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.
Season 2015 - 2016
|Return from Trek|
|Depart North America||Trek Only||+ 5-Day Safari||+ 7-Day Safari||Notes|
Jun 20Jul 02$5,690Jul 07$8,980Jul 09$9,980SOLD OUT
Jun 27Jul 09$5,990Jul 14$9,280Jul 16$10,280SOLD OUT
Jul 09Jul 21$5,990Jul 26$9,280Jul 28$10,280LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Jul 16Jul 28$5,690Aug 02$8,980Aug 04$9,980
Jul 22Aug 03$5,990Aug 08$9,280Aug 10$10,280LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Aug 02Aug 14$5,690Aug 19$8,980Aug 21$9,980LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Aug 09Aug 21$5,690Aug 26$8,980Aug 28$9,980
Aug 16Aug 28$5,690Sep 02$8,980Sep 04$9,980LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Aug 21Sep 02$5,990Sep 07$9,280Sep 09$10,280SOLD OUT
Aug 29Sep 10$5,990Sep 15$9,280Sep 17$10,280
Sep 04Sep 16$5,690Sep 21$8,980Sep 23$9,980LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Sep 15Sep 27$5,990Oct 02$9,280Oct 04$10,280LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Sep 20Oct 02$5,690Oct 07$8,980Oct 09$9,980LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Sep 28Oct 10$5,990Oct 15$9,280Oct 17$10,280
Oct 04Oct 16$5,690Oct 21$8,980Oct 23$9,980LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Oct 15Oct 27$5,690Nov 01$8,980Nov 03$9,980
Dec 13Dec 25$5,990Dec 30$9,280Jan 01$10,280
Dec 21Jan 02$5,690Jan 07$8,980Jan 09$9,980
Dec 26Jan 07$5,990Jan 12$9,280Jan 14$10,280
Jan 01Jan 13$5,990Jan 18$9,280Jan 20$10,280LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Jan 08Jan 20$5,690Jan 25$8,980Jan 27$9,980
Jan 15Jan 27$5,990Feb 01$9,280Feb 03$10,280
Jan 23Feb 04$5,690Feb 09$8,980Feb 11$9,980
Feb 04Feb 16$5,990Feb 21$9,280Feb 23$10,280
Feb 11Feb 23$5,690Feb 28$8,980Mar 01$9,980
Feb 18Mar 01$5,690Mar 06$8,980Mar 08$9,980
Feb 26Mar 09$5,990Mar 14$9,280Mar 16$10,280
Mar 05Mar 17$5,690Mar 22$8,980Mar 24$9,980
Mar 16Mar 28$5,690Apr 02$8,980Apr 04$9,980
Season 2016 - 2017
|Return from Trek|
|Depart North America||Trek Only||+ 3-Day Safari||+ 5-Day Safari||Notes|
Jun 04Jun 16$5,690Jun 19$8,480Jun 21$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Jun 24Jul 06$5,990Jul 09$8,780Jul 11$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Jul 09Jul 21$5,990Jul 24$8,780Jul 26$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Jul 21Aug 02$5,690Aug 05$8,480Aug 07$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Aug 02Aug 14$5,990Aug 17$8,780Aug 19$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Aug 13Aug 25$5,690Aug 28$8,480Aug 30$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Sep 01Sep 13$5,990Sep 16$8,780Sep 18$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Sep 16Sep 28$5,990Oct 01$8,780Oct 03$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Oct 02Oct 14$5,690Oct 17$8,480Oct 19$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Dec 20Jan 01$5,990Jan 04$8,780Jan 06$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Dec 26Jan 07$5,690Jan 10$8,480Jan 12$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Jan 07Jan 19$5,990Jan 22$8,780Jan 24$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Jan 19Jan 31$5,690Feb 03$8,480Feb 05$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Feb 02Feb 14$5,990Feb 17$8,780Feb 19$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
Feb 16Feb 28$5,690Mar 03$8,480Mar 05$9,440$300 Second-trip discount
Mar 02Mar 14$5,990Mar 17$8,780Mar 19$9,740$300 Second-trip discount
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
I could never have believed what was possible with simple drive and determination
Waiting with anticipation and trepidation in a small tent on a wind-swept moonscape at 15200 feet elevation the night before summiting Kilimanjaro leads one to reflect on life and what matters. I thought I would share a few lessons I learned from this amazing trip. 1) Extend your comfort zone: Despite leading a pretty adventurous […]
It’s like another world altogether – a collision of the moon, the arctic and a land I’d never known
On our epic trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro, we took the Western Approach route, which led us to traverse 43 miles in 9 days. We trekked through 5 different climates: rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and the arctic. The hardest part of our journey was overcoming the mind and the limitations it tries to impose. […]
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 […]