Nights: Hotel 2, Tent 6
Kilimanjaro Bliss: 7 days hiking
Recommended days on trek: 8 days
Minimum days on trek: 7 days
Starting point: South West
DAY 1: You will be met at Kilimanjaro International Airport, if flying direct, and transported to your hotel. Check out the hotels we use: We recommended that you try to arrange your flight so you arrive 1.5 – 2 days before your hike. This is to allow your body time to rest and begin to acclimatisation to the new time zone and altitude. It also allows for any flight delays and baggage issues (always wear or carry you hiking boots in flight with you, and let us know as soon as possible if your luggage does not arrive with you). We recognise that some people have limited vacation time and may arrive as late as the afternoon prior to starting their hike.
Your guide will arrange to meet with you during the afternoon / evening for a pre trip briefing. Please make sure you bring your passport and insurance details, as well as your return flight details.
Day 2: Machame gate – Machame hut, Elevation: 1800m- 3000m, Distance:12 km, Time: 6 hours
Habitat: Rain forest
We pick you up from your hotel at 08:30 am and depart Arusha for the Drive from Arusha to Machame gate, crossing the Machame village where the local grow banana and coffee. Register at the gate, Here hikers register at the office (you will need your passport number for this) and eat lunch while the porters loads are weighed. Once this is complete we begin our hike “pole, pole” as we ascend to our first camp at Machame hut (camping), through the rain forest.
Day 3: Machame hut – Shira cave, Elevation: 3000m- 3700m, Distance: 9km, Time: 6-7 hours
After breakfast we start hiking through the short shrub, crossing several ridges to our lunch spot. Our trail climbs anti –clockwise, crossing the Shira Ridge to the camp. Here we are treated to views of Mount Meru, which lies to the East, and Kibo to the West.
Day 4: Shira cave – Barranco, Elevation: 3700 m- 3900m, Distance: 12km, Time: 8 hours
Habitat : Moorland
This is an acclimatization day, on which we hike East of the Shira plateau through the alpine desert. Here our trail merges with the Lemosho trail as we reach the ridge. From here we continue up to the Lava tower (4600m). We eat lunch at this high point to assist acclimatization. Our journey now continues down past the tower in to the Barranco valley, and on to the Barranco camp for night.
Day 5: Barranco camp – Karanga camp, Elevation: 3900m -3930m, Distance: 5km, Time: 4-5 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
After breakfast, we leave Barranco and slowly make our way up and along the steep ridge passing the great Barranco wall. From here the trail is undulating, with superb views of the south-eastern ice-fields, as we hike to the Karanga Valley camp. We stop here for lunch and our overnight camp, making this a short day designed to aid acclimatization.
Day 6: Karanga – Barafu camp (base camp), Elevation: 3930m – 4600m, Distance: 4km, Time: 3 – 4 hours
Habitat: Alpine desert
After breakfast we leave Karanga camp and reach the Junction which connects with the Mweka trail. We continue up to the Barafu camp. At this point you have completed the south circuit which offers views of the peak from many different angles. In addition to Uhuru peak, the Mawenzi peak can also be seen from this location. Barafu camp is the base camp from which we will hike to the summit. We enjoy an early lunch and dinner, rest and prepare for beginning the summit assent at midnight.
Day 7: Barafu- Uhuru summit and descend to Millenium camp, (or Mweka camp)
Elevation: 4600m – 5895m and down to 3790m (or 3100m), Distance: 15 – 17km, Time : 12 – 14 hours
The guide will wake you at eleven at night for a light breakfast. We begin our assent to the summit at (midnight) making our way up between the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers heading in a North-Westerly direction and ascending steep switchbacks through volcanic scree, towards Stella point on the crater rim. This is the most mentally and physically challenging section of the hike, as you experience the fatigue related to low oxygen levels at the increasing altitude, on the seemingly endless ascent. At Stella point (5732m) we have reached the crater rim, and will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise (weather permitting). From Stella point to Uhuru peak it is now just 45 – 60 minutes around the rim. Finally you reach Uhuru summit and you are at the highest point in Africa (5894m), with magnificent views of Kilimanjaro’ famous glacier and ice cliffs. We spend a maximum of 15 minutes at the Summit, due to the effects of high altitude. This gives us time to congratulate each other, enjoy the euphoria of our achievement, photograph and breath-in the magnificence of our surroundings. We must then begin our descent for which you will now want your hiking poles, first back down to Barafu camp for Brunch, and then we continue down to Millenium (3800m), or Mweka (3100m) camp for the night. These camps are situated between the end of moorland and the rain forest. Your guide will decide which camp will be used for the last night based on the needs of the group.
Day 8: Millenium or Mweka camp – Mweka gate, Elevation:3800 /3100m – 1800m, Distance: 9 – 11 km, Time: 4 – 6 hours
Habitat: Rain forest
After breakfast the whole team (clients, guides, cooks and porters) celebrate their journey, and share their thanks with each other. The clients personally give tips to porters, cook, and guides, before making the final descent to Mweke gate (1800m). From Millenium camp the trail descends first to the Mweka camp, then on a well maintained trail, through the lush rain forest, with colourful flowers such as ‘Impatiens kilimanjari ’, native only to Kilimanjaro, tuneful song birds, and sightings of Colobus monkeys.
You sign out of the Park, and receive certificate of Summiting, board our vehicle, which will be waiting at the Mweke gate and are transported past the local villages with their coffee and banana farms, first to Moshi, for lunch, and a well deserved beer for those who wish. Later we return you to your hotel in Arusha, where you can enjoy a shower and soft mattress.
Day 9: Arusha
Depart for the airport or other destinations in Tanzania or Kenya. A trip to the beaches at Zanzibar is a good way to recuperate. We can arrange many reasonably priced trips and safaris around Arusha and the Kilimanjaro region.
If you are taking a day or two to rest up and see Arusha, we can arrange a visit to the Paradiso Children’s Home we support, and /or to other local attractions that interest you. Ask Us for list of recommended attractions.
I was impressed by Aristarick, one of our guides. He was very helpful, motivating and knows a lot. Thanks to him we made it to the top.
It was clear from the start of the expedition that Ari was very professional indeed. Above all though was his passion for Tanzania. If you are planning a trip to Tanzania for a trek up Kilimanjaro or a Safari, then I highly recommend this guy. He will look after you very well indeed.
Ari of Kilimanjaro Bliss was an amazing host. We had signed up to do our climb to the top of Kilimanjaro with Kilimanjaro Bliss and got so much more than we expected. Ari and his crew took great care of us on the seven days that we took to get to the top and back down again. The food was incredibly delicious and the crew were awesome. It was an amazing adventure and we made it back a day early, so we decided to do a safari to Tarangire National Park.
We were blown away with the great lengths the team went through to, not only make us comfortable, but make us feel like royalty. Meals were better than I have had in 5-star restaurants. Although summit day was tough, the journey getting there will be what I remember best. I miss the team already!