Kilimanjaro Climb & Safari

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Day 1

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport you will be met and transferred to the Ashanti Lodge in Moshi, where you will stay for one night. The hotel will provide all the essentials for a comfortable stay: cozy rooms, hot water, polite staff, a swimming pool, and Internet access. In the evening there will be a briefing with our managers, who will also make sure you are ready to begin the climb.

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Day 2

Change in Elevation: Marangu Gate (1,860 m) — Mandara Hut (2,700 m)

Hiking distance: 11 km

Hiking time: 5–7 hours

A guide and a mountain support crew will arrive at the hotel in the morning in order to meet you and hold a quick briefing, after which you will travel by vehicle to Kilimanjaro National Park's eastern entrance: Marangu Gate (1,860 m). After the quick formality of acquiring climbing permits and registering with the search and rescue service, the group will start trekking up to Mandara Hut (2,700 m).

The trekking route includes passage through the rainforest (where tropical showers are highly probable), so we recommend you take not only spare clothes, but also your raincoats.

When you reach the camp, your mountain support crew will take care of the necessities, and prepare lunch. Throughout the entire Marangu route, you will be spending your nights in special huts. They offer a great alternative to those who do not want to sleep in tents.

This will be your first day at this altitude, so it is strongly recommended you heed the following instructions from this point on:

• Abstain from consuming alcohol and caffeine

• Drink over 4 liters of bottled water daily (little by little, frequently)

• Take a Diamox pill to help alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness. Most mountain climbers take Diamox in the morning, before they start their ascent, in order to reduce discomfort associated with altitude sickness. We recommend you consult your doctor prior to the trip in case of potential allergies.

At night you may experience discomfort associated with acclimatization to the high altitude: because of a reduction in your waking breathing pattern, your body gets less oxygen than during the day. Taking altitude into account, you may therefore start feeling sick and have a headache. Pay attention to your own body and tell your guide if you start feeling any symptoms of altitude sickness.

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Day 3

Trekking from Mandara Hut to Horombo Hut:

Change in Elevation: Mandara Hut (2,700 m) — Horombo Hut (3,720 m)

Hiking distance: 10 km

Hiking time: 5–6 hours

Acclimatization hike:

Change in Elevation: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) — Destination point en route to Kibo Hut (3,920 m)

Hiking distance: 2.5 km

Hiking time: 1–2 hours

Early in the morning after breakfast, depart Mandara Hut to start a moderate trek towards the second high altitude camp: Horombo Hut (3,720 m). When you reach the camp on this day, you will be treated to views of two volcanos at once: Kibo and Mawenzi.

Several hours after lunch you will have to complete an acclimatization hike in the direction of Kibo Hut with a 200-meter gain in altitude, and then hike back down to Horombo Hut where dinner will be prepared for you. The acclimatization hike is an easy trek with a slight gain in altitude done in order to speed up the acclimatization process. You should take the acclimatization hikes very seriously. They help increase your chances of successfully summitting Kilimanjaro and save you from the consequences of altitude sickness.

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Day 4

Change in Elevation: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) — Kibo Hut (4,700 m)

Hiking distance: 10 km

Hiking time: 4–8 hours

After breakfast you will be trekking to the Kibo Hut (4,700 m). The actual trekking is not very difficult, just remember to stick with an appropriate pace to keep up your strength for the trekking to Kilimanjaro's summit. When you reach the camp you will be served lunch, after which we recommend you sleep as much as you can, avoid any strenuous activity, and drink lots of water.

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Day 5

Change in Elevation: Kibo Hut (4,700 m) — Uhuru Peak (5,895 m) — Horombo Hut (3,720 m)

Hiking distance: 16 km

Hiking time: 9–12 hours

In the middle of the night you will depart from Kibo Hut (4,700 m) to start your trek to Kilimanjaro's summit: Uhuru peak (5,895 m). The trekking will be moderate from a physical standpoint, but the change in altitude presents the challenge. For the entire length of the trekking each pair of climbers will be accompanied by their own guide, who will be monitoring your stamina and mental resolve. After your successful ascent to Uhuru Peak, you can descend to the nearest glacier if desired. Then you will return to Kibo Camp and after a two-hour rest continue your descent to Horombo Hut (3,720 m).

90% of all accidents occur during the descent, including all broken arms and legs. Please pay attention to your feet, as there is a high risk of damaging your toenails.

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Day 6

Change in Elevation: Horombo Hut (3,720 m) — Marangu Gate (1,860 m)

Hiking distance: 18 km

Hiking time: 5–6 hours

You will be offered a warm breakfast in the morning, before heading down to Kilimanjaro National Park's exit: Marangu Gate (1,860 m), and transfer to your hotel in Moshi for a hot shower and afternoon to relax and reflect on your accomplishment.

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Day 7

After breakfast you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro Airport where you will meet your private driver-guide who will be with you for the next couple of days. Drive to Karatu, on the edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where you will stay at Gibb's Farm for two nights. Arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon to enjoy some of the activities offered at the farm.

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Day 8

A highlight awaits you this morning as you depart to explore what is commonly referred to as the World’s largest wildlife zoo. After breakfast, you descend with a picnic lunch through the early morning mists and 2,000 feet into the crater. Ngorongoro Crater is the World’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Due to its size and diversity, the crater floor is comprised of several distinct areas, ranging from forest, swamps, lakes and springs, to open grassland and some sandy dunes. It’s an awesome wildlife experience. A picnic lunch is served overlooking a small lake populated with hippos. You return to the lodge in the late afternoon.

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Day 9

After breakfast you will be transferred to the Manyara Airstrip for the scheduled charter flight to northern Serengeti. Here you will stay at Serengeti Bushtops for three nights. Arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon game drive.

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Day 10

We never forget that you are at Serengeti Bushtops for the wildlife. Our goal is to ensure you enjoy a succession of unique, thrilling safari experiences. You can explore the natural dramas of the Serengeti in our state of the art 4×4 vehicles during morning, evening or full day game drives. Our excellent guides will help you pick out the action, but also the perfect secluded spot should you want to take a break during a day trip for a romantic bush picnic or go on a guided walking safari.

If you start first thing in the morning, you will find the Serengeti at its most active. This is when Africa can reveal its cool side, so you should wrap up warm (we aim to be on the road before the sun rises at around 6.00 am). Our open vehicles bring you as close as possible to the wildlife, just when the action is likely to be most exciting. Few predators hunt during the heat of the day, so the early morning is the best time to observe the thrill of the chase. It is also a magical time, with the subtle light dappling the landscape, the birds awakening and the sense of a great adventure beginning to unfurl. And just when your stomach starts to complain, we’ll give you a late breakfast in the bush, before further viewing leads you back at about 11.00 am, in good time for lunch at camp.

These full day safaris are the best way to see the full range of what this magnificent park has to offer. Each excursion departs at around 6.30 am, with your 4×4 fully equipped to cross the Serengeti in search of game. The early mornings are relatively cool, but by midday it can become very hot indeed and sun-block lotion and hats are advised. Lunch is served under the shade of an Acacia tree as you take a break from scanning the horizons, and realise that all is well with the world.

Our team of rangers and Kuria spotters apply their wildlife knowledge, tracking abilities and incredible eyesight to reveal the hidden wonders of the Serengeti: even we don’t always know how they do it!

One of nature’s great occasions is the annual crossing of the Mara river by migrating wildebeest. At Serengeti Bushtops we have a ringside seat, so if it happens when you visit, you can be sure of witnessing this stupendous natural event. Yet it is often in the lesser-known corners of the bush that we spot the highlights of your visit, such as a kill, amorous liaison, or lesser-known creature. A full day on safari gives you every chance of such unforgettable encounters.

Heading into the bush for an evening game drive has a level of excitement and character all its own, as predators begin their nightly search for prey. As the day cools and the sky is streaked by red, gold and orange hues, you may be surprised by the roar of a lion, a galloping giraffe, or the high pitched giggling of hyenas fighting over a kill. At a suitable vantage point, your guide will pause, allowing you to enjoy a sundowner in blissful comfort.

There is nothing quite like soaring high above the herds in a hot air balloon, as the sun rises over Serengeti. If this prospect appeals, and you decide to add a balloon safari to your itinerary, do let us know in advance, so we can arrange a booking with our local hot air balloon operator, based near Kogatende. You will be picked up from Serengeti Bushtops before dawn, ready to take off as the sun makes its appearance. The flight lasts an unforgettable hour, before your balloon is brought gracefully back to earth – and a celebratory Bush champagne breakfast. You can then head off on a full day’s day game drive, or return to camp for a more leisurely morning and even a return to bed, to catch up on lost sleep. Please note that a balloon safari lies outside your Serengeti Bushtops booking and our direct control: you should allow around US$550 per person for the flight.

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Day 11

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Day 12

This morning's pre-breakfast game drive is your final opportunity to bask in the unmatched grandeur of the African safari lands. Transfer to the airstrip for the scheduled charter flight to Kilimanjaro Airport. Take the shuttle to Kia Lodge where a day use room is reserved for your comfort until your evening departure.