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Mount Kilimanjaro

Tanzania MapThe porters are waiting on the side of the trail having set down their heavy load on the grass for a short break. From the beginning, we have seen a succession of beautiful landscape and this morning we reached the last watering-hole. The summit of his magic mountain covered by glaciers is at the end of the trek. The porters keep saying “pole pole” which means slowly, at your own pace.

Kilimanjaro consists of three summits: to the west, the shira plateau, to the east Mawenzi peak and between the two the snow-capped summit of Kibo which reaches 5894 meters. It’s the roof of Africa. There are several ways to reach the top: Marangu route (to the east) is the most popular, Machame (to the west), Umbwe and Mweka (to the south) are more demanding.

Mount Meru is a conical volcanic mountain reaching a height of 4,566m above sea level and is the fifth highest in Africa. The mountain is within Arusha National Park, which came into existence in 1960 when the wildlife area around the Momella Lakes and Ngurudoto Crater were officially declared a protected area. Three to four days is the recommended time for climbing the mountain. The best time to climb Meru is from June to February, although it may rain in November. The best views of Kilimanjaro from Meru are between December and February.

Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, altitude 2886 meters (9524 feet), is a unique and extremely fascinating volcano that towers above the East African Rift Valley in Northern Tanzania, just south of Lake Natron. It is the only volcano in the world that sometimes erupts natrocarbonatite lava, a highly fluid lava that contains almost no silicon. Natrocarbonatite lava is also much cooler than other lavas, being only about 950 degrees F (510 degrees C) compared to temperatures over 2000 degrees F (~1100 degrees C) for basaltic lavas. Natrocarbonatite is the most fluid lava in the world. Lava with a low gas content can flow like a whitewater stream, and actually has a viscosity near that of water. Natrocarbonatite lava glows orange at night, but is not nearly as bright as silicon-based lavas since it is not as hot. During the day it is not incandescent; most flows look like very fluid black oil, or brown foam, depending on the gas content. In the past, some visitors to the crater believed they were seeing mud flows. Most newly solidified lava is black and contains crystals that sparkle brightly in the sun. There are also sometimes small flows known as “squeeze-ups” that are light gray when they flow and harden. Contact with moisture rapidly turns natrocarbonatite lava white because of chemical reactions that occur when the lava absorbs water. Eventually the water absorption process turns lava flows into soft brown powder. During dry weather the whitening of flows happens over a period of a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the thickness of the flow. In rainy weather the lava surface turns white immediately. In parts of the crater that have been inactive for several months, the ground is light brown/white and so soft that one sinks into it when walking.

Machame Route Itinerary

Day 1: Machame Gate - Machame Hut -10 km 5-6 hrs. After breakfast you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro National Park gate where you will embark on your climb of Kilimanjaro. Today sees about 5 - 6 hours of walking, through the cultivation zone and the forest to Machame Hut (3,100m). Here you will spend the evening in the huts, and dinner and overnight.

Day 2: Machame Hut (3100m)- Shira Hut (3800m)-10 km, 5-7hrs. Leave Machame hut in the morning, path leads up through steep rocky ridges. Shira hut at 3800m. above sea level is reached in the late afternoon. You have superb views of the Shira Plateau and the land below Mt. Meru another extinct volcano is seen on the South Western direction. Overnight Shira Hut.

Day 3: Shira Hut (3800m) - Barranco Hut (3950m) - 10 km, 6 - 7 hrs. From the Shira Plateau, you will continue east passing the junction heading toward the peak of Kibo. Along the way you will pass "sharks tooth" which will bring you up to the Arrow Glacier. You now continue downhill to Barranco Hut, where you will spend the evening at an altitude of 3,860m. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4: BARRANCO HUT (ACCLIMATIZATION) After breakfast, this day is spent to acclimatize to the altitude.

Day 5: Barranco Hut (3950m) - Barafu Hut (4600m)- 8 km, 7 - 9 hrs. Leave Barranco hut and cross the floor of the Great Barranco Valley and up to the Barranco wall; continue the trek on the south circuit path passing through the Karanga Valley (last water point - Karanga River). Your path joints the Mweka route and up the broad ridge to Barafu Hut at 4600m. above sea level. From Barafu hut you have excellent views of the top section of the Kibo dome, the Mawenzi peak and plains below. Overnight Barafu hut.

Day 6: Barafu Hut (4600m.) - Stella Point (5600M.) - Uhuru Peak (5895m.) - 11 hrs - Mweka Hut - 5km - 4-7 hrs. Between midnight and one (1a.m) start the trek to conquer the highest point in Africa. This section of the route is very steep and is considered the steepest on the non-technical path on this mountain. You will encounter at least five (5) grueling hours to reach the crater rim at Stella Point 5745m. above sea level.Uhuru Peak 5895m. is reached after One (1) hours from Stella point. The fascinating color changing sunrise is the right reward at Uhuru Peak. The descent is past Stella Point and Barafu Hut to Mweka Hut (3100m. above sea level) and overnight.

Day 7: Mweka Hut - Mweka Gate 10Km 3 - 4 hrs. This day is spent for a leisurely descent through the forest on a narrow path to the gate where we arrive, exhausted but exhilarated, to meet our driver and transfer to Arusha.

MARANGU ROUTE 6 DAYS:

DAY 1: MARANGU GATE TO MANDARA HUT 7KM / 3-4HRS At 8:30 you will be picked up from your accommodation and depart for the Marangu gate. Begin trekking through the rain forest and you will have chance to see a lots of birds and monkeys, provided with pack lunch later arrives to Mandara hut for B.L.D.

DAY 2: MANDARA HUT TO HOROMBO HUT 11KM / 5-6 HRS After breakfast, leave the glades of the rain forest and continue trekking into open rolling moor land passing through Giant heater, a good rearing day walk is up to saddle and the lower of Mawenzi. Trekking to Horombo hut for B.L.D.

DAY 3: HOROMBO HUT (ACCLIMATIZING) After morning breakfast a day is spent acclimatizing to the altitude, with some light walking in this area, overnight at Horombo hut for B.L.D.

DAY 4: HOROMBO HUT TO KIBO HUT 12KM / 5-6 HRS After morning breakfast begins trekking to Kibo hut, in between Horombo and Kibo it is the last water point. A broad desert zone between the two peaks of kibo and Mawenzi. You will enjoy the Black and White Striped Zebra Line rock. There is no reliable water supply all water must be carried from Horombo or one of the last water points. Trekking to Kibo hut for B.L.D.

DAY 5: KIBO HUT TO UHURU PEAK THEN BACK TO HOROMBO HUT 21KM /12-14HRSThe start for the summit is made just after midnight to have a chance to see the sunrise from the crater rim and to give them chance of avoiding the mist also the snow on the path of Uhuru Peak can still be frozen. The steepest part of the route is to Gillman's point. A further one and a half - hours walk to Uhuru Peak. Then from here will descend to Horombo hut for B.L.D.

DAY 6: HOROMBO HUT TO MARANGU GATE 18KM / 5-6HRS After breakfast then day is spent descending to the Marangu gate. Mandara is the halfway for a break, after reaching Marangu gate then return to your vehicles where we say farewell to our crew and direct Transfer to Arusha.

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