Eight-Day Kilimanjaro Summit
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain and one of the seven summits of the world. Its snow-capped summit looms majestically at 5,895 meters and, on clear days, can be seen from great distances. Kilimanjaro contains an example of virtually every ecosystem on earth -- glacier, snowfields, deserts, alpine moorland, savannah, and tropical jungle -- all of which are found on the mountain.
The Lemosho Route is a longer trek than the traditional Machame Route, requiring eight days on the mountain. The longer climb allows you an extra day to acclimatize to the higher altitudes, ensuring a higher success of reaching the summit.
Despite its height, most physically fit people are able to climb Kilimanjaro without any mountaineering skills or special equipment. As an added bonus, with Discover Outdoors membership, you will earn enough points to pay for two hikes to help you train! Our professional guides will assure you have the experience of a lifetime.
After your time on the mountain, reward yourself with an optional four-day wildlife safari.
Photo by Vishal Mistry (vishalmistry.com)
ITINERARY QUICK VIEW
DAY 1 Arrive in Moshi and Prepare for Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb
DAY 2 First Day of Kilimanjaro Climb to Big Tree Camp
DAY 3 Big Tree to Shira I
DAY 4 Shira I to Shira II
DAY 5 Shira II to Barranco, stop at Lava Tower
DAY 6 Barranco to Karanga
DAY 7 Karanga to Barafu
DAY 8 Summit Attempt, Night at Mweke Camp
DAY 9 Mweke Camp to Mweke Gate, transfer to Moshi
DAY 10 Transfer to airport or first day on safari
Adventure travel trips are confirmed three months in advance and require a minimum of six registrants. If your trip is not confirmed at that time, you'll receive a 100% refund. If you'd like to check a trip's status before purchasing flights, you can email [email protected]
Welcome to Tanzania
Arrive today at Kilimanjaro International where you will be greeted and transported to your hotel in Machame. Upon arrival, your guide will make sure you feel at home. Depending on your arrival time, you may wish to visit the city of Moshi, a bustling city overflowing with culture and sites, to explore and buy a few souvenirs. This evening you will rejoin with your team for dinner and prepare for the exciting trek that begins the following morning.
Londorossi Gate to Mti Mkubwa
Starting the day with a breakfast at the hotel, you and the team will be transported to the Londorossi Gate, located on the western side of Mount Kilimanjaro. After checking in, you will experience the montane forest, a rich environment thick with vegetation and wildlife. You will soon appreciate the lesser-used Lemosho trail as you experience Klimanjaro's natural state. Today's trek concludes at Mti Mkubwa, Swahili for "Big Tree".
- Starting Elevation 7,800 feet
- Camp Elevation 9,170 feet
- Elevation Gain: 1,370 feet
- Hiking Time: 3 hours
- Distance: 2.9 miles
Mti Mkubwa to Shira Plateau
Today's trek leaves the rain forest and climbs through the heath and moorland zones. You will notice how the vegetation becomes shorter and less thick while the signs of Kilimajaro the volcano emerge.
Shira was once a volcanic cone where lava erupted from the side of the mountain. It is now eroded and filled with lava from the summit of Kilimajaro, also known as Kibo Peak. If the clouds part, today you will get your first view of Kibo.
- Starting Elevation 9,170 feet
- Camp Elevation 11,500 feet
- Elevation Gain: 2,330 feet
- Hiking Time: 5 - 6 hours
- Distance: 4.8 miles
Shira Plateau to Shira II Camp
Today you will explore the Shira plateau, one of the highest plateaus on earth. The trail is moderate, guiding you east toward Shira II Camp. Shira II provides beautiful views in all directions including a stunning sunrise over Mount Meru in the distance.
- Starting Elevation 11,500 feet
- Camp Elevation 12,631 feet
- Elevation Gain: 1,131 feet
- Hiking Time: 4 - 5 hours
- Distance: 4.7 miles
Shira II to Barranco
The trail today begins with a climb toward the Lava Tower, an elevation of 15,200 feet. This will be the highest point of the day and where you will stop for lunch, giving your body time to acclimatize. The afternoon will be a descent through the Senecio habitat before we reach camp at the base of the Barranco Wall.
- Starting Elevation 13,650 feet
- Lava Tower Elevation 15,200 feet
- Camp Elevation 12,950 feet
- Elevation Gain: 1,550 feet
- Elevation Loss: 2,250 feet
- Hiking Time: 7 - 8 hours
- Distance: 6.2 miles
Barranco to Karanga
The day starts with a challenging hike up the barranco Wall, a steep flow of lava 500 feet long. The trail is not technical but requires great caution. After you've reached the top of the wall, the trail levels and stunning views of Kilimanjaro's crevasses emerge. The hike concludes with a descent to Karanga Valley where you will camp for the night.
- Starting Elevation 12,950 feet
- Camp Elevation 13,200 feet
- Elevation Gain: 250 feet
- Hiking Time: 4 - 5 hours
- Distance: 2.5 miles
Karangu to Barafu
Your hike today is shorter, but the effects of altitude require our pace to slow. The trail is a challenging ascent, accumulating 1,750 of elevation gain. Your camp tonight is Barafu, base camp, an appropriately descriptive term meaning "ice" in Swahili.
- Starting Elevation 13,200 feet
- Camp Elevation 14,950 feet
- Elevation Gain: 1,750 feet
- Hiking Time: 4 - 5 hours
- Distance: 1.7 miles
The day you have been dreaming about, summit day, is finally here. Your most challenging ascent of the trip, you will slowly yet deliberately make your way through the scree and to the crater's rim. Just beyond the rim is Kibo, the peak of Kilimajaro, the top of Africa. You will have time to celebrate with your team and take pictures before descending to Mweke Camp for the night.
- Starting Elevation 14,950 feet
- Summit Elevation 19,340 feet
- Camp Elevation 10,400 feet
- Elevation Gain: 4,390 feet
- Elevation Loss: 8,940 feet
- Hiking Time: 14 - 18 hours
- Distance to summit: 2.5 miles
- Distance to Mweke: 10 miles
Mweke Camp to Mweke Gate
Every step down is a gain in strength as you descend to the park gate. The trails dips again into the rainforest where the oxygen is rich and the air, warm. The half-day hike concludes with a lunch at the base of the mountain or in town, depending on timing. You'll have some time to stop through Moshi for last minute souvenirs before returning to the hotel in Machame for a well-earned shower and celebratory dinner.
- Starting Elevation 10,400 feet
- Gate Elevation 5,500 feet
- Elevation Loss: 4,900 feet
- Hiking Time: 4 - 5 hours
- Distance: 5.8 miles
Transport to Airport or Safari
After a hearty breakfast, some of us will set our sites on the airport to return home, while the rest of us set our compass dials toward the Serengeti. Those returning home will have an early morning shuttle to the airport. Those staying in Tanzania for the next part of our adventure will depart for the safari at 8:00 AM. This is Day 2 of the safari itinerary.
▪ Hotels before and after summit climb
▪ Transport between airport and hotel
▪ All park, camp and rescue fees
▪ Tents and sleeping mattresses
▪ Private toilet tent on the mountain
▪ Transport between Moshi and gates at start and finish of climb
▪ Licensed, experienced, English-speaking mountain guides
▪ Licensed assistant guides, porters, and cooks
▪ Three quality meals a day during trek
Does Not Include
- International airfare
- Comprehensive travel insurance and any incidental rescue fees
- Personal gear or clothing for the climb is not provided
- Tips for your guides and porters
LANDING AT KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL
Upon your landing at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you will need to pay for your visa for Tanzania. Have $100 US on hand and your yellow fever vaccination certificate ready. From there, you can proceed to pick up any bags you checked. Once you have your bags, you will be met by a shuttle service to transport you to your hotel, The Aishi Machame. Here, your Discover Outdoors guide will be awaiting your arrival. Our staff will be monitoring your flight status, so if you are delayed we will make the necessary adjustments to your shuttle.
If you can afford the extra day off, we recommend building a day into your travel plans and arrive a day early. This will give you a cushion should there be flight delays. If you are only hiking Kilimanjaro and not participating in the safari, then you should book a flight out the day after the trek ends. For the safari crowd, the ideal departure date is the day after safari ends. Please forward your flight itinerary to [email protected]
Your stay in Machame will be at the Aishi Machame Hotel, located on private grounds. These accommodations were carefully selected and chosen based on its ideal location, cleanliness and excellent staff.
Cancellations within 60 days of departure are non-refundable. Cancellations before 60 days of departure will receive a full refund (minus transaction fees of 5%).
Moshi through the dry season has an average high temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 55. Rainfall is rare in the dry season, although a rain jacket is never a bad item to pack. With the many layers you will have for the rest of your journey, you will be well prepared for your time in Moshi.
The weather on Kilimanjaro is quite diverse. The climb starts through a wide belt of wet tropical forest then goes through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall to the summit where there is permanent ice and sub-freezing temperatures.
Because Kilimanjaro is so close to the equator it not only has fairly consistent weather with no marked winter months but also offers a wide range of vegetation zones on the ascent. You will travel through equatorial forests, alpine heath, moorland, deserts and permanent ice caps in the seven days that you are on the mountain. At the summit, Uhuru Point, the night time temperatures can range between 0 and -15 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 to -26 degrees Celsius). Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s great height, the mountain creates its own weather. It is extremely variable and impossible to predict. Therefore, regardless of when you climb, you should always be prepared for wet days and cold nights. The weather on your safari will be similar to Moshi. Pleasantly warm during the days, cool in the evenings.
Engaging in as many long, hard hikes as possible is a great way to prepare for your trek. Look for hikes with an intensity level of 5 or greater. The 3500 Series hikes are all great challenges that will prepare you well.
The thin air as you get into the higher elevation on Kilimanjaro may take some adjustment. The lower supply of oxygen at high elevations makes exercising more difficult, and you may experience shortness of breath during hikes. Bear in mind that predisposition to altitude sickness does not correlate to an individual’s level of fitness. The altitude in this area can prove challenging no matter what shape you’re in. If you’re not yet feeling acclimated when the trip begins, we suggest taking it easy, eating light meals, drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol. Usually, it takes no more than a day or two to feel comfortable at higher elevations.
The combination of high altitude and strenuous exercise greatly increases your body’s need for fluids. It is extremely important to drink lots of liquids to prevent heatstroke and dehydration. It’s a good idea to consume at least three liters of water per day and to drink as often as possible – don’t wait until you are thirsty!
Your guide will be constantly monitoring your status, asking questions and making sure you are consuming enough water and food.
It’s best to check with your doctor regarding vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B. You may need to see a Travel Medicine doctor; there are several in New York City. Also be sure that your diphtheria-tetanus vaccination is up to date. Malaria is a concern in Tanzania except for over 5,900 feet. Many trekkers choose to also have medicine to alleviate altitude sickness (Diamox, etc.) Please check with your doctor!
One of the most common health risks for visitors is “traveler’s diarrhea,” which can be caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses transmitted through food or water. Despite precautions taken at our hotels and in all the food preparation, you can expect to experience one or more days of “discomfort” while in Tanzania due to your body’s unfamiliarity with local bacteria. There are many over-the-counter remedies and antibiotics available in Moshi to relieve upset stomachs, but it’s also a good idea to bring some with you.
It is usually risky to purchase food from street vendors unless the food has been cooked and is still hot. However, if you purchase fruit or vegetables from street vendors, we recommend buying products that you can peel or wash in purified water, and always wash your hands before eating. For more specific information on health precautions for travel in Tanzania, consult a travel medicine doctor and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov.
Tanzania is generally a safe and pleasant place but as with any destination, it’s important to be aware of possible hazards. Violent crime is almost unheard of in the regions we visit. In the rare instances crime does occur, it’s usually petty theft. To limit your susceptibility, we suggest you always travel with at least one other person when going out, and that you avoid flaunting jewelry, cameras, expensive watches and other items that may be tempting to a thief.
The standard unit of currency in Tanzania is the shilling. As of December, 2015, $1 US is the equivalent to 2,161 shillings. The shilling can fluctuate, however, so we suggest you check the online Universal Currency Converter at www.xe.com or with your bank for the most up-to-date information close to the time of your departure. Credit cards are accepted in Moshi and ATM’s are available. We recommend bringing at least $500 for spending and $260 for tips (this includes Kili trek and the Safari staff tips). A tip for your Discover Outdoors Guide is also appreciated.
Tanzania is eight hours ahead of New York.
To call Moshi from the United States, dial 011 (America’s international access code) +255 (Tanzania’s country code) + the city code (55 in Moshi) + the local number. To place an international call from Moshi, first dial 00 (the international access code) and the appropriate country code. To call the United States, dial 00 + 1 (the U.S. country code) + area code + local number.
Electricity in Tanzania is 230 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Tanzania with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. There are three main types of voltage converter. Resistor-network converters will usually be advertised as supporting something like 50-1600 Watts. They are light-weight and support high-wattage electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. However, they can only be used for short periods of time and are not ideal for digital devices. Transformers will have a much lower maximum Watt rating, usually 50 or 100. Transformers can often be used continuously and provide better electricity for low wattage appliances like battery chargers, radios, laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players and camcorders. However, they are heavy because they contain large iron rods and lots of copper wire. Outlets in Tanzania generally accept two types of plug: Three round pins arranged in a triangle, or two parallel flat pins with ground pin.
A valid passport, along with evidence of return or onward flight, is required for U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania. A visa can be purchased at the airport for $100 US.
Make your effort more rewarding by raising funds for the Discover Outdoors Foundation or your favorite charity. When you give your adventure a purpose beyond personal goals, your experience becomes more fulfilling, helping you reach the summit.
HOW IT WORKS
When you register with the “Fundraise for a cause” option, we will ask you by email what charity you would like to support. If you choose the Discover Outdoors Foundation, your fundraising commitment is $7,500. In exchange for your effort and commitment, the cost of the trip is covered at no cost, minus your airfare and personal expenses. You will receive a fundraising commitment letter, giving you the support and tools for reaching your goal. Please email [email protected] or call 212-579-4568 with any questions about the program.
DISCOVER OUTDOORS FOUNDATION
The Discover Outdoors Foundation began in 2012 with a singular focus: increasing graduation rates in our urban schools through education experienced in the outdoors. Inspired by the positive impact our for-profit business, Discover Outdoors, was making through our youth leadership program, we soon felt compelled to serve our entire community, not just those who could afford it. Since then, the path of students has taken a different course; one that leads to a diploma and a brighter future. To learn how you can make a difference, visit the Discover Outdoors Foundation website.
- Weather-appropriate clothing. For a great selection and discounts, check out our partners.
- 2 Merino wool or polypro mid–weight long sleeve shirts (long enough to tuck in; snug fit and zip neck is best).
- 2 Merino wool or polypro T shirts
- Hiking shorts
- Hiking pants. Soft shell are best. You will spend most of the trip in these pants.
- Expedition-weight pants for around camp and the summit day
- 2 pair fleece or heavy long underwear
- 1 pair leg gaiters
- 1 pair socks for each day of trekking; 2 lightweight and 3 heavyweight. NO cotton! Wool or wool/synthetic are best.
- 1 pair underwear per day
- Synthetic sports bras
- 1 warm fleece or softshell jacket
- 1 waterproof Gore-tex rain shell jacket
- 1 pair waterproof Gore-tex rain pants
- 1 expedition–weight top (fleece, etc.)
- 1 pair very warm ski or mountaineering gloves with fleece liner
- 1 pair windproof, lightweight gloves. You will wear these most of the time.
- 1 warm hat
- 1 sun hat
- 1 pair trekking boots (medium weight, waterproof)
- 1 pair comfortable walking/camp shoes
- 1 pair wrap–around, UV–blocking sunglasses or glacier glasses
- 1 soft duffel bag (NO hard frame or wheeled suitcases or bags). These will be carried by the porters and they must be soft.
- 1 daypack which you will trek in every day. 30–50L is ideal.
- Sleeping bag rated 20 degrees or warmer
- Sleeping pad
- Plastic bags of different sizes (to protect clothes in your bags against the rain.
- Pair of trekking poles–strongly recommended for everyone
- 1 head lamp with extra batteries and extra light bulb
- 1 emergency heat blanket (reflective foil)
- 1 pocket knife
- 3 One–liter water bottles, or equivalent hydration bladder for your pack
- Sunscreen. Highest possible SPF rating.
- Water purification tablets
- Blister bandages or moleskin
- Small and large band aids
- Kleenex (a lot of them)
- Wet wipes. We recommend one large container for your camp duffle and a couple travel packs for your backpack.
- Saline nasal spray for dryness and dust
- Elastic Ace bandage wrap
- Safety pins
- Small pair of scissors
- Airline tickets
- Medications and copies of prescriptions
- Sunscreen and lip ointment
- Hair ties / headband
- Hand and foot warmers for the high altitude days
- Travel alarm clock (watch)
- Camera with plenty of memory and extra batteries
- Current converter and outlet adapter
- For women, female urinary device
- Sport sandals
- Camelbak or similar hydration backpack
- Flora/fauna field guide
- Collapsible walking stick
- Leisure reading
- Analgesics (painkillers); acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol), aspirin, ibuprofen
- Anti-Allergy; hydrocortizone, diphenhydramine hydrochloride; epinephrine*
- Antibiotics; Bacitracin (ointment), erythromycin*, ciprofloxacin hydrochloride*
- Antacids; Bismuth sabsalicylate (ie. Pepto-Bismol)
- Anti-Diarrhea; Loperamide hydrochloride (ie. Immodium), Tinidazole*
- Anti-Emetics (anti-vomiting); Prochlorperazine*, Promethazine*
- Anti-Vertigo (anti-motion sickness); Meclizine*, Scopolamine*
- Altitude illness medicine ; Acetazolamide* (diamox), Dexamethazone*, Nifedipine*
- Anti-malarial prophylaxis medicine*
* Prescription medicines