Day 1: Keys Hotels Limited Uru Road, Moshi (Sat, 19 September)
Set on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, close to the Kenyan border in Northern Tanzania, the vibrant town of Moshi is known as a coffee producing hub boasting vast coffee plantations. The majestic snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro towers over this little African town. Moshi serves as the gateway to the Kilimanjaro National Park and provides an excellent base from which to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Wild Frontiers are the official race organisers of the annual Kilimanjaro Marathon, an epic African marathon/ half marathon held on the foothills of this majestic mountain.
Make your way to Keys Hotel (we can arrange a meet & greet and transfer to Keys should you be flying into Kilimanjaro International and require this additional service)
Overnight: Keys Hotels Limited Uru Road
The Keys Hotel has views of Kilimanjaro and is a popular destination for climbers. The restaurant offers a buffet breakfast, an a la Carte menu service and occasional barbecues. The bar includes all basic international types of wines, local beers and wines, as well as soft drinks.
Day 2: Machame Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (Sun, 20 September)
MACHAME GATE (1,800 M / 5,380 FT) – MACHAME CAMP (2,980 M / 9,780 FT)
Walking distance: 11 km/7 miles
Walking time: 5-7 hours
Altitude gain: 1,490 m/4,890 ft
After an early breakfast, we will depart to Machame gate, a drive of approximately one hour.
Your first day is spent in equatorial rainforest, so shorts and T-shirt should be sufficient. There are patches on the route where it is VERY wet and muddy, and you may end up with wet boots by evening. Ensure your boots are waterproofed and that you have spare lightweight (closed) shoes to wear in camp this evening. Gaiters are advised to help keep out the mud and dampness. This initial stage of the climb is tranquil and relatively easy. Take it SLOWLY – your climb is made in the first two days so you need to get a slow, steady pace going.
As you continue your ascent, you will find that the tropical forest has given way to tall grasses and giant heather. You will be walking on a ridge, to the left of which is the Semira stream, and on the right, the Weru. Your porters bound ahead to set up camp and the crew will prepare your meals. Make sure, every day, that you have all your personal gear needed with you in your daypack. Your guide and the rest of the crew will do everything they can to make your climb as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Eat well – at higher levels your appetite will diminish.
Depending on the pace of the climbers, arrival at Machame Camp is usually between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Guides tend to recommend a slow ascent, even at this point, for gradual acclimatisation.
Overnight: Machame Camp
The Machame Camp is one of the first pit stops along the Machame Route of Mount Kilimanjaro. From the Machame Gate, climbers will hike for about 7 hours through the rainforest to get to Machame Camp. They would overnight at the camp before heading through the moorland towards Shira Camp.
Day 3: Shira Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (Mon, 21 September)
MACHAME CAMP (2,980 M/9,780 FT) – NEW SHIRA CAMP (3,840 M/12,600 FT)
Walking distance: 9 km/5.5 miles
Walking time: 4-6 hours
Altitude gain: 860 m/2,820 ft
On this and subsequent mornings, wake-up call is at around 6:00 AM. You will be greeted with a steaming cup of tea or coffee and, if the weather permits, by a fabulous view of Uhuru peak. Today’s trek takes you up a steep track through a savannah of tall grasses, volcanic rock, and bearded heather. Lunch will be taken just below the Shira Plateau, about three to four hours from Shira Camp.
From the lunch stop, you will start traversing westwards up towards Shira Cathedral. The last sections of this route are relatively flat and easy but, once again, take it very slowly. Take a jersey with you today as it cools down considerably during and after lunch. Keep your wet weather gear handy and some snacks for the route. Drink plenty of water – it is vitally important to keep your fluid intake high as it aids the acclimatisation process. You should arrive at camp between 2:00 PM and 3:00 PM.
Shira is a pretty exposed and cold campsite and you may get rain or sleet. You may awake to frozen grounds and tents. You do, however, get to see some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets as your reward for camping here!
Overnight: Shira Camp
Shira Camp forms part of the second leg of the journey up Mount Kilimanjaro. There are 2 camps – Shira Camp 1 on west side and Shira Camp 2 on the east. The Shira Plateau landscape features a tropical rainforest and shrubland where a range of flora and fauna species are found. Climbers might also spot the White Naped Raven.
Day 4: Barranco Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (Tue, 22 September)
SHIRA CAMP (3,840 M/12,600 FT) – LAVA TOWER (4,630 M/15,190 FT) – BARRANCO CAMP (3,950 M/12,960 FT)
Walking distance: 15 km/9.3 miles
Walking time: 7-9 hours
Altitude gain: 10 m/360 ft (680 m/2,230 ft to Lava Tower)
The entire Shira Plateau greets you this morning, with sweeping vistas across to Meru and the Shira Needles. A few steep sections of uphill, valleys that at times looks like a “moon landscape”, and quite a steep descent to Barranco, make this a very long and tiring day.
This is part of your acclimatisation – walking in height from 3,800m up to 4,500m and then descending again to overnight at 3,950m.
The views of the glaciers on Kibo are breath-taking from camp and, when you turn around, you have the most beautiful Umbwe Valley below you – one of the most scenic campsites on the mountain.
Arrival at camp is between 4:30PM and 5:30PM. The views of the glaciers on Kibo are breath-taking from camp and, when you turn around, you have the most beautiful Umbwe Valley below you. Barranco is easily of the most scenic campsites on the mountain.
Overnight: Barranco Camp
Barranco Camp is the third pitstop along the Machame Route climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro. This area of the mountain is semi-desert and the camp is set in a valley close to the Great Barranco Wall.
Day 5: Barafu Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (Wed, 23 September)
BARRANCO CAMP (3,950 M/12,960 FT) – BARAFU CAMP (4,550 M /14,930 FT)
Walking distance:9.3 km/ 5.7 miles
Walking time:8 hours
Altitude gain: 510 m/1,675 ft
Continue from Barranco, across and up towards Barafu Hut (4,600m). Today, you will cross the Barranco Wall – it’s a climb over rock and it looks like a sheer rock face, but it is still a hike and there is no technical climbing involved. It is rather tiring and hard / long though, and the guides might use rope on some sections for peace of mind. There’s a steep descent down into Karanga Valley where you will have lunch on the other side. After lunch, you start to ascend to Barafu. It’s a long day – your guide(s) will set the pace.
Learn to pace yourself with your breathing – do not try to rush to catch up with anyone, go at your own most comfortable speed and you will arrive relatively comfortably. Listen to your guide(s) – they will help you. It will be very cold today, especially when you stop for lunch and rest. Dress warmly as you can expect some sleet on this day. You will be walking through the cloud. After supper, drink as much tea as possible and settle down for an early night.
Drink plenty of fluids as you are in a “desert” area, despite the cold, and tomorrow will be a long, hard day.
Overnight: Barafu Camp
Mount Kilimanjaro climbers would approach Barafu camp at about the 5th day of the journey. The word ‘barafu’ is the Swahili word for ‘ice’, which refers to the cold climate at this altitude.
Day 6: Mweka Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro (Thu, 24 September)
BARAFU CAMP (4,550 M/14,930 FT) – SUMMIT VIA STELLA POINT (5,752 M/18,871 FT)
TO UHURU PEAK (5,895 M/19,340 FT) AND DESCENDING TO MWEKA CAMP (3,100 M/10,170 FT)
You will be awakened at around midnight with tea and biscuits. You will be climbing up scree for approximately 4 – 5 hours. Your guide(s) will stop frequently to rest and check on the group. It is very important to listen to your body and breathing, and try to get into a rhythm. Because of the slowness of your walk, your fingers and toes are likely to get extremely cold.
Three pairs of socks should be considered for today and two pairs of gloves (inner and warm outer). Climbers should carry as little as possible on this portion of the climb. Temperatures will range from -4° to 5° Fahrenheit.
You will climb for about six hours on loose scree before reaching the edge of the crater (Stella Point). Another hour of climbing brings you to the summit, Uhuru peak, the highest point on the continent of Africa. The track around the edge of the crater is rocky and often icy.
Take a moment to fully savour your immense achievement!
After taking pictures and enjoying the view, you descend along the crater rim to Stella Point, from where you descend further to Barafu. You will travel down quickly on the scree, gasping in more oxygen step by step. The descent is no easier than the ascent. You will reach Barafu camp after about three hours (around 11:30 AM). Climbers will be given the opportunity to rest and have some refreshments before continuing on to Mweka Camp for the night. Arriving into camp at around 5:00PM, you will have trekked a total of thirteen to seventeen hours today.
Overnight: Mweka Camp
Mweka Camp is the final campsite on the journey up Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbers would arrive here after a 7 hour hike from Summit Uhuru Peak.
Day 7: Keys Hotels Limited Uru Road, Moshi (Fri, 25 September)
MWEKA CAMP (3,100 M/10,170 FT) – MWEKA GATE (1,980 M / 6,500 FT)
Walking distance: About 15 km, 9.3 mile
Walking time: 3-4 hours
Descend: 1,120m/ 3,670ft
On the final day of the journey, climbers will descend from Mweka camp to the base. Descending to the gate will take approximately 5 hours and climbers usually arrive before noon. You will be transferred by vehicle to Key’s Hotel (approximately 45 minutes’ drive) where a much needed hot shower awaits you!
Your certificates are generally handed out by the guides (either at the gate or, on occasion, they may join you at the hotel).
Overnight: Keys Hotels Limited Uru Road
Day 8: End of Itinerary (Sat, 26 September)
Your tour ends today after breakfast.