10-Day Grand Traverse

grand traverse overview picCircumnavigate Kili On A Road Less Traveled

Spectacular, remote, and exclusive.  This Kilimanjaro trek truly defines taking the road less traveled and will bring out your spirit of adventure.  Embark on a journey across the Shira plateau, past the famous Shark’s Tooth rock formation, around the north face of the mountain (where you can see down into Kenya), and along the shores of Mawenzi Tarn, the lake formed from the glacial ice on the mountain, before taking it all in from the top of Africa’s highest peak.

Trip Highlights:

  • Upgraded hotel accommodations before your trek
  • The most acclimatization time of any of our routes, for a less stressful Kilimanjaro climb
  • Unique views
  • The least-traveled route on Kili
  • Personal porter included
  • Smaller group size
  • Optional luxury tent upgrade
  • Featured in Travel & Leisure, Outside Magazine, and Amex Centurion

Grand Traverse Route Map

Days 1-2
Depart North America / Arrive Arusha, Tanzania

After crossing oceans and continents, a staff member will greet you at the airport and escort you to your scenic lodge, located in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Overnight: Ndarakwai Ranch (4,200’)


Day 3
Acclimatization Day at Ndarakwai Ranch

After breakfast and an informative trek briefing, spend the rest of your acclimatization day exploring the picturesque grounds of Ndarakwai Ranch and spotting local wildlife. In the evening, relax in an open-air lounge.

Overnight: Ndarakwai Ranch (4,200’)


Day 4
Begin Trek to Shira 1 Camp

This morning, pack your climbing gear into the Land Rovers and head through dense rainforest to the trailhead. Be on the lookout for rare black and white Colobus monkeys swinging in the canopy. After a hearty lunch, begin a moorland trek to your first camp—accompanied by expert porters, fully outfitted in all-weather uniforms. Enjoy sunset views of Kibo, Mt. Kili’s first volcanic cone.

Overnight: Shira 1 Camp (11,499’)
Hours trekking: 1-2

Day 5
Shira 1 to Moir Camp

You will resume your trek this morning, departing the savannah of heather and grasses and making your way into the moorlands. Pass through misty, cloud-covered terrain of volcanic rocks as you move steadily up the mountain.

Overnight: Moir Camp (13,700’)
Hours trekking: 4-5


Day 6
Moir to Pofu Camp

Continue to wind your way through the moorlands as you approach the alpine desert. Vegetation will begin to thin out and the landscape will be marked by a vast plateau and strange volcanic plugs. Get a look at one of the larger formations, a lava tower called the Shark’s Tooth.

Overnight: Pofu Camp (13,200’)
Hours trekking: 5-7


Day 7
Pofu to Rongai Caves 2 Camp

Winding through a forest of towering Dendrosenecio kilimanjari, proceed upward over expansive ridgelines in the high alpine desert. Enjoy the extraordinary views as you pass massive volcanic formations scattered throughout the fields of scree. You’ll camp above this lunar landscape in a remote location where you may even catch a glimpse of Kenya’s vast badlands.

Overnight: Rongai Caves 2 Camp (11,450 ft.)
Hours trekking: 5-7


Day 8
Rongai 2 Caves to Kikelewa Camp

Cross the alpine desert, where you will find little more than a few tufts of grass, some everlastings, and bright yellow daisy-like flowers alongside the trail. The air will feel cooler, but the equatorial sun is still intense, so keep applying your sunscreen! You’ll explore the volcanic towers, rocky overhangs, and large boulder formations as you acclimatize.

Overnight: Kikelewa Caves Camp (11,850 ft.)
Hours trekking: 3-5


Day 9
Kikelewa to Mawenzi Tarn Camp

After breakfast, trek to your next camp. Located next to a placid lake at the foot of Mawenzi—Kilimanjaro’s second highest volcanic cone—this alcove offers spectacular views of the summit’s cathedral-like spires.

Overnight: Mawenzi Tarn Camp (14,210’)
Hours trekking: 4-6


Day 10
Mawenzi Tarn to Outward Bound Camp

Today you’ll trek across the Saddle—the stark landscape between Mawenzi and Kibo. Feel the temperature drop as you near the foot of Kibo, where your next camp awaits. Rest up in preparation for tomorrow’s thrilling summit bid.

Overnight: Outward Bound Camp (15,450’)
Hours trekking: 5-7


Day 11
Outward Bound to Summit / Crater Camp

Wake before dawn to begin your focused trek to the summit, reaching Uhuru Peak in the early afternoon hours. Enjoy free time to celebrate your success and snap stunning photos. After a short descent to Crater Camp, set in soft sands near the retreating vertical ice walls of the Furtwangler Glacier, or take an optional trek to the Ash Pit.

Overnight: Crater Camp (18,802’)
Hours trekking: 7-10 to Summit / 1-2 to Crater Camp


Day 12
Crater to Mweka Millennium Camp

Enjoy a morning hike to Reusch Crater where you can marvel at its vast inverted cone of ash known as the Ash Pit, or summit for a second time as the sun rises. Then, make a steep descent to Barafu Camp, arriving in time for lunch. Journey on through moorlands and forests to reach your last camp on Kilimanjaro.

Overnight: Mweka Millennium Camp (12,500’)
Hours trekking: 6-8


Days 13-14
Complete Trek / Return to North America

Conclude your trek through dense rainforest, celebrating with a farewell lunch at the gate. Say goodbye to your guides and porters who are now dear friends, then transfer to a day room in Arusha for a hot shower and refreshing nap before your evening flight home.

Day room: Rivertrees Country Inn
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.

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.

Optional Luxury Accommodations Upgrade

After extensive development and testing, our Grand Traverse trekkers have the exclusive opportunity to upgrade to new solar-lit, walk-in-height luxury tents complete with a sturdy mountaineering bed, plush mattress and pillow, and zero degree sleeping bag with fleece liner.

We’ve developed these specifically to provide relief to trekkers with bad backs or knees, to maximize sleeping comfort in extreme mountain conditions, and for those simply looking for an extra edge to summit.  Give us a call to discuss this new upgrade for your Grand Traverse climb: 800-235-0289.

Rivertrees Country Inn

Reminiscent of its legacy as a former German colonial farm and coffee estate, Rivertrees Country Inn blends simple elegance and modern convenience. Wake up in your farmhouse-style room to the sound of the rushing Usa River, and enjoy a hearty breakfast in an open-air, thatched-roof dining area.

Return from Trek


Per Person Double Occupancy Land Packages:


Grand Traverse Route Trek: $8490*
5-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $3090
7-Day Classic Wildlife Safari Extension: $4090

Single Accommodations:
– Grand Traverse Route Trek: $630
– 5 or 7-Day Wildlife Safari Extension: $490

* Includes extra acclimatization day, additional 25 miles on remote terrain, exclusive daytime summit, upgraded hotel accommodations, smallest group size, and the services of a personal porter.


Please call to discuss our competitive Business Class fares.

We can’t believe how hard the staff works to make us comfortable!

The porters and guides were fantastic. We can’t believe how hard they work to make us comfortable. Our awesome head guide, Onest, was a font of information about botany and wildlife. He was most patient with Sandy, as being only 5 feet tall some of those boulders that we had to climb over were as big as her. We absolutely would not have made it up to the Uhuru peak without him and his “Pole, Pole, Sandy.”

Everything was planned to make us love Tanzania and want to return. It worked, we do!

We were blown away by the work, the care, the attention to detail, the professionalism and the quality of everyone on our crew. From the guides to the porters and everyone else along the way, we couldn’t have been treated better. We couldn’t believe how good the food was, and how much care went into presenting […]

This vacation was the best that I’ve ever had.

Thanks goes out to Thomson Safaris and all its personnel that made this a trip of a lifetime. Everyone I encountered was friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable. My expectations were met and then exceeded, and the quality of service was top rated. Kilimanjaro was the ultimate physical and mental test to challenge myself with.  Being exposed […]

” Our health and safety was of paramount importance to all members of your company which was very comforting.”

We could not believe the efficiency and thoughtfulness of each and every member of your firm.  Our health and safety was of paramount importance to all members of your company which was very comforting. Everything worked like clockwork throughout the trip and we were blown away by the accommodations at Ndarakwai Camp and Gibbs Farm! […]

We truly enjoyed the trip of a lifetime with Thomson Safaris.

Our head guide, Gabriel, was very professional and thorough. We immediately knew we were in good, competent hands. We also has an amazing crew of 23 unbelievable and hard working men who were there to support us and help us get to the top of this mountain. Gabriel was our head guide and his assistant […]

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