For the true challenge of a lifetime, join us to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro! Our trek to the “roof of Africa” in Tanzania follows a less traveled route that offers spectacular beauty, highly experienced guides, and maximum acclimatization time.

Starting at: $6,595 Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Hikers at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro  Mount Kilimanjaro. Credit: Smithsonian Journeys Expert Kirt Kempter  Hiking through a forest of giant groundsel on the Mt. Kilimanjaro trek  One of the camps set up for the evening  Hiking along the Machame Route on Mt. Kilimanjaro  Taking a break from climbing  The Southern Ice Fields with shadow of Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru in the distance  Hikers in front of Arrow Glacier, excited to summit the next day  Hikers take a photo with one of Mt. Kilimanjaro's large glaciers  Sunrise on Mt. Kilimanjaro  The summit sign

Climbing Kilimanjaro

11 days from $6,595

For the true challenge of a lifetime, join us to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro! Our trek to the “roof of Africa” in Tanzania follows a less traveled route that offers spectacular beauty, highly experienced guides, and maximum acclimatization time.

or Call 833-254-6678


Activity Level 5:  Challenging

Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as walking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer cultural or historical context. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. As some trips are more difficult than others, please review the following activity level description—and feel free to contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length—to ensure this Active Journey is right for you.

Although this climb does not require any technical skills, this trip offers sustained periods of strenuous hiking at high altitude. This requires both mental and physical strength. You must be in excellent physical condition. Daily hikes of 3 to 8 miles (from two to fifteen hours a day) are taken at a steady, active pace over terrain that ranges from well-marked forest trails to steep, rocky inclines and areas of exposure. Mountaineering boots, a day pack for carrying daily necessities, and hiking poles for steep ascents/descents are a must.  

Altitudes range from 6,000 to 19,340 feet with up to 4,000 feet of elevation gain and up to 9,140 feet of elevation loss per day. Accommodations feature private mobile camps with mountaineering or safari style tents. No vehicle support is possible on the mountain. All camp gear and guest luggage is carried by porters. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are in top physical condition with significant hiking or climbing experience, expect a vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to fifteen hours of hiking per day at high altitudes, and who seek an ultimate challenge. A signed physician’s certificate is required for participation.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. and travel to Arusha, Tanzania.

Day 2 — Arrive Arusha, Tanzania

Your trip leader will meet you upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer with you to your deluxe camp situated at the base of Mount Meru. Along the way, you’ll spotlight for nocturnal wildlife. The camp is at an elevation of about 6,000 feet, which aids in acclimatization for your upcoming climb. Hot showers and cold drinks await you! Tonight you will camp at Mount Meru Private Tented Camp

Day 3 — Mount Meru

Today you’ll recuperate from your long flight, check your equipment, and have a thorough climbing briefing. Following the briefing, you will set off on a warm-up hike along the forested slopes of Mount Meru, a 14,900-foot volcano. Meru’s eruption occurred some 250,000 years ago, and great forests of African cedar and podocarpus have since grown up to cover its crater and slopes.

On your hike, we have the chance to see colobus monkeys, bushbuck and duiker, buffalo, giraffe, and perhaps elephant or even the elusive leopard. The forest bird life is excellent and includes touracos, hornbills, and parrots. Weather permitting, you can enjoy the sunset from a small hill beside camp and watch the alpenglow descend on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Return to camp this evening for dinner. Hiking 5-8 miles. Tonight we will be camping at Mount Meru Private Tented Camp. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Hike to Machame Camp

After a filling breakfast this morning, you will depart camp early this morning for the Machame Park Gate where we will obtain our climbing permits and meet our porter team. Start your hike through the Montane Forest. Including a stop for lunch, it will take about six hours to reach our camp on the upper forest edge. Upon arrival at camp, your staff will prepare dinner this evening. Hiking 8 miles, 4 hours. Tonight, we will camp at Machame Camp - 9,000 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — East Shira Plateau

Today make our way to the East Shira Plateau. Your hike today will take about five hours as you ascend the Machame route above the old Shira Hut. Watch as the landscape changes as you move into the upper heath zone. Hiking 5-6 hours. We will be camping at Shira Camp -12,300 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Barranco Camp

Today there is a strenuous day of hiking in store. After another full breakfast, begin your hike to just below Lava Tower at 14,000 feet, stopping for lunch along the way. You will then hike back down to your camp in the Great Barranco Valley where dinner awaits and you can sleep at a lower elevation. The views of the Great Breach Wall are better from this camp than anywhere on the mountain! Hiking 5-6 hours. Tonight we will be camping at Barranco Camp - 13,000 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Karanga Valley

Today is an acclimatization day to allow time for your body to adjust somewhat to being at higher altitude. The three-hour hike today climbs out of the Barranco Valley and ascends to over 14,000 feet. You then traverse under the glaciers of the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro before you descend into Karanga Valley for the night to sleep again at 13,000 feet. Enjoy views of Kilimanjaro today and the anticipation of your upcoming summit attempt. Optional hiking 4 hours. Tonight we will be camping at Karanga Valley Camp - 13,000 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Barafu Camp

Today is another strenuous day of climbing as you prepare for tomorrow’s summit attempt. As you continue traversing from the Karanga Valley, you will have close-up views of the mountain’s Southern Glaciers. Traverse for a couple of hours before you begin your final 1,600-foot ascent to Barafu Hut. After dinner this evening, turn in early. You will need your rest for the day ahead! Hiking 5-6 hours. Tonight we rest at Barafu Hut - 15,500 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Summit and Mweka Camp

Today is a challenging day as you make your way to the summit of Kilimanjaro at 19,340 feet. You will start your ascent very early in the morning while it is still dark. The goal is to arrive near the crater rim as the morning sun is rising. Take a moment to appreciate the sense of accomplishment and enjoy sweeping views from Uhuru Peak as you stand on the “Roof of Africa.” You will then begin the long descent back to Barafu Hut where you will stop for a break before continuing down to Mweka Hut. Your camp staff will be waiting with a full dinner and warm drinks. Hiking 12-14 hours. Tonight we will be sleeping in Mweka Hut - 10,500 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Descend to Arusha

A final descent brings you down to Mweka Gate where your team will have prepared another scrumptious lunch. After saying farewell to your mountain team, your transfer vehicles will be waiting to transport you to your hotel near Arusha for a dinner and hot shower. Enjoy a well-earned rest before transferring to the airport for evening departures. Hiking 3-4 hours. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Arrive to the U.S.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)