Rongai Route: Kilimanjaro Expedition

With 7 different routes to choose from, it can be hard to decide which Kilimanjaro Route is right for you, but if you are looking for a quieter path to the Roof of Africa, you might want to consider the Rongai Route.

Kilimanjaro Lunar Eclipse ExpeditionThe only Kilimanjaro Route that approaches the mountain from the north (close to the Kenyan border), the Rongai Route is less crowded than the popular Machame Route, and as such it offers unspoilt wilderness and plenty of wild animal encounters along the way.  Here’s a sample itinerary of what your Rongai Route Climb might look like:

Day 1: After breakfast today, your driver will collect you from your hotel in Arusha and drive you to the Marangu Gate where you will collect your permit. You will then continue to the Nalemoru gate near the Kenyan border, where you will start your Mt. Kilimanjaro trek. Your first day’s walk is a gradual ascent through the rain forest. As you walk, watch out for elephants and cats covering portions of the trail. The trek is about 3 to 4 hours and it bring you to your first camp, Simba Camp Trekking Time: 3-4 Hours

Day 2: After a hot cooked breakfast in the mess tent, you will start the day with a steady ascent up to the ‘Second Cave’ (alt.3450m) where you will be treated to breath taking views of Kibo and the Eastern ice fields of the Crater rim. After breaking for lunch, you will leave the main trail and head out across the moorland on a smaller path towards the jagged peaks of Mawenzi. Your campsite for tonight is in a sheltered valley with giant Seneciois near Kikelelwa Cave.

Day 3: Today’s trek starts with a short but steep grassy slope, as you make your way towards Kilimanjaro’s peak.  At the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views and a tangible sense of wilderness. As you leave the vegetation behind, you will make your way to your next camp Mawenzi Tarn (alt. 4330m), a spectacular camp located directly beneath the towering spires of Mawenzi. In the afternoon, you will have some free time to rest at camp or explore the surrounding areas. Trekking Time: 3-4 Hours

Day 4: After breakfast today, you will cross the lunar desert and the ‘Saddle’ between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach Kibo Hut (alt. 4750m) at the bottom of the Kibo Crater wall. You will spend remainder of the day resting in preparation for the final ascent. Trekking Time: 5-6 Hours

Day 5: Today is the day you have been waiting for! After a midnight wakeup call, and a warming cup of tea with biscuits, you will begin your summit to Uhuru Peak at 5895m / 19,340ft. This part is considered steepest and most demanding part of your journey, but you will walk very slowly through loose scree to reach the crater rim at Gilman’s Point (alt. 5685).  Here you will rest briefly to enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mawenzi, before continuing further to Uhuru Peak (alt. 5896m), where you will pass the spectacular glaciers and ice cliffs that still occupy most of the summit area.  After taking those cherished photos, you will begin your descent to Kibo Hut for lunch, before trekking further down to Horombo Campsite for your final night on the mountain. Trekking Time: 11-12 Hours.

Day 6: After breakfast in camp, you will have a steady descent that takes you down through moor land to Mandara Hut (alt. 2752m), the first based used by people climbing the Marangu route. Here you will receive your certificate and spend some quality time with your mountain crew. After a picnic lunch, you will enjoy a private transfer back to your lodge in Arusha for a welcome hot shower and overnight.

Private and Group Expeditions available for the Kilimanjaro Total Lunar Eclipse in September 2015         

Climbing Kilimanjaro: 10 Tips to Help You Reach Uhuru Peak

Climbing Kilimanjaro is neither easy nor cheap, but if you have always dreamed of climbing Africa’s highest mountain on a journey of self-discovery and adventure, there are endless reasons why you should turn that dream into a reality in 2015.

Reputable Kilimanjaro Climbing Companies in Henry Steadman book

Kilimanjaro is now easily accessible from all major international airports, and if you book your flights approximately 3 months before your climb, you should get a good deal (this does not apply to Christmas & New Year!).  Once you have booked your flights and confirmed your climb with a reputable Kilimanjaro Climbing Company (check out Henry Stedman’s book for advice), the rest is up to you – but here are 10 Tips to Help you Reach Uhuru Peak based on my own experience…

  1. Pack as much hiking gear in your hand luggage as possible and always travel in your hiking boots. Luggage delays happen, and while you can rent clothing and hiking gear in Arusha, you don’t want to be climbing Kili in strange boots!
  2. Eat, drink, eat, drink and repeat. If you have booked with a good company, food and beverages will be plentiful – so indulge and give your body the energy it needs to succeed.
  3. Listen to your Mountain Guide. He knows what it takes to reach Uhuru Peak – he’s probably been there 50 times already, so heed his advice.
  4. Enjoy every day. Uhuru Peak is your main prize, but the fact that you are hiking Kilimanjaro is amazing – don’t forget to enjoy the days leading up to the summit.
  5. Take photos – of everything, everyone and anything! You are probably never going to do this again.
  6. Listen to your body, if you feel a headache coming on, act quickly. A simple Ibuprofen tablet and a litre of water could be all you need to overcome altitude headaches (worked for me!).
  7. Take an inflatable mattress and the warmest sleeping bag you can find. The ground is hard and the temperatures are freezing – so be prepared!
  8. Speak to your porters and cooks, these guys are the life and soul of Kilimanjaro, and if they can climb with a 20kg pack – just imagine what you can do!
  9. Learn a few words of Swahili – it’s a fantastic language and you’ll have a whole lot of laughs along the way if you can speak with the mountain crew in their own language.
  10. Don’t stress about success – in the unlikely event that you do not make it to Uhuru Peak, you have still been to Tanzania and still attempted the mighty Kilimanjaro – that’s success in itself!

Climb Kilimanjaro – Great Value Total Lunar Eclipse Small Group Expedition

Many people list ‘Climbing Kilimanjaro’ as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and when you stand at Uhuru Peak some 5,895metres above sea level, the first thing you say to yourself is “amazing – but never again!”, but the truth is, this mighty mountain gets under your skin, and once you conquered it, it is only a matter of time before you itch to return.

We were lucky enough to climb Kilimanjaro successfully on 4th October 2012, and while our 7-Day Machame Route Tour wasn’t particularly difficult in terms of hiking (it’s neither steep nor technically challenging), the long days and cold nights on the mountain soon begin take their toll on the body.

Kilimanjaro Total Lunar Eclipse

Preparation is key, and you need to be in good physical condition if you are to reach the ‘Roof of Africa’, but we found it to be more mentally challenging than physically challenging, and if you are determined to reach your goal – there is a very good chance you will make it.

So after much consideration, we have decided to tackle Africa’s highest mountain once again, and to make it even more spectacular than the first time, we have scheduled our 2015 Expedition to coincide with the Total Lunar Eclipse on September 28th.

Tanzania just happens to be one of the best places on earth to view the Total Lunar Eclipse in September 2015, and with the best seats in the house on top of Mount Kilimanjaro – we are sure it is going to be a spectacular event!

Our small group escorted tour is set to depart Arusha on 22nd September 2015, and we have 10 spots available for intrepid travellers who want to join us on this amazing adventure. Here is a brief overview of our Kilimanjaro Total Lunar Eclipse Tour 2015:

Day 1     –              21/09/2015         Depart on flight to Kilimanjaro

Day 2     –              22/09/2015         Arrive Kilimanjaro – Transfer to Hotel – Briefing

Day 3     –              23/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Machame Camp

Day 4     –              24/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Shira Camp

Day 5     –              25/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Barranco Camp

Day 6     –              26/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Karanga Camp

Day 7     –              27/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Upper Barafu Special Use Camp

Day 8     –              28/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Summit Lunar Eclipse – Mweka Camp

Day 9     –              29/09/2015         Kilimanjaro – Transfer to Hotel – Dinner

Day 10   –              30/09/2015         Departure or Beach / Safari Extension

For a more detailed itinerary, please head over to our website: http://www.equatours.co.uk/successful-kilimanjaro-climb/4577686606

This fully inclusive climb includes international flights from the UK / mainland Europe (flight exclusive package and other international airports available), two nights accommodation in Arusha with breakfast and dinner (pre and post climb), all airport transfers, and a fully escorted 7-day Machame Route Climb including all meals and soft drinks, transfers to/from Kilimanjaro National Park, all climbing permits, all camping equipment (except sleeping bags), a team of certified Mountain Guides, Cooks and Porters, Mountain Rescue, Safety Equipment, portage of two bags (max 15 kilos), and luggage storage in Arusha.

Price based on 2 adults sharing: with flights £2250.00pp / without flights £1595.00pp Those departing the UK on a flight inclusive package will enjoy full ATOL Protection

Ingo and I will be escorting this tour personally, and as it is a fully inclusive trip, the only thing you need to budget for is the climb itself and tips for your porters / guides.  We can extend your stay in Tanzania with a Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, or you can simply sit back, relax and celebrate your amazing achievement with a few days on Zanzibar’s sugar white beaches.

With five months to prepare, there is plenty of time to get in shape for your Kilimanjaro adventure – so why not join us, and watch the Total Lunar Eclipse from the top of the world!

 

Want to Climb Kilimanjaro? Check Out these Inspiring Stories!

Some people climb Kilimanjaro for a reason, while others climb for no reason at all, but every adventurer who attempts Africa’s highest mountain has one goal in mind, and that is to reach the snow-capped peak of Uhuru.

Climbing Tips KilimanjaroClimbing Kilimanjaro is no easy task, and you need both mental and physical strength if you are to summit the ‘Roof of Africa’, but Kilimanjaro is not technically challenging (you do not need crampons or ropes), and if you are physically fit, mentally prepared, and willing to follow the ‘Poley Poley’ pace set by your Mountain Guide, the chances of reaching the top are high.

Some 50,000 travellers attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year, and while most of us are more than happy with a 7 to 10 day tour along the Machame Route, the Lemosho Route or the Umbwe Route, it seems not everyone is prepared to take the easy route…

Wim Hof, otherwise known as Iceman, is a Dutch extreme sports enthusiast with 26 Guinness World Records under his belt.  In a bid to add one more title to his impressive collection of extreme challenges (which include running a full marathon above the arctic circle wearing just a pair of pants!), Iceman recently ran up Mount Kilimanjaro – and did so in a record time of just 31 hours and 26 minutes! In true Iceman style, Wim opted for a rather skimpy climbing outfit consisting of a pair of shorts and shoes!

Meanwhile, a Russian adventurer by the name of Valery Rozov, has become the first person in the world to BASE JUMP from the top of Kilimanjaro.  After hiking all the way to the top of the Western Beach Wall, Valery decided to take the quick way down, gliding some 3 kilometres in his rather colourful Red Bull sponsored base-jump suit! He captured his entire jump on camera, so head over to the Red Bull website to watch it for yourself.

Finally, the most inspiring Kilimanjaro story of all goes to Alex D’Jamoos, who recently climbed Kilimanjaro for the second time – despite being a double amputee!  The University of Texas student scrambled his way to Uhuru peak, despite suffering from bleeding knuckles and endless ant bites, and did so to raise awareness and money for his favourite charities. Alex said, “The purpose of the trip was to demonstrate that children with disabilities have the ability to overcome great challenges”.

 

 

 

 

 

Camping on Kilimanjaro – What you Can Expect on the Machame Route

If you are going to be one of the 50,000 or so people to attempt the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro in 2015, you have probably got a million questions, and could well be asking yourself, “What am I letting myself in for!”

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream come true for many, but you need to be well prepared if your trip to the Roof of Africa is to be every bit as spectacular as you imagine.

Most of Kilimanjaro’s most popular routes involve camping mountainside for the duration of your time on the mountain.  There are some exceptions, such as the Marangu Route where you sleep in very basic shared huts, but the longer, more successful routes are all about camping – so be prepared!

Climb Kilimanjaro

I had never been camping prior to our 7-day Machame Route Expedition in September 2012, and while we invested in top quality sleeping bags, thermal sleep suits, and plenty of hats, scarves, gloves and socks to keep the minus temperatures at bay – we were not quite prepared for the rock hard floor.

The camping sites on Kilimanjaro’s Machame Route, namely Machame Camp, Shira Camp, Barranco Camp, Karanga Camp and Barafu Camp are well-prepared and spotlessly clean, but at the end of the day (literally), your tents are set up on the mountain floor with little more than a ground sheet and mat for comfort.

Next time we climb Kilimanjaro (Lunar Eclipse September 2015!), we will be taking an inflatable mattress of some sort, and swapping our high-tech but somewhat restrictive sleeping bags for a regular down duvet!  We will need to take an extra bag – but that’s one more job for one more porter, and that’s always a good thing in Tanzania!

If you book your Kilimanjaro Climb with a reputable company, they will provide a port-a-loo for your climb, which includes a tent, a flushable portable loo, and toilet paper. They also provide a mess tent with tables and chairs where you will enjoy three hot meals per day.

If you have booked with the cheapest operator you can find – well, you shouldn’t expect the same level of comfort.  You will have to carry your own packed lunch each day, and perch on a rock to eat it, and you will need to take your own loo paper and make do with bushes during the day!

There is really nothing else to see/do on Kilimanjaro’s campsites, except admire the views and keep saying to yourself – I can do it!!

 

 

Climbing Kilimanjaro’s Barranco Wall – How Challenging is it?

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is every bit as exciting and thrilling as it may seem, but if there is one obstacle on Africa’s highest mountain that seems to get everyone panicking, it would have to be the mighty Barranco Wall.

Many of Kilimanjaro’s popular routes such as the Machame Route and the Lemosho Route meet up at the Lava Tower, and as such, most climbers will face the Barranco Wall during their ascent – but is it really as bad as some climbers make out?  Well, after tackling the Barranco Wall on a rather frosty and chilly September morning – I would have to say the answer to that questions is no.

Yes, Barranco Wall is steep, and yes, you will need to use your hands in some parts to clamber your way up and over this imposing wall of rock, but the hike is short at just over an hour, and the views from the top of Barranco Wall will take your breath away (and I’m not talking about the altitude!).

The main ‘problem’ with climbing Kilimanjaro’s Barranco Wall is the traffic.  You have hundreds of porters laden with supplies trying to navigate the wall alongside the climbers, and this can make it a slow process.  However, if you choose your Kilimanjaro climbing company wisely, you will start later that day (after 10am), and by doing so, you will miss the ‘rush hour’ and have Barranco Wall practically to yourself.

Once you reach the top, your trek to Karanga Camp is along a relatively flat path, and the views of the summit on a clear day are just amazing!  Take a moment to take some pictures before the clouds come rolling in – you won’t regret it!

Here are some photos taken on the Barranco Wall during our 7-Day Machame Route Kilimanjaro Tour…

IMG_0251_copy Climb Kilimanjaro Lunar Eclipse IMG_0250_copy IMG_0014_copy IMG_0035_copy IMG_0283_copy IMG_0289_copy IMG_0307_copy

 

 

Kilimanjaro Training – Mount Meru 4 Day Adventure

Are you going to be one of the (+/-) 50,000 adventurers that will attempt to climb Kilimanjaro in 2015? If so, why not do a ‘trail run’ on Kilimanjaro’s little sister – Mount Meru, and get some altitude training in before you tackle Africa’s highest Mountain.

Mount Meru is fantastic training for those who have little experience in climbing at high altitude, and after your 4-day fully inclusive expedition to the top of this not so tiny 4,565-metre peak, you will be more than ready for your mission to the Roof of Africa!

Climb Mount Meru

Here’s what a typical 4-day / 3-night Mount Meru Expedition Itinerary looks like:

Day 1: Arusha – Mount Meru

After breakfast in the hotel, your driver will collect you from the hotel reception and transfer you to Arusha National Park. At the Momella gate, you will register before setting off with your guide and armed ranger through the wildlife abundant forests!  The forest section of the Meru trek is particularly scenic with strangler figs and the possibility of spotting giraffe and buffaloes grazing in one of the clearings. In the late afternoon, you reach a viewpoint before heading onto Miriakamba Hut. Walking Time: approximately 4 – 5 hours

Day 2: Mount Meru  

After a delicious cooked breakfast, you will set off from Miriakamba Hut towards Saddle Hut in the alpine desert zone. The route is relatively steep and you will gain a lot of height – great for acclimatisation.  After lunch, you will have the opportunity to walk to the summit of Little Meru where you will enjoy stunning views of Arusha National Park, and your next big challenge – Kilimanjaro, before heading back to Saddle Hut for dinner and overnight. Walking Time: approximately 3 – 4 hours

Day 3: Mount Meru   

Today, you wake up early for tea and biscuits, before making your summit attempt. While the trek is challenging in some parts, with occasional climbs, your efforts will be rewarded at dawn as the sun rises to the East. Kilimanjaro is clearly visible from here on a clear day and the views are breathtaking (quite literally!). You will also have fantastic views of Mount Meru’s crater, with its sheer cliffs that fall dramatically 1000 feet or more. After taking photos from the summit, you will return to Saddle Hut for brunch, before continuing down to Miriakamba for a celebratory dinner and overnight.  Walking Time: approximately 10 – 12 hours

Day 4: Mount Meru – Arusha

The final section of your Meru Trek will take approximately 3 hours. Upon arrival at the park gate, your driver and mountain crew will be waiting for a picnic lunch and game drive, before returning you to Arusha for a well-deserved shower!  The evening is at leisure to prepare for your Kilimanjaro Expedition

A double bucket list adventure – why not climb both Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro before heading off on an Ngorongoro Crater Safari!