11-Day Itinerary - 8 Days Climbing: $5,480
December 21-31, 2018
Enjoy a Tusker Christmas celebration on the fantastic Lemosho climb. It is a longer route from the west, which allows you to acclimatize to the altitude and enjoy the spectacular environment. Lemosho is one of the more scenic routes up Kilimanjaro and does not require a midnight summit climb. We prefer to summit during daylight hours to enjoy the views, the warmer weather, and to avoid the crowds in the early morning at the summit.
After arriving at Kilimanjaro airport, you check into the hotel. We spend two nights in Moshi allowing you time taking it easy and getting to know your guides as they give you a detailed climb orientation and gear check.
9,170-ft/2,795-m • 2.5 miles/4 km • 3 hours
At the Londerossi gate in the west we check into the national park, then hike along a little used track through the montane forest.
In places the vegetation is so untouched that it grows right across the trail. The flora and fauna are richer here than on the other more popular routes through the rain forest. In the tree canopy look for the purple flash of the Hartlaub's Turaco, as well the black and white Colobus monkeys. We camp in the rain forest at Mti Mkubwa (Big Tree).
11,500-ft/3,505-m • 5.2 miles/8.4 km • 7-8 hours
After breakfast we leave the glades, and start climbing towards the heath and moorland zone. We traverse the steep ridge into the Shira Caldera, a high altitude desert plateau.
Shira is the third of Kilimanjaro's volcanic cones - now eroded - and is filled with lava flow and eons of silt from Kibo Peak. Weather and volcanic action have decimated the crater rim. Today you get your first views of Kibo peak.
13,650-ft/4,160-m • 6.3 miles/10 km • 7-8 hours
Today is Christmas day. After breakfast we hike east across the Shira Plateau past the Shira Cathedral towards Moir camp, tucked away at the end of a massive gorge at the foot of a giant lava flow.
We enjoy a typical Christmas meal at Moir Camp, with a Christmas ham flown in especially from Nairobi. A traditional Kilimanjaro Christmas!
12,950-ft/3,950-m • 6.2 miles/9.9 km • 6-7 hours
After breakfast, we start climbing toward Lava Tower lower camp, at 15,200-ft/4,633-m, where we stop for lunch, allowing our bodies to acclimatize. Descending through the giant Senecio habitat, we arrive at our camp beautifully located at the foot of the Barranco Wall.
This is where the Machame and Lemosho routes converge, so we meet other climbers ascending the Machame Route.
13,200-ft/4,023-m • 3.6 miles/5.8 km • 4-5 hours
Today we hike up the Barranco Wall, a 500-ft lava flow. It's not technical, but challenging nonetheless. Once on top of the wall, the climb becomes easier and extremely beautiful with fantastic views of the crags and crevasses of the jagged peaks of Kibo on your left.
Lastly we descend into the Karanga Valley and up the other side for our overnight camp.
14,950-ft/4,556-m • 2.1 miles/3.4 km • 3-4 hours
It's all uphill to the rocky, craggy slopes at Barafu camp. Barafu means "ice" in Swahili, and it is extremely windy and cold at this altitude.
We start to feel the effects of altitude, breathing hard as we climb. There is a buzz of excitement in the air, as climbers anticipate the toughest day - and the summit - just ahead. The clouds move in an out, revealing the eroded peak of Mawenzi, painted with beautiful colors of the African sun.
Summit: 19,340-ft/5,895-m • 2.75 miles/4.5 km • 7-9 hours
Millennium: 12,590-ft/3,837-m • 6.3 miles/10.1 km • 5-6 hours
We start climbing a couple hours before sunrise, so we climb during daylight on the steepest and most demanding part of the mountain, reaching the Crater rim after lunch.
Mawenzi Peak is a thrilling sight, with the Kibo saddle still in darkness beneath you, and the crater's ice-walls looming ahead. We now continue to Uhuru Peak (1-2 hrs,) the highest point (19,340 ft.)The descent is invigorating. We continue back down to Barafu Camp for a rest, then down to Millennium camp where we spend our last night.
Mweka Gate: 5,500-ft/1,676-m • 7.5 miles/12 km • 6 hours ~ Drive Moshi
After breakfast it's a 2 hour hike to Mweka camp. Then a 4 hour hike through the rainforest takes you down to the gate where you enjoy your final lunch and a celebration with your guides and porters.
From the gate you drive with your guides back to the hotel for a well-earned shower.
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Tusker Trail runs many Kilimanjaro climbs each month.
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