In a country of vast wilderness stands a dormant volcano boasting the highest peak in Africa: Kilimanjaro. In this once-in-a-lifetime trip, you'll be embarking on an unforgettable climb up the Marangu route to Uhuru Peak in an epic 7 day adventure. But the true adventure lies in the experience along the way: the paths trodden, the wildlife spotted, and the friends made. Please note, this is a small group trip and won't have a Contiki Trip Manager. You'll be looked after by a Local Guide from the in-country team running the trip.
This is where the adventure begins. You'll be collected from Kilimanjaro airport and transferred to Springlands Hotel located in Moshi Town, close to the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. This trip is run by a local operator rather than Contiki, so here you'll meet your Local Guide in place of a Contiki Trip Manager. You'll have a climb briefing, dinner, and time to prepare before bunking down for the night.
We'll set off from The National Park Gate (1,830 m.) at the edge of Marangu, a charming village with a swathe of small coffee and banana plantations. After completing the entrance formalities, we'll climb up through an leafy and unspoilt forest to reach the clearing containing Mandara Hut (2,700 m.).
We've reached our accommodation for the night, a group of comfortable wooden huts in a forest clearing. They may be huts, but this isn't rough sleeping: the largest cabin has a downstairs dining area and an upstairs dormitory and mattresses, with each smaller hut sleeping eight people. We've powered through 3-4 hours of walking today so you're welcome to rest here: the taps gush fresh spring water, you can hear the birds singing, and you might be lucky enough to spot some monkeys. Or for an extra afternoon excursion, you can hike to the volcanic remains of nearby Maundi Crater.
The first part of the today's 4-6 hour walk is a steep ascent through the forest, but the path soon opens out into grassy moorland. If we're lucky, we'll get a good view of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks from here. We'll climb steadily through the moorlands, surrounded by giant heathers and occasional stands of groundsel, to reach Horombo (3,720 m.).
We've arrived at our hut accommodation for the night at Horombo. Sunrises and sunsets are often spectacular, and we're close to the glaciated dome of Kibo. There is a real sense of being above the clouds here that can make you realise how far you've come already!
We climb very gradually towards the lunar desert of the Saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo. The terrain changes to scree and there is a palpable sense of high altitude wilderness. We usually reach Kibo Hut (4,700 m.) at the bottom of the crater wall by midday. Kibo is a stone-built block house with a small dining area and a number of dormitory rooms leading off a main corridor. There are bunk beds and mattresses for about sixty people. There is no water here so one has to bring an ample supply from the 'last water' supply above Horombo Hut. Platform toilets are behind the hut. The remainder of the day is spent resting and eating in preparation for the final climb before a very early night! (4-5 hours walking)
Rise and shine! We're starting our ascent this morning by torchlight at about 1AM, aiming to be up at Gillman’s Point by sunrise. The initial climb is steep over loose volcanic scree, but there are some well-graded zig-zags and a slow but steady pace will have us up to Gillman’s (5,685 m.) in about five or six hours.
We rest here and spend some time taking in the beauty of the sunrise. For those who are still feeling strong, you can make the three hour round trip from here along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5,896 m.), passing close to the spectacular glaciers that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent is surprisingly fast and we return to Horombo via Kibo for the night.
We descend back to the Kibo Huts, have lunch, rest, collect our things, and re-cross the saddle to the Horombo Huts. Time to eat dinner and get some well-deserved sleep: this was, by far, the most difficult part of the trek.
We retrace our steps with a relaxed 5-6 hour walk through moorlands to Mandara Hut then through the forest back to the National Park Gate. The greenness and lushness of the forest makes a striking contrast to our summit day yesterday, showing just how varied the scenery on Kilimanjaro is.
Remember to say goodbye to your guides, cooks, and porters at the National Park Gates since you will be leaving them here. A vehicle will take you back to a hotel in Moshi, where it is definitely time for celebration!
It may be the end of the trip, but your memories (and calf muscles) will be forever changed! Say goodbye to your trip-mates and give yourself a huge pat on the back. The morning transfer takes you to Kilimanjaro International Airport for a final goodbye.
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Trip Name: Kili Climb
Duration: 7 Days
From Price: £1,445
Supplier Tour ID: 293.698/232354
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