June 24 – July 7, 2018
About the Trek
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.
Dates for the 2018 trip are June 24 – July 7.
Depart Toronto on KLM
Arrive in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania at 10pm. Stay at the Kilemakyaro Mountain Lodge in Moshi.
Visit Amani Home; Duffle shuffle /final mountain preparation.
June 27 – Day 1 – Moshi to Machame Camp (5,942 ft to 9,911 ft)
Overall Description of the Machame Route:
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.
June 28 – 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.
June 29 – Day 3 – Shira Camp to Barranco Camp (12,595 ft to 14,741 ft to 13,077 ft)
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.
June 30 – 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.
July 1 – Day 5 – Karanga Valley Camp to Barafu (13,235 ft to 15,295 ft)
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.
July 2 – Day 6 – Barafu to Summit to Millennium (15,295 ft to 19,341 ft to 12,556 ft)
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
July 3 – Day 7 – Millennium to Park Gate, transfer to Moshi (12,556 ft to 5,358 ft)
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.
July 4 – Depart Kilemakyaro Lodge and drive to the Ngorongora Crater
We’ll pack our packs, say goodbye to the folks at the Kilemakyaro Lodge, and head off to the Ngorongora 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. Your LOLA guides will leave for Toronto on this day and those who would like to go to Ngorongora Crater will carry on with Bushmen Expeditions.
July 5 – Full day of wildlife viewing at Ngorongora Crater
With a hot bush lunch in the crater. Overnight at Serena Safari Lodge.
July 6 – Half day of safari viewing followed by “shopping”
Enroute to Kilimanjaro airport. Depart for Amsterdam at 9pm.
July 7 – Amsterdam to Toronto (or home)
1. Preliminary Pricing (including everything except air travel)
Approximately $6,000 USD depending on 2018 rates and on the final itinerary.
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:
Deposit due on Friday November 10, 2017 $1,000 USD
2. Fitness Assessments
Once the team has been finalized, we will begin personal fitness assessments with the objective of providing each of you with your own customized exercise program. It is quite simple: the more physically fit you are, the more you’ll enjoy your mountain experience. The goal of the fitness program is to ensure that you are physically and mentally ready to climb up a mountain, prepared for the discomforts of “thin” air, and are strong enough to walk 6-8 hours a day.
3. Team Gatherings
We will gather together as a team three times before departure. The purpose of the meetings will be to review the clothing and gear in detail, obtain documents for Visas processing, discuss immunization requirements and our fundraising initiatives. Please ensure that you have a valid passport. Passport’s validity should extend at least 6 months beyond date of departure from Tanzania.
4. Amani Fundraising
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 $5000 for the Amani Home for Street kids. See www.amanikids.org for more information.
I 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.
Meindert Schapp is the director of the Amani home and will be visiting Toronto in the fall of 2017. I will provide you with more information on his visit, on the home itself, and on fundraising tips that other climbers have found helpful.
Please feel free to contact us for more information. Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep well and stay tuned!