9-Day Western Approach
2015 - 2017
Our Southern Circuit Acclimatization Route
Climb Kilimanjaro with us, and you’ll journey through lush rainforests, across the Shira Plateau, up past Lava Tower, and into the stunning Barranco Valley with spectacular scenery at every turn. On this less-traveled route you’ll experience Kilimanjaro’s wilderness, breathtaking views of the disappearing glaciers, and a unique, daytime hike to the Kilimanjaro summit.
- 98% summit success rate
- Advantageous daytime summit
- Extra hikes for better acclimatization
- Phenomenal views on less-traveled trails
- Featured in The New York Times, on CBS News, and on MTV
Depart North America / Arrive Arusha, Tanzania
A staff member will greet you at the airport and escort you to your scenic lodge, just a short drive away.
Overnight: KIA Lodge (2,930’)
Acclimatization Day at Ndarakwai Ranch
After breakfast and a trek briefing with your guide, depart for a private conservation area. Spend the day admiring soaring views of open savannah, lush forests, and rolling hills. Catch your first glimpses of local wildlife on leisurely hikes through the grounds as you acclimatize to the higher altitude.
Overnight: Ndarakwai Ranch (4,200’)
Begin Trek to Forest Camp
Accompanied by expert porters, fully outfitted in all-weather uniforms, you’ll make your way to your first mountain camp, located in the rainforest. On the way, see rare black and white Colobus monkeys swing from the canopy … hear vibrant birdcalls among the treetops … marvel at exotic flowers under your feet. Once at camp, enjoy a hot dinner with your fellow trekkers.
Overnight: Forest Camp (9,281’)
Hours trekking: 3-4
Forest Camp to Shira 1 Camp
Out of the rainforest and into the heath, where you’ll journey through tall grass, fragrant heather, and volcanic rock draped in bearded lichen. Trek across the Shira Plateau, catching your first views of the summit from above the clouds.
Overnight: Shira 1 Camp (11,499’)
Hours trekking: 5-6
Shira 1 to Shira 2 Camp
Enjoy an acclimatization day with little altitude gain as you explore the 12,500-foot Shira Plateau, one of the highest plateaus in the world. Look to the west for breathtaking views of Mt. Meru and Mt. Longido.
Overnight: Shira 2 Camp (12,795’)
Hours trekking: 3-4
Shira 2 to Lava Tower Camp
Pole, pole (slowly, slowly). That’s how you’ll move today as you delve deep into the alpine desert. Vegetation thins and colossal boulders reign near our camp, next to the impressive Lava Tower, which is set amidst this striking, lunar-like landscape.
Overnight: Lava Tower Camp (15,213’)
Hours trekking: 4-6
Lava Tower to Karanga Camp
This morning you’ll descend into the Great Barranco Valley. Hike in this spectacular world of gleaming glaciers, towering cliffs, and sloping valleys. After lunch, scramble up the steep Barranco Wall, enjoying gorgeous views of the glaciers of Kibo, the first of Mt. Kili’s volcanic cones.
Overnight: Karanga Camp (13,231’)
Hours trekking: 6-7
Karanga to Barafu Camp
Onward and upward you go. Temperatures decline and landscapes grow sparse as you hike a steady incline to Barafu Camp. Located on an exposed ridge, this dramatic camp is the staging point from which you traverse into the arctic summit zone tomorrow morning.
Overnight: Barafu Camp (15,331’)
Hours trekking: 3-4
Barafu to Summit
Just as dawn breaks, you set out for the glacier zone atop Kilimanjaro. Climbing roughly 3,000 feet today, you’ll have countless opportunities to marvel at Mawenzi, Kili’s second volcanic cone. At Stella Point, continue about an hour on easy terrain for an afternoon summit. Stand at Uhuru Peak—the highest point in Africa – when you may be the only group there. Take time to celebrate with your fellow trekkers, and snap once-in-a-lifetime photos before descending to your next camp, either overnighting at Barafu or the crater’s soft sands on select departures.
Overnight: Barafu Camp (15,331’)
Overnight on select departures: Crater Camp (18,802’), offering two daytime summit bid options
Hours trekking: 8-10
Barafu or Crater Camp / Mweka Millennium Camp
After breakfast trek out of the glacier zone and begin your descent. On select departures staying in Crater Camp, hikers will explore the glaciers and ash pit in the crater or summit for a second time! Hike down through the alpine desert to your final camp for your last night on the mountain.
Overnight: Mweka Millennium Camp (12,500’)
Hours trekking: 4-7 to Mweka Millennium Camp
Hours trekking on select departures: 1-2 to summit / 4-7 to Mweka Millennium Camp
Complete Trek / Return to North America
Enjoy your final day of trekking through thick forests to the park gate, where you’ll bid farewell to your guides and porters. Transfer to a day room to take a well-earned shower and relax before your evening flight home.
Day room: KIA Lodge
Hours trekking: 4-6
Looking to continue your adventure in Tanzania? Add a 5- or 7-day safari extension, starting from Arusha (details below) or add on one of our exciting, trip extensions to exotic Zanzibar, chimpanzee colonies in Mahale, one of Tanzania’s many stunning national parks, and more.
Add a Safari
Learn more about our 5-Day Wildlife Highlights Safari extension.
Learn more about our 7-Day Classic Safari extension.
Located right outside Arusha, Kia Lodge offers the perfect location near Kilimanjaro’s airport. Your cozy bungalow sits among lush gardens. Sip a cocktail on the veranda as a cool breeze whispers by … take an evening dip in the pool … dry off by a crackling fire pit and admire sunset views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
A trekker’s haven and private conservation refuge, Ndarakwai Ranch offers more than 11,000 acres of open savannah. Hike among giant fig trees, view local wildlife, and sleep under the stars in thatched-roof tents. Ensuite bathrooms with showers and a dining tent offer a comfortable wilderness experience.
A comfortable yet rugged experience on your way to the roof of Africa …
A challenging journey deserves specialized accommodations. Your mountain camps include double-occupancy all-weather tents, with customized fly-sheets, upgraded zippers, and full-ground pads. Camps are set up and broken down each day by your expert porters. Private toilet tents, solar-lit dining tents with tables and chairs, and hot basins of water are all provided daily.
After full trekking days, savor hot meals prepared by the camp’s chef, expertly trained in hygienic food preparation. In the afternoons, piping tea and hearty snacks will be waiting for you. And there’s nothing quite like starting each day with a breath of crisp mountain air.
|Return from Trek|
|Depart North America||Trek Only||+ 5-Day Safari||+ 7-Day Safari||Notes|
May 28Jun 09$5,6902015-06-07Jun 14$8,980$32902015-06-07Jun 16$9,980$4290Limited Availability
Jun 09Jun 21$5,990*2015-06-19Jun 28$10,280$42902015-06-19Jun 26$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Jun 20Jul 02$5,6902015-06-30Jul 07$8,980$3290Sold Out
Jun 27Jul 09$5,990*2015-07-07Jul 14$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Jul 09Jul 21$5,990*2015-07-19Jul 26$9,280$32902015-07-19Jul 28$10,280$4290Limited Availability
Jul 16Jul 28$5,6902015-07-26Aug 04$9,980$42902015-07-26Aug 02$8,980$3290Limited Availability
Jul 22Aug 03$5,990*2015-08-01Aug 08$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Aug 02Aug 14$5,6902015-08-12Aug 21$9,980$42902015-08-12Aug 19$8,980$3290Limited Availability
Aug 09Aug 21$5,6902015-08-19Aug 26$8,980$3290Limited Availability
Aug 16Aug 28$5,6902015-08-26Sep 02$8,980$32902015-08-26Sep 04$9,980$4290Limited Availability
Aug 21Sep 02$5,990*2015-08-31Sep 07$9,280$3290Sold Out
Aug 29Sep 10$5,990*2015-09-08Sep 17$10,280$42902015-09-08Sep 15$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Sep 04Sep 16$5,6902015-09-14Sep 21$8,980$32902015-09-14Sep 23$9,980$4290Limited Availability
Sep 15Sep 27$5,990*2015-09-25Oct 02$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Sep 20Oct 02$5,6902015-09-30Oct 07$8,980$32902015-09-30Oct 09$9,980$4290Limited Availability
Sep 28Oct 10$5,990*2015-10-08Oct 17$10,280$42902015-10-08Oct 15$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Oct 04Oct 16$5,6902015-10-14Oct 23$9,980$42902015-10-14Oct 21$8,980$3290Sold Out
Oct 15Oct 27$5,6902015-10-25Nov 01$8,980$32902015-10-25Nov 03$9,980$4290Limited Availability
Dec 13Dec 25$5,990*2015-12-23Dec 30$9,280$3290
Dec 21Jan 02$5,6902015-12-31Jan 07$8,980$32902015-12-31Jan 09$9,980$4290
Dec 26Jan 07$5,6902016-01-05Jan 12$8,980$3290
Jan 01Jan 13$5,990*2016-01-11Jan 18$9,280$3290Limited Availability
Jan 08Jan 20$5,6902016-01-18Jan 25$8,980$32902016-01-18Jan 27$9,980$4290
Jan 15Jan 27$5,990*2016-01-25Feb 01$9,280$32902016-01-25Feb 01$9,280$3290
Jan 23Feb 04$5,6902016-02-02Feb 11$9,980$42902016-02-02Feb 09$8,980$3290
Feb 04Feb 16$5,990*2016-02-14Feb 23$10,280$42902016-02-14Feb 21$9,280$3290
Feb 11Feb 23$5,6902016-02-21Feb 28$8,980$3290
Feb 18Mar 01$5,6902016-02-28Mar 08$9,980$42902016-02-28Mar 06$8,980$3290
Feb 26Mar 09$5,990*2016-03-07Mar 14$9,280$32902016-03-07Mar 16$10,280$4290
Mar 05Mar 17$5,6902016-03-15Mar 22$8,980$3290
Mar 16Mar 28$5,6902016-03-26Apr 02$8,980$32902016-03-26Apr 04$9,980$4290
Jun 04Jun 16$5,6902016-06-14Jun 19$8,480$2790Limited Availability
Jun 24Jul 06$5,990*2016-07-04Jul 09$8,780$2790
Jul 09Jul 21$5,990*2016-07-19Jul 24$8,780$2790
Jul 21Aug 02$5,6902016-07-31Aug 05$8,480$2790
Aug 02Aug 14$5,990*2016-08-13Aug 18$8,780$2790
Aug 13Aug 25$5,6902016-08-23Aug 28$8,480$2790
Sep 01Sep 13$5,990*2016-09-11Sep 16$8,780$2790
Sep 16Sep 28$5,990*2016-09-26Oct 01$8,780$2790
Oct 02Oct 14$5,6902016-10-12Oct 17$8,480$2790Limited Availability
Dec 20Jan 01$5,990*2016-12-30Jan 04$8,780$2790
Dec 26Jan 07$5,6902017-01-05Jan 10$8,480$2790
Jan 07Jan 19$5,990*2017-01-17Jan 22$8,780$2790
Jan 19Jan 31$5,6902017-01-29Feb 03$8,480$2790
Feb 02Feb 14$5,990*2017-02-12Feb 17$8,780$2790
Feb 16Feb 28$5,6902017-02-26Mar 03$8,480$2790
Mar 02Mar 14$5,990*2017-03-12Mar 17$8,780$2790
Per Person Double Occupancy Land Packages:
May 2015-March 2017:
Western Approach Route Trek: $5690
Western Approach Route Trek, Crater Camp & Two Summit Bids: $5990*
5-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $3290
7-Day Classic Wildlife Safari Extension: $4290
- Western Approach Route Trek: $490
- 5 or 7-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $550
- Personal Porter: $495
- Serengeti Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Safari: $540
Please call us to discuss our competitive Business Class fares
This trek reinvigorated my thirst for adventure and helped fine-tune my life for the better
I had been looking forward to climbing Kilimanjaro for 13 years. About ten years ago, I started doing web searches and Thomson was consistently rated the best. The awards and testimonials made the difference. After years of dreaming, it all finally came true on summit day. Absolutely awesome experience. As climbing Kilimanjaro had been on […]
A wonderful culture and the kindest of people
You were a gem in helping me through the arrangements and ALL the details. You were always available to answer my questions and allay any worries. The packing list was perfect and all the gear was great! The climb is amazing. Our guide, Onest Mtui, is terrific and has to be one of, if not, […]
I had security, safety, care and camaraderie with Thomson. It was all fantastic.
My guides, Bwenje, George, Sam, Respicious, Godlove, Ema (head waiter), Ibrahim, (our chef), Zach (my personal porter), Damas (who carried my night bag/tent, etc.) were all great! I posted the video online of me receiving my Kilimanjaro certificate…. 600+ views! I only know about 30 people! One guy said “I didn’t get that when I […]
We felt as one with the staff moving up the mountain
Thomson gave us guidance before, during and after the trip. We appreciated the staff’s professionalism and organization, the guides’ warmth, kindness, laughter and leadership, and the porters and camp staff’s enthusiasm and hard work. The outcome of this collaboration was a 100% success rate to the summit of Kili, and a great safari. The trip […]
I can see why the workers on this mountain all aspire to work for Thomson.
My Thomson experience was first class all the way, and I can see why the workers on this mountain all aspire to work for Thomson. I would like to point out just how great some of the members of the staff were. The Head Guide, Gabriel, was a wizened, well-experienced leader. His wisdom and experience […]