ABOUT THE CLIMB • WHAT TO EXPECT
CLIMBING ROUTES • DATES & PRICES
ABOUT THE CLIMB
The highest mountains on each of the seven continents are collectively known as the Seven Summits. Kilimanjaro’s summit is the fourth highest of the group and is among the most diverse and rewarding of the world’s great climbs. As Kilimanjaro is not technical, most people in good physical condition can take the multi-day challenge to reach its summit. It is also one of the world’s highest volcanoes, first summited in 1889 by German climbers Meyer and Purtscheller, guided by a Chagga guide, Yohani Kinyal Lauwo. Few things in life are as rewarding as climbing the tallest mountain in Africa. Summitting Kilimanjaro is so remarkable that you will carry the experience for the rest of your life.
AFRICA'S HIGHEST PEAK
Kilimanjaro is in the heart of Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park contains not one, but three volcanic peaks, Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Kibo and Mawenzi are part of Kilimanjaro’s magic, rising like islands in a sea of clouds, and where you can see the shimmering glaciers from miles away.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is just one of Tusker Trail’s many amazing adventures that awaits you in Tanzania. Adding an extension to your climb, you can embark on an exciting wildlife safari and immerse yourself in the greatest animal migration on earth, or you can travel back in time to the mystical island of Zanzibar. Either adventure is a great way to round off your successful climb to Kilimanjaro’s summit.
Tusker's Kilimanjaro climb narrated by Will Lyman from National Geographic.
You hike through the rainforest on your first day. It’s an eye-opening encounter in one of Kilimanjaro’s spectacular habitats. You hike narrow trails under a vast canopy of giant trees, with black and white colobus monkeys barking at you from the upper branches.
ON THE CLIMB
Emerging from the rainforest on your second day, the new habitat zone reveals spectacular views. You pass three different vegetation zones on your way to the summit, each zone getting more and more sparse, exposing you to incredible vistas across the vast terrain around you.
This is your reward for humping many days on the trail, up through the thinning atmosphere. The feeling of euphoria and accomplishment is palpable as you gaze over the wilderness below you, from the crown of Africa.
TANZANIA IS ADVENTURE
A little-known fact about Tanzania is that one of Kilimanjaro’s most dramatic features are the glaciers. They are diminishing but still incredibly dramatic, especially on your last day as you climb to the summit, hiking amongst them toward the crater rim.
Another spectacular experience is to hike down into the crater, then up to the Ashpit, the second highest point on Kibo peak. On two of our climbing routes – Lemosho and Tusker Spiral – we camp down inside the amazing crater, allowing you to wander amongst the glaciers and up to the Ashpit, where fumaroles are evidence of Kilimanjaro’s dormant state.
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
- Discover Kilimanjaro National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site
- The highest mountain in Africa, and one of the famed Seven Summits
- Explore 5 distinct vegetation zones
- Discover Kilimanjaro’s extraordinary flora and fauna with expert guides
- Camp beneath a vast canopy of stars
- Finally, complete Kilimanjaro from your bucket list
You’ve seized the challenge. You’re laser focused. You’re in the best shape of your life. Now what? KILIMANJARO, THE ROOF OF AFRICA! Now it’s all up to you and your guides. Along with the challenge, your mountain guides are the heart and soul of your adventure. They bring a richness of knowledge, experience, and training, critical to the success and safety of your Kilimanjaro climb. As you rise to the challenge, your guides ensure you that you are ready to face it with full resolve and commitment. They are your backstop all the way to the summit, ensuring that you are healthy, strong, and successful.
Before you sign up, you should call our office to speak with EDDIE FRANK, Tusker’s owner and founding guide. You’ll get an insider’s view and knowledge that will turn your Kilimanjaro adventure into a life-changing experience. Eddie has climbed Kilimanjaro 54 times, giving him a ton of experience and a wealth of Kilimanjaro knowhow.
REACHING THE SUMMIT
If you listen to more than 10,000 Tusker Trail climbers, they say that reaching Kilimanjaro’s summit was one of the most incredible personal accomplishments they have ever achieved. 98% of them reached the summit on an adventure which changed them forever, empowering them to do greater things in their lives. And many have come back for more, recapturing the powerful emotions at the summit. This is the magic that Eddie has injected into all of Tusker’s treks, especially on Kilimanjaro. It’s the magic that all Tusker guides and crew understand. It’s the magic that he learned as a young boy from his father.
When Tusker’s founding guide EDDIE FRANK was growing up in Africa, his adventure-seeking father, Mike, would take him out into the bush, tracking animals and exploring the epic African savannah. They thrived on adventure. Over his lifetime, Mike handed down this family recipe for adventure to Eddie, who has used it over the decades in designing Tusker’s treks and expeditions.
A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE
Just as Eddie and his dad fed their spirit with adventure, you too can jump start your dreams and feast on the excitement of a new quest. It will change your life in ways you can never imagine, and you will see the world so very differently, building a whole new sense of yourself.
ON YOUR BUCKET LIST
By creating a bucket list, you propel yourself on a journey of self-discovery by saying, “the hell with it.” This forces you to shed your fears and live life to its fullest. This was the first life-lesson that Mike Frank taught his young son Eddie, while exploring the magnificent savannahs of Africa with him in the 1950s. It’s a journey on the inside, as well as the outside, teaching lessons you can draw on your entire life.
Climbing Kilimanjaro is much more than a just bucket list experience, something to be checked off before you move onto the next. With your first footstep on this epic journey, you are transported to an inner place that you wish you had seen earlier in your life. It’s a feeling of empowerment, a feeling that you can accomplish anything, and it stays with you for the rest of your life.
RECHARGE IN TUSKER’S SIGNATURE CAMP
Rising to the challenge of a personal quest does not mean suffering during the journey. On your path up the mountain – both inner and outer – you need to be supported and nourished. While on your quest, your meals should offer you more than sustenance. They should thrill your taste buds and feed your spirit, fueling long days on the climb. That is why all your mountain chefs have been trained by the Culinary Institute of America, and why we built our incredible Adventure Kitchen.
Your camp should also be a refuge from a day’s tough trek – a place to retreat, and replenish your strength. It should be a haven where you can relax and recount your day’s achievements with your fellow climbers, nourishing the camaraderie. That’s why Eddie has perfected Tusker’s walk-in mountain tents, and designed them specifically for Kilimanjaro’s needs.
HOW TUSKER TRAIL WAS BORN
Eddie Frank’s own Kilimanjaro adventure began over 4 decades ago, when he first started leading wild and rugged expeditions across Africa. As he traversed the continent, Kilimanjaro always beckoned. Eventually, the pull was too strong to resist, and he led his first group to the summit. Back then only a very few adventurers climbed the mountain, and almost everyone used the Marangu route. It was the wild 1970s, very soon after Kilimanjaro was designated a national park, and before the Kilimanjaro climbing world became what it is today.
Ferrying across the Congo River on a Trans-Africa expedition in 1983
On that first adventure across Africa, Eddie fell in love with the unique experience that climbing Kilimanjaro offered. He knew then that he would be leading climbers through this paradise for many years to come. Since those days Eddie has climbed Kilimanjaro 54 times, exploring every corner of the mountain, helping to establish the reputation of the Lemosho route that thousands of climbers use today. His climb in 2004 was his most important, as this was when he met mountain guide Amy Micks who, became a guiding light for Tusker, as the two them joined forces and explored all corners of the globe.
With more and more climbers attempting the summit, they mapped a new and more extensive climbing route, the “Tusker Spiral Route.” On this route you trek around the entire mountain, well acclimatized, and spend your night after the summit camping in the rarely visited crater, just beneath Uhuru Peak. Every one of Tusker’s climbing routes are designed to instill the same sense of awe that you experience on an adventure for the very first time.
Today, Tusker leads thousands of adventurers on journeys of discovery around the globe, including Everest Base Camp, Greenland’s fjords, Mongolia’s Nomad Trek and on Eddie and Amy’s favorite routes on Kilimanjaro.
"When I was a kid growing up in Africa, I spent most of my childhood with my dad on safari in the African bush. He instilled the thrill of adventure in me at a very early age, and it’s never left. I share this same excitement on every trip I design for Tusker, and the typical response from our trekkers is “wow!"
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
As you gaze out across the savannah toward Kilimanjaro, it’s hard to miss the great mountain rising out of the plains like a massive island in a sea of clouds. This is where you start your climb, slowly trekking through five vegetation zones to the summit. On your climb you pass through some of the most spectacular landscape and scenery on the planet. The flora and fauna in Kilimanjaro National Park are unique and this is where your expert Tusker mountain guides call home. While guiding you on your adventure to the summit, they share their wealth of knowledge of the natural history and wilderness of Kilimanjaro.
A FIELD GUIDE TO THE FLORA OF KILIMANJARO
Fascinated by the diversity of the vegetation on Kilimanjaro, Amy and Eddie Frank teamed up with Swiss biologist Thomas Rüegg and published a comprehensive field guide to Kilimanjaro’s flora that has become a must-have for climbers from around the world. The variety of flora on Kilimanjaro is breath-taking and it took them ten years to complete the book. This is a great resource for your own climb, and you’ll gain a greater appreciation of the diversity Kilimanjaro’s vegetation should you pack it on your climb.
READ THE BOOK FOREWORD by Dave Bunn, former Director of the California State Department of Conservation.
“Few people have experienced the flora of Kilimanjaro as Eddie and Amy have. As two of the most well-known and successful trekking guides on the mountain, they have shared the beauty of its extraordinary plants and landscape with thousands of clients. The Flora of Kilimanjaro – a Field Guide, the culmination of a life’s work on the mountain, which includes a combined 72 climbs by the authors, is now essential. Speaking as a seasoned wildlife biologist, I know that this volume will become an indispensable resource for anyone climbing Kilimanjaro. It allows you to immerse yourself in the unique, compelling world on this mountain, the highest solitary peak in the world. “ -David Bunn
You will receive a signed copy of the field guide in your pre-climb package.
“I have always been amazed by the diversity of the Flora on the lowlands and slopes, of Kilimanjaro. It was a shame that no compendium of the Flora existed as a learning tool. As luck would have it Eddie and I met Swiss biologist, Thomas Rüegg who also felt the same way. Ten years and dozens of summits later, we published our field guide, The Flora of Kilimanjaro."
THE BEST ROUTES
While there are seven routes through Kilimanjaro National Park to the summit, Tusker climbs four, with each one particularly distinct in its own way. Tusker Trail pioneered the new Tusker Spiral Route a few years ago. On this, the longest of all our routes, you circumnavigate the entire summit, hiking rarely traveled trails on the north, west, south, and eastern slopes, spending extra days acclimatizing to the altitude – critical to a successful summit.
A DAYTIME SUMMIT CLIMB
As a rule, most companies climb to the summit at midnight. However, we have found that our climbers prefer to climb in daylight, taking advantage of the magnificent views and warmer temperatures. This also allows climbers to get a full night of rest, essential for a successful summit bid after many tough days on the trail. That’s why on all of our tented climbs we climb to the summit in daylight.
ELITE GUIDE TRAINING
Just as Eddie Frank trained the US Army’s elite Special Forces at high altitude, he and Amy drilled Tusker’s team of expert mountain guides. Our team has led thousands of climbers up Kilimanjaro over the last four decades, with a 98% summit success rate.
PRIVATE CLIMB OPTIONS
If you prefer to climb with a select group of friends, co-workers, family, couples, or solo, any one of our routes can be converted into a private climb. You can also choose the dates you wish to climb. Just call and ask about our private climb options.
ON YOUR OWN TWO FEET
Your daily trekking distance varies from 2.5 mi/4 km – 7.5 mi/12 km. You will be traversing varied types of terrain, and as you get higher, the days get longer. Don’t worry, as our experienced trekking coordinators will make sure you’re prepped and ready.