Day 0: Arrive Kilimanjaro International Airport, where you will be met by a Gazelle Adventures representative and transferred to your hotel in Moshi. Evening briefing at hotel to prepare you for the climb ahead, followed by group dinner, an opportunity for the group to get to know each other before the climb.
We take a ride to Marangu to complete the necessary registration formalities, before to Rongai. The climb begins from Nale Moru (6,400 ft) on a small path that winds through fields of maize and potatoes before entering a pine forest. The track then starts to climb consistently, but gently through an attractive forest that shelters a variety of wildlife, including the Colobus monkey. These monkeys are black with a long ‘cape’ of white hair and a flowing white tail. The forest begins to thin out at the edge of the moorland zone. Then, we take in the expansive views over the Kenyan plains as we arrive at our first campsite at Rongai One (8,500 ft), dinner and overnight. [3-4 hours walking]
The morning walk is a steady ascent up to the Second Cave (11,300 ft) with superb views of Kibo and the Eastern Icefields on the crater rim. After lunch, we leave the main trail and strike out and head southeast across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Our campsite is in a sheltered valley, decorated with giant senesces near Kikelewa Caves (11,800 ft). [6-7 hours walking]. Dinner and overnight at Rongai two Camp.
A short but steep climb is rewarded by superb all-around views and a tangible sense of wilderness. We leave vegetation behind shortly before reaching the next camp at Mawenzi Tarn hut (14,200 ft), 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 acclimatization. [3-4 hours walking] . Dinner and overnight at Kikelelwa Camp.
A day to acclimatize with a walk up onto the Saddle towards Camel’s Back. Camp at Mawenzi Tarn Hut (14,200 ft). [2-3 hours walking]
We cross the lunar desert of the saddle between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) at the bottom of the crater wall. The remainder of the day is spent resting in preparation for an early morning final ascent. [5-6 hours walking] . Dinner and overnight at Kibo Hut.
We start the final and most demanding part of the climb by torchlight around 1 a.m. We trek very slowly in the darkness on a switchback trail through loose volcanic scree to reach the crater rim at Gillman’s Point (18,600 ft). We 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 (19,345 ft), passing close to the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area. The descent to Kibo Hut (15,400 ft) is surprisingly fast and, after some refreshments, we continue the descent to Horombo Hut for dinner and overnight (12,200 ft). [11-15 hours walking]
A steady descents takes us down through moorland to Mandara Huts (8,900 ft). We then continue descending through lovely lush forest on a good path to the Kilimanjaro National Park gate at Marangu (6,000 ft), where we are transferred back to hotel in Moshi. [5-6 hours walking]