Transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Mountain Village Lodge
Mountain Village Lodge offers a haven of calm and serenity just outside the hustle and bustle of Arusha, Tanzania’s premier ‘Safari Town’. Set in the flowered gardens of a coffee planter’s farm house and surrounded by rolling groves of wax-green coffee bushes, Mountain Village offers wide timbered decks with panoramic views over Lake Duluti. The 42 stone-built rooms are housed in a half-moon of traditional ‘rondavel’ circular dwellings with views over a bougainvillea-cloaked slope descending to the lake’s shores. Each ‘rondavel’, neatly thatched in ‘Makuti’ stems and lined with close-weave basketwork, has been arranged to cluster in a village-style grouping around the shade of an ancient forest tree whilst the lavishly ‘Makonde’ carved doors radiate off the cool of a central flowered courtyard. Charmingly appointed with spacious bathrooms, individual verandas and curved French windows giving views onto the tranquil lakeside beauty, the rooms have been decorated in the traditional safari style and feature net-draped beds, soft lamps, intricately carved furniture and pastel-patterned drapes. At the end of an action-packed day, guests can also take in a stroll around the flowered gardens, watch flights of snow-white egret returning to their forest roosts, explore the lake by canoe or follow the nature trail that loops around the lake and into the groves of neighboring coffee estates. The dining room overlooks the lake’s flower-fringed slopes and features an open-air bar area, a relaxed candlelit atmosphere and menu choices that include traditional safari favorites and internationally themed menus alike.
Transfer from Mountain Village Lodge to the Machame Gate (situated at 1800m)
After a short walk through the attractive banana and coffee farms of Machame Village, the path follows a ridge through dense montane forest. This is the richest forested area on the mountain, and also the zone from where 96% of the water on Kilimanjaro originates. On sunny days, and especially in the dry season, this section is very lush and beautiful; it can also be a very muddy experience, particularly if it has rained recently! You stop for lunch at ‘halfway clearing’, a small opening in the trees, and continue climbing steadily. The gradient becomes gentler as the forest slowly merges into giant heather close to your first camp, near the ruins of Machame Hut (situated at 3000m). You may get your first close look at the glaciated dome of Kibo if the evening clouds permit. Your walk today takes 6-8 hours.
Proceed from Machame campsite to the Shira Plateau
Today is a shorter day that begins by climbing a steep ridge to reach a small semicircular cliff known as Picnic Rock. There are excellent views of Kibo and the jagged rim of Shira Plateau from here, and it is a good rest point too! The trail continues less steeply to reach the Shira Plateau. You camp near Shira Hut (situated at 3840m), which has some of the most stunning views on Kilimanjaro; the huge volcanic cone of Kibo, the spectacular rock formations of Shira Plateau, and looking across to Mt. Meru floating on the clouds. Today’s walk is 4-6 hours.
Proceed from the Shira campsite to the Great Barranco Valley
Today you walk for 5-6 hours enjoying sightings of the typical Kilimanjaro mountain vegetation (Senecios, Lobelia, Helichrysum) and reaching a high point of around 4600m before descending for the rest of the day. On clear days the Lava Tower can be seen as well as some distinct glaciers. These glaciers are shrinking as world temperatures increase. It is speculated that in a mere 15 years many of these glaciers will disappear, forever. The path down to the Barranco Valley can be particularly rewarding and the view of Kibo peak is truly spectacular. In the evening the blanket of cloud often hangs just below the valley, pulsating in the dying light. Camp is pitched in the Barranco Valley at around 3950m.
Proceed from Great Barranco Valley campsite up the Barranco Wall and onto to Barafu
A steep climb up the Barranco Wall leads you to an undulating trail on the south-eastern flank of Kibo, with superb vistas of the Southern Icefields. Lunch is usually taken at Karanga, the last water point, in a steep valley, (4100m) with breathtaking views of the Western Breach and the southern glacier. From Karanga you head up a moraine ridge taking your time and going slowly. The views here can be spectacular on the southern glaciers and of the glacial valleys that snake their way down the mountain. On the final stage to Barafu, the terrain changes to scree and you climb steeply to reach the Barafu Hut Campsite (situated at 4600m). In the evening your guide briefs you for the final ascent.
Descend from Barafu Hut Campsite to the National Park gate at Mweka
Transfer from Mweka Gate to Mountain Village Lodge
A sustained descent through the lovely forest with lush undergrowth takes you to the National Park gate at Mweka (situated at 1650m). At the gate, you are met and transferred back to Mountain Village Lodge, where you rest for the remainder of the day and celebrate your amazing achievement.