STAND ON THE ``ROOF OF AFRICA`` AT THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT KILIMANJARO
- SUNRISE ON NEW YEAR'S DAY -
DO SOMETHING UNFORGETTABLE
You need to arrive in Tanzania at least one day before we start trekking. Upon arrival, you will be met by one of our KCC team and transferred to your hotel in Arusha, where you can freshen up. After a welcome briefing you will have a chance to meet your fellow adventurers and let your New Year Kilimanjaro Adventure begin!
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. The drive from Arusha to the Machame Gate takes about 50 minutes. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of the mountain. As we leave the park gate, we walk through the dense rain forest on a winding trail up a ridge until we reach the Machame Camp.
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.
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.
We begin the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then we climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall we cross a series of hills and valleys until we descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads us to Karanga Camp. This is a shorter day meant for acclimatization.
We leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. We continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. After a short break, we will push on to our special camp – Kosovo. This is our secret weapon for acclimatisation – leaving the crowds of Barafu we will ascend 4800m Here we make camp, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this position.
Very early in the morning (around midnight), we begin our push to the summit. This is the most mentally and physically challenging portion of the trek. The wind and cold at this elevation and time of day can be extreme. We ascend in the darkness for several hours while taking frequent, but short, breaks. Near Stella Point (18,900 ft), you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see coming over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, we arrive at Uhuru Peak- the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.
From the summit, we now make our descent continuing straight down to the Mweka Hut camp site, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees; trekking poles are helpful. Mweka Camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Later in the evening, we enjoy our last dinner on the mountain and a well-earned sleep.
On our last day, we continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect the summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, we continue another hour to Mweka Village. A vehicle will meet us at Mweka Village to drive us back to the hotel in Arusha.
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.