Trek to the 'Rooftop' of Africa
Experience Tanzania through an unforgettable trek to the ‘rooftop’ of Africa. Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak towers over the Great Rift Valley. Rainforest, tarns, alpine meadows, exotic high-altitude vegetation, sunbirds, rock hyrax and soaring eagles make a trek on these peaks one of the most unique mountaineering experiences in the world. To increase enjoyment, expert guides lead your group up routes allowing adequate time for acclimatizing.
Day 1: Wilderness Inquiry staff will pick you up from the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and help you get settled at your hotel in Arusha for a night of rest. You will meet your mountain guide in the evening as well for a trip briefing.
Day 2: After breakfast, transfer to Machame gate. Start your trek through the rain forest and up to Machame Hut. Have your lunch and proceed to Machame Camp (3000m) (4-5 hrs) walk. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3: After breakfast hike on the rock ridges to Shira Hut (3800m) (5-7hrs). Have a picnic lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight at Shira Hut campsite.
Day 4: After breakfast, start walking to Barranco Hut via the Karanga Valley (4000m) (6-7 hrs). Dinner and overnight at Karanga campsite.
Day 5: Hike without ascending for a full day in the Karanga Valley. This option is highly recommended to help you acclimatize and feel better once you do reach higher altitudes.
Day 6: Ascend to Barafu Hut (4800m) (5-6 hrs). Dinner and (short) overnight.
Day 7: Awake around midnight and, after a light breakfast, begin the hike to the Stellar Point (5865m). Upon Stellar Point you can peer into the mighty Kibo Crater. From there it is only 45 minutes farther along the crater rim to Uhuru Peak (5895m), the rooftop of Africa! After celebrating at the summit you will descend slowly all the way to Mweka Campsite.
NOTE: Approximately 70% of the people who do this trip actually summit. The decision to summit is solely the responsibility of our guides. You will not summit if our guide decides it would be unsafe to do so.
Day 8: After breakfast, trek all the way down to the Mweka Gate. Keep your eyes peeled for Colobus monkeys in rainforest along the way. Transfer back to Kibo Palace for a hot shower and a celebratory meal.
Day 9: Shop for some gifts to bring back and prepare for the journey home. Most people fly out on the late evening flight arriving home the next day.
Note: Please contact WI if you would like information about adding on a safari to your Kilimanjaro climb.
What To Expect
TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: Mt. Kilimanjaro routes involve hiking 3-8 hours a day over rough terrain. Porters and/or pack animals will be used to help carry equipment and food. Altitude gains will be optimized for best acclimatization. No technical climbing is necessary to reach Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro's 19,340 ft summit. It is necessary to wake up very early (around 12 am) on the morning of the summit climb in order to reach it around sunrise. The early timing is critical because clouds typically engulf the summit from mid-morning until dusk, making for poor views and more difficult climbing conditions. The summit attempt can take 8-12 hours round trip. Approximately 70% of the people who do this trip actually summit. The decision to summit is solely the responsibility of our guides. You will not summit if our guide decides it would be unsafe to do so.
GROUND TRANSPORTATION: We use safe, insured passenger vehicles driven by professional drivers to transfer to and from the mountain. Land outside major cities is largely undeveloped and thus, we'll travel on some bumpy roads.
WEATHER: Mt. Kilimanjaro's climate is similar to other mountain ranges across the globe. Although unpredictable, trends exhibit warm weather during the day (55-75ºF) with clear skies in the morning and clouds building up by afternoon. Rain or snow is not uncommon, especially at higher altitudes. Temperatures can fall to 10ºF at night, at the higher elevations.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: All you need to provide is personal gear, such as clothing, sleeping bag, and boots, however even these items can be rented from your guides if you let us know in advance. A detailed equipment list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: No previous experience is necessary to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, however an adequate level of physical fitness is required to participate, and you are encouraged to be physically active as you prepare for your trip.
ACCOMMODATIONS: Before and after your trek you will stay in one of our preferred lodges or hotels in Arusha and/or the surrounding area. On the mountain you will camp in tents or stay in one of the very basic huts found on the mountain.
MEALS: Meals are prepared for you. You'll enjoy a mix of Tanzanian cuisine and typical hiking food like pasta and rice dishes. We will use water from abundant streams–it is very fresh but typically we treat it just to be safe. The purchase of alcoholic beverages is not included in the trip fees.A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
The East African nation of Tanzania offers visitors opportunities to witness the fabled wildlife of the African Serengeti – elephants, the famous cats, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, pink flamingos, and much, much more – in one of the most remarkable and renowned wilderness areas of the world. Visitors to Tanzania can also see or climb to the “Rooftop of Africa” – Mount Kilimanjaro, the continent’s highest peak and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
The modern nation of Tanzania formed in 1964, with the combination of countries of Tanganyika and the island nation of Zanzibar. The name “Tanzania” also came from a combination of the two previous names. Tanzania lies in East Africa, and borders Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other nations, as well as the Indian Ocean. The official capitol city since 1996 is Dodoma, though the previous capitol of Dar es Salaam on the coast remains the major seaport and principal commercial center of the country.
Tanzania is mountainous in the northeast, where Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, stands. To the northwest lie the Great Lakes of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) and Lake Tanganyika (Africa’s deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish). Central Tanzania comprises a large plateau, with plains and arable land. The eastern shore offers a hot and humid climate, with the island of Zanzibar lying just offshore.
Tanzania contains many large and ecologically significant wildlife parks, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park in the north, and Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park in the south. Gombe National Park in the west is known as the site of Dr. Jane Goodall’s studies of chimpanzee behavior.
Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak towers over the Great Rift Valley. Rainforest, tarns, alpine meadows, exotic high-altitude vegetation, sunbirds, hyrax, and soaring eagles make a trek on this peak one of the most unique mountaineering experiences in the world.
But it is the wildlife preserves that make Tanzania famous. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, for example, is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera, lies within the area. Aside from herds of zebra, gazelle, and wildebeest, the crater shelters the “big five” of wildlife species: rhinoceros, lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. The crater plays host to almost every individual species of wildlife in East Africa, with an estimated 25,000 animals living within the crater. In the summer, enormous numbers of Serengeti migrants pass through the plains of the reserve, including 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra, and 470,000 gazelles. Also common in the reserve are lions, hartebeest, spotted hyenas, and jackals. Cheetahs, although common in the reserve, are scarce in the crater itself.
Tanzania’s world-famous archeological site of Olduvai Gorge has shown that early hominid and human habitation in Tanzania goes back three million years.
Today, about 38 million people live in Tanzania. The people of the country come from a rich cultural blend of over 120 ethnic groups. As a former British colony, English is widely spoken here today, along with Swahili.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
How safe are international trips with Wilderness Inquiry?
Safety is our top priority on all Wilderness Inquiry trips. We maintain awareness of all State Department travel advisories and ensure our itineraries follow appropriate routes. We have an excellent record of safety on all international trips and only run trips when we feel confident in participants having an excellent experience.
Which immunizations do you recommend when traveling to an international destination?
Prior to departure, we recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor is in the best position to recommend specific vaccinations to specific destinations.
Do I need international travel insurance if my health insurance doesn’t cover me on an international trip?
Can people of any age attend a trip?
Yes. Adults of all ages join our adult trips. In most circumstances children under 18 years of age are only allowed on family trips. We do not recommend many of our trips for infants or children under age 3. If you have young children, or if you have questions about which trips are most appropriate please call our office at 612-676-9400.
What is the main difference between the Kenya and Tanzania trips?
These trips are very similar. In Tanzania you'll get to experience more of a human anthropology aspect and visit one of the last remaining true nomadic tribes in the world, the Hadzabe Bushmen. You'll also visit the world-renowned Serengeti National Park and world heritage site, Ngorongoro Crater, home to the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The Tanzania trip also involves more walking.
In Kenya, we visit many comparable places, including Samburu National Reserve and Masai Mara. Spectacular opportunities abound for wildlife viewing and we also spend time with three different local tribes: the Maasai, Samburu, and Kikuyu.
We suggest reading about some of the following places and deciding based on what piques your interest:
Kenya: Masai Mara, Samburu, Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha, Mt. Kenya
Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Oldupai Gorge
Why is there a difference in price between the Kenya and Tanzania trips?
Tanzania, generally, is much more expensive then Kenya. The places are harder to get to but at the same time more popular. The park fees (daily entrance) in Tanzanian parks are often double those in Kenya. Due to the economy, geography and a few other factors, lodges, food, vehicles, and petrol also cost in Tanzania and are the main reasons for the difference in price.
What shots do you recommend if one goes to Africa?
We recommend that you check with your doctor as early as possible prior to leaving to ensure you are up to date on your standard immunizations. Your doctor may also recommend immunizations against things like typhoid and yellow fever but we leave that up to you to decide. During the safaris there is the possibility of exposure to malaria carrying mosquitoes and thus you will also need to bring an anti-malarial medication.
Is bottled water available on trips to Kenya and Tanzania?
Bottled water is recommended on our trips to Kenya and Tanzania, and is available everywhere we stay throughout the trip.
The State Department says the terrorist threat is high in Kenya. Can you offer any information about that?
The State Department has a travel warning issued for Kenya. It was issued in June 2014 and has not changed. The areas that are the focus of the warning remain border counties (with Somolia and Ethiopia), the Eastleigh neighborhood of Nairobi, and Mombasa on the Indian Ocean Coast. You can read the full report here: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/kenya-travel-warning.html. Canada provides a similar report that I feel better highlights the highly regional nature of these warnings: http://travel.gc.ca/destinations/kenya.
We monitor these travel advisories, as well as current events in Kenya, very closely, and our local guide keeps us posted on what he’s hearing in-country and what he’s seeing on the ground. Since Wilderness Inquiry started guiding trips in Kenya in 2005, we have run all scheduled trips with itineraries that kept our groups far away from areas where problems have occurred. Similarly, your trip itinerary will take you only to areas that have been consistently safe for travel.
Do I need to bring relatively new bills for currency in Tanzania?
Yes, we recommend that U.S. bills be 2006 or newer. Torn bills may not be accepted as currency in Tanzania.
Does this trip have electricity for my CPAP machine, phone, camera or other electronic device?
This trip does not have electricity. If you'd like to join us please bring a battery pack on your own. We recommend the Generator Power Station. You can find more information here: https://goo.gl/1h9rCF
For more information, visit these links:
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Kilimanjaro International Airport at 8:00 PM (local time)
End: Kilimanjaro International Airport at 7:00 PM (local time)
This trip officially begins in Arusha, Tanzania. The nearest airport is Kilimanjaro International airport (JRO) and WI will meet you there. There are daily flights from various European cities, South Africa, and sometimes New York. The most popular flights arrive in the evening. We plan to meet outside baggage claim and leave once everyone has made it through customs. This is usually around 9pm but rest assured we won't leave without you even if you have a later arrival. Custom pickups outside this meeting time can also be arranged for a small fee. To make your travel arrangements for this trip we recommend that you consult with our travel agency, Travel One, at (800) 247-1311. They are very familiar with our trips and can help you make the best flight connections at the best prices. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.