Welcome to Tanzania!
Your flight will bring you to Kilimanjaro International Airport. From here, Moshi, which is a small town on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, is only a 30 km drive. Airport pick up is part of the trek cost – you will be met by someone from our team who will assist you to your hotel in Moshi. The name Moshi, interestingly enough, is said to denote the smoke that comes out of the volcano right above it. There is nothing more on the agenda for today than to get comfortable in this friendly land, explore this charming little town, get acquainted to your fellow climbers, and arrange for equipment, in case you are missing something. Since we start the trek tomorrow, we also use today to go over some do’s and don’ts, what to expect on the trek and get done with some paperwork before we can dive head in to indulge ourselves in this small town of many offerings.
Tonight we stay in a hotel – our last night for the next few days, in warm, comfortable beds!
Moshi (950M) to Machame Camp (3,010M) via Machame Park Gate (1,800M)
Distance: 27 km (drive to Machame Park Gate) + 11 kms (trek to Machame Camp)
Duration: 45 min (drive) + 6-7 hours (trek)
Of the 6 possible routes to the summit, we take the Machame Route. Machame Route is also called the ‘Whiskey Route’ because it is a little bit longer and a little bit tougher than the other most popular route which is the Marangu Route. Marangu Route is called the Coca Cola Route because it is a much more common preference with climbers since it is easier and is also the only route with huts that allow for added comfort when compared to camping.
We take the Machame Route because it takes us through an assortment of terrain, making every day on the trek a fresh delight and something to look forward to. The trail head for Machame Route is the Machame Park Gate. It is going to be a long day, so we start early after an early breakfast. The 27 kms to the gate should take us about 45 minutes to cover. The drive brings us to an altitude of 1800M. We still have over a 1200M ascend to get to our first camp for today. After registering at the Park Gate, we start out through thick rainforests. This region is prone to unscheduled rains; remember to keep your rainwear handy. Rain can also make the forest floor slushy and slippery; consider your footwear for the trek accordingly.
It is a 11km long day with an elevation gain of 1200M, so it is important that you find your rhythm and pace yourself based on your comfort. It is a gradual climb. We get packed lunch for the day. Porters will carry your luggage which makes the long distance a tad bit easier. Expect to reach by evening. Night temperatures really plummet at this camp, be prepared to layer up accordingly.
Machame Camp (3,010M) to Shira Camp (3,840M)
Distance: 5 kms
Duration: 4-5 hours
Today is a smaller day than yesterday, at least in terms of distance. We wake up early, get done with breakfast and continue our ascent in the forest. After about an hour in the forest, it is time for the first dramatic change in scenery. From the thick canopy, we are welcomed into the colourful moorland zone which greets us with gentler slopes. From here, we get on to a rocky ridge until we reach the Shira Plateau. If you are the kind to geek out on geography, here’s something interesting. The Shira Plateau is actually a caldera which means that it is a collapsed volcanic crater. This plateau which stretches 13 kms to the west of Kibo summit is hence the remains of the first of Kilimanjaro’s volcanoes to perish. The land you walk on now has been filled in by the lava and debris of the eruptions from the other craters of Kilimanjaro. This region is known for its rich flora.
A little further and we reach our campsite for the day after an elevation gain of a little over 800M. Since it is an even more exposed and open region, the night here is likely to be much colder than yesterday.
Shira Camp (3,840M) to Barranco Camp (3,960M) via Lava Tower (4,630M)
Distance: 11 kms
Duration: 7-8 hours
Today is yet another exciting day for we cross yet another point with a fascinating story to get your nerd on. Given that it is going to be a long day, we head out from our camp as early as possible and head east towards a different kind of landscape. Our path today takes us to a semi-desert and rocky terrain which ambles up to Lava Tower at 4,630M. Lava Tower is the fascinating marvel which we spoke of earlier! It is, as the name suggests, a massive tower of rock formed by, as the name suggests, lava of Mount Kilimanjaro from way back when it was still an active volcano. These dry lands with lava structures dominate the landscape of our route today. This is going to be one of the toughest days of the trek for its distance and elevation. It also serves as a good means for acclimatization, however, since we are climbing high all the way to 4,600M and sleeping low at 3,960M (Barranco Camp).
The climb up to Lava Tower, which is the highest point for today over some tough terrain, including an ascent on loose scree, should take close to 5 hours. The descent down from here to Barranco Camp is another 2-3 hours. This campsite is known for its sunset views; we should get here just in time to catch these!
Barranco Camp (3,960M) to Karanga Camp (4,035M)
Distance: 5 kms
Duration: 5 hours
Today will seem much easier because we are already acclimatized. We also have to cover a much shorter distance. The most difficult part of the climb today is the Barranco Wall which is classified as a class 4 scramble. This means that you do not need any special equipment to cross this section. It is however, difficult enough that it will call for all your attention – being mindful is not a choice here. You are likely to use all four limbs to scramble through this section of the climb which should take about an hour at max. The rest of the route for today is a mix of ascents and descents. It goes by in a breeze.
Expect to reach the campsite by afternoon with the rest of the day at your disposal to discover the many wonders of this wonderland of a mountain.
Karanga Camp (4,035M) to Barafu Camp (4,640M)
Distance: 5 kms
Duration: 5 hours
Today is a short day since we will be leaving for our summit push the same night. We leave as early in the morning as possible to get to our campsite for today which rests on an exposed ridge line. Be careful and familiarize yourself with the terrain as soon as you reach the campsite, so as to avoid any accidents in the dark. We try to reach well in time for lunch and hit the sleeping bag by 7 in the evening so that we get enough shuteye before our summit push tonight.
Barafu Camp (4,640M) to Mweka Camp (3,090M) via Uhuru Summit (5,895M)
Distance: 17 kms
Duration: 15-16 hours
Today is the big day! We get ready and start our summit push in the dead of the night after some light breakfast. The climb starts on some loose scree, which climbs up to Stella Point. Stella Point at 5,685M is one of the three official summits on the mountain and counts as a legit summit point for those who want to end their climb here. Stella Point lies at the rim of the crater and also offers the best view at the break of dawn.
Kilimanjaro has a really long summit push with an elevation gain of over 1300M which is massive given the altitude of the mountain. The rest of the climb from Stella Point is a steep ascent which brings you to the famous signboard indicating your arrival to the top of Africa – the (Freedom) Uhuru Peak (5,895M).
While it is a great vantage point to spend hours studying, we leave after some time because we still have a long way to go. The descent down to Barafu camp is another 3 hours. Here we collect our gear which we had left behind before descending down further to Mweka Camp after a full day of exhaustion.
Expect to reach by late evening.
Mweka Camp (3,090M) to Moshi (950M) via Mweka Park Gate (1,650M)
Distance: 10 kms (trek) + 24 kms (drive)
Duration: 3-4 hours (trek) + 1 hour (drive)
Today is long as well, with 10kms to cover. However, it is all downhill and at a much lower altitude than our body has already acclimatized to, so it shouldn’t be a tough nut to crack. On reaching the Mweka Park Gate, we get our ride to drive back into Moshi – our ticket to a hot bath and warm bed!
Moshi (950M) to Arusha (1,400M)
Distance: 82 kms
Duration: 2-2.5 hours
After that hard climb, it is now time for us to head towards a different kind of thrill. Post breakfast, we get our ride into Arusha which is another city in Eastern Tanzania and is only a two hour drive from Moshi. Today is just about getting to Arusha, getting settled and exploring the ins and abouts of the city before we head out for the National Parks tomorrow. The next three days are mornings and evenings of game drives, so you deserve all the rest today.
Arusha (1,400M) to Tarangire National Park (1,250M)
Distance: 150 kms
Duration: 3 hour drive
After an early breakfast we head out for our three hour ride to Tarangire National Park for a full day of game drives. Tarangire is Africa’s third largest national park and is known for its vast numbers – massive herds of elephants, zebras, antelope and gazelles amongst a vast open landscape dotted with tall baobab trees that dwarf the wildlife spread out under them across miles and miles of plains. The Tarangire River is the main watering hole for the park along the banks of which you will find most of the wildlife, especially in the dry season of June to October. The park is also home to other fascinating species like giraffes, prides of lion, leopard, cheetah, kudu, buffalo and oryx.
After a full day of following the massive herds and lone animals going about their business, we spend our night in a camp.
Tarangire National Park (1,250M) to Central Serengeti (1,850M)
Distance: 230 kms
Duration: 5 hours
Serengeti is known as one of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world and for good reason. Spread across 5,700 square miles, these massive grasslands offer some of the best wildlife sightings. From prides of lion lounging in the shade of the acacia woodland savanna to Jackals, Hyenas, Servals and Leopards, beautiful birds in the sky as well as on land (ostriches and secretary birds) all co-exist in this landscape which includes rivers, outcropping of rocks called kopjes, large termite mounds and the savannah plains.
The park is located in Northern Tanzania and spreads into the south-west end of Kenya. It is home to at least 70 large mammal species including the Big Five. The abundance of wildlife here does a syncronised dance within its borders constantly moving based on the availability of pasture. The magic about the African national parks is the predator-prey interaction which you are likely to witness because of the sheer abundance of life on these lands.
Central Serengeti (1,850M) to Ngorongoro Conservation Area (1,800M)
Distance: 62 kms
Duration: 1.5 hour drive
If you thought Serengeti was a jaw-dropping spectacle, you are only going to be shocked (with pleasure, of course) beyond measure by what’s in store for today and tomorrow. After a morning game drive in the Serengeti today, we head out to drive towards the Ngorongoro Crater which is the main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Its bed which is 260 square kilometers and runs 610 meters deep, was formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself millions of years ago. This volcanic landscape houses some of the biggest concentration of wildlife. It is the biggest extinct, intact and unfilled caldera in the world and is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The main source of water for the wildlife here is the Ngoitokitok Spring. The waters here house hippopotamus and welcome all the other species of the area to its banks in the dry season. Approximately 25,000 large mammals live on this crater bed including the black rhino, cape buffalo, blue wildebeest, waterbucks, zebras, hippopotamus, and of course the Big Cats.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area (1,800M) to Arusha (1,400M)
Distance: 180 kms
Duration: 3.5 hour drive
We do a full 5 hour game drive within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to cover most of the landscape before driving back to Arusha. We can drop you within Arusha at a location of your choice. Stay in Arusha for this day is not included in the trek + safari cost.
Mount Kilimanjaro Trek With Wildlife Safari is a level 6 adventure on the Bikat Rating Scale.
Our batch sizes are capped at 15 for smaller treks with the trek leader and trekker ratio of 1:8. This ratio, in our years of experience, has proven to deliver the best trekking experience for individuals as well as groups. Capping the size of the group ensures individual attention to each trekker so that no signs of distress or need during the trek go unnoticed. It also helps to form a more cohesive cohort with better group energy which helps define the rhythm and pace of days on the trek. As you go higher up on the BRS scale, since the stakes are higher, expeditions have an even smaller group size with the ratio of expedition leader to climber set at 1:2.
We follow a rigorous regime of hiring and training our experts in the field. Each trek leader is a certified mountaineer with years of experience in the field. In addition to their qualification, they also go through practical and situational training to tackle any and all kinds of sudden conditions that may present themselves on the ground. Being unpredictable is the core nature of the mountains but being ready for any circumstance as best as possible is a controllable asset that we try to nurture. Our field experts are also trained in basic medicine and first-aid response. Watch: Forerunners - The Making of A Trek Leader At Bikat Adventures
Since Bikat Adventures is a learning-based organization, we help you climb up the ladder of difficulty within the sphere of outdoor adventure systematically. Our on-ground training modules are designed to handhold you through the upskilling process so that you are ready to take on bigger challenges.
All the gear used on our treks and expeditions is tried and tested, maintained for good quality, and is overall top-notch in quality and condition. We are continually looking to obtain the best of everything there is in the market so as to ensure optimum safety.
Along with the staff you see on-ground, we have a team of superheroes working in the background to give you the best experience possible. Our background team also comprises local staff from each area who know the region best. Having local support helps with studying the area, pre-planning, execution, and in receiving timely support in case of emergencies in these remote locations.
Our on-field staff is in constant contact with our teams based in primary locations so as to eliminate any avoidable delay in reaching additional help and support when required. We try to use the best tools for communication available, including satellite phones, in regions where they are not restricted.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Cancellations between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 5 days prior to departure date