Kilimanjaro (5895m) – Top of Africa
Trek the Most Scenic Route to Africa's Rooftop
For a very scenic, non-crowded and expertly guided ascent, you are in the right place to climb to the top of Africa.
The Coca-Cola trail… sounds familiar? A number of trails could have gotten that smear-name on Kilimanjaro, but Coca-Cola refers to the classic, Marangu trail. The reason for the nick? It’s crowded as a boulevard in Paris on a sunny afternoon. You see, every year, more and more people from all over the world come to climb Kilimanjaro, the Sacred Mountain of Africa. We invite you to come along for this very popular trek, but on a more authentic trail than what everyone and their brothers are doing.
There is a reason for the crowds on Kilimanjaro – the trek is amazing, it is relatively easy (it’s among the easiest 5,000-meter peaks you can do), but you shouldn’t have to suffer from herds of tourists on one of Earth’s most magnificent mountains.
Let me introduce you to the Umbwe trail. It is said to be the most difficult, but we’ve hardly had anyone not summiting via this route. (The only reason it’s said to be more difficult than the others is that the beginning of the trail starts kind of steep and you ascend faster. But from Day 2 or 3 on, it’s no tougher than any other trail).
If you want to acclimatise before the trip, check out this fascinating trip, just for Kili climbers: Mt Meru (4,566m) and its wild nature. And if you want to experience the awesome wild life in Tanzania, upgrade your Kilimanjaro climb with the 3-day Safari and Ethno Trip.
The Kilimanjaro Codex
Why is the Codex good for you? What’s in it?
- exclusive tips from experienced guides you won’t read anywhere else
- stories from climbers who were successful or unsuccessful in their attempts on Kilimanjaro
- the 5+1 rules of proper nutrition
- the 8+1 rules of proper acclimatisation
- a list of necessary and useless stuff to bring
- a practical guide to mental and physical preparation
In short, a systematic collection of tips that are essential and fun to read before your Kilimanjaro trip.
Further InfoYou don't need serious mountaineering experience. All that's required here is a good level of fitness and tolerance for other cultures.
Is this trip for you?
Note: You can acclimatise with us by climbing Mt.Meru (4,566m) in a fascinating 4-day trip.
Day 1: Arrival to Nairobi, Kenya or Kilimanjaro Airport, Tanzania
Meet the team at either Nairobi airport or in Tanzania. In the latter case, skip to Day 2, because everyone who flies Nairobi starts a day earlier and stays in Kenya’s capital for the night.
Day 2: Travel to the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro
‘This the day to take your first pics of Kili. From Kenya, you take a 5-hour busride towards the Tanzanian border through savannas. You get to have a glimpse at what life in these Central African villages is like. Churches towering in the middle of nowhere, a lonely zebra or a giraffe by the roadside… Crossing the border will take some time, but relax, things are proceeding in African rhythm. It’s part of the cultural experience 🙂
If you fly straight to Kili airport, you join the team sometime in the afternoon in Moshi, which is where everyone stays tonight in a guesthouse.
Day 3: Hike to your first camp: Moshi (990 m) – Umbwe (1,810 m) – Umbwe Cave (2,940 m)
You get your permit for the park in the morning, then hop on a bus and ride to Umbwe’s trailhead. You also pass everything to the porters, except for the few things you’ll need during the hike – your water bottle, rain jacket, food, camera, sunglasses, sunscreen. Your guide will help you put the daily pack together so that you do not carry unnecessary weight.
Relatively few trekkers choose this trail, so it’s pretty likely that you’ll have it to yourselves. The most scenic part of the mountain, its most beautiful forests reward you for the slightly steeper trail. From the first mile on, you’ll be very happy for having chosen Umbwe. [Distance: 11 km; Vertical: up 1130 m; Time: 6 hours]
Day 4: Ascending above the forest: Umbwe Cave (2,940 m) – Barranco Hut (3,900 m)
This is another tough day. From the tropical forest, you slowly emerge to brushland. Very exotic plants here. Some plants are poisonous, so don’t wander off the trail too far without having consulted the local guide. At 3,300 meters, you finally get a glimpse of the summit! Of course, you’re beginning to feel the first signs of oxygen-scarcity. You’re slowing down, but that’s OK, as you have plenty of time. Just take it easy.
The distance isn’t much, but the trail is getting steep up the Breach-wall. Technically, you’ll have no difficulty here, but some parts of the trail are narrow and exposed, so you need to watch your step. After a 6-7-hour hike, you get to a nice little field where you spend the night. [Distance: 9 km; Vertical: up 960 m; Time: 6-7 hours]
Day 5: An easy hike: Barranco Hut (3,900 m), Karanga Valley (4,000 m)
This is a pretty light day: you’re only hiking for about 3 hours and ascending a mere 100 meters. This serves as a rest day after the previous two, more strenuous ones.
The trail crosses the volcano’s main cone through grassland and dusty parts. This isn’t the prettiest day as far as scenery, but an important step in your acclimatisation. [Distance: 6 km; Vertical: up 100 m; Time: 3 hours]
Day 6: Pushing further up: Karanga Valley (4,000 m) – Barafu Hut (4,600 m)
After about an hour’s hike, the trail suddenly turns towards the summit and you begin a 5-hour ascent to Barafu Hut. This is where you spend the night. [Distance: 8 km; Vertical: up 600 m; TIme: 5 hours]
Day 7: Barafu Hut (4,600 m) – Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) – Mweka-Hut (3,100 m)
It’s summit day! Wakey-wakey at 2 AM. Your guide checks your oxygen saturation and blood pressure to make sure you’re all right to climb. You’re starting the summit climb in the dark. The last few hundred meters of climbing is in snow. To the West, the snowfields plunge below in the form of glaciers, which are predicted to melt in 20 years. Not only will Kilimanjaro’s aesthetic appeal suffer, but the most important source of fresh water will disappear from the region as well.
You’ll reach Uhuru peak at around noon. It’ll be perhaps your most memorable summit-celebration ever. You won’t spend a lot of time on the peak, because besides it being cold and windy, you’ll have to catch up with the porters who are waiting at Mweka Hut, a scary 2,800 meters below 🙂 You’ll definintely feel your knees. [Distance: 25 km; Vertical: up 1285 m, down 2800 m; Time: 14 hours]
Day 8: Mweka-Hut (3,100 m) – Moshi (990 m)
Today, only after about a three-hour descent, you walk into Mweka village. What a trek! The bus is waiting for you. This is where you say goodbye to the local guide and porters, who have, perhaps, become your good friends during the past few days. The van will fly you back to Moshi where you take your first shower in 6 days 🙂
Use the afternoon to rest. [Distance: 15 km; Vertical: down 1260 m; Time: 3 hours]
Day 9: Go for a Safari… or home
Today is your last day under the mountain. From here, you either go on an awesome safari, including a visit to the world’s last hunter-gatherer tribe, the Hadza. Check the 3-day program here.
Or, if you don’t have more time, you’ll head to the airport and fly home.
When booking your trek, let us know which option you choose and we’ll pull it together for you.
Equipment and Info
Details on what to bring and what not to bring are available once you enquire on the form below. We’re looking forward to getting in touch with you and organizing your Kili ascent.