Our 9-day Western Approach Route utilizes the same daylight summit approach chosen by David Breashears for the IMAX film.
It’s a world-class trekking experience, with a high camp amidst towering glaciers at 18,750 ft., inside Kili’s dormant volcanic crater!
The summit is reached by the mountain’s least traveled route and is only 600 feet from our high camp.
Day 1 Depart U.S.
Depart the U.S. in the late afternoon for Amsterdam.
Day 2 Arrive Arusha
Arrive in Amsterdam this morning and check in for your connecting flight to Kilimanjaro, arriving in the evening. You are met by your guide and transferred to your lodge, an elegantly rustic East African lodge located in the hills just outside of Arusha, set in a stunning location with magnificent views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Day 3 West Kilimanjaro Camp
This morning you will have a climb briefing at your lodge before transferring to your base camp on the west side of Kilimanjaro. The camp is set in under the spreading branches of Acacia Tortillis nestled near a volcanic cone, which affords superb sundowners and good views. This day also serves as an acclimatization day and a day to recover from the long flights.
Overnight:West Kilimanjaro Camp
Day 4 Forest Camp
After a hearty breakfast and a climb briefing, you’ll be transferred to the Londorossi Gate (5,900 ft.) to begin your climb. This first trekking day is through dense rainforest (approx. 80 inches precip / yr), under the tangled canopy of moss-coated vines, which are home to the black & white colobus monkey, blue monkey, and a vibrant array of exotic birds. Arrive at your camp set in the lower heather belt and enjoy a hot dinner in the mess tent.
- Trekking:3-4 Hours
- Overnight:Forest Camp (9,500 ft.)
Day 5 Shira 1 Camp
Once out of the forest, take a steep track into a Savannah of tall grasses, heather, and volcanic rock draped with lichen beards. Ascend through the lush rolling hills below the Shira plateau, finally reaching camp at the edge of the plateau. The view of Kibo from across the plateau is amazing.
- Trekking:5-6 Hours
- Overnight:Shira 1 Camp (12,200 ft.)
Day 6 Shira 2 Camp
Full day exploration of the Shira plateau. Trek east toward Kibo’s glaciated peak. Arrive at Shira 2 camp. Shira is one of the highest plateaus on earth, averaging 12,500 feet.
- Trekking:3-4 Hours
- Overnight:Shira 2 Camp (12,600 ft.)
Day 7 Lava Tower Camp
Proceed steadily upward over expansive ridgelines of high desert to our camp set in a striking spot near Lava Tower. You can test your ardor this afternoon or tomorrow morning by climbing to the top of Lava Tower for spectacular panoramas.
- Trekking:4-6 Hours
- Overnight:Lava Tower Camp (15,100 ft.)
Day 8 Karanga Camp
This morning you will descend into the majestic Great Barranco Valley, amidst the forest of giant groundsels, between sheer cliffs with brilliant hanging glaciers. After lunch at Barranco Camp, you begin a scramble up the steep "Barranco Wall."
We then traverse up and down the slopes of valleys, which have carved their way into the mountain's southern face. Kibo’s glaciers loom above to your left and the jagged peak of Mawenzi appears just over the southern slope of Kibo. We stop in the Karanga Valley at the end of this day.
- Trekking:6-7 Hours
- Overnight:Karanga Camp (13,000 ft.)
Day 9 Barafu Camp
As we begin this morning the trail turns steadily uphill. The temperature will grow colder and the landscape more sparse as we near Barafu Camp. Barafu Camp is set on an exposed ridge and is the staging point from which you will make your way into the arctic summit zone tomorrow morning. Our cooks will help you eat and drink as much as possible before retiring to your tent for rest and sleep.
- Trekking:5-6 Hours
- Overnight:Barafu Camp (15,100 ft.)
Day 10 Crater Camp
Today you will wake up at dawn and set out for Crater Camp, climbing over 2,500 ft. with magnificent views of Mt. Mawenzi, Kilimanjaro’s second volcanic cone, to the east. In the afternoon, you will arrive at the crater rim to an arctic moonscape. Camp is set in the wide crater atop Kilimanjaro, in soft sand near the indigo streaked Furtwangler Glacier.
- Trekking:9-10 Hours (Optional 3-Hour Trek to Reusch Crater)
- Overnight:Crater Camp (18,750 ft.)
Day 11 Summit Mount Kilimanjaro
Arise with hot tea and some breakfast, and then amble your way up the last 600 feet to Uhuru Peak (19,340 ft.). Descend the Mweka Route to Barafu Camp for lunch, then continue to your camp nestled in thick heather on the southern slopes.
- Trekking:1-2 Hours to Summit / 4-7 Hours to Descend to Mweka Millenium Camp
- Overnight:Mweka Millenium Camp (12,500 ft.)
Day 12 Descend / Rest
Complete your descent through the rainforest to the Mweka Gate, where you will be met and transferred back to your lodge for a much-needed shower and some merry convalescence.
Day 13 Arrive Home
Connect in Amsterdam to your flight back to North America OR Add a Safari, see below.
Add a Safari
Days 13-14 Serengeti National Park
You will fly out to the Serengeti to meet your safari guide this morning. After your safari briefing, head out into heart of Africa. Before you, unforgettable scenes play out as herds of animals runs across the plains and predators stalk their prey.
We have many game drives amongst the masses of wildlife in this vast, untamed wilderness. Enjoy your evenings in our private Thomson Nyumbas, or canvas bush "homes," allowing us to explore off the beaten path.
All Meals Included
Overnights:Thomson Serengeti Nyumba
Days 15-16 Ngorongoro Crater
This morning, you will drive towards the Great Rift Valley, into the verdant Ngorongoro Highlands. You'll make the 2,000 foot descent via Land Rover to spend the afternoon on the crater floor. Here you'll be amazed as you witness some of the highest concentrations of animals in East Africa.
Tomorrow, you'll have a full day to continue your exploration of the crater floor, enjoying magnificent wildlife viewing before returning to your Thomson Nyumba camp perched high on the crater rim.
All Meals Included
Overnights:Thomson Ngorongoro Nyumba
Days 17-18 Depart / Arrive Home
Head back to Arusha this morning where we will say our good-byes over lunch. You will have time in the afternoon to relax or shop before transferring to Kilimanjaro Airport for the flight to Amsterdam. Arrive home on the afternoon of Day 18.
Day Room:KIA Lodge
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