DAY 1: LONDOROSSI GATE to MTI MKUBWA
Elevation (m): 2360m to 2895m, Distance: 6 km, Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Montane forest
Transfer from your accommodation to Londorossi Park Gate for registration. Our porters prepare and pack our supplies and luggage before we start our ascent along the forest trail to Mti Mkubwa (big tree) campsite at 2895m. We will overnight here.
DAY 2: MTI MKUBWA TO SHIRA 1
Elevation (m): 2895m to 3500m, Distance: 8 km, Time: 5-6 hours, Habitat: Moorland
Our journey continues eastwards across the Shira Plateau with spectacular views of Shira Cathedral. We cross moorland meadow to reach Shira 1 camp for dinner and overnight camping at 3500m. By now we will be able to see the stunning glaciers of Western Breach. It will be colder tonight thanthe previous night with temperatures possibly falling below freezing.
DAY 3: SHIRA 1 TO MOIR HUT
Elevation (m): 3500m to 4200m, Distance: 14 km, Time: 5-7 hours, Habitat: Semi desert.
We leave the forest behind now, the trail gets steeper as it enters the moorland zone. A gentle grade walk takes you across the high altitude Shira Caldera to Shira Cave with fabulous views of Arrow glacier. We will camp here for the night at 4200m.
DAY 4: MOIR HUT TO (LAVA TOWER) TO BARRANCO
Elevation (m): 4200m to 4600m to 3950m, Distance: 12 km, Time: 6-7 hours, Habitat: Semi desert.
Today we will climb up to 4600m to the base of the Lava Tower for lunch and acclimatization. This will be our toughest day so far and you may, for the first time, feel the altitude. After lunch we will descend again by almost 650m to Barranco camp, following “walk high, sleep low” golden rule of acclimatisation. Our 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.
DAY 5: BARRANCO CAMP TO KARANGA CAMP
Elevation (m): 3950m to 3930m, Distance: 7 km, Time: 4 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert.
A short, but fun day, starting with a scramble, to the top of the Great Barranco Wall. We then traverse over screed to the Karanga Valley (3930m) beneath the icefalls of the Heim, Kersten and Decken Glaciers. We will stay overnight at Karanga campsite.
DAY 6: KARANGA CAMP TO BARAFU CAMP
Elevation (m): 3930m to 4600m, Distance: 6km, Time: 3 hours, Habitat: Alpine Desert
We leave Karanga campsite behind to meet the junction connecting with the Mweka descent Trail. From here we continue up to the Barafu Hut. You have now completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. At camp, we can rest, enjoy dinner, and prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are to be clearly seen from this position.
DAY 7: BARAFU CAMP TO SUMMIT TO MWEKA HUT
Elevation (m): 4600m to 5895m to 3100m), Distance: 7km ascent / 23km descent, Time: 6- 8 hours ascent / 7-8 hours descent, Habitat: Stone screed and ice-capped summit.
You will be woken at 23:30 with tea and biscuits. We start our trek to the summit between the Rebman and Ratzel glaciers through heavy screed up to Stella Point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek. At Stella Point (5732m), we will stop for a short rest and hopefully be in time to witness the magnificent sunrise (weather permitting). We are now only an hour away from the summit, Uhuru Peak (5895m), the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa. From the summit, we descend down to the Mweka Hut camp site, via Barafu for lunch. Trekking poles will be needed for the loose screed going down to Mweka Camp (3100m). Later in the evening, we will enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
DAY 8: MWEKA CAMP TO MWEKA GATE
Elevation (m): 3100m to 1800m, Distance: 10 km, Hiking Time: 3-4 hours, Habitat: Forest
Your final day on the trek, departing after breakfast we descend a further 1300m to the Mweka Park Gate to pick up your summit certificates from the Park Headquarters. Transfer back to Arusha.