Allow yourself the highest probability of safety and success by signing up with Alpenglow’s open-enrollment program. In addition to using the best Tanzanian logistics coordinators, cooks, porters, and naturalists, you will be guided by one of our internationally certified guides.
Enjoy Kilimanjaro without the crowds by climbing the less-frequented Rongai Route and experience every ecological zone in the region.
Alpenglow’s itinerary and route selection give our team ample acclimatization time, an issue that often denies climbers’ success
The summit of Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters). It is the highest point in all of Africa and one of the famed Seven Summits. Since it was first climbed in 1889 by Hans Meyer, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro has been the goal of trekkers from every continent. For most, to climb Kilimanjaro is to create a memory of a lifetime. Our Kilimanjaro expedition travels away from the crowds by climbing the Rongai Route. While somewhat longer than the busier routes, the trek is stunning. Beginning from the trailhead at 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) to the summit, our Kilimanjaro trek passes through every ecological zone found in East Africa. You begin in the rainforest, pass through alpine pines, then into grassland, alpine tundra, and eventually into the barren world of the crater itself. And for the first 5 days of climbing Kilimanjaro, you will see few other climbers or camps.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is the perfect way to experience a high-altitude peak without needing years of experience or training. While the days can be strenuous, our route is non-technical (there is no rock climbing, ice, snow, or ropes). Assisting on our Kilimanjaro climb is a stellar team of local Tanzanians acting as porters, kitchen staff, and local guides. Their experience and local knowledge will not only make your trip more comfortable (each day you carry only a light day pack, and the food is hearty and tasty), they will also add to your understanding of the mountain and the local people.
To climb Mount Kilimanjaro to the summit is a proud and attainable accomplishment. Our teams have over a 90% success rate on this mountain. Climbing Kilimanjaro and reaching the summit are only half the fun of this expedition. After descending the Marangu Route on the other side of the mountain, we say goodbye to our Tanzanian mountain staff and meet our safari guides and Landcruisers. Safaris in East Africa are unparalleled in the world for seeing big game and huge herds. For us, it is the perfect way to pamper ourselves after the Kilimanjaro trek. We spend three full days exploring two of Tanzania’s most famous game parks – Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara. Nights are spent in luxury eco-lodges inside the parks, while during the day our local guides will help us find and better understand the incredible wealth of big game. We will see huge herds of zebra and wildebeests and also spot more solitary animals like giraffes and cheetahs. With three days of safari we will experience most or all of the “big five” animals – lions, leopards, rhinocerous, cape buffalo and elephants.
Choosing to travel with Alpenglow Expeditions will increase both your safety and your enjoyment during the time you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. Our itinerary is slightly longer than many other companies, but having a couple more days to acclimatize allows you to truly enjoy climbing Kilimanjaro and reaching the peak. While Kilimanjaro trekking itself is not technical, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is still a very serious undertaking. Accidents do occur each year on the mountain, and generally they are on teams without experienced western mountain guides. For this reason, all of Alpenglow’s Kilimanjaro expeditions are led by AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) certified lead guides. AMGA certification is the highest possible training available to guides, and only the most experienced and dedicated attain it. Our lead guides have been climbing and guiding around the world for at least a decade, including many trips trekking Kilimajaro. Because we combine our North American guides’ experience with the local expertise of one of Tanzania’s best climbing and safari logistics operators we have the best in private transportation, food, naturalist guides, and lodging. When you climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Alpenglow your experience will be both safe and memorable!
Arrive into Kilimanjaro International Airport in the evening, where you will meet your guides. Transfer to our hotel in Arusha, at the base of Kilimanjaro, where we have a team dinner. (Sunday for July trip, Friday for December trip)
In the morning we explore the local villages that surround the base of Kilimanjaro. In the afternoon we hold our first team meeting, and organize our gear for the climb.
Drive to the Rongai trailhead, with stunning views of the mountain along the way. Once there, we meet our Tanzanian porters and staff, organize loads, and then begin our climb through lush forests. Four hours of walking will take us to our first camp, at 9,500 feet (2,696 meters).
Our 6 hour hike takes us out of the humid forest and onto a stunning ridge with our first views of the upper crater walls of Kilimanjaro. The trail continues climbing on this ridge to our camp at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).
Today is a five hour hike to the Mwenzi Tarn. This camp is a favorite with our groups. The camp (at 13,000 feet/3,962 meters) is next to a small lake and below the Mwenzi Towers, with unbelievable views of the entire summit cone and our route to the top.
Today’s hike takes us through the last of Kilimanjaro’s vegetated zones and into the barren alpine world of the upper mountain. A four hour hike takes us past species of plants found only here on Kilimanjaro’s upper flanks, and ends at our camp at the Kibo Hut, at 15,500 feet (4,724 meters). This camp is the staging point for many teams’ summit push. With so many other climbers here, the camp has a true international feel.
Today is an important additional acclimatization day. We wake up, eat a good breakfast, and go for a 2-3 hour hike to a bit over 16,000 feet (4,877 meters). This dramatically aids in our acclimatization, and gives us a perfect view of our summit route. We get back to camp early, and spend the afternoon resting and preparing for our summit attempt.
Summit Day! We wake around midnight for a hot drink and snack and then begin our climb. The first 5-6 hours are steep and we occasionally scramble over rocky sections (no ropes or technical experience are necessary) as we ascend the crater wall. Around sunrise we top out on the wall at Gilman’s Point and step onto the crater. The route from there crosses the small crater glacier and then ascends easily to the true summit, the highest point in Africa at 19,341 feet (5,895 meters)! Our descent is via the Marangu route. After at least a 12 hour day we will set camp at 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).
Six hours of easy descent take us through the Marangu’s lush rainforests (a completely different ecological zone than we saw on our ascent) to the end of the trail (6,000 feet/1,829 meters) and our van. We return to our hotel for much needed showers and a celebration dinner. Those who only have time for the climb fly home after dinner (Monday for July trip, Saturday for December trip), however, we highly recommend our safari, an unforgettable East African experience.
We begin with a short drive to Manyara National Park. Manyara is known for its many flamingos and baboons, as well as lions and herds of antelope – all taking advantage of the water at Lake Manyara. In the evening we leave Manyara to drive to our hotel on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.
A full day of exploring Ngorongoro. Ngorongoro holds the highest concentration of big game anywhere in Africa. It is an unbeatable place to see herds of wildebeest, zebras, antelope, and buffalo, along with the predators that feed on these herds – lions, cheetahs, and leopards. It is also one of the better places to spot rhinoceros. We will return to our crater hotel for a second night.
Today we take another early morning game drive in the crater. This is the best time to see many of the animals. We also visit a traditional Masai village, where we meet and learn more about these nomadic herders. In the afternoon we return to Arusha. After one last celebration dinner complete with stunning views of Kilimanjaro in the distance, we head to the airport to catch evening flights (after 8pm—Thursday for July trip, Tuesday for December trip)