Mt. Kilimanjaro

kilimanjaro summit

LEMOSHO ROUTE

Duration of climb: 6 – 7 days

The Lemosho route is an unspoilt, remote, little used and beautiful way up to the Shira Plateau. The route is one of the few where groups may be accompanied on the first day by an armed ranger, as the forests around the Lemosho Glades are inhabited by buffalo, elephant and other wildlife.

The minimum duration for the Lemosho route is 6 days, however we strongly recommend hiking the route in 7 days. The additional 7th day will give your body more time to acclimatize, reducing the effects of altitude sickness and give you more time to rest before attempting the summit.

1The main itinerary differences between the Lemosho 6 day and 7 day routes are as follows:

Day 1 to 3: Are similar for both routes.

Day 4: Start hiking from the Barranco camp at 8:00am and hike approximately 6.6km to Karanga camp, expect to arrive around 12h00 for lunch, dinner and overnight. (An after lunch acclimatisation hike could be a good idea should you feel up to it)

Day 5: Hike 3.3km from Karanga camp to Barafu camp. You can expect to arrive to Barranco by around 11:00am which will allow much more time to rest, enjoy dinner, prepare your summit gear and rest till 23:30pm when you will be woken up for the start of the summit attempt. (An after lunch acclimatisation hike could once again be a good idea should you feel up to it)

Day 6: Start the summit attempt just after midnight and expect to reach the summit by sunrise. Descend to Barafu camp and then to Mweka camp which you should reach by around 16:00pm.

Day one

Londorossi Gate (2100m) – Mti Mkubwa camp (2 821m)
Hiking time: 3 ½ hours
Distance: Approximately 5.4 km
Habitat: Montane forest

Your day starts early with a briefing, Your day starts early with a briefing, followed by breakfast and a 2-hour drive from Moshi (910m) to the Londorossi Park Gate (2100m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment in the village. Following registration we continue by vehicle, a further 12km on a forest track that leads to the Lemosho starting point (2244m). This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending road conditions. The road to the Lemosho starting point is particularly inaccessible during the wet season and climbers should be prepared to walk the final 2-5 kilometres of the road, following heavy rains. The journey time to reach the start point is quite long and joined with the possibility of not reaching the end of the road by vehicle, head torches may well be needed to reach Forest camp on day 1.

Trek from the Lemosho start point (2424m) to the Forest camp (2821m) where you spend your first night in the mountain. You are advised to stop regularly today and to move quietly in the hope of sighting wildlife near the trail. Sightings of small antelope are virtually unique to the Lemosho and Rongai routes.

Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) will have your tent set up on your arrival. In the evening the porters will bring a small bowl of washing water to your tent and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite.

Day two

Forest camp (2821m) – Shira Cave camp (3875m)
Hiking time: 8 hours
Distance: 15.6 km
Habitat: Moorland

You rise early at Forest camp and, after breakfast, you trek a hour or so to the end of the forest and then the trail gradually steepens and enters the giant heather moorland zone. Several streams are crossed. After 8.1 km we reach Shira 1 camp (3504m) located on the Western edge of the Shira Plateau where we stop for lunch.

After lunch we hike across the Shira plateau for another 7.5km to the Shira Cave camp, situated on the moorland meadows (3875m). By now you will be able to see, in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. The porters will provide a small bowl of washing water to each hiker, before the cook serves dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.

Day three

Shira Cave camp (3875m) – Lava Tower (4642m) – Barranco camp (3984m)
Hiking time: 8 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.3 km
Habitat: Semi desert

Trek from Shira Cave camp east towards Lava Tower (4642m). As the hike progress the surrounding area turns into a semi desert and rocky landscape. Shortly before reaching Lava Tower the Lemosho route links up with the Machame route. The last part of the hike, (just before reaching Lava Tower), is definitely the toughest part of your hike so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some hikers will start to experience the symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. You will arrive in time for lunch at Lava Tower (4 642m) after hiking a distance of about 6.6 km.

After lunch you descent again by almost 680m to the Barranco camping area and after reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours (3.3 km) and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The descend is tiring and should not be underestimated. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you get some much needed relaxation before dinner.

Day four

Barranco camp (3984m) – Barafu camp (4681m)
Hiking time: 8 hours
Distance: 9.4km
Habitat: Alpine desert

After spending a night at the great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end normally turns out to be easier than anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you will now appreciate just how beautiful Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you should reach Barafu Hut.

The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water available at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales, the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents.

The summit is now a further 1214m higher and you will commence with your final ascent attempt, the same night. Prepare your equipment, hiking poles and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.

Day five – summit attempt

Barafu camp (4681m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3090m)
Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Mweka Camp
Distance: Approximately 4.5 km ascent and 10.8 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will get up around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers the 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5739m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting).

From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to get going again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life!

The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3090m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared.

Day six

Mweka camp (3090m) – Mweka Gate (1641m)
Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 8.5 km
Habitat: Forest

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 4 to 6 hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. Some hikers do experience knee problems which could make the descend longer than planned.
It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. Visit the tips page for more info.

At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5739m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.

From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! After lunch you drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!


9-days-lemosho-route

RONGAI ROUTE - Duration: 6 – 7 days

The Rongai route ascends Kilimanjaro from the north-eastern side of the mountain, along the border between Kenya and Tanzania. This route retains a sense of unspoilt wilderness and offers a different perspective on Kilimanjaro by approaching it from the north.

The topography of the route does not allow for the application of the climb high and sleep low principle and hikers generally suffer more from altitude sickness on the Rongai route compared to other routes (an additional acclimatization day is highly recommended on this route). The Rongai route use the scree summiting path from Kibo hut to Gilman’s point and descend via the Marangu route.

1The main itinerary difference between the Rongai 6 day and 7 day routes is the additional acclimatization day at Mwenzi Tarn. << Click here to Read more >>

Day one

Rongai Start Point (1996m) – Simba camp (2626m)
Hiking time: 4 hours
Distance: Approximately 6.7 km
Habitat: Forest (Montane)

Depart from Moshi town and drive 45 minutes to the Marangu park gate for registration. From Marangu park gate we travel to Naro Moru, north east Kilimanjaro, a further 68km and approximately 2 ½ hours on bad roads to the Rongai start point (1996m). Meet your guide and porters before you begin your hike from the Nale Moru village. The small winding path crosses maize fields before entering pine forest, and then climbs gently through a forest. The trail is not at all steep, but is rather a gentle hike through a beautiful country side. The first night’s camp is at Simba Camp (2 626m). The camp facilities include a public toilet and a wooden table with benches, but no hut..

Day two

Simba camp (2626m) – Kikelewa Camp (3679m)
Hiking time: 6 – 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 11.8 km
Habitat: Moorlands

We hike from Simba camp up towards Kibo till 3 482m for lunch at First Caves, a distance of 5.8km. After lunch we continue trekking until reaching Kikelewa Camp at about 3679 metres. The views start to open up and you begin to feel you’re on a really big mountain! Water can be found in a obvious stream below the cave, although you might have to wander downhill a way to find a pool or two. Enjoy dinner and overnight at Kikelewa camp.

Day three

Kikelewa Cave (3679m) – Mawenzi Tarn camp (4303m)
Hiking time: 3 hours
Distance: Approximately 3.7 km
Habitat: Moorlands

A short but steep climb up grassy slopes offers superb views of this wilderness area. The vegetation zone ends shortly before you reach your next camp at Mawenzi Tarn spectacularly situated beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. Spend the afternoon acclimatizing and exploring the area.

Day four

Mawenzi Tarn camp (4303m) – Kibo hut (4730m)
Hiking time: 5 hours
Distance: Approximately 9 km
Habitat: Alpine desert

After breakfast we head west and continue ascending on the east side of Kibo crossing the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo taking 4 to 5 hours to reach Kibo Hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent, which begins around midnight. Overnight at Kibo hut.

Day Five – summit attempt

Kibo hut (4730m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3705m)
Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Horombo
Distance: Approximately 5.4km ascent and 15 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree / ice-cap summit

You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot.

The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. This is probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly. From Gillmans Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa.

Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it

Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend, taking photographs, before the 3 hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest at Kibo hot, you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.

Day six

Horombo hut (3705m) – Marangu Gate (1860m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 19.7 km
Habitat: Moorland & Montane Forest

After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. Click here for more info on tips.

At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates.

You now drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner descent bed and celebrations!!

climb-kilimanjaro

MACHAME ROUTE Duration of climb: 6 – 7 days

The Machame route is our most successful and popular hiking route on Mt. Kilimanjaro, mainly as a result of the following two important factors:

On day 3 of the hike the topography of this route, allow you to climb high and sleep low – when you start from Shira camp (3 847m) hike up to Lava Tower (4 642m) and then down to Barranco camp (3 984m) to overnight. The summit attempt path from Barafu camp has less loose scree (rocks) compared to the summit attempt path from Kibo Hut, making it slightly easier to reach the crater rim.

1The main itinerary differences between the Machame 6 day and 7 day routes are as follows: << Click here to Read more >>
Day 1 to 3: Are similar for both routes. 6 Day Machame route:

Day 4: Start hiking from the Barranco camp at 8:00am and hike approximately 10km to Barafu camp stopping at Karanga camp for lunch. You can expect to arrive at Barranco camp by 16:00pm to 17:00pm. Enjoy dinner, prepare your summit gear and rest till 23:30pm when you will be woken up for the start of the summit attempt.

Day 5: Start the summit attempt just after midnight and expect to reach the summit by sunrise. Descend to Barafu camp and then to Mweka camp which you should reach by around 16:00pm.

7 Day Machame route:

Day 4: Start hiking from the Barranco camp at 8:00am and hike approximately 6.6km to Karanga camp, expect to arrive around 12h00 for lunch, dinner and overnight. (An after lunch acclimatisation hike could be a good idea should you feel up to it)

Day 5: Hike 3.3km from Karanga camp to Barafu camp. You can expect to arrive to Barranco by around 11:00am which will allow much more time to rest, enjoy dinner, prepare your summit gear and rest till 23:30pm when you will be woken up for the start of the summit attempt. (An after lunch acclimatisation hike could once again be a good idea should you feel up to it)

Day 6: Start the summit attempt just after midnight and expect to reach the summit by sunrise. Descend to Barafu camp and then to Mweka camp which you should reach by around 16:00pm.

Day one

Machame Gate (1828m) – Machame camp (3020m)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.8 km
Habitat: Montane forest

Your day starts early with breakfast, followed by a 45-minute drive from Moshi (910m) to the Machame Gate (1828m). The guides and porters prepare and pack the supplies and your equipment at the gate. After registering at the gate office, you start your ascent and enter the rain forest almost immediately. There is a strong possibility of rain in the forest, which will transform the trail into a very soggy, muddy and slippery experience. You will have a welcome lunch stop about halfway and will reach the Machame camp (3020m) in the late afternoon. Your porters (arriving at the camp site long before you) will have erected your tent on arrival. In the evening the porters will bring a small bowl of washing water to your tent and the cook will prepare dinner, before you retire to your tent for the night. Night temperatures can already drop to freezing point at this campsite.

Day two

Machame camp (3020m) – Shira camp (3847m)
Hiking time: 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 5.2 km
Habitat: Moorland

You rise early at Machame camp and after breakfast you climb an hour or so to the top of the forest and then for 2 hours at a gentler gradient through the moorland zone. After a short lunch and rest, you continue up a rocky ridge onto the Shira plateau. By now you will be able to see in an easterly direction, the Western Breach with its stunning glaciers. You are now due west of Kibo and after a short hike you will reach the Shira campsite at 3 847m. The porters will once again supply you with a small bowl of washing water, before serving dinner. The night at this exposed camp will even be colder than the previous night, with temperatures dropping to well below freezing.

Day three

Shira Camp (3847m) to Lava Tower (4642m) to Barranco camp (3984m)
Hiking time: 7 hours
Distance: Approximately 10.7 km
Habitat: Semi-desert

The route now turns east into a semi desert and rocky landscape surrounding Lava Tower, where you reach an altitude of 4642m after about a 5 hour trek. Lunch is served at a designated area. This is definitely the toughest day so far. It is normally around this point, where for the first time, some climbers will start experiencing symptoms of breathlessness, irritability and headaches. After lunch you descent again by almost 658m to the Barranco camping area.

After reaching the high altitude of 4600m at Lava Tower, the true acclimatisation benefit of this day becomes clear. This descent to Barranco camp takes about 2 hours and offers great opportunities to take some beautiful photographs of the Western Breach and Breach Wall. The camp is situated in a valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while you wait for your dinner to be prepared.

Day four

Barranco camp (3984m) – Barafu camp (4681m)
Hiking time: 8 hours
Distance: Approximately 9.4 km
Habitat: Alpine desert

After spending a night at the great Barranco Wall (a very imposing sight at first), you make your way up this awesome looking obstacle, which in the end usually turns out to be easier than anticipated. Topping out just below the Heim Glacier, you will now appreciate just how beautiful Mount Kilimanjaro really is. The route then heads down through the Karanga Valley over intervening ridges and valleys, and then joins up with the Mweka route. This is the preferred route down from the summit, so remember it. Turn left up the ridge and after another hour or so, you should reach Barafu Hut.

The last water stop on the route is the Karranga Valley, as there is no water available at Barafu camp. Barafu is the Swahili word for “ice” and it is a bleak and inhospitable camping area to spend the night. Totally exposed to the ever-present gales, the tents are pitched on a narrow, stony, and dangerous ridge. Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the terrain before dark to avoid any accidents.

The summit is now a further 1214m higher and you will commence with your final ascent attempt, the same night. Prepare your equipment, hiking poles and thermal clothing for your summit attempt. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get some precious rest and sleep.

Day five – summit attempt

Barafu camp (4681m)-Uhuru Peak (5895m)-Mweka (3090m)
Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Mweka Camp
Distance: Approximately 4.5 km ascent and 10.8 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will get up around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night. You will head in a north-westerly direction and ascend through heavy scree towards Stella Point on the crater rim. For many climbers the 6-hour walk to Stella point is mentally and physically the most challenging on the route. At Stella Point (5739m) you will stop for a short rest and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see (weather permitting). From Stella Point you will normally encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. The time you will spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to get going again due to cold and fatigue. Enjoy your accomplishment and a day to remember for the rest of your life!

The walk back to Barafu from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest and collect the rest of your gear, before heading down to Mweka hut (3090m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be prepared.

Day six

Mweka camp (3090m) – Mweka Gate (1641m)
Hiking time: 4 to 6 hours
Distance: Approximately 8.5 km
Habitat: Forest

After an early and well-deserved breakfast, it is a short 4 to 6 hour and scenic hike back to the Park gate. Some hikers do experience knee problems which could make the descend longer than planned.

It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. Visit the tips page for more info.

At Mweka gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Stella Point (5739m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m) receive gold certificates.

From the Mweka Gate you will continue down into the Mweka village, normally a muddy 3 km (1 hour) hike. In the Mweka village you will be served a delicious hot lunch!! After lunch you drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!!


kilimanjaro summit

MARANGU ROUTE Duration of climb: 5 – 6 days

The Marangu route is one of the most popular routes to the summit of Kilimanjaro. This could partly be as a result of the fact that the Marangu is the least expensive route, but more so, perhaps the fact that it is possible to do the Marangu route in 5 days, thereby getting to the summit one day earlier compared to the Machame route. This is not always the best way, due to a shorter acclimatisation period.

The Marangu route does however offer you the option of spending an extra acclimatisation day on the mountain. This extends the route into a 6-day trek, greatly increasing your chances of success. Shared hut accommodation on the Marangu route forms one of the main differences, compared to the other routes. It offers you the relative luxury of being able to sleep in huts along the entire route. Mineral water, soft drinks, chocolates and beers are also sold at all the camps on this route. All your equipment and supplies are portered and a cook prepares all your meals.

1The main itinerary difference between the Marangu 5 day and 6 day routes is the additional acclimatization day at Horombo Hut. << Click here to Read more >>

Day one

Marangu Gate (1860m) – Mandara hut (2715m)
Hiking time: 5h
Distance: Approximately 8.1 km
Habitat: Montane forest

The drive from Moshi to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate, takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Marangu, which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. Once you reach the park gate, all hikers are requested to sign in at the Park office and make their final preparations for the climb. Porters will be seen arranging and loading their packs, containing the food, water, cooking gas as well as most of your equipment. Make sure that you have all your daypack items (containing at least drinking water, your lunch pack and extra clothing) with you, as the porters ascend a lot quicker than the hikers.

Our guides will be available to assist with any additional information or needs you might have. You now leave the Park gate and ascend on a cleared ridge trail through the rain forest. The forest, suffused with mist and dripping with beards of moss, is also where most of Kilimanjaro’s animals are found.

An alternative and more scenic parallel forest trail branches off to the left a few minutes after the gate. This trail follows the edge of a stream through the undergrowth and offers you the option to rejoin the main trail either after 1.5 hours hiking, or 1 hour before Mandara hut.

Your first night stop, Mandara hut, consisting of a group of wooden A-framed huts in a forest clearing. Each hut features 6-8 sleeping bunks with solar generated lighting. The total capacity of the camp is 60 climbers. Water is piped into the camp from springs above and there are flush toilets behind the main hut. Dinner is prepared by our cook and served in a communal dining mess.

Day two Mandara hut (2715m) – Horombo hut (3705m) Hiking time: 6h Distance: Approximately 11.6 km Habitat: Moorland From Mandara hut the trail passes through a short stretch of forest, skirts the base of the Maundi Crater and then emerges into the transition from rain forest to moorland. It is well worth a short detour to scramble up the rim of the Maundi Crater for your first really impressive view of the Kibo Crater. On a clear day, Kibo will glimmer in the distance, showing off her majestic glaciers in the morning sun. Once you are in the open moorland you will get the chance to see some of Kilimanjaro’s most spectacular plants – the endemic giant lobelia which grows up to 3 m in height and the giant groundsel (Senecia Kilimanjari), which can reach heights of 5m! After about 6 hours trek from here, you reach the Horombo hut, where you will have a hot bowl of washing water, rest; an evening meal and overnight.

Day three

Horombo hut (3705m) – Acclimatisation day

Horombo hut is a village of huts perched on a small plateau, with buildings similar to Mandara, but with a total capacity of 120 climbers! Horombo is normally bustling with hikers, guides and porters, with an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. You will meet both ascending and descending hikers here.

This extra day and night at Horombo is for additional acclimatisation. A hike towards the Mawenzi hut, passing the Zebra Rocks on the way (about 3 hours up and 1,5 hours down), is strongly recommended. This hike will further assist with the process of acclimatisation. Remember to drink enough water and move slowly! All meals for the day are provided at the hut. Retire to bed early and get a last good night’s rest.

Day four

Horombo hut (3705m) – Kibo hut (4730m)
Hiking time: 6h
Distance: Approximately 9.6 km
Habitat: Alpine desert

After breakfast you now continue your ascent into the Alpine desert habitat. From Horombo there are two trails to the “Saddle” (which refers to the area located between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo). There is an upper route (right hand fork) and lower route (left hand fork) to choose from. The upper route (right hand fork) should be very familiar, as you will have climbed most of it the previous day (on your acclimatisation hike) towards Mawenzi hut. This section is very stony and eroded.

The recommended lower route (left hand fork) is much easier and nearly an hour shorter, and it also passes the last watering point at 4130m. You will have to fill your water bottles with all the water you will need until your return to Horombo hut in two night’s time (unless you are willing to buy Mineral water at Kibo hut). Once again remember to slow down and drink enough water!

Situated in the barren Alpine desert is Kibo hut, a stone build block house which has bunk beds for 60 climbers, but no streams with water nearby. It is however possible to buy mineral water and soft drinks at the camp office. There are platform toilets behind the hut.

The summit is now a further 1195m up and you will make your final ascent the same night. Prepare your equipment, ski-stick and thermal clothing for your summit bid. This should include the replacement of your headlamp and camera batteries and make sure you have a spare set available as well. To prevent freezing it will be wise to carry your water in a thermal flask. Go to bed at round about 19h00 and try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.

Day five

Kibo hut (4730m) – Uhuru Peak (5895m) – Horombo hut (3705m)
Hiking time: 7 to 8 hours to reach Uhuru Peak, 6 to 8 hours to descend to Horombo
Distance: Approximately 5.4km ascent and 15 km descent
Habitat: Stone scree and ice-capped summit

You will rise around 23h30, and after some tea and biscuits you shuffle off into the night, and this is where the going really gets tough. The first section of the trail consists of a rocky path to the Hans Meyer Cave (5150m), also a good resting spot. The path then zigzags up to Gillman’s point (5 681m), which is located on the crater rim. This section is very steep with a lot of stone scree, requiring a great physical and mental effort. This is probably the most demanding section of the entire route. Do the Kili shuffle and move slowly.

From Gillmans Point you will normally encounter snow all the way up to Uhuru peak (5895m), the highest point in Africa. Total exhilaration and satisfaction – you made it. Weather conditions on the summit will determine how long you will be able to spend, taking photographs, before the 3 hour descent back to Kibo hut. After a short rest you gather all your gear you left behind for the ascent and head down to Horombo hut (3 hours) for your overnight. The return to Horombo hut will seem surprisingly fast compared to the ascent. The total time spent walking on this day is around 14 hours, so be prepared for a very tough day. Later in the evening you enjoy your last dinner (with soft drinks and beer for sale at the camp office) on the mountain and a well-earned sleep, filled with memories and stirring emotions.

Day six

Horombo hut (3705m) – Marangu Gate (1860m)
Hiking time: 6h
Distance: Approximately 19.7 km

After breakfast you continue your descent (6 hours), passing the Mandara hut, down to the Marangu gate. It is strongly recommended not to pay your porters any tips until you and all your gear have reached the gate safely. Click here for more info on tips. At Marangu gate you sign your name and details in a register. This is also where successful climbers receive their summit certificates. Those climbers who reached Gillman’s Point (5685m) are issued with green certificates and those who reached Uhuru Peak (5895m), receive gold certificates. You now drive back to Moshi for a long overdue hot shower, dinner and celebrations!! Overnight at the Springlands hotel.