Difficulty

Difficult | Level 3

Duration

8 Days

Highest Altitude

19,341 ft

Age

18 to 50 years

Duration

8 Days

Age

18 to 50 years

Difficulty

Difficult | Level 3

Highest Altitude

19,341 ft

optional additions

Trek fee

+ % Gst

+

Mount Kilimanjaro Trek

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 the top, out of the three volcanic cones – the dormant Kibo (19,341 ft) has a 24-km wide crater called the Reusch Crater. From the highest point of the trek – the Uhuru Peak – one can walk to the crater and take a peek at the volcanic Ash Pit that lies 1,150 ft deep within the crater.

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 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. 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.

optional additions

Trek fee

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Quick Itinerary

A route map of the Kilimanjaro trek

Day 1

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport and drive to Hotel Leopard in Moshi

Drive Distance: 42 km | Duration: 1 hour | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Kilimanjaro International Airport

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, meet our team, and leave for Hotel Leopard in Moshi. Your pick-up from the airport and stay at Moshi are included in your trek fee, so you don’t have to look for travel and stay options on the day of your arrival.

Note: Choose flights that land at Moshi in the morning. This ensures you have enough time to rest on Day 1 at Moshi. If you choose a flight that lands in the afternoon or later, you will miss out on the much needed rest.

Day 2

Drive from Hotel Leopard to Machame Gate, and trek to Machame Camp

Drive Distance: 31 km | Duration: 55 minutes

Trek Distance: 10 km | Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 5,950 ft to 9,860 ft

Easy-Moderate. As you leave the park gate, walk through the dense rainforest on a winding trail up a ridge until you reach Machame Camp.

The drive from Moshi to the Machame Gate takes about an hour. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Day 3

Trek from Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Trek Distance: 5 km | Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Gain: 9,860 ft to 12,570 ft

Moderate-Difficult. Leave the glades of the rainforest and continue on an ascending path up to a steep, rocky ridge. On the Shira Plateau, pass through heather and open moorlands, then cross a large river gorge to Shira 2 Camp.

Day 4

Trek from Shira 2 Camp to Barranco Camp via Lava Tower

Trek Distance: 9.50 km | Duration: 8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 12,570 ft to 13,060 ft via 15,160 ft

Moderate-Difficult. Continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower, a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. Descend to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at a higher altitude is beneficial for acclimatisation.

Day 5

Trek from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp via Karanga Camp

Trek Distance: 8 km | Duration: 10 hours | Altitude Gain: 13,060 ft to 15,330 ft via 13,195 ft

Difficult. Start the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall, cross a series of hills and valleys until you descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads to Karanga Camp. You will have your hot lunch at Karanga.

After lunch, leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Camp here, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this point.

Day 6

Trek from Barafu Camp to Mweka Camp via Uhuru Peak

Trek Distance: 16.50 km | Duration: 14 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 15,330 ft to 10,090 ft via 19,341 ft

Difficult. Start the summit push at midnight. This is the most mentally and physically challenging section of the trek. Near Stella Point, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, arrive at Uhuru Peak – the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

Descend from Uhuru Peak, and continue straight down to the Mweka Hut campsite, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees. A pair of trekking poles are helpful. In the evening, enjoy the last dinner on Mount Kilimanjaro and a well-earned sleep.

Day 7

Trek from Mweka Camp to Mweka Village. Drive back to Hotel Leopard in Moshi

Trek Distance: 10 km | Duration: 4 hours | Altitude Loss: 10,090 ft to 5,380 ft

Drive Distance: 24 km | Duration: 1 hour

Moderate. On the last day, continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, continue for another hour to Mweka Village. Our vehicle will pick you up at Mweka Village to drive you back to Hotel Leopard in Moshi.

Day 8

Depart from Hotel Leopard in Moshi to Kilimanjaro International Airport

Drive Distance: 42 km | Duration: 1 hour | Drop off point for Indiahikes trekkers: Kilimanjaro International Airport

Today is the day you bid adieu to Tanzania and head back to the airport. If you plan to explore Tanzania further, our local coordinator will help you plan you're itinerary after Day 8.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry original documents (ID Card, Passport, Immunization Papers, Insurance Documents) for entry inside the Kilimanjaro National Park

- In Moshi, your stay will be arranged in a hotel

- On the trek, you will be staying 2 in a tent

- You may leave behind the luggage that you won't need on the trek at your hotel, near the reception. There will not be any specific cloakroom facility with lockers.

A route map of the Kilimanjaro trek

PRO-TIPS

Book flexible flight tickets

You are going on an International trek, where there are several unpredictable factors. It's best to book flexible flight tickets, which you can reschedule if required. These are available for a small added cost with most travel companies.

Fly to Nairobi from Ahmedabad, and take a bus to Moshi

After a lot of research, we have concluded that flying to Nairobi from Ahmedabad will cut your travel costs by half. Flying to Nairobi from Ahmedabad, and taking a 7-hour bus to Moshi is much cheaper as compared to flying directly to Moshi from any of the metro cities in India.

Follow the same itinerary while returning. Take a bus back to Nairobi from Moshi and fly back to Ahmedabad.

You'll need to have a Visa for Kenya as well as Tanzania in this case.

Day 1

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport and drive to Hotel Leopard in Moshi

Drive Distance: 42 km | Duration: 1 hour | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: Kilimanjaro International Airport

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, meet our team, and leave for Hotel Leopard in Moshi. Your pick-up from the airport and stay at Moshi are included in your trek fee, so you don’t have to look for travel and stay options on the day of your arrival.

Note: Choose flights that land at Moshi in the morning. This ensures you have enough time to rest on Day 1 at Moshi. If you choose a flight that lands in the afternoon or later, you will miss out on the much needed rest.

Day 2

Drive from Hotel Leopard to Machame Gate, and trek to Machame Camp

Drive Distance: 31 km | Duration: 55 minutes

Trek Distance: 10 km | Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 5,950 ft to 9,860 ft

Easy-Moderate. As you leave the park gate, walk through the dense rainforest on a winding trail up a ridge until you reach Machame Camp.

The drive from Moshi to the Machame Gate takes about an hour. The journey passes through the village of Machame which is located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Day 3

Trek from Machame Camp to Shira 2 Camp

Trek Distance: 5 km | Duration: 6 hours | Altitude Gain: 9,860 ft to 12,570 ft

Moderate-Difficult. Leave the glades of the rainforest and continue on an ascending path up to a steep, rocky ridge. On the Shira Plateau, pass through heather and open moorlands, then cross a large river gorge to Shira 2 Camp.

Day 4

Trek from Shira 2 Camp to Barranco Camp via Lava Tower

Trek Distance: 9.50 km | Duration: 8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 12,570 ft to 13,060 ft via 15,160 ft

Moderate-Difficult. Continue to the east up a ridge and then head southeast towards the Lava Tower, a 300 ft tall volcanic rock formation. Descend to Barranco Camp through the strange but beautiful Senecio Forest. Although you begin and end the day at the same elevation, the time spent at a higher altitude is beneficial for acclimatisation.

Day 5

Trek from Barranco Camp to Barafu Camp via Karanga Camp

Trek Distance: 8 km | Duration: 10 hours | Altitude Gain: 13,060 ft to 15,330 ft via 13,195 ft

Difficult. Start the day by descending into a ravine to the base of the Great Barranco Wall. Then climb the non-technical but steep, nearly 900 ft cliff. From the top of the Barranco Wall, cross a series of hills and valleys until you descend sharply into Karanga Valley. One more steep climb up leads to Karanga Camp. You will have your hot lunch at Karanga.

After lunch, leave Karanga and hit the junction which connects with the Mweka Trail. Continue up to the rocky section to Barafu Hut. At this point, you have completed the Southern Circuit, which offers views of the summit from many different angles. Camp here, rest and enjoy an early dinner to prepare for the summit day. The two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo are viewable from this point.

Day 6

Trek from Barafu Camp to Mweka Camp via Uhuru Peak

Trek Distance: 16.50 km | Duration: 14 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 15,330 ft to 10,090 ft via 19,341 ft

Difficult. Start the summit push at midnight. This is the most mentally and physically challenging section of the trek. Near Stella Point, you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise you are ever likely to see over Mawenzi Peak. Finally, arrive at Uhuru Peak – the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro and the continent of Africa.

Descend from Uhuru Peak, and continue straight down to the Mweka Hut campsite, stopping at Barafu for lunch. The trail is very rocky and can be quite hard on the knees. A pair of trekking poles are helpful. In the evening, enjoy the last dinner on Mount Kilimanjaro and a well-earned sleep.

Day 7

Trek from Mweka Camp to Mweka Village. Drive back to Hotel Leopard in Moshi

Trek Distance: 10 km | Duration: 4 hours | Altitude Loss: 10,090 ft to 5,380 ft

Drive Distance: 24 km | Duration: 1 hour

Moderate. On the last day, continue the descent to Mweka Gate and collect your summit certificates. At lower elevations, it can be wet and muddy. From the gate, continue for another hour to Mweka Village. Our vehicle will pick you up at Mweka Village to drive you back to Hotel Leopard in Moshi.

Day 8

Depart from Hotel Leopard in Moshi to Kilimanjaro International Airport

Drive Distance: 42 km | Duration: 1 hour | Drop off point for Indiahikes trekkers: Kilimanjaro International Airport

Today is the day you bid adieu to Tanzania and head back to the airport. If you plan to explore Tanzania further, our local coordinator will help you plan you're itinerary after Day 8.

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending the weather conditions and the route you take. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry original documents (ID Card, Passport, Immunization Papers, Insurance Documents) for entry inside the Kilimanjaro National Park

- In Moshi, your stay will be arranged in a hotel

- On the trek, you will be staying 2 in a tent

- You may leave behind the luggage that you won't need on the trek at your hotel, near the reception. There will not be any specific cloakroom facility with lockers.

PRO-TIPS

Book flexible flight tickets

You are going on an International trek, where there are several unpredictable factors. It's best to book flexible flight tickets, which you can reschedule if required. These are available for a small added cost with most travel companies.

Fly to Nairobi from Ahmedabad, and take a bus to Moshi

After a lot of research, we have concluded that flying to Nairobi from Ahmedabad will cut your travel costs by half. Flying to Nairobi from Ahmedabad, and taking a 7-hour bus to Moshi is much cheaper as compared to flying directly to Moshi from any of the metro cities in India.

Follow the same itinerary while returning. Take a bus back to Nairobi from Moshi and fly back to Ahmedabad.

You'll need to have a Visa for Kenya as well as Tanzania in this case.

Why Trekking With Indiahikes Is Different

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People have always told us that trekking with us is different. That it is not just about the trek.

In fact, our trekkers go as far as to tell us that it is a life-changing experience. They feel a renewed sense of confidence, they feel more inclined towards sustainable living, and they even feel independent enough to trek on their own. As our founder, Arjun Majumdar, says, "It's almost like seeing two different people before and after the trek."

This is what makes trekking with Indiahikes different. The experience is designed in such a way that it has a deep impact on trekkers. Our Trek Leaders are trained in experience facilitation, to ensure that trekkers take the best out of being in the outdoors. This is why trekkers love trekking with Indiahikes.

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What We Love About the Kilimanjaro Trek

1. The adventurous ascent to Uhuru Peak

The adventurous climb to Uhuru Peak – the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – offers a thrilling experience on the Kilimanjaro Trek. Starting the trek in the dead of night, bearing the 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.

This spectacular feat can be achieved only by extremely fit trekkers. To put it in perspective, imagine climbing to an altitude which is just 10,000 ft below the height of Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world. It is mind-boggling when we think of it!

It is this sense of achievement that brings trekkers from all over the world to ascent Mount Kilimanjaro.

The toughest part of the trek is the summit push to Uhuru Peak. Picture by Huzeifa Morbiwalla

2. 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 park gates to begin your climb, you’ll see plenty of evidence of human activity. From grazing of livestock to small farming operations. 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.

3. Flora and fauna unique 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.

Kilimanjaro Impatiens are found only on the Kilimanjaro trek. Picture by Huzeifa Morbiwalla

Know Your Trek

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.

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PRO TIPS

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

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