Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Expeditions Over View
One of the main attractions of Tanzania is Mount Kilimanjaro. This gigantic mountain stands 5,895 meters tall and is the highest mountain in Africa. This mountain is most famous for its three summits which include Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi. While the two other summits of Mount Kilimanjaro suffered significant erosion; Kibo, being the youngest and highest peak remains an almost-perfect cone.
Scaling the mountain's heights is a feat that takes plenty of perseverance and it's important to undergo acclimatization before climbing the mountain to reduce the risk of altitude sickness. The trail takes the marangu route. Our climbing expedition can be under taken privately accompanied by the mountain guide and porters or in group subject to availability.
We will spend the nights in mountain huts. We buy fresh produce and other food locally, and to ensure high standards of hygiene the food is prepared by our own staff. We can cater for special dietary requirements with advance notice at no extra charge. You only require bottled water on the first and last day. The other days we will boil water or add purifying tablets then filter using MSR water filtering pump before refilling in your water bottles in the morning.
The Umbwe route is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably the most scenic, non-technical route on Kilimanjaro. It is quite taxing, primarily due to the relatively fast ascent to higher altitude, but the rewards are plentiful. Fewer people, pristine forest and shorter walking distances make it a great option for fit hikers. Add to your experience overnight in the crater. Be one of a few fortunate people to spend a night in Africa's largest volcano. This option is highly recommended, as this will be the only opportunity to get close to the beautiful and fascinating glaciers of Kilimanjaro and to be able to visit the ash pit.
Six Days Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Umbwe Route
Day One: Umbwe Gate - Bivouac Camp
A representative from goshawk tours will meet you at your hotel or pick you up from the airport and he or she will introduce you to mountain guide. The guide will brief you on what to expect and the day's activities. You will be driven to the Umbwe Gate at 1800m, passing through villages with coffee and banana plantations. On arrival at the Parks Gate you will Sign the register before you enter the park for your first step to accomplishing a life-long dream. The air is thick with moisture and the path is usually muddy. The route initially follows a forestry track winding up through the natural rain forest. It then narrows and steepens to climb the ridge between the Lonzo and Umbwe rivers, with huge trees surrounding you. The path offers some spectacular views of deep gorges and if you are lucky glimpses of Kilimanjaro towering above you in the distance are visible. Dinner and over night at the camp which is perched between huge trees and thick undergrowth.
[Time: 5 hours] 1800m - 2940m
Day Two: Barranco Camp
Shortly after leaving the camp the forest starts thinning and is replaced by rockier terrain, sparser undergrowth and straggly, moss-covered trees. The path continues along a narrow, but spectacular ridge. As you gain higher altitude, catch glimpses of Kilimanjaro rising majestically ahead of you edged against the blue sky. The path flattens as you approach Barranco Valley. From the Umbwe ridge the route descends slightly to the Barranco camp. The camp is situated in the valley below the Breach and Great Barranco Wall, which should provide you with a memorable sunset while your dinner is being prepared.
[Time: 6 hours] 2940m - 3950m
Day Three: Lava Tower - Arrow Glacier Camp
After breakfast you will start your hike towards Lava Tower, a famous landmark on mt. Kilimanjaro. The path is steep and rocky, with views of Mt. Meru; Kilimanjaro's little sister, punching her peak through the clouds.
From Lava Tower you turn towards the Western Breach, a steep climb to Arrow Glacier camp (4800m). The climb is tasking and symptoms of altitude sickness might become noticeable. The campsite is spectacular. Vegetation has now all but disappeared, leaving only rock and scree in varying in shades of brown and black. The campsite is very cold and you need to be prepared. Dinner and over night at the camp.
[Time: 6 hours] 3950m - 4800m
Day Four: Crater
From the arrow glacier camp the trail is made up off steep scree and rocky outcrops requiring a scramble lead up the Western Breach to the crater floor (5700m). This day will be the toughest challenge by far. After snowfalls the route can become icy and in these conditions an ice axe or ski stick may be required. When reaching the crater rim, you will be astonished by the view of snow and glaciers. Visible to your left is the Northern ice fields of Kilimanjaro with the furtwangler glacier in front of you. Walk past this glacier to the Crater camp, situated at the crater rim. If time permits, you can climb to the ash pit (1 ½ hour). The Ash Pit is 340m across, 120m deep and is one of the most perfect-formed examples in the world. The campsite is very cold as snow might occur. Be one of a fortunate few to spend a night in the inner crater of Kilimanjaro.
[Time: 5 hours] 4800m - 5700m
Day Five: Summit attempt - Uhuru Peak - Millennium camp
You will wake up around 04:00hours, and after some tea and biscuits you Scuffle off into the early morning darkness. From the crater floor you will probably encounter snow all the way on your 2-hour ascent to Uhuru Peak. Time spend on the summit will depend on the weather conditions. Do not stop here for too long, as it will be extremely difficult to start again due to cold and fatigue. On arrival at the highest point in Africa part yourself on the back for your accomplishment and enjoy the view. The walk to Barafu camp from the summit, takes about 3 hours. Here you will have a well earned but short rest, before heading down to Millennium camp (3100m). The route is not difficult and will take you down the rock and scree path into the moorland and eventually into the forest. The camp is situated in the upper forest and mist or rain can be expected in the late afternoon. Dinner and washing water will be provided as well as drinking water.
[Time: 9 hours] 5700m - 5895m - 3100m
Day Six: Mweka Gate
Wake early to enjoy a well-deserved breakfast, and then embark on the five hour walk to the park gate. Tip your porters only when your equipment is safe at the gate. At Mweka Gate you receive your certificate of summit, after signing the register, and if you've completed the climb successfully. Climbers who successfully get to Uhuru receive golden certificates, while those who make it to Stella Point receive green certificates. From Mweka Gate you walk to Mweka Village, a one hour walk through 3kms of muddiness (usually). You receive a hot lunch at the Mweka Village, and are taken back to Moshi, where you can celebrate your summit, and have that long-overdue hot shower. You stay the night in Springlands Hotel. [Time: 5 hours] 3100m - 1980m
Climbing Trek Pricing Includes:
- Transport to and from the base of the mountain.
- Park entrance fees.
- Accommodation in mountain huts.
- Meals as described in the itinerary.
- Services of a mountain guide, porters & a cook.
- Rescue fee.
- H.F Radio communication for backup in case of an emergency.
- All government taxes.
Climbing Trek Pricing Excludes:
- International airfares.
- Climbing equipments.
- All expenditure of personal nature such as telephone calls, hard drinks, soft drinks and laundry.
- Travel Insurance.
Africa's highest mountain and the world's highest free standing mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro which is also referred to as "The Roof of Africa" stands at 5895 metres above sea level. The mountain is a dormant volcano and has three outstanding peaks namely shira at 3962m, mawenzi at 5149m and kibo at 5895m. Uhuru Peak is the highest summit on Kibo's crater rim.
Kilimanjaro is a giant stratovolcano that began forming a million years ago, when lava spilled from the Rift Valley zone. Two of its three peaks, Mawenzi and Shira, are extinct while Kibo (the highest peak) is dormant and could erupt again. The last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago, while the most recent activity was recorded just 200 years ago. Although it is dormant, Kibo has fumaroles that emit gas in the crater. Scientists concluded in 2003 that molten magma is just 400 m (1,310 ft) below the summit crater. Several collapses and landslides have occurred on Kibo in the past, one creating the area known as the Western Breach.
Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1889 by German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountain climber Ludwig Purtscheller. There are six routes that one can use to climb the mountain that is Marangu, Mweka, Umbwe, Machame, Shira and Rongai. Only four of these routes are commonly used.
Mount Kilimanjaro Zones
Mount Kilimanjaro vegetation zones are characterized by tropical forest, open moorland, alpine desert and finally rocks and ice fields. From 1850 m - 2800m we have the montane forest. The area is usually damp or wet due to rainfall. Notably there isn't a bamboo forest on mount Kilimanjaro. From 3200m the montane forest paves way for moorland which extends beyond the heath.
The nights on this zone are cool while the days are sunny and the air thins. Giant groundsels and lobelia thrive on this zone. The moorland gives way Alpine desert at 4000m, this zone is characterized by minimal vegetation, the sand is loose and the weather is intense. Above 5000m there isn't any vegetation and you can find are rocks and ice fields.
Mount Kilimanjaro Climate
Mount Kilimanjaro is only 3 degrees south of the equator and is influenced by the passage of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone. There are two rainy seasons. The long rains occurs from March to the end of May and the short rains occur from October to November, but can extend into December.
Apart from these factors, climbing Kilimanjaro remains fairly constant throughout the year. The maximum rainfall occurs in the forest belt, where it can reach up to 2000 mm per year. At the summit, which can be describe as a "high altitude desert", the rainfall is less than 100 mm per year. Rain and snow at higher altitudes can however be encountered at any time of the year.
The average temperatures at the foot of the mountain are 25° - 30° C and on the summit, it can range from minus 10° - 20° C. At 3000m the day temperatures range from 5° - 15° C, and at night frost is normally encountered; clearly a large variation, making it more interesting to summit the mountain.
Clothing and Footwear
- Walking/hiking shoes - comfortable and waterproof.
- Socks - Fitting socks one thick and one thin pair.
- Walking trousers synthetic material is recommended.
- Long Underwear Tops - Light synthetic.
- Women's sports bras Synthetic material.
- Light fleece with a warm layer.
- Long sleeve polypropylene shirt.
- Medium weight polypropylene/thermal leggings.
- Wind - waterproof - breathable jacket.
- Gloves- light weight.
- Warm Hat or Balaclava Sun hat - wool or synthetic.
- Face mask or neck gaiter.
- Medium or large duffel bag to pack your town clothes with a lock, this can be left at the hotel or we can store them for you.
- Medium duffel bag to pack your hiking stuff with a lock. [ The porter will carry this bag. ]
- A day pack to store your essentials with a capacity of about 25 to 35 liters is recommended.
- Head lamp with extra batteries & bulbs.
- Adjustable trekking poles.
- Sleeping bag - Rated 3 - season.
- Gaiters - make sure they will fit over boots.
- Purification tablets or filters - water for drinking is fetched from mountain streams.
- Water bottle preferably one litre.
- Female or male hygiene supplies.
- Hand wipes and camp towel.
- Personal toiletry kit.
- Lip balm.
- Sun glasses.
- Camera & extra battries.
- Passport, flight ticket, travel insurance, visa, cash & credit card.
- Basecamp entertainment i.e books, board games, playing cards or ipod.
- Favorite Snacks, candy bars or protein bars.
Kindly don't forget your patience, have an open mind, positive and relaxed attitude as things in this part of the world may be very different to what you are accustomed to but in the end the experience is price less and will always be memorable.