The Crater Camp
Sleeping on the "Roof of Africa"
Crater Camp Overview
Are you looking for a really unique adventure? Try sleeping on „the Roof of Africa“ in Crater Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5.730 (18,484ft) metres. It is an incredible wilderness environment and a unique place. If you have experience at altitude and love something challenging then sleeping overnight in Kilimanjaro’s Crater is a fantastic option. You do not need to join the mad midnight rush up to the summit but can instead walk up normally during the day with the trail almost exclusively to yourself. At the summit there are no crowds, so you have time to stop and take in the view and atmosphere. Staying overnight in Crater Camp also gives you time to visit Kilimanjaro’s remaining glaciers and take a tour of the ash pit at the heart of Kilimanjaro’s volcano. And the next morning you only have a short walk to the rim of the Crater so you can make sure to be there to see the sunrise.
The Crater Camp is a serious challenge to acclimatisation and should only be undertaken by those who have acclimatised well. Most climbers on Kilimanjaro suffer from some signs of altitude sickness but they go down quickly before the problems become serious. If you sleep overnight in Crater Camp you do not have this safety margin.
- Difficulty rating: +++
- Should only be attempted by strong hikers who have acclimatised well
- Specatular sunset and sunrise
- Offered via Machame, Lemosho & Northern Circuit Routes
- Explore Kilimanajro`s crater ash pit and glacier.
The Crater Camp Day-to-Day Itinerary
Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and transfer to hotel
Upon your arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport you will be greeted by one of our team and then driven to your lodge in Arusha where you can freshen up and relax into Tanzania.
ELEVATION 1.800m to 3.000m
TREKKING-TIME 5-7 hours
After breakfast in your hotel you will be given an overall briefing from your guide. At 9am you will be met by the rest of our guides and porters. Following a final cross-check of equipment and supplies, our staff will drive you to the Machame Gate. Anything you do not want to take with you on the mountain can be left at a lock up in the hotel. Once at the gate you will be given a packed lunch and after registration with the Kilimanjaro Park office your climb will begin with ascending into the rainforest. During the day at about half way up we will have a break and you can enjoy your packed lunch. We will reach the Machame Camp in late afternoon. After your arrival and registration at Machame Camp you will be taken to your camp and tent which has already been set up by the porters who ran ahead, where you will greeted with boiled drinking water and hot washing water. Once you have freshened up and settled in, a hot dinner will be served in the mess-tent.
ELEVATION 3.000m to 3.850m
TREKKING-TIME 4-6 hours
You will be woken up after your first night on the mountain with a nice cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate at 6:30am in your tent. After breakfast we leave the rainforest and continue our ascent crossing a small valley into open moorlands where the vegetation is sparse with small shrubs and up to a steep rocky ridge. After a short break, our route turns onto a river gorge and up to Shira Plateau where you will catch your first glimpse of the Western Breach and its stunning glaciers. Continuing on to Shira Camp, where the cook will welcome you with boiled drinking water and hot washing water. After a hot lunch, there is plenty of time to explore the Shira Caves or just relax and rest until being served your hot dinner. Due to the camp being very exposed it can get very cold and sometimes windy.
ELEVATION 3.850m to 4.600m to 3.950m
TREKKING-TIME 6-7 hours
CLIMATE Alpine Desert
We pack up and leave Shira camp for a 4-5 hour trek to the well-known landmark of Lava Tower (4.600m) for acclimatization. Once reaching Lava Tower we will have a short break for lunch for some bonus acclimatization before starting a 2 hour descent by 650m to Barranco Camp, following the golden rule of acclimatization 'climb high and sleep low'. This will be our toughest day so far but the climb offers multiple terrific opportunities for photos. As we descend through the valley, the amazing sight of the Giant Groundsels is bound to stop you in your tracks. Barranco Camp gives you a beautiful view of the Western Breach and Breach Wall and be prepared with your camera while you are waiting for dinner for what could be one of the most spectacular sunsets you have ever seen as the sun drops down into the valley.
ELEVATION 3.950m to 4.600m to 3.930m
TREKKING-TIME 4-5 hours
CLIMATE Alpine Desert
Today the climb has a technical challenge! We start to climb Baranca wall – also known by its nickname 'breakfast wall', meaning after climbing this wall your breakfast has been burned away. Don't worry, it is much easier than it looks and the view down to Moshi is fantastic. After crossing Karanga Valley we arrive at our camp for the night. Once again you will be welcomed with boiled washing water and some snacks, followed by a hot lunch. This is the last place for the porters to collect water for the rest of the ascent. While they are doing that you will have the option to talk a short hike to help with acclimatization and then relax into the evening with a lovely hot dinner.
ELEVATION 3.930m to 4.600m
TREKKING-TIME 3 hours
CLIMATE Alpine Desert
Today we complete the 'Southern Circuit' and make our ascent to Barafu Hut and enjoy again a spectacular view of the summit. We will arrive at the camp very early and you will get served a hot lunch. In the afternoon our guides will give you a final briefing. It is also a good time to cross check and prepare your equipment and clothing. Dinner will be served very early to give you ample time to rest and sleep.
Elevation 4600 m to 5730 m
Highest point 5895 metres (Uhuru Peak)
Distance 8 km
Trek time 7 to 8 hours
Environment Alpine desert
We'll wake at 7am and have a full breakfast before making the summit attempt. Our route takes us between the Rebman Glacier and the Ratzel Glacier. From there, we will go up heavy scree to reach Stella Point on the rim of the crater itself.
We will have a short rest at Stella, which is a good time to enjoy one of the most spectacular views in Africa. Next it is on to the summit itself, Uhuru Peak. After another break for celebration and photos (weather permitting) we'll begin the descent to Kibo Crater to camp for the night. Depending on the time of year, Kibo could be icy, snowy or sandy desert.
Elevation 5730 m to 3100 m
Distance 12 km
Trek time 6 to 8 hours
Environment Ice-capped summit, stone scree and moorland
We will set off before dawn breaks to catch the most amazing sunrise over Africa. After you have taken it all in we will descend through sliding scree and winding pathways for about 3 hours back to Barafu Camp. On reaching the camp you will have the chance for a longer break and have lunch before we start the next descent to Mweka Camp. Trekking poles are very useful in this part of the descent. In the camp you will have a last fantastic view on the summit – finding it hard to believe that only a few hours ago you were stood at the top. And after this long day, you can enjoy your dinner and your last day on the mountain.
ELEVATION 3.100m to 1.800m
TREKKING-TIME 3-4 hours
Once again you will be woken for your final celebratory breakfast where our team will thank and congratulate you in their unique, special way! We will then set off for the final 3 hour scenic descent to Mweka Gate. After lunch you will dropped off at the hotel where you can relax under a long, well deserved hot shower.
If your time in Africa ends today our transfer team will drive you back to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) for your departure. If you have booked with KCC for a safari or a few days to dissolve into the pristine sandy beaches and tropical waters of Zanzibar, we will be there to help you comfortably transition from your climb into your next Tanzanian adventure.
- Return airport transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your hotel
- Two nights bed and breakfast hotel accommodation
- An expedition briefing prior to leaving for the mountain
- Kilimanjaro park entry permits
- Kilimanjaro park camping permits
- Mountain rescue permit
- Helicopter evacuation registration fee
- Bilingual guides
- Expedition porters and cooks
- Expedition food to include a hot breakfast,packed lunch, a hot evening meal and snack food available at camp + hot drinks.
- Staff transport, meals & wages
- High quality sleeping tents, 2 persons per tent
- Mess tent with tables and chairs
- Private toilet
- Safety equipment to include short wave radios, a satellite phone, oxymeters, oxygen cylinder, large expedition first aid kit and means of evacuation.
- Uhuru or Stella Point certificate of achievement
What's Not Included
- Return flights to/from Kilimanjaro International Airport
- Entry Visa ($50 Europe/ $ 100 USA) can be obtained on entry
- Personal travel INSURANCE (specific to high altitude trekking and travel in rural Africa)
- Vaccinations for travel to region