Alpine Ascents Kilimanjaro Expedition Itinerary
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Our climbs begin and end via flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania. (Note: Most flights directly to Arusha are not available for purchase online. For travel arrangements, call Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel at 1-800-727-2157 or at 206-623 2157. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Trip Day 1: Depart country of origin for Kilimanjaro International Airport, Tanzania. (JRO).
Trip Day 2: Arrive in Tanzania. Airport pick up and transfer to New Arusha Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.
Trip Day 3: Orientation and Gear check. We meet over breakfast at the hotel and join a detailed group orientation covering all aspects of the climb. After Lunch we have a through equipment check and those interested can join a walking tour (offsite) of Arusha before dinner. O/N New Arusha Hotel.
Machame Route start to finish. Data is approximate.
Distance: 64km / 39 miles in 7 days.
Elevation Gain: 4,891m / 16,044 ft Elevation Loss: 5,020m / 16,444 ft
Trip Day 4: We travel by Land Cruiser to the Machame trailhead, winding through coffee fields and small forests of ferns and flowers. After registering with the park service, we meet our porters from the Chagga Tribe, indigenous to the slopes of Kilimanjaro. They are an integral part of our African journey and become friends and provide insight into their culture and society. Our climb begins on the edge of a rain forest (elevation 5,800’). Below the watchful eyes of the monkeys, we trek seven hours to the Machame Camp (10,000’) and set camp for the night.
Climb Day 1 Start: Machame Gate 1830m / 6,000 ft
End: Machame Hut 3000m / 9,900 ft
Elev gain: 1200m / 3900 ft.
Time: 6 hours on average
Distance: About 10km, 6 miles
Trip Day 5: Leave the Machame Hut, cross a small valley and begin our ascent. The environment changes from heath forest to moor lands. These moor lands are littered with two species of giant groundsel, Senecios and Lobelia. Halfway up the trail we meet a river gorge and ascend across the Shira Plateau (12,300’). We sleep at Shira Camp.
Climb Day 2 Start: Machame Hut 3000m / 9,900 ft
End: Shira Hut 3800m / 12,500 ft
Elev gain: 800m, 2,600 ft.
Time: 4 - 6 hours average
Distance: About 8km, 5 miles
Trip Day 6: Today we climb to 14,800’ while crossing a ridge and view the plains far below. Here we eat lunch and admire the ancient glacier ice of the Breach Wall before dropping to our 12,800’ campsite at Great Barranco.
Climb Day 3 Start: Shira Hut 3800m / 12,500 ft
End: Barranco Hut 3900m / 12,900 ft
Elev gain: 2,100ft / Elev loss: 520m, 1700 ft.
Time: 6 - 9 hours average
Distance: About 10km, 6 miles
* Day includes critical acclimatization gain and loss
* Lava Tower option: additional 600 ft of gain/loss
Trip Day 7: We climb up and over the Great Barranco, topping out at about 14,500’ before dropping to our camp at the Karanga River at about 13,000’. This completes another day of acclimatization as we pass below the famous Breach Wall, the largest ice and rock face in Africa. The Breach Wall climbing route, known as ‘The Icicle’, was first climbed in the early 1970’s by Reinhold Messner. Daytime temperatures can reach (80°F), while evening temperatures often drop below freezing.
Climb Day 4 Start: Barranco Hut 3900m
End: Karanga Valley 4055m / 13,300 ft
Elev gain: 400m, 1,300 ft. Elev loss: 300m, 1,000 ft.
Time: 4 - 5 hours average
Distance: About 5km, 3 miles
Trip Day 8: From the Karanga River we climb about 5-6 hours to our high camp at Kosovo (15,600’). As we wind through beautiful and rarely traveled regions, we enter a high desert plateau, littered with volcanic boulders. Looking south we view the desert plains as the pinnacles of Mowenzi Peak tower before us. At Kosovo we prepare for the summit attempt. We spend our time packing and preparing for the early morning, 2:00am departure.
Climb Day 5 Start: Karanga Valley 4055m / 13,300 ft
End: Kosovo Camp 4,760m / 15,600 ft
Elev gain: 700m, 2,300 ft.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: About 5km, 3 miles
Trip Day 9: Summit day! Awake at midnight and prepare gear for the ascent. We climb wearing headlamps until the predawn light is reflected off the African plains. Following a distinct ridge we approach the crater’s rim, then traverse northwest along the rim to the main summit, Uhuru Peak (19,340’). From here we view the Bismarck Towers, rock pinnacles along the rim and the hanging Rebman Glaciers.
Climb Day 6 High camp to Summit Start: Kosovo camp 4,760m
Summit: Uhuru Peak 5896m / 19,344 ft
Elev gain: 1136m, 3726 ft.
Time: 8 - 10 hours
Distance: About 7km, 4 miles
As the sun rises over Africa, we are privy to a panorama of incredible views. To the north stands the second highest mountain on the continent, Mt. Kenya (17,056’/5199m), with its unique twin summits. The southern exposure reveals the sprawling plains of Tanzania and East Africa and Mowenzi Peak.
Climb Day 6 descent Start: Uhuru Peak 5896m / 19,344 ft
End: Millenium Camp 4000m / 13,000 ft
Mweka Camp 3100m / 10,200 ft
Elev loss: 1869m - 2,796m OR 6,133 ft - 9,170 ft
Time: 6-9 hours
Distance: About 13km, 8 miles
After enjoying the view from the top, we descend to Barafu, pack camp, and begin our traverse down the Mweka route on the southern side of the mountain.
Trip Day 10: The sunrises are exquisite as we awaken below the towering mountain. We descend through the lush green landscape of the Mweka route into the thickest jungle we have yet encountered. The environment becomes primordial, with 20 foot-tall fern trees creating a prehistoric atmosphere. After reaching the Mweka Gate we drive to Arusha and enjoy a celebratory dinner. O/N New Arusha.
Day 7: Start: Mweka Camp 3100m / 10,200 ft
End: Mweka Gate 1800m / 5,580 ft
Elev loss: 1300m, 5,900ft.
Time: 4- 5 hours
Distance: About 7km, 4 miles
Trip Day 11: (Safari itinerary subject to change. Based on team size and availability, travel order of safari parks may be reversed). Begin the safari to Tarangire National Park. This beautiful valley overlooks African grassland, sprinkled with acacia and baobab trees and is known for its variety of large mammals. Here we overnight comfortably in a deluxe safari lodge.
After enjoying a long leisurely game drive between herds of wild animals and along miles of Africa's seemingly endless roads, you come over a slight rise and the lodge appears almost immediately below you. Built to blend in with the vastness of its surroundings, Tarangire Sopa Lodge lies hidden among the kopjes, ancient baobab and grasses of the Tarangire National Park - home to the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa. Many can be seen around the lodge, allowing visitors a close encounter.
Trip Day 12: After lunch we may visit a Masai village where we observe the tribal dance and local life-styles of the nomadic herders of the region. We then travel to Ngorongoro Crater and overnight comfortably in a deluxe safari lodge perched on the rim of the crater.
Facing the always magnificent sunsets to the west, and located at the highest point on Ngorongoro crater's entire rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge stands well over half a kilometre above the crater floor and offers unparalleled views across this enormous caldera.
Themed around traditionally circular African houses with conical roofs, and decorated with examples of Africa's rich tapestry of artistic traditions by way of rich woodcarvings and sculptures, the lodge harmonizes perfectly with its dramatic surroundings. But the drama does not just stop with the great outdoors: it also flows through the split level interiors of the main building which all offer an unsurpassed generosity of space while somehow managing to combine an almost magically welcoming ambience of both warmth and coziness.
Trip Day 13: We spend the morning in Ngorongoro Crater, one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders. Here we encounter herds of zebra, antelope, buffalo, elephant, rhino, cheetah and hippo. After lunch we proceed with a game drive through Serengeti National Park en route to a deluxe safari lodge and dinner.
Located on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the plains of the south-western Serengeti National Park, home to many thousands of wild and rare animals, Serengeti Sopa Lodge lies within an area of out-standing natural beauty. An oasis of cool relaxation from the equatorial sun. The lodge allows its guests to experience magnificent sights and enjoy interaction with the land and animals difficult to find elsewhere, whilst at the same time enjoying the highest level of cuisine and hospitality.
Trip Day 14: There is an option for a spectacular sunrise balloon ride. We fly back to Arusha (Weather Permitting) for a farewell lunch at the lodge and then prepare for late night international departures.
Trip Day 15: Arrive country of origin.