East Africa is quite simply the trip of a lifetime.
We began leading trips here in 1996 and this has turned into one of our most popular programs. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the African continent making it one of the “Seven Summits”. It is also the only place in the world where one can pass through five different temperate zones in as many days starting off in a jungle and ending in an alpine environment.
We offer the safety and security of veteran American guides skilled in high altitude climbing and guiding techniques who are trained in wilderness first aid and high altitude medicine. We have developed excellent relationships with our porters, safari guides, and local staff on every portion of this trip.
Our climbs to the “Roof of Africa” ascend via the scenic Umbwe and Machame Routes. We are supported by Chagga porters allowing us to carry light packs. The Chagga have lived at the base of Kilimanjaro for many centuries and members of this tribe have accompanied expeditions to this mountain dating back to the earliest exploratory trips. We start hiking in a jungle canopy at 6500 feet. Over the course of seven days we will hike through different temperate zones each offering its own unique scenery and climate. This schedule also affords us a good acclimatization schedule. Our route brings us past some of the most spectacular scenery on the mountain including views of the Western Breach Wall and Heim Glacier. We descend via the Mweka Route. Kilimanjaro requires participants to be in good physical shape but no technical mountaineering skills are needed.
$5900.00 combined with a game viewing safari
$4100.00 Kilimanjaro only.
October 6-15, 2018 Kilimanjaro Climb
October 16-19, 2018 Safari
February 12 – 21, 2019 Kilimanjaro Climb
February 22-25, 2019 Safari
7-Day Itinerary via the Umbwe Route
The Umbwe Route is one of the least traveled routes on Kilimanjaro. It features spectacular views of gorges, ridgelines, and waterfalls that offer some insight into this mountain’s exciting geologic past and are unique to all other routes. Beginning with a gradual ascent through rain forests it emerges onto the wide-open views of the moorland. We then traverse underneath the Western Breach Wall with views of the Heim Glacier and South Face before ascending into the alpine environment. Historically this route was known for being “untamed”, “steep” and “unmaintained”. Today it is a remote and overlooked route discovered by relatively few Kilimanjaro climbers. It intersects with the Machame, Shira, and Lemosho routes along the South Circuit Path at Barranco Camp. Come learn why this route remains a hidden gem on Kilimanjaro!
Day 1: All team members arrive in Moshi, Tanzania.
Day 2: Today is a rest day. We will use it to pack our gear and take a short casual hike nearby. Luggage items not needed for the climb will be stored at our hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 3: Climb Day 1. Park Gate to Cave Camp, 1850m/6069’ – 2850m/9350′: After a 7 AM breakfast at the hotel, we will load our gear into a vehicle and drive to the park gate. Our porters take our duffel bags here. The Umbwe park gate is at 1850m/6069’ and our first camp is at 2850m/9350’. It is in the forest near the altitude where the temperate zone changes from jungle to moorland.
The hiking today is mostly underneath a jungle canopy, where it is sometimes possible to see black and while colobus monkeys and blue monkeys in the trees above us. If there has been a recent rainstorm, the trail can be muddy, and many people wear lightweight gaiters to keep some of the mud off their legs. The hike normally takes 5-7 hours.
Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will be provided each day during the climb.
Day 4: Climb Day #2. Cave Camp to Barranco Camp, 2850m/9350’ – 3940m/12,926’: After breakfast we pack our duffles for the porters and leave camp at 9 AM. The scenery opens up and we get some of our first glimpses of Kilimanjaro. If it was muddy yesterday it usually becomes less muddy when we leave the jungle canopy. Giant ridges and valleys dominate the landscape on either side of us. On a clear day the Heim Glacier on the upper reaches of Kilimanjaro fill out our view above. We also hike through the spectacular giant senacio trees. From camp, Kilimanjaro’s Western Breach Wall rises high on the skyline above us on a clear day. Today’s hike normally takes 5-8 hours. Afternoon teatime and rest will precede dinner.
Day 5: Climbing Day #3. Acclimatization hike to Lava Tower 4630m/15,190’. Today we hike towards the base of the Western Breach Wall to Lava Tower. On a clear day views in front of us looking at the Western Breach Wall provide spectacular scenery. In the distance Kilimanjaro’s satellite peak Mt. Meru is seen nearby. We return to Barranco Camp for afternoon tea time and rest before dinner.
Day 6: Climbing Day #4: Hike to Camp 3, Karanga Camp, 3940m/12,926’ -3930m/12,893’. After breakfast our route takes us over the Barranco Wall. It has a couple spots that require using your hands and feet but no previous rock climbing skills are required. We help with a spot from below and above to surmount the small section about 10-15 feet. Beyond Barranco Wall our route traverses down into valleys and up on ridges. The upper reaches of Kilimanjaro including the summit are to our left. After 3-4 hours of hiking we descend into Karanga Valley. This lush valley is the last of its kind before ascending to higher ground leading to the summit. Ascending the other side of Karanga Valley takes approximately 45 minutes. Our camp is at the top of this hill. Afternoon teatime and rest will precede dinner.
Day 7: Climbing Day #5. Hike to Camp 4, Barafu Camp, 3930m/12,893’ – 4600m/15,100’. After breakfast our route ascends above vegetation zones into the sub alpine region. The landscape is dominated by outcroppings of volcanic rock and on a clear day we can see the jungle canopy below. A slow steady pace brings us to our camp in 3-5 hours. Upon arrival we get settled in camp and prepare for our summit bid the following morning. We have an early dinner before sunset so we can get in our tents in preparation for an early wake up call.
Day 8: Climbing Day #6: Summit Day, 5895m/19,340’. Our exact wake up time is conditions-dependent. It is usually sometime between 10:30 PM and 1:30 AM. We’ll rise for a light breakfast of hot drinks and biscuits before beginning our ascent.
What clothing we wear and what we carry in our packs is dependent on the temperature but all of it will come with us. We will have a staff of local assistants to accompany us in addition to Western guides. With headlamps on we will pick our way over a reasonably well worn route that switchbacks over the firm volcanic dirt in between larger rock outcroppings. If the weather is clear this night will reveal an awesome blanket of stars above. How many are visible depends on the moon’s brightness.
Our pace will be rhythmical slow and steady as we integrate high altitude breathing and walking techniques into our ascent. We take breaks at regular intervals approximately every 1 – 1.5 hours. As the sun rises over the African plains below we find ourselves high on Kilimanjaro with the crater rim visible above. We adjust clothing as necessary for the weather that day. The route is usually dirt all the way to the crater rim but sometimes snow from a recent storm will still remain. Crampons and ice axe have never been necessary for this climb though. We reach the crater rim at Stella Point at 5739m/18,828′. From here it is approximately 1 hour of traversing around the crater rim to the high point called Uhuru Peak at 5895m/19,340’. The climb to the summit can take anywhere from 6-9 hours.
Our descent brings us back to high camp in usually about half the time it took us to ascend. After rest and offloading some of our equipment back to the duffle bags we continue our descent to lower elevation where recovery will be quicker.
The descent to Mweka Camp at approximately 3100m/10,170’ takes 2-4 hours. As we drop in elevation the temperature gets milder and the increased oxygen adds an extra boost of energy. We take breaks along the way offering a good chance to stay hydrated. It is always worth an occasional look behind to admire where we just came from.
Day 9: Climbing Day #7: Descent to the Mweka gate. We wake in the morning for breakfast at a reasonable hour. After packing our gear we descend back down into thicker vegetation. If there has been recent rain in the jungles the terrain can sometimes be muddy. The descent takes 3-4 hours. Upon arrival our vehicle picks us up for the drive back to our hotel, which takes less than one hour. An afternoon lunch is followed by free time for rest and leisure by the hotel pool, take a walk into the business area of Moshi, write post cards, book a massage, and relax. Breakfast and lunch are included. For dinner we usually eat at the hotel or a nearby restaurant.
For folks joining us on safari we leave the following day from our hotel.
Kilimanjaro and Safari