Today is an arrival day. If you choose to fly into Kilimanjaro Airport we recommend a private transfer to Arusha where the rest of the day is at leisure. We stay at the Ilboru Safari Lodge which has spacious rooms, a pool, and restaurant.
Early this morning (approx 07:30am), your guide will pick you up from your hotel to depart for Tarangire National Park. Lunch will be provided on arrival followed by an afternoon of wildlife viewing. Tarangire covers an area of about 2850 sq km (1,096 sq miles) and supports a huge concentration of wildlife as a result of the permanent water source provided by the Tarangire River flowing through it. With environments ranging from swamps and flood plains to dry savannah exciting opportunities to see wildlife abound. Herds of up to 300 elephants, over 550 species of birds, antelopes and plains animals and of course many predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah can be seen. Accommodation this evening is at Migunga Tented Camp which is located near the village of Mto Wa Mbu and within 5 mins of Lake Manyara National Park.
We drive up the Rift Valley escarpment this morning to the Ngorongoro Highlands. Our journey will take approximately two hours with wonderful views over the floor of the Rift Valley and passing through lush rainforest. On arrival at the crater rim (2300m) we descend into the Ngorongoro Crater for nearly a whole day of game viewing. We enter via the Windy Gap road, which is narrow, steep and twisting as it descends into this natural amphitheatre. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the last refuges in northern Tanzania for the endangered Black Rhino. With an extremely high density of animals in the 100sq km caldera, the Crater can be regarded as a "Garden of Eden". Along with rhino, it is home to the largest density of lions anywhere in Africa with a plethora of antelope, hippos, other big cats, elephants, birds and much more. We return to Migunga Tented Camp in the late afternoon. (Please bring some warm clothing as it can be chilly on the crater rim.)
After breakfast we pack up and leave our camp to spend time game viewing in Lake Manyara National Park. The lake itself covers about two thirds of the park area, shrinking in the dry season to expose large areas of mud flats. The flood plains around the lake extend to drier acacia forest and these different habitats provide a haven for a multitude of wildlife including baboons, herbivores, big cats and migratory birds. We will have a picnic lunch and then leave Lake Manyara to return to Arusha (a drive of around 2 hours), where we check into Ilboru Safari Lodge in the late afternoon.
There is a 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. The exact transfer time depends on the number of stops en route. Your patience is required with this. 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. You will meet your guide in Marangu this evening for a trip briefing on the Kilimanjaro climb 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 Gillman'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 (5896m); 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.
There is a group transfer to Arusha, departing Kilimanjaro Mountain Resort at 09:00hrs.
The transfer will drop clients off at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and at other selected hotels in and around Arusha, before arriving at Arusha Domestic Airport. The exact transfer time depends on the number of stops en route. Your patience is required with this. We fly this afternoon to the beautiful island of Zanzibar, "The Spice Island". Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel on the South East Coast. Remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Kichanga Lodge.
Time at leisure over the next two days to soak up the peaceful atmosphere and enjoy the beauty of the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean and this tropical island paradise. Take an optional Spice Tour or wander the narrow streets of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Stone Town (at own expense), learn about the history of one of the most beautiful islands in the world, unwind at the swimming pool, or enjoy the beach under the branches of the baobab and do nothing at all. Or you can try your hand at some water sports available at the lodge such as snorkelling, scuba diving, or a sunset cruise (at own expense). Your time here will be relaxing and unforgettable. Overnight Kichanga Lodge.
After breakfast this morning you will be transferred back to Zanzibar Airport. Trip arrangements end on arrival at the airport.