Kilimanjaro Trek – 5895 m
Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa which is a superb challenge for fit trekkers and walkers a highly memorable and diverse experience. The flora, fauna and landscape around you changes continuously as the journey takes us higher, eventually reaching 5895m above sea level.
The itinerary is designed to provide gradual acclimatisation, with a total of eight days spent making a rising traverse of the mountain. Starting at Lemosho on the Western side and traversing across the most spectacular parts of the mountain it joins the Machame route above Shira camp on day 4 and then from Barafu camp ascends to the summit via Stella Point. Descent is via the Mweka route.
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We meet in Arusha before heading out in 4×4 to join the trail. Starting at Lemosho on the Western side and traversing across the most spectacular parts of the mountain it joins the Machame route above Shira camp and then from Barafu camp ascends to the summit via Stella Point. Descent is via the Mweka route
What's not included
Who is this for?
Anyone who has good previous hill walking/ hiking experience and a good level of fitness. You can expect rough, rocky footpaths in more remote areas. You may encounter snow or straight forward glacier crossings and you may be above 3000m for days at a time. Endurance is key to successful mountaineering several days in a row. A Typical days require 6-8 hours of climbing, and summit days can be up to 10-15 hours!
Accommodation and huts
You will start and end your trip in the Rivertrees Country Lodge luxury: http://rivertrees.com/
During the climb all evenings will be spent in tented accommodation which will be ready for you when you arrive in camp. The camps are erected and broken down each day by the porters.
There will be separate tents with showers and toilets as well as a kitchen and eating tent.
Day 1: Arrival. Meet & greet and transfer to Lodge. Overnight Rivertrees Country Lodge.
Day 2: Optional daytrip at Arusha National park. Afternoon briefing and kit check with a climbs manager and your head guide. Overnight Rivertrees Country Lodge
Day 3: From Arusha we set out in vehicles to the starting point of the Lemosho trail. Here you meet the rest of your crew and set of at a leisurely pace into afromontane forest. Overnight Forest Camp.
Day 4: From the forested slopes of Lemosho you ascend through Podocarpus and Juniper forest and break out of the forest on to the heath zone and the Shira Plateau. Overnight Shira 1 Camp.
Day 5: Crossing the Shira plateau can be one of the most scenic parts of the trip and this morning we hike for around 3-4 hours to the lunch point. After lunch we ascend to Moir camp. dinner & overnight Moir Camp.
Day 6: From Moir we traverse across the slopes of Kibo. Lunch is normally taken close to Lava Tower and for those that feel very strong there is an optional ascent of Lava Tower before descending down to Barranco camp in the afternoon. Dinner & overnight Barranco camp.
Day 7: An early start to hike the Barranco wall. After about 2 hours you reach the top and then hike over glacaial valleys to Karanga camp. Sunsets here are particulary spectacular with views of the southern glacial valleys and ice fields towering 1000 meters (over 3000 feet) above you. Overnight Karanga Camp.
Day 8: Ascending to Barafu camp. Overnight Barafu Camp.
Day 9: Most people depart just before midnight for the final summit bid. Patience and persistence is the name of game to reach the summit and by dawn as the first rays of light start to appear, most arrive near the rim. Descent to reach Mweka camp. Overnight Mweka Camp.
Day 10: After breakfast you descend once again through montane forest and around mid day after saying farewell to your crew, you are picked up and transfer back to your lodge for a well deserved shower! Overnight Rivertrees Country Lodge.
Day 11: Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport in time for you international departure or optional additional 3 or 4 day safari or beach trip!
Good fitness will make it more fun! The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!
Mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going on long days hill walking as this simulates the real thing as closely as possible and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!).
However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains, and upper body strength for climbing.
For cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time, 4 times a week. For climbing, core stability, flexibility and balance are as important as strong arms and shoulders. Don’t just lift weights!
Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.
Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals.
Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
The Effects of Altitude
As one climbs higher the air gets thinner and so there is less oxygen in each breath we take. The higher we go the less oxygen there is. This makes exercising much harder work than at sea level and so we have to slow down to help compensate. Because we have slowed down, we may feel colder.
Because there is less oxygen in the air as we get higher, this can lead to ‘altitude sickness’ or Acute Mountain Sickness which is like the worst hangover you have ever had (headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness) and can develop into a very serious and even fatal (in extreme cases) problem.
To avoid these problems, enjoy the climbing and increase our chances of summiting we need to acclimatise by spending several days and nights at progressively higher altitudes, so our bodies can adapt. This is a very important part of our preparation.
Unfortunately we can’t recommend a specific brand and model for each item on the kit list, as what is available is constantly changing and, of course, different people are different shapes and sizes with different budgets! However, in general, we use and endorse Sherpa and Black Diamond products because in our experience they are excellent…
If you go to a good retailer such as Snow & Rock, explain to them you will be doing an Alpine Essentials course and they will be able to advise you on what is best for you. Bring this list with you…
Lastly, if necessary it is possible to rent most hardware items in Chamonix (ice axe, crampons, harness, helmet). You can hire boots too, but this is a last resort (no one likes uncomfortable boots).
1. Boots – these must fit and be comfortable. We feel it is best not to rent boots. Rather buy some and have them fitted professionally – this will make your week much more comfortable, fun and blister free! Try and make sure they are broken in before the week.
2. Trekking poles.
3. Rucksack – 40-50L
4. Waterbottle 1L – not platypus type – they freeze and leak.
5. 2 pairs sunglasses (cat 4), sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
6. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
7. Lightweight goretex hooded top & bottoms
8. warm hat, thick gloves (eg ski gloves), thin gloves
9. Insulating layers. I use a thin ‘100’ weight fleece and a synthetic duvet jacket. I think a synthetic or down duvet jacket is perfect because you can put it over all your other layers (including goretex) when taking a break or if it is really cold without taking anything off. This is very quick and very warm and practical. If you don’t have a duvet jacket/can’t afford one then make sure you have 1 or 2 thick fleece layers instead.
10. Trousers – there are many brands of fairly windproof/shower resistant trousers for hillwalking/mountaineering. ‘Schoeller’ fabric garments are great but there lots of other good ones too. Bring a pair of lightweight thermal leggings (long johns) too – it can be chilly on summit day!
11. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
12. Head torch and gaiters
13. Book/iPod for spare time in huts and earplugs (there is always someone snoring at night!)
14. Sleeping bag liner (you don’t need a sleeping bag as duvets/blankets are provided)
Remember kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it!
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to Arusha
It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure. The closest airport is Kilimanjaro International or Arusha Airport.
Transfers to Rivertree Lodge:
We can easily arrange Airport pick up and / or drop off. One way transfers from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) are $50 USD and from Arusha Airport (ARK) for $75 USD. Travel time from JRO are approximately 30 minutes and from ARK approximately 1 hour, depending on traffic.