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Mount Kilimanjaro Trek

Trek to the Roof of Africa

TREK DIFFICULTY

Difficult

TREK DURATION

9 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

19,341 ft

Trek to the Roof of Africa

Kilimanjaro needs no introduction. It gives you the unique experience of standing on top of the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

At Indiahikes we are taking the Machame route to the top. This route has the right mix of adventure and dramatic changes in scenery.

It is hard to comprehend the changes in scenery that happen over 6 days. You are looking at the free-standing mountain standing out of the plains on Day 1. You trek through cultivated fields, rain forests, moorlands, and suddenly alpine deserts full of rock and scree. Beyond that, there are arctic snowfields and glaciers. It is too dramatic, frankly.

On this trek, you have a strong local Tanzanian flavour added to your Indiahikes Experience as well. Our local partners are residents of the villages that surround the mountain. They are going to fill you with stories, culture, and food of the region. 

“This trek must be done not only to experience the Kilimanjaro trek but also to experience the wilderness and culture of Africa. Even before and after the trek, you get to witness one of the most unique wildlife landscapes in the world,” says Arjun Majumdar, founder, and CEO of Indiahikes. “You must spend time in the Serengeti National Park or the wonder of Ngorongoro crater. If time permits, visit some of the old towns. The beaches of Tanzania have crystal clear waters as well!” adds Arjun.

The best part is that it is one of the seven summits that does not require technical expertise or any mountaineering knowledge. On the other hand, we admit it's challenging. You climb to 19,341 ft and trek 60 km in 6 days. Being supremely fit is a basic criterion to do this trek.

Kilimanjaro needs no introduction. It gives you the unique experience of standing on top of the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

At Indiahikes we are taking the Machame route to the top. This route has the right mix of adventure and dramatic changes in scenery.

Mt Kilimanjaro Trek Videos

Mount Kilimanjaro - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a high altitude trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Kilimanjaro trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Experts Speak

Suhas is the head of the DIY and Documentation Team. He has been working at Indiahikes for the past 8 years. Nature, adventure, and wildlife are the top things that get his heart racing. He has done more than 14 Himalayan treks. Along with that, he has done explorations in the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and around Bengaluru. And it was he who explored the grand Phulara Ridge trek. Suhas was also involved in the exploration of other treks like Ranthank Kharak, Pir Panjal Lakes, Vellore Amirthi Forest Trek and the Goa Netravali Forest Trek.

He was also the trek leader for the Kilimanjaro Trek in 2022.

What We Love About the Kilimanjaro Trek

Suhas is the head of the DIY and Documentation Team. He has been working at Indiahikes for the past 8 years. Nature, adventure, and wildlife are the top things that get his heart racing. He has done more than 14 Himalayan treks. Along with that, he has done explorations in the Himalayas, the Western Ghats, and around Bengaluru. And it was he who explored the grand Phulara Ridge trek. Suhas was also involved in the exploration of other treks like Ranthank Kharak, Pir Panjal Lakes, Vellore Amirthi Forest Trek and the Goa Netravali Forest Trek. He was also the trek leader for the Kilimanjaro Trek in 2022.

1. The Sunrise During the Iconic Ascent to Uhuru Peak

The adventurous climb to Uhuru Peak is one thing that brings trekkers and mountaineers from all over the world. Forming one of the Seven Summits, Mount Kilimanjaro, and trekking to the top of Africa is a rare experience to witness.

The thrilling ascent starts during the dead of night at around 11.30 pm, bearing the bone-chilling cold, and climbing more than 4,000 ft over 5 km to reach the top in time for sunrise is nothing short of an expedition.

As the sky changes its color from jet black to fiery red and turns into a Tangerine Orange, this sight will take you back the memory lane of why you are here. All the buildup that you have heard of or the tales, and stories is something you are experiencing on this climb.

This spectacular feat can be achieved only by extremely fit trekkers and those who have done consistent preparation for the trek.

One of the toughest days of trekking you might have done is the summit push to reach Uhuru Peak. Picture by Irshad Pananilath

2. The Variety of the Five Climatic Zones

The most interesting thing about trekking in Kilimanjaro is the five distinct climatic zones you pass through.

a. Bushland Zone (2,600 ft to 6,000 ft):  As you leave Moshi and head to the Machame park gate, you’ll see plenty of evidence of human activity. From grazing of livestock to small farming operations very similar to India. This has changed the native vegetation patterns, which would once have been scrubland and lowland forests. The southern side of the mountain has more rainfall and coupled with the fertile volcanic soil, makes it an ideal growing condition.

b. Rain Forest Zone (6,000 ft to 9,200 ft): Encircling the whole of the mountain is a montane or tropical rain forest. Dense and damp, this forest is home to many different bird and animal species as discussed previously.

c. Heath and Moorland Zone (9,200 ft to 13,200 ft): The forest seems to stop abruptly as you enter this zone, and suddenly you’ve got magnificent views. Characterized by the scrubby shrubs, giant heathers, and tussock grasses, the lower part of this zone is sometimes compared to the Scottish Highlands.

d. Alpine Desert Zone (13,200 ft to 16,500 ft): Intense rays of the sun beat down during the day and at night it’s below freezing. There is very little water in this area, and only the hardiest plants can exist. It’s barren and inhospitable. You’ll come across small hardy plants, very few flowers, and odd tussock grass.

The landscape is dominated by rugged rock formations and panoramic views. If you look closely, you’ll see mosses and lichens, which cover the rocks, avoiding the soil altogether. They may look inert, but these are the plants that thrive in this barren environment.

e. Arctic Zone (16,500 and above): This area is arid, cold at night, and subject to intense sunshine during the day. With half the available oxygen at sea level, the area is dominated by huge glaciers and large boulders. There is no resident animal or plant life, except for a few very hardy lichens, slow-growing and probably ancient.

Once you cross the rain forest zone, from a high point, you can see the switch between one zone to the next. Picture by Suhas Saya

3. The Unique Flora and fauna to Kilimanjaro

The vegetation found on Kilimanjaro is unique. In the initial part of the trek, you come across fern and sycamore trees, junipers, and an old man’s beard (a type of lichen) that covers almost all the trees.

Above 10,000 ft, you’ll start seeing plants and trees that look otherwordly and are endemic to the region. There are giant Groundsels also known as Senecio trees, Red Hot Pokers, and Lobelias.

These plants have developed unique characteristics to allow them to thrive in the drastic temperature swings. As the Senecios grow taller, their leaves die and stay on the plant, forming fur-like insulation around the trunk. Lobelias close their leaves at night, covering their central core for warmth. They are a treat to look at and wonder about.

Coming to fauna, most of the birds and animals are found in the rainforest region. There are birds like Silvery cheeked Hornbills, tropical Boubous, Green Wood Hoopoes, and Hartlaub Turacos to name a few. Primates like Colobus Monkeys, Olive Baboons, and Blue Monkey are heard and seen throughout the forest. There are also Civets, Dik-Dik, Bushpigs, Abbott’s Duikers, and Elephants, but their sightings are extremely rare.

The variety in Flora and fauna inside the Kilimanjaro National trek. Picture by Suhas Saya

4. The Celebration of the Local Culture and Music

Kilimanjaro is perhaps one trek where music is celebrated as part of the trek. You will see this triumph of culture right from Moshi, at the campsites, on the trail and usually as a ritual post.

The vibrant culture of Tanzania is another highlight that most trekkers get to experience when travelling for the trek of Kilimanjaro.

I would suggest keeping at least 3 days after the trek. After travelling all the way, do not miss out on once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the local cuisine, coffee plantations, tribes and grand Safaris or visit remote corners of Tanzania post your trek. Just Kilimanjaro would mean ticking off the box of one of the seven summits of the world without experiencing the other aspects that Tanzania is known for.

Experiencing the celebration of Tanzanian Culture. Picture by Irshad Pananilath

Travel Hacks

Know how to manage your Money

The best thing when travelling is to have a Forex Card from your bank if you are travelling abroad. It works very similarly to a Debit Card and you can withdraw the local currency with minimal charges.

Pro Tip: It is better to withdraw one big chunk instead of multiple withdrawals from the ATMs.

Most of the expenses will be done in Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). Right from the stay, travel, food, souvenirs and major local expenditure will take place using this currency.

Conversion Rates (As of 27th March, 2024)

- 1 INR = 30.62 TZS

- 1 USD = 2552 TZS

Pricing of Basic Necessities in Moshi:

  • Bottle of water: 500 TZS
  • Fruits and vegetables (per kilogram): 1000-3000 TZS
  • Local SIM card: 2000-5000 TZS
  • Transport through the city (per trip): 500-2000 TZS
  • Bread: 500-1000 TZS
  • Average meal in a restaurant: 5000-10000 TZS (vegetarian), 7000-15000 TZS (non-vegetarian)

Tip: Between 1,00,000 TSH to 1,50,000 TZS is good for a two-day budget for stay, food and expenditure.

If you are planning to travel post your trek to a Safari, then USD will work.

Nearby Places to Visit after your Kilimanjaro Trek

Tanzania offers multiple options if you are planning to travel post your trek.

1. Materuni Waterfalls & Local Coffee Tour: 

Materuni is the home of the Chagga tribe and is still an authentic tribal village. This charming place is just 15km away from Moshi Town and is the last village before the Kilimanjaro National Park.

First you will visit the waterfalls, which is around a 40 minute hike. On the way, your guide will inform you about the culture of the Chagga, village life and explain the surrounding fauna and flora. The views are truly breathtaking, and with some luck you will see the summit of Kilimanjaro. When you reach the waterfalls, you will see that they are more than 80 meters high. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall is an inviting place for a refreshing swim so don‘t forget your swimwear!

Next the coffee experience awaits you. Here you will learn how coffee is cultivated, dried, roasted and further processed. You will also be invited to help with the grinding of the coffee, which is traditionally accompanied by Chagga songs and dances – a fun way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Before you say goodbye and return in the afternoon to Moshi, you can savour the coffee you made and appreciate the views of the surrounding rainforest.

2. Kikuletwa Hot Springs (Chemka):

Explore the enchanting Kikuletwa (Chemka) Hot Springs in Tanzania, a hidden natural treasure amidst the African savannah. Immerse yourself in the soothing warm waters, known for their mineral-rich properties, as you unwind and rejuvenate.

Surrounded by towering palm trees and vibrant flora, the oasis-like setting creates a picture-perfect backdrop for unwinding and connecting with nature.

Discover the crystal-clear turquoise pools that bubble up from deep underground and experience the sheer tranquillity of this picturesque paradise. Kikuletwa Hot Springs is a must-visit destination for those seeking relaxation and a deep sense of calm amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

3. Maasai Cultural Tour

Find yourself in the midst of the daily hustle and bustle of local life as you witness the daily rituals of the Maasai. Once you have drunk your fill of this authentic cultural experience, you can choose to browse through the Maasai Craft Centre and purchase artefacts made by the people you encountered. All proceeds from this go directly to the community.

Living a semi-nomadic lifestyle, the Maasai tribe has modernised in some ways but still adheres to many aspects of their traditional culture. Established as fierce warriors, their lively cultural dance, vibrant clothing and beautifully crafted handiwork are recognised worldwide.

The Maasai used to move nomadically with their herds to abundant lush pastures but these days they have built permanent huts or bomas and prefer to stay in one place. They are pastoralists and cattle are essential to their way of life. A man’s success is measured by the number of cattle and offspring he has. As great a status and show of wealth the cattle are, they are also a vital food source. This glimpse of authentic Maasai culture is a fascinating experience of an ancient way of life that still flourishes today.

4. Safaris inside National Parks: There are more than 16 national parks in Tanzania. Home to the Great Migration, Serengeti is one of the famous national parks to go on Safaris. This 15,000 sq km park is full of wildlife. Wildebeest, Lions, Cheetahs, and Leopards call Serengeti their home.

Prior reservation is necessary to visit most of these national parks.

If you find Serengeti to be expensive, then going at least to the Ngorongoro crater is something we would recommend. It is almost like watching National Geographic or Animal Planet Live.

5. Lake Chala: Lake Chala or Challa is a crater lake bordering Tanzania and Kenya. It is 50 km away from Moshi. It is a 4-kilometre-wide lake with a depth of more than 300 ft. The lake is fed by the underground springs from Mount Kilimanjaro.

6. Zanzibar Archipelago: Zanzibar is an archipelago in Tanzania, off the coast of East Africa. The white sand beaches and many islands are perfect to relax after your trek.

Reaching Serengeti is a long journey of about 480 km. Likewise, you’ll have to travel 600 km from Moshi to reach Zanzibar.

So consider these options if you’re planning to stay in Tanzania for at least 3-4 days or more after your trek.

7. Serval Wildlife 

This is a luxury ecotourism lodge and wildlife haven tucked away in the Siha District of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Explore this animal sanctuary where you can feed, take photos with and touch animals such as lions, giraffes, gazelles, zebras and more. 

The health and welfare of our animals are our top priority. Caretakers and guides will always keep the animals’ best interests in mind. As such, we ensure that the interactions are strictly positive and are a source of enrichment for the animals. If we feel that the animals are uncomfortable due to the actions of a guest or alternative circumstances, the interaction with that individual animal will be terminated.

Must Have Food in Tanzania

Vegetarian:

Try delicious dishes like "Ugali" (maize porridge), "Mchicha" (spinach), "Kachumbari" (fresh tomato and onion salad), and "Maharage" (spiced beans).

Non-vegetarian:

Sample traditional dishes such as "Nyama Choma" (grilled meat), "Pilau" (spiced rice with meat), "Mishkaki" (skewered meat), and "Samaki" (grilled fish).

  • Ingredients: Common ingredients include coconut milk, spices (such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves), tomatoes, onions, and various meats or vegetables.

Local Places to Eat:

  • Blossoms Cafe & Wine Bar 
  • Jackfruit Cafe 
  • Milan’s Restaurant (Veg - Indian)
  • Paji’s Restaurant & Bar (Veg & Non-Veg Indian)
  • Chopstix (Chinese)
  • Deli Chez 
  • Maisha Khalisi (Local Tanzanian)
  • Kibo Palace 

A few words to know

We have put together a few Swahili words and phrases that are fun to learn. Try interacting with the locals with these:

Jambo – Hello
Jina langu ni… – My name is...
Habari yako? – How are you?
Powa - All good
Tafadhali – Please
Asante – Thank you
Choo – Toilet
Nimechoka – I’m tired
Kitamu! – Tasty!
Habari Za Asubuhi (Pronounced as Asuboy) - Good morning
Lala Salama – Good night
Kwa heri – Goodbye (to one person)
Kwa herini – Goodbye (to more than one person)

Country Code: +255

  • Nearest Hospital: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre
  • Nearest Police Station: Moshi Central Police Station
  • Nearest ATM: CRDB Bank, Moshi Branch

  • Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue: +255 784 677 311
  • Kilimanjaro National Park Emergency: +255 27 2755477
  • Governmental Emergency Helpline: Dial 112

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

If you are unable to complete a trek, or if you love a trek, you can repeat it with us anytime. You don’t have to pay us for it. See our thoughts behind this here.

Daily 3-time health checks keep you safe at any altitude

Our thrice-a-day oxi-metre checks keep altitude sickness at bay, never allowing you to reach a point where you need evacuation.

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

With around 30% of our trekkers being women, all women, including those travelling solo are comfortable to join any of our groups.

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

Our kitchen teams understand your needs as a vegan (or a Jain). We will take special care of your food, even in the remote Himalayas. 

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

We have specially designed bio toilets to ensure you have no sight or smell in toilets, at the same time making sure the toilets cause no harm to the fragile ecosystem we trek in.

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

We’ll admit it. Our love for food surpasses our love for minimalism. Expect freshly cooked, multi-cuisine food at all camps, designed to meet your nutritional requirements and keep your taste buds happy!