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: $6,695 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 toward 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

12 days from $6,695

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

Overview

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 2,600 feet of elevation gain and up to 8,840 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.

Itinerary

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, you 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 4.5 miles, 4-6 hours, 2,200 feet ascent. Tonight, the group will be camping at Mount Meru Private Tented Camp. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Montane Forest

Drive approximately one hour to the Kilimanjaro National Park forest edge. From there, walk through the undisturbed forest to your camp for the night. With luck you will be able to see Colobus monkeys and signs of elephant and other forest wildlife during your walk. Hiking 6-8 hours, 5.5 miles, 2,500 feet ascent. Tonight, you will camp at Forest Camp - 9,000 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Shira Plateau - West Side

Take your time walking through the forest in hopes of spotting some of the plentiful game and bird life. The day's hike will take you up through the Montane Forest and the Hagenia forest zone. You will see the unique environmental differences that characterize these equatorial zones. Hiking 5-7 hours, 6.5 miles, 1,950 feet ascent. You will be camping at Shira Camp -11,300 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Shira Plateau to Moir Camp

Your hike today will be about 4 hours across the Shira Plateau, a World Heritage site, and one hour up the western slope of the Kibo Massif. Camp will be in the upper heath zone in full view of the Western Breach.

Hiking 5-7 hours, 6.5 miles, 1,950 feet ascent. Tonight, camp at Moir Camp - 13,900 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Lava Tower

Today you will hike to our camp just under Lava Tower, a 300-foot-high volcanic lava plug that juts out of the side of the mountain. This will be your first introduction to the alpine zone, with the only plant life being the hardiest of grasses and lichens. You will have a spectacular view of our final ascent route up the Western Breach. Hiking 4-6 hours, 3.5 miles, 2,300 feet ascent. Tonight, you will be camping at Lava Tower - 14,300 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Arrow Glacier

With the Western Breach ascent route in full view, you will spend two hours climbing to the base of the route where you will camp near Arrow Glacier. An afternoon hike further up the route before relaxing in camp will help your acclimatization and improve your performance the following day. Hiking 3-4 hours, 1 mile, 800 feet ascent. Tonight, you will rest at Arrow Glacier Camp - 16,000 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Crater Camp

Wind your way up the Western Breach non-technical climbing route for about six hours to the crater rim of the main Kilimanjaro summit massif. Those who still have the energy on top can explore the inner crater and the ash pit before moving to the journey's highest camp on the crater floor. This spectacular high camp is next to the Furtwrangler Glacier with stunning views westward toward Mount Meru and the setting African sun. Hiking 7-9 hours, 2 miles, 2,500 feet ascent. Tonight, you will be sleeping in Crater Camp - 18,500 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Summit and Descend to Mweka Camp

Today, make your way to the summit of Kilimanjaro at 19,340 feet. You will start your summit attempt early enough in the morning to be on the summit by 10:00am. This final ascent is only 800 feet and can be undertaken after sunrise and a leisurely breakfast. Take a moment to appreciate your 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 8-10 hours, 8 miles, 930 feet ascent, 8,840 feet descent. Tonight, you will be sleeping in Mweka Hut - 10,500 feet. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — 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 dinner and a hot shower. Enjoy a well-earned rest before transferring to the airport for evening departures. Hiking 3-5 hours, 4 miles, 3,500 feet decent. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Arrive to the U.S.

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