There will be a trip briefing this afternoon/evening. Please bring with you your passport and insurance details, and your air ticket details. The briefing will cover all aspects of your trip and will include the distribution of any hired equipment you have booked.
In the morning we transfer by 4WD vehicles to Londorossi (2250 m), passing between the slopes of Kilimanjaro and the horseshoe-shaped volcanic crater of Mt. Meru (a distance of about 120 km). After completing the necessary registration formalities, we drive on for a short distance through farmland and plantations to reach the Lemosho roadhead. The last 5 km of the road to the park gate is of poor quality, particularly after rain, and the drive there should be considered part of the adventure. We often have our lunch in the glades before starting to walk. It is an easy day of walking up a small path through beautiful and lush forest, this area has a variety of game including buffalo. We camp at Lemosho Forest camp (2650 m). Approx 3-4 hours walking.
The trail starts out in the lush rich montane forest before ascending into the moorland zone of giant heather. The trail climbs steadily with views across the plains opening out as we reach the rim of the Shira Plateau. There is a tangible sense of wilderness especially if the afternoon mists come in. We camp in the centre of the plateau at Shira One (3550 m). Approx 6-7 hours walking.
An easy day to help acclimatisation and to explore the grassy moorland and the volcanic rock formations of the plateau. We walk to the summit of Shira Cathedral, a huge buttress of rock surrounded by steep spires and pinnacles. There is a tangible sense of wilderness here (especially when the afternoon mists come in!) and the views from our camp near Shira Hut (3840m) of Mt. Meru floating on the clouds are simply unforgettable. The afternoon is free to relax. Approx 4-5 hours walking.
A morning of gentle ascent and panoramic views, walking on lava ridges beneath the glaciers of the Western Breach. After lunch near the Lava Tower junction (4550m), we descend to the bottom of the Great Barranco valley (3900m), sheltered by towering cliffs and with extensive views of the plains far below. Approx 5-7 hours walking.
A short steep climb up the famed Barranco Wall leads us to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Icefields. The terrain changes to volcanic scree, with pockets of lush vegetation in sheltered hollows, and a powerful sense of mountain wilderness. Our next camp is at Karanga (4000m) a short distance away, the valley floor has the last water point on the approach to Barafu, whilst we camp on the higher sides of the valley with views towards the glaciers of the southern icefields. Approx 4-5 hours walking.
The trail follows an easy path on compacted scree with wide views including the Barafu Ridge where our camp lies, the trail climbs unrelentingly to reach the Barafu campsite (4600m) for lunch. There is a short acclimatisation walk to the plateau at the bottom of the Southeast valley (4800m). The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night. Approx 3-5 hours walking.
We will start our ascent by torchlight around midnight so that we can be up on the Crater rim by sunrise. The steep climb over loose volcanic scree has some well-graded zigzags and a slow but steady pace will take us to Stella Point (5735m), in about five or six hours. We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the two hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,895m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Barafu is surprisingly fast, and after some refreshment, we continue to descend to reach our final campsite (3800m) at Millenium camp. Most of us will be too tired to notice the beauty of the forest surrounding the crowded campsite. This is an extremely long and hard day with between 11 and 15 hours of walking at high altitude.
A sustained descent on a well-constructed path through lovely tropical forest alive with birdsong and boasting lush undergrowth with considerable botanical interest. Our route winds down to the National Park gate at Mweka (1650m); and on through coffee and banana farms to Mweka village. The shower, the beer, and the swimming pool are tantalisingly close! We return by bus to Arusha (a distance of about 100 km). Approx 4-6 hours walking.
The morning can be spent resting in the hotel garden by the pool or exploring Arusha for souvenirs for those on group flights. Those not flying back to UK with the group will leave us in Arusha.