Trekkers short on time scale Mount Kilimanjaro via the Marangu Route, which climbs through montane rainforest, moorlands and the lunar landscapes of high-altitude alpine desert.
Your stay in Arusha is short, as we'll soon whisk you away for a scenic drive to Moshi. The backdrop to this small village is the imposing Mount Kilimanjaro, its snow-capped summit and rolling mountainside a constant beacon to hikers. Over the next five days, you will answer that call as you ascend Africa's highest summit and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
Dinner and overnight at Sal Salinero Hotel (or similar).
When time is short, Marangu is the answer: this route up Kilimanjaro, often deemed the "Coca-Cola" route, is the fastest path up the mighty mountain. An early morning breakfast – yes, Coke is a beverage option! – sets you up for the day's hike, which begins its winding path through spectacular rainforest. Green covers every surface and the roar of waterfalls sings out nature's melody. The four-hour trek delivers us to Mandara Hut (8,999 feet/2,743 metres).
Dinner and overnight at Mandara Hut.
Morning mist swirls as the sun rises over the rainforest. The warmth of dawn melts away the evening's chill, and we set out into the thick vegetation. Soon, this lush foliage, which displays every shade of green, fades to the hemlock and lavender hues of evergreens and heather. The dense brush of Kilimanjaro's moorlands stretches out before us and towering plants (up to 16 feet/5 metres tall!) replace the rainforest's trees. The glittering glaciers of Kibo bid you welcome and distant mountain peaks provide for postcard-perfect photo ops – the perfect memento of a momentous trek. Our six-hour hike culminates at Horombo Hut (12,204 feet/3,720 metres).
Dinner and overnight at Horombo Hut.
The wind whips through your hair, kicking up the dust of alpine desert. Two rocky trails diverge before us: we take the left fork, the slightly shorter and equally challenging route up the stratovolcano. The sparse vegetation thins out as we ascend ever higher, the lunar landscape highlighting the spectacular beauty of the vistas that unfold. We're crossing The Saddle now, bridging the gap from craggy Mawenzi Peak to the barren and challenging main summit of Kibo Peak. We ascend slowly to Kibo Hut (15,430 feet/4,703 metres), where you'll rest early in preparation for a midnight ascent to Uhuru Peak.
Dinner and overnight at Kibo Hut.
It's midnight. Millions of stars twinkle in the inky sky and the moon illuminates the landscape with its eerie glow. Enveloped by the warmth of your sleeping bag, it is difficult to crawl out into the chill of the night, but you must emerge: tonight, we climb to Uhuru Peak, the highest summit on Mount Kilimanjaro. The steep trail demands intense physical and mental aptitude, testing your mettle with each and every step.
The trail leads past Hans Meyer Cave and Gillman’s point (5,681m), both perfect resting points. You stomp through the snow, your trekking poles digging to find footing. Just as the sun begins to rise, your seven-hour trek culminates in one of the world's greatest accomplishments: Uhuru Peak, the highest point in Africa at 19,350 feet/5,895 metres above sea level. After a well-deserved break to rest and snap your victory photos, we begin our three-hour descent back to Kibo. Grab your pack and continue your climb down to Horombo Hut, where a delicious dinner awaits.
Dinner and overnight at Horombo Hut.
A hearty breakfast primes us for our final 12.5-mile (20-mile) descent, a much faster climb than our upward efforts. When we reach Marangu Gate, you'll receive your summit certificate: green for those who reached Gillman's Point (18,650 feet/5,684 metres) and gold for those who climbed Uhuru Peak (19,350 feet/5,895 metres). In Moshi, a hot shower, dinner and celebration await.
Dinner and overnight and Sal Salinero Hotel (or similar).
After breakfast, drive back to Arusha for your flight home.
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The above prices are based on 2 persons sharing.
Africa Point standard Terms & Conditions for Safaris apply.