If you choose to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) early today we recommend a private transfer to Marangu where the rest of the day is at leisure. We stay at the Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort, which is beautifully located on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro and is a perfect place to prepare for your adventure. If you are already in Arusha or fly in the afternoon, there is a complimentary group transfer to Marangu, departing Ilboru Safari Lodge at 14:00hrs. The transfer picks up from other selected hotels in and around Arusha and also from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) at approx 15:00-15:30hrs before arriving at our hotel in Marangu. Please advise if you wish to use this service - it must be pre-booked. Exact pick up times cannot be guaranteed as it depends on the number of stops en route. Your patience is required with this. You will meet your guide in Marangu this evening for a trip briefing at approx 18:00hrs.
After completing the necessary registration formalities at Marangu National Park gate, we transfer by Landrover to Rongai. The climb begins from the attractive wooden village of Nale Moru (1950m) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potats before entering pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the beautiful Kilimanjaro Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long 'cape' of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out and our first camp is at the edge of the moorland zone (2600m) with extensive views over the Kenyan plains.
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the 'Second Cave' (3450m) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley with giant senecios near Kikelewa Caves
A short but steep climb up grassy slopes is rewarded by superb all-round views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn (4330m), spectacularly situated in a cirque directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. The afternoon will be free to rest or explore the surrounding area as an aid to acclimatisation.
We cross the lunar desert of the 'Saddle' between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo campsite at (4700m) situated at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for the final ascent before a very early night.
We will start the final, and by far the steepest and most demanding, part of the climb by torchlight around 1am. We walk very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gilman's Point (5685m). We will rest here for a short time to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi. Those who are still feeling strong can make the three hour round trip to Uhuru Peak (5895m); passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo (4700m) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshment, we continue the descent to reach our final campsite at Horombo (3720m). Today's trekking involves from 11 to 15 hours walking which is made to feel more strenuous by the effects of altitude and extreme cold. This section of the trek is one of the steepest and most demanding and should not be taken lightly. It is a great idea to have your own head torch so that your hands are free for balance. Most people are surprised by the extreme cold and the best advice is to follow the clothing list and pack your warm clothes.
A steady descent takes us down through moorland to Mandara Hut (2700m); we then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a steady path to the National Park gate at Marangu (1830 m). Overnight at hotel in Marangu.
Arrangements will end after breakfast in Marangu. There is a free group transfer from Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort in Marangu back to Arusha, departing 9.00am. The transfer drops off at Kilimanjaro International Airport, selected hotels in and around Arusha town and finally at Ilboru Safari Lodge. If you wish to depart later or spend additional nights in Marangu, a private transfer to Arusha can be arranged (extra cost applies).