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.
After completing the necessary registration formalities, we transfer by road to Nale Moru (1,950m) to begin our climb on this unspoilt wilderness route. The first day is only a half-day walk on a small path that winds through farmland and pine plantations. It is a consistent but gentle climb through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife. We reach our first overnight stop by late afternoon at the edge of the moorland zone (2,600m). Approx 3-4 hours walking.
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the 'Second Cave' (3,450m) with superb views of the Eastern icefields on the rim of Kibo, the youngest and highest of the three volcanoes that form the entire mountain. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi, the second of Kilimanjaro's volcanoes. Our campsite, which we reach in late afternoon, is in a sheltered valley near Kikelewa Caves (3,600m). Approx 6-7 hours walking.
A steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb panoramas of the Kenyan plains to the north. We leave vegetation behind close to Mawenzi Tarn (4,330m), spectacularly situated in a cirque beneath the towering cliffs of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or to explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatisation. Approx 3-4 hours walking.
We leave our attractive campsite to cross the lunar desert of the 'Saddle' between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite (4,700m) at the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall by early afternoon. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night! Approx 5-6 hours walking
We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight at around midnight. We plod very slowly in darkness and cold on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the Crater rim at Gillman's Point (5,685 m). We will rest there for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip along the snow-covered rim to the true summit of Uhuru Peak (5,895m), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (4,700m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshments and rest, we continue descending to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3,720m). This is an extremely long and hard day, with between 11 and 15 hours walking at high altitude.
A sustained descent with wide views across the moorland takes us into the lovely forest around Mandara (2,700m), the first stopping place on the Marangu route. The trail continues through semi-tropical vegetation to the National Park gate at Marangu (1,830m). We leave the local staff to return to our hotel in Marangu by mid-afternoon for a well-earned rest and a much needed shower and beer! Approx 5-6 hours walking.
This morning we transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport and fly to Zanzibar, on arrival we transfer to our beach resort on the east coast of the island, a distance of about 70kms. The remainder of the day is free to relax on the beach or by the pool.
Day 9 - 10
Free time on the beach, on the east coast of the island. Snorkelling and diving can be arranged locally and it is a wonderful way to experience the underwater world with its array of multicoloured fish. On the other hand, you might want to relax and enjoy the beautiful beach and the swimming pool! For those who want some activity there are 2 very good options; the spice tour or a day trip to explore Stone Town. Ask at reception for booking these trips. Much of inland Zanzibar is dominated by the production of exotic spices and you can visit the plantations with a local guide, learning about the different spices and fruits, tasting them and having the option to buy them! This is a guided half day trip. You could also arrange a taxi at reception and take the 45 minute journey to Stone Town. It is interesting to wander around its twisting, narrow streets, seeing the old 19th century houses, arab fort, house of wonder and the infamous slave market (now a church). There are also good opportunities to buy souvenirs.
The morning is free to relax, before an early afternoon transfer to Zanzibar Airport for our flight back to UK. Those not flying back with the group either finish the trip in Kichanga after breakfast or take the group transfer to Zanzibar Airport or Stone Town.