Trip Number: 12520B
Staff: Angela White
- Trek to the highest point in Africa -- 19,340' Mt. Kilimanjaro
- See the densest concentration of wildlife in Africa on a Tanzanian safari
- Learn about Tanzania's local culture and sustainable lifestyle
- Guides, cooks, porters, transportation, and all equipment for trek and
- All meals, airport transfers, and hotel in Moshi
- All gratuities, permits, and park fees
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
Kilimanjaro holds many honors -- tallest volcano in the world, highest free-standing
mountain, and highest point on the African continent at 19,340 feet. The best
thing about it is that as a broad shield volcano, Kilimanjaro takes no technical
skills to climb -- just excellent conditioning and a love of high places. Nowhere
else on earth can you see as far as from the top of Kilimanjaro, and its famous
snow cap is visible from over a hundred miles away. However, global warming
is quickly shrinking Kilimanjaro's glaciers and experts believe the snows may
be gone within 10 years. If it's been a dream of yours to climb this beautiful
mountain, don't let this opportunity pass you by! While you hike with only a
day pack, our staff of guides, cooks, and porters carry our gear, cook our meals,
and set up and take down our tents, leaving you free to contemplate and enjoy
this magical place.
To insure the greatest success in summitting Kilimanjaro (locally referred
to as just "Kili"), we will be trekking on the longest and most remote
route, the Lemosho Route. Beginning at 6,500 feet, we will have six and a half
days to gradually climb and acclimatize up to the top at Uhuru Peak. Our guide
has extensive training and experience in getting people acclimatized, and you
will often hear shouts of 'pole, pole' or 'slowly, slowly' to keep you from
ascending too quickly. You wouldn't want to hike too fast through all the vegetative
zones on this scenic route. Starting in forest, where there may still be wild
animals, we climb through lush jungle that displays flowers found only on Kilimanjaro.
The giant heather moorland zone sports giant senecio trees, lobelia plants,
and other odd species unique to this area. Climbing higher, we leave the vegetative
zones and our privacy behind as we join with other routes and get closer to
the glaciers streaming down the mountain. This should not be thought of as a
wilderness experience since the higher camps will look more like small cities
and the trail of headlamps snaking up the mountain in the wee hours of the morning
on summit day will be unbroken. But it's all worth it to see the sun rise over
Stella Point on the crater's rim and to know there's just a little more to go
to reach the peak. A speed run down the last day and a half gets us back in
time for a swim at our hotel before preparing for the safari.
A quarter of Tanzania's land is set aside in national parks and preserves.
Surrounding Kilimanjaro are a series of national parks that contain some of
the densest concentrations of wild animals in Africa. It's here that one of
the largest migrations in the world has been preserved -- it includes over a
million wildebeests, hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles, and their
accompanying predators. A safari to see all this wildlife is the perfect way
to decompress from the hard climb up Kilimanjaro. Open-topped Land Cruisers
make it easy to spot and photograph hundreds of species of birds at Lake Manyara;
the wandering plains animals of the Serengeti; black rhino, prides of lions,
leopards, cheetahs, and various antelope in Ngorongoro Crater; and herds of
wildebeest, zebras, and elephants along the permanent river through Tarangire
Swapping trekking for safari clothes, we can sit back and relax while driving
through Tanzania's lush, subtropical plains. It will be difficult to know whether
to photograph the baboon's playful antics, or watch through binoculars as lions
devour a kill, or to list all the species we'll be seeing -- often at the same
time! While spending each day at a different park, we will camp each night in
tents where we can hear the sounds of the bush and be part of this wild world.
During our travels, we will learn about the cultures of Tanzania's many ethnic
groups and how they have historically co-existed with their environment. Tanzania's
true treasure is the warmth and hospitality of its people. Indeed, this is the
trip of a lifetime, but their joy and friendliness will beckon you to return
again and again!
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
We will try to adhere to a daily itinerary. Please embrace any changes that
may have to be made due to weather, trail conditions, ability of the group,
or the serendipity of the unexpected. This is what makes adventure travel fun
and enhances your experience.
Day 1: (Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport) We will
meet you at the airport and transfer to our hotel in Moshi. We'll have an orientation
about the trip over a late snack.
Day 2: (Moshi) After breakfast, we'll take a guided jungle
walk to see colobus monkeys and everyday farm life of the local Tanzanian people.
Take a swim in the afternoon, relax, and prepare for the trek tomorrow. All
meals today are at our hotel.
Day 3: (Moshi-Lemosho Glades-Mkubwa Camp) We will board Land
Cruisers for the drive to Londorossi Gate to check-in and meet our trekking
staff and collect our gear. We'll join them in their truck for an exhilarating
ride on a primitive road to Lemosho Glades at 6,500 feet, where we begin our
trek. We will hike at a slow, steady pace up 2,500 feet in three hours through
montane forest to our first camp at Mti Mkubwa (big tree) at 9,000 feet.
Day 4: (Mkubwa Camp-Shira Camp 1) In the morning, we will
climb up out of the forest nearly 2,500 feet in five hours into the giant heather
moorland at 11,500 feet to Shira Camp 1. This area is constantly in cloud and
is therefore characterized by cool dampness. After a couple hours of rest in
camp, we will take a short hike up a nearby ridge to aid in our acclimatization.
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
Day 5: (Shira Camp 1-Shira Camp 2) After breakfast, we will
gradually climb 1,100 feet up the Shira Plateau along a moorland meadow to Shiva
Camp 2 at 12,600 feet. This will take about three hours. The giant senecio trees
come into view today. A variety of afternoon walks are available or you can
choose to relax. When the clouds clear, Kili is in plain view and exhibits some
fine evening alpenglow.
Day 6: (Shira Camp 2-Barranco Camp) Today is a long but extremely
scenic hike up 2,600 feet to the base of the Western Breach and foot of the
Lava Tower at 15,200 feet, a remnant of Kili's volcanic past. We will then descend
2,200 feet down the Barranco Valley through groves of Senecio trees and lobelias
to Barranco Camp at 12,960 feet in about seven hours. This scenic camp is situated
below the Western Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which we climb up tomorrow.
Great views of Kili draped with glaciers, Mt. Meru, and the possibility of a
memorable sunset on the Breach and Barranco Wall await us today.
Day 7: (Barranco Camp-Karanga Camp) The excitement today begins
with the two-hour hand-over-foot climb up the Barranco Wall with amazing views
the whole way. We will top out just below the beautiful Heim Glacier before
descending into a steep canyon. We then begin climbing up to Karanga Camp at
13,780 feet, a climb of about a thousand feet. This will take about four hours.
Remnant jagged peaks of Mawenzi, an older, eroded volcano, jut into the African
sky. After a couple hours of rest, another acclimatization hike up a nearby
ridge gives us a view of our next camp.
Day 8: (Karanga Camp-Barafu Camp) We hike to our high camp
in alpine desert terrain above treeline. Climbing over a couple of ridges, we
join the exit trail going up 1,200 feet in three hours to Barafu at 14,930 feet.
This camp consists of stony, narrow ledges where our tents will be strategically
placed. Most of the mountain's trails converge at this large camp. The afternoon
is spent preparing for our summit climb and getting some much needed sleep.
It's off to bed after an early dinner.
Day 9: (Barafu Camp-Uhuru Peak-Millenium Camp) Summit Day!
We get up around 11:30 p.m., bundle up in warm clothes, down some hot tea and
cookies, then begin the climb to the top. Take it slowly and you'll make sunrise
at Stella Point, the end of the steep climb on the crater's edge at 18,650 feet.
After a short break and photo-taking, continue more gradually to the highest
point at Uhuru Peak, 19,340 feet. After the obligatory summit photos, we head
back down to Barafu Camp. Although the ascent may take 6-7 hours, you'll be
able to glissade down fine scree in about three hours. After lunch and a short
nap, continue down another 2,500 feet to Millenium Camp at 12,500 feet in three
hours. Everybody descends the same route, but few stay at this camp, which is
beautifully situated in the cloud forest.
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
Day 10: (Millenium Camp-Mweka Gate-Moshi) We descend 7,000
feet to Mweka Gate in five hours through cloud forest on sometimes slippery
trail. From there, it's a short drive back to Moshi where lunch and hot showers
are waiting for us. The afternoon is free for swimming and preparing for the
safari. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day 11: (Moshi-Lake Manyara National Park) We drive about
four hours to Lake Manyara National Park in time for a picnic lunch. The large
lake and wetlands backed by the forested escarpment of the Great Rift Valley
are home to nearly 400 species of birds, including flamingoes, storks, pelicans,
and many more. Elephants, zebras, monkeys, giraffes, impalas, buffalo, and the
famous tree-climbing lions are seen here, but the baboons steal the show with
their child-like antics. Our camp is at a scenic spot just outside the park.
Day 12: (Lake Manyara National Park-Olduvai Gorge-Serengeti
National Park) We visit the archaeologically important site of Olduvai Gorge,
where some of the earliest human fossils have been found. Olduvai Gorge has
an amazing landscape formed from the same tectonic forces that created the Great
Rift Valley. We continue on to camp in Serengeti National Park.
Day 13: (Serengeti National Park) We'll spend the whole day
exploring the park from our open-topped Land Cruiser. In this UNESCO World Heritage
site, the earth's largest concentration of plains wildlife still roams free.
We expect to see lions, cheetahs, elephants, and rhinos, among many others.
We return to the same camp in the evening.
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
Day 14: (Serengeti National Park-Ngorongoro Crater) Today
we drive to Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact crater in the world. On our
game drive here we will see leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, antelope, the black
rhino, and prides of lions featuring the magnificent black-maned males. Birds
are also prolific, including pink flamingoes, ostriches, storks, pelicans, and
the beautiful grey-crowned crane with its unique headdress. You'll be surprised
how close we can get to zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, and buffalo in our vehicles.
We'll enjoy a spectacular sunset and sunrise from our camp on the crater's rim.
Day 15: (Ngorongoro Crater-Tarangire National Park-Moshi)
We drive to Tarangire National Park, where migratory animals congregate at the
permanent waters of the Tarangire River. Huge herds of wildebeest, zebras, elephants,
elands, and oryx stay here during the dry season. After our day here, we return
to Moshi in the late-afternoon and enjoy our farewell dinner at the hotel.
Day 16: (Depart Kilimanjaro International Airport) We can
relax, swim, and pack before transferring to the airport for our flights home
with great memories of Kilimanjaro and incredible wildlife to cherish for the
rest of our lives.
The trip begins with pick-up at Kilimanjaro International Airport, located
between Arusha and Moshi. The most convenient flight is on KLM from Amsterdam,
but other connections may be made to Nairobi with a short flight from there
to Kilimanjaro. The leader will provide guidance for travel plans once you are
approved for the trip.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
While in Moshi, double-occupancy hotel rooms are included with the trip. Our
hotel features rooms with private baths and hot showers. Its location just outside
of Moshi and its lovely gardens make it a quiet, relaxing place to stay. Buffet-style
meals are included while staying at the hotel.
On our trek, we will share large, two-person tents offering plenty of room
for you and your duffel. Porters will carry the tents and they will be set up
and taken down for us at each camp. Hot water is provided each morning for washing,
and a toilet tent with a porta-potty will be set up at each camp for privacy.
On our safari we will be staying in large, two-person tents. Western toilets
and hot showers will be available at our campsites.
All trekking and safari meals will be prepared by a cooking staff. Meals will
feature breakfasts of millet porridge, eggs, toast, and pancakes; lunches include
sandwiches, soup, salad, and fruit; and dinners start off with a light soup,
followed by rice or pasta, meat and vegetable stews, and dessert. Vegetarians
are easy to accommodate but please let the leader know about any other food
restrictions as far in advance as possible. The cooking staff is well trained
in preparing meals according to western standards of hygiene. Hot drinks and
boiled water will be available at all meals, and water purification will be
provided for treating your drinking water.
This trek is considered moderately strenuous because of the large amount of
elevation gained in just a few days. Although some of the hiking days are short,
daily elevation gains and losses could be as much as 3,500 feet with as much
as 7,000 feet of descent on the last two days. The highest altitude is 19,340
feet at the top of Kilimanjaro and the highest camp is 15,000 feet. Several
camps will be above 10,000 feet. You should be in excellent physical condition
to do this trek with recent hiking experience above 10,000 feet. Recommendations
for an adequate conditioning routine will be provided in a future bulletin to
approved trip members.
January and February is the ideal time to climb Kilimanjaro, as these are the
months after the short rains. The weather is typically dry and clear. Rain is
infrequent and usually only lasts a day. However, mountains create their own
weather, and rain or snow can happen unexpectedly anytime. Daytime temperatures
of 50-75 degrees can be expected, depending on elevation, and nighttime temperatures
may go down to the teens at our high camp. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are
especially strong above 10,000 feet, so long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and
high-value SPF sunscreen and lip balm are essential.
Although porters will carry most of your gear, you will need to carry what
you need for the day in a day pack weighing up to 15 pounds. You are encouraged
to hike at your own pace, stopping when you wish for photography or other interests.
You should be comfortable hiking 3-4 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the
afternoon. Because of the rough nature and steepness of the trails, hiking poles
are strongly recommended. Our guide has been taking climbers up Kilimanjaro
for eight years and has summitted over 160 times.
As important as your physical conditioning is your mental preparation. The
more you familiarize yourself with Tanzania before the trip, the more you will
be able to absorb and enjoy once you get there. The books in the reference section
would be a good starting point. Also, flexibility, patience, and a spirit of
adventure are necessary. You should be comfortable traveling in close proximity
with a group of people and be able to adapt easily to changing conditions. This
trip will be especially enjoyable for those with an open mind to embrace new
cultures and experiences.
Equipment and Clothing
A detailed equipment list will be sent to approved trip participants. Your
personal gear should be packed in a soft duffel bag -- no external-frame packs.
Duffel weight can be as high as 30 pounds. What you carry in your day pack is
not counted in your duffel weight. Tents and other trekking equipment and food
is carried separately and not counted in your allotment. For the safari, you
will want good binoculars; for both the trek and safari you will want a camera,
and extra batteries and memory cards for the wildlife and incredible scenery.
You must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry
into Tanzania. A Tanzania visa is also required, and details on how you apply
for that will be provided once you are approved for the trip.
The following books should give you a feel for what the trip will be like.
Your local library is also a good resource.
- Stedman, Henry, Kilimanjaro, the Trekking Guide to Africa's Highest
Mountain, 2nd edition, Trailblazer Publications.
- Ridgeway, Rick, The Shadow of Kilimanjaro, On Foot Across East Africa,
Henry Holt Publishers.
- Salkeld, Audrey and David Breashears, Kilimanjaro: Mountain at the Crossroads,
National Geographic Society.
- Withers, Martin B., and David Hosking, Wildlife of East Africa,
Princeton University Press.
Maps of our trekking area will be distributed in Tanzania.
The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about
conservation and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our
work is accomplished by volunteers and aided by a salaried staff, and encourages
grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants toward environmentally
understanding parallel concerns at home and abroad. This trip will touch on
several important conservation and sustainability issues.
As a free-standing mountain and highest point in Africa, the effects of global
warming are particularly felt on Kilimanjaro. Water from the rains wrung from
the clouds irrigate the volcanically rich soil lower down the mountain and in
the surrounding area. Changing weather patterns and melting glaciers will have
serious consequences on the viability and productivity of the land most people
depend on for sustainability. We will discuss the pros and cons of trekking
on the mountain and the impact tourism has on its resources.
Twenty-five percent of Tanzania's land (over 95,000 square miles) has been
set aside for wildlife parks, reserves, and game areas. This is probably more
than any other country on earth. However, Tanzania's economic resources for
rangers, roads, research, and administration of these lands is meager, and illegal
poaching and hunting still take their toll on wildlife. The integrity of national
parks and wildlife reserves is also being threatened as the need for land and
There are many projects going on in Tanzania today to help solve these problems.
Ngorongoro Crater is part of the extensive Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which
is a pioneering effort in multi-purpose land, allowing for the protection of
animals and the continuation of tribal lifestyles at the same time. Also, there
are several animal research projects in the field, including the world's longest-running
research project, the Serengeti Lion Project, which began in the 1960s.
One of our conservation objectives will be to try to understand the challenges
that Tanzania faces in continuing to support such a large national park system.
Tourist dollars are a major source of revenue, so by coming to see these magnificent
animals and their habitats we are helping to ensure their future. That said,
we will become aware of both the positive and negative consequences of tourism
in a country like Tanzania.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Angela White lives in the Sierra Nevada with Les, her significant other, and their two dogs. She keeps busy walking her dogs, running, biking, swimming and practicing yoga. She has led Sierra Club trips in Europe, Central and South America, and Africa. Angela climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro last January and considers it one of the most spectacular experiences of her life.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips