Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates.And their memories.
But there is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic.Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias.
Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent.
Board shuttle bus from Nairobi at 0800 hrs and proceed to Arusha arriving at 1330hrs. Depart for Moshi at 1400hrs arriving at 1530hrs. Overnight at the Buffalo hotel in Moshi.
Marangu Gate (1,828m) to Mandara Hut (2,743m)
Elevation Gain: 915 meters
Hiking Time: 3 to 5 hours
Distance: 6 kilometers
After breakfast, vehicle transfer to Marangu gate. Start the climb through fascinating rain forests till you reach the first hut Mandara. Meals and overnight at the hut.
The A-frame Mandara Huts(meal time)can accommodate up to seventy people and consist of several sleeping huts and a dining area. All of Marangu’s huts have beds with mattresses and pillows. During high season, the huts can be crowded and you may have to wait your turn to eat dinner in the dining hall.
Mandara Hut (2,743m) to Horombo Hut (3,720m)
Elevation Gain: 977 meters
Hiking Time: 5 to 7 hours
Distance: 11 kilometers
After breakfast, follow the ascending path through the alpine – meadow. The altitude begins to change and slowdown your pace while enjoying the flora and the view of Mawenzi and Kibo peaks. Arrive at the Horombo Hut 12km from Mandara. Meals and overnight at the hut.
Although extremely busy, the Horombo Huts are considered to be the nicest lodging on Kilimanjaro. The small, A-frame buildings can accommodate up to eight people each and provide lodging for hikers ascending, descending and acclimatizing. Horombo can accommodate up to one hundred hikers and many more porters, cooks and guides. There is only one dining hut at Horombo, making meal times a bit hectic.
Horombo Hut (3,720m) to Kibo Hut (4,750m)
Elevation Gain: 1,030 meters
Hiking Time: 5 to 6 hours
Distance: 11 kilometers
After breakfast, resume the climb, the landscape becomes rugged and rocky. Lobelias begin to appear. Climb to Kibo Hut. Meals and overnight at the hut. The Kibo huts are made of stone and are not very warm. Make sure you have a four-season sleeping bag or a three-season bag with an extra sleep sheet. Most hikers experience some of the effects of altitude sickness at this point. Be sure you are aware of altitude sickness symptoms, and if you are feeling very sick, please tell your guide.
Kibo Hut (4,750m) to Summit (5,895m) to Horombo Hut (3,720m)Spectacular Mt. Kilimanjaro
Elevation Gain: 1,145 meters
Elevation Loss: 2,175 meters
Hiking Time: 12 to 15 hours
Distance to Uhuru: 5 kilometers
Distance from Uhuru to Horombo: 16 kilometers
The beginning of the last ascent is made in the wee hrs of the morning while the scree is still frozen. Climb the very steep part of the route to GILMANS POINT (most difficult and tiring part). UHURU PEAK is reached within an hour’s walk along the crater rim. (19,344ft). Start the walk along the craters rim. (19,344ft). Start the descent to Horombo hut for overnight.
Horombo Hut (3,720m) to Marangu Gate (1,828m)
Elevation Loss: 1,892 meters
Distance: 17 kilometers
Hiking Time: 4 to 5 hours
Vehicle transfer from the gate back to Moshi. Check in at the hotel. After lunch, have a good rest at the hotel. Overnight at Buffalo hotel.
After breakfast, depart for your next destination, which is optional, either:
(a) The National Park (This can be arranged)
(b) Kilimanjaro International Airport
(c) Arusha Town
(d) Nairobi via border town Namanga.