climbing through the dark, you will ascend northwest on rough scree passing between the Rebmann and Tarzel glaciers. After approximately 6 hours of slow but strenuous hiking, you will reach the rim of the main crater, Stella Point, at 5685m. It is here where you will be rewarded with a breath-taking sunrise (weather permitting), which we enjoy while taking a short rest. From Stella Point the trail is normally snow-covered, and every step of the 2 hour ascent to Uhuru peak is challenging. At 5895m, Uhuru, which means “freedom” in Swahili, is the highest point in Africa. Take a few minutes to appreciate your accomplishment, as this is day to remember for the rest of your life! The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions; the temperatures range from just below freezing at midnight, to between -12 C to -23 C just before dawn. We start back down the same trail, and descend back to Barafu camp. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear. We then head down the rock and scree path into the moorland zone, reaching the forest, and eventually arriving at Mweka hut in the late afternoon. Today is the longest, and the most mentally and physically challenging of the trek. But a day that will stay with you forever, as you conquered the heights of Kilimanjaro.
Hiking Time: 4-5 hrs Total Distance: 12km Starting Altitude: 3100m Final Altitude: 1980m Habitat: Montane Rain Forest At a much lower altitude than the last few mornings, today you will wake up full of oxygen and ready to descend the short hike to the Mweka Gate. Enjoy the forest on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and upon arrival at the Mweka gate, successful hikers will receive their summit certificates (gold for Uhuru Peale, Green for Stella point). From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village for lunch, normally a muddy 1 hour hike. Upon arrival to Moshi in the afternoon, relax, or have that much-deserved shower and congratulatory beverage.
Today is departure day, and you are free to leave at any time.