Kilimanjaro is fondly referred to as “everyman’s Everest.” With no technical climbing required, summiting the mountain is a feat that anyone fit and able can accomplish simply by walking – walking, that is, with respect for the mountain and knowledge of altitude. Kilimanjaro, at 19,340ft, is the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
Our climb up Kilimanjaro is a 7-day, 55 km walk on the Machame-Mweka route. This scenic route takes us through four different ecosystems: rainforest, heath, moorland, and glacier. The trek includes an overnight, during the ascent, at the picturesque Karanga Valley. This extra night aids acclimatization and allows our climbers extra time to recover and prepare for the final push to the top.
June 16 – June 29, 2019
Sunday June 16
Depart Toronto on KLM
Monday June 17
Arrive in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania at 10pm. Stay at the Kilemakyaro Mountain Lodge in Moshi.
Tuesday June 18
Visit Amani Home; Duffle shuffle /final mountain preparation.
Wednesday June 19 – Day 1 – Moshi to Machame Camp (5,942ft to 9,911ft)
The Machame Route is a 55 km trek, and is considered the most beautiful route up Kilimanjaro. It is usually completed in either 6 or 7 days with 7 being the ideal thanks to the obvious advantage of an extra day of altitude adjustment. Another great advantage to hiking the Machame Route is the fact that the first few days see a substantial gain in elevation that eases the altitude stress over the days following. The different kinds of vegetation found along the route make it very scenic. Climbers will walk through rainforest, heather, moorland, alpine desert and glacial terrain going from temperatures of +30 to -15 over their 7day trip. There are no mountain huts on this route. Climbers sleep in mountain tents.
After registering with the park authority at the Machame Park Gate, we’ll begin our climb through the lush forest. We start at an altitude of 5,942 ft and climb for 6 hours to a height of 9,911ft. We’ll hear the many exotic birds in the canopy above, and may even see black & white colobus monkeys as we hike among the knotted roots and mud of the forest floor.
Conditions on this day are fairly steep and we’ll begin to feel the early effects of altitude (head ache, nausea). We spend the night at the Machame Camp, just above the forest.
Thursday June 20 – Day 2 – Machame Camp to Shira Camp (9,911ft to 12,595ft)
Today’s segment of the ascent continues across the beautiful heath and alpine moorland with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro Peak.
We begin up a steep ridge through a savannah of tall grasses and tree-like shrubs – the Giant Heather and Erica. As the day goes on, we’ll enter another ecosystem, the moorland zone, marked by the Lobelia and Senecio plants as well as volcanic rocks.
Today’s climb will take about 6 hours. It’s not as steep as the previous day (we climb from 9,911ft to 12,595ft), but the night is likely to be colder – probably a little below freezing. We will overnight at Shira Camp.
Friday June 21 – Day 3 – Shira Camp to Barranco Camp (12,595ft to 14,741ft to 13,077ft)
Day 3 on Kilimanjaro is all about acclimatization. We start the day at 12,595ft and spend the morning climbing to an altitude of 14,741ft before descending again on the scenic route to Barranco Camp at 13,077ft. This is a great example of the “climb high, sleep low” rule that helps people acclimatize safely.
As mentioned, in the afternoon we descend the steep track into the Great Barranco Valley. Our campsite is set on a flat area enclosed on three sides with steep valley walls. Hanging glaciers glint in the sunshine above, amidst the eerie landscape of plants such as the giant groundsels (Senecio Kilimanjari) and the uniquely endemic Giant Lobelia. We spend the night at Barranco Camp staring at a 1000+ foot rock face that we’ll be scrambling up the next morning.
Saturday June 22 – Day 4 -Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp (13,077ft to 13,235ft)
Today is a 2nd day of acclimatization where we finish the day at a similar elevation to which we started. The day starts with an exciting scramble up the Great Barranco Wall and ends just above the Karanga Valley at 13,235ft.
The Barranco Wall is an enormous cliff wall with a switch back trail and very steep inclines. Although it looks intimidating, the hike up is fun and exhilarating – often considered by climbers to be their “favourite” day of all! We’ll walk very slowly, or, as the porters say in Swahili, “POLE POLE”.
Once on top, the view of the valley down below is absolutely magnificent. The hike for the rest of the day is up and down and crosses many small streams, the last one being the Karanja River. We camp just above the Karanga Valley.
Sunday June 23 – Day 5 – Karanga Valley Camp to Barafu (13,235ft to 15,295ft)
Today’s hike will take us from 13,235ft to 15,295ft in 3 to 4 hours. The temperatures will drop and the landscape will get sparse as we approach our final camp site.
We’ll be paying full attention to our fluid and food intake making sure that we’re drinking our 4 liters of water a day, eating our snacks, and walking slowly. This will help to mitigate the affects of altitude and keep our headaches and nausea under control.
Barafu Camp is set on a small, exposed flat ridge that acts as a base camp from which we will begin our summit attempt at midnight. We’ll sleep for a few hours waking up at 11:30pm to don our 5 layers of clothing and commence our summit climb to the top.
Monday June 24 – Day 6 – Barafu to Summit to Millennium (15,295ft to 19,341ft to 12,556ft)
Today kicks off at midnight with by far the most challenging and rewarding 14-16 hour section of the entire trek. It will take about 8 hours to climb to the top of Africa, then 6 – 8 hours to climb all the way down to the final campsite, Millennium Camp.
The climb begins at midnight. We walk in single file on a switchback trail that goes steadily uphill for a good 6 hours. The trail snakes beside a glacier and ends at Stella Point, the rim of the Kibo crater. If we time it right, the sun will be rising just as we crest the top. Although arriving at Stella Point is exhilarating, we’re only at 18,848ft and have another 45+ minutes to get to the highest point in Africa, Uhuru Peak, at 19,341ft.
After enjoying the moment, we begin our descent back to Barafu Camp and then onto Millennium camp … a long 6 to 8-hour trek. We end the day at 12,556ft feeling tired but pretty happy
Tuesday June 25 – Day 7 – Millennium to Park Gate, transfer to Moshi (12,556ft to 5,358ft)
We wake up in the morning knowing that a shower is close at hand. The walk out of the park will take 5 to 6 hours.
We walk our way down a winding path that takes us back into the rainforest and finally to the park gate. This is our last day to enjoy the beauty of the mountains’ flora and fauna. After bidding farewell to our guides and porters, we’ll drive to Moshi where we’ll shower and enjoy a celebration dinner.
Wednesday June 26 – Depart Kilemakyaro Lodge and drive to the Ngorongoro Crater
We’ll pack our packs, say goodbye to the folks at the Kilemakyaro Lodge, and head off to the Ngorongoro Crater – a geographical wonder, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the world’s largest caldera. Be prepared for a 4-hour drive, but one that is well worth it. We’ll overnight at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.
**Safari is optional.
Thursday June 27 – Full day of wildlife viewing at Ngorongoro Crater
Enjoy a hot bush lunch in the crater. Overnight at Serena Safari Lodge.
Friday June 28 – Half day of safari viewing
Followed by “shopping” enroute to Kilimanjaro airport. Depart for Amsterdam at 9pm.
Saturday June 29 – Amsterdam to Toronto (or home)
$6,400 USD + HST depending on 2019 rates and on the final itinerary.
Please note that the cost does not include Airfare or insurance (medical and cancellation).
Price includes optional Safari (2 day at Ngorongora Crater, lodging at Serena)
In order to secure your spot on the team, we ask that you confirm your participation and provide a first down payment:
Dec.3, 2018 Non-refundable deposit $1,000 USD
We believe that a meaningful experience is created when you reach beyond yourself and give back to the world around. To this end, we set a stretch goal for each climber to raise $2000 for the Amani Home for Street kids. See www.amanikids.org for more information.
We have been involved with the Amani Home since 2004 when it was a single home dwelling housing 62 kids between the ages of 4-16. Today, it is a local success story thanks to the generosity of friends like us who have raised enough money to fund a beautiful new home with classrooms, bedrooms, an outdoor soccer field, and a loving nurturing environment.