9-Day Western Approach

January 2015 - March 2016

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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.

Trip Highlights:

  • 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

 

Western Approach Route Map

Days 1-2
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’)

 

Day 3
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’)

 

Day 4
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

 

Day 5
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  

 

Day 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

 

Day 7
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

 

Day 8
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

 

Day 9
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

 

Day 10
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

 

Day 11

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

Days 12-13
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.

Kia Lodge

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.

Ndarakwai Ranch

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.

Mountain Camps

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
DepartTrek Only+ 5-Day Safari+ 7-Day SafariNotes
2015
Jan 1
Jan 13
$6,190
Jan 18
$9,280
Jan 20
$10,280
Limited Availability
Jan 8
Jan 20
$6,190
Jan 25
$9,280
Jan 27
$10,280
Limited Availability.
Jan 17
Jan 29
$6,190
Feb 3
$9,280
Feb 5
$10,280
Limited Availability.
Jan 25
Feb 6
$6,190
Feb 11
$9,280
Feb 13
$10,280
Jan 31
Feb 12
$6,190
Feb 17
$9,280
Feb 19
$10,280
Limited Availability.
Feb 7
Feb 19
$6,190
Feb 24
$9,280
Feb 26
$10,280
Limited Availability.
Feb 14
Feb 26
$6,190
Mar 3
$9,280
Mar 5
$10,280
Feb 24
Mar 8
$6,190
Mar 13
$9,280
Mar 15
$10,280
Limited Availability.
Add Mt. Meru
Mar 5
Mar 17
$6,190
Mar 22
$9,280
Mar 24
$10,280
Mar 14
Mar 26
$6,190
Mar 31
$9,280
Apr 2
$10,280
Limited Availability.
Mar 21
Apr 2
$6,190
Apr 7
$9,280
Apr 9
$10,280
May 28
Jun 9
$5,690
Jun 14
$8,980
Jun 16
$9,980
Jun 9
Jun 21
$5,990
Jun 26
$9,280
Jun 28
$10,280
Limited Availability
Jun 20
Jul 2
$5,690
Jul 7
$8,980
Jul 9
$9,980
Jun 27
Jul 9
$5,990
Jul 14
$9,280
Jul 16
$10,280
Jul 9
Jul 21
$5,990
Jul 26
$9,280
Jul 28
$10,280
Jul 16
Jul 28
$5,690
Aug 2
$8,980
Aug 4
$9,980
Jul 22
Aug 3
$5,990
Aug 8
$9,280
Aug 10
$10,280
Limited Availability
Aug 2
Aug 14
$5,690
Aug 19
$8,980
Aug 21
$9,980
Aug 9
Aug 21
$5,690
Aug 26
$8,980
Aug 28
$9,980
Aug 16
Aug 28
$5,690
Sep 2
$8,980
Sep 4
$9,980
Aug 21
Sep 2
$5,990
Sep 7
$9,280
Sep 9
$10,280
Aug 29
Sep 10
$5,990
Sep 15
$9,280
Sep 17
$10,280
Sep 4
Sep 16
$5,690
Sep 21
$8,980
Sep 23
$9,980
Sep 15
Sep 27
$5,990
Oct 2
$9,280
Oct 4
$10,280
Sep 20
Oct 2
$5,690
Oct 7
$8,980
Oct 9
$9,980
Sep 28
Oct 10
$5,990
Oct 15
$9,280
Oct 17
$10,280
Oct 4
Oct 16
$5,690
Oct 21
$8,980
Oct 23
$9,980
Oct 15
Oct 27
$5,690
Nov 1
$8,980
Nov 3
$9,980
Dec 13
Dec 25
$5,990
Dec 30
$9,280
Jan 1
$10,280
Dec 21
Jan 2
$5,690
Jan 7
$8,980
Jan 9
$9,980
Dec 26
Jan 7
$5,690
Jan 12
$8,980
Jan 14
$9,980
2016
Jan 1
Jan 13
$5,990
Jan 18
$9,280
Jan 20
$10,280
Jan 8
Jan 20
$5,690
Jan 25
$8,980
Jan 27
$9,980
Jan 15
Jan 27
$5,990
Feb 1
$9,280
Feb 3
$10,280
Jan 23
Feb 4
$5,690
Feb 9
$8,980
Feb 11
$9,980
Feb 4
Feb 16
$5,990
Feb 21
$9,280
Feb 23
$10,280
Feb 11
Feb 23
$5,690
Feb 28
$8,980
Mar 1
$9,980
Feb 18
Mar 1
$5,690
Mar 6
$8,980
Mar 8
$9,980
Feb 26
Mar 9
$5,990
Mar 14
$9,280
Mar 16
$10,280
Mar 5
Mar 17
$5,690
Mar 22
$8,980
Mar 24
$9,980
Mar 16
Mar 28
$5,690
Apr 2
$8,980
Apr 4
$9,980

 

Per Person Double Occupancy Land Packages:

 

January-March 2015:

Western Approach Route Trek: $6190 – Call to save $200!
5-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $3090
7-Day Classic Wildlife Safari Extension: $4090

Single Accommodations:
- Western Approach Route Trek: $430
- 5 or 7-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $490

Upgrades:
- Personal Porter: $420
- Serengeti Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Safari: $540

 

May 2015-March 2016:

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

Single Accommodations:
- Western Approach Route Trek: $490
- 5 or 7-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $550

Upgrades:
- Personal Porter: $495
- Serengeti Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Safari: $540

 

Please call us to discuss our competitive Business Class fares

The Thomson experience was exactly what I was looking for

I am a lifelong hiker who got started in my mid-teens. The first mountain I climbed was Mount Washington via the glen Boulder trail. I was hooked. I spent most of my college years climbing throughout New Hampshire and Maine and completed all the 4000 footers in New Hampshire except one! Back then climbing was […]

We loved every minute, even the hard parts.

None of this would have been possible without Thomson and its incredible team. Absolutely every aspect of the trip– from planning to execution – was characterized by the highest quality. As I think back to our initial research into the climb, I couldn’t be more pleased by our choice of company. It was clear that your company cares […]

Thomson is a first class operation focused on customer experience.

The team is electric and their enthusiasm is infectious.  Every staff member wanted me to have the best experience.  What a great adventure I had. Thank you for helping me prepare so thoroughly for the trip and on short notice.  Amy and Rachel made my trip possible. Their time spent answering questions was a big […]

This trip was not great, it was absolutely world class!!

    You all were fantastic from the moment we contacted the Boston office to the day we returned!  I could not give you enough praise nor commendation for all you have done to make the trip memorable, spectacular and fun. Kudos to everyone and ASANTE SANA.   I’ve traveled to over 60 countries and Thomson […]

The trip was worth every single penny.

We love each other and the friendships will last a lifetime. We absolutely loved our guides and porters as well. It was a well matched group. So many stories…I’ll be talking about this trip for a year!

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