Experience two of Africa's most famous natural wonders from ground level on this trip, designed for those with a passion for the outdoors. The imposing peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro inspire awe and rouse a spirit of adventure, while the vast plains of the Serengeti evoke a sense of wonder and deep respect for the animal kingdom. Rise to the challenge and conquer Africa's highest peak on a difficult trek to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. Safari through the savanna in search of stealthy predators, then spot other game in the gigantic Ngorongoro Crater. This is a journey that will reward those with an appetite for excitement and an appreciation for nature, so get ready for thrills, challenges and discovery.
TOTAL DURATION : 15 Days
GROUP SIZE : MIN 1 MAX 22
TOUR ITINERARY AND DATES
START : Marangu
END : Nairobi
COUNTRIES VISITED : Kenya,Tanzania, United Republic Of
Validity : 01 JAN 2020 To 31 DEC 2021
Location : Marangu
Jambo! Welcome to Tanzania. Your hike begins in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in Marangu. The hotel is a short walk from the village’s bustling market and some excellent coffee shops. It is also very close to some beautiful waterfalls and ancient Chagga caves. Please make sure you are at the hotel by early evening, as your trip starts with a full briefing and kit inspection by an experienced Kilimanjaro climber. This will take place before dinner, usually around 6 pm. In the event that one of you fellow travellers are late, the meeting may have to be rescheduled for the following morning.
Location : Mandara Hut
Stop into one of the offices of the Intrepid Foundation-supported Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project. Learn how various projects support the people who are helping you tackle Mt Kilimanjaro, making sure these hardworking individuals are fairly compensated and safe while they work. Not only will you gain an appreciation for the work of the folks who make the trek possible, but you’ll also be able to walk easier with the knowledge you’re supporting ethical trekking. Continue to Marangu Gate, the entrance of the Mt Kilimanjaro National Park (1860 m) and meet your guides and porters. With introductions and assignment of porter loads taken care of, it’s time to embark on the trek of a lifetime.
Location : Horombo Hut
Your second day on the mountain involves another long hike over a slightly steeper stretch. The total distance from Mandara to the Horombo huts is 12 kilometres (approximately 5–7 hours). Today you will see the rainforest give way to open and rolling alpine meadows dotted with giant heather trees. Once out of the forest canopy, the twin snow-tipped peaks of Kibo and Mawenzi lie directly ahead. These are two of the three great cones of Kilimanjaro (the other being Shira). During the day’s walk we will traverse several ravines before reaching the hut, which is set in a rocky valley. There is time to enjoy a wide variety of vegetation and changing landscapes on the way to Horombo Hut (3780 metres). We will spend the next two nights here at the hut.
Location : Horombo Hut
After breakfast, walk towards Mawenzi Hut, passing the unusual Zebra Rocks on the way. It’s a steep climb up a grassy slope, but well worth it: the views over the area towards Kibo are second-to-none. Afterwards, return to Horombo for lunch. Spend the afternoon relaxing and acclimatising to the altitude, or ask your guides about short walks in the area. Take advantage of the rest day here and drink plenty of water – the next couple of days will be pretty intense!
Location : Kibo Hut / Mawenzi Peak
Today you’ll walk the 10 kilometres or so from Horombo to Kibo Hut (approximately 5–7 hours). As the journey progresses you will notice the landscape gradually becoming more rugged and rocky, and the air noticeably thinner. We will have to soften our pace a little to accommodate these environmental changes. Marvel at giant groundsels and lobelias while you travel across the sparse moorland. Skirt Mawenzi Peak and marvel at the stark lunar landscape of the Saddle, reaching Kibo Hut in afternoon (4740 m), take the opportunity to have an early night in preparation for a very early (or late?) wake-up call.
Location : Uhuru Peak / Horombo Hut
Your guides will wake you up at 11 pm and hot tea will be served. Prepare for the last leg of the trek – to the summit. The distance from Kibo Hut to Uhuru Peak is six kilometres (approximately 6–8 hours), and the descent to Horombo will be approximately the same amount of time. The trek begins beneath the stars as you zigzag your way up a large scree slope, guided only by torch light, to reach Gilman's Point (5685 m). With some luck, arrive in time for breathtaking views of the sun rising behind Mawenzi Peak. This is the stretch that most people find the hardest, and you should be prepared for a very cold morning. The dramatic spectacle of the sun rising over the ice fields of the crater will make the early start worthwhile. For those who still have the energy, it's a further walk (approximately 2 hours) along the rim of the crater to Uhuru Peak (5896 m), the highest point in Africa. From here there are amazing views of the crater, ice fields and plains below. After photos and time to catch your breath, descend back to Horombo Hut for a well-earned rest.
Location : Marangu
Continue your descent through alpine meadows and rainforest to the park gate. The distance from Horombo to Marangu Gate is 20 kilometres (approximately 5–6 hours). Here your transport awaits and you will return to the hotel for a relaxing shower – a real treat after the physical exertions of the last few days! Over a celebratory meal we can relive and share our experiences of the past five days on the mountain.
Location : Nairobi
Today after breakfast you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro (JRO) airport for a short flight to Nairobi. Where possible we will be booking a midday flight with Precision Air/Kenya Airways. On arrival in Nairobi you will be met and transferred to the start point hotel of the second section of your trip. Please note that this section of the trip will be unescorted and the rest of the afternoon is free until group meeting at 6 pm. Here your leader will discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you'll meet your new fellow travellers.
Location : Kisii
Board your safari vehicle and travel west (approximately 8–9 hours). Today’s destination is near the hilltop town of Kisii, which will be the last chance to stock up on supplies before heading into Tanzania. Crossing the incredibly scenic Great Rift Valley on your way to the tea-growing highlands is a fantastic introduction to the landscapes of Kenya. You will pass through the ancient homeland of the Maasai. Keep a look out for these tall tribesmen dressed in distinctive scarlet robes as they tend to their prized herds of cattle. The roads on the way are pretty rough, but there will be chances to stop and stretch your legs, including a local homestead lunch in the town of Kaprong. The food for the lunch is grown and sourced locally, plus the lunch is a great way to learn from and interact with the women from the local village.
Location : Lake Victoria
Travel towards the Kenya–Tanzania border and to the shores of Lake Victoria (approximately 7–8 hours). This is not only Africa's largest lake – it's the largest tropical lake in the world. Its shores are shared by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The guided bike excursion is a great activity to stretch the legs, learn about the town, visit an African marketplace and meet some locals. Or you can simply chill out on the lakeside sand with a cold drink. Make the most of the ATM and local market to stock up for your next three days of adventuring in the wilderness. You will camp on the shores of the lake tonight, at one of its least visited campgrounds, on the outskirts of a small town called Musoma.
Location : Serengeti National Park
Travel from Lake Victoria to the gate of Serengeti National Park on a smooth road (approximately 3 hours). Enter the Serengeti and enjoy a game drive and picnic lunch en route to your campsite. The wide-open plains of the Serengeti see myriad colours during the year – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – but one thing is a constant: this never-ending landscape is home to thousands upon thousands of animals travelling as herds across the plains. This region gets its name from the local Maasai word ‘siringet’, meaning the place where the land moves on forever, and you’ll begin to understand why on your game drive today. Enjoy a picnic lunch, then head to your campsite which is right in the action – located within the park itself! At night, listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.
Location : Serengeti National Park
Start the day nice and early with a game drive at dawn. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. This morning, there’s also the option of a balloon ride over the park today. If you have pre-booked this activity, you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, where you’ll get some amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the vastness of the plains and the early morning movements of the herds. After landing, dig into a delicious bush breakfast, then return to your camp. After spending the warmer part of the day relaxing with your herd – just as the animals do – depart again at dusk for another adventure through the wild, returning in time for dinner.
Location : Ngorongoro Crater
Enjoy a leisurely game drive and picnic lunch on your way out of the park today. Soak up final views of the animals and landscapes that make the national park such an incredible spot, before entering the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Your destination today is the rim of the crater about 3 hours away. Your campsite overlooks jagged volcanic peaks and rolling grasslands thousands of feet below – you can be sure that there are few campsites in the world with a better view than this!
Location : Ngorongoro Crater – Mto wa Mbu
A gigantic, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals. Among these are endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent wildlife viewing all year round, and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. Later, join the local community for a guided afternoon stroll around the farming areas, milling machine and local homes before enjoying a traditional meal. Your campsite this evening is located in Mto wa Mbu.
Location : Arusha / Nairobi
Set off early this morning, around 7.30 am, heading for the border with Kenya after passing through Arusha to say goodbye to some travellers. You also have the option to travel back to Nairobi if it is more convenient for you (approximately 7–8 hours). On arrival, you'll be dropped at a centrally located hotel, and with no accommodation provided for tonight, you are free to leave at any time. If you would like to extend your stay in Nairobi, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).